India is celebrating her 73rd Independence day this year. We have not only survived India but lived through its nuances to make this a great country. It has also been a boiling cauldron of World’s largest democracy. Perhaps the essence of India can be felt only by people who have lived in here. India is not what it used to be in 1947 when it gained freedom from the British Empire. It has changed in leaps and bounds and over the years, has become a superpower in the truest sense in the Asian subcontinent. We are and will be not only the oldest but the greatest civilization in the world.
Here are 73 events that have played important roles in shaping India. There may be more which haven’t been covered here and people have varied perceptions but this is what I feel. We have the freedom to differ. This difference in opinion is what has made India strong, resilient and self-reliant.
1. 1948, Assassination of Mahatma Gandhi: A few months after India’s independence, Mahatma Gandhi was shot dead. He never lived to see a redefined India.
2 . 1950, Constitution Adopted: 26th January, India became a Republic and got her own Constitution – For the people, By the People, Of the People.
3. 1951, First IIT set up: The Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur was set up under the mentorship of MIT. This was a big boost for resurgent India.
4. 1951, The First Five Year Plan laid out: The First Five Year Plan was rolled out this year, proposing a new developmental method for a new India. It was later replaced by the Modi Govt. in 2014 by the NITI Ayog.
5 . 1953, State Reorganisation Committee (SRC) set up: The First State Reorganisation Committee was set up and states were divided on the basis of languages. This caused an identity turmoil among people who were looking out for their own land against the cultural hegemony of the states formed.
6 . 1954, BARC established at Trombay: The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre was established at Trombay under Homi Bhabha, which was laid the foundation of a Nuclear India.
7. 1957, Periyar Movement: The Periyar Movement gained ground for a Dravid Movement against the hegemony of Northern India.
8. 1959 Dalai Lama Seeks Refuge: HH Dalai Lama entered India, leading to strained relations with China forever. This was one of the reasons for the Indo-China war of 1962. However, it also reflected the magnanimity of the Indian Government.
9. 1960, Green Revolution: The first seeds of the Green revolution was sown by Dr M S Swaminathan for feeding the huge population of India
10. 1963, Bhakra Nangal Dam commissioned: Started in 1948 and called the ‘New Temple of Resurgent India”, Bhakhra Nagal Dam was Commissioned to be constructed.
11. 1961, Non-Aligned Movement: In retaliation to the Cold war, India and 120 countries started the Non-Aligned Movement to protect the Sovereignty of the developing countries
12 . 1965, Anna Movement: C N Annadurrai once again picked up the Periyar Movement and rejected Hindi as the National Language of India, making a strong bid against the Hindi heartland of India.
13. 1966, Death of Lal Bahadur Shastri: Sudden death of Lal Bhadur Shastri in Tashkent made way for dynastic politics in India and placed Mrs Gandhi on the hot seat of the PMO.
14. 1966, Reliance established: Reliance was established by Dhirubhai Ambani, which would stir the Indian corporate world in the next 50 years.
15. 1966, Aizawl Bombing: The first civilian bombing of Aizawl city by India. This remains as an indelible mark on the history of military India and the ideals of democracy.
16. 1969, Naxalite Movement begins; The Naxalbari Movement went on to sow the seeds of Naxalism in India, both from moderate to extreme.
17. 1970, Operation Flood: In with AMUL which was itself established in 1949, Operation Flood was launched for milk sufficiency in India
18. 1971, Bangladesh War: The third Indo – Pak war resulted in the formation of Bangladesh. Something which Pakistan will always want to avenge and create the never-ending crises in the Kashmir Valley.
19. 1973, Chipko Movement: Gaura Devi, S L Bahuguna and C P Bhatt paved way for the first environmental movement in India against the wood mafia.
20. 1974, Pokhran I: India blasted the first atomic bomb and was declared a nuclear-enabled country.
21. 1975, Sikkim Merger: The Map of India was redrawn when Sikkim was merged with India making it the 22nd state.
22. 1975, Aryabhatta: The first satellite of India was launched. It was a big boost to ISRO and Space Technology of India in the days to come.
23. 1975, Emergency Declared: Emergency was declared by Indira Gandhi and it virtually crippled democracy in India. Something we will never forget.
24. 1977, 1st Non-Congress coalition Government: The birth of coalition politics and the death of Congress began in 1977 with the first Non-congress government under Morarji Desai.
