Indian Independence Movement



Mile Sur Mera Tumhara produced in 1988, became particularly popular, so it was also described as a kind of unofficial national anthem. India is rich in cultural differences and the song flows under the umbrella of national unity.

Vande Mataram an ode contained in the novel of 1882 Anandamath of Bankim Chandra Chatterji is a hymn to Mother Earth. It played a key role in the context of the movement for Indian independence, during the period of nonviolent struggle for political and economic independence from the British colonizers. In 1950 after the independence of India, the first two verses of the song became officially the national song of the Republic of India, however, distinct from the national anthem, Jana Gana Mana.

The independence of India consisted of revolutions that began in 1857 and came to an end under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi as well as the invasion of British India by the Indian National Army led by Subhas Chandra Bose during the World War II.

European merchants settled in India since the arrival of the Portuguese navigator Vasco de Gama in 1498. The British settled in India in 1619, but it was not until 1757 when the British army commanded by Robert Clive defeated the Nawab of Bengal, establishing in this region the British East India Company, which ran the British colony in the Indian subcontinent for a hundred years. After the mentioned battle the British acquired rights on Bengal, Bihar and later on Orissa in 1795.

The first Indian War of Independence or sepoy mutiny sprang up in northern, central and southern India in 1857 and lasted for a year. The causes were diverse, but the most significant element was the increasingly pronounced ethnic and cultural differences between Indian soldiers, known as sepoys and British officers.

The specific reason that triggered the rebellion was the alleged use of cow fat or pig fat in cartridges for the Enfield rifle that had been introduced into the British army in 1857 in India. In order to be able to use the cartridges it was necessary to break a membrane with the teeth and the Indian soldiers considered that the use of the animal fat was offensive to their religious beliefs.

In March 1857, Mangal Pandey, a soldier of the 34th Infantry Regiment, attacked a British sergeant and wounded his assistant. When General Hearsay ordered an Indian officer to capture the soldier, he refused. Once captured the soldier was hanged along with the Indian officer on April 7. The October of maypole of 1857 the Sepoy regiments 11 and 20 Cavalry rebelled against the British officers and marched to Delhi. There he was joined by other regiments and Indian civilians. They attacked and captured the palace where Bahadur Shah Zafar resided, the last emperor of the Mughal dynasty, who was restored on his throne.

At that time in Jhansi, the cypresses rebelled and killed British officers. In 1858, when the British marched against Jhansi, Rani Lakshmi Bai, Queen of Jhansi, confronted the British with an army of 14,000 volunteers. The fight lasted two weeks, overcoming the British. The queen escaped to the fortress of Kalpi, from where she continued preaching the rebellion against the British. The rebel forces managed to capture Kanpur and the British put a reward of Rs. 20,000 for the capture of Rani Lakshmibai.

Although the British were initially slow in responding to the rebellion, they gradually gained victories over the sepoys. In a march to Delhi that lasted two months the war of 1857 was a turning point in the modern history of India. The British East India Company was abolished and India became directly administered by the British Crown, ruled by a Viceroy. In proclaiming the new regime in India, Queen Victoria promised the Indians the same treatment under the law as the British, but the seed of mistrust had germinated in the Indians.

The British embarked on a program of reforms trying to integrate the Indians of high castes and regents into the government. Religious toleration was decreed and the Indians were admitted to the Civil Service, but mainly in the role of subordinates. On the other hand, the contingent of British troops was increased and only they were authorized to handle pieces of artillery.

Emperor Bahadur Shah was exiled to Burma, where he died in 1862 ending the Mughal dynasty. In 1877 Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India. The decades following the rebellion of the sepoys were characterized by a great political activity, which resulted in manifestations of public opinion on the part of the Indians and the emergence of different leaders at national and provincial level, such as Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev.

Socio-religious influences also played a preponderant role, considering the very important role that religious beliefs had over the Indian citizen. The Indian organization Arya Samaj initiated meaningful social reforms while contracting Christian missionary propaganda. The work done by Dayananda Sarasvati was fundamental in creating pride and patriotism among the common Indians. Raja Ram Mohan Roy was another pioneer in India's social reforms, fighting sati, ignorance and illiteracy.

