- History of the Republic of India
Part of a series on the History of Modern India Pre-Independence British Raj (1858–1947) Indian independence movement (1857–1947) Partition of India (1947) Post-Independence Political integration of India (1947–49) States Reorganisation Act (1956) Non-Aligned Movement (1956– ) Green Revolution (1970s) Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 Emergency (1975–77) 1990s in India Economic liberalisation in India 2000s in India See also History of India History of South Asia History of South Asia and IndiaStone age (7000–1300 BCE)
Iron age (1200–26 BCE)
- Mehrgarh Culture (7000–3300 BCE)
- Indus Valley Civilization (3300–1700 BCE)
- Early Harappan Culture (3300–2600 BCE)
- Mature Harappan Culture (2600–1900 BCE)
- Late Harappan Culture (1700–1300 BCE)
- Ochre Coloured Pottery culture (from 2000 BCE)
- Swat culture (1600–500 BCE)
Classical period (1–1279 CE)
- Vedic Civilization (2000–500 BCE)
- Black and Red ware culture (1300–1000 BCE)
- Painted Grey Ware culture (1200–600 BCE)
- Northern Black Polished Ware (700–200 BCE)
- Maha Janapadas (700–300 BCE)
- Magadha Empire (684–424 BCE)
- Nanda Empire (424–321 BCE)
- Chera Empire (300 BCE–1200 CE)
- Chola Empire (300 BCE–1279 CE)
- Pandyan Empire (300 BCE–1345 CE)
- Maurya Empire (321–184 BCE)
- Pallava Empire (250 BCE–800 CE)
- Sunga Empire (185–73 BCE)
- Kanva Empire (75–26 BCE)
- Maha-Megha-Vahana Empire (250s BCE–400s CE)
- Satavahana Empire (230–220 BCE)
- Kuninda Kingdom (200s BCE–300s CE)
- Indo-Scythian Kingdom (200 BCE–400 CE)
- Indo-Greek Kingdom (180 BCE–10 CE)
Late medieval age (1206–1596 CE)
- Indo-Parthian Kingdom (21–130s CE)
- Western Satrap Empire (35–405 CE)
- Kushan Empire (60–240 CE)
- Indo-Sassanid Kingdom (230–360 CE)
- Vakataka Empire (250s–500s CE)
- Kalabhras Empire (250–600 CE)
- Gupta Empire (280–550 CE)
- Kadamba Empire (345–525 CE)
- Western Ganga Kingdom (350–1000 CE)
- Kamarupa Kingdom (350–1100 CE)
- Vishnukundina Empire (420–624 CE)
- Maitraka Empire (475–767 CE)
- Huna Kingdom (475–576 CE)
- Rai Kingdom (489–632 CE)
- Chalukya Empire (543–753 CE)
- Shahi Empire (500s–1026 CE)
- Maukhari Empire (550s–700s CE)
- Harsha Empire (590–647 CE)
- Eastern Chalukya Kingdom (624–1075 CE)
- Gurjara Pratihara Empire (650–1036 CE)
- Pala Empire (750–1174 CE)
- Rashtrakuta Empire (753–982 CE)
- Paramara Kingdom (800–1327 CE)
- Yadava Empire (850–1334 CE)
- Solanki Kingdom (942–1244 CE)
- Western Chalukya Empire (973–1189 CE)
- Hoysala Empire (1040–1346 CE)
- Sena Empire (1070–1230 CE)
- Eastern Ganga Empire (1078–1434 CE)
- Kakatiya Kingdom (1083–1323 CE)
- Kalachuri Empire (1130–1184 CE)
Early modern period (1526–1858 CE)
- Delhi Sultanate (1206–1526 CE)
- Ahom Kingdom (1228–1826 CE)
- Reddy Kingdom (1325–1448 CE)
- Vijayanagara Empire (1336–1646 CE)
- Gajapati Kingdom (1434–1541 CE)
- Deccan Sultanates (1490–1596 CE)
Regional states (1102–1947 CE)
- Mughal Empire (1526–1858 CE)
- Maratha Empire (1674–1818 CE)
- Durrani Empire (1747–1823 CE)
- Sikh Empire (1799–1849 CE)
Colonial period (1505–1961 CE)
- Zamorin Kingdom (1102–1766 CE)
- Deva Kingdom (1200s–1300s CE)
- Chitradurga Kingdom (1300–1779 CE)
- Garhwal Kingdom (1358–1803 CE)
- Mysore Kingdom (1399–1947 CE)
- Keladi Kingdom (1499–1763 CE)
- Koch Kingdom (1515–1947 CE)
- Thondaiman Kingdom (1650–1948 CE)
- Madurai Kingdom (1559–1736 CE)
- Thanjavur Kingdom (1572–1918 CE)
- Marava Kingdom (1600–1750 CE)
- Sikh Confederacy (1707–1799 CE)
- Travancore Kingdom (1729–1947 CE)
Kingdoms of Sri Lanka (543 BCE–1948 CE)
- Portuguese India (1510–1961 CE)
- Dutch India (1605–1825 CE)
- Danish India (1620–1869 CE)
- French India (1759–1954 CE)
- Company Raj (1757–1858 CE)
- British Raj (1858–1947 CE)
- Partition of India (1947 CE)
- Kingdom of Tambapanni (543–505 BCE)
- Kingdom of Upatissa Nuwara (505–377 BCE)
- Kingdom of Anuradhapura (377 BCE–1017 CE)
