On 15th August, 2015 India will proudly celebrate its 69th Independence. We’re all familiar with the tale of how India was under the British rule for almost 200 years and after years of bloodshed, India finally achieved Independence from the British. We’re all aware about the heroic sacrifices made by freedom fighters like Bhagat Singh, Rani Lakshmi Bai, Mangal Pandey to name a few. With fervour in their blood and with one mission in mind; to get India Independent, they fought long and hard and finally got India it’s Independence.
However, here are some rarely known facts about India during the British rule, post Independence and a few facts about India’s partition that not many know:
1. Prior to Delhi, Kolkata or Calcutta as it was known back then, served as the Capital of the British Empire till 1911.
2. When the current form of the National flag was first designed by Pingali Venkayya in 1921, he used two colors red and green, supposedly symbolizing the two major communities of the country. Gandhiji suggested the addition of the color White to represent other communities. The spinning wheel was added to symbolize progress of the nation.
3.Deepika and Katrina are new additions but did you knew Pt. Nehru also featured in the prestigious Vogue Magazine? Nehru’s famous jacket was a huge hit in the west and Nehru made it to the Time List featured under the “global fashion statement”. His jacket became so famous, that even the Beatles wore it on many occasions.
4. Many people know that the National Anthem- Jana Gana Mana was written and composed in the year 1911, but on the Eve of Independence, India had no National Anthem. This is because Jana Gana Mana wasn’t considered the National Anthem until 1950.
5. India’s national flower? Lotus. National animal? Tiger. National Language? Hindi….er no! Article 343 of the Indian Constitution states that Hindi in Devnagari Script is India’s Official Language and not National Language.
6. India’s date of Independence was chosen by the last Viceroy of India- Lord Mountbatten. He didn’t have a set date in mind and was contemplating about a date in August or September. He finally went for 15th August, as this day was commemorating the second anniversary of Japan’s Surrender. Japan had surrendered on 15th August, 1945 due to the nuclear bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. So much for narcissism!
7. This one’s a doozy- India became Independent on 15th August, but the partition did not happen until 2 days later. The Lawyer in charge of designing the partition boundaries- Sir Cyril Radcliffe, had presented his plans on 9th August and people were prepared for a partition. However Lord Mountbatten did not want to be responsible for any communal out cry and did not release the Boundary Award up until 17th August. This meant that the citizens of Punjab, at the time of Independence had no idea whether they belonged to India or Pakistan. Lord Mountbatten made sure, the British Raj had transferred the power to India before the partition and did not want to take responsibility. Till the end the British practiced the policy of divide and rule!
8. India did not attain Poorna Swaraj or complete Independence up until 1950. Even though India became Independent in 1947, it became a constitutional monarchy with King George VI as the head of state. However in 1950, India abolished Monarchy and became the Republic of India on January 26th, 1950.
9. We all curse the Indian National Congress today, thanks to Pappu i.e. Rahul Gandhi, however did you know Gandhiji had wanted the Congress to be disbanded post Independence? He felt, the Congress had worked hard to achieve Independence but was now a mere tool of propaganda which should be done away with. If only we’d taken him seriously back then!
10. Post India’s Independence, Portugal declared Goa as a Portuguese state. However on December 19th, 1961 Indian troops invaded Goa and annexed it to India.
How many of these facts did you know about India’s Independence movement? As an Indian, it’s always good to know such facts about our country’s history which makes it so rich. Let’s strive to take India forward as we celebrate our 69th Independence and make it a force to reckon with globally! Cashkaro wishes every one a very Happy Independence Day.