The great dream of our freedom fighters, nationalists, and revolutionaries was realized on 15th Aug. 1947, when India became free and independent. It was an epoch-making event of great significance, which ushered in an era of liberty, self-rule and prosperity for our nation. Since then 15th Aug., has been celebrated all over India as our Independence Day. It is a national festival-a day to remember our bygone patriots who laid down their lives for the freedom of our motherland.
The Britishers who had come as traders, became the masters of India with their victory at Plassey in 1757. Then for 190 years they held the reigns of power, looting and bleeding India to the last drop. The Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, popularly known as the First War of Indian Independence was the first major attempt by Indians to break off the shackles of foreign slavery.
With the anti-partition movement of 1905 against the partition of Bengal, the cry for freedom began to gather momentum. The arrival of Mahatma Gandhi in the political scene of India in 1919, his three mass movements of 1920, 1930 and 1942, the failed attempt of Indian National Army under Subhash Chandra Bose, international backing of the Indian cause etc., all culminated in forcing the British to leave India on Aug. 15, 1947. On this historic day, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, the country’s first Prime Minister unfurled the national tricolour from the ramparts of Red Fort, ushering a new India. Every year since then India has been celebrating its independence day on Aug. 15 with great rejoicing and pomp.
The chief Independence Day celebrations are held in New Delhi, the capital of India. The celebrations start with the address of the President to the nation on the eve of the Independence Day. The official Independence Day ceremony begins early morning the next day, with the President, Vice- President and the Prime Minister offering floral tributes at Rajghat, the Samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation. At 7.00 a.m. the Prime Minister reaches the Red Fort for the flag hoisting ceremony. He is welcomed by a guard of honour and by the military chiefs.
Thereafter, he unfurls the national flag amidst the singing of national Anthem. Once the national Anthem is over, the prime Minister delivers his Independence Day speech standing at the ramparts of Red Fort. Numerous foreign dignitaries, officials of the Govt., ministers, hundreds of school Children and thousands of people attend this function at the Red Fort.
Similar ceremonies are also held in various state capitals, district headquarters and at block and Panchayat levels, which are attended by the general public. The national tricolour is hoisted on this day in the morning, on public buildings, offices, institutions, schools, colleges etc. Many special functions are also organised to mark the day. Cultural and sports events are organised for children to solemnise this historic day of our nation.
Independence Day remind us about the great sacrifice of our freedom fighters that have been responsible for the freedom that we enjoy today. On this day the nation remembers with gratitude and fond memories, the self- sacrifice and the noble contributions of our patriots such as, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhash Chandra Bose, Gokhale, Lala Lajpat Rai, Tilak, Sardar Patel, Bhagat Singh, Rani of Jhansi, etc. Apart from this, the nation also pays homage to thousands of ordinary men and women who took part in the freedom struggle movement and contributed their share to the national cause.
Independence Day celebration should not remain a mere ritual performed every year but rather it should infuse m us a sense of love and pride for our nation. The day reminds us of our duty and responsibility of preserving the hard-won freedom from further shackles of slavery.
We have achieved political freedom, but we are yet to achieve economic and social freedom. Many economic ills and social bottlenecks continue to throttle our people. Therefore, a great deal of work remains to be done in order to be free and independent in the true sense.