Indian Independence Day. Baghdad, 2016

Being observed as India’s Independence Day, August 15 is celebrated across the nation with great patriotism and enthusiasm. The UK Parliament passed the Indian Independence Act in 1947 on July 4, 1947 and transferred legislative sovereignty to the Indian Constituent Assembly. This was the end of the British rule in India and on August 15, 1947, India got its independence but by establishing two Dominions, India and Pakistan. British Viceroy Lord Mountbatten had chosen August 15 to commemorate the surrender of Japan to the Allies Power marking the end of World War II in 1945. However, King George VI was retained as head of the state until its transition to full republican constitution. The two countries celebrate on different days because Lord Mountbatten, the viceroy of British India, had to attend the Pakistan celebration on August 14 and then travel to Delhi for India’s first independence day on August 15.

Paper clipping of the Hindustan Times of August 15, 1947

It was in 1929, when Jawaharlal Nehru, who at that time was Congress President, gave the call for ‘Poorna Swaraj’ which meant total independence of India from British colonial rule. Earlier January 26 was chosen as the Independence Day and from 1930s onwards, Congress party started to celebrate 26 January as India’s Independence Day, till India attained its independence. Later in 1950, January 26 was chosen as the Republic Day of India as India formally became a sovereign country and was no longer under the British Dominion. Likewise, Pakistan remained a Dominion of the Crown until 1956, when its constitution came into force.

India celebrates her 70th Independence day today to pay tribute and remember all the freedom fighters who had contributed a lot and fought for the Independence of India. The struggle for India’s Independence began on May 10, 1857 with the Sepoy Mutiny in the cantonment of the town of Meerut, now in the state of Uttar Pradesh.The early proponents led militant uprisings against British rule, but the leaders of the Indian National Congress, which was founded in 1885, pushed for more rights for Indians in terms of the vast civil service and land ownership. The Indian freedom was a long struggle which claimed thousands of lives and countless sacrifices. Many of these sacrifices went unnoticed but some of them found their way into history books and are even remembered today with great pride and honour. Their sacrifice will always be remembered and honoured. Indeed, every Independence Day reminds us the hard-fought freedom won by the freedom fighters and patriots.

Indian flag at the residence of the Indian Ambassador
Indian flag at the residence of the Indian Ambassador, Baghdad

Indian national flag was hoisted in the morning on this occasion at the residence of the Indian ambassador in Baghdad. There was a reception in the afternoon hosted by the embassy at the residence of the Indian ambassador, which was attended by local Indians, foreign dignitaries and other friends of India in Iraq. We listened to the President’s address to the nation on the eve of the Independence Day, which was played through a projector. It was followed by a nice Indian lunch catered by DoJo’s Diner.

Listening to the address of the President of India on the eve of the Independence Day during reception
Listening to the address of the President of India on the eve of the Independence Day during reception
Listening to the address of the President
Enjoying delicious food
Food is being served

It was a working day in Iraq, so we had to rush back to our office after the lunch. These functions at the embassy give us an opportunity to meet other Indians in Baghdad, Najaf and Karbala.

Jai Hind! 

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