Tallest; Biggest; Highest etc.

TALLEST; HIGHEST; BIGGEST; ETC IN INDIA

Tallest Building—World One, a super-tall residential skyscraper under construction in Mumbai, will be the tallest building of India, once completed. It will be 222.5 metres high.

Tallest Structure:  Two further masts of  INS Kattabomman, the VLF-transmission facility of the Indian Navy, at Vijayanarayanam near Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu, are 471 metres tall and the tallest structures in India. They are also the tallest military structure in the world.

Longest Road Bridge—Dr. Bhupen Hazarika Setu, also referred to as the Dhola–Sadiya Bridge is a beam bridge connecting the north-east States of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. The bridge spans the Lohit River, a major tributary of the Brahmaputra River and is the first permanent road connection between the northern Assam and eastern Arunachal Pradesh. At 9.15 kilometres in length, it is the longest bridge in India.

Longest Sea-bridge: Bandra-Worli Sea-link (5.6 km)

Highest Award for gallantry—Param Vir Chakra.

Highest civilian Award—Bharat Ratna.

Longest River in India—The Ganga.

Largest Lake—Wular lake, Jammu & Kashmir.

Highest Peak—Karakoram-2 or K2 (8,611 metres). (Highest peak in the world is Mount Everest which is in Nepal.)

Largest City (population wise)—Mumbai.

Highest Waterfall—Gersoppa waterfall (292 metres high) near Mysore.

Largest State—Rajasthan.

Most thickly populated State—Uttar Pradesh.

Highest rainfall—Cherrapunji (930 cm per annum).

State with largest area under forests—Assam.

Largest Delta—Sunderbans Delta.

Longest cantilever span bridge—Howrah bridge.

Longest road tunnel: Between Chenani in Udhampur with Nashri in Ramban district, in J&K. The 9.2 km tunnel is part of the ambitious 286 km-long four-laning of the Jammu-Srinagar national highway

Biggest cave temple—Ellora.

Longest platform—Kharagpur (West Bengal) 833 metres in length. (It is also the longest railway station in the world.)

Longest Road—Grand Trunk Road.

Longest National highway: NH7 from Varanasi to Kanyakumari.

Longest Railway Route—Dibrugarh-Kanyakumari by Vivek Express.

Biggest Mosque—Jama Masjid at Delhi.

Highest Gateway—Buland Darwaza at Fatehpur Sikri (53.6 metres high).

Tallest Statue—Statue of Gomateshwar (17 metres high in Karnataka).

Largest Dome—Gol Gumbaz at Bijapur.

Largest Zoo—Zoological Garden at Alipur (Kolkata).

Largest Museum—India Museum at Kolkata.

Highest Dam—Tehri Dam (260 metres high).

Largest Desert—Thar.

Largest District—Ladakh.

India’s Fastest Train—Gatimaan Express, between Delhi and Agra.

Highest Filling Station—Leh, Ladakh (3658 m) operated by Indian Oil.

Highest Bridge—near Khardung La, Ladakh at 5602 m. This Bailey Bridge has been built by Indian Army.

Largest Bank—State Bank of India.

Largest Post Office—Mumbai GPO

Longest Elevated Road—The Eastern Freeway Project (EFP), Mumbai (16.4 km).

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Indian Towns & Places

Abu, Mt: (Rajasthan) hill station on the Aravali Range; sacred centre of Jain worshippers; Dilwara temples.

Adam’s Bridge: very nearly joined to India between two points viz, Mannar Peninsula and Dhanushkodi by a line of sand banks and rocks called ‘Adam’s Bridge’.

Aga Khan Palace: in Pune where Mahatma Gandhi was kept interned with his wife Kasturba Gandhi. Kasturba died in this palace.

Agra: (Uttar Pradesh) the Taj Mahal.

Ahmedabad: is situated on the river Sabarmati.

Ajanta Caves: near Aurangabad (Maharashtra) are famous for wonderful Buddhist cave temples richly ornamented with sculpture and carved with paintings of exceptional skill. Dating from about 150 BC to AD 650, it is work of Vakatkas and early Chalukya kings.

Ajmer: (Rajasthan); pilgrim centre for the Muslims; tomb of Khwaja Muin-ud-din Chisti.

Alang: situated in the Gulf of Khambata (Gujarat), is well-known for ship-breaking industry.