- Kingdom of Ruhuna (200 CE)
- Polonnaruwa Kingdom (300–1310 CE)
- Kingdom of Dambadeniya (1220–1272 CE)
- Kingdom of Yapahuwa (1272–1293 CE)
- Kingdom of Kurunegala (1293–1341 CE)
- Kingdom of Gampola (1341–1347 CE)
- Kingdom of Raigama (1347–1415 CE)
- Kingdom of Kotte (1412–1597 CE)
- Kingdom of Sitawaka (1521–1594 CE)
- Kingdom of Kandy (1469–1815 CE)
- Portuguese Ceylon (1505–1658 CE)
- Dutch Ceylon (1656–1796 CE)
- British Ceylon (1815–1948 CE)
- Himachal Pradesh
- Uttar Pradesh
- Pakistani Regions
- South India
The history of the Republic of India began on 26 January 1950. The country became an independent dominion within the British Commonwealth 15 August 1947. George VI (Albert Frederick Arthur George) was King until the Republic was proclaimed in 1950. Concurrently the Muslim-majority northwest and east of British India was separated into the Dominion of Pakistan, by the partition of India. The partition led to a population transfer of more than 10 million people between India and Pakistan and the death of about one million people. 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.
On 26 January 1950, India became a republic and a new constitution came into effect under which India was established as a secular and a democratic state. In the years since independence India has made huge progress and coped with great problems, and has developed its industry and its agriculture, and has maintained a system of government which makes it the largest democracy in the world. The nation has faced challenges from religious violence, casteism, naxalism, terrorism and regional separatist insurgencies, especially in Jammu and Kashmir and northeastern India. India has unresolved territorial disputes with the People's Republic of China, which, in 1962, escalated into the Sino-Indian War, and with Pakistan, which resulted in wars in 1947, 1965, 1971 and 1999.
India is a state armed with nuclear weapons; having conducted its first nuclear test in 1974, followed by another five tests in 1998. From the 1950s to the 1980s, India followed socialist-inspired policies. The economy was shackled by extensive regulation, protectionism and public ownership, leading to pervasive corruption and slow economic growth. Beginning in 1991, significant economic reforms have transformed India into one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, increasing its global clout.
- 1 1947–1950
- 2 1950s and 1960s
- 3 1970s
- 4 1980s
- 5 1990s
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
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.
Partition Of IndiaMain article: Partition of India
An estimated 3.5 million Hindus and Sikhs living in West Punjab, North-West Frontier Province, Baluchistan, East Bengal and Sind migrated to India in fear of domination and suppression in Muslim Pakistan. Communal violence killed an estimated one 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 30 January 1948 was carried out by Nathuram Vinayak Godse, who was affiliated with the Hindu nationalist movement, which 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 IntegrationMain article: Political integration of India
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 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 13–17 September 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. The Indian Constitution came into force in Kashmir on 26 January 1950 with special clauses for the state.
ConstitutionMain article: Constitution of India
The Constituent Assembly adopted the Constitution of India, drafted by a committee headed by B. R. Ambedkar, on 26 November 1949. India became a federal, democratic republic after its constitution came into effect on 26 January 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 National 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.
