15th August! A day of great significance in the lives of every Indian… a day for each and every one of us to come together as Indians to honor the nation and the martyrs who have laid down their lives in giving us one of life’s most precious gifts … FREEDOM!
A day to forget all differences and come together as one, just our forefathers once did. Independence Day is celebrated to commemorate India’s independence from the 200 year British raj and celebrate the birth of a sovereign nation.
While the British, French and Portuguese first came to India as traders and on friendly terms, as time passed, taking advantage of the Maharajas fighting between themselves, their power grew, and soon they took control of the administration of the entire country with the help of few willing locals who they educated for their own purpose to help them expand their regime.
Suppressed by the rule, the first uprising against the British took place in 1857; though unsuccessful, it sowed seeds for Indians to awake as a nation and free themselves from the oppression of the British. An uprising that was the start of a struggle for a righteous end, it gave birth to many freedom fighters and reformers that are responsible in shaping India as it is today. Some prominent leaders fondly remembered even today include Subhash Chandra Bose, Bhagat Singh, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Lala Lajpat Rai, Mangal Pandey, Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Ram Prasad Bismil, Jawaharlal Nehru, and last but definitely not the least the ‘Father of the Nation’ Mahatma Gandhi.
Post World War II, the exhaustion of resources followed by the growing unrest in India, led Britain’s Government to announce that power would be transferred to India by June 1948. However even when the approaching Independence failed to decrease the fighting and violence between Hindus and Muslims in Bengal and Punjab, the then Viceroy of India, Louis Mountbatten decided to prepone the handing over of power date with the British unable to cope with the increasing unrest in the country.
In June 1947, prominent leaders including Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Abul Kalam Azad, Master Tara Singh and B. R. Ambedkar finally agreed to the partition on the basis of religion with the Sikh and Hindus are being a part of India and Pakistan being marked as a Muslim area.
A partition that resulted in loss of life and heartaches on either side of the border, with families from both sides of the border being forced to leave their homes and loved ones and settle in strange new lands leaving  many millions displaced and claiming the lives of around 250,000 to 500,000 people.
It was at midnight of 15th August, 1947, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru hoisted Indi’s Tricolor, and proclaimed India’s independence  with his famous speech known as “Tryst with Destiny”. During this speech, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru said “Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time has come when we will redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance. We end today a period of ill fortune, and India discovers herself again.”

The flag too that is hoisted symbolizes the struggle of the freedom movement. Saffron, white and green with a navy blue Ashok Chakra, the color saffron is the symbol of spirituality, often used by saints and sages, it represents selflessness and courage. In the Indian flag, this color signifies strength and power to be used to benefit the people in India.
White is a symbol for truth, purity, and peace. In the context of the Indian flag, white symbolizes harmony among all the diversities; India being a country that is culturally and ethnically diverse.
Green symbolizes abundance, a color signifying Indian agriculture, history, people and her culture. Green also symbolizes fertility and prosperity, and success in ever field by the nation,
Finally the Ashok Chakra which is navy blue signifies justice,  24 spokes on the wheel representing the 24 hours in a day, the Asoka Chakra stands for the iron determination of the Indian people in order to achieve their goal (the wheel being unstoppable).
A national holiday for India, fag hoisting is observed across the country with the main celebrations being at Red Fort in Delhi, where the national flag is unfurled by the Prime Minister of the nation amidst a 21 gun salute followed by a speech, which generally reflects the country’s present condition, along with the major achievements over the past year and the plans for the nation’s future. Past heroes are remembered and post the flag hoisting, patriotic programs by children from schools across India are organized.
Besides exhibiting India’s cultural multiplicity, a parade showcasing the nation’s developments in science and technology, as well as a joint parade by India’s armed forces form part of the celebrations. Flag hoisting and parades are carried out all over India by State Governments while kite flying is also symbolic of this day, with competitions being held all over the capital and the city’s skyline filled with kites of different colors.
A day that has India honoring her brightest heroes who laid down their lives, as India celebrates her Independence Day, may we also not forget those hundreds of unsung men and women from all over India who joined hands and fought in unity to achieve India’s freedom.