Independence Day 2022: As we celebrate the 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav', to commemorate the 75th Independence Day, let’s time travel in the back to know what happened on August 15, 1947 — when the national flag was unfurled on the first day of Independent India.
Very few people in the country would have known that Pt Jawaharlal Nehru didn’t delivered his first Independence Day speech on August 15, 1947.
It’s interesting to know that it was on August 16, 1947 when Pt Jawaharlal Nehru delivered his first Independence Day speech from the ramparts of the iconic Red Fort.
But why on August 16, 1947?
Contrary to the belief, the tricolour was not unfurled for the first time at the Red Fort. Yes, it was the Princess Park when the national flag was unfurled fort the very first time, though it was Pt Nehru only who unfurled the flag.
Lord Mountbatten was appointed the first interim Governor General of Independent India in the midnight session of the constituent assembly on August 14. After the session, the leaders had to exit the assembly building, however, they couldn’t because of the thick crowd that was present outside the assembly building.
On August 15, Lord Mountbatten took oath as the first Governor General of India, a program was scheduled at the Princess Park to ceremoniously lower the Union Jack and hoist the tricolour, which had to followed by a small parade, but it didn’t go as planned.
According to the The Print, Lord Mountbatten was quoted saying, "This programme had originally included a ceremonial lowering of the Union Jack but when I discussed this with Nehru he entirely agreed that this was a day they wanted everybody to be happy, and if the lowering of the Union Jack in any way offended British susceptibilities, he would certainly see that it did not take place."
So, on August 15, Pt Nehru and Mountbatten reached the dias at the Princess Park, where the former unfurled the national flag with a view of ‘a sea of people’, followed by the national anthem and a 31-gun salute.
And finally on August 16, Pt Nehru went to the Red Fort where he hoisted the Tricolour, and delivered his first Independence Day speech.
Here’s an except of Nehru’s first Independence Day speech as tweeted by senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh.
“We have gathered here on a historie occasion at this ancient fort to win back what was ours. This flag does not symbolize the triumph of individuals or the Congress but the triumph of the whole country. The free flag of India is the symbol of freedom and democracy not only for India but for the whole world. India, Asia and the world must rejoice on this great duy. This fort has witnessed many vicissitudes. You also know what happened during the last 27 years when we struggled and made sacrifices under this flag. I need not tell you all that happened during this period. What is worth recalling is that we had taken a pledge that we shall lay down our lives for the honour and dignity of this lag and would never allow it to be lowered what-ever might be the consequences. That pledge has been fulfilled, The country has achieved freedom under the brilliant leadership and guidance of Mahatma Gandhi. Our technique of fighting was different from that of other countries, Sometimes we had faltered and stumbled but finally we reached our goal. If
credit is due to any man today it is to Gandhiji. On this day we must remember those who have made sacrifices and suffered for the cause of independence. It is needless for me to name all of them, but I cannot help mentioning Subhas Chandra Bose who left this country and formed the Indian National Army abroad and fought bravely for the freedom of the country. He hoisted this flag in foreign countries and when the day came for hoisting it on the Red Fort, he was not to see his dream fulfilled. This should have been the day of his return, but alas he is no longer in this
world. The first charge of the Government will be to establish and maintain peace and tranquillity in the land and to ruthlessly suppress communal strife, for no government worth the name can look on while law-abiding citizens are leading a precarious life; while dealing with lawlessness there can be no discrimination, It is wrong to suggest that in this country there would be the rule of a particular religion or sect. All who owe allegiance to the ag
will enjoy equal rights of citizenship, irrespective of caste or creed. But those who create mischief or trouble are our enemies and they shall be dealt with severely. The Government cannot do this work without the full cooperation of the people. The second task before us is to wipe out poverty, disease and illiteracy and raise the standard of living of our people.
We have to make India a strong and powerful country. Only those countries can become great which have strong foundations. The dawn of freedom has placed great responsibilities on us and we have to carry them out in an efficient manner. We cannot move forward without the people's cooperation. We are not here as Prime Ministers and Ministers, but as humble servants of the country. My Government would strive to be truly representative of the people. The masses have now become the real rulers in the country and the strength or the weakness of the Government would depend upon the people. All of us are in the Government becuase people want us to be there. We will quit when the people wish it. All of you know what a tremendous influence India had in the past and it can have even greater influence today. Our nation can either stand or fall. If it stands it will stand higher than many other nations. This is the time for her to stand and aid other nations. In fact our freedom signalizes the freedom of other nations not only of Asia but of the whole world. Therefore, this is a day of rejoicing not only for us but for the whole world. You who are gathered here in lakhs must remember that the eyes of millions of people all over the world are turned towards you. I must mention our armed forces who are a source of pride to the nation. They now belong to the nation and not to any foreign power. It would be their duty to guard and protect the honour of the nation and its flag. We must all take a pledge that we shall live as one and work to perpetuate our freedom and prosperity to the masses. We have to reach that stage when no one in this country will be poor and starving or without clothes and education. Although we have achieved our freedom, that is only a milestone-the first stage on the journey to the higher goal of universal peace and prosperity. We have a long way to go.”