It’s been 71 years since India secured independence from the British, yet seven decades on, the country continues to be afflicted with poverty, corruption, caste discrimination, communalism among other things.
Since independence, there have been many important events which have changed the post-colonial experiment called India. From the communal riots like the anti-Sikh riots in 1984 and the 2002 Gujarat riots which attempted to laugh at Indian secularism to the implementation of the Mandal Commission which ensured that the marginalised were incorporated into India’s story of development, there have been many incidents.
Awaaz nation brings 7 events which had an enormous impact on India.
1. India-China War Of 1962
In the midst of trying to get back up on its feet after around 200 years of colonial savagery, India faced the inhumanity of war. Communist China, another post-colonial experiment like India took advantage of India putting its military on the back seat and attacked on October 20, 1962, in Ladakh. In about a month, on November 21, around 80,000 Chinese troops got the better of an unprepared Indian military which numbered anywhere around 10,000-20,000.
The war left an indelible mark on both the nations and its effect can still be felt today. As the two countries debate and discuss the Doklam standoff, came the controversial statement from the Chinese media that “India will suffer great losses than in 1962” if a war were to break out today, suggesting just how much the war continues to impact Indo-Chinese relations.
2. The Emergency
Indian democracy received its most major assault till date on June 25, 1975, when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared Emergency in the country and every fundamental right that an Indian citizen cherished was locked away safely till March 21, 2017, when the country could finally breathe democracy again.
Many of the leaders who went to jail protesting the Emergency went on to change India’s political and social landscape forever. It included politicians such as Lal Krishna Advani and Lalu Prasad Yadav.
3. Implementation Of The Mandal Commission By VP Singh
After India gained independence, it was recognised that Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes had been exploited and there was a need to provide them with reservations in educational institutions and jobs. However, the Other Backward Classes, who comprised of a large section of India’s population had not been integrated into the wheels of social justice.
But all of this changed on August 7, 1990, when Prime Minister VP Singh announced that the Mandal Commission report had been accepted. The report, which was submitted in the year 1980 had recommended 27% reservation for OBCs at each and every level of service.
Millions of young people whose ancestors had been forced to take up certain specific jobs were now knocking on the doors of India’s best universities. This brought enormous socio-economic and political prosperity for many in the country.
4. Liberalisation In India
The Union budget presented by then finance minister Manmohan Singh on July 24, 1991, has to be the most historic budget in Indian politics. It paved the way for the economic reforms which liberalised the Indian economy. India was going through a balance of payment crisis which made the government take this radical decision.
The idea was to break free from the license-raj which made it an uphill task to conduct business due to government interference. Indian economy became more integrated to the global economy. The competition had successfully entered the Indian market. Without the markets have opened up, India would never have become one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
5. Demolition Of The Babri Masjid In 1992
Mobs influenced by the ideology of Hindutva were unable to digest that more than 400 years earlier a Muslim ruler had the audacity to destroy a Ram temple, where the god is believed by some to have been born.
Hindutva mobs were mobilised by Hindu nationalist outfits like Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bharatiya Janata Party since the 1980s to rally for the cause of building a Ram Temple in place of Babri Masjid, a mosque built during Mughal emperor Babur’s reign in the 16th century. On December 6, 1992, thousands of karsevaks got inside the temple complex and destroyed the mosque.
6. 2008 Mumbai Terror Attacks
The terror attack which began on November 26, 2008, is popularly known as 26/11.
Multiple bombings took place in different parts of the city, the Chhatrapati terminus railway station was attacked and terrorists infiltrated into the Taj hotel. Overall, 166 people lost their lives in a terror attack carried out over a period of three days by ten terrorists.
7. Narendra Modi Becoming The Prime Minister In 2014
After the results of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections were announced on May 16, 2014, two important records were broken at once. For the first time in India’s electoral history, a political party other than the Congress had a majority in the Lok Sabha as the BJP had won 282 seats and the Indian National Congress, India’s oldest political party was reduced to its all-time worst tally of 44 seats.