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Discovery celebrates 20th anniversary in India with special series

MUMBAI: Infotainment broadcaster Discovery celebrates its completion of 20 years in India on the same day as India’s commemorates 69th year of independence. The channel will air a special programme on the occasion.

Titled ‘India Emerges: A Visual History’, the special is a three-part series that will bring alive pages from history books, placing viewers at the epicentre of the story of contemporary India. The programme will unfold rare archival and never-seen-before footage to narrate the story of the birth of independent India. Discovery will air this exclusive programme every evening at 8 pm from 14 to 16 August.

The line-up will take the viewers back into history of India’s freedom struggle spanning the period of the British Raj, winding its way through tumultuous decades of the Indian freedom movement. It will talk about the battles of 1948, 1965 and 1971, the regime of Indira Gandhi, the period of Emergency, and Operation Blue Star. The exclusive footage will take viewers to the stroke of midnight and along new borders where a devastating partition will be unfolded. Having made its way through the ages, the series will culminate on the emergence of a strong, progressive, and vibrant India that came into being after many challenges.

Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific executive VP, GM South Asia Rahul Johri said, “It’s a proud moment for us as we complete 20 glorious years in India. What further amplifies the excitement is we celebrate this day on the 69th year of our independence. Marking this momentous occasion, we are happy to bring forth a programme that will narrate the stories of India and its emergence. The special line-up will revive the many memories of independence and unveil some of the intriguing facts of India’s freedom.”

Episode 1: The Raj will narrate an era that predates the idea of India as a single entity, when a fractious political landscape was ripe for the colonial ambitions of European imperialists. Through the 17th and 18th centuries, the film will track the rising influence of the British East India Company, from purely mercantile to political, until finally in the 19th century, when Queen Victoria officiated the transfer of power from ‘Company to Crown’.

As the hour reaches its conclusion, viewers will be left on the cusp of the Indian freedom movement. With resistance in the air, the people of India will be shown beginning to wake up to a new national consciousness.

Episode 2: March Towards Freedom will narrate how modern India was born. The programme will make the viewers travel back to the days of British Imperialism, India’s movement to break free and emerge as an independent nation. As the film traces the rise of Indian resistance movements, it also tracks parallel events unfolding across the globe including World War II.

The programme will showcase exclusive footage of the mass rallies where leaders including Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru and Maulana Azad urge the people towards non-violent struggle and the demand for ‘Swaraj’. Rare archives will take viewers into the chambers of Savarkar’s Hindu Mahasabha and round table meetings of the Jinnah-led Muslim League. As the second part of the film draws to a close, India’s independence becomes imminent.

The third and final episode, ‘A Nation Is Born’, will take viewers into the days leading up to India’s independence from British rule. Extensive and exclusive footage will take viewers through the phenomenal journey of how the two nations were formed along the Radcliffe line—India and Pakistan.

The archived footage will feature the process of nation building as India dedicates herself to overcoming her challenges. It will also highlight the White House reels of Jacqueline Kennedy’s visit to India to help trace India’s steady upward rise in the global arena. As the series reaches its conclusion, India is placed firmly in contemporary times, having emerged from its compelling history as the world’s largest democracy.