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Indian Independence Day commemorates the day India attained freedom from British rule on August 15th, 1947—nearly 73 years ago. It also marks the anniversary of the partition of the subcontinent into two countries, India and Pakistan. Indian citizens commemorate and celebrate this Independence Day annually with themes around peace and unity. We spoke with three members of our PRA family about what this day means to them.

Key Highlights

Wearing the colors of the tricolor flag, singing songs, and attending parades are all part of the festivities surrounding Indian Independence Day. Find out what this day means to three members of our PRA family.

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Aparna parikh

Dr. Aparna Parikh, MD, DCH, CCRA
Executive Director, Center for Pediatric Clinical Development & Country Consultant for India
Mumbai, India

What does Indian Independence Day mean to you, your family, and your friends?

The day has a special significance for me, as my grandfather was part of the non-cooperation and civil disobedience movement that led to the formation of independent India on August 15, 1947. All our childhood, we heard stories about the “Quit India Movement” (in 1942), time spent in jail, and freedom fighters like Sardar Patel and Mahatma Gandhi.

We celebrate the day in our offices and in the community. These celebrations help us come together, despite our different backgrounds, regions, and religions. It fosters a feeling of peace and harmony.

How do you celebrate Indian Independence Day? Do you have any traditional celebrations?

Since it’s a national holiday, the celebrations start a day earlier in-office, with flag-hoisting and singing the national anthem. The office is decorated with tri-colored flags (such as the one shown below), balloons, ribbons, “rangoli,” and flowers. This brings in an atmosphere of national pride.

The National flag of India
The National flag of India

To keep the spirit of Independence Day alive, we dress up in traditional Indian outfits and announce a prize for the best-dressed person. We often have a potluck lunch with regional delicacies prepared by one and all.

Family and friends celebrate together on the actual day that follows. We hoist the national tri-colored flag every year, wear the tricolor (saffron, white, and green colors of the flag), sing the national anthem and patriotic songs, and watch parades of the school children and armed forces. We share a feeling of joy, peace, and unity.

The flag-hoisting ceremony is usually followed by a family gathering with an elaborate traditional lunch. The mood is celebratory and festive. We usually end up catching a movie and dinner with friends.

On different occasions, we have gone tree-planting, talked about the praiseworthy work being done by the Indian armed forces to keep us safe, and donated time and money to the under-privileged sections of society. Sometimes we even listen to speeches by the freedom fighters/leaders of the pre-independence era.

The spirit of the celebration is that of unity, happiness, and peace. An Independence Day celebration is a lovely way to bring everyone together and encourage a feeling of patriotism coupled with a lot of fun.

In what ways has this day shaped you and your global perspectives?

This day reminds us of all the sacrifices made by our leaders to ensure our freedom. It’s also an opportunity to educate the younger generation. We can teach them about the freedom struggles of our forefathers and the progress our country has made in the last 7+ decades.

Do you have any personal anecdotes or stories that you'd like to share about celebrating this day?

When I was a teenager, we travelled to Delhi for the Independence Day celebrations. We were privileged to watch the prime minister hoist the national flag at the Red Fort in Delhi and watch the parade. At that moment, I appreciated the sacrifices of our freedom fighters. I visualized the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, raising the Indian national flag at the Red Fort on August 15, 1947.

However, this year will undoubtedly be different. Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no parades and large gatherings. I think the national pride will prevail through virtual meetings, though.

Deepthi ram

Deepthi Ram
Associate Director, Clinical Data Operations
Bangalore, India

What does Indian Independence Day mean to you, your family, and your friends?

Personally, it is a day off to spend time with family and friends. It’s certainly a welcome break from the otherwise hectic work schedule. As a mother of a 12-year-old, the day starts with getting my son ready for school. His school celebrates Independence Day with many festivities. It’s a treat as a parent to see their child portraying various leaders of the nation, listening to the speeches, and participating in various cultural events.

The Independence Day Parade is aired on television and I enjoy watching it. We also get to listen the leaders of our Nation walk us through the story of how India gained its independence.

How do you celebrate Indian Independence Day? Do you have any traditional celebrations?

On the eve of Independence Day, the President of India delivers the "Address to the Nation.” On August 15, the prime minister hoists the Indian flag on the ramparts of the historical site of Red Fort in Delhi. Twenty-one guns are fired in honor of the solemn occasion. He pays tribute to the leaders of the Indian Independence movement. The Indian national anthem, "Jana Gana Mana," is sung. Similar events take place in state capitals, where the Chief Ministers of individual states unfurl the national flag, followed by parades and pageants.

The speech is followed by marching Indian Armed Forces and paramilitary forces. The prime minister then delivers a televised address to the country, recounting the major accomplishments of India during the previous year and outlining future challenges and goals.

In what ways has this day shaped you and your global perspectives?

As we celebrate the 73rd Indian Independence in 2020, India has come a long way. The youth are participating in every sector of Indian Government.

To me, Independence Day is a huge opportunity to believe in ourselves and our capabilities. This is just the beginning—I’m confident that we’re heading in the right direction.

Do you have any personal anecdotes or stories that you'd like to share about celebrating this day?

Independence in my words: “Independence is Empowerment—Let’s do what is Right!”

India independence day fashion
India independence day art
Shetty nagalakshmi

Shetty Nagalakshmi
VP, Operations
Bangalore, India

What does Indian Independence Day mean to you, your family, and your friends?

For me, what stands out about India’s Independence, is the path of nonviolence that was adopted to finally achieve it. It consisted of a series of boycotts, civil disobediences, and demonstrations led by Gandhi. It mobilized mass participation and had a profound cultural resonance. This movement received worldwide attention and the Indian people united to achieve independence.

We grew up learning about leaders who fought, some giving up their lives to achieve freedom. That’s something we never took for granted. We do our best to pass on this to our next generation.

How do you celebrate Indian Independence Day? Do you have any traditional celebrations?

Communities typically come together to hoist the Indian flag, followed by singing of the national anthem and distribution of sweets. With Indian’s love for music and dance, many celebrations include cultural programs. There’s also a military parade and a message from the country leaders.

I love the energy the day brings. Many people place small tricolor flags in their cars and dress up in flag colors. In Bangalore, I have seen auto rickshaw drivers compete to see who has the biggest flag! We also have the famous flower show at the Glass House in Lalbagh. It’s a fun way to remind us to be thankful and take pride.

In what ways has this day shaped you and your global perspectives?

India has a rich heritage and we’ve managed to retain it over generations. For me, it’s about further strengthening this while we continue to build the nation and make a major contribution to the world economy. We have a young population that is becoming a force to reckon with!

Do you have any personal anecdotes or stories that you'd like to share about celebrating this day?

This day is about unity. India is such a diverse country with multiple cultures, religions, languages, and beliefs. Independence day makes everyone come together, reflecting and celebrating the freedom we have achieved. It’s a wonderful sense of pride seeing everyone come together and the finest example of unity in diversity.

India independence day team

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