Aliabet: is the site of India’s first off-shore oil well—nearly 45 km from Bhavnagar in Gujarat. On 19 March 1970, the Prime Minister of India set a 500-tonne rig in motion to inaugurate “Operation Leap Frog’’ at Aliabet.

Alipur: Suburb of Kolkata; Government mint.

Allahabad: also called Prayag is a city in Uttar Pradesh situated at the confluence of the Ganga and the Yamuna. Kumbha Mela (religious fair of the Hindus) is held here.

Almora: 132 km from Kathgodam in Uttarkhand is the main town in Kumaon Hills. It is said to have been founded by Raja Kalyan Chand about 400 years ago.

Alwaye: (Kerala); Monazite factory.

Amarkot: in Rajasthan, is the birth-place of Akbar. Akbar was born here in 1542.

Amarnath: situated at a height of about 4054 metres in Jammu & Kashmir. A place of pilgrimage for the Hindus.

Ambala: (Haryana) junction station; scientific instruments manufacturing centre; glassware and durries; IAF base.

Ambernath: near Mumbai; Machine Tools Prototype factory and a training school attached to it.

Amber Palace: deserted capital near Jaipur (Rajasthan) containing the finest specimens of Rajput architecture.

Amritsar: (Punjab) on the north-west border of India; Golden Temple; Jallianwala Bagh tragedy on 13 April 1919. The plot of land at Amritsar containing a pool was granted by Akbar to Guru Ramdas (1574-1581). Golden Temple, the famous Sikhs temple was constructed on this plot.

Anand: between Ahmedabad and Baroda in Gujarat. Famus for milk dairy—Amul.

Anand Bhawan: Residence of Pt Moti Lal Nehru in Allahabad, dedicated to the Indian National Congress.

Angarpota: Angarpota and Dahagram were two enclaves given by India to Bangladesh in exchange for Berubari enclave under the Indo-Bangladesh Border Demarcation Agreement signed on 16 May 1974.

Atal Setu: It is the first cable-stayed bridge of north India in Kathua district of J&K, built on river Ravi. It provides close connectivity between the three States of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab.

Aurangabad: one of the important towns of Maharashtra; tomb of Emperor Aurangzeb and of his wife. Ellora and Ajanta Caves are reached from here.

Auroville: is an international township being constructed in Pudducherry with the help of UNESCO.

Avadi: near Chennai in Tamil Nadu is known for the government-owned Heavy Vehicles Factory. ‘Vijayanta’ and ‘Ajit’ tanks are manufactured here.

Ayodhya: is situated on the river Gogra (called Sarayu in ancient times).

Badrinath: Himalayas; place of pilgrimage for the Hindus near Gangotry Glacier.

Bangalore: capital of Karnataka. Hindustan Aircraft Factory; Telephone Industries, Machine Tool Factories, Information Technology hub.

Barauni: (Bihar) famous for a big oil refinery.

Bardoli: (Gujarat); famous for non-payment of taxes campaign by peasants of Bardoli started by late Sardar Patel in 1928.

Baroda: capital of the former Baroda State is now one of the main towns of Gujarat; known for Laxmi Vilas Palace which is one of the most beautiful palaces in India.

Belur Math: is a monastery near Kolkata in West Bengal founded by Swami Vivekananda. There is a beautiful temple dedicated to Shri Rama Krishna Parmhans.

Bhakra: known for Bhakra dam built across the Sutlej river in a natural gorge just before the river enters the plains 80 km upstream Ropar in Punjab State.

Bharatpur: town in Rajasthan; famous for its historic fort.

Bhilai: (Chattisgarh), famous for one of the gigantic steel plants set up here with the help of Russian engineers and credit.

Bhubaneswar: the capital of Odisha, famous for Lingaraja Temple.

Bijapur: town in Karnataka; capital of the old Adilshahi Sultans of Bijapur. Known for Gol Gumbaz (the tomb of Mohammad Adil Shah and the second largest dome in the world) also called the Whispering Gallery. The town is rich with the remains of palaces, mosques and tombs.

Bokaro: in Jharkhand; known for the fourth steel plant set up in public sector.

Brihadeeswara Temple: at Tanjore. It was built by Raja Raja-I of Chola dynasty.

Buddh-Gaya: is situated 10 km south of Gaya in Bihar on the western bank of the Lilajan river and connected by two metalled roads. It is famous as the place where Buddha got enlightenment. There are modern monasteries, rest houses, and museum.

