VANDE MATARAM !! ( I bow to thee mother !!!)
_Bankim Chandra Chattopadhya

The nation with a heart of gold and soul of steel is celebrating its 73rd Independence Day on 15th of August, commemorating the nation’s brave and historic independence after a long freedom struggle.
India : the 7th largest nation of this world with 3.28 million sq. kms of land which is a home to approximately 1.3 billion people making up for the second most populous nation is continuously growing ahead as one of the strongest nations with a holistic approach towards development in different sectors like defence, communication and media, sanitation and healthcare, economic growth, infrastructure, education, women empowerment or overall growth of the nation.

One of the world’s fastest growing major economy:

After 72 years of independence, India has gained a position all over the globe as one of the world’s fastest growing major economy , 7th largest according to nominal GDP and 3rd largest by purchasing power parity (PPP), India is the biggest democracy in the world, and has the second largest military in the globe and is widely known for the historic battles fought in the nation , great ignited minds of the country in fields of arts, literature, science making their name worldwide , beautiful places to explore and rich and diverse culture and heritage. A pluralistic, democratic, multilingual and multi-ethnic society with people of different religions and communities living under a single roof of secularity.

No words can define the beauty of India , whether it be about the rich history of Mughal emperors to Maratha rulers or the rich flora and fauna or the beautiful sculptures and temples making the myriad shades of this country ,India is called Incredible for a legit reason. The India we live in today is a result of a long battle fought by our great freedom fighters.

India’s freedom struggle marks for a glorious phenomenon, a tale of bravery and constant struggle by the great freedom fighters of our nation. Indians had an amazing diversity in the way they fought, whether it be through brave and heroic fights lead in the battleground or by employing the Gandhian model of non violence. Let’s take a look from where it all started.

Discovery of a sea route:1498

The arrival of three ships under Vasco da Gama, led by a Gujarati pilot named Abdul Majid, at Calicut in May 1498 deeply affected the course of Indian history. He arrived from Portugal to trade his country’s goods in return for Indian spices but from trading to ruling with the establishment of the first Portuguese fort at Cochin in 1503 to the declaration of Goa as the Portuguese capital in 1530, the game of power continued till 1663 when the Dutch won all the Portuguese forts on the Malabar coast to oust the Portuguese

Beginning of Dutch Invasion:

After laying down the foundation stone of their first factory in Masulipatnam ( Andhra) in 1605, the Dutch kept on establishing factories on the Coromandel Coast, in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh , Bengal and Bihar and later on principal factories in Surat, Bimlipatnam, Karaikal, Patna, Baranagar and Cochin. The most important Indian commodities the Dutch traded in were silk, cotton, indigo, rice and opium. However, The Dutch didn’t find a greater interest in empire building but their major aim was to trade in the Indian subcontinent.

Establishment of East India company:

Arrival of the British was the major result of the Portuguese traders who earned huge profits by selling their merchandise in India. Getting highly motivated by the profit stirring success stories of Portuguese , The Company formed by a group of English Merchants called ‘Merchant Adventures” formed a company named “East India Company” and received a royal charter from Queen Elizabeth I in 1600 AD authorizing it to trade in the East. Queen was herself a share holder in the East India Company.

Subsequently in the year 1609 , the East India Company sent Captain William Hawkins to the court of the Mughal emperor Jahangir to secure royal patronage. He succeeded in getting royal permit for the Company to establish its factories at various places on the Western coast of India. By 1613, a permanent factory of East India company was established in Surat.

Company’s Expansion in East India:

After establishing its factories in south and west India, the company started to focus on east India particularly: Bengal as it was a significant province in Mughal empire. The governor of Bengal Sujauddaula in 1651 AD, allowed the English Company to carry out its trade activities in Bengal. A factory in Hugli was established and three villages -Sutanati, Govindapur and Kolkata- were purchased in 1698 AD by the Company to build a factory over there. Subsequently Fort William was raised in order to provide protection around the factory.

Gained political power after Battle of Plassey”1757″

The British gained enormous political power after the battle of Plassey in 1757. The Britishers came and ruled over India for approximately 200 years. And their extreme power was established in the tenure of Lord Dalhousie, who became the Governor- General in 1848. He annexed Punjab, Peshawar and the Pathan tribes in the north-west of India. And by 1856, the British conquest and its authority were firmly established.

