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THE 74 YEARS JOURNEY OF INDEPENDENT INDIA

India is not just a home to 1,380,004,385+ people. It carries in its veil a history of struggles and downfalls; developments and victories. It has had a transformational journey of its own. A journey that defines not just the country but every citizen of India. On the occasion of the 74th Independence Day of India, here are the top 74 important events that define India’s journey since Independence:

1) Partition (1947): The most defining moment in Indian history: The Partition divided British India into two separate nations. Riots on the name of the Hindu nation and Muslim nation killed 2 lakh people and displaced around 14 million people from their homeland.

2) The first Kashmir War: The 1st Kashmir war was fought between India and Pakistan over the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir from 1947 to 1948. The war ended after Maharaja Hari Singh handed over the accession to India. Kashmir has been in a state of disturbance since the partition.

3) Right to vote: From the very first day after Independence, India gave every adult the right to vote, ensuing the spirit of Independence.

4) Railway network nationalization: Railways network was nationalized in 1951 and was initially divided into three zones.

5) First general elections: India took a democratic leap by conducting its first general elections in 1951. Jawaharlal Nehru became India’s first prime minister after Congress won the elections by winning 364 of 489 seats.

6) First Asian Games: India hosted the first-ever Asian Games in the year 1951 in New Delhi.

7) Asia’s first nuclear reactor: Apsara was designed and built by India in 1956. It is Asia’s first nuclear reactor.

8) First movie nominated for Oscars: In 1958, Mother India (directed by Mehboob Khan) became the first Indian movie to be nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.

9) Green Revolution: The Green Revolution in India in 1960 saw an increase in food grain production, with development of high-yielding varieties of wheat and pulses.

10) Sino-India war to Ban China Movement: Owing to certain border issues at the McMohan Line and Line of Actual Control the Sino-India war was fought in 1962. After so many years, the India-China issue is again triggered by certain territorial disputes. India has banned 59 Chinese Apps and aims to eradicate China from the Indian Economy, hence become a self-sufficient nation.

11) Nationalisation of Banks: 14 banks were nationalised by the government in 1969 and many more were nationalised in April 1980.

12) White Revolution: In 1970, India saw the White Revolution — the world’s biggest dairy development program. It transformed India from a milk deficient nation into the world’s largest milk producer.

13) Simla Agreement: India and Pakistan signed the Shimla Agreement in 1972 “to settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations”.

14) Chipko Movement: The Chipko Andolan was a forest conservation movement in India. It began in 1973. It has evolved into a mass campaign of planting and protecting trees over the years.

15) Pokhran 1: In 1974 India successfully conducted its first nuclear test, Pokhran 1. It’s code name was “Smiling Buddha”.

16) First Indian satellite made: India designed the first space satellite in 1975, named Aryabhata.

17) Emergency: Another important period in Free India was the Emergency declared by Indira Gandhi from 1975-1977. It resulted in the suspension of elections and rights of citizens.

18) 1976 mass sterilization: The mass sterilization drive initiated by Sanjay Gandhi in 1976 was one of the most infamous incidents. In 1976 alone, the Indian government sterilized 6.2 million men, with about 2000 deaths owing to botched-up surgeries.

19) First non-Congress PM: The Janata Party defeated the Congress in 1977 elections and Morarji Desai became the first non-Congress PM of independent India.

20) Mandal Commission: In 1979 the Mandal Commission was set up under BP Mandal to identify the socially and educationally backward classes of India.

21) India wins first Cricket World Cup: In 1983 Kapil Dev brought the World Cup Home for the first time after defeating West Indies by 43 runs.

22) First Indian in Space: In 1984, India sent its first astronaut, Rakesh Sharma into space on a joint mission with the Soviet Union.

23) Operation Blue Star: The military mission to remove militant leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his followers from the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar.

24) Anti-Sikh riots: After Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards, anti-sikh massacre of 1984 killed around 3,000 people.

25) Bhopal gas tragedy: A gas leak incident on the night of December 3, 1984 at the Union Carbide India Limited pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh killed more than 3000 people and left thousands with disabilities. The incident left deep scars on the nation.

26) Shah Bano case (1985): The Supreme Court had upheld the right to alimony in the case. But the Congress passed the Muslim Women Protection on Divorce Act, 1986, overturning the SC verdict.

