60 Defining Moments
Hyderabad liberated. September 12, 1948
Its Nizam was the richest man in the world, ruling over more than sixteen million people. It was larger than England and Scotland combined and had a domestic product greater than that of Belgium. But on September 12, 1948, the Indian Army surrounded and secured Hyderabad in just five days. It’s strategic location, the Nizam’s steady refusal to accede and finally, repeated raids by armed Hyderabadi militia on Indian trains and villages, all forced Sardar Patel into action. Other princely states were soon absorbed into India.Canada Goose Jackets
Work on the constitution started in December 1946, with a 308 member constituent assembly. Dr. B R Ambedkar was the Chairman of the Drafting Committee. On November 26, 1949, the Constitution was finally passed. It was the longest written constitution in the world, with a total of 117,369 words in English. Speaking after the completion of his work, Ambedkar said: “I feel that the Constitution is workable; it is flexible and it is strong enough to hold the country together. If things go wrong under the new Constitution, the reason will not be that we had a bad Constitution. What we will have to say is that Man was vile.”
India’s first General Election. January 1952
Fresh out of the freedom struggle, India gave voting rights to the masses. The logistics were mind boggling 4,500 seats to be decided by 176 million Indians, spread over more than a million square miles. Eighty five per cent of them were illiterate. To aid the unread, large pictorial party symbols and separate ballot boxes for each party were used. The West turned up its nose, calling it the biggest gamble in history. Yet, as an exercise in social organisation, and as a display of sheer political exuberance, the 1952 elections had no precedent.
First introduced in the Legislative Assembly in April 1947, the Hindu Code Bill was shelved in 1951 by Jawaharlal Nehru, forcing Ambedkar to resign in anger. The Hindu Succession Act finally became law on 17th June 1956, after pressure by liberal and women’s groups. It was a turning point for female rights, giving the widow, daughter and mother, equal right to a deceased man’s property, along with his son, grandson and great grandson. Earlier, the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 banned polygamy and increased the right of the divorced wife to maintenance or alimony.
Reorganisation of states based on language. 1956
When Potti Sriramulu fasted to his death in 1952, demanding a state for Telugu speakers, he set the groundwork for dividing India on linguistic lines. People of the same language tended to share a cultural heritage and a will to work together no matter what religion or ethnicity they belonged to. The State Reorganization Commission of 1956 ultimately redrew the map of India coagulating people of the same language into separate autonomous states. It was the most practical way to hold the nation together.