Post Independence is a period in Indian history. Immediately after India got independence in 1947, the most important task for the Indian leader is draft the constitution of India and also integrate the princely states such as Hyderabad, and regions ruled by other European powers such as Pondicherry etc.
Also, the Indian leader has the responsibility of making India a good economy and making it a scientifically modern nation.
The Indian leaders had a long term perspective. For them, the most challenging task was to make India a sound Economy, remove poverty, education to the masses, food security, etc.
India since independence
- Making of Constitution of India
- Integration of Princely States
- Linguistic Reorganisation of States
- Indian Polity (1947 – 2000)
- Economic Development and Economic Planning
- Growth of Science and Technology
- India’s Foreign Policy
Constitution of India
The Constituent Assembly began its work on 9th December 1946 and Dr Rajendra Prasad was elected as its Chairman.
Dr B.R. Ambedkar was appointed as the Chairman of the Drafting Committee. After a detailed discussion, the Constitution of India was finally adopted on 26 November 1949. The Constitution came into effect on 26th January 1950.
Since then the day is celebrated as Republic Day. The salient features of the Indian Constitution are adult suffrage, the Parliamentary system, Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles.
It provides a combination of federal and unitary forms of governance at the centre and the powers of the government have been clearly stated in the three lists: Central, State and Concurrent.
The President is the constitutional head of the state while the Prime Minister is the head of the Executive. The Prime Minister is the leader of the party that has a majority in the Lok Sabha.
The Indian Parliament has two houses – the Rajya Sabha or upper house and the Lok Sabha or lower house. Each state has its own government headed by the Chief Minister who remains the leader of the majority party in the respective Legislative Assembly.
Thus, democratically elected governments rule the nation and provision is made for periodical elections. The judiciary remains the upholder of the constitution. The Indian judiciary system consists of the Supreme Court at the centre and High Courts in the states.
The subordinate courts in each state are under the control of the High Court.
Integration of Princely States
At the time of Independence, there were 11 British provinces and nearly 566 princely states. After the departure of the British from India, the princes of Indian states began to dream of independence.
With great skill and masterful diplomacy, Sardar Vallabhai Patel succeeded in integrating the princely states with the Indian union by 15 August 1947. Only three of them – Junagadh, Jammu and Kashmir and Hyderabad – refused to join.
The ruler of Junagadh expressed his willingness to join Pakistan against the wishes of the people of that state. Patel sent Indian troops and after a plebiscite, Junagadh joined Indian Union. The state of Jammu and Kashmir bordered India and Pakistan. Its ruler was Raja Hari Singh. In the beginning, he also claimed independent status.
When the Pathan tribes led by Pakistan army officers invaded Kashmir, Hari Singh sought the help of India. Nehru pointed out that under international law India could send its troops only after the state’s accession to India.
Therefore, on 26th October 1947, Raja Hari Singh signed the ‘instrument of accession’ and Jammu and Kashmir have become an integral part of India. In the case of Hyderabad, the Nizam refused to join the Indian union. After repeated appeals, in 1948 Indian troops moved into Hyderabad and the Nizam surrendered.
Finally, Hyderabad acceded to the Indian Union. Thus the Union of India was established with the integration and accession of the princely states with the Indian Union. This formidable task was fulfilled by the “Iron Man of India” Sardar Vallabhai Patel.
The Linguistic Reorganization of the States
In 1948, the first Linguistic Provinces Commission headed by S.K. Dar was appointed by the Constituent Assembly to enquire into the possibility of linguistic provinces. This commission advised against such a step. In the same year, another committee known as the JVP committee consisting of Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabhai Patel and Pattabhi Sitaramaih was appointed by the Congress Party.
This committee also did not favour linguistic provinces. But there were popular movements for states reorganization all over the country and it was intensive in Andhra.
Therefore, in 1953 Andhra was created as a separate state. Simultaneously, Madras was created as a Tamil- speaking state. The struggle led by M.P. Sivagnanam to retain Tiruttani with Madras was a memorable event in the history of Tamil Nadu.
The success of Andhra’s struggle encouraged other linguistic groups to agitate for their own state. In 1953, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru appointed the States Reorganization Commission with Justice Fazal Ali as its chairman and Pandit Hridayanath Kunzru and Sardar K.M. Panikkar as its members.
