India Independence Day – Celebrations & News Around The World
Today, August 15, 2008, is the 62th anniversary of India’s independence from the British Empire. President Bush sent a Indian Independence Day message of that stated this anniversary is a reminder of the close ties the United States has with India.
At midnight on August 15, 1947, the Indian people became a democratic self-governing country. Mahatma Gandhi led the people in non-violent protests that culminated in what Bush called a great story of “liberty overcoming oppression”. He also noted the significant contribution that Indian-Americans have made to our great country.
One of the most famous Independence Day quotes came from then Indian Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in his speech, Tryst with Destiny:
At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance ….. We end today a period of ill fortune, and India discovers herself again.
So on this day, as the Indian people celebrate their independence, we wish you the best!! Have a joyous day. (Ref)
Washington, Aug 15 (PTI) Greeting India on its 62nd Independence Day, President George W Bush said that the occasion reminds America of the “close ties” it shares with India.
“I send greetings to those celebrating the 61st anniversary of India’s Independence,” Bush said in a statement to the Indian-American community released through his Office of Public Liaison.
Terming India’s path to independence a great story of “liberty overcoming oppression”, the president said “led by Mahatma Gandhi the Indian people engaged in non-violent protests and campaigns in the pursuit of freedom.” “On August 15, 1947 they achieved their goal, gained their independence and became a democratic nation. This accomplishment demonstrates that though freedom can be delayed, it cannot be denied,” he said.
Lauding the contributions of Indian Americans in America’s progress, Bush said “it is also a time to remember the rich contributions that the Indian-Americans have made to our country and reminds us of the close ties that our Nation shares with India.” “Laura and I send our best wishes on the occasion,” he added. PTI (Ref)
New York, Aug 15 (PTI) Indian tricolour fluttered in the backdrop, as Neelam Deo, the country’s consul general here rung the closing bell at the world’s largest stock exchange NASDAQ, which celebrated India’s 62nd independence day today.
This was the first time that a consul general has rung the closing bell at the stock market in a prestigious ceremony, which marks the recognition of a fast growing Indian economy.
Outside the exchange, the huge electronic board, which overlooks the historic Times Square and displays quotations during the day was also lighted in saffron, white and green colours, with the words “India Independence Day”.
With approximately 3,200 companies, NASDAQ lists more companies and has more trading volume per day than any other stock exchange in the world.
It lists six Indian companies with a combined market cap of almost USD 35 billion. These include Ex1Service, Rediff.Com, Sify Technologies, Syntel Inc, Cognizant Technology Solutions and Infosys Technologies.
Infosys and Cognizant are members of the NASDAQ 100 Index, which is one of the most prestigious and widely followed indices in the world.
Additionally, Indian Energy Exchange (IEX), India’s first power exchange for trading of electricity, regulated by Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC), uses NASDAQ OMX and the FTIL as the primary contractors for the new exchange’s energy trading solution. PTI (Ref)
NEW DELHI, Aug 15 (Reuters) – India rolled out a security clampdown on Friday ahead of annual Independence Day celebrations following recent bomb attacks on some of its cities and violent protests in its northern region of Kashmir.
Snipers will keep a close watch from high-rise buildings as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh unfurls the national flag from the ramparts of Delhi’s historic Red Fort to a 21-gun salute before addressing the nation.
But as India celebrates the 61st anniversary of independence from British colonial rule, security forces will be on alert across the country to prevent attacks from separatist militants or Maoist rebels.
“We have geared up resources and will have anti-air attack systems in place in the capital. Some areas have been declared no-fly zones,” said Rajan Bhagat, a Delhi police spokesman.
In Kashmir, at least 27 people have been killed since June in some of the biggest protests since a revolt against Indian rule broke out in 1989.
The trouble began when the government promised to give forest land to a trust that runs Amarnath, a cave shrine visited by Hindu pilgrims. After huge protests by Muslims, it backtracked, in turn angering Hindus in the Jammu region of the state.
The disputed region’s main separatist alliance has called a general strike for Friday.
“We appeal to people to observe August 15 as a black day and stay away from Indian functions,” the All Parties Hurriyat (Freedom) Conference said in a statement.
In New Delhi, barricades have been put up on roads and police were frisking people in malls and checking bags.
On Thursday, the government sweetened the celebrations for five million of its workers, agreeing to hefty pay rises.
Singh’s ruling coalition has had a tough time of late, struggling to contain inflation while being pilloried by the opposition for failing to prevent or solve a series of deadly bombings in some of the country’s cities.
The attacks have killed more than a 100 people since May.
In forests in central and eastern areas, Maoist rebels are becoming increasingly assertive and have told people not to celebrate.
In the remote northeast, four powerful separatist groups, including the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), have also called a boycott and a general strike.
On Thursday, security forces gunned down four ULFA rebels, but the militants have vowed to strike back.
“Militants are planning disruptive activities in a big way in the region,” a senior intelligence official told Reuters. (Ref)
ISLAMABAD, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) — Pakistan released 34 detained Indian prisoners as a goodwill gesture while celebrating its Independence Day on Thursday.
The 34 fishermen, aging from 18 to 34, were freed from the Karachi Central Jail on the occasion of Independence Day, private Geo TV reported.
The prisoners will be handed over to Indian officials on Friday at the eastern Wagha border between India and Pakistan.
Pakistan and India won their independence from Britain in 1947,and they mark their independence day on Aug. 14 and Aug. 15 respectively. The two countries have exchanged their prisoners in recent years as part of goodwill gesture. (Ref)
Indian missions and expatriate Indian organisations across the Gulf are making elaborate preparations to mark the 61st anniversary of India’s Independence this Friday.
In Abu Dhabi, Indian Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Talmiz Ahmad will hoist the tricolour Friday morning and read out extracts from President Pratibha Patil’s speech.
