15 August 1947: The wheel has come full circle and the British who went to India to trade are now once more in India only as traders

The British people have no yearly celebration of a national birthday, for it would be hard to say when the life of contemporary Britain began, but in this respect they are unusual. To many countries a national day is as necessary as a national flag. July 4 and July 14 are likely to be hallowed dates for centuries, and October 10 to be revered by many hundred million Chinese of the future. To-day, August 15, on which Indian independence is inaugurated, may in time become a date no less revered than these other anniversaries, and by an even larger number of people. And the Indian national day may also have a prouder distinction. For while the national days of other countries so often commemorate glorious but bloody events Indians to-day are able to rejoice at achieving their independence without the prelude of country-wide civil war to which some months ago many had resigned themselves.

Related: Mr Jinnah, founding father of independent Pakistan: from the archive, 12 August 1947

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