Religious reforms and nationalist pride were key elements in the independence movement. Individuals such as Swami Vivekananda, Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Sri Aurobindo, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Rabindranath Tagore and Dadabhai Nauroji practiced nationalistic proselytizing by rejuvenating political institutions.

These leaders succeeded in instilling pride in the Indians, demanding political and social liberties. They were, in fact, those who lit the flame of the passion for education and achievements in different activities in thousands of Indians, as well as the quest for independence.

In 1885 in Bombay, 73 Indian delegates, inspired by a suggestion by AO Hume, a retired British Civil servant, met and formed the Nationalist Congress Party. They were mainly members of the high castes and were mostly Western-educated individuals, professionals in law, journalism and teaching. They had acquired political experience at the regional level, where they had occupied different positions in the provincial councils, universities and special commissions.

At first, the new party did not have a well-defined ideology, nor did it have many resources to survive as a political organization. It actually functioned more as a debate society that met annually expressing its loyalty to the British Raj and issued resolutions on matters of little or no controversy, such as some civil rights or employment opportunities of Indians in the Civil Service.

While these resolutions were presented to the Viceroy and eventually to the British Parliament, the achievements of the Congress Party were at first very modest. Despite proclaiming that the party represented all India, the truth is that its messages reflected more the interests of the urban elites, which was to be expected, since the members of the party who came from other classes were counted.

In 1890, although the Congress Party made great strides as a political organization covering all of India, its success was diminished by not attracting the Muslim masses, who perceived that their representation in the political arena and in the Civil service was insignificant. Attacks by Hindu reformers against religious conversions, slaughter of cows or preservation of the Arabic Urdu language deepened the differences between Hindus and Muslims, which deepened their belief of being a minority with a lower status than Hindus.

It was then that Sir Syed Ahmed Khan launched a movement to muster the Muslims which culminated in 1875 in the founding of the Anglo-Oriental Muhammadan College in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh. This institution was later called Aligarh Muslim University in 1921. Its purpose was to educate high-school students emphasizing the compatibility of Islam with modern Western knowledge. However, the diversity among Indian Muslims was of such magnitude that it was impossible to achieve a cultural and intellectual union between them.

In 1905, Lord Curzon, the viceroy and Governor General of India (1899-1905) ordered the partition of the province of Bengal to improve efficiency in the administration of this large and populous region, where Hindu intellectuals were already influencing the politics of this place. The partition created two provinces of East Bengal and Assam with the capital in Dhaka and West Bengal with its capital in Calcutta, which was also the seat of the British government in India.

The rapidity and/or lack of planning with which this separation took place aroused the wrath of the Bengalis. Not only the British had not consulted the Indians on this issue, but this action was also seen as a divide and rule movement. Demonstrations and denunciations began in the press. For its part the Congress Party advocated for a boycott of British products.

The boycott of the Congress Party was so successful that it unleashed untried anti-British sentiments since the rebellion of the sepoys. A cycle of violence and repression began in several parts of the country. The British tried to appease the spirits by announcing reforms in 1909 and appointing some moderate Indians on the imperial and provincial councils.

A Muslim commission met with the Viceroy, Lord Minto (1905-1910) seeking concessions on the constitutional reforms introduced. In that same year the Muslim League of India was founded to promote loyalty to Great Britain and to obtain civil rights for Muslims, which they achieved by increasing the number of Indian officers elected in the Indian Councils Act of 1909.

In what was considered a gesture of goodwill, King George V visited India, and took the opportunity to announce the reversal of the partition measure of Bengal and the transfer of the capital of India from Calcutta to a new city Which was to be built south of Delhi and would be called New Delhi.

The World War I began with a movement pro British very contrary to the perception that had until then of the negative attitude of the Indians towards Great Britain. More than 1.3 million Indian soldiers and laborers served in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, while the Indian government and princes contributed substantial supplies, food, money and ammunition.

