No school kids, less VVIPs: Low-key Independence Day celebrations in India amid COVID-19

Updated: 16 August, 2020 08:14 IST | Sherlin Rajan
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    A portion of the headquarters of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) illuminated in Tricolour to mark the 74th Independence Day, in Mumbai.

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    The iconic Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) lit up in the colours of the national flag, in Mumbai.

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    People pose for photos in front of the BMC headquarters as the archaic structure is illuminated in Tricolour for Independence Day.

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    Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar hoisted the flag at the BMC headquarters in the presence of BMC Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal and other top civic dignitaries.

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    Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray hoists the national flag at his official residence 'Varsha'. Addressing the state on the occasion, Thackeray said the country is now fighting another war for freedom from the grip of the Coronavirus pandemic.

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    Thackeray also unfurled the Tricolour at Mantralaya and the Bombay High Court in the presence of dignitaries. The Chief Minister lauded the efforts of all the COVID-19 warriors like doctors, nurses, police, conservancy staffers, who are working all out, without fear, in the pandemic at great risks to themselves.

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    This year, in view of the pandemic, there were no functions at schools, colleges or universities as in the past to avoid crowds and most families preferred to catch the celebrations on television or participated via social media.

    In picture: A police constable doing the markings for maintaining social distancing, before the parade for 74th Independence day at Mantralaya in south Mumbai.

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    A child dressed in police uniform accepts sweets from a volunteer. A 100-feet tall monumental National flag was unfurled on a hilltop at SRPF, Goregaon, to mark the Independence Day.

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    Thousands of housing societies and residential complexes in Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Aurangabad, Nashik, Nagpur held their own token Independence Day flag hoisting events maintaining strict 'physical distancing' norms in view of the pandemic restrictions.

    In picture: A group of police constables take a selfie after the parade on 74th Independence Day, at Mantralaya.

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    A police constable runs to take cover from the sudden rain after the parade at Mantralaya.

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    Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid homage at Rajghat, the samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi, before heading to the Red Fort for the celebrations of 74th Independence Day, in New Delhi.

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    Keeping in view the health safety aspect, National Cadet Corps (NCC) members were invited to witness the event this year, instead of young school children.

    In picture: Narendra Modi waves at the NCC cadets at the Red Fort in New Delhi.

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    In his address to the nation, Modi lauded the healthcare staff working in the frontline to tackle coronavirus. He said, "On behalf of the entire nation, I want to thank the efforts of all corona warriors. All those healthcare workers, doctors and nurses, who have worked tirelessly to serve the nation. Many have even lost their lives. The nation salutes them."

    In picture: Modi inspects the Guard of Honour at the Red Fort in New Delhi.

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    The Prime Minister emphasised on building 'atmanirbhar' India. He said, "Today, we focus on taking India to new heights, to build a new India - an atmanirbhar (self-reliant) India. India will most certainly achieve this. History is evidence to the fact that when India is determined to achieve something, it has always done so."

    In picture: Narendra Modi unfurls the Tricolour at the Red Fort in New Delhi.

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    Talking about the new education policy, Modi said, "This will shape the India of the 21st century. We will soon have citizens who shape a new India - ones who are global citizens, but know and understand their roots. The new education policy has also focused on research and development to make India a key R&D destination for the world."

    In picture: Narendra Modi salutes after unfurling the Tricolour at the Red Fort in New Delhi.

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    On the Digital India mission, Modi said, "Today, we are adapting to technology at a faster pace than ever before. The nation has accepted new methods of transactions - digital transactions have already crossed Rs 3 lakh crore. In the next 1,000 days, villages across the country will have optical fibre connections available."

    In picture: Narendra Modi addresses the nation from ramparts of the Red Fort in New Delhi.

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    The Prime Minister informed the country that three vaccines for the coronavirus are currently in the testing phase. He said that as soon as the green signal is received from the scientists, the stage is set for mass production of these vaccines in the country.

    In picture: Security personnel stand guard as Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the nation.

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    The PM also launched the National Digital Health Mission. "Every Indian will be provided with a health card. Every test, every disease, which medicines were prescribed by which doctor, when the medicine was given, what were the reports - all this information will be contained in this one health card. This scheme will revolutionise India's health sector," he said.

    In picture: Narendra Modi steps down the dais after addressing the nation.

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    On the LAC standoff, Modi said, "Be it terrorism or expansionism, India is standing up to both and defeating it. From LoC to LAC, whenever India has been challenged, our soldiers have given a fitting response in a language they understand."

    In picture: Narendra Modi greets Defence Minister Rajnath Singh after addressing the nation.

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    In an unprecedented development in 61 years, India's Independence Day celebrations at the Attari-Wagah international border in Punjab were held in the absence of spectators due to coronavirus pandemic.

    In picture: The Border Security Force (BSF) personnel perform during the daily beating of the retreat ceremony on the occasion of the country's 74th Independence Day at the India-Pakistan Wagah Border Post.

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    The flag-hoisting, ceremonial drill and Beating Retreat was a low-key affair.A band performance by BSF personnel was also held on Friday and Saturday evening to mark the occasion.

    In picture: The BSF personnel (dressed in brown) and Pakistani Rangers (dressed in black) perform during the daily beating of the retreat ceremony at the India-Pakistan Wagah Border Post.

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    Those who have witnessed the ceremony during normal times would vouch for the electrifying effect it has on the boisterous audience that sits virtually on the edge of stairs of the spectators' gallery.

    In picture: A BSF guard performs during the daily beating of the retreat ceremony at the India-Pakistan Wagah Border Post.

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    Personnel of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) conduct a flag march in Ladakh on the occasion of India's 74th Independence Day.

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    A child flies a kite in the lawns of India Gate on the occasion of the country's 74th Independence Day, in New Delhi.

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    India Gate decked up in the colours of the national flag, in New Delhi.

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    The Salal Dam in Jammu and Kashmir’s Reasi district was illuminated in Tricolour on the eve of 74th Independence Day.

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    The national flag of India was hoisted alongside the American flag at New York’s Times Square to mark India's Independence Day.

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    The Indian diaspora gathers to celebrate Independence Day, at Times Square in New York.

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    The Indian Tricolor hoisting ceremony at Times Square was organised by the Federation of Indian Associations of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut (FIA), in New York City. India’s Consul General in New York Randhir Jaiswal hoisted the Indian Tricolour.

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    COVID-19 warriors, wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) suits and holding the Tricolour, participate in the Independence Day celebrations in Kolkata.

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About The Gallery

The coronavirus pandemic cast its shadow over the 74th Independence Day function at the Red Fort, with celebrations remaining low-key. This year's event was also unique in many ways - attendees sporting face masks while maintaining social distance, absence of children, and fewer VVIPs. Modi made several announcements, including launch of National Digital Health Mission and a new Cyber Security Policy. In Mumbai, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray hoisted the national flag at his official residence 'Varsha' and the Mantralaya. (Pictures/Satej Shinde, Ashish Raje, Bipin Kokate, PTI, AFP, CMO Maharashtra-Twitter, ITBP-Twitter and ANI Twitter)

First Published: 16 August, 2020 08:00 IST