Spanning nearly two centuries, British dominion over India transpired into a transformative journey from subjugation to self-governance of paramount significance.
The year 1929 witnessed the ignition of the quest for self-rule, emanating from Jawaharlal Nehru's call for 'Poorna Swaraj' or complete emancipation from British colonial hegemony as the President of the Indian National Congress.
Initially, January 26 was earmarked as a symbol of liberty. The Congress continued its commemoration annually from 1930 onward until India's liberation, subsequently designating January 26, 1950, as Republic Day.
However, the genesis of August 15 as India's Independence Day is attributed to Lord Mountbatten. Entrusted by the British Parliament to effectuate the transfer of authority by June 30, 1948, Mountbatten, cognizant of the precipitating circumstances, accelerated the timeline.
C. Rajagopalachari aptly remarked, "Had he delayed until June 1948, there would have been no authority left to relinquish." Mountbatten, aiming to mitigate violence and discord, expedited the transfer to August 1947.
Accordingly, the Indian Independence Bill was presented in the British House of Commons on July 4, 1947, garnering swift approval. August 15, 1947, was decreed as the conclusion of British rule in India, paving the way for the establishment of the Dominions of India and Pakistan.
Mountbatten, reflecting on his choice, asserted, "The date I selected was somewhat impromptu, a response to a query. I aimed to underscore my control over the event. In pondering over the timing, I surmised it to be around August or September, eventually landing on the 15th of August. The rationale? It coincided with the second anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II."
Since that historic declaration, August 15 has been entrenched as India's Independence Day. This year holds particular significance as the nation marks its 75th anniversary of sovereignty.
Under the theme 'Nation First, Always First,' the 75th Independence Day celebrations will unfold at the Red Fort, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the populace. Distinguished Olympians who secured medals at the 2020 Tokyo Games have been extended special invitations to partake in the event.
Nonetheless, akin to the preceding year, this year's observances will be subdued, mindful of the imperative social distancing measures imposed due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Also read: Independence Day 2023: Will India celebrate its 76th or 77th I-Day on August 15