Celebrating 50 Years of
We, the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a
SOVERIGN, SOCIALIST, SECULAR, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC
and to secure to all its citizens:
The preamble of our Constitution given above envisages a strong and vibrant India and guarantees Her Citizens Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.
Our India - Humara Bharat
The struggle for Indian Independence did not really come in the 1930's, but was from the time the Country came into existance. Being rich in different cultures, wealthy in minerals, India was peputually under an invasion of one kind or another. The kingdoms fought within her bowels and one tried to anhiliate the other. This struggle can be seen from the passage of time from the Himalayas to Kerela, from Sind to Bengal. A brief history is given below for a trip into the History of India. This will be updated "era-wise" as and when I can find the time, please excuse me for delays.
Early Settlements ..
Signs of early settlements have been found at Mehrgarh where the Indus Plains of North Western India meet the Baluchistan Hills. These settlements show an agricultural background dating back to 8500 BC. In the next few thousand years. settlements spread to the Eastern side of the Indus. Between 3000 BC and 2500 BC, new settlements sprang up in the mainland and became known as the Indus Valley Civilisation. At the same time development also took place in other countries of South Asia.
Some of the earliest civilisation that is preserved is that of the remains of Moenjo Daro which goes back to before 2500 BC. South Asia had extensive trade contacts with Mesopotamia. The culture was distinctively Asian and had a language which is still partially deciphered, and which is an extension of the Dravidian languages found today mostly in South India.
South Asia from around 1750 to the Mauryas...
The next period of time that is of relevance is from the time Moenjo Daro became deserted around 2000 BC and over the nest 250 years the entire Valley Civilisation disintegrated. Aryan invasion was said to be one of the causes apart from the shift in the course of the Indus River, also internal politics was listed as a cause to destroy what was at that period, one of the most civilised of civilisations.
From around 1500 BC, the Northern Region of South Asia entered the Vedic Period. Aryan settlers moved Eastward towards the Ganga Valley. The development of different classes of people came into being - Rulers or Rajas and Priests or Brahmins. The name of our country is said to derive from one of the forceful tribes called the Bharatas. and the East of the Indus became known as Bharat.
Culture and Civilisation was widely spread through the land between the two rivers Yamuna and the Ganga. It was here that Hinduism had its roots. The Vedas came into being and developed into four sections called Rig Veda, Sama, Yajur and Artha Vedas. Battles in the Mahabharata date between 3100 BC to 800 BC.
Castes were created and divided mainly into three groups - the priests, soldiers or rulers and ordinary people like traders and merchants - Brahmins, Kshatriyas, and Vaishyas. These were given a high status in culture. There was however, a fourth category added at the bottom of the ladder of hierarchy called the Sudras or low born people, they were used as free labour or bonded labour for menial jobs.
Trade in these regions created cities like Varanasi (Benaras). Taxila and Rajagriha to name a few. One can surmise that these cities around the foot hills of the Himalayas had a lot of Spiritual flavour as both Mahavir, founder of Jainism and Buddha were born there.
The Mauryan Empire to the Guptas....
Who would deny that India was rich in culture. Alexander the Great marched into the Indus conquering all in his path. After his withdrawal, Chandragupta Maurya established the first so called indigenous empire since the Indus Civilisation. His control extended to the South of India. The Mauryans were based at Magadh which is now Bihar, and had a capital at Pataliputra near Patna. The army is said to have had around 9000 elephants, 30000 cavalry and 600000 infantry (foot soldiers). Chandragupta's successor Bindusara stretched the empire as far as Mysore in the South of India.
In 272 BC, Asoka the greatest of the Mauryan emperors, took up the reigns. He further extended his empire by defeating the Kalingans to what is know as Orissa. His empire extended East to West from Afghanistan to Assam, North to South from Himalayas to Mysore. Asoka later gave up war and went about preaching the values of Buddhism. He left a series of inscriptions on pillars and rocks across the Sub-Continent. One can be found in the Indraprastha Fort in Delhi. The inscriptions were written in Prakrit, using Brahmi Script, some were in Greek using the Kharoshti script. For over 2000 years they remained an mystery till James Prinsep deciphered the Brahmi script in 1837. Asoka maintained good relations with King Tissa of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and the Cholas, Hoysalas, Pandiyas, Keralaputras and Satiyaputras. After his death the successor could not administer the kingdom and it disintegrated within 50 years.
