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India - Historical Setting

The euphoria of independence was short-lived as partition brought disastrous consequences for India in the wake of communal conflict. Partition unleashed untold misery and loss of lives and property as millions of Hindu and Muslim refugees fled either Pakistan or India. Both nations were also caught up in a number of conflicts involving the allocation of assets, demarcation of boundaries, equitable sharing of water resources, and control over Kashmir. At the same time, Indian leaders were faced with the stupendous task of national integration and economic development.

When the British relinquished their claims to paramountcy, the 562 independent princely states were given the option to join either of the two nations. A few princely states readily joined Pakistan, but the rest--except Hyderabad (the largest of the princely states with 132,000 square kilometers and a population of more than 14 million), Jammu and Kashmir (with 3 million inhabitants), and Junagadh (with a population of 545,000)--merged with India. India successfully annexed Hyderabad and Junagadh after "police actions" and promises of privileges to the rulers. The Hindu maharajah of predominantly Muslim Jammu and Kashmir remained uncommitted until armed tribesmen and regular troops from Pakistan infiltrated his domain, inducing him to sign the Instrument of Accession to India on October 27, 1947. Pakistan refused to accept the legality of the accession, and, as a result, war broke out. Kashmir remains a source of friction between the neighbors. The assassination of Mahatma Gandhi on January 30, 1948, in New Delhi, by a Hindu extremist opposed to Gandhi's openness to Muslims ended the tenuous celebration of independence and deepened the hatred and mutual suspicion in Hindu-Muslim relations.

Economic backwardness was one of the serious challenges that India faced at independence. Under three successive five-year plans, inaugurated between 1951 and 1964 under Nehru's leadership, India produced increasing amounts of food. Although food production did not allow self-sufficiency until fiscal year 1984, India has emerged as the nation with the seventh largest gross national product in the world.

Linguistic regionalism eventually reached a crisis stage and undermined the Congress' attempts at nation building. Whereas in the early 1920s, the Congress had deemed that the use of regional vernaculars in education and administration would facilitate the governance of the country, partition made the leaders, especially Nehru, realize how quickly such provincial or subnational interests would dismantle India's fragile unity. However, in the face of widespread agitation for linguistic separation of states, beginning with the Telangana Movement in 1953, in 1956 Nehru reluctantly accepted the recommendations of the States Reorganisation Commission, and the number of states grew by reorganization along linguistic lines. The states became the loci for democratization of political processes at district levels, for expression of regional culture and popular demands against a national culture and unity, for economic development at strategic localities in the rural areas, and for proliferation of opposition parties that ended the possibility of a pan-Indian two-party system.

India in 250 B.C.

6. India in the 2nd Century A.d.

7. India in 350 A.d.

8. The Empire of the White Huns in the 6th Century A.D.

9. India in the 7th Century A.d.

10. India in 1022 A.d.

11. India in 1236 A.d.

12. India in 1318 A.d.

13. India in 1398 A.d.

14. India in 1525 A.d.

15. The Portuguese Power in the East at its Zenith, 1550-1600 A.d.

18. India in 1605 A.d.

19. India in 1700 A.d.

20. To illustrate the Early Mahratta History.

21. Mysore, the Dominions of Chick Deo Eaja Wadeyar, 1704 A.d.

23. India in 1751 A.d.

22. To illustrate the Wars between the English and French in the Carnatic, 1746-1763 A.d.

24. Haidar's Dominions in 1780 A.d.

25. To illustrate the Four Mysore Wars, 1784 A.d.

26. The Principal Mahratta States in 1795 A.d.

27. India in 1795 A.d.

28. India in 1805 A.d.

29. India in 1823 A.d.

30. India in 1848 A.d.

India in AD

India in AD

India in AD

India in AD

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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 15:37:24 ZULU