But this goodwill turned into a grievance because of the high casualties suffered by the Indians, the increase in taxes, an influenza epidemic that spread throughout India and the country's trade losses that seriously affected its economy, aggravating The situation of its population. The nationalist movement emerged again and the Congress Party succeeded in 1916, through the Lucknow Pact,

The British, for their part, adopted a policy of recognizing India's aid in the war by granting certain concessions. In August 1917, Edwin Montagu, the Secretary of State for India, made a historic statement in the British Parliament expressing that the policy towards India was to grant gradual autonomy to its institutions with a view to achieving an Indian government that would form an integral part of the British Empire.

This statement was embodied in the Government of India Act of 1919 which contemplated a duality in administration or diarchy, by which Indian councilors elected by vote and British officers appointed by the crown would share the administration of British India. The aforementioned law also expanded the central and provincial legislatures. The diarchy introduced considerable changes at the provincial level. A number of non-crucial ministries, such as agriculture, provincial government, health, education, and public works, were handed over to the Indians. The British reserved the right to administer more sensitive matters such as finance, taxation and the maintenance of law and order.

The positive impact of the reforms adopted was seriously affected in 1919 by the Rowlatt Act. This law contained a series of recommendations to the Imperial Legislative Council drawn up by a Commission called Rowlatt, which had been set up to investigate the possible existence of a seditious conspiracy. By means of this law the Viceroy was invested with extraordinary powers to repress any act that could be considered as seditious. These powers included silencing the press, arresting political activists without a warrant, and arresting anyone suspected of rebellion. In protest, a general strike was called in the country, which was the beginning of a growing discontent with colonial power.

The current turmoil brought dire consequences, particularly the April 13, 1919 in what is known as the Slaughter of Amritsar in Punjab , when the British military commander, Brigadier General Reginal Dyer ordered to fire on a group of 10,000 Indians, who Had gathered in a walled garden called Jallianwala Bagh, to celebrate the Hindu festival of Baisakhi, without being aware of the existence of a martial order. The dead amounted to 379 and the wounded 1137, all of which cast aside the hope of Indian autonomy and the good will of the Indians towards the British after the World War.

The path to India's independence was traced by Mahatma Gandhi. Born in Porbandar and educated in Britain, he began his career as a shy lawyer with a modest clientele. His legal career, however, lasted only a short time, as he promptly began his struggle for the causes of the Indians in South Africa.

Gandhi had accepted an invitation in 1893 to represent the Indian workers in South Africa, where he lived for about twenty years. Gandhi's struggle in South Africa extended beyond achieving improvements for Indian workers. Its main mission was to eliminate racial discrimination against Indians and abusive treatment of workers by employers. After several months of non-violent protests and the arrest of thousands of Indian workers, the regent of South Africa, General Jan Smuts released the prisoners and abolished legislation permitting abuse of workers. The young and timid lawyer became a true revolutionary. His success in South Africa opened hopes for similar action in India.

In 1915, he returned to India. By that time Gandhi still did not advocate the total independence of India. In fact to his return it declared that being a citizen of the British empire, to which it demanded freedom and protection, it would be erroneous of its part not to go to the defense of the Empire in the First World War.

Gandhi's mentor was the veteran politician of the Congress Party Gopal Krishna Gokhale, with whom he traveled extensively across the country for several years, knowing in this way the different provinces, cities and towns of India, as well as his culture, his People, their way of life and their problems.

Gandhi's ideas and strategies in relation to civil disobedience were not welcome at first among politicians, because they were considered impractical. Gandhi was of the belief that civil disobedience was the most effective weapon to repel amoral and unjust laws, but to do so it was necessary to resort to nonviolent demonstrations and to withdraw all cooperation with a corrupt state. This strategy called "satyagraha" inspired millions of Indians when it was used after the Amritsar massacre.

In Champaran, Bihar, Gandhi advocated the cause of Indian peasants, dispossessed of lands and forced to cultivate products that were not what they needed for their subsistence, receiving a derisory remuneration for their work. By this time Gandhi had already abandoned his Western dress, using Indian-style shawls.

