From the archives of the Hindustan Times: January 27
India celebrates Independence day (1947)
Independence Day was celebrated all over India on Sunday. In deference to the Congress President’s appeal, the people observed the day unostentatiously. There were no prabhat pheris and no processions. Tricolour was hoisted on house-tops and the pledge was taken in a solemn manner.
Over 10,000 people took the Independence pledge at Gandhi Grounds in Delhi on Sunday evening. Most of the Congress members of the Interim Government were present. Acharya Kripalani, the Congress President, unfurled the Tricolour and read the pledge which was repeated by the audience.
The Congress President in a brief speech, said that due to disturbances in the country the Working Committee had decided not to celebrate the day in the same manner as in previous years.
At a meeting in Lodi Colony in the morning Pandit Nehru, Vice-President of the Interim Government, declared: “On this day we again pledge ourselves to the cause of India’s independence. In the new pledge, though we have omitted reference to ‘quit India’ resolution of 1942, our resolve to free ourselves from the foreign bondage firmly stands. Unless we are free we cannot tackle the problems of poverty and want.”
Pandit Nehru appealed to people to end the existing communal bitterness and not to let anything stand in the way of freedom. As soon as the third party left the country, the present conflict between different sections of the people would be easily resolved.
Referring to the deliberations of the Constituent Assembly, Pandit Nehru said though there were many obstacles in its way they were determined to go ahead and see that it succeeded in framing the constitution for a free India.
Pandit Pant, U.P. Premier, unfurling the National Flag, traced the history of India’s struggle for Swaraj and explained the significance of Independence Pledge. After a long struggle, he said, we had not only reached the threshold of freedom but had actually taken a step inside.
Pandit Pant added - “Tricolour is a symbol of India’s freedom. Under this flag the Congress has fought and made all kinds of sacrifices for the sake of our country’s freedom. We should all rally round it to attain purna swaraj.”
Independent India’s worst quake kills at least 1,500 (2001)
Ahmedabad- Rescuers, many of them with bare hands, cleared rubble under floodlights this evening in a desperate race to reach buried survivors of a massive earthquake that killed at least 1,500 people. It was the most-intense quake in the history of Independent India, dwarfing Latur (6 on the Richter in 1993) and Uttarkashi (6.6 on the Richter in 1999).
The tremblor, measuring between 6.9 and 7.9 on the Richter scale, hit many parts of Gujarat at 8.46 am and was felt across India as well as neighbouring Pakistan and Nepal.
The devastation in Ahmedabad was widespread, with hundreds of buildings that had simply folded in on themselves when the quake struck.
The Army and the Air Force joined the civil administration in relief work. Some 4,000 CISF personnel too were drafted for rescue operations. Ahmedabad was the worst hit. More than 12 hours after the first rumblings were heard, thousands of people were camping in the open, fearing aftershocks.
In the concrete jungle of western Ahmedabad, multi-storeyed buildings that have come up in the last few years were clearly hit the hardest.
In Ahmedabad city alone, nearly 80 buildings are reported to have collapsed, including about a dozen multi-storey buildings and also some buildings still under construction.
Seismologists recorded more than 80 aftershocks, one of which measured 5.6 on the Richter scale.
The epicentre of the quake was 20 km north-east of Bhuj in Kutch district. Around 150 people were killed in a single building collapse in Bhuj.
Tremors were felt across a vast swathe of central and northern India, in New Delhi and Mumbai, as well as Chennai and Pondicherry and in Calcutta.
In Pakistan at least four people were killed as the quake rocked four major cities - Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar and Hyderabad.
Describing the earthquake as “a calamity of national magnitude”, Prime Minister Vajpayee, appealed to voluntary organisations to help the government in rescue, relief and rehabilitation operations.
Lee-Martina triumph (2003)
Melbourne- Tennis legend Martina Navratilova made history here on Sunday when she became the oldest player ever to win a Grand Slam title after landing the Australian Open mixed doubles crown with Leander Paes.
The 46-year-old partnered the Indian in a 6-4, 7-5 victory over Australia’s Todd Woodbridge and Greece’s Eleni Daniilidou to earn her 57th title at a Grand Slam event.
At 46 years and three months of age, Navratilova beat the existing record for the oldest player to win at a Grand Slam, held by Australia’s Norman Brookes, who was 46 and two months when he won the men’s doubles crown in 1924.
“When I was growing up, I wanted to be the youngest to win something, not the oldest” a beaming Navratilova said afterwards. “I certainly didn’t think I’d still be playing at this age.”
Navratilova’s victory was assured in the second set, when a Woodbridge forehand plopped into the net. The veteran Czech-born American hugged team-mate Paes as she celebrated another milestone in a remarkable 30-year career.
The win came a full 29 years after her first Grand Slam mixed doubles crown, won at Roland Garros in 1974 with Ivan Molina, one year after Paes was born in 1973.
“I grew up, my whole childhood, watching Martina play, create history winning those many Wimbledon titles. I never thought I’d be on the same side of the net as her. It’s a real treat to play with her. Her zest for life, her passion for the game is mind boggling. I’m going to be 30 this year, and I felt I was getting old. You know, Martina has kind of rejuvenated me, rejuvenated my spirit for the game. I’m very thankful for that,” said an emotional Leander.
Navratilova, who retired from singles in 1994, said she came out of retirement three years ago to play doubles just for fun, not with her eye on another Grand Slam title.
“I didn’t think about winning when I first started playing again,” Navratilova said. “I just wanted to play. I just thought about competing, see how good I can still play”