Some Lesser Known Facts About 15th August – The Independence Day

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Seventy-two years ago, on this day, India awoke to life and freedom. And in these seven decades, the stories behind this day have often been blurred by veils of indifference and neglect.

This Independence Day, let us look at some facts which are often ignored despite being too obvious.

WHY ONLY AUGUST 15?

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Did we ever stop to think why August 15 was chosen as the Independence Day? Neither is it mentioned in history books nor have we been too curious about it.

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August 15 has nothing to do with the Indian freedom struggle. In fact, this day is a reminder of the British Colonial Raj. The last viceroy of India, Lord Mountbatten specifically chose this day to commemorate the surrender of Japan to the Allied forces (which happened on 15th August 1945).

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Independence day: some lesser known facts
Japanese foreign affairs minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signs the Japanese Instrument of Surrender on board USS Missouri as General Richard K. Sutherland watches. Image source: plumaslibres.com

We share our Independence Day with five other countries: Bahrain, North Korea, South Korea, Liechtenstein and Republic of Congo.

INDIAN RUPEE WAS MUCH HIGHER IN VALUE

In 1947, the Indian rupee was equal in value to the American dollar (₹1=$1). Currently, $1 is equal to ₹70.04 (as at the time of the article being published).

THE UNTOLD STORY OF PARTITION

The Indo-Pak border was demarcated by an English lawyer, Sir Cyril Radcliffe. Surprisingly, Sir Radcliffe had never visited India before, nor did he have any idea about the social and cultural life in India. The mere drawing of two lines on the sheet of paper resulted in the bloodiest riots in the history of modern India. Is Sir Radcliffe solely responsible for this slaughter of millions of individuals?

Independence Day: Some lesser known facts
Sir Cyril Radcliffe. Image Source: atlanticsentinel.com

There are theories that present a shocking but believable point. According to one such theory, the borders were planned way back in 1945 by Churchill to create a state that would give them access to vast reserves of oil in the Middle East. They also did not want Russia to have access to the Karachi port. Sir Cyril was given the same map.

WOMEN HAD REPRESENTATION!

Right after midnight, the Indian Flag was presented to the Constituent Assembly by Hansa Mehta, a freedom fighter, and reformer, who represented the women of the nation. “We have donned the saffron color, we have fought, suffered and sacrificed in the cause of our country’s freedom. We have today attained our goal. In presenting this symbol of our freedom, we once more offer our services to the nation,” she said, on behalf of all the women of the country.

Independence Day: Some lesser known stories
Hansa Jivraj Mehta, speaking during midnight session of constituent assembly, August 15.
Image Source: PIB

YOU CAN GET JAILED FOR HOISTING THE WRONG FLAG

The Flag Code permits the use of Khadi as the only material for making the Indian National Flag. Hoisting a flag made of any other material is punishable by an imprisonment up to¬†3 years, along with a fine. So make sure you don’t buy a cheaply available, Made-in-China flag!

Independence Day: Some lesser known facts
Image Source: Indiatimes.com

With one hand holding firm our rich traditions and culture, the other reaches out to new scientific endeavors; India is a country like none other. It is the time we start taking pride in our diversity and the oneness that binds us all together.

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Smriti Mishra
Struggling through her final year at Miranda House, Smriti has a keen interest in events happening around her. Unapologetically nerdy and emotionally reserved, you'd often find her sondering across streets of North Campus.

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