Buland Darwaza: Gateway of Fatehpur Sikri built by Akbar. This is the highest and the greatest gateway in India. It was erected to commemorate Akbar’s conquest of Gujarat.

Bundi: in Rajasthan is well known for jungles nearby providing plenty of tiger shooting.

Cape Comorin: also called Kanya Kumari in Tamil Nadu is the southernmost tip of Indian peninsula where the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal meet the Indian Ocean. It gives a beautiful view of sun-set and sun-rise.

Chandernagore: (West Bengal) on the river Hooghly, previously a French settlement, now merged with the Indian Union.

Chandigarh: Union Territory and joint capital of the Punjab and Haryana States; beautiful buildings on modern style, situated at the foot of the Himalayas; designed by French Architect Le Corbusier.

Chennai: capital of Tamil Nadu is the third largest city in India. Known for Fort St George; Light-house; St Thomas Mount; Integral Coach Factory; Adyar (the headquarters of the Theosophical Society).

Cherrapunji: in Meghalaya; the place of heaviest rainfall.

Chidambaram: is a town in South Arcot district, Tamil Nadu, 245 km by rail from Chennai City. It is famous for its great Hindu Siva temple, dedicated to Natraja or Siva in his aspect of “cosmic dance’’. It is also the seat of Annamalai University founded in 1929. The name of the town comes from Tamil chit plus ambalam, “the atmosphere of wisdom’’.

Chilka: a lake on the East Coast of India in Odisha on the KolkataChennai line, about 88 km from Bhubaneswar by rail. It is an excellent place for fishing and duck shooting. Naval Boys’ training centre. Chilka region is an inland drainage area. Chilka lake is endangered by prawn forming.

Chittaranjan: in West Bengal; famous for Locomotive Works; railways engines are manufactured here.

Chittorgarh: ancient capital and fortress of Udaipur; known for Tower of Victory and Mira Bai’s Temple.

Churk: in Uttar Pradesh; cement factory.

Coimbatore: (Tamil Nadu) cotton industrial centre; Government of India Forest College is situated here.

Corbett Park: in Uttarkhand is a National Park named after Jim Corbett, a famous hunter and writer of Shikar stories.

Dalal Street: in Mumbai is associated with the stock-exchange market.

Dakshineswar: about 8 km from Kolkata where Swami Vivekananda was initiated into religious life by Shri Ramakrishna Paramhansa.

Dandi: Famous for Salt Satyagraha (Dandi March) by Mahatma Gandhi in 1930.

Dayalbagh: near Agra; known for Dayalbagh Industrial Institute; shoe manufacture. Religious and cultural seat of a section of the Hindus.

Dhanbad: (Jharkhand) famous for coal mines and the Indian School of Mines. National Fuel Research Institute is situated here.

Dhirubhai Ambani City: The 132-acre complex, known earlier as knowledge city, is the largest commercial complex of India.

Dibrugarh: town in Assam; terminus of rail and river communications along the Brahmaputra from Kolkata.

Digboi: (Assam) known for rich oil-fields.

Dilwara Temples: near Mount Abu (Rajasthan) are five Hindu Temples constructed here between 11th and 13th century AD.

Dindigul: in Tamil Nadu; famous for cigars and tobacco.

Durgapur: in West Bengal is known for a gigantic steel plant set up here with the help of British Engineers.

Eagle’s Nest: is the name given to the historic fort at Raigarh in the Kolaba district of Maharashtra where, 300 years ago, Chhatarpati Shivaji, the great warrior-statesman, was crowned.

Elephanta: an Island in Mumbai harbour—famous for rock-cut temples.

Ellora and Ajanta: in Aurangabad (Maharashtra) famous for wonderful Buddhist cave temples richly ornamented with sculpture and carved with paintings of exceptional skill.

Ernakulam: in Kerala is famous for its backwaters.

Faridabad: an industrial township in Haryana State. It is situated about 29 km from Delhi.

Fatehpur Sikri: 32 km from Agra; city built by Emperor Akbar in 1569 now deserted.

Ferozabad: (Uttar Pradesh) famous for glass bangles industry.

Garhmukteswar: a town in Meerut district of Uttar Pradesh. A big fair of Hindus is held every year at this place.

Gateway of India: in Mumbai harbour erected in 1911 on George V’s visit to India.

