Amandeep Kaur, New Delhi
Freedom is the most valued thing in this world and every human individual has the right to freedom. Many countries struggled to get rid of their rulers, colonisers, and invaders for centuries. Thousands of freedom fighters and warriors sacrificed their lives for their country and fought wars and battles to get independence. The timeline of history reveals that India and South Korea are among the countries that got freedom from their colonisers Britishers and Japanese respectively on the same day, i.e., 15th August.
In India, after struggling, sacrificing, and fighting for many years, our country gained freedom on 15th August, 1947 and this precious freedom or azaadi is celebrated as Independence Day. A day of joy for every Indian, when the British rule ended after 200 years. This day is observed as a national holiday across India and is celebrated with flag hoisting, parades, and cultural events in all Indian States and Union Territories. On this meaningful day, we remember our martyrs who died for the country, forgetting all our cultural differences and uniting as one true Indian nation.
On this day, we also remember the anniversary of the partition of two countries, India and Pakistan, which occurred at midnight on August 14th–15th, 1947. In Pakistan, Independence Day is celebrated on 14th of August. Apart from India, 4 other countries celebrate their Independence Day on 15th of August. These nations are Bahrain, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liechtenstein, and Korea. In North and South Korea, this day is known as National Liberation Day. August 15th, 1945, marks the defeat of the Japanese forces when the World War II came to an end. The U.S. and Soviet forces helped end 35 years of Japanese occupation and colonial rule over Korea that lasted from 1910-1945. Then three years later, Korea was bifurcated into two independent nations we know today as North Korea and South Korea.
In North Korea, National Liberation Day is known as Chogukhaebangui nal (조국해방의 날) which means Liberation of the Fatherland Day, and in South Korea, it is observed as Gwangbokjeol (광복절) which means Restoration of Light. On Liberation Day in South Korea, we get to see many official buildings, streets & houses hoisted with Korean national flags known as Taegukgi. The official ceremony is held and this day has its own official song also. Descendants of independence activists can visit museums and ride public transport for free on this day. Many cultural programs and functions are held at every corner of the country. Korean people celebrate this official holiday with full excitement and pay tribute to their martyrs.
In India, August 15th was chosen as India’s Independence Day by Lord Mountbatten because he considered this date to be fortunate coincinding with the same day in the year 1945 when the Japanese forces surrendered and Korea won its freedom. India-South Korea relations has been strong since the ancient times. The marriage of the Korean King, Suro with Suriratna or Queen Heo Hwang-ok, the princess from Ayodhya; the sacred birthplace of the Hindu God, Lord Rama is symbolic to this relationship since historical times. Although, some scholars have claimed the birthplace of Princess Suriratna to be located in Ayadhya instead, which is known as present day Kanyakumari, in Tamil Nadu. The reach of Buddhism from India to East Asia in the 4th century has also created a direct bond between India & South Korea.
On war front as well, Indian and Korean ties are well-recorded in history. India fought for Korea during the World War II and played an important as well as decisive role in the Korean affairs after their independence in 1945. With time, both countries have become more close as they began to expand their cultural, political, economical, institutional, technological, educational, and entertainment avenues with each other. Both the countries have signed several agreements to achieve the rapid growth and build an inclusive world through exchange of cultures and mutual understandings. The world is increasingly turning to advancement, so with the good relations, both countries can lead a bright and developed future. We wish both the countries abundant prosperity and development on this prosperous day!
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