Independence Day, one of the three national holidays in India is celebrated with full pomp and vigor in all Indian states and union territories. The date 15th August holds tremendous importance in the heart of Indians as this was the day when we were set free from the clutches of more than 200 years of colonialism.
It is a day that reminds us of a new beginning as an independent nation. It is a day when the reins of control were handed over to the leaders of our country. India gaining independence was a tryst with destiny involving a series of struggles with the ultimate aim of gaining independence from the British Raj.
Independence Day – A Whirlwind of Celebrations
On the eve of Independence Day, the President of India delivers the “Address to the Nation” from his office that is broadcasted nationally. On the morning of 15 August, the kick-off of the celebration with the arrival of the Prime Minister of India who receives a general salute from the guards of honor. It consists of representatives of the three wings of the Indian armed forces- army, navy, and air force along with the Delhi police.
The main event begins with the PM hoisting the Indian Flag on the ramparts of the historical site of Red Fort in Delhi. This activity is synchronized with 21 gunshots fired in the honor of the solemn occasion.
The Prime Minister addresses the nation reminiscing the events that led to India’s independence. He highlights the past year’s achievements, raises important issues and calls for further development. He pays tribute to the Indian independence movement followed by a moving rendition of India’s national anthem ‘Jana Gana Mana’.
The speech is followed by a march-past led by the Indian armed forces and paramilitary forces and performances. Pageants and parades showcase India’s struggle for freedom as well as its diverse cultures. Similar events are conducted in the state’s capital where the Chief Ministers of each state unfurls the national flag.
Flag hoisting events and cultural ceremonies take place throughout the country in different governmental and non-governmental institutions. Schools and colleges host various cultural programs celebrating adding to the glory. They decorate their classrooms following the tricolour theme and sing patriotic poems or songs. Major buildings across the country are embellished by a string of lights.
In the northern and central part of India, kite flying has become synonymous with independence day celebrations. It is an expression of joy, freedom and patriotism. This tradition is particularly followed in north India- Delhi, Lucknow, Moradabad and Bareilly. The history behind this goes back to 1927. Patriotic Indians at that time used to fly kites as a medium of protest with the slogan “Go Back, Simon.”
National flags of different sizes hoisted throughout the country is a way people mark their allegiance towards the nation. Citizens can be seen donning tricolour wristbands, t-shirts, makeup etc. To sum it up, the spirit of independence is high throughout the country.
Independence Day Celebrations 2020
Just like every other celebration this year, Independent Day too would be marked differently. Due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic which is still far from over, we will witness a change in festivities.
The Central government has allowed holding the independence day celebrations amid the pandemic. However, there will be a lot of changes in terms of organizing programs and activities. “The events organized could be web-cast in order to reach out people at large, who are not able to participate,” the release issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs stated.
It would be imperative to follow certain preventive measures like- social distancing, proper sanitisation, proper wearing of masks, avoidance of large congregations and protecting those who are most vulnerable to the virus.
Corona Warriors to be the Center Of Attention
As a way to show respect to the doctors, healthcare workers and other heroes on the frontline for their noble service in the fight against Covid-19; this government has directed district collectors to invite them to witness the celebrations.
This is the first time in history that healthcare workers are being invited to the Independence Day celebrations as special guests. Three doctors, two nurses, two paramedics, two sanitation workers and three COVID-cured persons shall be invited to witness the function.
District collectors and police chiefs are directed to follow COVID protocol during the function. The invitees and contingent shall be subjected to thermal scanning at the entrance to prevent the spread of the virus.
Independence Day 2020 Theme- Aatmanirbhar Bharat
All the states have been asked to promote and give a new push to the idea of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ or self-reliant India.
“It would be appropriate that the theme of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ is suitably spread and publicised among the masses through various activities/ messages in the functions and on the social media during the Independence Day celebrations,” the ministry said.
Different departments and ministries are working together to implement the initiative for a self-reliant India. It is an attempt to give a fresh direction to Mahatma Gandhi’s yearning for “Swadeshi”.
“PM Modi will present before the nation a new outline for a self-reliant India in his address from the ramparts of the Red Fort on Independence Day,” Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh said.
Prime Minister’s Speech
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be addressing the nation on August 15 on the occasion of India’s 74th independence Day. In addition to the above-mentioned theme, he is also expected to speak on the issue of Ram Mandir. The ground-breaking ‘Bhoomi Pujan’ ceremony was held on 5th August where PM Modi laid the first foundation stone of the grand temple in Ayodhya.
Another important issue which can be highlighted in PM’s speech is the pandemic-hit economy. Prime Minister launched a week-long garbage-free India campaign asserting that Swachh Bharat Mission has been a big support in the fight against coronavirus.
Security Personnel Kept in Quarantine
The 350 policemen on guard of honour duty range from constables to DCPs have been quarantined at the police colony in the Delhi Cantonment. They all are kept in complete isolation and are not allowed to meet anyone ahead of the program.