27) 1986 Bofors scandal: The Bofors scandal was a major corruption case involving the purchase of howitzer guns between India and Sweden and is believed to be one of the reasons for the downfall of the Rajiv Gandhi government in 1989 elections.

28) India hosts the World Cup: The 1987 Cricket World Cup was held in India and Pakistan for the first time.

29) Bhagalpur riots 1989: The Bhagalpur riots of 1989 were one of the most awful Hindu-Muslim riots and lasted for two months. 1000 people were killed and 50,000 displaced.

30) 1990 Mandal agitation: The Mandal commission granted reservation to certain castes on the basis of birth. Thus, the whole country protested against reservations.

31) 1990 Kuwait airlift: The 1990 airlift of Indians from Kuwait was carried out from August 13, 1990, to October 20, 1990, after the invasion of Kuwait. Air India helped evacuate nearly 175,000 people.

32) Globalisation of economy: Indian economy opened the doors for free trade by foreign investors in 1991.

33) Rajiv Gandhi assassinated: Then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil while on a campaign trail at Sriperumbudur on May 21, 1991.

34) Demolition of the Babri Masjid: On December 6, 1992, the disputed Babri Masjid at Ayodhya was demolished by Hindu nationalist groups leading to riots across India.

35) Securities scam: The 1992 Securities Scam is one of the biggest scams in the history of India stock market and was executed by a stockbroker named Harshad Mehta.

36) Mumbai blasts: The 1993 Bombay blasts were a series of bombings coordinated by gangster Dawood Ibrahim which led tothe death of 250 people.

37) First BJP govt formed: In 1998, the first BJP government was formed under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee but it lasted for only a year. After re-elections BJP came back to power, becoming the first non-Congress government to do so.

38) Pokhran II: India conducted a series of five nuclear bomb tests at Pokhran, Rajasthan, in May 1998 under the codename “Operation Shakti”.

39) Kargil war: India launched ‘Operation Vijay’ in 1999 after Pakistani forces infiltrated inside LoC.The war after India successfully recaptured Tiger Hills.

40) IC-814 hijack: Indian Airlines flight IC-814, on its way back to Delhi from Kathmandu, on December 24, 1999, was taken over by five Pakistani hijackers. The 180 passengers and crew on board were released in exchange for three terrorists held by India.

41) Lahore declaration: India and Pakistan signed the Lahore Declaration in February 1999 to avoid unauthorised operational use of nuclear weapons.

42) Match-fixing scandal: Match-fixing was performed by several players of the South African cricket team, during their tour to India in the year 2000. The team was led by Hansie Cronje. The names of Indian players like Mohammad Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja also cropped up in the scandal.

43) New states created: The new states of Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, and Jharkhand were formed on the 1st, 9th, and 15th of November 2000, respectively.

44) Golden Quadrilateral project: In 2001, the Vajpayee govt launched the Golden Quadrilateral, the largest highway project in India connecting four major cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata.

45) 2002 Gujarat riots: The burning of a train in Godhra on February 27, 2002, triggered one of the worst communal riots in the history of India. The riots led to 1,044 deaths, 223 people missing and 2,500 injured.

46) Right to Information Act: The RTI Act was passed by Parliament in 2005. Under the RTI, any citizen of India may request information from a “public authority” and acquire any information they want from government officials.

47) MGNREGA Act: Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Development Act, was enacted in 2005 with the primary objective of guaranteeing 100 days of wage employment per year to rural households.

48) Reopening Nathu La: After the Sino-India war of 1962, the trading border posts between China and India were sealed. The pass was reopened in 2006.

49) Chandrayaan 1: India successfully launched Chandrayaan in October 2008 to explore the moon. Chandrayaan discovered water molecules in the lunar soil.

50) First gold medal in Olympics: Abhinav Bindra became the first Indian to win an individual Gold medal at the Olympics in the 10m Air Rifle event at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

51) Mumbai attacks of 2008: Lashkar-e-Taiba carried out a series of terrorist attacks in Mumbai in November 2008, leaving 166 people dead.

52) Right to Education Act: Parliament passed the RTE Bill in 2009, making education a fundamental right of every child and bridged the gap between different classes of society.

