Every year in India, the most important historical date of October 26th is celebrated as Accession Day – the day the states of Jammu and Kashmir were united into India. This day only began to be widely celebrated recently, only being officially documented in 2019.
The states of Jammu and Kashmir belonged to the regions under the control of the British Empire from 1846 until the end of 1947. Though officially ruled by Britain, all decisions were made by local rulers. In August 1947, the British Empire gave the heads of the principalities the choice of independence. On October 26th, despite many disagreements between the rulers and their assistants, they managed to join the composition of India. This period of history is well-documented with many different events.
There are many interesting facts associated with Accession Day:
- The anti-monarchist movement in the states was started by Muslims who wanted to join Pakistan.
- After the accession, the first war between India and Pakistan began.
- Separatists who want to annex these states to Pakistan consider October 26 to be a “Black Day”, and have staged uprisings and wars to prevent them from joining India.
How to take part
A characteristic feature of Accession Day celebrations is the lighting of large fires. This festival of lights symbolizes the victory over the British Empire. Though not as grandiose as Republic Day, tourists often make the effort to witness the event. The holiday is mainly observed in the north of the country.
Events usually begin with a speech from the city administrations of these regions. A march of Indian military personnel in front of the audience is an obligatory part of the celebration, displaying the independence of the regions.
When is Accession Day celebrated in 2023?
Accession Day is observed on October 26 each year.