In Dubai, Indian Consul General Venu Rajamony will hoist the flag at the Indian High School and this will be followed by a programme of patriotic songs and dances.
In the evening, the Indian Professional and Business Council (IBPC), Dubai, will hold a cultural programme at a five star hotel in Dubai.
The highlight of the evening will be a performance of the classical ballet ‘Parampara’ by Bollywood actress and Rajya Sabha member Hema Malini and her daughters Esha Deol and Ahana Deol.
In Oman, the Independence Day celebrations already started on Wednesday with a musical evening at the Indian embassy auditorium.
India’s Ambassador to Oman Anil Wadhwa will hoist the tricolour at the Indian School Darsait Friday morning, which will be followed by a tree-planting ceremony by volunteers of the Art of Living foundation.
A cultural programme will also be held at the embassy auditorium Friday afternoon, which will be coordinated by Oman-based Odissi dancer Shubharna Bose.
Oman TV will telecast a half-hour documentary titled ‘A Day in the Life of India’.
In the evening, the embassy lawns will resonate to the fusion tunes of ghazal and jazz in a unique programme called Gazaala. Bollywood singer Roop Kumar Rathod and Fazal Quereshi will be accompanied by other fusion musicians in the programme.
The Indian embassy in Oman is also organising an India-Oman art exhibition at the Omani Society of Fine Arts in Muscat.
The exhibition, titled ‘Mixture’, will run September 16-21, and will feature works of Indian figurative artist Neelam Dhar and well-known Omani artists Abdullah Al Riyami and Saleem Sakhi.
India’s Ambassador to Bahrain Balkrishna Shetty will be the chief guest at the main function to mark Independence Day at the Indian School, Isa Town.
Over 200 schoolchildren will present a cultural programme called ‘India on the Move’ featuring India’s freedom struggle, the post-independence developments and the country’s cultural heritage.
There will also be an Odissi recital by Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) artiste Jyoti Srivastava.
Kannada Sangha Bahrain will also celebrate the 61st anniversary of India’s independence in a mega cultural event Friday at the Indian Club, Manama.
The programme will pay tribute to India’s freedom fighters and will feature patriotic songs, dances and dance dramas, all focusing on India and the nation’s freedom movement.
In Doha, India’s Ambassador to Qatar George Joseph will hoist the tricolour at the Indian Cultural Centre and read out excerpts from the President’s speech.
This will be followed by a programme of patriotic songs by schoolchildren.
In Kuwait, Indian Ambassador M. Ganapathi will hoist the flag. This will be followed by a cultural programme in which schoolchildren will give various performances.
India’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia M.O.H. Farooq will hoist the flag in Riyadh. In the evening, the Indian mission will host a reception at the Indian International School.
In Jeddah, newly appointed Indian Consul General Sayeed Ahmed Baba will hoist the flag at the official function in that Red Sea coast city.
Apart from these programmes, major newspapers in the region are also bringing out special supplements to mark the occasion.
There are over 4.8 million expatriate Indians across the six Gulf nations. (Ref)
India’s Independence Day is celebrated on August 15 to commemorate its independence from the British rule and its birth as a sovereign nation on that day in 1947. The day is a national holiday in India. It is celebrated all over the country through flag-hoisting ceremony . The main celebration takes place in New Delhi, where the Prime Minister hoists the National Flag at the Red Fort and delivers a nationally televised speech from its ramparts. In his speech, he highlights the achievements of his government during the past year, raises important issues and gives a call for further development. The Prime Minister also pays his tribute to leaders of the freedom struggle.
On 3 June 1947, Viscount Lord Louis Mountbatten, the last British Governor-General of India, announced the partitioning of the British Indian Empire into India and Pakistan, under the provisions of the Indian Independence Act 1947. At the stroke of midnight, on 15 August 1947, India became an independent nation.
Prime Minister Nehru and Deputy Prime Minister Sardar Vallabhai Patel invited Lord Mountbatten to continue as Governor General of India. He was replaced in June 1948 by Chakravarti Rajagopalachari. Patel took on the responsibility of unifying 565 princely states, steering efforts by his “iron fist in a velvet glove” policies, exemplified by the use of military force to integrate Junagadh, Jammu and Kashmir, and Hyderabad state into India. J&K became a part of India when Pakistan laid siege and the then king Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession with India to save J&K from Pakistan. India responded on behalf of J&K by sending in its armed forces to counteract the Pakistani attack. Later PM Nehru went to UN and a cease fire was declared. Pakistan has not withdrawn its military forces from the occupied Kashmir, and the territory termed as POK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) has ever since been a cause of contention between India and Pakistan.
The Constituent Assembly completed the work of drafting the constitution on 26 November 1949; on 26 January 1950 the Republic of India was officially proclaimed. The Constituent Assembly elected Dr. Rajendra Prasad as the first President of India, taking over from Governor General Rajgopalachari. Subsequently, a free and sovereign India absorbed two other territories: Goa (liberated from Portuguese control in 1961) and Pondicherry (which the French ceded in 1954). In 1952, India held its first general elections, with a voter turnout exceeding 62%; in practice, this made India the world’s largest democratic country in the history of the modern and ancient world.
Flag hoisting ceremonies and cultural programs take place in all the state capitals. 15th August is a National holiday of India. In the capital New Delhi In the cities around the country the Flag Hoisting Ceremony is done by politicians belonging to that constituency. In various private organisations the Flag Hoisting Ceremony is carried out by a Senior officer of that organisation. Schools and colleges around the country organise flag hoisting ceremony and various cultural activities within their respective premises. Families and friends get together for lunch or dinner, or for an outing. Housing colonies, cultural centres, clubs and societies hold entertainment programmes and competitions, usually based on the freedom theme. (Ref)
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