25. 1981, Infosys established: Infosys was set up by seven entrepreneurs that changed India’s computer capability.
26. 1982, Maruti-Suzuki – 800 launched in India: The launch of the so-called poor man’s car, Maruti Suzuki laid the foundation of affordable cars in India. It also gave a big impetus to the auto industry.
27. 1982, Doordarshan broadcasts across India: Though established in 1959, Doordarshan became available nationwide with the beaming of Asian Games (live).
28. 1983, India Wins Cricket World Cup in England: The cricket craze began with the winning of World Cup in England by the team led by Kapil Dev.
29. 1984, Kolkata Metro: The first underground railway broke the barriers of having subways of our own and giving a new way of transport for city commuters.
30. 1984, Operation Blue Star: The Khalistan Movement under Bhinderwale peaked with the attack on Golden temple. Blue Star was launched to wipe out this separatist forces forever.
31. 1984, C-DoT established: The Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT) was established in 1984 with an initial mandate of designing and developing digital exchanges. This was the foundation for a Digital India
32. 1984, Assassination of Indira Gandhi: In retaliation to Operation Blue Star, Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her bodyguards leading to Anti Sikh riots across India. A price which the Congress had to pay for a long time. This event also strengthened the Hold of Nehru –Gandhi family by declaring Rajiv Gandhi, someone who had zero political ambition, as the PM of India.
33. 1984, Bhopal Gas Tragedy: One of the worst environmental disasters was the leaking of MIC gas on 6th December. The victims still suffer even after years and await justice.
34. 1985, Assam Accord: After a bloody struggle, the Assam Accord was signed paving the way to peace and development in the NE region. However, the image of NE was forever tarnished.
35. 1985, Punjab Accord: The Khalistan Movement came to an end with the signing of the Punjab accord and bringing lasting peace in Punjab and the northern belt of India. The damage however was enormous for the common man.
36. 1985, Narmada Dam Andolan (NBA): The NBA laid the foundations for Anti-Dam movements across India and is still stays strong as an example.
37. 1987, Sri Lankan Crises & IPKF: India sent Indian Peace Keeping Force to Sri Lanka to control the LTTE. However, the ramifications would be felt much later in India.
38. 1987, Ramayan (TV Serial): The teleserial Ramayan broadcasted on Doordarshan changed the face of television in India. It also paved the way to the resurgence of Maryada-Purshottam Ram in the National Political scenario.
39. 1989, Voting age reduced: The reduction of voting age from 21 to 18 was a huge step in empowering the youth of India.
40. 1989,Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF): Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front became active and militancy took an ugly turn in the Kashmir valley which India is still battling with till date.
41. 1989 , Mandal Commission: The promulgation of Mandal Commission providing 27% reservation for OBC became a flashpoint for caste-based politics in India.
42. 1991, Assassination of Rajiv Gandhi: In retaliation to IPKF, Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated at Sriperumbudur by LTTE. A loss that was felt across the nation and also steered the South Indian politics together with the establishment of the P V Narasimha Rao as the head the first successful coalition government at the centre.
43. 1991,Panchayati Raj Act: The Panchayati Raj became effective across India to strengthen the grassroots in India.
44. 1991, Liberalization: The liberalization and globalization policy was enacted under the leadership of Dr. ManMohan Singh, leading to corporate India.
45. 1992, Demolition Of Babri Masjid: The biggest Hindu-Muslim divide that led to the rise of Hindutva politics started with Kar Seva, the Rath Yatra of Advani and the demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. India will remain scarred for eterniity.
46. 1993, Cable television: The opening up of satellite channels (STAR and ZEE) made way for satellite television. It all started with cable television which was later replaced by Satellite TV and set-top boxes.
47. 1993, Mumbai Blast: The Mumbai Blast and the Hindu-Muslim riots are incidents that India and Mumbai will never forget. It tore the secular fabric of the country eternally.
48. 1994, Miss World & Miss Universe title won by Indian women: The glamour and fashion industry together with a surge for fashion among the Indian masses was propelled by Sushmita Sen and Aishwarya Rai winning the Miss Universe and Miss World title.
49. 1995, Mobile network: Mr Jyoti Basu made the first call from Kolkata to start the mobile phone revolution India.
50. 1998,Pokhran II: India once again enhanced its nuclear capability by blasting the fusion bomb once again at Pokhran test site.
