Independence Day is a national holiday in India commemorating the nation’s independence from the British Empire on 15 August 1947. Jawaharlal Nehru, who had become the first Prime Minister of India that day raised the Indian national flag above the Lahori Gate of the Red Fort in Delhi after delivering his historic speech “Tryst with Destiny” to the Indian Constituent Assembly in The Parliament, on the eve of India’s Independence, towards midnight on 15 August 1947.
Independence Day is one of the three national holidays in India (the other two being the Republic Day on 26 January and Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday on 2 October), is observed annually on 15 August throughout India with flag-hoisting ceremonies, parades and cultural events.
On the eve of Independence Day, the President of India delivers the “Address to the Nation”. On 15 August, the Prime Minister hoists the Indian flag on the Red Fort in Delhi and addresses a speech to the nation in which he highlights the past year’s achievements and calls for further development. The speech is followed by a military parade and scenes from the independence struggle and India’s diverse cultural traditions. Similar events take place in state capitals where the Chief Ministers of each state unfurl the national flag, followed by parades and pageants.
Flag hoisting ceremonies and cultural programs take place in governmental and non-governmental institutions throughout the country which are adorned with flags and lights. Schools and colleges conduct flag hoisting ceremonies and cultural events. The Indian diaspora celebrates Independence Day around the world as “India Day” with parades and festivities.
This year (in 2021), Prime Minister Narendra Modi unfurled the national flag from the ramparts of the Red Fort on 15 August to celebrate India’s 75th Independence Day. However, all parades, cultural programs and school celebrations were limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Listen to Jawaharlal Nehru’s speech “Tryst with Destiny”