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The STORY OF INDIA in 75 Independent Years



Today is 15th August. It is a date with destiny. A total of 6 countries got Independence on this date in different years. You can say they were destined too.

Bahrain
Congo
The Two Koreas
Liechtenstein

and my country, India.
The largest and the most vibrant democracy in the world. A country that is diverse in every single sense.

Geographically, Socially, Culturally, Linguistically.

Since Colonial Rule, a nation of 1.3 Billion people will celebrate the fact that they have proven wrong every Western Commentator who predicted doom upon a young country in the late 1940s, all the way up to even 1970s.

75 Years ago at midnight India made tryst with destiny. An independent India was born.

Drained and Divided but desperate to make on its own.

How would one describe this journey of seven and a half decades?

Its been a staggering, astonishing, colossal and a monumental journey this past 75 years. And no what foundations, morals a man or a country shows; it all boils down to

ECONOMY

The British crown looted 45 Trillion dollars from India. From raw materials to the Kohinoor diamond. The British took it all. The thumbs of weavers were cut off. Indian peasants were crushed. The brightest jewel in British crown was left with a prospect of a dim future.

Dr. Verghese Kurien, Milk Man of India


At the time of Independence the per capita Income of India was Rs. 230/- i.e 2.89 dollars. The average income was 1/15th of what an average American earned. There was poverty, hunger. The task before India was to lift itself.

And it did.

There was rapid Industrialisation. Three successful revolutions.

Green revolution (1960) – India saw an increase in food grain production.

White revolution (1970) – India began the world’s largest dairy development program. Today India is world’s largest milk producer.

Blue Revolution – Rise in Aquaculture production


India opened itself to the world in 1991. The economy opened its doors for Free Trade with the Foreign investors. Globalised its Economy. Privatised its banks. And 75 years later India is one of the world’s largest leading economies.

From less than 3 dollars, India’s global per capita income has grown to almost 2000. Its share in the world GDP is 3.28%

7 Decades back India was an import dependent country. Today more and more global companies are Making in India or want to make in India.


GEOPOLITICS


India somehow successfully navigated the cold war. It became a political force for decolonisation.

India liberated Bangladesh. It reached out to Africa, successfully de-hyphenated Israel and Palestine. Struck strategic partnership with the gulf.

Today world powers see India as an important partner. A leading voice in International politics and forums.

The Face of Peace.

Indo-China War
Indian Soldiers patrolling Indo-Sino border 1962
Dalai Lama – Nehru and his coming over to India in 1959


Of course the journey has been more than just hard. There were huge security issues right from the day go, almost moving along like a shadow.

In 1948 – Pakistan’s incursion into Kashmir
In 1962 – The war with China over Tibet and Dalai Lama crossing over into India three years ago then.

1965 – Weakened India tested again by the Pakistan forces.
1971 – The major war with Pakistan to liberate what today is known as Bangladesh.
1999 – The Kargil War with Pakistani troops
2020 – The stand off with Chinese forces in Doklam, later Galwan and which is still very much ongoing on the Border in Eastern Laddakh.

But on every single occasion India showed the world that its capable of defending itself. Capable of resisting any attempt to redraw its map.

India taught the world tolerance, Universal acceptance and none of it was easy.

Churchill on Gandhi


Winston Churchill, former UK PM had dismissed India’s experiment with self-governance, why? Because India was socially diverse.

More than 22 languages,
20,000 dialects
numerous religions and numerous regions.

Churchill said, India is merely a geographical expression. It is not a single country than the equator. He was convinced that the Independent India wont be able to stay together. And well,

Churchill was wrong.

India remains united and grows stronger with every passing year. Its success as a secular state has surprised many. Of course there have been ups and downs.

India survived partition. Assassinations of its three prime leaders. One outside India. Operation Blue star and many small and big riots. But which country does not go through any of this, and which country can even claim to be this diverse.

None on this planet.

Polio Vaccinations



In the initial years post independence it was tough keeping such a huge country together. One of the biggest challenges was public health or the lack of it.

In 1947, the average life expectancy in India was 32 years. There was a rampant spread of communicable diseases like malaria and Tuberculosis.

In 1947, India registered 75 million cases of Malaria. Its total population was 330 million. Almost 23% of its population had malaria.

By 1964, the numbers came down but then Polio arrived. Until mid 1990s everyday around 500 children were getting paralysed. But India fought it. And was declared Polio free by 2014. Today, eradication of Polio is a case study of healthcare success for the world.

India also eradicated Small pox and as we read this, India is running one of the largest vaccination program.

India’s health care system is one of its biggest achievements. We hardly appreciate it because there’s lot that is not right. But when you look where we started, the achievements look astounding.

The life expectancy since Independence has gone over 100% from 32 years to 70.19 years. This is one of the most important Indecators of human development. Today India is called the world’s pharmacy. She exports medicines to almost 200 countries and regions.