Gaya: (Bihar) the place where Lord Buddha got enlightenment; famous for pilgrimage.

Gazipur: (Uttar Pradesh) known for the government opium factory.

Gersoppa (Jog) Falls: in the river Sharavati are in Mysore.

Golconda: a ruined city of India, about 11 km west of Hyderabad; formerly there was a diamond mine here.

Golden Temple: in Amritsar (Punjab). Sacred to the Sikhs. The plot of land containing a pool was granted by Akbar to Guru Ramdas, the fourth Guru of Sikhs, who built the temple.

Gol Gumbaz: largest Dome in Bijapur (Karnataka).

Gomateswara: (Karnataka) famous for the 2000-year-old statue of Jain Sage carved out of a single stone.

Guntur: in Andhra Pradesh; known for cotton manufacture.

Gwalior: in Madhya Pradesh is famous for its fort, Tansen’s Tomb, Rani Laxmi Bai’s Chhatri.

Haldia: in West Bengal is known for a big oil refinery being set up in public sector.

Haldighati: a pass in Rajasthan where in 1576, the brave Rana Pratap faced the Mughal forces headed by Man Singh and Asaf Khan.

Hampi: site of ruins of Vijayanagar—ancient capital of Vijayanagar Empire. It is in Karnataka.

Hardwar: on the Ganga—where the Ganga leaves the mountains. It is one of the most sacred places of pilgrimage for the Hindus.

Hazrat Bal: is a mosque in Srinagar in which relics of Prophet Mohammad are kept.

Hoshangabad: is situated on river Narmada.

Howrah Bridge: a cantilever span bridge constructed over the river Hooghly connecting Howrah Railway Station with Kolkata.

Hyderabad-Secunderabad: the twin-city is the capital of Andhra Pradesh. It is centrally situated for all-India communications. It stands on the river Musi. Known for Char Minar; Osmania University; Salarjung Museum one of the richest and most varied collections in Asia.

Imphal: north-east frontier town and capital of Manipur is well-known for its Manipuri dance and handloom industry.

India Gate: A memorial in New Delhi facing the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

Itanagar: is the capital of Arunachal Pradesh.

Jabalpur: in Madhya Pradesh is known for Marble Rocks and Dhunva Dhar (water-falls). It is situated on the river Narbada.

Jadugoda: in Bihar is famous for Uranium Ore Mill.

Jaipur: capital of Rajasthan called “pink city” is famous for pottery, brassware, sculpture, ivory and scandal-wood work and jewellery. Famous for Maharaja’s Palace; Jai Singh’s Observatory; Amber (ancient capital); Hawa Mahal. The city was founded by Sawai Jai Singh.

Jalandhar: one of the largest towns of the Punjab; Surgical and Sports goods industry.

Jallianwala Bagh: a garden in Amritsar; scene of massacre of innocent Indians by the British on 13 April 1919.

Jama Masjid: (Delhi) built by Shah Jehan; India’s biggest mosque.

Jamshedpur: (Jharkhand) centre of iron and steel industry; Tata Iron and Steel Factory is located here.

Jantar Mantar: in Delhi, is an observatory constructed in 1724 during the days of Maharaja Jai Singh II of Amber.

Jealgora: in Bihar is known for Central Fuel Research Institute.

Jhansi: (Uttar Pradesh) occupies a key position as a railway junction; famous of the heroic part played by its queen Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi in the war of Indian Independence, 1857.

Jharia: in Jharkhand is famous for coal-mining.

Jog Falls: also called Gersoppa Falls in Karnataka are one of the highest water-falls in the world. These falls are formed by the river Sharavati which takes a big leap down a steep rock from a height of 253 metres.

Juma Masjid, Mandu: is in Madhya Pradesh. It depicts a synthesis of Hindu and Muslim styles in architecture.

Junagadh: in Gujarat, situated below the Girnar Hill is one of the most ancient cities in India. The famous Gir Forest—the only place in Asia where lions are found—is in Junagadh. The temples on the Girnar Hill are noted for their delicate painting and architecture.

Kailasha Temple: rock-out temple in Ellora caves.

Kalpakkam: near Chennai in Tamil Nadu is known for Madras Atomic Power Project (MAPP).

Kanchi or Conjeevaram: near Chennai was the capital of the ancient Pallavas; famous for ancient temples.

