70 years after India became independent from the U.K, the world’s largest democracy still faces numerous challenges in the fight for global power
August 15, 1947. World War II had only just ended, and the American economy was slowly regaining some ground. But on that particular date, a nation finally gained its independence from colonial rulers. The colonists were from Great Britain. As expected. There was a saying that went, “the sun never sets in the British Empire”. Until the 70s, that saying had truth to it. India was one of Britain’s most profitable colonies. Hence the name, “the jewel of the Empire”. This exploitation went on for 90 years, until it ended on that fateful August day in 1947.
Before that, the Mughals ruled India. Their influence is evident all around India, to this day. And they ruled India for 331 years, starting in 1526. The British rule lasted for almost a quarter of that time. Having ruled for almost three and a half centuries, the influence of the Mughals on the people, architecture, and lifestyle, is very much prevalent.
And before the Mughals, India was just an amalgamation of kingdoms and principalities, all vying for power. Granted, the same sort of chaos still existed during the Mughal Empire. One of the few positive influences that Britain had, was unifying India as a nation. However, they disregarded the tribal and religious boundaries. As such, independence from the British, caused a whole new set of problems for the infant nation.
Partition was a time of great despair and sadness for everyone involved. When the British initially unified India, they neglected to consider the religious tensions among the Hindus and Muslims. After 90 years of essentially oppressive rule, the tension came to a boiling point. During partition, one nation gained independence, and another one was created. India for the Hindus, and Pakistan for the Muslims. Back then, Pakistan was known as West Pakistan. What was once Bangladesh, was called East Pakistan
Over the years, the ramifications of partition have taken their toll on the politics and welfare of both nations. Pakistan has always despised India for their considerable success in wealth, job security, and film industry. As such, India became subject to a number of small-scale wars against Pakistan. To go into detail about those four incidents would make up an entire article-which I will write soon. But the gist is this: Pakistan has always been jealous of India’s success since partition. Part of the reason is because Pakistan has a weak political foundation. The prime ministers and presidents with decent leadership skills are few and far in between. Infrastructure around the country is poor, not to mention the heavy presence of terror groups.
One major topic of dispute among India and Pakistan is the state of Jammu & Kashmir. After a series of disputes involving neighboring China, part of Kashmir was sectioned off to Pakistan. They initially claimed that that particular part of Kashmir belonged to them. I think if they had it their way, the entirety of the northern state would belong to them. At least two wars throughout the 70 years, have been waged as a result of a dispute over Kashmir. It is a hotspot for violence and dispute. As such, the Indian government has designated a few safe spots for tourists to venture into. A disputed territory, just north of Khyber Pass, remains between India and Pakistan; it is essentially a No-Man’s Land.
Disputes aside, Kashmir is one of the most beautiful states in India to visit. Personally, I have never been, but I certainly do hope to in the near future. Adventures in trekking and mountaineering await for those who visit this beautiful northern state of India.
A brief introduction to India-China disputes, and I’ll shut up. Pakistan is already a nuisance to India from the West. However from the eastern part of the country, there is also China to worry about. In 1962, India was only 15 years into being a sovereign nation. China decided to launch an attack on a still vulnerable India. In it, they staked their claim on Kashmir (surprise, surprise), and Arunachal Pradesh, a western Indian state that shares part of its border with China.
In the present day, this dispute exists among the world’s two most populated countries.
Territorial disputes and political instability are among the two biggest problems India has faced as a direct result of independence/partition. Going forward, India must come up with a more permanent solution to these issues. As the world’s largest democracy, they have to exert some sort of control over their political situation and territorial issues. The influence of India on world politics and economy continues to grow. If these problems are not fixed soon, that carefully built reputation might collapse.