After a long and tough battle against oppression at the hands of the British, India finally attained enfranchisement at the stroke of the midnight of 15th Aug 1947, making it the most memorable day in the entire history of this magnificent nation. On the occasion of the 70th Independence Day of our country, we present to you some interesting yet lesser known facts about India and its independence.
Hindi As National Language
Hindi is the National Language of India, right?
Well, absolutely wrong. Hindi is the Official Language of our country and not the National Language, as stated in the Article 343 of Indian Constitution.
At the time of independence, about 1100 languages were spoken in our country, but some of them lost their presence with the changing time. Today it has reduced to just 800.
Can you believe that the year when we got free from the British rule, one Indian Rupee was equivalent to a US Dollar? During that period, 10g of gold was priced at just Rs. 88.62.
For the first time, our national flag was hoisted on the day of our independence?
Actually, our national flag was hoisted at the Parsee Bagan Square in Calcutta on the 7th of August 1906, almost four decades before the end of British era in India. This flag, a tricolour was composed of horizontal strips of red (with eight white lotuses), yellow and green (with a white sun on the left side along with a white crescent and star on the right).
Evolution of our flag – While people of our nation were trying every possible way to achieve freedom, the flag went through a number of designs before setting on the Tricolour with Dharma Chakra that we see today.
Flag Material – Do you know that Khadi is the only material allowed in the manufacture of our flag, and making flags with other material can land you up in jail?
National Flag Design – Our national flag was designed by Pingali Venkayya (in 1921) and formally adopted on 22nd July 1947. The earlier version had a spinning wheel in the middle which was later replaced by Ashoka’s Dharma Chakra (with 24 spokes).
National Song and National Anthem
Bankim Chandra Chatterjee composed our National Song, Vande Mataram (which means ‘I bow to thee mother’) in the year 1882 in his novel Anandamath.
Later, in the year 1911, Jana Gana Man, India’s National Anthem was first sung in Calcutta (now, Kolkata) during a meeting of Indian National Congress party. Originally written in Bengali by Rabindranath Tagore, the song translates to, ‘Thou art the ruler of the minds of all people’. Tagore was the first Indian to win a Nobel Prize (1913). In fact, he was the first Asian to have won a Nobel Prize in the field of Literature.
Lord Louis Mountbatten, the last viceroy of India appointed the Boundary Commission (headed by Sir Cyril Radcliffe, a British lawyer) to establish the border between India and the newly formed Pakistan.
Countries Sharing Independence Day
Do you know that India is not the only country that got independent on 15th August? Bahrain (from the UK in 1971), The Republic of Congo (from France in 1960) and South Korea (from Japan in 1945) also celebrate their Independence Day on this remarkable date.
During pre-independence era, India had over 560 princely states like Hyderabad, Baroda, Gwalior, Mysore, etc. During the freedom struggle movement, these states were brought together by Sardar Vallabhai Patel.
How many of these facts were you aware of?