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Saturday, August 15

10 Interesting Facts About Indian Independence

Today, lets find out more about Independence day. Why was the midnight of 15th August 1947 chosen as the date & time for Indian Independence?

We can divide the above question into 3 sub-questions:
Why 1947?
Why 15th August?
Why midnight?

Let us look into each of the above and find out the answers

Why 1947?
The awakening of masses by Gandhi and the activities of Bose behind the scenes (of strengthening Indian National Army) which had intensified during 1940s were already a cause of concern for the British.

By the time the World War II had come to an end in 1945, the British were financially weak (sources indicate they were in the verge of bankruptcy) and were struggling to rule their own country, let alone their colonies. The victory of Labour party in the Britain elections of 1945 was received very well by our freedom fighters because the Labour party had promised to work on granting independence to English colonies including India.
1. National flag was hoisted first on August 7, 1906 at the Parsee Bagan Square in Calcutta. The flag was composed of horizontal strips of red, yellow and green. The red strip at the top had eight white lotuses embossed on it in a row. The green strip had a white sun on the left and a white crescent and star on the right.

2. It is said that the first version of the current national flag was made by Pingali Venkayya at Bezwada in 1921. It was made up of two colours-red and green-representing the two major communities. Gandhiji suggested the addition of a white strip to represent the remaining communities of India and the spinning wheel to symbolise progress of the Nation.Facts About Indian Independence

3. Another Interesting Facts about Indian Independence is that When India became independent on August 15, 1947 there was no National Anthem. Even though the Bengali invocation of Jana Gana Mana was written in 1911, it was not considered as national anthem till 1950.

4. Mountbatten chose the day since Aug 15 as it also commemorated the second anniversary of Japan’s surrender to the Allied Forces. North Korea, South Korea, Bahrain and Republic of the Congo share their independence day with India.

5. On August 15, 1947, when India became free from the foreign rule, Mahatma Gandhi was in Calcutta. Gandhiji spent his day in prayers, fasting and spinning protesting the madness of communal hatred.

6. Interestingly, Gandhiji wanted the Congress to be disbanded immediately after the independence. This resolution for Congress, drafted by Gandhiji on the eve of his assassination, said, “India having attained political independence through means devised by the INC, the Congress in its present shape and form, i.e., as a propaganda vehicle and parliamentary machine had outlived its use.”

7. One more Interesting Facts about Indian Independence is that After India’s independence, Portugal amended its constitution and declared Goa as a Portuguese state. Indian troops invaded Goa on December 19, 1961 and annexed it to India.

8. After India attained Independence, 560 princely states joined the Indian union. 2 others, Hyderabad and Junagadh, were annexed by the Indian army.

9. The border between India and the newly-formed Pakistan was established by the Boundary Commission, a body appointed by Lord Louis Mountbatten, the last viceroy of India. The commission was headed by Sir Cyril Radcliffe, a British lawyer. Pakistan was created to provide a homeland for Muslims, but the partition led to an estimated one million deaths in communal violence after the two nations became independent.

10. Lord Mountbatten read out a message in Delhi from Britain’s King George VI. “Freedom-loving peoples everywhere will wish to share in your celebrations,” the message said. “For with this transfer of power by consent comes the fulfillment of the great democratic ideal to which the British and Indian peoples alike are firmly dedicated.”

Why 15th Aug?
It was Lord Mountbatten who had personally decided the date of Aug 15 because he had considered that date to be “very lucky” for his career. During the World War II, it was on Aug 15, 1945 (Japan timezone) that the Japanese Army had surrendered before him (Lord Mountbatten was the commander of the allied forces).

Why midnight?
When the date of independence was decided in “June 3 plan” and announced to public, there was an outrage among astrologers across the country because 15-Aug-1947 was an “unfortunate & unholy” date according to astrological calculations. Alternative dates were suggested but Lord Mountbatten was adamant on Aug 15 (since it was his lucky date). As a workaround, the astrologers suggested the midnight hour between Aug 14 and 15 due to the simple reason that the day according to English starts at 12 AM, but according to Hindu calendar, starts at sunrise.