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Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we will redeem

our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.... We end today a period of ill fortune, and India discovers herself again. With such words was born a nation called India. An epic struggle spearheaded by Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru, Subhash Chandra Bose etc with the sacrifice of millions in their anonymous finally gave way to freedom. It involved the rich, the poor, the educated, the illiterate, the downtrodden, the women, the writers, the singers, the lawyers, the doctors, the teachers, the soldiers, even the saints! Mammoth sheer in its size and objective and even then bon violent! As that period of ill fortune ended, a new are began. As we celebrate our 64th Independence Day, I thought of capturing the ten defining moments that have shaped India since Independence.

Indo Pak War of 1947- Kashmir is like an albatross around the neck of both India and Pakistan. This has become a bone of contention which has been plaguing the two countries for more than six decades now. This has led to two more wars- 1965 and 1998 as well. The two countries foreign policy and defense policies are still Kashmir centric causing huge investments sidelining the really critical issues. Gandhis Assassination- A man who made the simple and much neglected virtues of truth and non-violence much more powerful than Empires was assassinated! As Nehru rightly put it in his speech- Light has gone out of our lives and there is darkness everywhere. Now we cannot run to him to seek solace and that shall be a terrible blow not just to India and Indians but to the entire humanity. India became orphan. The Nations father was dead. India became Sovereign Democratic Secular Republic-With the enforcement of the Constitution on 26th January ended the freedom struggle in true ways. India had discovered herself. Tilaks Swaraj was now a reality. First General Election- Fresh from the freedom struggle, the Constitution of India gave its every citizen who was above the age of 21 years the right to vote irrespective of

any ones association with any caste and religion. The West turned up its nose and called it the biggest gamble of history. Their commentators forecasted the end of India before 1960The first occasion when Indians felt freedom enjoyed not only its privileges but also its duty. An inexperienced Election Commission displayed sheer exuberance and wisdom to complete an election which had no precedent. Little less than 18 crore Indians were to decide the future of 4500 seats. The sheer numbers were mind boggling. NaxalBari uprising- A phenomenon that we better know as Naxalism traces back its roots to a small village Naxalbari in West Bengal. Though it was primarily against the oppressors, gradually it itself became tyrrinal and undemocratic owing to the methods adopted by these terrorists of the nation. Thousands are killed every year- both civilians and policemen by these. They wish to overthrow the democratically elected government. Their stronghold in more than 100 districts is disturbing and threatening the growth of India. Green Revolution and White Revolution- From the times of 1950s when half of India starved to the mid 1960s we had a complete flip of the story. India was now feeding a billion inside and millions outside. C. Subramaniams policy combined with Swaninathans expertise made India self sufficient. V. Kuriens Amul experiment in Gujarat converted India from an importer to the worlds largest producer and exporter of milk. Emergency and First Non-Congress Government- India was soon under the tyrannical rule again. This time not of any colonial power but what was constitutionally called Emergency . The darkest hour of Indian democracy lasted for about 18 months. During this period all rights-fundamental or otherwise were suspended and excesses committed. Few who believe in authoritarian form of government hailed Indira and called it to be a progressive time as well. But such views were in minority. Congress faced the first defeat in electoral history and it cleared the path for first non-Congress government, although this too was a disappointment.

Golden temple fiasco and Indira Gandhi-Indiras failure to handle the issue of autonomy for Punjab only added fuel to the fire. By 1984, the demand for autonomy had grown into the demand for separate nation. Indira Gandhi now reacted. Although, considering the circumstances that had developed what she did was indispensable. Had she not, it would have been a case of sheer dereliction of the duty of Prime Minister and the Custodian of the Constitution of India. But her proper handling of the issue could have avoided and evaded such a catastrophe, may be even her assassination as well. Rajiv Gandhi Becomes PM and Start of Economic Reforms -A visionary envisioned India into an IT superpower. A hyper active, clear minded PM tried to revlutionise the eay we think, the way we work, the way we try to develop. Computerisation is something we much owe to Rajiv Gandhi who succeeded in this in spite of protests from all quarters. He set the agenda for the economic reforms that followed under the Prime Ministership of Narshima Rao. Manmohan Singh, as finance Minister talked of India becoming Superpower one day. Each word of his that speech forecasted some omen. Each of his next budget only reinforced what we all anticipatedIndia is now on the way to be a Superpower. After all No power on earth can stop an idea whose time has come. Right To Information- A move which has only strengthened the democracy, exposed the wrongdoers and serve as deterrence for those who can! This was undoubtedly a landmark legislation of the last decade.