Post August 15, 1947, India’s journey has become a great example of an impressive growth story. The journey highlights India’s expansion ranging from agricultural production to nuclear and space technology, from affordable healthcare to world-class educational institutions, from Ayurveda to biotechnology, from giant steel plants to becoming an IT power, and having the third-largest start-up ecosystem in the world.
As India is celebrating the 75th anniversary of its independence, let us look at what have been the historic events, most significant achievements and major milestones during this period: On August 15, 1947, India gained its independence from British Rule.
Our First Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, delivered the famous 'Tryst with Destiny' speech to the Indian Constituent Assembly in Parliament just before the clock struck 12, on August 14, 1947. On August 15, Pandit Nehru hoisted the Indian National Flag above the Lahori Gate of the Red Fort in Delhi.
On November 26, 1949, the Constituent Assembly of India adopted the Constitution of India. Later on January 26, 1950, the Constitution of India became effective. The Constitution of India replaced the Government of India Act 1935 as the country's fundamental governing document, and the Dominion of India became the Republic of India.
The Constitution of India is the supreme law of India. Every year, on January 26, India celebrates its Republic Day. Our First Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, presented the First Five-Year Plan to the Parliament of India in 1951. The First Five-year Plan mainly focused on the development of the primary sector and was based on the Harrod–Domar model with few modifications.
The motto of the first Five-Year Plan was agricultural development. The main objective was to solve different problems that formed due to the partition of the nation. Rebuilding the country after independence was the vision of this plan.
General elections were held in India between October 25,1951and February 21, 1952. They were the first elections to the Lok Sabha after independence in August 1947. The First session of Lok Sabha commenced on May 13, 1952. Total Lok Sabha seats were 489 and total eligible voters were 17.3 crores. The Indian National Congress (INC) won 364 seats.
The first Lok Sabha lasted its full tenure of five years and was dissolved on April 4,1957. Jawaharlal Nehru became the first democratically elected Prime Minister of India.
Under the Air Corporations Act, 1953, Nehru nationalized nine airlines - Air India, Air Services of India, Airways (India), Bharat Airways, Deccan Airways, Himalayan Aviation, Indian National Airways, Kalinga Airlines and Air India International - and brought them under two PSEs, Indian Airlines and Air India International.
The State Bank of India was incorporated on July 1, 1955. The Government of India nationalised the Imperial Bank of India in 1955 with the Reserve Bank of India taking a 60 per cent stake and the name was changed to the State Bank of India. Indian coinage went decimal on April 1, 1957, 10 years after it gained independence from the British.
The Indian Coinage Act was amended in September 1955 to embrace the decimal system. After the amended Act came into being, a circular issued by the comptroller and Auditor-General of India in April 1956 said: ’Government accounting with effect from April 1, 1957 is tube maintained in terms of rupees and naye paise instead of rupees, annas and pies. All challans in support of money tendered in payment of Government dues are, therefore, to be expressed in the new coinage.
The Annexation of Goa was the process in which the Republic of India annexed Estado da Índia, the then Portuguese Indian territories of Goa, Daman, and Diu, starting with the armed action carried out by the Indian Armed Forces in December 1961.
In India, this action is referred to as the "Liberation of Goa".The Sino-Indian War between China and India occurred in October–November 1962. A disputed Himalayan border was the main cause of the war. The war ended when China declared a ceasefire on November 20, 1962, and simultaneously announced its withdrawal to its claimed "Line of Actual Control”.
The launch of the first sounding rocket from Thumba near Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala on November 21, 1963, marked the beginning of the Indian Space Programme. Sounding rockets made it possible to probe the atmosphere in situ using rocket-borne instrumentation. This was the first milestone in modern India’s space odyssey.
Vikram Sarabhai and his then accomplice APJ Abdul Kalam were the brainchild of this achievement. The Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 or the Second Kashmir War was a culmination of skirmishes that took place between April 1965 and September 1965 between Pakistan and India.
The conflict began following Pakistan's Operation Gibraltar, which was designed to infiltrate forces into Jammu and Kashmir to precipitate an insurgency against Indian rule; It became the immediate cause of the war.
On August 15, Indian forces crossed the cease-fire line. On September 20, the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a resolution, demanding an unconditional ceasefire from both nations within 48 hours. While India immediately accepted the demand, Pakistan accepted it on September 23. On Shastri’s sudden death in January 1966, Indira Gandhi was named leader of the Congress Party—and thus also became prime minister—in a compromise between the party’s right and left wings. Her leadership, however, came under continual challenge from the right wing of the party, led by former minister of finance Morarji Desai.
ISRO was formed in 1969 with a vision to develop and harness space technology in national development while pursuing planetary exploration and space science research. ISRO replaced its predecessor, INCOSPAR (Indian National Committee for Space Research), established in 1962 by India’s first Prime Minister Pt Jawaharlal Nehru and scientist Vikram Sarabhai, are considered among the founding fathers of the Indian space program.
Operation Flood, launched on January 13, 1970, was the world's largest dairy development programme and a landmark project of India's National Dairy Development Board. The Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 was a military confrontation between India and Pakistan that occurred during the Bangladesh Liberation War in East Pakistan from December 3, 1971 to the fall of Dacca (Dhaka) on December 16, 1971.
