Indian Independence Day

 Indian Independence Day

Independence Day in India is celebrated on August 15 every year to commemorate the nation’s independence from British Rule. The day is one of the three national holidays recognized in India, along with Republic Day and Gandhi Jayanti. This year, India will celebrate its 75th Independence Day. 

Here’s all you need to know about Indian Independence Day. 

History and Background

By the 17th century, European traders, particularly the East India Company, established outposts in the Indian subcontinent. The East India Company, with its massive military strength, started annexing local kingdoms in India. By 1861, Britishers occupied more than half the Indian subcontinent, and by 1914, the entire Indian subcontinent, including present-day India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, was under British rule.

The Indian National Congress, one of India’s two major political parties, was formed in 1885. The party was led by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, widely known as Mahatma Gandhi. The non-cooperation movement led by Mahatma Gandhi in 1920, along with various subsequent events, led to the Independence of India in 1947. 

August 15 was chosen as the date of power transfer, and since then, Indians recognize it as Independence Day. 

How Is Independence Day Celebrated in India?

The prime minister hosted the national flag on August 15 at the historic Red Fort in Delhi. The President of India delivers a speech known as “Address to the Nation.” A military unit fires 21 gunshots in honour of the occasion. 

After the speech, a comprehensive program takes place, including march pasts from armed and paramilitary forces. Units from various states and regions of India showcase their cultural traditions. Apart from the national ceremony hosted at the Red Fort, chief ministers of various states host flags and conduct ceremonies in their respective states.

Independence Day celebrations are also widespread in schools across the country. Many schools hoist the national flag, followed by parades and cultural events. The flag hoisting ceremony is always accompanied by the national anthem. 

Chief Guests

Since 1950, India has been inviting foreign leaders to Independence Day celebrations to boost bilateral relations. In 2018, ten leaders from different countries were invited for the ceremony, including:

  • Nguyễn Xuân Phúc – Vietnam
  • Prayuth Chan-Ocha – Thailand
  • Halimah Yacob – Singapore
  • Rodrigo Roa Duterte – Philippines
  • President Htin Kyaw – Myanmar
  • Najib Razak – Malaysia
  • Prime Minister Hun Sen – Cambodia
  • Thongloun Sisoulith – Laos
  • Joko Widodo – Indonesia
  • Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah – Brunei

In 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa was the chief guest. In 2020, the president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, was the chief guest. 

Boris Johnson, the prime minister of the UK, was the chief guest in 2021, but he cancelled the visit due to COVID-19. However, for the first time in 75 years of Independence, India won’t be inviting a foreign host. Instead, the entire Olympics contingent of India for the Tokyo Olympics will be the special guest. 

Final Thoughts

Independence Day is one of the most important days in India. Numerous celebrations across the country take place to commemorate the country’s freedom from British rule. This year, the country will celebrate its 75th Independence Day. 

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