India has not attained the objectives that it set out to achieve when it woke to freedom at midnight one August night in 1947. But, even with all the dejection around, the 66 years of independence have not been uneventful for there have been sparks of achievements and success attained that have filled the heart of each Indian with pride. Struggle to rise and claim its place among the comity of nations will require more than nerves of steel of every Indian and as the country goes on to celebrate another Independence Day this August it would be an opportune time to reflect and count top 10 proud moments in the brief history of post-Independence India.
10. India becomes polio free nation – January 2011:
Years of successfully running the pulse polio campaign bore fruits. After January 13, 2011 no polio case has been reported in India. Only in 2009, the country accounted for half of the world’s polio cases but for more than two years (after a two-year old girl was paralyzed by polio in Howrah district of West Bengal on January 13, 2011) no case has been reported from anywhere in the country. It remains one of India’s sweetest success stories.
9. India becomes trillion dollar economy – April 2007:
Unleashing the creative entrepreneurial skills of Indian businesses as the economy was liberalised in 1991, by April 2007 the developing economy of post-Independence India had catapulted into the trillion dollar economy club. India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at market prices was valued at Rs.41,00,000 crore for 2006-07 that on exchange rate basis for the day translated into more than 1 trillion dollars. In 2000-01 the country’s GDP was estimated to be below $500 billion.
8. India wins Cricket World Cup – June 1983:
Hockey remains the national sport of India but it is cricket that fans swear by as religion in the over 1 billion people nation. It was at the Mecca of cricket, the Lord’s ground in England on June 25, 1983, that India defeated reigning champions West Indies to lift the third edition of Prudential World Cup. Since that day the sport has only gained in popularity and remains one of the proudest sports moments of post-Independence India.
7. Success of India’s Space Program – 1980:
Successful indigenous launch of SLV-3 satellite in 1980, announcing India joining the world’s elite government space agencies was a moment of triumph not just for the scientific community but for the whole country. India has since achieved tremendous success in its space program.
6. Triumph of democracy, End of Emergency – March 1977:
June 26, 1975 has been labelled as post-Independence India’s darkest hour when authoritarian and dictatorial forces threatened to derail the nation’s democracy after President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, on the advice of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, imposed state of emergency in the county. It was the triumph of democracy after Gandhi called for elections on January 23, 1977, released all political prisoners and success of Janta Party at the vote to put an end to the period remains one of the finest moments in the history of the nation.
5. India gate crashes to join World Nuclear Club – 1974:
With unsecure borders to defend in the north, north-west, west and east India, nuclear weapon deterrence, an essential requirement for the defence of the country’s policy, achieved success with the successful testing of a nuclear device ‘Smiling Buddha’ in 1974. As a responsible nuclear weapon armed country, India has abided by nuclear non-proliferation, laying emphasis tapping nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. India’s nuclear program started in March 1944 and by 2012 was generating 4780 MW of power to be the fourth largest contributor in meeting the nation’s energy requirements.
4. India-Pakistan War and Birth of Bangladesh – December 1971:
Right after the birth of India, the armed forces had to fend the nation’s territory in Kashmir. They fought Pakistan again in 1965 but it was the 13-day decisive 1971 India-Pakistan war that stands out as a watershed moment in the nation’s history. It was on December 16, 1971 that Pakistan Armed Forces signed the instrument of surrender putting an end to hostilities. The war created Bangladesh out of what was East Pakistan to put an end to a two front war with Pakistan, forever.
3. Bhakra Dam, Green Revolution & achieving food self-sufficiency – October 1963:
Elevated as a temple of modern India by then Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru, construction of the Bhakra-Nangal multipurpose dam was started by pouring the first bucket of concrete on November 18, 1955 and completed on October 22, 1963. One of the largest all concrete dams in the world laid out on River Sutlej, the Bhakra dam, other than generating electricity, ushered the Green Revolution and helped the nation to achieve food self-sufficiency; a no mean feat for a country as large as India.
2. First Parliamentary Election – 1952:
For a new-born democracy, holding a free and fair election on a scale where the geography involved was larger than Europe’s, the first general election of 1952 was a test of people’s resolve to firmly banish foreign rule through democratic empowerment. Success of the electoral process, keenly watched and documented by global agencies, did entrust the Indian National Congress with the right to form post-Independence India’s first democratically elected government. On May 13, 1952, Jawahar Lal Nehru assumed office as the country’s first Prime Minister.
1. Declaration of the Indian republic – 1950:
Birth of a nation is a proud moment for any people. Founding of the Republic of India, on January 26, 1950, is the proudest moment of post-Independence India. Setting the nation on the course of strong democratic traditions, leaders of stature, fresh from having spent long years in prison fighting British oppression, embarked the country on the path where ‘We the people’ chose to take up the responsibility of shaping its destiny. Stamping the day with authority of self rule, Dr. Rajendra Prasad was sworn in as the first President of the Republic of India.