Gandhi's simplicity electrified millions of poor and ordinary Indians. He was one of them and he strove to differentiate himself from the elitist classes. When he was arrested by the police he caused a massive protest in Bihar and the British government was forced to release him and accede to the demands of the peasants for which he advocated. Their achievements were the free cultivation of the product that the peasants chose, the reduction in taxes and the adequate payment for the crops.

It was this victory in Champaran that gave him the title of Mahatma or Great Soul. It was not a title given by newspapers or observers, but by the millions of Indians who acclaimed him everywhere.

In 1920, under the leadership of Gandhi, the Congress was reorganized and a new constitution was drawn up, whose ultimate goal was swaraj or independence. Membership in the party was open to anyone willing to pay a nominal sum and the hierarchy of the various committees was established in a responsible and disciplined manner. In this way the party was transformed from an elite organization into a national movement that attracted the participation of millions of Indians.

Gandhi also emphasized that the movement he led was not against the British people, but a system of administration that he considered unfair. Gandhi said that British officers and leaders were simply human beings and as capable of incurring intolerance, racism and cruelty as any Indian citizen or any other human being. The punishment for these sins was in the hands of God and was not the mission of the movement towards freedom. But the release of 350 million people subjected to a colonial and tyrannical regime if it was a target.

During his first satyagraha at the national level, Gandhi advocated boycotting British educational institutions, courts and products; Also to resign any position in the colonial government; Refusing to pay taxes and ignoring any British title.

Although the movement had come a little too late to influence the Indian Government's law of 1919, the magnitude of the disorder was enormous and presented a real challenge to the British regime. More than 10 million Indians joined the protest, following Gandhi's directives in many cities and in thousands of villages in India. But Gandhi was forced to make a difficult decision and stopped the movement before the brutal murder of a policeman in Chauri Chaura by a group of agitators.

Gandhi was deeply moved by this act and feared for the lack of control that could arise over the masses, which would convert the movement for freedom into a bloody and chaotic orgy of violence that would endanger the lives of the British and the Of the Indians under the inevitable British reprisal.

He thought that the Indians needed more discipline and that they should understand that the movement was not against people, but to expose to public light the cruelty and discrimination existing in India. Gandhi not only expects changes in the attitudes of the Indians, but also in that of the British, so that they could break the chains of racism and colonialism of the Empire. In 1922 he was put in prison for two years. He left the prison in Ahmedabad, on the banks of the Sabarmati River, where he founded a newspaper called Young India.

Emerging leaders of the Congress Party, such as Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabhbhai Patel and Subhash Chandra Bose, became followers of Gandhi, expressing their nationalist aspirations. In the 1920s, India's political spectrum expanded with the emergence of new and moderate political parties, such as the Swaraj Party, Hindu Mahasabha, the Communist Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Regional organizations, on the other hand, continued to repress the non- Brahmin interests of Madras, Mahars in Maharashtra and Sikhs in Punjab.

The British government commissioned Sir John Simon to head a commission whose purpose was to introduce further constitutional reforms in India. The recommendations of this commission were, however, rejected by the Indian political parties which met in May 1928 in Bombay to draft a constitution for India, a task that was entrusted to a committee headed by Motilal Nehru.

Subsequently the Congress Party meeting in Calcutta formally requested the British government to designate India with a status of Dominion within the Empire, similar to that granted to Canada, setting as the deadline for it December 1929. If this request was rejected, India would initiate A stage of total disobedience to the British government and laws.

At a historic session in Lahore in December 1929, The Congress Party under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru adopted a resolution to achieve full independence for India, authorizing its members to initiate the movement of civil disobedience throughout the country. It was decided that on January 26, 1930, Independence Day would be celebrated throughout India, which was attended by a wide spectrum of parties with very different tendencies.

For his part Gandhi came out of his long seclusion organizing his most famous campaign, which was the march of salt or march Dandi , 400 km from his commune in Ahmedabad to Dandi , on the coast of Gujarat from March 12 to 6 Of April 1930. The march was held in protest against salt taxes and Gandhi and his followers, defying British laws, began to make their own salt using sea water.

