Here are 10 facts on India’s struggle for Independence that every Indian should know
As India is gearing up to celebrate its 72nd year of independence from the British rule, here are some interesting facts that every Indian should know about the country’s bid for freedom:
- The British East India Company came to India in 1600 to trade items including cotton, silk and tea. But from a trade company, it gradually became a political ruler in the country.
- The first general widespread uprising against the rule of the British East India Company was ‘The First War of Independence’ (1857-58), instigated by Mangal Pandey. Mangal Pandey was a sepoy in the 34th Regiment of the Bengal Native Infantry (BNI) of the East India Company, who made a mark in the Indian history for attacking his British officers. This attacked sparked off the First War of Indian Independence, or as the British termed it, the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857.
- The British established the Cellular Jail or Kala Pani in Port Blair, in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Indian freedom fighters were deported there for punishment.
- India had more than 564 Princely States, also called Native States during British rule. A princely state was autonomous but had to give allegiance to the British authorities. Some of the largest princely states were Hyderabad, Gwalior, Baroda, Mysore, Cochin, Jammu and Kashmir.
- Calcutta, now Kolkata was the capital of India until 1911 until the administration moved to Delhi.
- Khudiram Bose, one of the youngest freedom fighters, was hanged by the British in 1908. At the time of his hanging he was only 18 years, 8 months 8 days old.
- In March 1930, Gandhi, who later known as the father of the nation, marched in protest against the British rule from the western Indian city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat across the state to Dandi, covering a distance of around 250 miles.
- India’s national song ‘Vande Mataram’ which means ‘I bow to thee mother’ was written by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee in 1882 in his novel ‘Anandamath’.
- The border between India and the newly-formed Pakistan was established by the Boundary Commission, a body appointed by Lord Louis Mountbatten, the last viceroy of India. The commission was headed by Sir Cyril Radcliffe, a British lawyer; hence the boundary demarcation line was known as the Radcliffe Line.