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Independence Day of India : How Indian newspapers reported on 15 August 1947

New Delhi: The significance of the occasion was not lost on newspapers that captured the events using memorable headlines and photographs as journalists quickly wrote the first draft of history in August 1947. India’s Independence Day was a historic occasion not just because hundreds of millions of Indians were getting their freedom after centuries of British rule but also because it gave a lot of hope to countries in Asia and Africa they were still suffering under colonial European oppression.

The enormity of the occasion was not lost on newspapers that captured the events unfolding before them using memorable headlines and photographs as reporters quickly wrote the first draft of history. While independence was an obvious occasion of joy and hope, the press was also mindful of the fact that millions of people had been rendered homeless in the Partition.  

The reporters and editors working for the newspapers at the time must have surely hoped that after August 15, freedom of press would become an integral feature of the newly independent nation whose leaders had pledged to follow a democratic system of government.

Here’s a look at how some of the English language newspapers reported the events of mid-August, 73 years ago.

The Times of India, the country’s leading English daily, had a banner headline running across the front page, proclaiming: “BIRTH OF INDIA’S FREEDOM”. The stories on the front page describe scenes of jubilation and celebration in Delhi and Bombay, and substantial coverage is also given to Pakistan, which had celebrated its independence day on August 14.

The Hindustan Times ran with a two-deck headline, saying “INDIA INDEPENDENT: BRITISH RULE ENDS”. On the paper’s masthead, there’s a private appeal to help refugees, indicating how Delhi was turning into a shelter for Punjabis fleeing the violence in Pakistan.

The front page of the Statesman bubbles with the heady enthusiasm of independence. Anandabazar Patrika seems to be in awe of the fact that the unrest in Calcutta has quietened on the occasion of Independence Day. In the Pioneer, the celebrations have given way to a more sober look at the challenges facing the nation. Courtesy: timesnownews.

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