Happy Independence Day (15th August) 2018: It is the day when India observes the day of sovereignty from the British, but why was this day selected? Here are the events that show why August 15 was chosen.
72nd Independence Day: As India proudly celebrates its 72nd Independence day on August 15, countrymen in the country and rest of the world would cherish the idea of oneness and remember the sacrifices that freedom fighters made during their struggle against the mighty British empire. India got Independence after separation of India into two nations. Now the past is history and what remains is the glory of India’s struggle. August 15 is the day when India celebrates the day of its sovereignty from Britishers, but why was this particular date chosen as the day for this historical event? Here are the events that suggest the relevance of this day.
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The British Parliament passed the Indian Independence Act on July 5, 1947. It provided for two dominions states: India and Pakistan. King of Britain was retained as the head of the state until full transition to Republic state. The partition was painful and it created a rift on the lines of religion. Riots and mass casualties were the most unfortunate outcomes of the two-nation principle. However, the two nations were a reality.
It was in 1929 when Jawaharlal Nehru gave a call for ‘Poorna Swaraj’, meaning complete independence from colonial rule. January 26 was chosen as the Independence Day and the Congress party even celebrated it from 1930 onwards till India’s independence.
However, August 15 became the Independence Day, the reason was the last Viceroy of India, Mountbatten. He was given the powers and mandate by the British parliament to transfer the power to Indians by June 30, 1948. However, August 15, 1947 was declared by the Britishers the day of end of British rule. To this end, Mountbatten had said that he was ensuring that there will be no bloodshed or riot. However, what happened in August 1947 is a recorded history, which proved Mountbatten wrong.
The Indian Independence Act which was passed by the British parliament was based upon the Mountbatten plan of June 3, 1947. The Act clearly mentioned the date of independence, August 15, 1947.
However, there is another important event that is linked to the date chosen by Mountbatten for Indian independence. On August 15, 1945, Japan announced the surrender to the Allies. Mountbatten remembered the day when he was hearing the news of the surrender along with Winston Churchill in latter’s room. Therefore, this date became symbolically significant for the Britishers.
As quoted in Freedom at Midnight, Mountbatten said, “The date I chose came out of the blue. I chose it in reply to a question. I was determined to show I was master of the whole event. When they asked had we set a date, I knew it had to be soon. I had not worked it out exactly then-I thought it had to be about August or September and I then out to the 15th August. Why? Because it was the second anniversary of Japan’s surrender.”
The statement of Mountbatten clearly underscored his discretion to choose the date, which became more important to India as it was the question of independence from over 200 years of colonial rule.