Kanchenjunga: is the world’s third highest mountain peak (height 28,208 ft.). It stands in the Himalayas on the borders between Nepal and Sikkim, 58 km north-west of Darjeeling, from where it is conspicuous.

Kanheri: about 32 km from Mumbai is famous for its Buddhist caves dating back to the 1st century AD.

Kanpur: on the Ganga in Uttar Pradesh, is a big industrial centre; sugar mills, cotton mills, woollen mills, soap, iron, leather, tent and hosiery factories; known as the city of factories.

Kanya Kumari: in Tamil Nadu; famous temple (the Virgin Goddess) situated at Cape Comorin on the extreme southern tip of India where the Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean meet; a picturesque spot. Vivekananda Rock Memorial being built here.

Kapilvastu: a small ancient kingdom in the north of India; associated with Mahatma Buddh.

Karnal: a town in Haryana, known for National Dairy Research Institute.

Karwar: Situated in North Kanara district of Karnataka, it is India’s biggest naval base.

Kasauli: in Himachal Pradesh is a hill station known for Pasteur Institute.

Katni: Madhya Pradesh; cement factory.

Kavaratti: is the headquarters of Lakshadweep, a Union Territory of India, formerly known as Laccadive, Minicoy, and Amindivi Islands.

Kaziranga: is a Game Sanctuary in Assam. It is the centre of the great Indian one-horned rhinos.

Khadakvasla: near Pune; National Defence Academy is situated here.

Khajuraho: in Madhya Pradesh is famous for its group of highly ornate mediaeval Hindu temples.

Khetri: in Rajasthan; copper manufacture.

Kirkee: near Pune; Institute of Armament Studies; the first of its kind in India; Meteorological Observatory.

Kodaikanal: is a town in Tamil Nadu famous for its Observatory for the study of Solar Physics.

Koderma: (Jharkhand) is a mica mining centre.

Kolar: in Karnataka, gold mining centre.

Kolkata: famous as the commercial capital of India. It is the capital of West Bengal. It has a port of immense river traffic. Known for Victoria Memorial, Belyedere House (where the British Viceroys stayed when on a visit to Kolkata) now the National Library, Dakshineshwar Temple, Dum Dum airport, Diamond Harbour.

Konarak: small town 16 km north of Puri (Odisha); famous for its Black Pagoda; Sun Temple.

Korba: in Chhattisgarh is the site of a huge public sector aluminium plant.

Kovalam: is a sea-beach about 16 km from Thiruvanthapuram in Kerala.

Koyali: in Maharashtra, is known for Petro-Chemical complex.

Kumbalgarh fort: The wall of this fort is the second largest continuous wall in the world after the Great Wall of China. It extends over 38 km. The fort is located 82 km from Udaipur and is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Kurukshetra: Ancient town near Ambala (Haryana) where the great battle Mahabharata was fought between the Kurus and Pandvas; Kurukshetra University is located here.

Kutab Minar: in Delhi (88 m high) is one of the master-pieces of Indian architecture and art. It is the biggest minaret in the world. Completed by Altamash in 1232.

Leh: capital of Ladakh; once a caravan centre for Central Asia. It is situated on the river Indus.

Lothal: ancient town, situated on the sea-plain of former Saurashtra, 720 km south-east of Mohenjo-Daro. The excavation made here represent the Indus-Valley culture.

Lucknow: capital of Uttar Pradesh is known as the city of Gardens. It has many places of historical interest—Imambara; Tomb of Wajid Ali Shah; Chattar Manzil; Dilkusha Palace; Alambagh; Sikander Bagh; Havelock’s Tomb.

Ludhiana: Industrial town of Punjab; known for hosiery, cycle and sewing machine industry.

Lumbini: in Nepal Terai; birth-place of Mahatma Buddha.

Lunej: oil wells found in Cambay basin (Baroda).

Madurai: (Tamil Nadu) famous for Minakshi Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Mahabaleshwar: 1372 metres above see level on the Western Ghats of India, fort and health resort; principal hill station of Maharashtra.

Mahabalipuram: in Tamil Nadu on the Eastern Ghats; famous for temples and monumental architecture. The Mahabalipuram sea-shore temple was built during the reign of Pallava dynasty. An atomic power station is being set up near here at Kalpakkam.

Malanjkhand: situated in the Balaghat district in Madhya Pradesh is the location of richest ever copper deposits in the country.