The Revolt of 1857:The first war of Indian Independence:

Whether it be through introduction of zamindari system by the Britishers leading to exploitation of poor peasants or it be about the craftsmen facing huge losses by the influx of the British manufactured goods or the endangered and diminishing religion and caste system which formed the principles for firm foundation of Indian society. On top of it, The Indian soldiers as well as people in administration could not rise in hierarchy as the senior jobs were reserved for the Europeans. This multi dimensional discontent and disgust against the British rule, burst out in a revolt by the ‘sepoys’ at Meerut whose religious sentiments were offended when they were given new cartridges greased with cow and pig fat, whose covering had to be stripped out by biting with the mouth before using them in rifles. The Hindu as well as the Muslim soldiers, who refused to use such cartridges, were arrested which resulted in a revolt by their fellow soldiers on May 9, 1857.

The Mutiny of 1857, which began with a revolt of the military soldiers at Meerut, soon became widespread and posed a grave challenge to the British rule. Even though the British succeeded in crushing it within a year, it was certainly a popular revolt in which the Indian rulers, the masses and the military participated with zeal and energy, that it came to be regarded as the “First War of Indian Independence”. The rebel forces soon captured Delhi and the revolt spread to a wider area and there was uprising in almost all parts of the country. The most ferocious battles were fought in Delhi, Awadh, Rohilkhand, Bundelkhand, Allahabad, Agra, Meerut and western Bihar.

Heroic fighters like Tantya tope and Rani Lakshmibai fought fearlessly:

The rebellious forces under the commands of Kanwar Singh in Bihar and Bakht Khan in Delhi gave a stunning blow to the British. In Kanpur, Nana Sahib was proclaimed as the Peshwa and the brave leader Tantya Tope led his troops. Rani Lakshmibai was proclaimed the ruler of Jhansi who led her troops in the heroic battles with the British. The Hindus, the Muslims, the Sikhs and all the other brave sons of India fought shoulder to shoulder to throw out the British. The revolt was controlled by the British within one year, it began from Meerut on 10 May 1857 and ended in Gwalior on 20 June 1858.

End of the East India Company: Beginning of crown rule

As a result of the failure of the Revolt of 1857 rebellion, there was also an end of the East India Company’s rule in India and many important changes took place in the British Government’s policy towards India which sought to strengthen the British rule through winning over the Indian princes, the chiefs and the landlords. Queen Victoria’s Proclamation in 1858 declared that thereafter India would be governed by and in the name of the British Monarch through a Secretary of State.

The Non-Cooperation Movement:

The Non-Cooperation Movement, a non violent yet impactful short phased battle against Britishers was pitched in under leadership of Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian National Congress from September 1920 to February 1922, marking a new awakening in the Indian Independence Movement. After a series of events including the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, Gandhiji realised that there was no prospect of getting any fair treatment at the hands of British, so he planned to withdraw the nation’s co-operation from the British Government, thus launching the Non-Cooperation Movement and thereby marring the administrative set up of the country. This movement was a great success as it almost shook the British authorities of their roots. The immediate economic impact lead to boycotting of foreign goods, liquor shops were picketed, domestic textile mills and handlooms industry got a shot in the arms since people had begun to prefer Indian clothes over imported ones. From 1921 to 1922, the import of foreign clothes dropped by half and it’s value also diminished. The non-cooperation movement was Withdrawn in February 1922 after the Chauri Chaura incident.

The final call of Quit India Movement:

“Quit India”, or “Bharat Chhoro” — the call and command that Mahatma Gandhi gave to the British rulers of India 77 years ago. The Quit India Movement started in August 9, 1942, and set in motion a chain of events over the following five years, which finally ended with the British leaving India. Thus, India became free at the stroke of midnight, on August 14, 1947. Since then, every year India celebrates its Independence Day on 15th August.

Voice of the nation: Tryst with destiny:

Giving voice to the sentiments of the nation, Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru said,
“Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we will redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance…. We end today a period of ill fortune, and India discovers herself again”

– Tryst with Destiny” : a speech delivered by Jawaharlal Nehru , the first Prime Minister of independent India , to the Indian Constituent assembly in the parliament, on the eve of India’s glorious independence, towards midnight on 14 August 1947.

Challenges faced By India today:

Today India faces many challenges in the form of environmental degradation, depleting natural resources, rising crime rate, unemployment , poverty, corruption, malnutrition, and inadequate public healthcare but despite all this, India is continuously working towards the agenda of minimizing them and making India not only a better place to live but the best place to live.
Muneeta Aneja

We can connect on Instagram as well.

https://instagram.com/ms.journo_