Independence Day is celebrated annually on 15 August as a national holiday in India commemorating the nation’s independence from the United Kingdom on 15 August 1947, the day when the provisions of the Indian Independence Act 1947, which transferred legislative sovereignty to the Indian Constituent Assembly, came into effect. India retained King George VI as head of state until its transition to a full republic, and the Constitution of India 1950 replaced the dominion prefix, Dominion of India, with the enactment of the sovereign law Constitution of India. India attained independence following the Independence Movement noted for largely non-violent resistance and civil disobedience.
Independence coincided with the partition of India, in which British India was divided along religious lines into the Dominions of India and Pakistan; the partition was accompanied by violent riots and mass casualties, and the displacement of nearly 15 million people due to religious violence. On 15 August 1947, the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru raised the Indian national flag above the Lahori Gate of the Red Fort in Delhi. On each subsequent Independence Day, the incumbent Prime Minister customarily raises the flag and gives an address to the nation. The entire event is broadcast by Doordarshan, India’s national broadcaster, and usually begins with the shehnai music of Ustad Bismillah Khan.
A woman army officer will assist Prime Minister Narendra Modi in unfurling the national flag during the 74th Independence Day function at the Red Fort, said a curtain raiser issued by the defence ministry on Friday. The flag officer Major Shweta Pandey is an EME (electronics and mechanical engineers) officer from the Indian Army’s 505 base workshop.
Women officers have carried out such roles in the past and even led marching contingents during the Republic Day parade.
Major Shweta Pandey had earlier this year carried the Tricolour and led an Indian military contingent at the Victory Day Parade in Moscow in June, The event was also attended by defence minister Rajnath Singh.
Major Pandey, a resident of Lucknow, was commissioned into service in March 2012 from officers training academy, Chennai. Her Father Mr Raj Ratan Pandey served as additional director,finance, in UP government and her mother Mrs Amita Pandey is a Sanskrit and Hindi professor.