Mathura: a holy city in Uttar Pradesh, birth-place of Lord Krishna; Hindu Temples. Oil Refinery.

Minakshi Temple: famous Hindu temple in Madurai.

Mirzapur: (Uttar Prdesh) on the Ganges; carpets, brassware and lac.

Moradabad: (Uttar Pradesh) on the Ram Ganga; brassware, enamel and cutlery industry; exports mangoes in large quantity.

Mount Abu Temples: in Rajasthan, were built by the Minister of Solanki Rulers.

Mukteshwar: (Uttar Pradesh) Veterinary Research Institute situated here.

Mumbai: called the Gateway to India is the second city and port in India; capital of Maharashtra. Known for Prince of Wales Museum, Aarey Milk Colony, Oil Refineries at Trombay.

Nagpur: former capital of Madhya Pradesh and now in Maharashtra; textile mills, oranges.

Naharkatia: situated near Digboi in Assam where oil has been located.

Nalanda: (Bihar) seat of ancient Nalanda University.

Namrup: in Assam is known for fertilizer factory set up in Public Sector by the Fertilizer Corporation of India.

Nasik: on the river Godavari in Maharashtra is known for Security Printing Press.

Nepanagar: (Madhya Pradesh) known for government-owned newsprint factory.

Neyveli: known for Thermal Power Station in the Neyveli lignite integrated project in Tamil Nadu; Monazite factory.

Nilgiris: mountain range in Tamil Nadu; tea plantations.

Nunamati: in Assam is the place where first of the three Oil Refineries has been set up in Public Sector.

Pagodas: The seven Pagodas at Mahabalipuram are attributed to Pallava dynasty.

Palitana: in Gujarat, is famous for its holy hill Shatrunjaya, the most sacred place of Shvetambara Jains.

Pandharpur: town in Maharashtra (in Sholapur district). It is situated on the river Bhima. It is one of the most sacred places of pilgrimage in Maharashtra—known for the temple of Vithoba, an incarnation of Vishnu.

Panipat: in Haryana; scene of three successive historical battles: 1526, 1556 and 1761.

Panna: a town and district in the Rewa Division of Madhya Pradesh situated 176 kms south-west of Jhansi. Panna district is known for diamond mines. Panna town has several buildings of historical interest including Shri Baldeoji temple built by Maharana Pratap Singh. In 1675, Chhatarsal, the ruler of Bundelkhand made it his capital and the town gained importance during that period.

Pantnagar: in Uttarkhand is famous as a big Agricultural University. It is named after Shri Govind Ballabh Pant.

Patna: capital of Bihar. It stands on the site of the ancient city of Patliputra.

Perambur: near Chennai; known for integral coach factory.

Pichola Lake: is a well-known man-made lake in Udaipur (Rajasthan). In the middle of the lake, there is a palace which has now been converted into a hotel by the Maharana of Udaipur.

Pimpri: near Pune known for penicillin factory.

Plassey: a village on the Ganga (West Bengal). Battle of Plassey was fought here in 1757 in which Clive defeated Siraj-ud-Daulah and laid the foundation of British rule in India.

Pokhran: is in the Thar desert of Rajasthan where India successfully exploded her first nuclear device on 18 May 1974. The Pokhran Range runs between Jodhpur and Jaisalmer. The test site is about 150 km from Indo-Pak border.

Puducherry: formerly a French possession; since taken over by the Indian government and now specified as a Union Territory. Aurobindo Ashram is established here. “Auroville’’, an international township in the memory of Sri Aurobindo has been built here.

Porbunder: in Kathiawar, Gujarat ; birth-place of Mahatma Gandhi.

Port Blair: Capital of Andaman and Nicobar islands in the Bay of Bengal.

Prabhas Patan: in Gujarat, is the site of the famous Somnath Temple.

Pulicate Lake: is saltwater lagoon on the Coromandel Coast of Andhra Pradesh extending from the extreme southeastern portion of Andhra Pradesh into the adjacent portion of Tamil Nadu. It has a length of about 50 km and a width 5 to 16 km. The lake is located on the swampy, sandy Andhra plains. The lake yields salt and prawns. Sriharikota Island separates Pulicate Lake from the Bay of Bengal. The only sea entrance into the lake is north of Pulicate town.

Puri: in Odisha, famous for Jagannath Temple.

