10 historical turning points for modern India - Online History

10 historical turning points for modern India


In this article, we are defining the post-independence situation of India, in which we will know 10 such facts which gave historical turning points to India…


1- 1947: India was partitioned to form Pakistan


As the day ended on 14 August 1947, the new states of India and Pakistan gained independence from British rule. Yet it was one of the darkest moments in the history of the subcontinent. The partition drove at least 12 million refugees – Muslims, Sikhs, and Hindus – across the new borders of divided Punjab. The exact number of men, women, and children killed in the violent massacres is not known, but certainly, hundreds of thousands were killed.

2- 1948: Gandhi is assassinated


Less than six months after India achieved independence, Gandhi was shot dead while en route to a prayer meeting in Delhi on 30 January 1948. The killing of the Mahatma (‘Great Soul’) stunned the nation. The assassin was linked to an extremist Hindu group angry at Gandhi’s conciliatory approach to Pakistan and Indian Muslims in the aftermath of partition. Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India, was to become even more determined to make India a secular state.

3- 1950: India adopted its first constitution


The written constitution, approved by prominent politicians in a constituent assembly in the years following independence, was adopted on 26 January 1950, when India was declared a sovereign democratic republic. The day is a public holiday, marked by a military parade in New Delhi. It is the longest national constitution in the world, has been amended several times over the years, and has been the subject of countless debates over its meaning. The Constitution remains a blueprint for maintaining India’s secular and democratic base.

4- 1962: India and China clashed on the borders


A dangerous high-altitude border war between India and China was fought in the mountains that formed the border between the countries. The conflict was partly a legacy of historical territorial disputes but also stemmed from other tensions, including India’s role in harboring exiled Tibetans following the Tibetan uprising against Chinese occupation in 1959. India was swiftly defeated after Chinese troops entered Indian territory, although a ceasefire was agreed upon. A month later the Chinese retreated (albeit retaining more territory than before the battle). India’s defeat was a blow to those seeking regional cooperation and encouraged more military spending and real politics abroad

5- 1975: Sholay redefined Bollywood cinema


The best Bollywood film ever made – or many would argue – Sholay is a classic tale of two angry young men who struggle against a corrupt state. It stars Amitabh Bachchan, India’s greatest leading man, who ruled Bollywood for over four decades, starring in over 185 films. Sholay blends themes from cowboy westerns, catchy tunes, and witty Hindi dialogues into a definite ‘masala’ mix.

6- 1983: Maruti launches mass-market cars


Since independence, India’s car industry has been dominated by the plush but expensive Hindustan Ambassador based on the Morris Oxford. But in 1983, Maruti, a subsidiary of the Japanese company Suzuki, started production of the Maruti 800 hatchback – India’s first mass-market car. Over the next decade, India welcomed a million new Maruti cars and vans – smaller, cheaper and more modern than ever. Now, many middle-class people could afford a car for work, travel, and entertainment.

7- 1984: Poisonous gas engulfed Bhopal city


During the night of 2/3 December 1984, toxic gases leaked from a pesticide factory in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh – the worst industrial accident in history. More than 2,000 people were killed immediately, mainly in the surrounding slums. Many thousands more died or were affected by disease and disability in the years that followed. Although the factory’s majority owner, the American company Union Carbide, paid compensation in 1989, workers continue to campaign for adequate compensation and for Union Carbide’s owners to be held accountable.

8- 1984: Indira Gandhi was shot by her security guard


On 31 October 1984, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was shot dead by two of her own bodyguards – one of many tragic deaths in the Nehru-Gandhi family. The assassination was linked to Indira Gandhi’s efforts to crush Sikh separatism in Punjab, a situation that claimed many lives in the 1980s. She had recently sent troops to kill terrorists who had taken refuge in the Golden Temple (the holiest site in Sikhism).

9- 1991 India’s economy opened


After years of a closed, protected economy, in 1991 India began to open its doors to global investment and trade. Cities boomed and India’s own Silicon Valley took off in Bangalore. Critics, however, point to vast disparities of wealth and the failure of the state to provide a safety net for its poorest, especially in rural villages in the north and east.

10 2000: India’s population tops 1 billion


India’s population has tripled since independence to more than 1.2 billion and is projected to surpass China’s during the next decade, making it the most populous state in the world. Unlike China, India has never seriously attempted to control its population. Census statistics demonstrate a continued bias towards male children; the phenomenon of ‘India’s missing daughters’ is a controversial issue, claimed to be caused by selective terminations of female fetuses and better treatment of boys. 


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