Saturday, August 18, 2007

India through 60 years

India marks 60 years of independence on August 15, celebrating the end of British colonial rule in 1947. Following is a chronology of major events during the last six decades.

Aug 15, 1947: India wins independence from Britain after being divided into two separate nations, India and Pakistan. Jawaharlal Nehru is appointed the first Prime Minister.

Oct 27, 1947: India and Pakistan go to war in the region of Kashmir.

Jan 30, 1948: Mahatma Gandhi, Father of the Nation, is assassinated.

Jan 26, 1950: India becomes a Republic as the Constitution comes into effect.

1952: India holds its first general elections.

1953: Andhra Pradesh becomes the first state created on language basis.

1954: Nehru takes the lead to form Non-Alligned Movement group. 1962: India and China fight a brief border war.

1964: Jawaharlal Nehru dies after a five-month illness.

Sept 1965: India and Pakistan fight war over Kashmir, which ends after a UN call for ceasefire.

Jan 1966: Nehru`s daughter, Indira Gandhi, becomes Prime Minister.

1967: Green Revolution begins to change India’s status from an impoverished to a grain rich country.

July 19, 1969: Indira Gandhi nationalises 14 banks, abolishes Privy Purses, the govt grant to rulers of erstwhile princely states.

Dec 1971: India and Pakistan fight another major war over East Pakistan which ends after 90,000 Pakistani troops surrender and leads to the creation of Bangladesh.

May 18, 1974: India conducts underground nuclear test christened ‘Buddha Smiles’

April 19, 1975: India’s first satellite Aryabhata is launched.

June 26, 1975: Indira Gandhi declares a state of emergency, in which the press is censored and 100,000 people are jailed.

1977: First non-Congress party government sweeps to power following Indira Gandhi`s defeat in general elections.

Jan 1980: Indira Gandhi wins back power, becomes PM.

1982: Asian Games held for the second time in India. Colour TV debuts.

1983: Team India lifts the cricket World Cup.

April 1984: Rakesh Sharma, an IAF pilot, becomes the first Indian to go to space.

Oct 31, 1984: Indira Gandhi is assassinated by Sikh bodyguards, her son Rajiv takes over as Prime Minister. Riots break out and thousands of people are killed.

Dec 1984: Deadly gas leaks from a pesticide plant owned by US-based Union Carbide Corp. in Bhopal, killing about 6,500 people in the world`s worst industrial disaster.

June 23, 1985: Babbar Khalsa terrorists blow up an Air-India flight from Toronto to New Delhi. All passengers perish.

July 1987: Rajiv Gandhi signs an accord with Sri Lanka that begins the Army’s misadventure in the troubled island.

1988: Rajiv Gandhi lowers voting age from 21 years to 18.

February 1988: India’s first indigenously developed ballistic missile is test fired.

Oct 1989: Proxy war launched against India in Kashmir by Pakistan.

August 1990: Mandal Commission’s recommendations to introduce 27% reservation for OBCs in government services and PSUs are accepted. Protests break out.

May 21, 1991: Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi is assassinated by an LTTE suicide bomber during an election campaign.

1991: Congress party wins general elections and government launches sweeping economic reforms and dismantles decades of socialist control under Finance Minister Manmohan Singh.

1992: Satyajit Ray awarded Oscar for Lifetime Achievement.

Dec 6, 1992: Babri mosque at Ayodhya is pulled down.

March 12, 1993: A series of bomb blasts, planted by the underworld, hit Mumbai, killing 257 people.

1994: Sushmita Sen becomes first Indian woman to be awarded Miss Universe, Aishwarya Rai is Miss World.

1998: Amartya Sen wins Nobel in economics.

1998: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by Atal Behari Vajpayee forms a coalition government.

May 1998: India conducts nuclear tests, Islamabad retaliates with its own tests.

May 1999: India launches offensive against Pakistan-backed infiltrators around Kargil in Kashmir.

Dec 2001: Gunmen attack Parliament. New Delhi blames Pakistan-based militants, snaps transport and diplomatic links with Islamabad and the rivals come close to war.

Feb/March 2002: Fire on train kills 59 Hindu activists in Gujarat. About 2,500 people, mostly Muslims, are killed in retaliatory riots.

Feb 2003: Kalpana Chawla becomes first Indian woman in space. Her space shuttle Columbia is destroyed on entering earth’s atmosphere.

Nov 2003: Pakistan announces ceasefire in Kashmir and India reciprocates.

May 2004: BJP loses power to Congress. Manmohan Singh becomes Prime Minister.

2005: India and USA sign historic pact that promises India entry into the elite nuclear club.

2007:Tata wins bid to acquire Anglo-Dutch steel maker Corus, the largest acquisition by an Indian company.

July 25, 2007: Pratibha Patil becomes India’s first woman President.

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