The commission submitted its report on 30 September 1955. Based on this report, the States Reorganization Act was passed by the Parliament in 1956. It provided for 16 states and six union territories.
The Telangana region was transferred to Andhra. Kerala was created by merging the Malabar district with Travancore-Cochin. There was a strong movement of the Tamil linguistic people in Travancore (Kanyakumari) who struggled to be part of the state of Tamil Nadu.
Indian Polity (1947 – 2000)
India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was considered the architect of modern India. He consolidated the Indian Independence by forging national unity, nurturing democratic institutions, promoting science and technology, planning for economic development and by following independent foreign policy.
He was truly a nation builder. He died in 1964. Lal Bahadur Sastri succeeded Nehru as the next Prime Minister of India. He remained a role model for honesty in public life. He ended the Indo-Pak war of 1965 by concluding the Tashkent Agreement in January 1966. His untimely death was a great loss to the nation.
Indira Gandhi, daughter of Nehru became Prime Minister in 1966 and bravely faced domestic challenges such as scarcity of food and foreign pressures during the 1971 Bangladesh crisis.
When opposition to her rule gathered momentum in 1975, she brought emergency rule, a black mark in the democratic tradition of India.
However, she restored democratic rule by announcing general elections in 1977 in which she was defeated. Later in 1980, she was able to regain power by democratic means. In 1983 she undertook the “Blue Star Operation” in the Golden Temple at Amritsar – Punjab.
As a result, unfortunately, she was shot dead by her own bodyguards in 1984 as an act of vengeance for her policy toward Punjab militancy. The Janata Party’s rule for a brief period between 1977 and 1980 brought Morarji Desai as Prime Minister of India.
For the first time, a non-Congress ministry was formed after independence. The lack of unity among the Janata leaders had resulted in the fall of the Janata Government. Rajiv Gandhi became the Prime Minister of India in 1984 after her mother Indira Gandhi’s assassination. He introduced New Education Policy and encouraged foreign investment.
In 1987 he sent the Indian Peace Keeping Force to Sri Lanka with a view to putting an end to the ethnic violence. He continued as Prime Minister till the next elections were held in 1989. Later in May 1991, he was assassinated (by the Sri Lankan Tamil extremists).
V.P. Singh was the Prime Minister between 1989 and 1991. He was leading an anti-Congress coalition called the Janata Dal. During his tenure, he decided to implement the Mandal Commission Report which provided reservations for other backward classes.
His government was marked by factionalism, and he was forced to resign in 1990. The next Prime Minister Chandrasekhar held the office from November 1990 to March 1991.
In June 1991 P. V. Narasimha Rao became Prime Minister. He moved decisively toward new economic reforms, reducing the government’s economic role, instituting austerity measures, and encouraging foreign investment.
The finance minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s role in this sphere is worth noting. As a result, India started moving towards liberalization, privatization and globalization. After the elections of 1996, Atal Bihari Vajpayee became Prime Minister from the BJP party but he was not able to prove the majority in the Parliament.
Deve Gowda formed a coalition government. He was the eleventh Prime Minister of India (1996– 1997). He was from the state of Karnataka. His government also fell due to the no-confidence motion voted jointly by Congress and the BJP.
He was succeeded by I.K. Gujral for a brief period in 1997. Atal Bihari Vajpayee became the Prime Minister of India in 1998. In the 1999 elections, the National Democratic Alliance under the leadership of Vajpayee formed the government.
His period witnessed two important events. One was the Kargil War with Pakistan and another was the nuclear tests at Pokhran.
When India became independent in 1947, it was gripped by mass poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, static agriculture, poorly developed industries and inadequate infrastructure. There was an urgent need for immediate efforts on a national scale to achieve the path of progress on the socio-economic front.
Jawaharlal Nehru was greatly influenced by the achievements of Soviet Planning. But he also realized the importance of democratic values. He encouraged planning for rapid industrial and agricultural growth. He encouraged Mixed Economy as a result both public sector (Government-owned) and Private Sector companies come into existence.
His fundamental objective was to build an independent self-reliant economy.
The other things are done by India after Independence, which are continuity of the above notes in mentioned below, in separate pages: