January 26 was being celebrated as the Independence day by Congress party after Congress President Jawaharlal Nehru called for total independence from the British rule in 1929. The celebration continued till India attained Independence and January 26, 1950, was chosen as the Republic Day. The story of how ‘August 15’ was chosen as Independence Day is quite fascinating. Read on to know.
After the World War II, the British were weakened monetarily and militarily. The British Parliament gave Lord Mountbatten the task to transfer the power by June 30, 1948. He advanced the date to August 1947 and claimed that by advancing the date there will not be bloodshed or riot. He was quoted saying, “Wherever colonial rule has ended, there has been bloodshed. That is the price you pay”. On July 4, 1947, Indian Independence Bill was introduced in the British House of Commons and was passed within 15 days. In the bill, it was mentioned that the British rule in India would end on August 15, 1947.
When Mountbatten was asked about the date, he said, “The date I chose came out of the blue. I chose it in reply to a question. I was determined to show I was master of the whole event. When they asked had we set a date, I knew it had to be soon. I hadn’t worked it out exactly then — I thought it had to be about August or September and I then went out to the 15th August. Why? Because it was the second anniversary of Japan’s surrender.”
Here’s a little context about Japan’s surrender. On August 15, 1945, in a recorded radio address Japanese Emperor Hirohito announced the surrender of Japan to the Allies. Mountbatten, the Supreme Allied Commander of South-East Asia, accepted and signed the surrender of Singapore on September 4, 1945.