LESSER KNOWN FACTS ABOUT INDIAN INDEPENDENCE By Zil Shah from CWC Law College
Regardless of whether you are the kind of person that riles about the government or the kind that defends it or in other cases, the smarter one who thinks neither or a little of both, all of these kinds of individuals as well as every other Indian, whether in India or elsewhere in the world, feels a strong, common and omnipresent emotion on the 15th day of August every year, which is a mixture of pride, patriotism, fortitude and relief. Even though it has been 70 years since our country was liberated from being a British colony, this day is significant in bringing us closer to each other by reminding ourselves that we ought to stand together as a nation and forget the smaller differences which in turn, gradually, bridges the gaps and rifts created by us, within us.
It is necessary to appreciate the importance of this day, as it is a result of years of struggle and relentless valor shown by our freedom fighters. While everyone has, in some form or the other, studied the phenomenon of Independence as is summarily highlighted in all of our history textbooks, there remain certain facts, that are to this day, not known to many people. A compilation of these facts proceed as follows:
- The movement for Independence actually started almost a decade ago, in 1857, right after the 1857 riots. The war in the same year encouraged Indians to fight for their Independence.
- It is believed that the trial of the Lahore Conspiracy Case inculcated a sense of fear among the Britishers, so much so that General Viceroy had to pass an ordinance to have a special tribunal set up for the case with conditions that the trial be proceeded without having any of the accused present. The accused in the famous case included Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev and many of their associates.
- The selection of the date 15th August fell into place as a suggestion by Lord Mountbatten to mark the second anniversary of the Japanese surrender to the Allied Forces. This day does not only represent the independence of one nation and hence, North Korea, South Korea, Bahrain as well as the Republic of Congo share the date of Independence with India.
- The boundary that separated the two nations, India and Pakistan was only revealed on 17th August 1947 even though it was finalised much earlier on 13th August 1947. This was because Lord Mountbatten didn’t want the celebrations to proceed much before the actual event. This meant that in many parts of the country such as Bengal and Punjab, the day of Independence was celebrated without knowing which nation they effectively belonged to.
- Assets including books, chairs, broomsticks, typewriters and tables in Government offices were divided between the two nations. Furthermore, dictionaries and encyclopaedias were ripped into two halves in order to facilitate this equal division.
- Mohammed Ali Jinnah was a progressive and nationalist senior member of the Indian National Congress and a lawyer who defended infamous cases for Indian freedom fighters including Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Lokmanya Tilak much before he became the leader of the Muslim League. He infact, warned Gandhi that his alliance with the Mullahs on the eve of the Khilafat movement might create a rave of communalism.
- There was only one working press for stamping currency in the nation at the time when the partition had taken place. India refused to share this with its newly formed neighbour, Pakistan, which led to provisional currency being used in Pakistan. This provisional currency was nothing but Indian Rupee Notes that bore a stamp of Pakistan. This system continued until a machine was brought in the neighbouring nation to print its own fresh currency.
- Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was initially elected and rightly so, to be the first Prime Minister of India. It was Jawaharlal Nehru who opposed this election and demanded that he be Prime Minister, otherwise he would initiate his own set of protests. Gandhi, knowing fair well that it was easier to convince Vallabhbhai than convince Nehru, also knowing that clashes between two leaders would not be setting the right foot for a newly established free nation, decided to favor Nehru who ended up being our first Prime Minister ever.
- Legally, the only material that can be used to make the Indian Flag is Khadi. Infact, only the Khadi Development and Village Industries Commission has the rights to manufacture the Indian Flag, which were later allocated to various regional organisations. Thus, flying the Indian Flag, made out of any material other than khadi is a crime punishable with three year imprisonment and a fine.
- Lastly, to remind ourselves how long 70 years is, in the year 1947, the currency exchange rate of USD to INR was 1$ = 1 Rupee.
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