The 14 Turning Points In Indian History
Senoreta • onDid You Know 10 years ago • 4 min read

1947: Independence and Partition Muslim refugees crowd onto a train near New Delhi during the bloody Partition of Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan. Some 15 million people are displaced and an estimated 500,000 killed in the savage violence sparked by Britain's division of its former colony.

1952: Towards Socialism The Congress Party, headed by India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, triumphs in the young nation's first general election. Nehru establishes a five-year plan for agricultural reform, committing India to a socialist path to development.

1962: India vs. China Reinforcements head to the front after China steamrolls India's unprepared defenses, seizing a chunk of Kashmir that it holds to this day. The defeat is a dark moment in India's young history and a political blow from which Nehru never recovers. Battling ill health, he dies two years later.

1965: The Second Kashmir War Housewives and students take target practice in Dhaka, East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), responding to a government call to arms during India and Pakistan's second major conflict over the disputed Kashmir region. The Second Kashmir War ends indecisively with a U.N.-mandated ceasefire.

1971: Independence for Bangladesh Indian troops are hailed as liberators as they enter Dhaka, East Pakistan, during India and Pakistan's third major conflict. The war ends with a decisive Indian victory and statehood for East Pakistan, which becomes known as Bangladesh.

1975: The Emergency Beset by growing political disorder, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Nehru's daughter, declares emergency rule. Thousands are detained during India's flirtation with authoritarianism, but the experiment is short-lived: the Emergency is lifted in 1977 and subsequent elections sweep Gandhi and the Congress Party out of power.

1983: A Win for India India wins the Cricket World Cup for the first and only time in the cricket-obsessed nation's history, beating tournament favorites West Indies in the final.

1984: Gandhi Assassinated Indira Gandhi, returned to power in 1980, is killed by her own Sikh bodyguards, leading to anti-Sikh riots in Delhi where thousands die. She is cremated by her son Rajiv (second from left) and daughter-in- law Sonia (in sunglasses) — a Prime Minister and future head of the Congress Party, respectively.

1992: The Destruction of the Babri Masjid Far-right Hindu activists raze a 16th-century mosque, the Babri Masjid, in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, claiming it had been erected on top of a Hindu temple. The destruction sparks religious riots throughout India.

1998: A New Nuclear Power With its new Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee (third from left) in attendance, India shocks the world by detonating a nuclear weapon beneath the remote Thar Desert on May 11; two weeks later, Pakistan replies with a weapons test of its own. The prospect of two antagonistic nuclear powers on the subcontinent raises fears of nuclear war, especially after India and Pakistan clash again over Kashmir less than a year later.

2002: Gujurat Burns After a train carrying Hindu pilgrims is allegedly set on fire by Muslims, a brutal backlash in the western state of Gujarat results in the deaths of nearly a thousand people. The riots, carried live on television nationwide, spark an outcry against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), whose officials in Gujarat are accused of being complicit in the violence.

2003: The World's Back Office India's fourth-quarter GDP growth hits double-digits, thanks to bumper crops and growth in IT and outsourcing. The 10.4% rate is the fastest among emerging nations.

2004: New Faces and Old Under Sonia Gandhi, the Italian-born widow of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, a resurgent Congress Party sweeps the ruling BJP out of power. Manmohan Singh, a former Finance Minister who spearheaded India's economic reforms, is appointed Prime Minister.

2007: The Sky's the Limit In early July, the Bombay Stock Exchange Sensex Index eclipses the 15,000 mark for the first time. The milestone means India's markets have soared fivefold in five years.

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