Also most notable achievements came in TECHNOLOGY.

India decided to go to space just 17 years after Independence. It set up Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR). India’s first rocket launch happened in 1963, from a town called Thumba. The rocket parts were transported in bicycle and bullock carts. Today, India is a well established space power. It has reached Mars.

Rocket parts being transported I
Rocket parts being transported II


India was also the first country outside the permanent UNSC members to test a nuclear bomb. And it did this despite the world’s best efforts to derail it. Reports say, that the CIA killed an Indian Scientist only to road block the nuclear journey. But as children growing up in poor India, the stories we learnt was the ‘How’ we conducted the nuclear tests.

The US had deployed a satellite over India to spy. Every 12 hours it would return. So the work done on the nuclear site was done during the night and equipment would return in the morning to its original place to evade the detection by the US satellites. Code names were used. The thermonuclear device for example was placed in a shaft named ‘White House’.

On 18th May 1974, India took the world by surprise. Out of nowhere the news of success of the nuclear tests arrived. India became a nuclear power. And the operation was called ‘Smiling Buddha’.

The director of the India Nuclear Research Institute, Raja Ramanna told the then PM Indira Gandhi, Buddha has smiled.


Also read : The Sins of America

PM Indira Gandhi inspecting the Site
Smiling Buddha
Site after the nuclear test


How did India achieve all this? First, Democracy and second, Literacy.

From the very first day after Independence every adult in India had the right to vote. And just for reference it took the US 150 years to adopt Universal Adult franchise. In the last 75 years Indian population has grown from 370 million to 1.3 billion. States have been reorganised. But the sanctity of elections have never been compromised. They are chaotic yes, even controversial but they are held without fail every five years.


Also read: At War with the Truth. Afghanistan and her Killers

Voting in Kashmir


There have been dark periods like the emergency in 1975, Operation Blue Star, Riots somewhere or the other but it did not last and that is the thing about India’s story. Its far from perfect. There is corruption, inefficiency and everything else that we keep complaining about yet India’s democracy has delivered.

It has elevated poverty, built world class infrastructure and sent Indians to space. To winning beauty pageants, gold medals and to lead world’s biggest companies.


Also read: One time at a Rural School in India


Literacy has played an important role here. When India became independent 4 out of 5 people could not read. The literacy rate was around 9%. For India to grow it had to educate its people. It made free education a fundamental right. Schemes like

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (Educate All Mission)
Mid Day Meal

insured that the children found their way to schools. India expanded its infrastructure. In 1947, India had only
28 medical schools,
4 Dental Colleges,
33 Engineering Colleges

Today, they are over 6000.

Metro in India
Gurgaon Cyber City
Double Flyover in Delhi

Today, the India that could neither read or write is now the world’s biggest talent pool. Top Engineers, doctors, Indian origin CEO’s all bear testimony to India’s growth and transformation.

Today India is home to 1.4 Billion people. Its progressive yet rooted in its Culture and Values. It is home to the world’s youngest population, World largest democracy, World’s largest Film Industry, World’s largest diaspora population, World’s largest Road network, Leader in Climate Action. A market that every company wants to enter and a strategic force that every government wants to partner.

Today as India celebrates its historical achievements. It also has a clear vision of the future.

This is India at 75


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Thank you.


If today is the first time you have arrived on The Road to Nara, you are heartily welcome ~ Namaste


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I will take this opportunity to introduce you to About me and importantly;

As a co-traveller, my Ten Lessons from several years on the roadbefore you coarse on youown Road to Nara.



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Also, You will be to know about My Little School Project. If you wish to come over for a visit someday, that you must, you will be heartily welcome here

If you would like to contribute to my travels, you can please do so here


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If you have anything to share, or feel like saying a hello, please feel free to write to me at nara@road-to-nara.com

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Research and Content from various Sources and Publications


78 Comments

  1. Thank you, Nara for writing this amazing post. Many in the west are ignorant of India’s great advances. Happy Independence Day 🤍🙏

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Ashley, thank you for your uplifting words. It is alright even if people there do not know about India. It is hard with so much to know at our expense, but India is advancing surely, I will agree to that. My wishes dear Ashley. Thanks again.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Best wishes to you on this significant anniversary. India has a great deal to be proud of and much to teach the world. Thank you for your detailed post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks much Caro for your uplifting mesaage yesterday. Slowly India is standing on her own. It was completely my pleasure. Thank you again.

      Like

      • The fact is, of course, India should never have been colonized in the first place, though historically, it’s what has always happened, over and over. Will we ever evolve?

        Like

  3. Thoroughly researched, and passionately and beautifully presented. The images of satellites being transported on bullock cart and bicycle really lit me up ~ do what you can with what you have, eh? We think we need much more than we do. Your work shines light on all of us, blessings to you 🙏🙋

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dearest Ana sis, your words themselves carry that light which is what you might be seeing through me. You are one such being.

