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☹Independent India☹


☹☹ndia acquired independence on 15 August 1947 though sections of the country were carved out and stitchedtogether to create another new country, Pakistan. The “institutional” road to independence was perhaps laid down by the Government of India Act of 1935, where the gradual emergence of India as a self-governing entity had first been partly envisioned. Following India's independence in 1947, the Constituent Assembly deliberated over the precise constitutional future of India. On 26 January 1950, India became a Republic, and the Constitution of India was promulgated. Jawaharlal Nehru had become the country’s first Prime Minister in 1947, and in 1952, in the country’s first general election with auniversal franchise, Nehru led the Indian National Congress to a clear victory. The Congress had long been the principal political party in India, providing the leadership to the struggle for independence, and underNehru’s stewardship it remained the largest and most influential party over the next three decades. In 1957,Nehru was elected to yet another five-year term as a member of the Lok Sabha and chosen to head the government. His ‘regime’ was marked by the advent of five-year plans, designed to bring big science and industry to India; in Nehru's ownlanguage, steel mills and dams were to be the temples of modern India. Relations with Pakistan remained chilling, and the purported friendshipof India and China proved to be something of a hoax. China’s invasionof India's borders in 1962 is said to have dealt a mortal blow to Nehru.
N ehru was succeeded at his death on27 May 1964 for a period of two weeks by Gulzarilal Nanda (1898-1998), a veteran Congress politician who became active in the non-cooperation movement in 1922 and served several prison terms, principally in 1932 and from 1942-44during the Quit India movement. Nanda served as acting Prime Minister until the Congress had elected a new leader, Lal Bahadur Shastri, also a veteran politician who came of age during the Gandhi-led non-cooperation movement. Shastri was the compromise candidate who, perhaps unexpectedly, led the country to something of a victory over Pakistan in 1965. Shastri and the vanquished Pakistani President, Muhammad Ayub Khan, signed a peace treaty at Tashkent in the former Soviet Union on 10 January 1966, but Shastri barely lived to witness the accolades that were nowbeing showered upon him since he died of an heart attack the day after the treaty was signed. Shastri’s empathy for the subaltern classes is conveyed through the slogan, “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan”, “Hail the Soldier, Hail the Farmer”, which is attributed to him and through which he is remembered at Vijay Ghat, the national memorial to him in New Delhi in the proximity of Rajghat, the national memorial to Mohandas Gandhi.

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