Memories of the day: What I felt on August 15, 1947

It was a ‘Festival of Freedom’: Y.G. Parthasarathy

On the eve of Independence, I remember all of us at my house crowding around the radio to listen to Jawaharlal Nehru speak. We were all immensely looking forward to hearing him speak, and I remember his words clearly: “At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awaken to life and freedom.” As he continued his speech, we felt immense happiness on hearing him describe an Independent India and the future that awaited us.

Proud moment

All through the day on August 15, 1947, we saw people burst crackers and sing songs on the roads in Tiruchi. I was a student of Holy Cross College, and many students wore khadi the next day and assembled on the campus. I wore a khadi sari and I remember, my mother made “Payasam” at home. Independence Day was celebrated akin to a festival. There was flag-hoisting on our college campus, and it truly was a proud moment for us.

The days leading up to August 15 saw many processions and movements in Tiruchi. I remember how the teachers locked the college gates and did not allow us to join a procession with students from nearby colleges. I told them that if the gates were not opened, we would climb over it to join them. They finally let us out, and I got to be part of the procession. My father was later transferred to Delhi and this gave me a golden opportunity to meet many leaders of the Freedom Struggle. I got a chance to meet Mahatma Gandhi and the first thing he asked me when I greeted him was if I knew Hindi. I had not expected him to ask me a question like that. So I cheekily responded, asking if he knew Tamil. Gandhiji burst out laughing. “I know as much Tamil as the amount of Hindi which Ammu Swaminathan here knows,” he said pointing to the activist who was standing nearby. This immediately eased the tension and I had a memorable interaction with him.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 5:40:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/specials/independence-day-india-at-70/it-was-a-festival-of-freedom-yg-parthasarathy/article19491977.ece

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