by Biswadip Nandy and Santanu Ghosh
BALURGHAT: When the whole nation celebrates Independence Day on August 15 every year, the people of Balurghat celebrate their Day of Independence in a different timeline. Yes, it is true as it was three days later on August 18 when the town officially became a part of India in 1947.
Commemorating this, a social welfare organization ‘ Balurghat Bicycle Community’ conducted a bicycle rally in the morning todayfrom the Gandhi statue to the Quit India Movement memorial at Dangi. The members of the team returned to the Balurghat High School ground and hoisted the national flag and sang the national anthem.
As many as 15 cyclists took part in it and offered flowers to the martyrs’ altar there. Later, they spread awareness among the local residents of Dangighat about the significance of the day.
“Instead of August 15, every year we mark August 18 as our Day of Independence. We commemorate the day not only to get Independence from the British but also from East Pakistan and recognize it as the day we officially joined India,” said Tuhinsubhra Mandal, a philanthropist and secretary of Dishari Sankalpo, a nature-lover organization.
“India became independent on August 15. But for three days Balurghat and a large neighbourin g area were under the rule of Pakistan as Notional Area. On August 18th, a large area including Balurghat was annexed to India. The national flag was hoisted in the morning at the district administrative building by the then district magistrate BKAcharya (ICS)and in the premises of Balurghat High School under the leadership of revolutionary Saroj Ranjan Chattopadhyaya. So August 18 is really a significant day for the people of Balurghat” said Dr Samit Ghosh ,a historian in Balurghat.
“East Pakistan flags were flown on the day even after August 15, 1947. They were taken down and replaced by the Tricolour that was hoisted on August 18. We also hoist the national flag on August 15,” he said.