Independence Day Celebrations 1947

By Nehru Memorial Museum and Library

On 15 August 1947 India became independent from the British Empire following the Independence Movement led by Mahatma Gandhi and his message of nonviolent resistance. The handover of power was overseen by Lord Mountbatten, the last viceroy of India. Jawaharlal Nehru became the first Prime Minister of India and raised the Indian national flag above the Lahori Gate of the Red Fort in Delhi in honour of the celebrations.



These photos show the events surrounding the first Independence Day in 1947.

Lord Mountbatten discusses his plan for the partition of India and transfer of power with Indian leaders at Viceroy's House, New Delhi, on 2 June 1947:

Dawn of Independence, 1947-02-06/1947-06-02, From the collection of: Nehru Memorial Museum and Library
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All India Congress Committee votes for Partition of India, New Delhi, on 15 June 1947. Seen here are Jawaharlal Nehru, Govind Ballabh Pant and Dr Rajendra Prasad:

Dawn of Independence, 1947-06-15/1947-06-15, From the collection of: Nehru Memorial Museum and Library
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"Mahatma
Gandhi said:

 “From tomorrow [15th August] we
shall be delivered from the bondage of the British rule. But from midnight
today, India will be partitioned too. While, therefore, tomorrow will be a day
of rejoicing, it will be a day of sorrow as well. It will throw a heavy burden
of responsibility upon us. Let us pray to God that He may give us strength to
bear it .... ”"

Dawn of Independence, 1947-08-15/1947-08-15, From the collection of: Nehru Memorial Museum and Library
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Mahatma Gandhi

Here is Jawaharlal Nehru delivering the 'Tryst with Destiny' speech in the Constitution Assembly of India, 14-15 August 1947:

Dawn of Independence, 1947-08-14/1947-08-15, From the collection of: Nehru Memorial Museum and Library
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"“Long
years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall
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. It is fitting that at this solemn moment we
take the pledge of dedication to the service of India and her people and to the
still larger cause of humanity.”

- 'A Tryst with Destiny'"

This photo shows Jawaharlal Nehru being sworn in as First Prime Minister of Independent India on 15 August 1947:

Dawn of Independence, 1947-08-15/1947-08-15, From the collection of: Nehru Memorial Museum and Library
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Below is the administration of the oath of office to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel as Deputy Prime Minister of India by President Dr Rajendra Prasad on 15 August 1947:

Making of the Constitution (1946-1950), 1947-08-15/1947-08-15, From the collection of: Nehru Memorial Museum and Library
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"Sardar Vallabhbhai
Patel's “Tribute to Those Who Sacrificed Their Lives in Freedom Struggle” in an
article in The Bombay Chronicle on 15 August 1947:

“Today when we are
witnessing the fulfillment of our life’s ambition and participating in the
victory that has crowned the nation’s struggle for freedom, it is our first
duty to pay homage to the memory of those whose sacrifices have contributed so
much to this glorious conclusion of that struggle. Let the nation honour their
memory in the rejoicing which freedom has brought in its train.""

Making of the Constitution (1946-1950), 1947-08-14/1947-08-14, From the collection of: Nehru Memorial Museum and Library
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Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel

Seen here are Independence Day celebrations in front of South Block, New Delhi:

Dawn of Independence, 1947-08-15/1947-08-15, From the collection of: Nehru Memorial Museum and Library
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Independence Day celebrations in front of Princess Park (now August Kranti Maidan), New Delhi:

Dawn of Independence, 1947-08-15/1947-08-15, From the collection of: Nehru Memorial Museum and Library
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Independence Day celebrations in South and North Blocks, New Delhi:

Dawn of Independence, 1947-08-15/1947-08-15, From the collection of: Nehru Memorial Museum and Library
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Independence Day celebrations gathering in front of Parliament Building, New Delhi:

Dawn of Independence, 1947-08-15/1947-08-15, From the collection of: Nehru Memorial Museum and Library
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This photo shows Lord Mountbatten and Lady Mountbatten leaving Viceroy’s House (now Rashtrapathi Bhawan), New Delhi:

Dawn of Independence, 1947-08-15/1947-08-15, From the collection of: Nehru Memorial Museum and Library
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"Lord Mountbatten
declared, “At this historic moment let us not forget all that India owes to
Mahatma Gandhi -- the architect of her freedom through non-violence. We miss
his presence here today and would have him know how he is in our thoughts.”"

This image shows Jawaharlal Nehru accompanied by Lord Mountbatten and Edwina Mountbatten at India Gate, New Delhi:

Dawn of Independence, 1947-08-15/1947-08-15, From the collection of: Nehru Memorial Museum and Library
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Seen here is Jawaharlal Nehru taking salute of three Armed Forces at India Gate, New Delhi. Defence Minister Baldev Singh is also in the picture:

Dawn of Independence, 1947-08-15/1947-08-15, From the collection of: Nehru Memorial Museum and Library
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The photo below shows the Parade of Armed Forces on Rajpath:

Dawn of Independence, 1947-08-15/1947-08-15, From the collection of: Nehru Memorial Museum and Library
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"The speech of Jawaharlal Nehru at the Red Fort, 16
August 1947: 

 “We
have gathered here on a historic occasion at this ancient fort to win back what
was ours. This flag does not symbolize the triumph of individuals or the
Congress but the triumph of the whole country. The free flag of India is the
symbol of freedom and democracy not only for India but for the whole world.
India, Asia and the world must rejoice on this great day.”"

Below is the unfurling of National Flag by Jawaharlal Nehru at Red Fort, Delhi, on 16 August 1947:

Dawn of Independence, 1947-08-16/1947-08-16, From the collection of: Nehru Memorial Museum and Library
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Here you can see the departure of British Troops from India (Bombay Docks):

Dawn of Independence, 1947-08-17/1947-08-17, From the collection of: Nehru Memorial Museum and Library
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Below you can see the newspaper coverage of the Independence Day celebrations:

Dawn of Independence, 1947-08-15/1948-08-18, From the collection of: Nehru Memorial Museum and Library
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The Statesman, 18 August 1947.

Here is the reporting of The Times of India about America's Pledge of Friendship to India and Pakistan:

Dawn of Independence, 1947-08-13/1947-08-15, From the collection of: Nehru Memorial Museum and Library
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Independence Day Celebrations in Lucknow in The Pioneer, 16 August 1947:

Dawn of Independence, 1947-08-15/1947-08-16, From the collection of: Nehru Memorial Museum and Library
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Independence Day Celebrations in Madras shown in The Hindu, 17 August 1947:

Dawn of Independence, 1947-08-15/1947-08-17, From the collection of: Nehru Memorial Museum and Library
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Reporting from The Times of India about greetings from China and Bangkok:

Dawn of Independence, 1947-08-15/1947-08-16, From the collection of: Nehru Memorial Museum and Library
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Reporting from The Times of India about greetings from Portugal:

Dawn of Independence, 1947-08-17/1947-08-18, From the collection of: Nehru Memorial Museum and Library
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Since 1947, Independence Day has been celebrated in India on 15 August. As part of the celebrations, every year the Prime Minister hoists the flag above the Red Fort, just as Jawaharlal Nehru did.

Credits: Story

Role—Conceived By: Prof. Mahesh Rangarajan, Director, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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