On August 15, 1947, India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, delivered the momentous "India's Tryst with Destiny" address at Delhi's Red Fort. Since then, it has been customary for the nation's Prime Minister to address the country from this historic site every Independence Day.
In accordance with this tradition, the Independence Day celebrations include several key elements. This entails a ceremonial honour by the armed forces and Delhi Police to the Prime Minister, raising the national flag, a 21-gun salute, and the rendition of the national anthem. The Independence Day celebrations typically conclude with the release of tricolour balloons.
This year, meticulous preparations have been made for the Independence Day celebrations at the Red Fort. Over 10,000 police personnel are set to be deployed around the iconic monument. Central agencies also monitor and prevent unauthorized aerial objects over the site. Additionally, extensive inspections will be conducted to ensure the absence of any explosive devices.
The Red Fort, constructed between 1639 and 1648, served as the palace-fortress of Shahjahanabad, the new capital during the reign of Shah Jahan, the fifth Mughal Emperor of India. The name "Red Fort" derives from the imposing red sandstone walls enclosing the structure. While the architectural style of the palace draws from Islamic influences, each pavilion exhibits a blend of Persian, Timurid, and Hindu traditions. In 2007, UNESCO designated the Red Fort as a World Heritage Site, managed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
The Red Fort has held profound significance in India's history. After the capture of Delhi in 1803, the British progressively assumed control over the fort and the city. However, in 1857, the Red Fort and its occupant, Bahadur Shah Zafar, emerged as potent symbols of rebellion against British rule. Despite suppressing the uprising, Zafar faced trial at the Diwan-i-Khas (Hall of Special Audience) within the Red Fort, followed by exile to Rangoon in 1858.
Under British rule, the fort endured alterations. The British demolished much of the inner structures, repurposing the palace into quarters for their garrison. Iconic spaces like the Diwan-i-Aam were converted into hospitals. In 1911, George V and Queen Mary publicly appeared from a balcony (jharokha) at the Red Fort. The British made several attempts to establish the fort as a symbol of imperial supremacy, provoking resentment among Indians. In the 1940s, Subhas Chandra Bose's rallying cry, "Chalo Dilli" (march to Delhi), echoed, advocating for a victory parade at the "graveyard of the British empire, at the Lal Quila."
Following India's independence, unfurling the national flag at the Red Fort, once perceived as a symbol of British dominance, instilled a sense of achievement and pride among Indians. Consequently, the tradition of the Prime Minister hoisting the tricolour at the Red Fort on August 15 has taken root as an enduring practice.
As India readies itself to commemorate 77 years of freedom on August 15, this year's Independence Day celebrations at the historic Red Fort in New Delhi have become more accessible.
The government has introduced a dedicated website, www.aamantran.mod.gov.in, offering electronic invitations and the opportunity for citizens to purchase e-tickets. This initiative represents a synergistic partnership between the government and the public, streamlining proceedings while contributing positively to the environment.
If you want to attend the Independence Day celebrations at Red Fort, you can purchase a ticket on the website by selecting your preferred seating category, from Rs 20 to a maximum of Rs 500. Each e-ticket has a unique QR code pinpointing the exact location of the parade.
While putting in your details, ensure that the address provided matches the information on your official identification documents, such as PAN cards, Aadhaar cards, driving licenses, passports, or voter IDs.