August 15 is a momentous occasion for us as India got its hard fought independence on this day in 1947. It became only possible due to the sacrifices made by millions of freedom fighters across the country. However, the freedom came along with a poorly planned partition based on religious identities that left an indelible scar in the psyche of the Indian subcontinent. While in India, August 15 is remembered for the independence, the day holds importance in other parts of the world too, albeit for different reasons.
Here are 5 world altering events that took place on August 15:
1) National Liberation Day on Korean Peninsula:
August 15 is a significant day in Korean history as both South Korea and North Korea celebrate this to mark its liberation from Japan. Three years after Allied Forces liberated Korea, independent Korean governments were created on August 15, 1948. In South Korea, it is known as Gwangbokjeol -the day the light returned- and is a public holiday. In North Korea, it is known as Chogukhaebangŭi nal -Liberation of the Fatherland Day.
2) Mujib Ur Rehman assassination:
Bangladesh President Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was assassinated in the early hours of 15 August 1975, when a group of junior army officers invaded the presidential residence with tanks and killed Mujib. They also killed president’s wife, three sons, two daughters-in-law and approximately 20 others as part of a military coup. Only his daughters Sheikh Hasina Wajed and Sheikh Rehana, who were visiting West Germany then, escaped. Mujib’s death plunged the nation into many years of political turmoil. The coup leaders were soon overthrown and a series of counter-coups and political assassinations paralysed the country. Order was largely restored after a coup in 1977 gave control to the army chief Ziaur Rahman. It was 25 years after his death that five of Rehman’s killers were hanged in Dhaka Jail.
3) Panama Canal Opens:
The Panama Canal, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, was officially opened on August 15, 1914. The canal’s construction began in 1880 but after 20,000 workers died of malaria, yellow fever and other diseases during construction, the French gave up and then Americans engineers completed it. The canal is an artificial 48 km waterway with three major locks and Tolls for vessels depending on their type, size, and cargo.
4) Japan Surrender:
On August 6, 1945, USA detonated an atomic bomb over the Japanese city of Hiroshima and on August 9, it dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki. As a result 90,000–146,000 people in Hiroshima and 39,000–80,000 in Nagasaki were killed. Many died due to compounded effect of burns, radiation sickness, and other injuries. Six days after the bombing, Japan announced its surrender to the Allies. On September 2, the empire of Japan signed the Japanese Instrument of Surrender in Tokyo Bay aboard USS Missouri.
5) Sri Aurobindo’s birthday:
The great Indian nationalist, philosopher, yogi, and poet, Sri Aurbindo was born on August 15, 1872. In the first decade of 20th century, Aurbindo became involved in the nascent revolutionary movement in Bengal. He was later arrested in the aftermath of a number of bomb outrages linked to his organisation and was charged with treason. However, Aurobindo could only be convicted and imprisoned for writing articles against British rule in India. He was released when no evidence could be provided. However, after his release, he got more inclined towards the spiritual way of life and moved to Pondicherry. He developed a spiritual practise he called Integral Yoga. His important literary works are The Life Divine, The Synthesis of Yoga which deals with practical guidance to Integral Yoga, Essays on the Gita, The Isha Upanishad, Savitri: A Legend and a Symbol, an epic poem and so on. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1943 and for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950.