In April 1930 violence broke out in Calcutta. Approximately 100,000 persons were arrested in the course of the disobedience movement between 1930 and 1931. While Gandhi remained in prison, a Conference was held in London in November 1930 without the Congress Party being represented. The ban on this party was lifted by the economic ravages that the civil disobedience preached by Gandhi was causing. Gandhi was released along with other Indian leaders in January 1931.

In March 1931 the Gandhi-Irwin pact was established where the government agreed to release all political prisoners, while Gandhi agreed to discontinue the civil disobedience campaign and to participate as the sole representative of the Congress Party at the second Conference, Which was held in London in September 1931. However, the Conference was not successful. Gandhi returned to India to restart his campaign of civil disobedience, which took place until January 1932.

In the following years, the Congress Party and government clashed in various conflicts and negotiations until the Indian Government Act was achieved in 1935. By that date the gap between the Congress Party and the Muslim League had reached differences Impassable. The Muslim League questioned the legitimacy of the Congress Party to represent the people of India, while the latter claimed that the Muslim League was not the authorized voice of Indian Muslims.

As the voices in Congress became more strident, the British created a commission headed by Sir John Simon who recommended constitutional reforms aimed at greater autonomy for the Indian government. However, the British did not include any Indian members in that commission, which infuriated Indian politicians and the commission was boycotted throughout the country.

In Lahore, Lala Lajpat Rai and Pandit Madan Mohan Malawi headed a peaceful march in protest against the commission. Police forces clashed with the demonstration and an officer named Scott repeatedly beat Lala Lajpat Rai, who died as a result of the beating.

Bhagat Singh, a young Marxist from Punjab, vowed to take revenge and with the help of other dissidents planned to assassinate Scott. However, instead of killing Scott, they assassinated an officer named Sanders, apparently by confusion of identity.

As a result of the death of the British officer, repressive measures were increased, authorizing the arrest of suspects and repression of any kind of street demonstrations. On April 8, 1929, in an assembly to discuss India's defense law, Bhagat Singh and another dissident Batukeshwar Dutt detonated a bomb in Delhi's Central Assembly, being arrested, and on the other hand getting great publicity For the cause of freedom of India. Singh was tried and convicted and hanged on March 23, 1931.

Surya Sen, a revolutionary district of Chittagong in Bengal, what is now Bangladesh, was president of the National Congress Party in that region. In 1923, he established revolutionary groups under the name of Jugantor or New Age, carrying out guerrilla warfare against British targets, including the Assam-Bengal railway. On April 18, 1932, they attacked the British arsenal of Chittagong, but failed to achieve their goal of seizing arms by being repelled by the British.

On September 23, he attacked the European Club, which had a notorious sign that read "Indians or dogs are not admitted." The attack was not totally successful and the leader of the attackers committed suicide to be surrounded by the defenders of the place. Surya Sen spent several months in hiding, being arrested on February 17, 1933. He was later tried and sentenced to death. Members of his party tried unsuccessfully to rescue him from prison. Surya Sen was hanged on January 8, 1934.

The Indian Government Act of 1935 established three objectives; Establish a federal structure, grant provincial autonomy and safeguard the rights of minorities through separate electorates. The federal structure which sought to unite the independent kingdoms ruled by princes and British India as the center of the federation was not achieved because of the ambiguities contained in the law in relation to the rights of princes.

Provincial autonomy, however, took place in February 1937, when elections were held where the Congress Party emerged as the main political force with a clear majority in five provinces and domination in two others. The Muslim League, on the other hand, did not have much success.

In 1939, Viceroy Lord Linlithgow declared India's entry into World War II without consulting the provincial governments. In protest, the Congress Party sent all its followers to resign in their positions of the government. Jinnah, the president of the Muslim League persuaded the participants at their annual meeting in Lahore in 1940, in what was called the Lahore Resolution , to sue the British government for the division of India into two independent nations, a Muslim And another Hindu. Although the idea of ​​such a division had been raised since 1930, it had not been welcomed.

