While India’s Independence Day is celebrated with as much gusto and patriotic ethos as one can muster, the story of how the date itself was chosen all those years ago is a pretty fascinating one as well. As with everything else in those days, the reason (or perhaps the blame), lies solely with a certain British Lord and his heightened sense of self worth.

After the 2nd World War, the Brits were severely weakened both monetarily and militarily. This had obviously resulted in a bit of a mess on the organisational front, and matters such as the date of a colony’s independence wasn’t foremost on their minds.

When Lord Mountbatten was asked why he chose 15th August as the date, he said, “The date I chose came out of the blue. I chose it in reply to a question. I was determined to show I was the master of the whole event. When they asked: had I set a date, I knew it had to be soon. I hadn’t worked it out exactly then – I thought it had to be about August or September and then I went to the 15th of August. Why? Because it was the second anniversary of Japan’s surrender.”


Now here’s a little context – August 15, 1945 was the date Japan surrendered after being bombed by Fat Man and Little Boy. The person who accepted their surrender? Ol’ Mountbatten himself, who was Supreme Allied Commander of South-East Asia Command at the time. Yup, he literally decided one of India’s most important moments for the foreseeable future based on his own personal moment of glory.

What a guy.