Nehru administration (1952–1964)
Prime Minister Nehru led the Congress to major election victories in 1957 and 1962. The Parliament passed extensive reforms that increased the legal rights of women in Hindu society, and further legislated against caste discrimination and untouchability. Nehru advocated a strong initiative to enroll India's children to complete primary education, and thousands of schools, colleges and institutions of advanced learning, such as the Indian Institutes of Technology were founded across the nation. Nehru advocated a socialist model for the economy of India — no taxation for Indian farmers, minimum wage and benefits for blue-collar workers, and the nationalization of heavy industries such as steel, aviation, shipping, electricity and mining. An extensive public works and industrialization campaign resulted in the construction of major dams, irrigation canals, roads, thermal and hydroelectric power stations.
States reorganizationMain article: States Reorganization Act
Potti Sreeramulu's fast-unto-death, and consequent death for the demand of an Andhra State in 1953 sparked a major re-shaping of the Indian Union. Nehru appointed the States Reorganization Commission, upon whose recommendations, the States Reorganization Act was passed in 1956. Old states were dissolved and new states created on the lines of shared linguistic and ethnic demographics. The separation of Kerala and the Telugu-speaking regions of Madras State enabled the creation of an exclusively Tamil-speaking state of Tamil Nadu. On 1 May 1960, the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat were created out of the Bombay state. The creation of Punjabi Suba on 1 November 1966, an exclusively Punjabi speaking state of Punjab (India), occurred after a long struggle.
Foreign policy and military conflictsSee also: Role of India in Non-Aligned Movement
Nehru's foreign policy was the inspiration of the Non-Aligned Movement, of which India was a co-founder. Nehru maintained friendly relations with both the United States and the Soviet Union, and encouraged the People's Republic of China to join the global community of nations. In 1956, when the Suez Canal Company was seized by the Egyptian government, an international conference voted 18-4 to take action against Egypt. India was one of the four backers of Egypt, along with Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and the USSR. India had controversially opposed the partition of Palestine and the 1956 invasion of the Sinai by Israel, Britain and France, but did not oppose the Chinese direct control over Tibet and the suppression of a pro-democracy movement in Hungary by the Soviet Union. Although Nehru disavowed nuclear ambitions for India, Canada and France aided India in the development of nuclear power stations for electricity. India also negotiated an agreement in 1960 with Pakistan on the just use of the waters of seven rivers shared by the countries. Nehru had visited Pakistan in 1953, but owing to political turmoil in Pakistan, no headway was made on the Kashmir dispute.
- India has fought a total of four wars/military conflicts with its rival nation Pakistan, two in this period.In the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947 fought over Kashmir, Pakistan occupied one third of Kashmir (which India claims as its territory), and India occupied three fifths (which Pakistan claims as its territory). In the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 India attacked Pakistan on all fronts after attempts by Pakistani troops to infiltrate into Indian controlled Kashmir.
- In 1960, after continual petitions for a peaceful handover, India invaded and annexed the Portuguese colony of Goa on the west coast of India.
- In 1962 China and India engaged in the brief Sino-Indian War over the border in the Himalayas. The war was a complete rout for the Indians and led to a refocusing on arms build-up and an improvement in relations with the United States. China withdrew from disputed territory in, what is to China South Tibet, and to India part of the North-East Frontier Agency that it crossed during the war. Unrelated to that war, India disputes China's sovereignty over the smaller Aksai Chin territory that it controls on the western part of the Sino-Indian border.
Jawaharlal Nehru died on 27 May 1964. Lal Bahadur Shastri succeeded him as Prime Minister. In 1965 in the Second Kashmir War India and Pakistan again went to war, but without any definitive outcome or alteration of the Kashmir boundary. The Tashkent Agreement was signed under the mediation of the Soviet government, but Shastri died on the night after the signing ceremony. A leadership election resulted in the elevation of Indira Gandhi, Nehru's daughter who had been serving as Minister for Information and Broadcasting, as the third Prime Minister. She defeated right-wing leader Morarji Desai. The Congress Party won a reduced majority in the 1967 elections owing to widespread disenchantment over rising prices of commodities, unemployment, economic stagnation and a food crisis. Indira Gandhi had started on a rocky note after agreeing to a devaluation of the Indian rupee, which created much hardship for Indian businesses and consumers, and the import of wheat from the U.S. fell through due to political disputes.
