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Indian Flag | © Pankaj Das/ Flickr
Indian Flag | © Pankaj Das/ Flickr
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8 Shocking Facts About India's Independence And the Decisions That Followed

Picture of Vani Munjal
Updated: 10 August 2017
On 15 August 1947, India gained independence from the United Kingdom and, seven decades later, people are still unaware of certain stories that shed new light on what happened at that time. There are shocking truths that add an interesting layer of detail to the tales we’ve heard about the country over the years. We may think we know everything there is to know about India’s independence… but do we really?
Mumbai Independence Day
Mumbai Independence Day | © Vidur Malhotra/ Flickr.com

Gandhi wanted the Congress party to be disbanded

One of the strong names in the political past and present of the country, the Congress party would not have existed today if Mahatma Gandhi was not assassinated. Gandhi actually wanted to dissolve the party after Independence, as he believed that the INC (Indian National Congress) had achieved its aim and outlived its purpose. On the eve of his assassination, he had already drafted a resolution about this.

Jawaharlal Nehru wasn’t elected the first Prime Minister

Actually, it was Sardar Patel who won the elections with majority votes. Jawaharlal Nehru didn’t want a position that placed him second in command. Since Gandhi was confident in Nehru and his skills in running the nation, he was declared the first Prime Minister of India. The following years saw a confident leader who was even featured in Vogue magazine for his impeccable style.

Mahatma Gandhi did not suggest the design of the National Flag

India National Flag
India National Flag | © Gaurav Tiwari/ Flickr

The original design of India’s flag was actually by a freedom fighter named Pingali Venkayya. Want to know another interesting fact about the flag? You may have come across various materials used as the base of the flag, but the law condemns the use of any other fabric for the actual flag other than khadi (hand-spun cloth). The Flag Code of India even states that the use of any other material may land you in trouble, with a fine and maximum three years in prison.

Jammu and Kashmir would have been a part of Pakistan

Shocking, but true. Records state that Pakistan sent a group of tribesmen into the state of Jammu and Kashmir to attack and conquer it in 1947. Lord Mountbatten also stated, had Pakistan been a little patient, the state would have eventually gone to them. His quote reads: “By sending its irregular troops into the state, Pakistan spoiled the whole thing.”

The truth about the national anthem

There are many controversies that surround the national anthem, Jan Gan Man. One states that the song was actually penned by Rabindranath Tagore to pay homage to King George V. The case was further fuelled by the statement that Tagore sang the song on 27 December 1911, the day of the Indian National Congress Convention, which was attended by the King. But many people have formed different interpretations of the anthem. With Tagore no longer around to defend his position, nobody knows how much credit can be given to this fact.

Another interesting fact about the national anthem – it is believed that Jawaharlal Nehru chose Jan Gan Man over Vande Mataram for the national anthem because he believed Jan Gan Man was easier for musicians to play.

Goa wasn’t a part of India until 1961

After India gained independence in 1947, the country requested the Portuguese territories be ceded to India, but Portugal refused to negotiate. It was only on 19 December 1961 that the state of Goa was finally annexed to India. Today, Goa is one of the prime tourist attractions in the country, its laid-back mood, beautiful beaches and cultural fusion, particularly Portuguese-Indian cuisine, drawing the crowds all year round.

The significance of the date

India shares its Independence Day with North Korea, South Korea, Bahrain and Republic of the Congo. Also, 15 August was chosen as the day of Independence for India by Louis Mountbatten – the last Viceroy of India. He picked the particular date because it was the same date in 1945 that Japan had surrendered to the Allied Forces at the end of World War II.

A note about the revolutionaries

Indian socialist and revolutionary Bhagat Singh was a great thinker and philosopher, and spoke English, French, Swedish, and Arabic fluently. Some people believe that Mahatma Gandhi could have stopped Bhagat Singh’s hanging, after Singh committed acts of violence against the British, in the pursuit of freedom.

The famous slogan Inquilab Zindabad (‘long live the revolution’) was raised by Batukeshwar Dutt, an Indian revolutionary who was beside Bhagat Singh during the bombing of the Legislative Assembly in Delhi on 8 April 1929. Many revolutionaries lost their lives in the struggle for freedom from British rule – they raised a noise that turned into a movement, the spirit of which is celebrated every year since on 15 August.

Indian Flag
Indian Flag | © Pankaj Das/ Flickr