      And truly, things and the passion with which some things were achieved in this land are unthinkable, at least quiet a few. And our forefathers did everything what whatever they had at hands.

      Thank you so much. I was smiling all evening yesterday.

      Like

  4. The cult of ignorance in my country scares me. Every nation that has had to fight its way to the modern world has put a high priority on literacy. It inspires me very much to read this. Thank you.

    Like

    • Dear Martha, that is true. How much ever we think there are other things at work behind a nation or a person’s success, i think education has really been the bedrock. As we see humongous progress today in tech was only possible because children took to computers, understood it, learnt coding. I am with you Martha. Thanks for your insightful comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Winston Churchill was a brilliant politician who successfully navigated UK through World War 2, but he surely missed it on describing Ghandi and India!
    This powerhouse of human resource may have an even larger role to play in the world as the US fades into history, Putin ruins what is left of Russia and China oppresses its own people to keep Xi in power.
    Just read a fascinating novel as a break from “serious literature,” called “2034.” Turns out it was written by a former commander of NATO, and has a fascinating place for India in its narrative!
    THANX for this marvelous review of India’s history. May The God Who Is bless this wonderful nation into the next 25 years and beyond.
    ❤️& 🙏, c.a.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear c.a Churchil was very good to UK i feel so but he had no feelings to his so called ‘slave or colonial’ countries. I do not know if you have gone into English history and what his decisions did here. You will be awestruck with the barbarism he unleashed during his years here.

      We too believe so c.a as China has expanded so much, so fast, forcefully and deceitfully that now problems have started to come out for us to see.

      Thank you c.a for your brilliant and insightful remarks.

      Liked by 1 person

      • We are all a mixture of good and bad. No one is exempt. And we always hope, in a democracy, that we will elect “good” people to high positions.
        The best news is that Jesus forgives… even kings who commit adultery and murder (King David) and He has forgiven me.
        Now I try to walk in His light as He leads. Hopefully I’ll do better than Churchill! 😅

        Like

  6. There is something incredibly moving to read the passionate words of deep love for India on the occasion of the 75 years of Independence Day by the well-known
    Narayan Kaudinya, the author of many posts about Indian culture.
    This post is different because, with great eloquence, Narayan articulates the astonishing achievements of his country left to fail by the invaders but instead it stands tall and proud despite all the odds. The list of the progressive facts in the economy, and technology, including medical advancements, space exploration, education, and development of infrastructure, all against the background of the vast diversity in the country of 22 languages, 20,000 dialects, numerous religions,
    yet, every one striving towards the same goal – to achieve the best for the country they love beyond this life. The fascinating, unknown facts and the unseen before photographs make this post an unmissable gem.
    Thank you, Narayan, for this magnificent tribute on Independence Day.

    Bharat Mata ki Jai – Long live Mother India.

    Joanna
    ,

    Like

    • Dearest Joanna, I could really feel your words. Your comment that is so precise, perfect. Your understanding of India astonishes me now. You know very few people could embrace the love, feeling and very slowly the language.
      It is true that the journey has been painfully long, not because of the length but what all happened in between. The sacrifices of men and women alike. Even before I was born people have done enormously, against all odds the unthinkable. Thanks for mentioning the photographs because even us Indians whenever we see our scientists carrying rocket parts on bicycle and bullock cart, i feel so proud and inspired.

      Thank you for the wishes Joanna.
      Bharat mata ki Jai – Jai Hind – Jai Bharat

      Like

      • Thank you, Narayan, for your kind comments. I should add the important achievement of the Indian nation – overcoming after the Independence,
        the infamous British mantra:
        “Divide and Rule,” which lead to the partition of India.
        Now people live side by side united for the benefit of their motherland, India.

        Joanna

        Like

        • Divide and Rule, yes Joanna. And may be I can write something on it. Something important that even you mentioned after watching Gurinder Chaddha’s film. I also want to know what you thought after watching it.

          Like

  7. India’s independence is such an inspirational story of victory over oppression and occupation. Happy Independence Day!

    Like

  8. Such a beautiful compilation Nara! Love this magnificent post. Thanks for sharing dear friend and Happy Independence day!
    💖💖

    Like

    • Cheryl, happy to see you. Hope you are staying well. Thank you very much for the wishes. And hopefully India, if she remains at peace, it will spread the peace. Thank you again.

      Like

  9. Do not whitewash Churchill by giving diversity as a reason why he thought India would fail as a nation. From his writings about what then were British colonies, it is clear that today he would be called racist, holding the belief that only the English could rule properly. He thought nothing of killing three million Indians by hoarding food for British troops during the war. He was made aware of it by his cabinet colleagues, so you can’t say that he did not know about it. New Zealand wanted to send grain ships to India for relief, and he would not allow that either.

