In PM’s Independence Day speech, he pays tribute to Gandhi, Nehru, Subhas Chandra Bose, Rani Lakshmibai, and other freedom fighters.
He said the “Nation Indebted” remembering the freedom fighters’ role in the great tough battle for the independence of India from the British Raj.
PM Modi also reiterated that August 14 would be observed as “Partition Horrors Remembrance Day” calling it the “Vibhajan Vibhishika Smriti Diwas” or “Partition Horrors Remembrance Day”.
In his speech, he said, “Be it (Jawahar Lal) Nehru-ji, the first Prime Minister of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who united the nation or Babasaheb Ambedkar, who showed India the way to the future, the country is indebted to all of them,” addressing the nation from Red Fort.
He also paid tribute to Rani Lakshmibai, Subhas Chandra Bose and other freedom fighters for their role in the long and hard fight for independence.
For the Partition Horrors Remembrance Day, he said, “We celebrate our freedom but the pain of Partition still hurts us. It is one of the greatest tragedies of the last century. People went through the most inhuman suffering. He was referring to the 1947 Partition of the country into India and Pakistan, when many were killed in religious clashes and millions were displaced and forced to leave their homes.
The ruling BJP has often targeted Jawaharlal Nehru and the Congress over Partition, but the Congress hits back saying RSS kept demanding for two nations (India and Pakistan – Hindu, Muslim) sharing videos and scripts of the RSS demand.
Yesterday, Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said “The people behind partition will never be able to feel the pain of the horrors of partition. On one side, there were people who were suffering from this, on the other, there were people who were rewarded by this partition. I do not need to name which party was rewarded with partition,” Mr Naqvi was quoted by news agency ANI as saying.
What is India’s Independence Day?
Independence Day is celebrated annually on 15 August as a national holiday in India commemorating the nation’s independence from the United Kingdom on 15 August 1947, the day when the provisions of the 1947 Indian Independence Act, which transferred legislative sovereignty to the Indian Constituent Assembly, came into effect. India retained King George VI as head of state until its transition to a full republic, when the nation adopted the Constitution of India on 26 January 1950 (celebrated as Indian Republic Day) and replaced the dominion prefix, Dominion of India, with the enactment of the sovereign law Constitution of India. India attained independence following the Independence Movement noted for largely nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience.
Independence coincided with the partition of India, in which British India was divided along religious lines into the Dominions of India and Pakistan; the partition was accompanied by violent riots and mass casualties, and the displacement of nearly 15 million people due to religious violence. On 15 August 1947, the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru raised the Indian national flag above the Lahori Gate of the Red Fort in Delhi. On each subsequent Independence Day, the incumbent Prime Minister customarily raises the flag and gives an address to the nation.
European traders had established outposts in the Indian subcontinent by the 17th century. Through overwhelming military strength, the East India Company fought and annexed local kingdoms and established themselves as the dominant force by the 18th century. Following the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the Government of India Act 1858 led the British Crown to assume direct control of India. In the decades following, civic society gradually emerged across India, most notably the Indian National Congress Party, formed in 1885.
The period after World War I was marked by colonial reforms such as the Montagu–Chelmsford Reforms, but it also witnessed the enactment of the unpopular Rowlatt Act and calls for self-rule by Indian activists. The discontent of this period crystallised into nationwide non-violent movements of non-cooperation and civil disobedience, led by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.
During the 1930s, the reform was gradually legislated by the British; Congress won victories in the resulting elections.
The next decade was beset with political turmoil: Indian participation in World War II, the Congress’ final push for non-cooperation, and an upsurge of Muslim nationalism led by the All-India Muslim League. The escalating political tension was capped by Independence in 1947. The jubilation was tempered by the bloody partition of the subcontinent into India and Pakistan.
Independence Day before Independence
At the 1929 session of the Indian National Congress, the Purna Swaraj declaration, or “Declaration of the Independence of India” was promulgated, and 26 January was declared as Independence Day in 1930.
The Congress called on people to pledge themselves to civil disobedience and “to carry out the Congress instructions issued from time to time” until India attained complete independence. Celebration of such an Independence Day was envisioned to stoke nationalistic fervour among Indian citizens, and to force the British government to consider granting independence.
The Congress observed 26 January as the Independence Day between 1930 and 1946. The celebration was marked by meetings where the attendants took the “pledge of independence”.
Jawaharlal Nehru described in his autobiography that such meetings were peaceful, solemn, and “without any speeches or exhortation”.
Gandhi envisaged that besides the meetings, the day would be spent ” … in doing some constructive work, whether it is spinning, or service of ‘untouchables,’ or reunion of Hindus and Mussalmans, or prohibition work, or even all these together”.
Following actual independence in 1947, the Constitution of India came into effect on and from 26 January 1950; since then 26 January is celebrated as Republic Day.