Lesser-known facts about India’s Independence…
Do you know why we celebrate August 15 as the Independence Day when actually we became independent on July 18, 1947? The date of August 15 was chosen by the Last Viceroy and first Governor General of India, Lord Mountbatten, as it was the same day in 1945 that Japan surrendered to the Allied Forces at the end of the World War II. Vanity, we would say!
This and many other lesser-known truths which you must know about our country and independence…
- Although India became independent on July 18, 1947, Lord Mountbatten declared 15th August as the date of Independence because this date observed the second anniversary of the surrendering of Japan to the Allied Forces during World War II.
- The National Flag was first hoisted at the Parsee Bagan Square in Calcutta on August 7, 1906. The flag had three horizontal strips of red, yellow and green colour. The red strip at the top consisted of eight white lotuses imprinted on the flag in a line. On the yellow strip, Vande Mataram was written in Hindi. There was a white sun on the left and a white crescent and star on the right imprinted on the green strip.
- The first variant of the national flag was designed by Pingali Venkayya in 1921. It consisted of two colours — red and green which represented the two significant communities. But Mahatma Gandhi later recommended to add a white strip in the middle with a spinning wheel. The white colour represented the remaining Indian communities and the spinning wheel signified the progress of the country.
- The present flag is tri-colour with Ashok Chakra in the middle. The top-most saffron strip signifies sacrifice and bravery; the middle white strip stands for truth, peace, and purity; and the green colour symbolises fertility, faith, and valour. The Ashok Chakra implies righteousness.
- The Khadi Development and Village Industries Commission is the only licenced company engaged in the production and supply of Indian flag. The Karnataka Khadi Gramodyog Samyukta Sangha located in Dharwad is the only manufacturer of the flag made with cotton.
- India shares its Independence Day with five more countries on August 15, but with different years. The countries are Bahrain, North Korea, South Korea, Congo, and Liechtenstein.
- The National Song of India is ‘Vande Mataram’ which is a poem composed by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay in 1870s and included in his 1881 novel Anandamath. The song’s first two verses are adopted as the National Song of India.
- India had no national anthem when it became an independent country on 15th August, 1947. Jana Gana Mana was adopted as India’s national anthem later in the 1950s. The Bengali version was written by Rabindranath Tagore in 1911 which was first sung during the Calcutta session of the Indian National Congress.
- Bal Gangadhar Tilak along with JRD Tata conceived the Bombay Swadeshi Co-op Stores Co Ltd in favour of Swadeshi goods and boycotting the foreign goods in early 1900s. The store is known today as the Bombay Store.
- Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had won the Prime Ministry elections but Jawaharlal Nehru didn’t want to play second in command to anyone. And also Gandhi had a soft spot for Nehru, hence, he was given the post instead of Sardar Patel who was given the Home Ministry.