Pusa: (Bihar) Agricultural Research Station.

Pushkar: near Ajmer is famous for ancient temple of Brahma.

Qadian: (Punjab) seat of Ahmadiya Muslim sect. Founded by Hazrat Mirza Gholam Ahmad of Qadian.

Qutub Minar: famous historical monument in Delhi was begun by Qutab-ud-din Aibak and completed by Iltumish.

Raj Ghat: on the bank of Yamuna in Delhi; Samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi.

Rajgir: (Bihar) place of pilgrimage for the Buddhists. During the Mahaparinirvana celebrations, Buddhists from foreign countries visited this place.

Rameshwaram: (Tamil Nadu) holy place for pilgrimage.

Rana Pratap Sagar: in Rajasthan; Atomic Power Plant has been set up here.

Ranchi: hill station of Jharkhand is well-known for its picturesque scenery and fine roads.

Raniganj: (West Bengal); coal mining centre.

Rashtrapati Bhawan: official residence of the President of India in New Delhi; known as Viceregal Lodge during British reign.

Red Fort: Red-stone fort built by Shah Jehan in Delhi near the Yamuna.

Renukoot: near Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh; Hindustan Aluminium Factory.

Rishikesh: in Uttarkhand is a celebrated centre of Hindu pilgrimage.

Rourkela: (in Odisha); steel plant and fertilizer factory.

Sabarmati: in Gujarat, near Ahmedabad; Harijan Ashram founded by Mahatma Gandhi.

Sambhar: Salt lake in Rajasthan. It is known for India’s largest Brakish water lake.

Sanchi: (Madhya Pradesh); famous for the largest and the most wellpreserved Buddhist Stupa (33 metres in diameter and 13 metres in height).

Sarnath: Situated 8 km outside Varanasi, Sarnath is the famous place of Buddhist pilgrimage in India. In the “Deer Park’’ of Sarnath, Gautama Buddha preached his first sermon. Also located here is the famous Ashoka Pillar of polished sandstone whose lion capitol was adopted by the new Republic of India as the State emblem.

Seringapatnam: Seringapatnam was the capital of Karnataka during the rule of Tipu Sultan. The fourth and the last Mysore war was fought here. Tipu Sultan died here fighting bravely against the British forces.

Sesaram: in Bihar is known for the tomb of Sher Shah Suri.

Sevagram: about 19 km by road from Wardha railway station. Mahatma Gandhi lived and worked in this Ashram for many years.

Shantiniketan: (Vishwa Bharati) near Kolkata; famous University founded by Rabindarnath Tagore.

Shanti Vana: Near Raj Ghat, Shanti Vana is the place in Delhi where late Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru was cremated.

Shivpuri: in Madhya Pradesh. It is 115 km from Gwalior and is also known as Sipri; an international tourist resort.

Sikandra: near Agra; Tomb of Akbar; commenced by Akbar himself and completed by his son Jehangir in 14 years’ time at a cost of ` 15 lakh.

Sindri: (Jharkhand) about 33 km from Dhanbad; Fertilizer factory.

Singerini: in Andhra Pradesh is famous for coal mines.

Solan: hill station in Himachal Pradesh, situated on Kalka-Shimla highway; known for Solan Brewery.

Somnath: temple in the extreme south of Kathiawar sacked by Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni in AD 1025.

Sriharikota: in the Nellore district on the Andhra coast is India’s satellite launching centre. The Sriharikota Range (SHAR) comprises the Sriharikota Launch Complex, Rocket Sled Facility, Static Test and Evaluation Complex, Solid Propellant Space Booster Plant and Sriharikota Common Facilities.

Sundarbans: is a tract of forests and swamps—264 km long and 129 km wide fringing the delta of the Ganga.

Taj Mahal: the white marble mausoleum built at Agra by Shah Jehan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal.

Tanjore: (Tamil Nadu) famous for museum, temples and library.

Tarapore: 80 km north of Mumbai; Atomic Power Plant.

Tatanagar: in Jamshedpur; famous for Tata Iron and Steel works.

Thiruvananthapuram: (Trivandrum) capital of Kerala; known for Padmanabha Temple.

Thumba: near Trivandrum in Kerala, is known as rocket-launching station.

Tiruchirapalli: the third largest city of Tamil Nadu situated on the river Cauvery is famous as a great educational centre.