The entry of India into World War II had divided the Indian population, since that resolution had not been consulted with the representatives elected by the Indians, that is, the provincial governments. Some were of the opinion of helping Great Britain with the idea of ​​achieving independence after the war, while others alienated by the contempt of the British for the rights of the Indians did not sympathize with the participation of India in that war.

One of the voices that most emphatically opposed India's entry into the war was Subhash Chandra Bose, who had been elected president of the National Party of Congress twice in 1937 and 1939. When the party did not rule against India's participation in the war, he chose to resign the party and create another, the so-called All-India Forward Block. He was promptly arrested but in 1941 but managed to escape, helping the Japanese in their fight against Britain.

In 1943, he visited Japan traveling in German and Japanese submarines. In Japan he organized the Indian National Army (INA) and established a government in exile. During the war the islands of Andaman and Nicobar were under the control of this army.

The INA fought against the British in northern India, but poorly trained and armed Indians with no real backing from the Japanese and were defeated with thousands of casualties. The efforts of this army ceased with the surrender of the Japanese in 1945. The Congress Party that had not endorsed Bose in the use of violence considered those who died in the war forming part of the INA as martyrs and the survivors as heroes. The Party established a special fund to care for survivors and relatives of those killed in combat.

Today in India, Subhas Bose is an example for the new generations of Indians and ENI soldiers are treated with the same honor as those who fought with Gandhi, although the latter never resorted to armed struggle or violence.

The Bharat Chhodo Andolan movement is "Abandon India" was the most organized and definitive action to achieve independence through civil disobedience. This movement was initiated by Mahatma Gandhi on August 8, 1942 . Unlike the other previous revolts led by Gandhi, this one was more controversial because the Great Britain was involved in World War and, on the other hand, the objective was the exit of the British of India.

The Congress Party had taken the initiative to support Great Britain in the World War, but such support was rejected when India's independence was called for in return. On July 14, 1942 the National Congress Party passed a resolution calling for full independence from Great Britain. The resolution agreed that if the British did not accede to this demand the country would be involved in a general disobedience.

On 8 August 1942 the resolution of Quit India was passed in Bombay. In Gowalia Tank, Bombay, Gandhi indicated to the Indians to continue with the movement of civil disobedience, to act like an independent nation and not to obey the orders of the British. The British alarmed by the Japanese advance towards the border of Burma with India, responded imprisoning to Gandhi in the palace of the Agha Khan in Pune.

The Congress Party Committee was also arrested and put in prison at Ahmednagar Fort. They also dissolved the party. As a result of these measures the protests multiplied throughout the country. However, not all manifestations were peaceful. Several bombs exploded, some government buildings were set on fire, electricity was cut off and transportation was virtually paralyzed.

The British quickly responded with mass arrests. More than 100,000 people were arrested and several demonstrators were beaten in public.

The leadership of the Congress Party was cut off from the rest of the world for nearly three years. Gandhi's wife Kasturba passed away when he was in prison and his secretary Mahadev Desai also died within a few months of his imprisonment. Gandhi's health, on the other hand, began to deteriorate. Nevertheless , Gandhi stayed 21 days on hunger strike , demonstrating a superhuman will to continue with the resistance. While Gandhi was released in 1944 because of his precarious state of health, he kept fighting trying to achieve the release of all party members.

The war, on the other hand, had considerably depleted the economic, political, and military resources of the British Empire. But the resistance of the Indians was an act that managed to break the will of the British government. India had given demonstrations that after the war, the struggle for independence would intensify. On the other hand, the British people and army did not seem very willing to support the regime of repression in India, or in other colonies, particularly when Britain was weakened by the world war. The independence of India was only a matter of time.

By early 1946 all political detainees had been released and the British adopted a policy of negotiation with the National Congress Party for the Independence of India, which was achieved on August 15, 1947.

The victory of the Labor Party in the British elections of 1945 constituted a major change as the merit of traditional policies was reaffirmed. While the British negotiated the transfer of power to India, the Muslim League renewed its demands for the creation of Pakistan. Jinnah was opposed to sharing power with the National Congress Party and expressed this on August 16, 1946, which caused riots in various regions of the country.

