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Independence Day is an emotional day for the country as it finally removed the yoke of colonialism. In every nook and cranny of the country, people of different ethnicities, religion, caste and gender unite in celebration. But how much kids know about this historic moment is never enough as there is much to learn. Here we learn the finer points about this historic day that can be shared with your kids.
When and Why do We Celebrate Independence Day?
Strangely, this is one question that was on every Indian’s mind during the early 20th century. Our national leaders were fed up of the British rule and decided in 1929 that they would demand full independence from the British on 26th January 1930. However, the British did not agree to this and went on to rule India until 15th August 1947.
On July 18,1947, the British had passed a law that stated that on 15th August 1947, India would become an independent country and would cease to be a part of the British Empire. Thus, India gained its freedom on the latter date, and since then, every 15th August is celebrated as India’s Independence Day. It must be noted that the date of 26th January was still remembered and later became the date when India became a republic in 1950.
Independence Day is celebrated in remembrance of the sacrifices that our leaders made so that we could live as free citizens and as the masters of our own destiny.
History of Independence Day of India
The British came as traders to India in the 1600’s and were allowed trading rights by the powerful Indian Emperor Jehangir. India was then ruled by the Mughals who were too powerful for the British. It is only later when the Mughal empire disintegrated that the British began to conquer small parts of India. Starting with the battle of Plassey in 1757, the British began expanding rapidly throughout India till 1857.
In 1857, the Indians were fed up of the British, and there was a massive uprising throughout Northern India where Indian leaders of different backgrounds fought shoulder to shoulder against the British. It is famously known as the first battle of Independence, and the British stopped expanding to other territories within India after this.
The British went on to rule India despite a wide-spread and well-coordinated freedom movement. The freedom struggle, led by Mahatma Gandhi, was so successful that the British were forced to give Indians numerous rights. These included rights such as voting and Indian led governments in 1937, though it was externally controlled by the British. By 1945, the British economy had been destroyed because of World War 2, and they knew it was only a matter of time before the Indians kicked them out. Rather than being disgracefully moving out, they decided to leave India peacefully. However, on this happy day, there was also the tragedy of partition where India was divided into India and Pakistan.
How is 15th August Celebrated in India by Children?
Independence Day is celebrated with great pomp throughout the country. Most schools are closed on this day, but celebrations usually take place one day before. Patriotic songs such as Vande Mataram are sung in every school, sweets are distributed, and the Indian flag is unfurled. On the 15th of August, the Indian flag is seen in the hand of every child. They will be playing games with the flag in their hand. There are others who will ride their cycle around the neighbourhood with the Indian flag majestically fluttering as the cycle picks up speed.
Interesting Facts about Indian Independence Day
- India is not the only country that celebrated Independence Day on 15th August. There are others that share the same day as their Independence Day, albeit in different years. These countries are Bahrain, North Korea, Congo, Liechtenstein and South Korea.
- When India became independent, it had no national anthem. Jana Gana Mana by Rabindranath Tagore, which was first sung in 1911 was adopted much later in 1950.
- When India became independent, it did not have a prime minister, president or even a government. All of this happened only much later when India became a republic. During the time of independence, the Governor General was the most important and powerful person in India.
- Many parts of India were in fact, different kingdoms during independence. It has been recorded that when India became independent, there were as many as 565 princely states or kingdoms. All of that changed quickly as Sardar Vallabhai Patel, and other leaders used different strategies to incorporate these kingdoms into India. Jammu and Kashmir, Hyderabad, Mysore and Travancore were just some of the big kingdoms that became a part of India after Independence.
- Goa was a Portuguese colony even after Independence and only became a part of India in 1961.
- Officially, the celebration of Independence Day by the Government of India takes place at the Red Fort in New Delhi. Here the Prime Minister gives a speech to the nation that is broadcast throughout the country.
- The Independence of India also brought about the partition of the country on religious lines. Many people from Hindu and Muslim community were killed due to the communal tension and hatred that became prominent during this time. Many have gone on to say that it resulted in the largest human migration in history. However, it must also be remembered that during these tough times, many people risked their lives to save their neighbours from the opposite community.
- Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation, did not take part in the first Independence Day celebration. He was busy conducting a hunger strike to force people to stop killing each other due to partition.
- The job of carving out the borders of Independent India was given to a man called Cyril John Radcliffe. The irony is that he had never been to India and had been given the challenging task of its division. He was so hurt by the destruction it caused that he refused his salary of 40,000 Rupees which was a big amount in those days.
How many of these facts did you learn from here today? Feel free to comment and let us know if there are other interesting facts that we missed out on.