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Sixty momentous events that made India

There were thrilling moments, there were sad moments. Sixty momentous events that made India.

india Updated: Aug 13, 2007 16:58 IST

Hindustan Times

India gets independence
On the eve of August 15, 1947, millions of Indians huddle around the radio as it transmits their first PM’s historic proclamation: “Long years ago, we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we will redeem our pledge.”

Mahatma Gandhi assassinated
On January 30, 1948, the man who had struggled for communal harmony all his life is shot dead by a Hindu extremist angered at the Mahatma’s insistence on evenhandedness towards the minorities.

First India-Pakistan war
The new neighbours go to war. It ends on December 31, 1948, leaving 1,500 soldiers dead on either side. Pakistan grabs a part of Kashmir

India gets a Constitution
Passed after long debates by the Constituent Assembly in 1949, the Constitution comes into effect on January 26, 1950.

IIT set up in jail barracks
Set up in May 1950 in the abandoned barracks of the Hubli Jail near Kharagpur, it becomes independent India’s first indigenously conceived institute of higher technological education. Six more IITs would come up in the following decades.

Language-based statehood
Violent demands for a separate Telugu homeland lead to the creation of Andhra Pradesh in 1953, the first Indian state established on a linguistic basis.

NAM is born
In 1954, in a world riven by suspicion and Cold War, Jawaharlal Nehru introduces the concept of non-alignment, which is later embraced by Tito of Yugoslavia, Sukarno of Indonesia, Nasser of Egypt and Nkrumah of Ghana.

India-China war

On October 20, 1962, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army enters Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh. India suffers a humiliating defeat in the war. It would be another 16 years before the two countries resume diplomatic relations.

Nehru dies
The baton passes on not to his daughter Indira, but Lal Bahadur Shastri. The latter gave the nation the slogan “Jai jawan, jai kisan”.

Second India-Pak War
In 1965, the two neighbours wage war over Kashmir yet again. India loses 3,000 soldiers to 3,800 of Pakistan.

Indira Gandhi is PM
Shastri dies in Tashkent on January 11, 1966. Indira Gandhi becomes Prime Minister by defeating Morarji Desai in an election in the Congress Parliamentary Party.

Green Revolution
From 1967 to 1978, the movement transforms India from a nation on the verge of starvation to one with overflowing granaries.

IT revolution
Starts with the founding of the Tata Consultancy Service in 1968. A major milestone was the listing of Infosys on the Nasdaq stock exchange in March 1999.

Banks nationalised and Privy Purses abolished
Indira Gandhi nationalises 14 banks on July 19, 1969. She also abolishes the Privy Purses, the government grant to rulers of some 400 princely states that had been doled out since 1947.

Third India-Pak War
The 15-day war leads to the creation of a new country called Bangladesh. Peace returns with the signing of the Shimla Agreement.

Chipko movement
In 1973 a group of villagers from Uttarakhand come up with the novel idea of hugging trees to protect them from contractors.

Chipko movement
In 1973 a group of villagers from Uttarakhand come up with the novel idea of hugging trees to protect them from contractors.

Pokhran I: ‘Buddha smiles’
On May 18, 1974, India successfully tests its first nuclear bomb at Pokhran in Rajasthan.

Sholay hits the screen

Ramesh Sippy’s 1975 cult film is now known as the best movie ever made in India.

Kitney admi thhey


Aryabhata takes off

India’s first satellite is launched on April 19, 1975, laying the foundation of an ambitious space programme.

Emergency declared
June 1975 to March 1977 marks the darkest chapter in the history of democratic India.

Immunisation drive
An expanded programme commences in 1978 to immunise all eligible children and pregnant women from diphtheria, polio, tetanus, and childhood tuberculosis. It helped reduce child mortality from 150 in 1980 to 85 in 2005.

Nobel for Mother Teresa
Dedicating the majority of her life to helping Calcutta’s poorest, this “Saint of the Gutters” wins the coveted peace prize in 1979.

Asian Games
The year 1982 marks the second instalment of the Games to be held in India. This time, it is a much bigger event. The colour television debuts at the same time.

Prudential Cup
The first major sports victory. India beat the West Indies to lift the cricket World Cup. Year 1983.

Operation Bluestar
In June 1984, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi orders the Indian army to flush out Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale’s Khalistani forces from the Golden Temple complex.

Indian in space
Rakesh Sharma, an Indian Air Force pilot, becomes the first Indian astronaut to go to space in April 1984.

Indira Gandhi assassinated
On the morning of October 31, 1984, the Prime Minister is shot dead by her Sikh bodyguards seeking to avenge ‘Operation Bluestar’.

