As over one billion Indian’s celebrate India’s freedom from British rule on August 15th, we can’t help but think about how one man’s personal moment of glory dictated the date that will forever be a part of a nation’s history. The last viceroy of India, Louis Mountbatten originally declared that transfer of power by June 30th, 1948. However, realizing that a declaration of independence that far out would likely yield revolt and bloodshed, leaving little to no power for transfer, Lord Mountbatten moved the date up to August 15th, 1947. When asked why the date was chosen, his response was that he knew he had to choose a date in August or September, but then chose August 15th as it aligned to the date Japan surrendered to the allies in 1945. Coincidentally, during that time he was the Supreme Allied Commander of South-East Asia Command.
The Congress Party led by Jawaharlal Nehru had declared January 26th as India’s independence day and people continued to celebrate this day until the official independence from British rule. After August 15th, 1947, the process to adopt a constitution began and was put into place January 26th, 1950, celebrated as Republic Day.
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