This year its the 74th Indian Independence Day remembering the sacrifices made by its freedom fighters, political leaders and citizens in order to free the motherland. The country’s freedom had been hard fought and this struggle for sovereignty took different violent and non-violent forms.
“ Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance…”
– An excerpt from Jawaharlal Nehru’s Tryst of Destiny speech, August 15, 1947
On the 14 and 15 of August 1947, India and Pakistan – which together had been the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the British Empire – became independent countries. The actual date of India’s independence was July 18th, 1947, but Britain’s Lord Mountbatten changed the date to coincide with the second anniversary of Japan’s surrender to the Allied Forces on August 15.
The East India Company ruled India for 100 years, until it was replaced by direct British rule (often referred to as the British Raj) in the wake of the Indian Mutiny in 1857–58. The independence movement of India started during World War I. Despite the expansive British Empire on which it was said, “the sun never sets,” ragtag groups of liberation fighters and brilliant strategists soundly defeated the British with strong, tactical mobilizing and the persistence that came from centuries of oppression. During the Second World War in 1942, the Indian Congress launched the Quit India Movement demanding an end to the British rule which prompted colonial rulers detaining many campaigners, nationalists, and ministers including Gandhi. During the partition of India in 1947, violent riots, mass casualties, and displacement of nearly 15 million people took place amid religious violence.
“An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind,” was a saying by one of India’s most famous leaders, Mohandas K. Gandhi. Trained as a lawyer, he was among the first to call for Indians to have self-determination for their country. For Gandhi, ahimsa meant: non-injury, non-violence, doing no harm, the renunciation of the will to kill and the intention to hurt any living thing, the abstention from hostile thought, word or deed, and compassion for all living creatures. Gandhi, Nehru, and other Indian leaders formed the Indian National Congress to strategize against British rule and to mobilize the masses in the struggle.
Independence Day is marked throughout India with flag-raising ceremonies, drills, and the singing of the Indian national anthem. India’s original flag was made up of the two symbolic colours of saffron and green, but Gandhi suggested adding a white strip in the middle with a spinning wheel to represent India’s national progress. Additionally, various cultural programs are made available in the state capitals. After the Prime Minister participates in the flag-hoisting ceremony at the Red Fort historic monument in Old Delhi, a parade ensues with members of the armed forces and police. The prime minister then delivers a televised address to the country, recounting the major accomplishments of India during the previous year and outlining future challenges and goals. However, this year, the Defence Ministry recently stated that due to the 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 has also become an Indian Independence Day tradition, with kites of various sizes, shapes, and colours filling the sky. Also, to commemorate the day, government offices in New Delhi remain lit throughout the holiday, even though they are closed.
Although Covid-19 has been a dampener for most events and occasions this year, the spirit of the Indians in Ireland is soaring high with great enthusiasm. A live event is organised by the Indian Irish Society and Aayush Mann Events. This Indian Irish society is a 6-year-old non-profitable community creating awareness and integrating the Indian culture among people by organising various events to make the Indians in Ireland feel at home. The main idea behind having this live event, Aayush Mann says, is to educate people and to celebrate the patriotism and the progress of the nation.
The event begins at 12 noon on August 15th, Saturday at the Dublin Spire. It is a free outdoor event, considering all the COVID-19 restrictions. There are going to be Indian cultural dance performances by Dharmendra Bollywood Dance School Ireland (DBDS) and their Bollywood Rockerz, and Team Lapwing, a Bollywood DJ and a live Dhol player ( a double-headed percussion instrument widely used, with regional variations, throughout the Indian subcontinent ).
- Get your dancing shoes on : Dublin’s best dance classes
- The growing popularity of Irish dancing : from Rinnce Fada to Tik Tok step dance
Everyone is invited to attend this gathering celebrating the Indian Independence spirit !