The History of the Republic of India began on August 15, 1947 when India became an independent Dominion within the British Commonwealth. Concurrently the Muslim-majority northwest and east of British India was separated into the Dominion of Pakistan. Lord Louis Mountbatten, and later Chakravarti Rajagopalachari served in the office of the Governor General of India. Jawaharlal Nehru became the first Prime Minister of India and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel became the Deputy Prime Minister of India and its Minister of Home Affairs.


Independent India's first years were marked with turbulent events — a massive exchange of population with Pakistan, the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947 and the integration of over 500 princely states to form a united nation.

 Aftermath of partition:

An estimated 3.5 million Hindus and Sikhs living in West Punjab, NWFP, Baluchistan, East Bengal and Sind migrated to India in fear of domination and suppression in Muslim Pakistan. Communal violence killed an estimated 1 million Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs, and gravely destabilized both Dominions along their Punjab and Bengal boundaries, and the cities of Calcutta, Delhi and Lahore. The violence was stopped by early September owing to the cooperative efforts of both Indian and Pakistani leaders, and especially due the efforts of Mohandas Gandhi, the leader of the Indian freedom struggle, who undertook a fast-unto-death in Calcutta and later in Delhi to calm people and emphasize peace despite the threat to his life. Both Governments constructed large relief camps for incoming and leaving refugees, and the Indian Army was mobilized to provide humanitarian assistance on a massive scale. The assassination of Mahatma Gandhi on January 30, 1948 was a major setback to the young nation. Gandhi was murdered by Nathuram Vinayak Godse, allegedly affiliated with the Hindu nationalist movement, who held him responsible for partition and charged that Gandhi was appeasing Muslims. More than one million people flooded the streets of Delhi to follow the procession to cremation grounds and pay their last respects.
In 1949, India recorded close to 1 million Hindu refugees flooded into West Bengal and other states from East Pakistan, owing to communal violence, intimidation and repression from Muslim authorities. The plight of the refugees outraged Hindus and Indian nationalists, and the refugee population drained the resources of Indian states, who were unable to absorb them. While not ruling out war, Prime Minister Nehru and Sardar Patel invited Liaquat Ali Khan for talks in Delhi. Although many Indians termed this appeasement, Nehru signed a pact with Liaquat Ali Khan that pledged both nations to the protection of minorities and creation of minority commissions. Although opposed to the principle, Patel decided to back this Pact for the sake of peace, and played a critical role in garnering support from West Bengal and across India, and enforcing the provisions of the Pact. Khan and Nehru also signed a trade agreement, and committed to resolving bilateral disputes through peaceful means. Steadily, hundreds of thousands of Hindus returned to East Pakistan, but the thaw in relations did not last long, primarily owing to the Kashmir dispute.

Union's Integration:

British India consisted of 17 provinces and 562 princely states. The provinces were given to India or Pakistan, in some cases in particular Punjab and Bengal  after being partitioned. The princes of the princely states, however, won the right to either remain independent or join either nation. Thus India's leaders faced the prospect of inheriting a nation fragmented between medieval-era kingdoms and provinces organized by colonial powers. Under the leadership of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the new Government of India employed political negotiations backed with the option (and, on several occasions, the use) of military action to ensure the primacy of the Central government and of the Constitution then being drafted.
There were three States that proved more difficult to integrate than others:
Junagadh – a December 1947 plebiscite resulted in a 99% vote[citation needed] to merge with India, annulling the controversial accession to Pakistan, which was made despite the people of the state being overwhelmingly Hindu.
Hyderabad – Patel ordered the Indian army to depose the government of the Nizam after the failure of negotiations, which was done between September 13 – September 17, 1948. It was incorporated as a state of India the next year.
The area of Kashmir in the far north of the subcontinent quickly became a source of controversy that erupted into the First Indo-Pakistani War which lasted from 1947 to 1949. Eventually a United Nations-overseen ceasefire was agreed that left India in control of two thirds of the contested region.The Controversy arose because Jawaharlal Nehru had agreed to give a plebiscite to the State. But due to Pakistan's forced attempt to integrate Kashmir, it was helped and integrated by India, the plebiscite never being held. The Indian Constitution Came into force in Kashmir on January 26 1957 with special clauses for the state.


