Published on August 15, 2022
Ahmedabad: For Dashrath Patel, 17 when India got independence in 1947, the days of August 14 and 15 were intertwined. “There was too much excitement with rallies, euphoria, and non-stop celebrations, as everyone would greet others, some would distribute sweets and shops would be open till late,” said Patel who had left school to participate in 1942 Quit India movement. “I think nobody must have slept that night.”
As India celebrates its 75th Independence Day on Monday, the nonagenarians of the city remembered the historic moment experienced through their eyes.
“It surely feels like another era with a sense of nationalism sweeping across the society. In city areas of Ahmedabad, the celebrations were more pronounced with various flag-hoisting events,” recounts Patel, a 92-year-old farmer who is now a settled with his children in Sanand. “The Har Ghar Tiranga campaign has brought back memories of the days when many of the residences were adorned with Tricolour soon after the independence.”
Sanyukta Pandya, now 94 and living at Jeevan Sandhya Ashram in Naranpura, said that she was a student at the time of independence.
“As I had come to Ahmedabad to appear for exams, what I remember is cancellation of the exam fearing riots that were taking place in some other parts of the country. We were at Gujarat College when the flag hoisting had taken place by the volunteers. I remember the collective feeling that we finally got ‘Swaraj’ and we dreamed of a new India,” she said.
J C Makwana, a former official of Gujarat Police, recounted that the main event in Ahmedabad on August 15, 1947 had taken place at Lal Darwaza ground where City Committee president Ghulam Rasool Qureshi, collector Damri, SP Khode, DSP Suryakant Mehta, etc. had unfurled the Tricolour. The event was attended by many prominent citizens.
“The celebrations had started from August 14 night where a cycle rally had taken place in Pol areas, a mashaal (torch) rally near Idgah and a major procession from Kalupur and Richie Road. The city basked in lights on August 14 and 15,” mentioned his recollections.
Himmat Badhiya, a 78-year-old resident of Vadaj, said that he was a child in 1947. “But I’ve grown up hearing about the independence and our fight for independence – four of my family members were freedom fighters and two had participated in the Dandi March events. Thus, I had often heard my father recounting the days leading to the independence and the celebration of it. We have also organized several events to create awareness about the right ways to unfurl tricolour earlier and this year,” he said.