Other Regional Kingdoms in India during the same period...
Harsha had a brief reign recapturing some of the Gupta's territory. The Rashtrakutas controlled the Deccan Plateau or Central Peninsula of India. For the South the Dravidian lands (now Kerala, Tamilnadu and Coastal Andhra Pradesh) were controlled by the Pandiyas, Cholas and Pallavas. The Pallavas came to power around the 7th Century and built their temples at Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram), close to Madras (now Chennai). Madurai was then their Capital.
The Cholas dominated Tamilnadu, S Karnataka and South Andhra Pradesh from around 850 AD to 1278 AD. The also controlled Northern Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). They also built many temples.
The Rajputs who may have originated from outside India, took over power as the Gupta Empire ceased to exist. They also were famous for their temples, a good example could be seen at Khajuraho.
The Delhi Sultanate...
Around 1000 AD, India was increasingly and being attacked by the Arabs and Turks, Punjab was raided by the Mahmud of Ghazni. The Rajputs who were always feuding among themselves were an easy pushover.
A series of raids from Muslim chief Muizzud Din and his deputy Qutbud Din Aibak. Hindu opponents were defeated from Gwalior to Benaras. The Northern part of India was controlled by the Delhi Sultans.
Another raider to India was the fearful Genghis Khan. Dynasties were made up of refugees from Genghis Khan's raids, and the first to sprout up was the Khaljis, followed by the Tughlugs, later the Sayyids, and then the Lodis. The land being so vast and the only way the Delhi Sultanate could keep control was to build large fortifications at various places and station small garrisons of troops, to maintained lines of communications and trade routes.
The only Hindu Empire that resisted the Muslim advance were the kings of the Vijayanagar Empire. The ruins at Hampi show the strength of the Hindu coalition who were very powerful during the first half of the 14th Century, but however got defeated in 1565. The empire spread over Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
The Mughal Rule....
The rule of 150 years of the Delhi Sultans showed a loss of Kashmir and Bengal to independent Muslim Sultans. Mughul rule dominated Indian politics from 1526 Babur's victory near Delhi to Aurangzeb's death in 1707. These were the blood line descendants of Tamerlane (Timur) and Genghis Khan. One thing that came out of all this was some magnificent architecture, the best in the world, and showed harmony of man, poetry, love and devotion to God. Some of the Mughuls that were known in Indian History are Sher Shah, Humayan, Akbar, Bairam Khan, Jahangir, Nur Jahan and Aurangzeb.
The Mughul Empire soon deteriorated and Sivaji and his Marathas became a force that the Mughals could not easily deal with. Some of the rebellious Muslim kingdoms joined with Sivaji. The fear of Sivaji is remembered in the famous encounter of the Bijapur General Afzal Khan sent to make a settlement with Sivaji in private, Sivaji embraced him with steel claws attached to his fingers and tore him apart.
The East India Company and the formation of a new British Colony...
The next on the scene in India was The East India Company which led to the formation of the British Colony which ruled India for 200 years. Figureheads like Robert Clive, Warren Hastings, Lord William Bentinck, Marquess du Dalhousie, Lord Cubbon, Duke of Wellington, Lord Mountbatten to name a few, stand out in the history of Colonial India. The British however, did not have it easy, they were opposed by the Sikhs in Punjab, the Marathas in the West and the Mysore Suntans. Haidar Ali and the Tipu Sultan ( known as the Tiger of Mysore) was a thorn in the British side. To top it, the famous Indian Mutiny of 1857 which saw the loss of many a trooper and officer. The quelling of the Mutiny saw the end of the Mughal Empire.
