India celebrates 70th Independence Day on 15 August 2016: Here's the history and significance of the day

India celebrates its 70th Independence Day on 15 August 2016. The country became independent from British colonialism on this day in 1947. The day is celebrated with great  fervor  across every state of the country, 

This rare 1947 photograph provided by the Ministry of Defence shows Lord Mountbatten, Edwina Mountbatten and Jawaharlal Nehru at the first Independence Day celebrations in New Delhi.

History and significance

The history of  Indian Independence is laced   with the struggle and sacrifice of many leaders and revolutionaries of the country.
The story of India's colonisation began with the arrival of the British East India Company to the country in the 1600s. The merchants who came to trade with India soon began to exercise military and administrative control and by 1757, they had huge swathes of the country under them.
Resentment against the alien company and its unfair rule over the local populace began to grow and in 1857, the first organised revolt against it took place with a group of Indian soldiers rebelling against the British rank in the Barrackpore, Bengal unit. Referred to as the Great Struggle of 1857 (the British called it the Sepoy Mutiny), this rebellion marked a new era in India's freedom movement.
As a direct result of the rebellion, administrative control of the country passed from the East India Company to the British Crown in London. From 1858 to 1947, India was governed by London with representatives in the form of governor-generals and viceroys posted in India. However, several incidents such as the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre, where more than 1,000 people were killed after General Reginald Dyer ordered troops to fire machine guns into a crowd of Indian protesters and the Bengal famine of 1943, which killed up to five million people, only went to alienate the local people from their rulers.
Prominent Indian leaders and revolutionaries such as Mahatma Gandhi, Subhas Chandra Bose, Lala Lajpat Rai, Chandrasekhar Azad, Bhagat Singh, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel took part in the uprising against the British over different time periods, which ultimately led to India's freedom from foreign rule.
Nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience led by leaders like Gandhi, Patel and Nehru were largely responsible for India's independence. However, independence came with the partition of India into the dominions of India and Pakistan.
On 15 August 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first prime minister, raised the Indian national flag above the Lahori Gate of the Red Fort in Delhi.
So how did August 15 become India’s independence day? 
In February 1947, the then British prime minister Clement Attlee, announced that his government would grant full self-governance to British India by June 1948 at the latest.
Well, Lord Mountbatten had been given a mandate by the British parliament to transfer the power by June 30, 1948. If he had waited till June 1948, in C Rajagopalachari’s memorable words, there would have been no power left to transfer. Mountbatten thus advanced the date to August 1947.
At that time, Mountbatten claimed that by advancing the date, he was ensuring that there will be no bloodshed or riot. He was, of course, to be proven wrong, although he later tried to justify is by saying that “wherever colonial rule has ended, there has been bloodshed. That is the price you pay.”
Based on Mountbatten’s inputs the Indian Independence Bill was introduced in the British House of Commons on July 4, 1947 and passed within a fortnight. It provided for the end of the British rule in India, on August 15, 1947, and the establishment of the Dominions of India and Pakistan, which were allowed to secede from the British Commonwealth.
Mountbatten later claimed, as quoted in Freedom at Midnight, that “The date I chose came out of the blue. I chose it in reply to a question. I was determined to show I was master of the whole event. When they asked had we set a date, I knew it had to be soon. I hadn’t worked it out exactly then — I thought it had to be about August or September and I then went out to the 15th August. Why? Because it was the second anniversary of Japan’s surrender.”
On August 15, 1945, Japanese Emperor Hirohito gave a recorded radio address, which later came to be known as the Jewel Voice Broadcast. In the radio address, he announced the surrender of Japan to the Allies. Mountbatten remembered hearing the news of Japanese surrender that day sitting in Churchill’s room, and as the Supreme Allied Commander of South East Asia Command signed the formal Japanese surrender of Singapore on September 4, 1945.

Whatever be the case, 69 years on, India  celebrate its hard fought independence with patriotic fervor. The dates, in any case, hold far less significance than the mission to deliver the fruits of independence to the vast multitude of people in the country.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi hoists, India's National Flag at the Red Fort in Delhi on Independence Day. 

source :  IE &   IBT