India celebrates Independence Day


India gained its independence from Britain in 1947 [Archives]

India gained its independence from Britain in 1947 [Archives]

India on Saturday celebrated the 69th anniversary of the end of British colonial rule.

Addressing the nation from the 17th century Red Fort citadel in Delhi, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowed to help the poor and to support start-ups.

“We are looking at systems for enabling start-ups. We must be Number 1 in start-ups. ‘Start-up India’ ‘Stand up India’,” said Modi.

India has a burgeoning tech startup scene that has attracted big global investors. For example Japan’s Softbank Corp has bought stakes in online retailer Snapdeal and taxi firm Ola Cabs.

The Indian capital has been under a blanket of security, with thousands of police and soldiers deployed across the city.

The Indian Prime Minister also appealed to the people to shun communal violence and work instead for the nation’s progress.

“If the unity of India is destroyed then the dreams of the people are also destroyed. Be it casteism or communalism there is no place for them. In no way can they be tolerated,” said Modi.

India has a dark history of religious violence, especially between the Hindu majority and Muslims, who account for more than 150 million people, making India the world’s third most populous Muslim nation.

In a 90-minute speech, Indian Prime Minister Modi also vowed to aid the poor. He has been criticized for backing what critics allege are pro-corporate policies, like changes to India’s land law.

“All our schemes must serve the poor. All our programmes must be for the poor. The doors of the banks were not open for the poor. We decided this must end,” he claimed.

“Farmers need protection. For 60 years very little attention was paid to their welfare. We want to change this approach,” he said.

Modi’s government has delayed a bill that will make it easier for industry to buy farmland, following anger over rising rural distress.

Meanwhile on Saturday, Google also marked the 69th Anniversary of India’s Independence with a doodle that features Mahatma Gandhi leading the Dandi March, the famous 1930 “salt march” by India’s independence hero to defy British colonial rule.

India gained its independence from Britain in 1947.

Twitter India on Saturday was awash with nationalist paeans.



While some were more circumspect about the republic and modern India’s failures.







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