Today is the 72nd year of Independence for our country. Throughout the entire journey of attaining this independence, there are many places and monuments that the freedom struggle has touched. Places that will forever have a place in history because of their significance in relation to our freedom struggle. Here is a list of 5 such places that you can travel to while reminiscing about the path to the attainment of our Independence Day:
1. Red Fort: In 1639, Shah Jahan built this giant red sandstone structure as the palace in his capital. Since then, the Red Fort has seen quite a many tumultuous episodes. The most famous of which occurrences is the mutiny of 1857. After gaining control of the fort from the Maratha forces in 1803; the British East India Company placed a resident in it. In 1857, the Mughal emperor occupying the fort was Bahadur Shah II. Even though he valiantly rebelled against the British forces, his aggression was eventually crushed and he was exiled. Following that, the entire palace was looted and plundered. Many valuables from the fort, including the Kohinoor diamond and Shah Jahan’s jade cup, still are in London’s museums. It is no doubt that the Red Fort will always remain a symbol of India’s independence. Every year on Independence Day, the Prime Minister of the country hoists the Indian flag from the ramparts of this iconic castle.
2. Sabarmati Ashram: The 26-day long civil disobedience march that began at Sabarmati Ashram and ended at Dandi was one of the most memorable and courageous acts undertaken by the Father of the nation. Since the British officials were levying heavy taxation on salt production and using force to kept aforementioned rules in place; Mahatma Gandhi decided to march for a tax resisting non-violent protest. Even though the movement saw minimal support from the Muslims and drew almost no concessions from the British Raj, it is still remembered as one of the most important events preceding our independence. Gandhi lived a long 12 years at this ashram, and even today the spot is flocked to by thousands of people wanting to pay respects.
3. Chandni Chowk: This place might come to a shock as many but in fact, Chandni Chowk has been a witness to a plethora of events related to our independence day. Famous freedom fighters like Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru, Azad, Mahadev Desai, C. Rajgopalachari and Hakeem Ajmal Khan held numerous meetings here, a lot of which were endorsed as being held by the Satyagraha Committee. The most memorable of these meets was the one on the 30th of March, 1919. More than 40,000 people had gathered there to protest the Rowlatt act and the police even shot and killed quite a few protestors before the numbers grew radically. Not to mention the brutal hanging of more than 200 ulemas (a body of Muslim scholars who are recognized as having specialist knowledge of Islamic sacred law and theology) also took place in this very area.
4. Cellular Jail: Located in Port Blair, the Cellular Jail built and completed between 1896 and 1906 is a grim reminder of the atrocities that freedom fighters had to face in the long struggle for independence. The other name for it was Kala Pani; kala meaning death and pani meaning water. Built specifically to isolate and torture Indian political prisoners, this prison is now a national visitable monument. A lot of famous freedom fighters like Batukeshwar Dutt, Diwan Singh Kalepani, Fazl-e-Haq Khairabadi, and the Savarkar brothers were housed and interrogated here in many cruel forms. Every single cell was built such as to ensure minimal interaction between prisoners. It was only after Mahatma Gandhi and Jawarhal Nehru’s constant intervention that many of these freedom fighters were sent back to live in the country.
5. Jallianwala Bagh: Many scholars argue that this incident is the one that can be marked as the beginning of Indian Nationalism. On the day of 13th April 1919; the park was filled with people of all sexes and ages, protesting non violently for the deportation of two national leaders. Under the command of villainous General Reginald Dyer, the British forces blocked almost all the entrances and fired violently into the crowd. Even though the British Indian sources claimed the death rate to be 379, Indian national Congress estimates the actual number to be a lot more than 1500. The inquiry against Dyer was extremely poor and lax, which caused widespread tension and anger amongst people. This eventually led to the Non-cooperation movement of the early nineteen twenties. A hefty amount of the reason why we celebrate an Independence day today is because of the uproar caused by General Dyer’s merciless acts.