Morarji Desai entered Gandhi's government as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, and with senior Congress politicians attempted to constrain Gandhi's authority. But following the counsel of her political advisor P. N. Haksar, Gandhi resuscitated her popular appeal by a major shift towards socialist policies. She successfully ended the privy purse guarantee for former Indian royalty, and waged a major offensive against party hierarchy over the nationalization of India's banks. Although resisted by Desai and India's business community, the policy was popular with the masses. When Congress politicians attempted to oust Gandhi by suspending her Congress membership, Gandhi was empowered with a large exodus of MPs to her own Congress (R). The bastion of the freedom struggle, the Indian National Congress had split in 1969. Gandhi continued to govern with a slim majority.
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 26 April 1975, Sikkim formally became India's 22nd state.
Green revolution and Operation FloodMain articles: Green Revolution in India and Operation Flood
India's population passed the 500 million mark in the early 1970s, but its long-standing food crisis was resolved with greatly improved agricultural productivity due to the Green revolution. The Government sponsored modern agricultural implements, new varieties of generic seeds and increased financial assistance to farmers that increased the yield of food crops such as wheat, rice and corn, as well as commercial crops like cotton, tea, tobacco and coffee. Increased agricultural productivity expanded across the states of the Indo-Gangetic plains and the Punjab. Under Operation Flood, the Government encouraged the production of milk, which increased greatly, and improved rearing of livestock across India. This enabled India to become self-sufficient in feeding its own population, ending two decades of food imports.
Indo-Pakistan War of 1971Main article: Indo-Pakistan War of 1971
The Indo-Pakistan War of 1971 was the third in four wars fought between the two nations. In this war, fought over the issue of the Independence of East Pakistan from Pakistan into the nation of Bangladesh India decisively defeated Pakistan resulting in the independence of Bangladesh from Pakistani control.
Indian EmergencyMain article: Indian Emergency
Economic and social problems, as well as allegations of corruption caused increasing political unrest across India, culminating in the Bihar Movement. In 1974, the Allahabad High Court found Indira Gandhi guilty of misusing government machinery for election purposes. Opposition parties conducted nationwide strikes and protests demanding her immediate resignation. Various political parties united under Jaya Prakash Narayan to resist what he termed Mrs. Gandhi's dictatorship. Leading strikes across India that paralyzed its economy and administration, Narayan even called for the Army to oust Mrs. Gandhi. In 1975, Mrs. Gandhi advised President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed to declare a state of emergency under the Constitution, which allowed the Central government to assume sweeping powers to defend law and order in the nation. Explaining the breakdown of law and order and threat to national security as her primary reasons, Mrs. Gandhi suspended many civil liberties and postponed elections at national and state levels. Non-Congress governments in Indian states were dismissed, and opposition political leaders and activists imprisoned. Strikes and public protests were outlawed in all forms.
India's economy benefited from an end to paralyzing strikes and political disorder. India announced a 20-point programme which enhanced agricultural and industrial production, increasing national growth, productivity and job growth. But many organs of government and many Congress politicians were accused of corruption and authoritarian conduct. Police officers were accused of arresting and torturing innocent people. Indira's son and political advisor, Sanjay Gandhi was accused of committing gross excesses - Sanjay was blamed for the Health Ministry carrying out forced vasectomies of men and sterilization of women as a part of the initiative to control population growth, and for the demolition of slums in Delhi near the Turkmen Gate, which left thousands of people dead and many more displaced.
Janata interludeMain article: Janata Party
Indira called for elections in 1977, only to suffer a humiliating electoral defeat at the hands of the Janata Party, an amalgamation of opposition parties. Morarji Desai became the first non-Congress Prime Minister of India. The Desai administration established tribunals to investigate Emergency-era abuses, and Indira and Sanjay Gandhi were arrested after a report from the Shah Commission. But in 1979, the coalition crumbled and Charan Singh formed an interim government. The Janata party had become intensely unpopular due to its internecine warfare, and the fact that it offered no leadership on solving India's serious economic and social problems.
1980sMain articles: Operation Blue Star, Indira Gandhi assassination, 1984 anti-Sikh riots, and Indian intervention in the Sri Lankan Civil War
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 31 October 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.
Rajiv Gandhi administration
The Congress party chose Rajiv Gandhi, Indira's older son as the next Prime Minister. Rajiv had been elected to Parliament only in 1982, and at 40, was the youngest national political leader and Prime Minister ever. But his youth and inexperience were an asset in the eyes of citizens tired of the inefficacy and corruption of career politicians, and looking for newer policies and a fresh start to resolve the country's long-standing problems. The Parliament was dissolved, and Rajiv led the Congress party to its largest majority in history (over 415 seats out of 545 possible), reaping a sympathy vote over his mother's assassination.
