15th August is a day of great importance, reverence and pride for all Indians. It was on this day, in the year 1947, that India got independence from British rule after years of slavery, plunder and oppression. Thus Independence Day is annually observed on 15th August, in all Indian states and union territories to commemorate the nation’s independence from the United Kingdom. This year in 2017, India will celebrate its 71st Independence Day and pay tribute and homage to all the freedom fighters who contributed a lot and fought for the Independence and betterment of India
On this day, Jawaharlal Nehru, who had become the first Prime Minister of India in the year 1947, raised the Indian national flag above the Lahori Gate of the Red Fort in Delhi. Thereafter, 15th of August is celebrated as a national holiday in India and on each subsequent Independence Day, the Prime Minister customarily raises the flag and gives an address to the nation. The holiday is observed throughout India with flag-hoisting ceremonies, parades and cultural events. Indians from different religions, caste, creed etc. get together in unison……the country displays a patriotic fervor, with schools, residential complexes, government and non-governmental institutions also organizing a flag-hoisting ceremony and small celebrations where sweets etc. are distributed. Major government buildings are often adorned with strings of lights. In Delhi and some other cities, kite flying adds to the occasion and symbolizes freedom. National flags of different sizes are used abundantly to symbolise loyalty and faithfulness to the country. Citizens of India adorn their clothing, wristbands, cars, household accessories with replicas of the tri-colour. Over a period of time, the celebration has changed emphasis from nationalism to a broader celebration of all things India.
On the eve of Independence Day, the President of India delivers the “Address to the Nation”. On 15th August, in Delhi – the capital of India, this day is celebrated with great pomp and show. People gather in large numbers into the parade ground in front of the Red Fort. There is great enthusiasm everywhere. They line up the roads all leading to the fort and eagerly wait for the arrival of the Prime Minter. Foreign ambassadors and dignitaries also participate in the celebrations. The prime minster unfurls the national flag. A guard of honor is given by the local police and armed forces personnel and a salute of 21 guns is fired. The military band plays the national anthem. The Prime Minister greets the ambassadors seated at the parapet and delivers a speech. 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 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. Patriotic songs in regional languages are broadcast on television and radio channels. They are also played alongside flag hoisting ceremonies.
The Indian diaspora celebrates Independence Day around the world with parades and pageants, particularly in regions with higher concentrations of Indian immigrants. In some locations, such as New York and other US cities, 15th August has become “India Day” among the diaspora and the local populace. Pageants celebrate “India Day” either on 15 August or an adjoining weekend day.
PICTURE CREDIT: festivalsofindia.in & Krish – ApartmentADDA