Bhopal Gas Tragedy
The world’s worst industrial disaster happens in Bhopal on December 3, 1984. A gas leak from the Union Carbide plant there kill 3,000 people.

Woman on Everest
On May 23, 1984, Bachendri Pal becomes the first Indian woman (and the fifth in the world) to scale the highest peak in the world.

Maruti launched
The compact 800 cc model is rolled out in December 1984 and heralds an automobile revolution.

Shah Bano case
In 1985, the Supreme Court overrules Muslim personal law to grant maintenance to Shah Bano. But, under pressure from orthodox Muslim activists, PM Rajiv Gandhi reverses the ruling.

Kanishka bombing
On June 23, 1985, Babbar Khalsa terrorists blow up an Air-India flight from Toronto to New Delhi. All 329 people aboard perish.

Assam accord
It was hoped that the historic 1985 settlement signed between Rajiv Gandhi’s government and the Assamese nationalists would bring peace to the beleaguered Northeastern state. It does so, but only to an extent.

Indo-Sri Lankan accord
Signed by Rajiv Gandhi and JR Jayewardene in July 1987, this pact marks the beginning of Indian misadventure in the island country.

Voting age lowered
In 1988, Rajiv Gandhi lowers the voting age from 21 years to 18.

Prithvi missile
India’s first indigenously developed ballistic missile, originally test-fired in February 1988, incorporates propulsion technology.

Mandal reservations
In August 1990, Prime Minister VP Singh formally accepts Mandal Commission’s recommendation to introduce 27 per cent reservation for OBCs in government services and PSUs. Protests break out.

Rajiv Gandhi assassinated
On May 21, 1991, Rajiv Gandhi is killed by LTTE suicide bomber Dhanu in Sriperumbudur.

Economic reforms

Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao and his finance minister Manmohan Singh put India on the reforms road.

Satyajit Ray’s Oscar

With the 1992 Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement the international film community honours a man who gave the world brilliant films starting with Pather Panchali in 1955.

Harshad Mehta scandal
After a year-long dream run the Indian stock market collapses, ruining many investors. The man held responsible: Harshad Mehta.

Babri Masjid demolished
On December 6, 1992, a group of Hindus armed with crowbars and pickaxes bring down the masjid.

Aftershocks in Mumbai
Communal riots break out in Mumbai because of the demolition. A series of bomb blasts follow, killing at least 250 people.

Miss Universe crown
Sushmita Sen wins the Miss Universe title, the first by an Indian.

Cell phones come calling
Mobile telephony is introduced in India in 1995, with Jyoti Basu in Calcutta and Sukh Ram in Delhi engaging in the country’s first cell phone call.

Internet dials in too
In August 1995, VSNL introduces us to the Internet, providing dialup access in six cities.

Pokhran II
Indian scientists explode five nuclear devices in May 1998. Pakistan responds with six.

Nobel for Amartya
The conscience keeper of the world of economics wins the Nobel in 1998.

Vajpayee takes the bus
In February 1999, Atal Bihari Vajpayee goes to Pakistan in a hyped diplomatic move. Disaster awaits the country around the corner.

Kargil war
In May 1999, India detects armed intrusion by Pakistan. War breaks out.

In April 2000 the world of cricket changed with a case being registered in Delhi against South African cricket team captain Hansie Cronje.

Parliament attacked
About 100 MPs are holed up inside when terrorists strike Parliament in December 2001. India and Pakistan nearly go to war.

Operation West End
Tehelka reporters secretly film senior politicians and army officers accepting bribes to award defence contracts.

Godhra carnage
On February 27, 2002, a train coach carrying Hindu pilgrims is apparently set on fire at the Godhra station in Gujarat. From the next day the state is engulfed in horrifying retaliatory violence.

Kalpana Chawla crashes
She becomes the first Indian-born woman in space. Her space shuttle Columbia disintegrates on reentering the earth’s atmosphere in February 2003.

Sehwag hits a triple
In 2004, Virender Sehwag becomes the first Indian to score a triple century, batting against Pakistan in Multan.

Indo-US nuclear deal
In 2005, Manmohan Singh and George Bush sign a historic pact that promises to end India’s isolation in the nuclear world.

Right to Information
The RTI Act of 2005 makes babus more accountable.

Tata Steel buys Corus
When Ratan Tata wins a bidding contest for the Anglo-Dutch steel maker in early 2007, it becomes the largest foreign acquisition by an Indian company.

First woman president
A trained lawyer and the first woman governor of Rajasthan, Pratibha Patil becomes India’s first woman president on July 25, 2007.

First Published: Aug 08, 2007 23:55 IST