August 15th is coming, and soon celebrations will begin. But the fact that remains this is neither the actual independence day nor the accurate transfer of power day. So what is it then? My humble contention is that this is just a day used to build a narrative that suited the powers of that time.
Let us address the second point first. Why can it not be considered the transfer of power day? Rewind back to this day in 1947.
1.The fact is India had a British Governor-General who reported to the British Crown and vetted every decision of the Nehru Cabinet. How was this Independence?
History recalls that when Patel wanted to send troops in the early stage of tribal attack in Kashmir, Lord Mountbatten did not allow it till the document of accession was signed. As a result, rapes and vandalism continued while the Indian Army paid manpower costs later to push these invaders back.
2.The chief of the Army was British. As subsequent events show, they also decided what they considered suitable – not what the Indian Cabinet thought appropriate.
3.The constitution was not in place, and all British enacted rules and practices were still applicable.
4.India as we know it today was still a work in progress. The people under rulers of Hyderabad, Junagarh, and Kashmir still had no idea of their fate as these states had not joined Indian Union. The Indian union was still not fully formed.
In conclusion, this day cannot be considered a transfer of power day as transfer of power had neither happened wholly or substantially. Let us not forget that Nehruji was already Prime Minister, having taken the oath of office in 1946, and a multi-party government was already in place since 1946.
This brings us to the first question what should the actual independence day be if August 15th is not correct. Well, let us consider October 21st. Why?
Because on October 21st, 1943, Subhash Chandra Bose ( Netaji ) had Unfurled the tricolor flag at Cathay Theater in Singapore, in the presence of many people, and declared India a Free and Sovereign Republic, independent of the British. His declaration set the foundation for an independent country emerging from the shackles of nearly a millennium of slavery and fragmented principalities bound by a shared cultural heritage.
The Government was called – Arzi Hukumat -e – Azad Hind ( The Provisional Government of Free India ). Three days later, it declared war on the British Empire via its military Wing ‘Azad Hind Fauz'( Indian National Army, INA). This Army’s chief was Subhash Bose and not some foreigner, and it was 58000 strong.
Eleven Countries recognized this Government, including Germany, Japan, Burma, Thailand, Italy, and the Philippines.
This first Government of free India had a multi-religious, multi-ethnic cabinet. Its provisional capital was Port Blair ( Capital City of Andaman and Nicobar Island ), already liberated from British occupation.
This Government had its own bank, Stamps, Army, Cabinet and was not under anyone. It was entirely independent.
The independence day should reflect the day of declaration, not the actual transfer of power. Therefore, the declaration date is precise.
A few examples:
1.The United States of America, the flag bearer of the earliest democracy in modern times, celebrates its Independence Day on July 4th. That is so because the signing of the ‘declaration of independence ‘took place on that day when 56 representatives of 13 states declared themselves independent and severed their relationship with the British Crown.
The Newly Independent American States, still under British occupation, waged war with the British till 1783 for 7 years, until the primary battle was won. Then, the British started leaving the newly formed United States. The final fight with the British was won in 1812, a full 36 years later, which led to the British pushed out of every inch of the United States.
A reluctant General George Washington, under whose leadership the Army fought with the British, then became the first president of the United States from 1789 to 1797 when the founding fathers could not choose anyone else.
2.The French celebrate Bastille Day, the day of storming the prison, to mark the transition from monarchy to republic. In contrast, the actual republic came into existence much much later.
3 Bangladesh celebrates its independence day on March 26th when few freedom fighters declared separation from Pakistan and formed a new country. Physically the Government did not come until December 16th, when the Pakistani Army Surrendered, and the Indian Army liberated Bangladesh.
Conclusion and question :
So, if the world’s first democracy of the modern age can recognize and celebrate its Independence Day based on the day its founding fathers announced the recognition of their desire to become independent and created the idea of a republic, why can the world’s largest democracy not recognize its rightful inheritance of Independence declared by Netaji?
Set the Wrong Right :
It is time that Netaji Subash Chandra Bose is recognized as the first Prime Minister of Free India, and Independence Day changed to October 21st.
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