In March of 1857, the Magistrate of Muttra found four chupatties on the table in his office. A man had brought them to the watchman with instruction to make four like them and take them to the watchman in the next village who was to do the same. Others were given five chupatties and told to give five to each of five other villages. Soon chupatties were were being delivered all over the North West Provinces. It was estimated that they could be delivered to a distance of over a hundred miles overnight. No one knew why the chupatties were being distributed, but the watchmen felt that some calamity would befall them if they did not run through the night with chupatties in their turbans.
Mainuddin Hassan Khan, a police officer, reported that his father had told him that upon the downfall of the Mahratta power, a sprig of millet and morsel of bread had passed from village to village. The distribution of bread may have signified some great disturbance would follow immediately.
Rumours abounded from the simple -- lotus flowers, brinjal leaves, and goats' meat were being passed from hand to hand among the sepoys -- to the rediculous -- Russia had conquered and annexed England and the entire English population had been decimated to fewer than 100,000 people. Rumours also tied the new cartidges to the chupatties and to a supposed plot to Christianize the whole of India.
British officers refused to believe the sepoys in their own regiments could be misled by idle talk. While mutinies were not unknown, the Indians did not consider mutiny to be the terrible crime that the British did. The Hindustani word for mutiny is ghadr but does not really mean more than faithless or ungrateful. The mutinies of 1806 at Vellore and of 1824 at Barrackpore were forgotten.
Briefly, the army mutineed in India in 1857. In January of that year, new Enfield rifles had been issued to to the 60th Rifles (a European regiment) at Meerut and later they were issued ten rounds of a new ammunition. When the same ammunition was issued to the 3rd Light Cavalry, a native regiment, in April the men refused to touch it. They had been informed that the ammunition had been greased with both pork and beef fat. The men agreed not to touch the new ammunition unless all other regiments also agreed to handle it.
The cartridges had to have the ends bitten off before loading and firing. Muslims could not touch pork and Hindus could not touch beef. The men were assured the new ammunition was not in use at the station but they did not believe their officers. Because the brass could not lose face, they insisted on going ahead with a parade which required firing blank cartridges. And on 24 April, the 3rd Light Cavalry refused to accept the cartridges. They were confined to their lines. A court-martial was convened and all the men who refused the ammunition were convicted and sentenced to 10 years hard labor.
On Saturday 9 May 1857 all the troops at Meerut were assembled on the parade ground in a three sided square with the convicted men marched to the open side. There were 1700 European troops all armed and a larger number of native troops unarmed. The convicted men were stripped of their uniforms, boots removed and ankles shackled. They were marched off to New Gaol. As they passed, several of them threw their boots at Colonel Carmichael-Smyth, cursing him in Hindustani. That night warnings were received that there would be a mutiny the next day. The colonel, the brigadier, and the major-general all dismissed the idea.
At six o'clock the next evening, Sunday 10 May 1867, the native infantry set fire to their barracks and within a short time a full-fledged armed mutiny was underway. By midnight the mutineers had moved out in an armed column for Delhi. The next day saw a massacre of Europeans in Delhi. Mutiny spread to Muttra and Lucknow by the 30 of May and to Bhurtpore by the 31. On June 5 the 2nd Cavalry mutinied at Cawnpore followed by the mutiny of the 6th NI at Allahabad. the next day. the massacre at Jhansi was on the 8th of June. The police in Lucknow mutinied on June 11. The massacre at Cawnpore took place on 27 June. Fighting continued throughout the next year finally ending at the Battle of Gwalior on 19 June 1858.
There was a great deal of unrest prior to the mutiny and the East India Company was abolished in November 1858 because of bad management. You can see that there was a great deal of violent history during 1857/8 and a lot has been written on the Mutiny. Please visit your library. I'm sure you will be fascinated and horrified at the whole mess.
(Thanks to Roger Hillhouse, for his cool rendation of the Mutiny above, email@example.com San Diego, California)
In 1885, the Indian National Congress was found, and this really was the first serious struggle for the Independence of India. Later in 1906, the All-India Muslim League was found to protect the interests of the Muslims.
Mohandas Karamchand Ghandi returned to India in 1915 after a stint of 20 years as a lawyer in South Africa. The Bengali Nobel Laureate Poet Rabindranath Tagore referred to Mohandas as "Mahatma" and the name remained, and he became Mahatma Ghandi.
