Freedom At Midnight – Reasons Behind Independence Day And Republic Day

We all know that India got its freedom from the British at the midnight of 15th August 1947. But do you know why exactly only on that date and no other date was chosen. Well by the end of 1945 the World War II had come to an end, leaving the British physically and financially weak. They were in no position to run their own country leave alone its colonies. On June 3, 1947, the British had announced that they would grant India its freedom on August 15,1947. The said date was chosen by Lord Mountbatten the last Viceroy of India. Subsequent to the announcement of this date, there was a huge hue and cry in India as this day was supposed to be very inauspicious. Various requests were made by Indians to have it on an alternate day but Lord Mountbatten was adamant to transfer the powers on the said date as this would make him happy.

 It was on 15th August 1947, that the Japanese had surrendered  before the British. Lord Mountbatten felt this was the best way to snub the Japanese all through their lives. Therefore an alternate solution had to found to the same. The Astrologers then suggested that we celebrate freedom at midnight because as the British a new day begins at 12 am but as per Indians a new day begins only after sunrise.

The astrologers had insisted that the speech of acknowledgement of transfer of power be done within the 48 minutes window (referred to as “Abhijeet Muhurta”) which lasted between 24 minutes before and after 12:15am i.e between 11:51pm & 12:39am. Our first Prime Minister Shri. Nehru had to deliver a speech only within that time frame and an additional constraint was that the speech had to end by 12 AM, so that the holy conch (Shanka) be blown to herald the birth of a new nation at the stroke of midnight hour.

But mere transfer of powers  is not sufficient for smooth functioning of a Country. India had still not settled down. We needed a proper system to run our Country. We needed a Constitution. A team lead by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar drafted our Indian Constitution. The Preamble of the Constitution Defines India as a Sovereign (free from control of any other Country), Socialist (democratic socialism), Secular (Relationship between government and people is based on the law of land), Democratic (Government for the people, by the people, of the people) Republic (the head of the state is an elected person and not a Monarch).

Our Constitution was Adopted on 26th November, 1949 but then why do we celebrated Republic Day on 26th January. The said Constitution came to into effect on 26th January 1950. The reason for this date being selected was because in the year 1930 on this day Indians had demanded for purna Swaraj from the British. Thus we celebrate 26th January as our Republic Day. 

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