Interesting facts on August 15 .... Know how our independence date was chosen

Lord Mountbatten

New Delhi, Aug 14: While the entire country celebrates August 15 as Independence Day, the story behind the manner in which the date was arrived at is a pretty interesting one.

Lord Mountbatten, the last viceroy of India, chose the date as it was the very day on which imperial Japan had surrendered to the allied forces at the end of the second World War.

Mountbatten, who was the commander of the allied forces in south-east Asia, had accepted the Japanese surrender on August 15, 1945.

"The date I chose came out of the blue. I chose it in reply to a question. I was determined to show I was the master of the whole event. When they asked: had I set a date, I knew it had to be soon. I hadn’t worked it out exactly then – I thought it had to be about August or September and then I went to the 15th of August. Why? Because it was the second anniversary of Japan’s surrender," Mountbatten is quoted as saying.

The Japanese had overrun almost the whole od east and south-east Asia during the early stages of World War II before their advance was halted by the British Indian Army in what is now the Indian states of Nagaland and Manipur.

Thereafter, the British Fourteenth Army, which mostly comprised of Indian soldiers, pushed back the Japanese imperial army after a lot of fighting in the mountains and jungles of northeastern India and Burma.

The Japanese army was accompanied by the Indian National Army (INA) or the Azad Hind Fauj led by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.

The INA, which sacrificed more than half of its original strength in its battles against the allied forces, prompted revolts in the Indian armed forces when three of its top generals were put on trail by the Briitish at the Red Fort in Delhi.

That became a galvanising point for the Indian independence movement which forced the British to leave the country much quicker than originally planned.

News24 Bureau

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