Historians collate I-Day memories of 1947, to be published in journal
Former head and professor of the department of medieval and modern history, AU Yogeshwar Tiwari and research scholar Akshat Lal have collected the information.
As India completes its 75 years of Independence on Monday, the few in Sangam city who were fortunate to have witnessed the day in 1947 recall the jubilation that swept the people here on the day country got freedom.
Having compiled the experiences shared by these eyewitnesses, former head and professor of the department of medieval and modern history, Allahabad University Yogeshwar Tiwari and his research scholar Akshat Lal shared the information collated by them which would soon be published in a noted Indian research journal.
“The journey has been long but till date, stories of the day of independence have been travelling as a part of oral history. The jubilation which was observed all through the length and breadth of this country at the midnight of August 14-15, 1947, and the stories of the dawn of independence have been entrusted to us by those who bore witness to that day when history was in the making, and we have tried to compile the same,” said Prof Tiwari.
Denizens of Prayagraj (then Allahabad) were all the more excited because a fellow Allahabadi Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, was to preside over the ceremony of the transfer of power from the British. “Hours before midnight, transistors and radios were set at various public places in Allahabad so that everyone got to hear what Pandit Nehru had to say on this momentous day,” said Prof Tiwari.
He said that students of Allahabad University (AU) too were rejoicing the historic day of Independence by organising various cultural events at Sir Sundarlal Hostel and Holland Hall Hostel. Lamps were lit and there were fireworks to mark the day. Amaranatha Jha, then vice-chancellor of the University, had even presided over all the events which were organised by the University, he shared.
Akshat Lal, the research scholar of Prof Tiwari said that eyewitnesses shared that on the morning of August 15 after Pandit Nehru hoisted the tricolour at the Red Fort, Dr Sampurnanand, the first education minister of UP, hoisted the national flag at the Government House of the then Allahabad. My great-grandfather, a renowned banker of Allahabad, Munshi Asharfi Lall, himself attended this ceremony, he added.
This was followed by the flag-hoisting ceremony at the Allahabad High Court which was led by Chief Justice Kamala Kant Verma. Tej Bahadur Sapru was ailing at the time but his enlightening speech which he wrote very painstakingly was read at the historic event, he shared.
Similarly, sharing the experiences of his grandmother, Gomti Srivastava, Lal said, “I could always see a gleam of pride and gratification in my grandmother’s eyes whenever she recalled the events which were organised in Allahabad on August 15, 1947. She belonged to the princely state of Sohawal and was 18 and staying at her aunt’s place in Allahabad where she witnessed the epic events in the city.”
Victory processions were taken out in various localities of Allahabad including the old city area. These marches were led by Vijay Lakshmi Pandit, Rajarshi Purushottam Das Tandon and Bishambhar Nath Pande. Huge gates were built in Chowk near the historic Neem tree and the clock-tower was embellished with lights to commemorate the day.
“Prof Lalit Joshi of AU and my research supervisor told me that every cinema hall in the city announced free entry for all shows of the ongoing movies that day. This was a grand gesture which never happened before and after the day of Independence,” shared Lal.