The Constituent Assembly adopted the Constitution of India, drafted by a committee headed by B. R. Ambedkar, on November 26, 1949. India became a federal, democratic republic after its Constitution came into effect on January 26, 1950. Rajendra Prasad became the first President of India.

1950s and 1960s:

India held its first national elections under the Constitution in 1952, where a turnout of over 60% was recorded. The Congress Party won an overwhelming majority, and Jawaharlal Nehru began a second term as Prime Minister. President Prasad was also elected to a second term by the electoral college of the first Parliament of India.


In 1971, Indira Gandhi and her Congress (R) were returned to power with a massively increased majority. The nationalization of banks was carried out, and many other socialist economic and industrial policies enacted. India intervened in Bangladesh Liberation War a civil war taking place in Pakistan's Bengali half, after millions of refugees had fled the persecution of the Pakistani army. The clash resulted in the independence of East Pakistan, which became known as Bangladesh, and Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's elevation to immense popularity. Relations with the United States grew strained, and India signed a 20-year treaty of friendship with the Soviet Union - breaking explicitly for the first time from non-alignment. In 1974, India tested its first nuclear weapon in the desert of Rajasthan. Meanwhile, in the Indian protectorate of Sikkim, a referendum was held that resulted in a vote to formally join India and depose the Chogyal. On April 26, 1975, Sikkim formally became India's 21st state.


Indira Gandhi and her Congress (I) party were swept back into power with a large majority in January, 1980. But the rise of an insurgency in Punjab would jeopardize India's security. In Assam, there were many incidents of communal violence between native villagers and refugees from Bangladesh, as well as settlers from other parts of India. When Indian forces, undertaking Operation Bluestar, raided the hideout of Khalistan militants in the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the inadvertent deaths of civilians and damage to the temple building inflamed tensions in the Sikh community across India. The Government used intensive police operations to crush militant operations, but it resulted in many incidents of abuse of civil liberties. Northeast India was paralyzed owing to the ULFA's clash with Government forces. On October 31, 1984, the Prime Minister's own Sikh bodyguards killed her, and communal violence erupted in Delhi and parts of Punjab, causing the deaths of thousands of people along with terrible pillage, arson and rape. Government investigation has failed to date to discover the causes and punish the perpetrators, but public opinion blamed Congress leaders for directing attacks on Sikhs in Delhi.


Main article: 1990s in India
On May 21, 1991, while Rajiv Gandhi campaigned in Tamil Nadu on behalf of Congress (I), a Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) female suicide bomber killed him and many others, setting off the bomb in her belt by leaning forward while garlanding him. In the elections, Congress (I) won 244 parliamentary seats and put together a coalition, returning to power under the leadership of P.V. Narasimha Rao. This Congress-led government, which served a full 5-year term, initiated a gradual process of economic liberalisation and reform, which has opened the Indian economy to global trade and investment. India's domestic politics also took new shape, as traditional alignments by caste, creed, and ethnicity gave way to a plethora of small, regionally-based political parties. But India was rocked by communal violence between Hindus and Muslims that killed over 10,000 people, following the Babri Mosque demolition by Hindu mobs in the course of the Ram Janmabhoomi dispute in Ayodhya in 1992. The final months of the Rao-led government in the spring of 1996 suffered the effects of several major political corruption scandals, which contributed to the worst electoral performance by the Congress Party in its history.

 Era of coalitions:

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged from the May 1996 national elections as the single-largest party in the Lok Sabha but without enough strength to prove a majority on the floor of that Parliament. Under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the BJP coalition lasted in power 13 days. With all political parties wishing to avoid another round of elections, a 14-party coalition led by the Janata Dal emerged to form a government known as the United Front. A United Front government under former Chief Minister of Karnataka H.D. Deve Gowda lasted less than a year. The leader of the Congress Party withdrew his support in March 1997. Inder Kumar Gujral replaced Deve Gowda as the consensus choice for Prime Minister of a 16-party United Front coalition.
In November 1997, the Congress Party again withdrew support for the United Front. New elections in February 1998 brought the BJP the largest number of seats in Parliament (182), but this fell far short of a majority. On March 20, 1998, the President inaugurated a BJP-led coalition government with Vajpayee again serving as Prime Minister. On May 11 and 13, 1998, this government conducted a series of underground nuclear tests, prompting President of the United States Bill Clinton and Japan to impose economic sanctions on India pursuant to the 1994 Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Act.