51. 1999,Kargil War: Kargil was the flashpoint once again when India and Pakistan fought. India finally won the war but lead to huge casualties.
52. 1999, AGNI Missile: The first inter continental ballistic missile was test-fired this year, making India join the elite league of developed nations in missile capability.
53. 1999,Super Cyclone: The super cyclone in Odisha led to more than 10,000 deaths. This was one of the first warnings of climate change and started the debate on natural disaster preparedness.
54. 2001,Parliament Attack: The attack on Parliament was the first terror attack that changed the way India viewed terrorism in India and consequently, sowed the seeds of nationalism.
55. 2002, Godhra Riots: The Godhra Riots was one of the worst riots we witnessed and should be ashamed of in the 21st century.
56. 2003,Yoga and Ramdev: The broadcast of yoga for all on Astha Channel, made yoga a household name leading to the declaration of International Yoga Day in 2015.
57. 2004, Tsunami: The deadly Tsunami was again a reminder of how ill-prepared we are for mitigating any natural disaster. It led to the formation of NDRF.
58. 2005, Right to Information (RTI) Act: The right to Information act brought in a new dimension to democracy and gave the power to the people to know everything about the Government.
59. 2006, MGNREGA: One of the largest social schemes was the Mahatma Gandhi National Employment Guarantee Act. This almost affected half of the people of India.
60. 2007,Flipkart launched: The First Indian Online Store was started. This also paved a way for Amazon and other Online stores after about ten years
61. 2008,Indian Premier League (IPL) started: Indian Premier League changed the face of Cricketing in India and the world. The sport changed from a serious game to entertainment and money minting event.
62. 2008 , Mumbai Attack: The Mumbai Terror attack (26/11) once again jolted India when the financial capital of India was rocked.
63. 2009, Right to Education (RTE) Act enacted: The Right to Education was a path-breaking Act to bring about growth in our country’s literacy rate.
64. 2010, OLA started operations: OLA, an Indian company was established in Bangalore and almost after 3 years UBER came to India. City commuting significantly changed after this.
65. 2011, Anna Hazare: Anna Hazare (stated as the new age Bapu) and India Against Corruption was one of the biggest civil society movements. It also showed the power of social media in capturing the Indian thought process.
66. 2012 Nirbhaya Rape Case One of the most dastardly acts that rocked India and also questioned the change in Juvenile crime .
67. 2014, Modi Govt: The arrival of Modi in national politics once again paved way for personality-driven politics. It also led to the establishment of Right-Wing politics in India replacing the caste-based politics.
68. 2014,Mangalyan: The MoM orbiter (Magalyan) was a sign of resurgent India in space capability, leading the way to India becoming a Space superpower.
69. 2015,AAP govt: The Aam Admi Party’s historic win in Delhi was an indicator that a different type of politics was possible in India. This was the JP movement of new India.
70. 2016, Demonetisation: The country will never forget the Demonetisation drive launched by the Modi government. It was also a shift from paper currency to plastic money and digital methods of transaction.
71. 2017, GST One India one Tax: The Goods and Services Tax was the biggest shift in the tax regime in India, with long term impacts in the economy.
72. 2018 Section 377: The abrogation of IPC Section 377 was a move towards establishing LGBTQ+ rights in India and doing away with outdated colonial laws criminaalising homosexuality.
73. 2019, Abrogation of 370 and 35A: The much-debated special status for J & K was removed by the Modi government. The implication of this step would be something that we await to see.
Note : There were other events too which deserve special mention – Establishment of University Grants Commission (UGC) ( 1956), Goa becomes part of India (1961), Indo Chinese war (1962), Drought in India (1965), The breaking up of Assam into smaller states and the politics of special status(1972), JP Movement (1974), Amitabh Bachhan in Lok Sabha and Bollywood(1984), The Bhagalpur Riots(1991) , Latur Earthquake (1993), MakeMyTrip portal started (2000) , NITI Ayog established (2014) and the much recent Chandrayan-2 (as the rover has still not landed) and many more. These events have moved and shaken India, and perhaps we can add more to this ever-growing list!
By Satyadeep S Chettri. The writer is a regular columnist and can be contacted at email@example.com )
NB: Views/Opinions expressed in the article or write up is purely of the author or writer. For any queries or contradictions, the author can be contacted in his/her email id.