On June 3, 1947, Viscount Mountbatten, the last viceroy of India announced plans for the partition of the country into a secular India and a Muslim Pakistan. This represented dividing the nation in a region to the west, Pakistan and another to the East, Bangladesh, both Muslim, while India remained in the middle.

On August 15, 1947, India declared itself independent with great celebrations to the shout of Jai Hind, with Jawaharlal Nehru as Prime Minister. The state of Pakistan was founded in northwest and northeast India. Gandhi was not in favor of the division of India and, therefore, did not participate in the celebrations. Promptly the partition of India brought violent clashes between Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs . The Kashmir region north of the subcontinent became the source of controversy that originated in the First Indo-Pakistani War, which lasted from 1947 to 1949. This controversy is still a source of conflict between the two countries.

Both India and Pakistan were constituted as Dominions within the Empire, granting them total autonomy , but having the King of the United Kingdom as the titular Head of State and a Governor General as representative of the King. Prime Minister Nehru and Deputy Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel invited Lord Mountbatten to remain the Governor-General. In 1948 he was replaced by the veteran politician of the Congress Party Chakravarti Rajagopalachari. Mohammed Ali Jinnah became the Governor-General of Pakistan and Liaquat Ali Khan was appointed prime minister. The constituent assemblies of both domains became their legislative organs.

An individual emerged as an important figure in the tumultuous birth of this gigantic nation. This is Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel . As Minister of Home Affairs he had to face the problem of seating more than 10 million Hindus and Sikhs who emigrated from the new state of Pakistan.

In addition, Patel was responsible for integrating 565 states that were not part of India when it was declared independent, which was half the size of the current country. Nevertheless, with admirable diplomatic ability, Patel succeeded in having 563 of these states join the new nation, appealing to the patriotism of the princes and, in the most difficult cases, indicating the risk that these principalities ran in a nation thirsting for unity and democracy. Patel also established democratic governments in these states while drafting the new constitution.

Patel, however, had to resort to force to get the state of Hyderabad annexed to India. His Muslim ruler did not accede to such an annex and threatened to join Pakistan. 85% of the population was Hindu and in spite of being majority was oppressed and totally outside the spheres of the government. On the other hand, Muslim terrorist groups that supported the regent, called the Razakars, frequently attacked Indian peoples. The threat posed by the repressive monarchy of Hyderabad could not be tolerated by the new nation and Patel commissioned the Indian army to occupy this state, which was achieved in May 1948. The state of Junagadh was similarly occupied,

The Constituent Assembly of India, chaired by Dr. Rajendra Prasad, began drafting the Constitution, which was officially ended on January 26, 1949. On January 26, 1950, the Republic of India was declared, and Dr. Prasad was elected as its first President. On this date India officially became independent from the British Empire, although it chose to enter the Commonwealth. In 1952 India held its first general elections, thus creating the largest democracy in the world.

The term Independence Movement is quite diffuse, since it encompasses different movements with similar objectives. Chief among them was channeled through the National Congress Party, which followed Gandhi's preaching protest nonviolent and civil disobedience. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Jawaharlal Nehru also participated in this movement. Other leaders like Subhash Chandra Bose adopted a military position towards independence.

India's independence served as a catalyst for similar movements in other parts of the world, resulting in the disintegration of the British Empire and its replacement by the Commonwealth. Gandhi's non-violent movement inspired other movements, such as the Civil Rights Movement headed by Martin Luther King, Jr. and the struggle against Apartheid in South Africa led by Nelson Mandela.

Finally at the stroke of midnight between 14 and 15 August were born India and Pakistan. The Independence Day is a holiday and a time of great national pride as banks, government offices and many shops are closed. Schools, universities and offices officially hoist the flag singing the national anthem, followed by cultural programs and parades. The government buildings are decorated and illuminated and military parades are held through the streets of the capital cities.

From the Red Fort in Delhi, the Indian Prime Minister addresses the nation as did for the first time in 1947 with the famous Tryst with Destiny speech by Jawaharlal Nehru.