Independence Day

Explained: Why August 15 was chosen for India’s Independence Day?

In 1929, when Jawaharlal Nehru the President of Congress, called for Purna Swaraj (Complete Independence), they have chosen the date January 26. But the events that took place in the following years gave us August 15 as Indian Independence Day.

Even though January 26 we missed to mark as Independence day, it became the mark for Republic Day on 26th January 1950 because the same day was chosen for the Indian Constitution enforcement.

How August 15 became India’s Independence Day?

Despite the fact that the fight for Independence spread in India, the British were reeling by the aftermath of World War II, which ended in 1945. When the Labor Party came to power in 1945 in economically exhausted Britain, talks of granting Independence to the British colonies, including India has been strengthened.

Communities in India were at their peak to gain freedom from the British somehow, and there was no option for the British to leave India along with the World War II losses and their confidence in maintaining their colonies fell down during the period which in turn gave us freedom.

In 1947, Lord Mountbatten became the last viceroy of India, with the intention of overseeing the planned transfer of power by the British Parliament by June 30, 1948. But with tensions and acts of community violence increasing in the country Mountbatten decided to speed up the process and chose the date 15th August 1947.

If Lord Mountbatten delayed the process of making India free we don’t know what would have been the situation in the country. Comment below what would have been the situation you think if he delayed?

At the time, Mountbatten claimed his act by advancing the date, he wanted to ensure that there will be no bloodshed or riots. He must, of course, to be proven wrong, although he later tried to justify it by saying that

“wherever colonial rule has ended, there has been bloodshed. That is the price you pay.”

With the inputs taken from Mountbatten, the Indian Independence Bill was introduced in the British House of Commons on July 4, 1947, and passed in two weeks. The bill called for the end of British rule in India, and the creation of 2 separate nations India and Pakistan, which would be no longer part of the British Commonwealth.

Mountbatten later claimed, as quoted in Freedom at Midnight
(source: msn)

A little anecdote before continuing: During World War II, Japan surrendered on August 15, 1945, to the Allies and, on September 4, 1945, Mountbatten, then Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in South Asia, had signed the formal, Japanese surrender of Singapore.

Why Pakistan’s Independence Day is on August 14?

The Indian Independence Bill signs off on August 15 as the date of Independence for both the countries India and Pakistan. In his first address to Pakistan Jinnah said,

“August 15 is the birthday of the Independent and Sovereign State of Pakistan, it marks the fulfillment of the destiny of the Muslim nation which made great sacrifices in the past few years to have its homeland”

By 1948, Pakistan was celebrating August 14 as its Independence day marking the day the ‘transfer of power’ took place and some say August 14, 1947, was the 27th of Ramadan which is a sacred date for Muslims hence they kept it the same.

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