August 15 — India’s Independence Day


Dr. Ravi P. Bhatia – TRANSCEND Media Service

This is not just a date for people of India. It is the day when India became free of foreign colonialism. Earlier, several Moghul regimes ruled India and then we had two hundred years of British rule. Of course, each regime and the British rule had worked for the people in its varied diversity — social, cultural, linguistic and political.

On this date, the first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru belonging to the Congress Party spoke in a measured note about the freedom that India was achieving. He said,

 ‘Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny and now the time has come  when we shall redeem our pledge not wholly but substantially . At the stroke of midnight when the world sleeps India will wake up to life and freedom..’

But there was a tragedy that the people were being subject to — the partitioning of the country into India and Moslem dominated Pakistan on the western and eastern parts. The eastern part located on the coast of Bay of Bengal seceded from Pakistan in 1971 with India’s help and became Bangladesh with Dhaka as its capital and Bengali the dominant language of the country. Many famous Indian Bengali people had earlier lived in this region.

Those non Moslems (Hindus, Sikhs, Jains etc) that belonged especially to the western part, lost everything — their homes, their occupation and often some of their family members killed in this horrific event of partition. Many books have been written, several films produced on the tragic events and the suffering experienced by ordinary people including my own family who were forced to leave Lahore and come to the border regions of the divided country, with no means of sustenance.

Mr Nehru, the first PM worked hard and selflessly to bring succor to the people who were enjoying freedom and uncertainty for the first time in their lives. He remained PM till his death in 1964 and people used to wonder what after Nehru? But the people of the country were of a resilient and brave nature and managed to ensure democratic evolution of India. People got freedom — political, cultural, educational and gradually earned a voice in international forums under the succeeding governments, not only of Congress party but also belonging to the BJP party which has sustained Narendra Modi as PM since 2014.

Every year on 15 August the Indian Prime Minister speaks from the ramparts of the   Red Fort   — the Independence Day speech congratulating the people and briefly touching upon the government’s social and economic programmes. The Red Fort was built by a Moghul king Shah Jahan and completed in  1648. In a certain way it represents India’s architecture, history and determination in modern times. The Fort was built next to the river Jamuna and today attracts countless number of tourists every year. The local name of the Fort is Lal Quila and at the time it was built, it represented what was then Delhi.

Every modern nation has a date that represents it and for India August 15 is not only the Independence Day but also a date that we became free to evolve in a democratic manner. Today, 15 August 2022, India completes 75 years and there are many festivals such as Amrit Mahotsava to celebrate this momentous date under the leadership of Mr Narendra Modi. In a small way most of us are all celebrating this event. This essay is my way to celebrate with the help of Antonio C.S. Rosa, Editor of TMS.


Dr Ravi P Bhatia is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, an educationist, Gandhian scholar and peace researcher. Retired professor, Delhi University. His new book, A Garland of Ideas—Gandhian, Religious, Educational, Environmental was published recently in Delhi.

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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 15 Aug 2022.

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