At the stroke of midnight on this day in 1947, India’s decades-long movement for independence culminated as the nation became a sovereign republic. Today’s Doodle, illustrated by Kolkata, India-based guest artist Sayan Mukherjee, celebrates India’s Independence Day and its cultural traditions forged in centuries of historical progress.
Home to over an estimated 1.3 billion people, India is inhabited by one-sixth of the total global population and is characterized by the thousands of distinct languages and ethnic groups within its borders. Indians across the subcontinent’s 29 states celebrate their freedom and multicultural spirit with customs such as traditional dance performances, which vary depending on regional culture.
The Doodle artwork illustrates these diverse forms of dance. From the classical tradition of Bharatnatyam depicted on the far left to the oldest Indian dance style with origins stretching back 3000 years in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. Depicted third from the right, the masked reenactments from Indian epics known as Chhau dance have origins in the eastern state of Jharkhand, the Purulia Chau, and the Seraikella Chau regions. The far right dancer depicts dance from Kathakali.
Happy Independence Day, India!
Guest Artist Q&A with Sayan Mukherjee
Today’s Doodle was illustrated by Kolkata, India-based guest artist Sayan Mukherjee. Below, he shares his thoughts behind the making of this Doodle:
Q. Why was this topic meaningful to you personally?
A. As an Indian, Independence Day has always been a meaningful day for each and every Indian. I remember the flag hoisting ceremony from school, it always felt very special and a sense of pride to see the national flag flying.
Q. What were your first thoughts when you were approached about working on this Doodle?
A. When I was approached to work on the Doodle, I started thinking about India's rich heritage, culture, tradition and so on. Since India is such a vast country with such a diverse population there is only one thing that holds all of us together and that is our unity in diversity. I tried to capture that from the Doodle.
Q. Did you draw inspiration from anything in particular for this Doodle?
A. Yes, I did draw inspiration from many Indian traditional dance forms, their posture and attire.
Q. What message do you hope people take away from your Doodle?
A. I have used different Indian dance forms to show the diversity of the country and coming together seamlessly on a stage performing. That shows the unity among each other being different. It is the unity of India which is holding us all together strong. I hope people take that from the Doodle.