15th March – The Genesis of Independence
Know the history of 15th March. We share the most significant events of this day’s history. It is this day, which marks the beginning of the independence of India.
Hello, I am time. I have witnessed it all. Be the creation or be the destruction. So today I bring to you the history of this day, the 15th of March. The most significant event as I see it was a speech by the then Prime Minister of England, Clement Attlee, at the House of Commons.
It was on the 15th of March in the year 1946 which marks the genesis of Indian Independence. Clement Attlee, addressed the House of Commons in which he emphasized the need for India to gain independence while outlining the problems involved. The reasons for such a decision after 300 years of rule can be summarized in the following three main developments:-
a) The growing power of Azad Hind Fauj had created a sense of fear in the British administration. The face of British government suffered a big loss after they were defeated by the Fauj in parts of northeastern India. The controversial death of Subash Chandra Bose which remains unconfirmed to date added to the stress of the administration. Bose had already declared the independence of India on the 21st of October 1943 and gained the support of other powerful nations. Any further aggression by the fauj would be disastrous for the British government. They sourly could not afford another defeat. In this situation, the most sensible step was to leave India.
b) Secondly by this time India developed 3 types of nationalist approaches. One the ‘Indian Nationalists’ who wanted a united undivided India with complete independence. The second the ‘Hindu nationalist’ who wanted a Hindu state with a capitalistic approach. And the third ‘The Muslim Nationalists’ wanted a separate state for Muslims. These varied political approaches created an upsurge of violence across the country. The British government no longer were able to administer India. It wanted to leave India as quickly as possible.
c) The labour party which came to power in England in the year 1945 had a socialist background. They were a trifle more passionate about a humanist approach to administration compared to their predecessors the conservative party. Moreover, their political ideology was more in favour to recognize freedom. This added to the decision to grant independence to India.
Now that I give you an understanding of the situation during that time, let me share with you the excerpt of the proceedings of 15th of March 1946 from the records of the British parliament:
HANSARD 1803–2005 → 1940s → 1946 → March 1946 → 15 March 1946 → Commons Sitting → ORDERS OF THE DAY
11.43 a.m. Mr. R. A. Butler (Saffron Walden) :
We are very much obliged to the Government for giving us facilities for this discussion before the Mission of Cabinet Ministers and their advisers proceed to India next week. The rules of the House make it impossible for us unduly to enlarge on this discussion which is being held on a Motion for the Adjournment. Nevertheless, this is a valuable opportunity afforded to Parliament to express some views at this stage, and for His Majesty’s Government to tell us a little more than they have done in the Prime Minister’s statement of 19th February about the purpose of the Mission to India and what it hopes to achieve.
It has always been the practice in this House to regard India as a subject upon which our views on all sides of the House are put into a common pool. It has been a tradition of Parliament throughout our history that the affairs of India both excite and receive the maximum attention. The Government of the day has frequently found that it has been well worth their while to take the House and the country into their confidence.
11.59 a.m. The Prime Minister (Mr. Attlee)
I do not intend to make a long speech today, and I do not think it would be wise to do so. In particular, I think it would be most unhelpful to review the past. It is so easy to go back over the past and, in accordance with one’s predilections, apportion the blame for past failure in the long drawn-out discussions there have been on this extraordinarily difficult problem—the problem of the development of India into a completely self-governing nation. Over such a long period of the past, it is so easy to say that at this stage or at that stage opportunities were missed by the faults of one side or the other. I think also, as my right hon. Friend said, it would be a great mistake to stake out the claims of rival communities; we may be quite sure that will be done anyway.
I have had a fairly close connection with this problem now for nearly 20 years, and I would say there have been faults on all sides, but at this time we should be looking to the future rather than harking back to the past. This alone I would say to hon. Members, that it is no good applying the formulae of the past to the present position. The temperature of 1946 is not the temperature of 1920 or of 1930 or even of 1942. The slogans of an earlier day are discarded.
It was this address on the 15th of March 1946 which was an official recognition of the Independence of India. Later on the 15th of August 1947, India gained independence from 300 years of British rule. Long 75 years have passed since then. India remains a sovereign, socialist democratic republic with its joys and sorrows.
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