First-person account: Celebrations, Desa Bhakti Geetaalu, free bus rides and movies on Aug 15, 1947

I was 11 when India gained freedom. I was a student of IV standard (Grade 9) at P. R. Collegiate high school, Kakinada. We were living in the Lane opposite Town Hall Gate adjacent to the Hospital of Dr. I. Joga Rao Garu at that time.

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  16 Aug 2022 5:38 AM GMT
First-person account: Celebrations, Desa Bhakti Geetaalu, free bus rides and movies on Aug 15, 1947

I remember 15th August 1947 very clearly.

I was 11 when India gained freedom. I was a student of IV Form (Grade 9) at P. R. Collegiate high school, Kakinada. We were living in the Lane opposite Town Hall Gate adjacent to the Hospital of Dr. I. Joga Rao Garu at that time.

That day after breakfast, my younger brother Krishnamurty and I slipped out of the house to see what was happening in the town. On the main road, the tricolor was flying on every building. As we were watching, the city bus owned by Sri Ramadoss Motor Transport Company stopped at a nearby stop. The bus was quite crowded. It was decorated with mango leaf toranalu and a small national flag toranalu.

When we enquired, we were told that the bus ride is free. We quickly hopped onto the already crowded bus. It went all the way to MSN Charities High School, Jagannadhapuram. More people boarded en route.



Viswanatha Sastry Garimella


We loitered for some time and took another bus to come back home. The crowd was shouting boisterously. People were singing Desa Bhakti Geetaalu. They were shouting Vandemataram, Inquilaab Zindabad, Swatantram - Vardhillali, etc. And we too joined in until our voices became hoarse.

After returning home, we had a quick lunch. Such was the enthusiasm that we again slipped out. Someone said the cinema admission was free that day. We virtually rushed to Majestic talkies. The gate was closed and a large crowd was waiting outside. We too waited. The management had no program to screen films free that day, but the crowd was shouting and pleading for a free show. After an hour, the management relented and agreed to a free show. The gate was opened and people started pushing each other to enter the hall. We fell and people ran over us. With a Herculean effort, I somehow pulled myself and Krishna up and entered the hall. I do not remember the name of the movie, but I was thankful that we escaped with minor bruises. I told Krishna not to reveal anything to anyone at home lest we may get a thrashing from our father.

The crowd mostly didn't understand the meaning of freedom. For them, it meant that most services were free from that day!

I still remember vividly the crowds and wild celebrations. I formed a pre-independence group `Azad Hind Rakshana Sibir' under the guidance of some youth participants of the independence movement, I had some rudimentary knowledge that it meant throwing the British government out and establishing rule by Indians.

Today, when India celebrates the 75th anniversary of independence, I recollect my first experience on the Independence Day of 1947. I also recollect that my father joined the independence struggle when he quit his studies. He was in 10th standard. My father's elder brother, who was employed in the judicial department (I don't know in which capacity), made a bonfire of all his western clothes and started wearing hand-woven Khaddar clothes along with his wife. Your grandpa never told me the details of his participation in the freedom struggle since he felt it was not for publicity. Today I remember the nobility of your Grandpa!

(Viswanatha Sastry Garimella, a resident of Marredpally, recalls the Independence Day celebrations on 15th August 1947 in Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh. He is now a resident of Secunderabad and wrote this piece for his children.)

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