Born to be free

Happy Independence Day! This is a special issue commemorating our Independence. Read stories and take a look at some rare pictures to learn more about this unique day.

Sixty seven years ago, India gained its independence from the British. We have learnt about India’s freedom movement, from the first war of independence in 1857 to Gandhiji’s non-violent movement and the extremist revolutionary tactics used against British Rule. Most of our knowledge about India’s freedom struggle comes from History books, but that is only a drop in the ocean.

For example, take the date August 15. Have you wondered why this date was chosen? Lord Louis Mountbatten, then Viceroy of India, chose August 15 to commemorate the second anniversary of Japan’s surrender to the Allied Forces during World War II. But it was later revealed that Lord Mountbatten was aware that the situation in India was getting out of hand and decided to give her independence sooner than later.

Tell me more

Interesting? Well, get this. When the entire nation was celebrating India’s independence, an important man chose to stay away from the celebrations. Mahatma Gandhi was in Calcutta trying to ease the tension after violence broke out between Hindus and Muslims.

Heard of the Civil Disobedience movement? Gandhiji was inspired by the book Civil Disobedience by David Thoreau that stated no one should pay taxes! He and his followers, therefore, broke the law to protest the imposition of taxes on salt and use of foreign goods.

In granting India her independence, the British agreed to a peaceful transfer of power, which would have originally come into effect in 1948, but was moved ahead by Lord Mountbatten.

India shares its Independence Day with three other countries — South Korea, Bahrain and the Republic of Congo. Pakistan also would have shared this honour, but Lord Mountbatten moved its Independence Day ahead by one day because, as the last Viceroy of British India, he was expected to attend the Independence Day festivities in both countries. To avoid inconvenience, he moved Pakistan’s Independence Day to August 14. Smart cookie, that Lord Mountbatten is!

Flag tales

You know the colours of our National Flag. Go on, list it — Saffron for strength and courage, white for peace and truth, and green for growth and fertility of our land. The blue Ashoka Chakra with 24 spokes on it denotes the continual progress of the nation. Here are a few things you may not have known about the Tricolour.

The National Flag was designed by Pingali Venkayya, an agriculturist.

Originally, the flag designed by Pingali Venkayya had only two colours, green and red with a spinning wheel in the middle. Gandhiji suggested the addition of white to represent other communities in the country.

A previously used version of the flag — with green, yellow and red horizontal strips representing different communities, with Vande Mataram embossed on the centre — failed to catch on, but was first hoisted on August 7, 1906, in Parsee Bagan Square, Calcutta, now Kolkata.

The spinning wheel was later replaced by the Ashoka Chakra to represent India’s growth and progress.

The National Flag should be made of khadi, and the Khadi Development and Village Industries Commission is the only licensed flag manufacturer. As of 2008, the Karnataka Khadi Gramodyoga Samyukta Sangha is the sole manufacturer of the flag.



Born to be free – The Hindu.

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