On 15 August, India celebrates its 70th Independence Day. This year, Independence Day celebration is going to be different and special. In its Parliamentary Party meeting held on 19 July, PM Modi spoke to his party colleagues of his desire to make this year’s Independence Day celebration exceptional.
It has now been decided that for the first time, the celebration of India’s independence will involve a six-day long ‘Bharat Parv’ festival at Rajpath near India Gate in the national capital, beginning 12 August.
In addition to Bharat Parv, ‘Tiranga Yatras’ will be taken out across the country from 15-22 August. The purpose of both programs is to include other states in the celebration and ensure it’s a people’s festival that will invoke patriotism and pride for the nation.
Apart from that, to commemorate the nation’s 70th Independence Day, the government has outlined an additional detailed 15-day long program. It will be launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as ’70 Saal Azadi – Zara Yaad Karo Qurbani’ (70 years of Independence – Let’s recall the sacrifices made) and will go on from August 9 until August 23.
Bharat Parv, 12-17 August, will be inaugurated by the Prime Minister at 5 P.M on 12 August, and will be accompanied by a musical extravaganza presented by the Armed forces. The iconic India Gate will be illuminated with the Tri-colors all through the festival period.
The six-day event is going to be held under the Ministry of Tourism but will get participation and support from Ministry of Textiles, Culture and Defence. All have been asked to participate actively in making the event a grand success.
One may recall that just two and a half months ago, NDA had celebrated its second anniversary in power at the same venue. This time, however, states will play a major role in displaying their folk arts, handicrafts and culture, along with regional cuisines.
Over 100 food stalls from various parts of India are likely to come up to give people a taste of India. Bharat Parv will be promoted as a major Tourist attraction.
States like Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Punjab, Assam, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Nagaland, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh are likely to involve their respective cultural associations to put up a grand display of folk culture, handicrafts and art.
The Defence Forces will put up their range of brass bands along with other displays of military achievements.
Tiranga Yatras, 15-22 August will be taken out across the country to invoke pride and patriotism among citizens.
It will be also be significant to notice how the youth of the country responds to such initiatives, whether or not the 70th Independence day of India holds any connotation for them besides an off from work, school and colleges.
PM Modi optimizes opportunity with showmanship
One has to hand it to the PM for his ability to convert an opportunity into a grand event, thereby attracting maximum focus and attention of audiences in India and overseas.
He has adequately demonstrated his ‘showmanship’ capabilities in almost all his foreign tours that have now become his niche and hallmark. He has repeatedly shown how an opportunity can be converted into an event to derive maximum mileage, something our political leadership has always lacked.
The success of any event is subject to the media hype and attention it draws and PM Modi is a master at it, something the best of politicians, marketers and event managers must be in awe of.
Independence Day celebrations were almost always a drab routine event with the PM unfurling the flag from the ramparts of Red Fort in the capital, followed by a long drawn speech televised across the country.
Beyond that, there was little to look forward to and for most, the day held meaning only for its holiday rather than any deep patriotic inspiration.
Ever since his first rousing speech from Red Fort, PM Modi has tried to be different and this time, he has rightly decided to involve people rather than have them watch as an audience.
Such is his impact that after his proposal in the first ever address to the UN, the intergovernmental organisation has extended invitation to the ‘Mozart of Madras’, AR Rahman to perform at the United Nations general assembly on 15 August 2016. He will be the second Indian after singer MS Subbulakshmi to perform at UN. The veteran carnatic singer performed in October of 1966.
AR Rahman will be honoring the fabulous vocalist, MS Subbulakshmi at the cultural event, which will have many global leaders in attendance. Preparations to mark the carnatic vocalist’s birth anniversary will encompass a photo exposition at the UN headquarters by India’s Permanent Mission besides the cultural festival to concur with 70th Independence Day Celebration.
Bharat Parv could well emerge as a major domestic and international tourist attraction, and eventually become a much sought after annual event in an otherwise non-tourist season. If successful, this could be the tourist booster shot that the state government has been looking for.
Significance of 15 August
It was at the stroke of midnight of August 15, in 1947, that India finally won its freedom from the British Rule. The event was marked by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, broadcasting his famous speech ‘Tryst with Destiny’ over All India Radio.
That magical night was enough to draw tears for years, from all those who were born and lived during that period. Even today, patriotic songs that are broadcast through the day still manage to bring out tears for some and invoke a deep sense of patriotism and pride in all Indians.
Besides the Prime Minister unfurling the national flag at Red Fort, Governors in respective states follow the same and is marked by speeches in recognition of the sacrifices of our leaders and people who fought for the country’s independence.
Since many schools have a plethora of activities organised in the week leading to the D-day, schoolchildren make the extent of celebration by singing patriotic songs and the National Anthem, performing stage acts on ‘Azaadi’-inspired stories, collating Prime Ministers’ Independence Day speeches and so on. Flag hoisting ceremonies are also carried out in schools and are followed by patriotic songs and sweets distribution. Similar events are organized in residential colonies and societies across the country.
For any country, its journey into the future is influenced by the journey of its past, and therefore, it’s important for the present generation to know and recognize the sacrifices that our forefathers made for the freedom that we take for granted – well, mostly – today.
It’s also a day for the present generation to discuss and debate the learnings of history to ensure that we, as a nation, do not repeat any past mistakes.
The relevance of 15 August in our lives today becomes even more significant given the challenges the nation faces from across the border and disruptive forces within.
The social, political and religious stability in the country is increasingly under attack and threatens to undo the gains of our hard fought freedom for values of a secular, inclusive and democratic India.
Bharat Parv and Tiranga Yatra are only events and by themselves will mean little unless the youth understand the struggle that led to our independence.
It is now for the youth of the day to imbibe the spirit of that magical night in 1947 and continue to build upon the path of values our freedom fighters so valiantly fought for. It’s a day to unite all Indians!
Inspirational Quotes, Slogans by Freedom Fighters
- Vande Mataram : Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay
- Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan; Long Live Youth, Long Live Farmer: Lal Bahadur Shastri
- Jai Hind: Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose
- Swaraj Mera Janamsiddha adhikar hai, aur main ise laker rahoonga: coined by Kaka Baptista and adopted by Bal Gangadhar Tilak
- Satyameva Jayathe: popularised by Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya
- Inquilab Zindabad: coined by Muslim Leader Hasrat Mohani and stands synonymous with Bhagat Singh
- Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna, Ab hamare dil mein hai: a patriotic poem by Bismil Azimabadi and used as slogan by Ramprasad Bismil.
Schedule for celebration on 15 August 2016
- Pranab Mukherjee, the President of India will address the nation on 14 August 2016 at 7.00 pm
- The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi will facilitate the Chief Guest with a present or token of respect and hoist the national flag at the Red Fort at 7.00 am on 15 August 2016
- ‘Jana Gana Mana’ the National Anthem will be played and sung on the occasion
- 21- Gun-shot ceremony to pay a tribute to all the freedom fighters will take place at the Red Fort
- PM Narendra Modi will address the nation around 7.10 am
- His speech will be followed by the Marching Ceremony, the Parade Ceremony and finally, the Closing Ceremony.
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