There were many sad incidents that took place during the struggle of Independence and many were jailed in prisons without trial, some were hanged, but one incident is still scarred in peoples minds that of the killing of around 379 people and injury to over a 1000 at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar by the troops under General Dyer.
Part of the demands by the Congress as early as 1930 to have the Independence day as January 26, instead it has become the Republic Day. Pakistan was being given a name - a coined word by a Muslim student at Cambridge - Chaudhuri Rahmat Ali ( P for Punjab, A for Afghania, K for Kashmir, S for Sind with a suffix - stan, which in Persian means country).
The formation of India and Pakistan ... the Independence
Because of the difficulties in the population of Muslims and Hindus, there was also the differences of leadership of Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Jawaharlal Nehru, a move was made to have a different State for Muslim and Non-Muslim. Independence came with the Partition of India and Pakistan. Pakistan got her independence on 14th August 1947, and India on . Lord Mountbatten the last Viceroy had the honour to oversee the transfer of power to the newly formed countries. The British did leave us a few examples, such as Military discipline, Education, Communications, a good Government Administration and infrastructure along with their beautiful buildings, tolerance and respect of Religions and many other things that did not really leave India too far back from the rest of the world, and ofcourse, how could we forget, the universal communicating language of English!!
The Partition left a bitter struggle between the Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs which threatened to set fire to the whole country and tear it apart. People began to move from India to Pakistan and vice versa. Nearly 13 million people migrated between the two countries. It was unfortunate that many lost their lives due to this. India is now the second largest Democratic Country in the World after the United States, and is proud to be 50 Years Old in Independence, leading the way in many fields of Science, Technology, Mathematics, Commerce, Trade and many others.
There are other Sites on the Internet that may give you more upto date information and much more content.
Thank you for visiting us here in India, and joining us in our celebration of 50 Years of Independence, Jai Hind!
The Voice of Independent India
Freedom is a great gift of God to humankind. As we enter the historic landmark of 50 Glorious years of our Independence, we take pride in our freedom. Our freedom is precious. How can we continue to uphold this status in our country? How can all receive the benefits of freedom in our country?
We have human rulers to rule us. But God is the supreme ruler of all Nations. He wants justice to be done to everyone. God is aware of the prevailing condition of our Country.
"I am the LORD, and I know your terrible acts. You cheat honest people and take bribes; you rob the poor of justice. Times are so evil that anyone with good sense will keep quiet. If you really want to live. you must stop doing wrong, and start doing right. .... Let justice and fairness flow like a river that never runs dry."
Freedom calls us to practice Justice.
God has ordained human rulers and institutions to maintain Liberty among people. We as citizens are to obey these authorities.
"The LORD wants you to obey all human authorities espically the one who rules.
... you are free, but still you are God's servants, and you must not use your freedom as an excuse for doing wrong. Respect everyone, .... honour God and respect the rulers."
Freedom gives Liberty to do good to all.
God as supreme ruler wants us to promote equality among people irrespective of social status, religion, and caste.
"My friends, if you have faith in God, you won't treat some people better than others ... (when) you treat some people better than others, you have done wrong, and the scriptures teach that you have sinned."
Freedom encourages equality among people.
What does God as ruler require from people who enjoy freedom?
"Love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul and mind. This is the first and most important commandment. The second most important commandment is like this one. And it is 'Love others as much as you love yourself' "
Freedom promotes fraternity.
As we stand on the threshold of a new era, let us practise these teachings of the Bible to overcome the problems that come in the way of progress. Let us reaffirm our commitment to build a better India in Justice, Peace and Prosperity as the Founding Fathers of our great Nation hoped for.
Scripture passages are taken from the following references of the Holy Bible (CEV) Amos 5:12-15,24; I Peter 2:13, 16-17; James 2:1,9; Matthew 22:37-39; John 14:6a, 8:32
(The "Voice of Independent India" is an abstract taken from the "We the people.." brochure of The Bible Society of India, 206 M.G. Road, Bangalore 560 001, Ph: 5584657. Kind Permission to use given by Dr. B.K. Pramanik, Chief Executive)
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