Independence Day is annually celebrated on 15 August, as a national holiday in India commemorating the nation’s independence from the United Kingdom on 15 August 1947, the day when the provisions of the Indian Independence Act 1947, as passed by the UK Parliament, which transferred legislative sovereignty to the Indian Constituent Assembly came into effect. India still retained King George VI as head of state until its transition to a full republican constitution. India attained independence following the Independence Movement noted for largely nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience.
History of 15 August
Independence coincided with the partition of India, in which British India was divided along religious lines into the Dominions of India and Pakistan; the partition was accompanied by violent riots and mass casualties, and the displacement of nearly 15 million people due to religious violence. On 15 August 1947, the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru raised the Indian national flag above the Lahori Gate of the Red Fort in Delhi. On each subsequent Independence Day, the incumbent Prime Minister customarily raises the flag and gives an address to the nation. The entire event is broadcast by Doordarshan, India’s national broadcaster, and usually begins with the shehnai music of Ustad Bismillah Khan.
Celebration of Independence Day
- On Independence Day, the President of India delivers the Address to the Nation. On 15 August, the Prime Minister hoists the Indian flag on the ramparts of the historical site of Red Fort in Delhi.
- Twenty-one gunshots are fired in honor of the solemn occasion. In his speech, the Prime Minister highlights the past year’s achievements, raises important issues, and calls for further development.
- He pays tribute to the leaders of the Indian independence movement. The Indian national anthem, “Jana Gana Mana” is sung.
- The speech is followed by the march past of divisions of the Indian Armed Forces and paramilitary forces. Parades and pageants showcase scenes from the independence struggle and India’s diverse cultural traditions.
- Similar events take place in state capitals where the Chief Ministers of individual states unfurl the national flag, followed by parades and pageants.
- Flag hoisting ceremonies and cultural programs take place in governmental and non-governmental institutions throughout the country.