Into the 21st century:

In April 1999, the BJP-led coalition government fell apart, leading to fresh elections in September. In May and June 1999, India discovered an elaborate campaign of terrorist infiltration that resulted in the Kargil War in Kashmir, derailing a promising peace process that had begun only three months earlier when Prime Minister Vajpayee visited Pakistan, inaugurating the Delhi-Lahore bus service. Indian forces killed infiltrators, who included Pakistani soldiers, and reclaimed important border posts in high-altitude warfare. In the same year, India's population exceeded 1 billion.
Soaring on popularity earned following the successful conclusion of the Kargil conflict, the National Democratic Alliance - a new coalition led by the BJP - gained a majority to form a government with Vajpayee as Prime Minister in October 1999. The NDA government's credibility was adversely affected by reports of intelligence failures that led to the Kargil incursions going undetected, as well as allegations that the Defence Minister George Fernandes took bribes over the purchase of coffins for soldiers who died in the battle. The Tehelka scandal exposed the BJP party chief taking unaccounted contributions in return for promised favours, and the CBI chargesheeted senior BJP leaders for inciting the demolition of the Babri mosque. In 2002, tensions increased over the Ram Janmabhoomi dispute when the Vishwa Hindu Parishad threatened to defy the Government, vowing to perform a religious ceremony on the disputed site. 59 Hindu activists died returning from the site when a train carriage took fire a month later, in Godhra, Gujarat. This sparked off the 2002 Gujarat violence, leading to the deaths of thousands of Hindus and Muslims. The BJP-led state government, and its chief minister Narendra Modi were accused of not doing enough to stop Hindu mobs in attacking Muslims.
But throughout 2003, India's speedy economic progress, political stability and a rejuvenated peace initiative with Pakistan increased the Government's popularity. In January 2004 Vajpayee recommended early dissolution of the Lok Sabha and General elections. The Congress Party-led alliance won an upset victory in elections held in May 2004. Manmohan Singh became the Prime Minister, after the Congress President Sonia Gandhi, the widow of Rajiv Gandhi declined to take the office, in order to defuse the controversy about whether her Italian birth should be considered a disqualification for the Prime Minister's post. The Congress formed a coalition with socialist and regional parties, and enjoys the outside support of India's Communist parties. Manmohan Singh is the first Sikh to date to hold India's most powerful office. Singh has continued economic liberalization, although the need for support from Indian socialists and communists has forestalled further privatization. The 21st century saw India, improve relations, with many countries including the United States, the European Union, and the People's Republic of China. The Economy of India, has accelarated growing at 9% per year. India, is now being looked at as a potential superpower.
Terrorism, has increased in India too. Bomb Blasts in leading cities like, Mumbai, New Delhi, Jaipur, Bangalore, Hyderabad, etc. has been very common.

 Economic transformation:

Under the policies initiated by Late Prime Minister Narasimha Rao and his Finance minister Manmohan Singh, India's economy expanded rapidly. The Rao administration initiated the privatization of large, inefficient and loss-inducing government corporations. The UF government had attempted a progressive budget that encouraged reforms, but the 1997 Asian financial crisis and political instability created economic stagnation. The Vajpayee administration continued with privatization, reduction of taxes, a sound fiscal policy aimed at reducing deficits and debts and increased initiatives for public works. The Golden Quadrilateral project aimed to link India's corners with a network of modern highways. Cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune and Ahmedabad have risen in prominence and economic importance, became centres of rising industries and destination for foreign investment and firms. Strategies like forming Special Economic Zones - tax amenities, good communications infrastructure, low regulation - to encourage industries has paid off in many parts of the country.
A rising generation of well-educated and skilled professionals in scientific sectors of industry began propelling the Indian economy, as the information technology industry took hold across India with the proliferation of computers. The new technologies increased the efficiency of activity in almost every type of industry, which also benefitted from the availability of skilled labor. Foreign investment and outsourcing of jobs to India's labor markets further enhanced India's economic growth. A large middle-class has arisen across India, which has increased the demand, and thus production of a wide array of consumer goods. Unemployment is steadily declining, and poverty has fallen to approximately 22%. Gross Domestic Product growth increased to beyond 7%. While serious challenges remain, India is enjoying a period of economic expansion that has propelled it to the forefront of the world economy, and has correspondingly increased its influence in political and diplomatic terms.

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