Written by: Samhati Bhattacharjya
India celebrated its 71st Independence Day on 15 August, 2017 with renewed enthusiasm and patriotic fervour. In 1947, this date marked the end of India’s struggle against British rule and the beginning of a new era for the country. India is truly a secular and diverse country with different religions, languages, caste, and creed living in harmony.
India has a long history to tell about itself since its freedom till now. All of us have read about the freedom fighters of our country and their horrific struggle for freedom. But, as the nation celebrates the 71st year of freedom, we thought of bringing something different to the table. Here’s a list of 7 interesting facts associated with Independence Day that may surprise you.
1. India derived its name from the River Indus, the valleys around which were the home of the first inhabitants of the country. The Sanskrit name for India is Bharat Ganarajya. Hence, it is also known as ‘Bharat’.
2. The National flag was first hoisted on August 7, 1906 at the Parsee Bagan Square in Calcutta, now Kolkata. The flag was composed of horizontal strips of red, yellow and green. The red strip at the top had eight white lotuses embossed on it in a row. The green strip had a white sun on the left and a white crescent and star on the right.
3. At present, the Indian flag has three colours: saffron, white and green. The top strip saffron stands for courage and sacrifice; the middle portion white for peace, truth, purity and green for faith, fertility and chivalry. The Ashok Chakra at the centre of the flag depicts righteousness.
4. It is said that Pingali Venkayya designed the first version of the current national flag at Bezwada in 1921. The flag was made up of two colours: red and green that used to represent the two major communities. Gandhiji suggested the addition of a white strip to represent the remaining communities of India and the spinning wheel to symbolize progress of the Nation.
5. Talking about the national flag, the Khadi Development and Village Industries Commission is the only licensed flag production and supply unit in India. As of 2008, the Dharwad based Karnataka Khadi Gramodyoga Samyukta Sangha was the sole manufacturer of the flag. The flags were earlier made with Jayadhar, a popular variety of cotton grown in Karnataka. But, Khadi Gramodyoga has recently started using Bt cotton instead of the indigenous.
6. Many people think that Hindi is the national language of our country, but that’s not true. Hind is the first official language of India. Article 343 of the Constitution states that Hindi in Devnagari script is the official language of India. On 14 September 1949, Hindi was declared as the Official Language of the Union.
7. Although, the Bengali invocation of Jana Gana Mana was written in 1911, there was no National Anthem when India became independent on August 15, 1947. Jana Gana Mana was not considered as national anthem till 1950.