The Emergency in India was a 21-month period from 1975 to 1977 when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared a state of emergency across the country. Officially issued by President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed under Article 352 of the Constitution because of the prevailing "internal disturbance", the Emergency was in effect from June 25, 1975 until its withdrawal on March 21, 1977.
Elections were canceled, civil liberties were suspended, most of Indira Gandhi's political opponents were imprisoned and the press was censored. Numerous human rights were violated during that period. The Emergency is one of the most controversial periods of independent India's history.DD became national when it started to telecast national programs in the year 1982. In the same year, color TVs were introduced in the Indian markets.
The first color programs were the live telecast of the Independence Day parade on August 15, 1982, followed by the Asian Games being held in Delhi. On June 25, 1983, the Indian Cricket Team created history for the first time by winning the World Cup by defeating West Indies who had won the last two world cups. India’s Victory in 1983 is considered to be the landmark moment in Cricket History. 83 World cup was played in Lord's Stadium (England). For the first time, an Asian Nation-India reached the World Cup Final and this was the third consecutive World Cup final appearance for the West Indies.
On May 30, 1987, Goa attained statehood (while Daman and Diu became a separate union territory), and Goa was reorganised into two districts, North Goa and South Goa. Dayanand Bandodkar was elected as the first Chief Minister of Goa, Daman, and Diu. Goa became India's 25th state on May 30, 1987.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India was constituted on April 12, 1988 as a non-statutory body through an Administrative Resolution of the Government for dealing with all matters relating to the development and regulation of the securities market and investor protection and to advise the government on all these matters.
Agni-I was first tested at the Interim Test Range in Chandipur at 7.17 am on May 22, 1989 and was capable of carrying a conventional payload of 1,000 kg (2,200 lb) or a nuclear warhead. Agni missiles consist of one (short range) or two stages (intermediate-range). The three branches of the new economic policy of 1991 were Liberalization, Privatization, and Globalization.
The immediate factor that triggered India's economic reforms of 1991 was a severe balance of payments crisis that occurred in the same year. The first signs of India's balance of payments crisis became evident in late 1990 when foreign exchange reserves began to fall.
The Government of India under Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda and the Government of Delhi jointly set up a company called the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) on May 3, 1995, with Elattuvalapil Sreedharan as the managing director. On May 11 and 13, 1998, 24 years after Pokhran –I the Indian DefenceResearch and Development Organization (DRDO) and Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) conducted five further nuclear tests, dubbed "Pokhran-II", at the Pokhran range.
The chief scientific adviser and the Director of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Dr Abdul Kalam, and Dr R Chidambaram, the Director of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), were the chief coordinators of this test planning.
The Kargil War, also known as the Kargil conflict, was an armed conflict fought between India and Pakistan from May to July 1999 in the Kargil district of Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere along the Line of Control.
On July 26, 1999, India marked the successful completion of “Operation Vijay” by declaring victory over Pakistan in the Kargil war, ending the three-month war along the Line of Control. The day since then has been celebrated as “Kargil Vijay Diwas”. Jharkhand was carved out of 18 districts of Bihar in the year 2000 November 15.
Later, six more districts were carved out by reorganizing the existing districts. Pratibha Patil is an Indian politician and lawyer, who was the first woman president of India from 2007-2012. Chandrayaan-1 was the first Indian lunar probe under the Chandrayaan program which was launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on October 22, 2008. The mission was a major boost to India's space programme, as the country researched and developed its own technology to explore the Moon.
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act or Right to Education Act (RTE) is an Act of the Indian Parliament that was enacted on August 4, 2009. It describes the modalities of the importance of free and compulsory education for children between the ages of 6 to 14 years in India under Article 21A of the Indian Constitution.
When the Act came into force on April 1, 2010, India became one of the countries in the world to make education a fundamental right. The NITI Aayog, the apex public policy think tank of the Indian government, and the nodal agency tasked with catalysing economic development, and fostering cooperative federalism through the involvement of state governments of the country in the economic policy-making process, was established on January 1, 2015.
The Goods and Services Tax, popularly known as GST, was launched at midnight on July 1, 2017, by the President of India, and the Government of India. It was marked by a historic midnight (June 30- July 1) session of both the Houses of Parliament convened at the Central Hall, and it was attended by high-profile guests from the business and the entertainment industry.
In 2020, India witnessed the COVID-19 pandemic and people were confined to their homes because of the resultant lockdown. The tale of lockdown began on the evening of March 24, 2020, when the Government of India ordered a nationwide lockdown for 21 days, limiting the movement of the entire population to thwart the outbreak of the pandemic.
It came after a 14-hour voluntary public curfew on March 22, followed by enforcement of a series of regulations in the COVID-19-affected regions in the country. Droupadi Murmu took oath as the 15th President of India on July 25, 2022. She contested against Yashwant Sinha, the joint opposition’s nominee for the top constitutional job. Draupadi Murmu is a tribal leader from Rairangpur in Mayurbanj district in Odisha. Jagdeep Dhankhar was on Thursday, the August 11 2022 sworn in as the 14th Vice President of India and chairman of Rajya Sabha.
On the 75th Independence Day of India; people are celebrating Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav to acknowledge the development and growth of India post-Independence. Democracy has ensured that virtually every region of India and every group is represented at the highest levels of office in India. Women leaders have been elected as Prime Minister, President and Speaker of the Indian Parliament, and Chief Ministers of several of India’s large state.
(The views expressed are personal)