July 4th is generally observed as the “independence” day of the United States of America — and deservedly so. However, people usually wish each other “Happy 4th of July” and not “Happy Independence Day” (as they usually do in India instead of saying “Happy 15th of August.”)
For Americans, July 4th is special. On that day in 1776, exactly 242 years ago today (if I have my sums correct), the Declaration of Independence was adopted. Here’s a bit from the always dependable wikipedia:
During the American Revolution, the legal separation of the Thirteen Colonies from Great Britain in 1776 actually occurred on July 2, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence that had been proposed in June by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia declaring the United States independent from Great Britain’s rule. After voting for independence, Congress turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining this decision, which had been prepared by a Committee of Five, with Thomas Jefferson as its principal author. Congress debated and revised the wording of the Declaration, finally approving it two days later on July 4.
So that funny fake quote above has the wrong date. Jefferson should have exclaimed that on the 1st of July, not the 3rd.
Anyway, the point here is that Aug 15th and July 4th represent different concepts. On August 15th, 1947 the British formally granted independence to a part of India they had colonized for over a century. Why the British chose that day and year is a matter that need not detain us now but when how long was the struggle for India’s independence?
7 years and two months
To answer that question, let’s see how long it took the Americans to gain independence. It is reasonable to take the adoption of the declaration of independence — July 4th, 1776 — as the formal starting point of the struggle for independence. And it is reasonable to take the signing of the Treaty of Paris of Sept 3rd, 1783 which ended the American Revolutionary War as the date on which King George III recognized that the US was no longer British territory. By that metric, the struggle for independence lasted seven years and two months.
90 years and three months
Indians started their struggle with the Indian Rebellion of 1857 which was directed against the rule of the East India Company, a proxy ruler for the British Crown. That started in May 1857 and lasted a year and a half. After the British crushed that rebellion, India came under direct control of the British Crown.
I think it is reasonable to consider Aug 15th, 1947 to be the end of the British Crown’s sovereignty over India. Therefore you could say that the struggle for India’s independence lasted around 90 years and three months.
British Raj is Dead; Long live the British Raj
But I think that it is not correct to say that the British Raj ended. India is still ruled by proxy by the British. India is ruled by dead Britishers. Most of the major rules that Indians struggle under were made by the British between 1857 and 1947. They are the rules made by an oppressive government and imposed on a people who were beaten into submission. The same rules are used by all the governments that followed the British to oppress and continue their submission. Certainly the Indians do vote in free and (often) fair elections but that does not make them free. They vote to choose who their masters are to be. Most of these new oppressors are Indian born but are no less damaging to India than the foreign invaders.
Indians have still to vote for freedom. The struggle for freedom which started at the very latest in 1857 has not really ended. And the end is nowhere in sight.
Happy 4th of July.
 Most historians have concluded that the Declaration was signed nearly a month after its adoption, on August 2, 1776, and not on July 4 as is commonly believed.
 Fun fact: The Treaty of Paris of 1783 has to be distinguished from other treaties of Paris. There are at least 47 treaties signed in Paris, starting with the first Treaty of Paris of 1229 which ended the Albigensian Crusade, and the most recent one which had to do with the 2015 international agreement on global warming. You could say that like the first treaty of Paris, the 2015 treaty is also a crusade — a religious war against non-believers. While the first ended one crusade, the latest is a declaration of a crusade.