Independence Day 2020: All you need to know about the history and significance of India’s 74th Independence Day

Commemorating the nation’s independence from British rule, India will celebrate its 74th Independence Day this year, but with a slight twist. Owing to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, there will be no social gatherings, instead, all states and government offices have been asked to webcast their events and celebrations.

Even the gathering at the Red Fort, where the flag is hoisted every Independence Day, will be limited. In lieu of the precautions taken, there will not be any grand performances with the military bands either. Ideally, the citizens across the country sing and dance on patriotic songs, hoist the tricolour flag and enthusiastically recite poems remembering the sacrifices of India’s freedom fighters.

History

For 200 years, Indians suffered domination of the British colonisers beginning in 1757. Their control over the country was gained by the victory of English East India Company at the Battle of Plassey.

Indian history is rid with famous events of retaliation and uprisings which eventually drove the Britishers out and forced former viceroy, Lord Mountbatten, to free India on August 15, 1947 after giving the mandate to transfer the power to Indians. The day also marked the partition of British-ruled India into two countries, India and Pakistan.

The British were successful with their divide and rule policy which led to violence between Muslims and Hindus. Owing to this unrest, a separate country was formed on the eve of August 14, 1947 after violent riots, mass casualties and the displacement of nearly 15 million people.

Significance

Independence Day is a reminder of the sacrifices of our valiant freedom fighters who stood up against the colonisers and even suffered harsh consequences unflinchingly, so that the later generations could breathe in free air. Slaving for 200 years and claiming back our country makes us marvel at the great leaders.

On August 15, 1947, the first Prime Minister of Independent India Jawaharlal Nehru unveiled India’s tricolour flag at the Red Fort in Delhi. This practice continues till date as along with the flag hoisting, the Prime Minister delivers a speech from the historic monument.

A national parade by different battalions of the Indian Army bands follows. However, the Defence Ministry recently stated that due to widespread Covid-19 pandemic, the military bands are preparing their shows in advance. These are likely to be telecast on Independence Day instead of a live performance.

Kite flying is also celebrated as an event associated with Independence Day. People symbolise their patriotism for the country by using the flag in different sizes and also decorate their homes and belongings with the colours of the national flag. Indians living in other parts of the world also celebrate Independence Day, and several cities in the United States have declared India’s Independence Day, August 15 as India Day.

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