53) First indigenous nuclear submarine: On July 26, 2009, India launched INS Arihant, the country’s first indigenous nuclear submarine armed with ballistic missiles with a range of 3,500 km.

54) Commonwealth Games 2010: India hosted the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. For the first time in the history of the Games, India won over 100 medals (101) and stood second, after Australia.

55) India wins second cricket world cup: Under the captaincy of MS Dhoni, India lifted the cricket World Cup for the second time on April 2, 2011, after defeating Sri Lanka in the finals.

56) Lokpal agitation: India Against Corruption movement that began in 2011 was a series of protests held across India for a Jan Lokpal bill to check graft in politics. It was spearheaded by activist Anna Hazare. The bill was finally passed by Parliament in 2013.

57) National Food Security Act: The National Food Security Act(also the Right to Food Act) was passed in 2013. Its aim was to provide subsidized food grains to approximately two-thirds of India’s population.

58) Mission Mars: On November 5, 2013, the Indian Space Research Organisation successfully launched Mars Orbiter Mission to probe Mars. India became the first Asian nation to reach Mars orbit, and the first nation in the world to do so in its first attempt.

59) Polio eradication: The World Health Organisation certified the South-East Asian region including India, a polio-free region in March, 2014.

60) New state of Telangana: Telangana was separated from the northwestern part of Andhra Pradesh as the newly formed 29th state on June 2, 2014.

61) India launches its own GPS system: India successfully launched NAVIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation), an independent regional navigation satellite system.

62) Demonetisation: In 2016, the government announced the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 banknotes in order to check corruption in the country. New notes of Rs. 2000, Rs 500 and Rs 200 were introduced.

63) Goods and Services Tax: GST (Goods and Services Tax) is one indirect tax for the whole nation. It was deemed effective from July 1, 2017.

64) SC strikes down triple talaq: The Supreme Court struck down the practice of instant triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat. Muslim men no longer had the right to divorce their wives just by uttering talaq three times in quick succession.

65) SC decriminalises homosexuality: In 2018, the Supreme Court restored a landmark Delhi High Court judgment that decriminalised homosexuality in India.

66) Tejas Accepted: India’s first indigenously developed light combat aircraft Tejas received the final operational clearance for induction into IAF in February 2019.

67) Mission Shakti: On March 27, 2019, India successfully conducted Mission Shakti. It was an anti-satellite missile test that could destroy satellites in space through missiles on the ground.

68) Chandrayaan 2: Chandrayaan-2, riding the powerful GSLV Mk-III rocket, was successfully launched at 2.43 pm on July 22 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota. It was launched to study lunar topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, the lunar exosphere, and signatures of hydroxyl and water ice.

69) Abrogation of Article 370 and 35A: On August 6, 2019, the Parliament passed a bill dividing Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories of J&K and Ladakh. After the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A Jammu and Kashmir was scrapped off its status as a special state. The area was under lockdown due to the riots and protests.

70) NRC and CAA: The National Register of Citizens and the Citizenship Amendment Act was passed by the parliament in 2019. It has led to extensive mass protests across the country as many see it as an act that divides the country on the basis of religion.

71) Privatization of Railways: The BJP Government has decided to privatize a part of Indian railways. On July 1, 2020, the Railway Ministry announced that 151 trains in 109 pairs of routes will be operated by private sectors.

72)India gets the Rafale fighter jets: Recently, the Indian Air Force has inducted five new Omni-role Rafale jets amid ongoing border tensions with China. The aircrafts are part of India’s deal with France in 2016 to buy 36 warplanes.

73) Ram Mandir dispute solved: The ground-breaking ceremony for the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya was held on 5 August 2020. In 2019, SC upheld the claim of Hindus to construct Ram temple on the disputed Ayodhya site.

74) New Education Policy: The New Education Policy proposed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development on 29 July 2020 has changed the whole idea of education. It sets out a vision for 2040 with a plan for transforming school and higher education across India.

And the journey shall continue. This journey began at the stroke of midnight on 15th August 1947. Pandit Jawarharlal Nehru hoisted the Indian National Flag and instilled into the citizens of India a sense of pride and patriotism. This 15th August, let’s shun the idea of caste and gender and become Indians first. Happy 74 years of Independence.

Kaveri Yadav
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