    Like

    • Not at all I.J. I had already written much about him while I was writing about MK Gandhi. And atleast you did point out, i had to stop myself in not going into more details about people as this essay was all about India. But you know and it could be obvious that people hardly know what all he did actually outside his country.
      But I did not know about New Zealand was kept away from even sending help, that is unpardonable.

      Thank you I.J for your more than insightful comment.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Not at all I.J. I had already written much about him while I was writing about MK Gandhi. And atleast you did point out, i had to stop myself in not going into more details about people as this essay was all about India. But you know and it could be obvious that people hardly know what all he did actually outside his country.
      But I did not know about New Zealand was kept away from even sending help, that is unpardonable.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Yes, we have come a long way, and we have many reasons to be happy. But I fear that the last few years have undone much of the good that we’ve achieved. I hope with all my heart that we return to our senses before any further damage is done..

    Like

    • Dear Harini, its always good to hear from you. First of all I hope the rain must be enchanting one and all around there in the western ghats. I just wish .. someday !

      Dear good and bad will keep happening, its an ever going process and so much so for Political gains and loss it is like a river. Until flood comes or drought over takes, everything is going just fine. But Yes, tough times are coming ahead. Not just for the country but for the world over.

      You take care and smile.

      Liked by 1 person

      • What you say is true, Narayan. There will always be good times and bad. But one can hope for great things if only we focus on important issues like roti kapda makaan and of course cleanliness. Our country is dissipating all its energy and the gains of the last 75 years in politics. May Bharat Mata give her children the wisdom to focus on the health and happiness of all – human and others..

        Like

  11. Thank you for this post. The photo of rockets being transported made me smile. I remembered my paternal grandfather. He wrote about going for his wedding in bullock carts. This was in 1916.

    Like

    • Thank you Lakshmi Ji. Once it must have raised eyebrows but today these same photos make us proud. And inspire us. My own father rode a buffalo cart to his wedding Lakshmi Ji. Thanks for your affectionate comment.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Your posts always delight me, Nara. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. Happy anniversary. I apologise on behalf of the British for what was stolen or damaged or destroyed. Blessings from the heart.

    Like

    • Thank you Dawn for your beautiful comment. It delights me too. India is special to a lot of people and how she has at least tried to conduct herself in a righteous manner, upholding those values that are old and connect nature to all beings possible. I didn’t know you are from UK. And to tell you what britishers did, we have managed to make the best out of it; one of them being I writing to you in your language. The federal system is like how it is still practised in Britain. Connectivity through rail and many small and big lawns and monuments. So it is me who should welcome you to come over for a visit here. Blessings received. Thank YOU Dawn.

      Like

  13. Well summarized.
    Like someone said…Whether India needs the world can be debated, but the world needing India cannot be. I add…as the largest functioning democracy, a largely peacable population, rich, productive land and a desire to consume without shame.

    Like

    • Thanks for the insight Ankur. You are right and somewhere it does seem as we enter the last phase of 25 years, the ascent, coming together of the sight towards one and a prosperous India.

      But it won’t happen too soon or early. And only after the wars that are simmering all across the world. Thanks again. I am.yet to write a second part of the tribute. Let’s see when! Thanks again.

      Like

  14. Excellent article Narayan. Your 75th anniversary coincides with my year of birth too – I am 75. I have always been interested in India and have known a few Indian people here in Australia. I’m very aware of the fine minds of Indian scientists, mathematicians (Ramanujan!) and IT professionals. I am quite fond of Indian jazz too.
    I very much wish India did not feel the need to possess nuclear weapons, but … I know why you feel the need. Good luck to you and India.

    Like

    • Peter, apologies for writing late.

      This is a historic context. You being as young as free India. Yes Australia hosts quite a few Indian population and offline two countries apart from cricket have come closer politically too.
      Peter, you already are aware of her culture a bit but you see soft power gets you nothing. Giving yoga and meditation will only get you to the mat. Had we had not have the nuclear you wouldn’t have seen half of our states as China and Pakistan are too aggressive towards us to ignore.

      I will visit you soon and even come back again to share something with you. Thanks for writing this beautiful comment.

      Like

    • Thanks so much for the exciting and ehilerating comment dear Cornelia. Yes 75 years is as new as old. Almost. And was celebrated country wide this time. People were happy, proud of how things are making some sense now. What Brits did dear friend was once taken with a pinch of salt but may be in the long run it made Indians search for integrity and self respect may be. The country came together and politicians stood by the test of time. So all was well dear Cornelia.

      Thank you for your wishes. Its lovely to be coming from you who herself has spent good time here.

      Like

  15. Excellent post. Have read it more than a month late. But you have summarized India and all her glory beautifully.

    Like

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