Clement Attlee, the then Prime Minister of the British finally declared that India would be granted Independence. When news of this broke out, major political parties and communities, especially the Sikhs, the Congress and the Muslim League started negotiating.
The Partition of India
In 1947, The Muslim League launched Direct Action Day. Its purpose was to convey that an undivided India would no longer be possible.
On June 3rd, 1947, Lord Mountbatten, the last British Governor General in India announced the partitioning of India into a secular India and a Muslim Pakistan.
On August 14th, 1947, Pakistan was declared as a separate nation with Muhammed Ali Jinnah as its leader.
On August 15th, 1947, at the stroke of midnight, India was declared an independent nation.
While there were widespread celebrations across the country, this joyous period was also scarred with violent clashes between Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs. At least 500,000 thousand people were said to have been killed during this period and many women were abducted. Around 11 million Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs crossed borders.
In the midst of all this confusion and bloodshed, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehrurequested Lord Mountbatten to continue as the Governor General until the next year, when he would be replaced by Rajagopalachari.
Assassination of Mahatma Gandhi
The year following independence, Gandhi was assassinated. The entire nation mourned his death. Two years following Gandhi’s death,’Bitstream Charter’, the constitution of India was drafted, and on 26th January, 1950, India was proclaimed a Republic. Dr. Rajendra Prasad became the first President of India, taking over the reigns from Rajagopalchari.
After decades of conflict, India finally tasted freedom. Even though India was free from the British, it retained some of its influence, especially in the educational system, the use of English Language, the printing press, cricket, etc. Ever since India came into being, it has been a mix of diverse cultures and societies. India’s history has always been rich and interesting. It produced some of the greatest leaders the world has ever seen. In the last half century, India has grown at a staggering rate, that has brought it prominence on the world stage.
Many people predicted that India would break into smaller countries because of its cultural diversity. However, with all its problems, India has remained a sovereign country, one that is democratic and unique because of its cultural diversity. The constitution of India was drafted by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, which was adopted when India became a Republic on January 26, 1950.
The state of Goa still remained under Portuguese rule, even after Independence. However, on December 19, 1961, it was annexed to India when the Indian Army, backed by the Air Force, ended the Portuguese rule. India fought its first war against China in 1962, which resulted in India’s defeat, as they were not prepared for such wars. However, in 1965, India emerged victorious in the war against Pakistan. India then went on to win the second Indo-Pak War in 1971. The result of this war was the creation of Bangladesh out of East Pakistan.
On May 18, 1974, India conducted its first nuclear test at Pokharan, Rajasthan, initiated by the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi. Since then many more scientific milestones have been achieved, like for example the Chandrayaan-1 space mission. India has also become a major hub in the field of Information Technology (IT) with a large number of foreign corporations setting up base in India.
India has also produced world-class scientists, doctors, engineers, journalists and sports-persons who have all excelled in their individual fields. Today, India, against all odds with over a billion people, stands as the largest democracy in the world.
India is fast catching up with the modern western world with tall buildings and huge malls. India is at third place, just after China and USA, where mobile phone users are confirmed. Bollywood, India’s film industry, produces almost about a 1000 films in a year, and has already surpassed Hollywood. India is poised to become one of the most fascinating and most visited countries of the world.