Rajiv Gandhi initiated a series of reforms - the license raj was loosened, and government restrictions on foreign currency, travel, foreign investment and imports decreased considerably. This allowed private businesses to use resources and produce commercial goods without government bureaucracy interfering, and the influx of foreign investment increased India's national reserves. As Prime Minister, Rajiv broke from his mother's precedent to improve relations with the United States, which increased economic aid and scientific cooperation. Rajiv's encouragement of science and technology resulted in a major expansion of the telecommunications industry, India's space program and gave birth to the software industry and information technology sector.
India in 1987 brokered an agreement between the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE insurgency that had torn apart the island for over a decade. Rajiv sent Indian troops to enforce the agreement and disarm the Tamil rebels, but the Indian Peace Keeping Force, as it was known, became entangled in outbreaks of violence - ultimately ending up fighting the Tamil rebels itself, and becoming a target of attack from Sri Lankan nationalists. VP Singh withdrew the IPKF in 1990, but thousands of Indian soldiers had died. Rajiv's departure from socialist policies did not sit well with the masses, who did not benefit from the innovations. Unemployment was a serious problem, and India's burgeoning population added ever-increasing needs for diminishing resources. Rajiv Gandhi's image as an honest politician (he was nicknamed Mr. Clean by the press) was shattered when the Bofors scandal broke, revealing that senior government officials had taken bribes over defence contracts by a Swedish guns producer.
Elections in 1989 gave Rajiv's Congress a plurality, a far cry from the majority which propelled him to power. Power came instead to his former finance and defence minister, VP Singh. Singh had been moved from the Finance ministry to the Defence ministry after he unearthed some scandals which made the Congress leadership uncomfortable. Singh then unearthed the Bofors scandal, and was sacked from the party and office. Becoming a popular crusader for reform and clean government, Singh led the Janata Dal coalition to a majority. He was supported by BJP and the leftist parties from outside. Becoming Prime Minister, Singh made an important visit to the Golden Temple shrine, to heal the wounds of the past. He started to implement the controversial Mandal commission report, to increase the quota in reservation for low caste Hindus. The BJP protested these implementations, and took its support back, following which he resigned. Chandra Shekhar split to form the Janata Dal (Socialist), supported by Rajiv's Congress. This new government also collapsed in a matter of months, when congress withdrew its support.
1990sMain articles: 1990s in India and Rajiv Gandhi assassination
On 21 May 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 20 March 1998, the President inaugurated a BJP-led coalition government with Vajpayee again serving as Prime Minister. On 11 and 13 May 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 coalition government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) 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. The CBI charge sheeted senior BJP leaders for inciting the demolition of the Babri mosque. Later, all of them were acquitted from the respective cases. 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.
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 foreign 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 became 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 and foreign unions including the United States, the European Union, Israel and the People's Republic of China. The economy of India has accelerated by growing at a very rapid pace. India is now being looked at as a potential superpower.
However, 21st century India is facing the Naxalite-Maoist rebels, in the words of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, India's "greatest internal security challenge" and other terrorist tensions (such as Islamist terrorist campaigns in and out of Jammu & Kashmir, terrorism in India’s Northeast, and Hindutva terrorism) However, terrorism has increased in India with bomb blasts in leading cities like Mumbai, New Delhi, Jaipur, Bangalore, Hyderabad has been very common.
In the Indian General Election in 2009, the United Progressive Alliance won a convincing 262 seats, with INC alone winning 206 seats. However, the Congress-led government is facing many allegations against it. Inflation rose to an all time high and the ever-increasing prices of food commodities caused wide spread agitation. The Commonwealth Games Scam rocked the country in 2010, raising questions about the credibility of the government. The Delhi Commonwealth Games committee was headed by Suresh Kalmadi, a former Congress MP. This was followed by the 2G spectrum scam involving the minister for telecommunications A. Raja, which had caused an estimated loss of 176,000 crores ($40 billion) to the exchequer. Another scam, the Adarsh Housing Society Scam involved the Congress government in Maharastra, where various Congress bureaucrats as well as the CM held illegal possessions of a building built for wartime heroes. Despite all this, India showed great promise with a higher growth rate in GDP.
Economic transformationMain article: Economic liberalization in IndiaSee also: Indian Century
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, becoming 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.
- Economic history of India
- Economy of India
- Military history of India
- Politics of India
- Indian Emergency
- India (disambiguation)
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- Independent India
- History of India
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