Prime Minister and Red Fort

The 15th of August, 1947 is a red letter day for India because it was on this day that it achieved Independence from British rule. The Britishers had ruled our country for 150 years. In fact, they came to India as ordinary traders but became its rulers. Our internal disunity offered them good scope to establish their foothold on our sacred soil. On 15th August 1947, Pt. Jawahar Lai Nehru, the first Prime Minister of j India unfurled the National Flag for the first time on the ramparts of Red Fort. Since then this day is being celebrated as our Independence Day throughout the country.

It is celebrated as a National Festival. It has been declared a National Holiday. All offices, shops, factories and other business establishments remain closed on this day. The employees and the workers get a paid holiday every year on this day. Independence Day is celebrated with great fanfare in the capitals of all the States as well as in the Union Territories. But in Delhi, it is celebrated in a special way. On this day, the Prime Minister of India unfurls the National Flag at Red Fort in front of a huge gathering of Indian people and foreign dignitaries.

He also delivers a speech in which the progress made by the nation, the problems encountered by the nation and the dangers that lie ahead are highlighted. The people hear this speech with rapt attention. The preparations for the Independence Day celebrations are made a few days in advance. Pipe railings are fixed on both sides of the road leading to Red Fort. Hundreds of loudspeakers are fixed so that even the people sitting far away from the saluting base of Red Fort can hear the Prime Minister’s speech without any difficulty.

Police contingents are posted on duty at Red Fort in large numbers to ensure security of the V. I. P. s, to regulate the traffic and control the rush of the people. V. I. P. s, foreign dignitaries, diplomatic envoys, ministers and Members of Parliament are seated in a special enclosure constructed near the place of the flag-hoisting ceremony. In order to witness the Independence Day ceremony at Red Fort, the people of Delhi get up early in the morning and leave for Red Fort by buses, taxis, scooters, and cycles or on foot.

Some schools and colleges charter special buses for taking their students to Red Fort. Doordarshan and All-India Radio make special arrangements for live telecast, and broadcast along with a running commentary. Last year, my father took me to Red Fort to see the Independence Day celebrations. We went there by scooter. Hundreds of people had assembled there. Pipe railings had been put up to control the crowd. Scores of loudspeakers had been fixed on the poles. A large police force was present to ensure law and order.

The Delhi Municipal Corporation had brought a number of water tankers to serve pure drinking water to the people. The Red Cross had made special arrangements for providing first aid to the people in case of any emergency. The Prime Minister arrived at Red Fort in his car at 7. 30 A. M. After he had inspected the guard of honor, he was led to the platform from where he unfurled the National Flag. Artists of All-India Radio sang the National Anthem. A 21-gun salute was given to the National Flag.

Thereafter, the Prime Minister addressed the people. In his speech, the Prime Minister reminded the people of India about the need to preserve the unity and safeguard the independence of India at all costs. He exhorted the people to remain vigilant. He stressed the need for discipline. He wanted the people to come forward and co-operate with the Government in eradication of social evils like, casteism, untouchability, communalism, etc. At the end of his speech, he asked the audience to say “Jai Hind” three times.