According to a Hindustan Times report- the body temperatures of the policemen are being checked every day. This step has been necessary because these officers come from different backgrounds and use public transports for the daily commute. Hence, they are exposed to a high risk of contracting the virus and getting infected.
Keeping this in mind, there are substitutes or back-ups for every person. Only two parade commanders of DCP rank will be taking part in the ceremony. But four officers of the rank have been kept in isolation. Their quarantine period will end on August 15.
Ministry of Education and Mygov to Organize an Essay Writing Competition
To keep the spirit alive, the Ministry of Education in collaboration with MyGov is all set to organize an essay competition for the school students under the theme- ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat- Swatantra Bharat.’
Students of class 9-12 can submit their entries to innovate.mygov.in/essay-competition by 14th August 2020. The subtopics under the main topic for the essay are as follows:
- For Atma Nirbhar Bharat the Indian Constitution and Democracy are the biggest enablers
- India at 75: A Nation Marching towards Atmanirbhar Bharat
- Atma Nirbhar Bharat through Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat: Innovation thrives when there is unity in diversity
- Digital India: Opportunities in COVID-19 and Beyond
- Atma Nirbhar Bharat-Role of students in National Development
- Atma Nirbhar Bharat-Independence from gender, caste, and ethnic biases
- Atma Nirbhar Bharat: Making of a new India through Bio-Diversity and Agricultural Prosperity
- While I exercise my rights I must not forget to undertake my duties to usher in an Atma Nirbhar Bharat
- My physical fitness is my wealth that will build the human capital for Atma Nirbhar Bharat
- Conserve Blue to Go Green for an Atma Nirbhar Bharat
The selection procedure would be taken at two levels-
- Firstly, the states/Union Territories will finalise the essays.
- Secondly, the finalised 10 essays from each state will become the pool of selected essays for the final selections at the national level by a team of experts decided by NCERT.
- 30 essays will be selected in each category i.e. Secondary stage (Class 9 and Class 10) and Higher Secondary stage (Class 11 and Class 12) by the NCERT.
Prizes will be announced for the national level winners soon.
Military Bands Perform For Fortnight Ahead Of The Event
Like the previous years, the military bands will not be showcasing their grand performances live on August 15. For the first time, the bands of the Indian Army, Navy as well as police forces are performing for a fortnight- August 1 to August 15.
“The performances are intended as gestures of gratitude and appreciation of the nation towards the corona warriors who have been steadfastly fighting to stop the spread of the coronavirus in the country even at the risk of their lives,” the Defence Ministry said in a statement.
The bands are preparing their shows in advance as the which is likely to be broadcasted on the Independence Day. The band will be giving three performances in Delhi. One each at Red Fort, Rajpath, and the India Gate on August 8, 9, and 12 respectively.
India’s Flag To Be Hoisted At Us’ Times Square
For the first time, a leading group of India-origin people in the US will hoist India’s National Flag at the Times Square this week. It is the first time that an Indian Flag is unfurled at the iconic destination.
The Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) of the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut said in a statement that it will be creating history. The Consul General of India in New York Randhir Jaiswal will be the Guest of Honour at the event.
“The Times Square flag hoisting ceremony is a testament to the Indian-American community’s growing patriotism and is a fitting tribute to the FIA which is celebrating its golden jubilee year,” the organization said.
Along with that, the Empire State Building would also be illuminated in hues of the tricolour – orange, white and green.
Celebrations To Take Place Virtually
The Ministry of Home Affairs on Friday issued an advisory for Independence Day celebrations this year. All states and government offices are asked to “web-cast” their events and celebrations instead of hosting social gatherings.
“All programmes should be organized in a way that a large congregation of people is avoided and technology is used in the best possible manner for celebration befitting the occasion. The event organized could be web-cast in order to reach out people at large, who are not able to participate,” the MHA advisory read.
Online Independence Day Celebrations In Schools And Colleges
If the situation would’ve been normal, August would be a very busy time for schools and colleges as they’re busy prepping for the Independence Day celebrations. However, this year things would be different. But this in no way is bringing down the zeal and enthusiasm.
Earlier, 4200 children used to attend the Independence Day celebrations. This time only 500 NCC students will be present. They will be seated on chairs with social distancing.
Many institutes across the country are planning virtual Independence Day celebrations through digital platforms. The DPS group of institutions has asked their students to login via their school portal and watch the tricolour being hoisted on their school’s premises.
Other functions to take place include- tree plantation, inter-school and inter-college debates on digital platforms, quiz contests, patriotic essay and poetry writing competitions on virtual platforms, webinars centred around patriotic themes and so much more.
Do not let the spread of the coronavirus dull your patriotic fervour. However, be a responsible citizen and understand the risks involved. Make sure you are not becoming a part of any large conglomeration. Follow all the preventive measures and social distancing norms.
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