Tirupati: in Andhra Pradesh, situated about 160 km to the north-west of Chennai is one of the holiest places in South India. This hill temple of Sri Venkateswara is an example of early Dravidian architecture and is one of the finest in the south.

Titagarh: in West Bengal is known for paper manufacture.

Tower of Victory: (Chittor, Rajasthan); famous tower built by Rana Kumbha, the Raja of Mewar in AD.1450. to commemorate his victory over the Muslim armies of Malwa and Gujarat. The tower is 37 metres high and has nine storeys.

Tribhuvaneswara Temple: is the famous temple built in AD 1100 and dominating all other temples in Bhubaneswar (Odisha).

Triveni: (or Tribeni); in Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh); confluence of the Ganga, the Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati; a place of pilgrimage for the Hindus.

Trombay: in Mumbai. Atomic Reactors.

Tungabhadra: is a tributary of the river Krishna.

Udaipur: in Rajasthan is famous as a city of lakes with island palaces; Pichola Lake.

Ujjain: in Madhya Pradesh is one of the seven cities sacred to the Hindus. Known for Mahakaleshwar temple.

Uri: village in Kashmir on cease-fire line between India and Pakistan.

Vaishali: modern Besarch in the district of Muzaffarpur in Bihar. It was the capital of the famous Vaishali clan in ancient times.

Varanasi: or Banaras is a town in Uttar Pradesh very sacred to the Hindus. It is known as the religious capital of Hindu India. Famous for Banaras Hindu University, Vishwanath Temple, Manmandir with Jaisingh’s Observatory, Ramnagar Fort etc. It is also known for the manufacture of electric locomotives for Indian Railways.

Victoria Memorial: a magnificent building in Kolkata having an art gallery and a well-laid out garden attached to it.

Vijay Ghat: on the banks of the Yamuna in Delhi is Smadhi of Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri, former Prime Minister of India.

Vir Bhumi: Samadhi of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi; in Delhi on the banks of Yamuna.

Visakhapatnam: big harbour on the eastern coast of India; ship-building yard.

Viswa Shanti Stupa: (World Peace Pagoda) 45 metres high stupa raised atop the picturesque Ratnagiri Hill. It is the first stupa of its kind in India.

Vivekananda Rock: is situated near Kanyakumari at the southern tip of India’s coastline. It has been so named in memory of Swami Vivekananda.

Wardha: (Maharashtra); Mahatma Gandhi lived here for several years; centre of cotton trade.

Wellington: in the Nilgiri Hills (Tamil Naidu) is known for Defence Services Staff College.

Writers’ Building: in Kolkata is the West Bengal Government Secretariat.

Wulur Lake: in Jammu & Kashmir, is the largest fresh water lake in the world.

Zojila: a pass in the way from Srinagar (Jammu & Kashmir) to Leh and then to Yarkand in Tibet.

FAMOUS SITES IN INDIA

Site                                                                        Location

Adina Mosque                                                    Pandua, West Bengal
Ajanta                                                                  Aurangabad, Maharashtra
Akbar’s Tomb                                                     Sikandra, Agra
Aksherdham                                                      Gandhinagar, Gujarat
Amarnath Cave                                                  Jammu & Kashmir
Amber Palace                                                     Jaipur, Rajasthan
Anand Bhawan                                                  Allahabad
Bhakra Dam                                                       Punjab
Bibi Ka Maqbra1                                               Aurangabad
Birla Planetarium                                              Kolkata
Black Pagoda                                                      Konarak (Odisha)
Bodhistava                                                          Ajanta Caves
Brihadeeswara                                                   Tanjore Temple
Brindaban Gardens                                           Mysore
Buland Darwaza                                                Fatehpur Sikri
Char Minar                                                         Hyderabad
Cheena Kesava Temple                                    Bellur
Chilka Lake                                                         East Coast of India near Bhubaneswar
Dal Lake                                                              Srinagar
Dilwara Temples                                               Mt Abu
Elephanta Caves                                                Mumbai
Ellora Caves                                                        Aurangabad
Gateway of India                                               Mumbai
Golden Temple                                                  Amritsar
Gol Gumbaz                                                       Bijapur
Hanging Gardens                                              Mumbai
Hawa Mahal (Palace of winds)                      Jaipur
Howrah Bridge                                                  Kolkata
Island Palace                                                      Udaipur
Itmad-ud-Daulah’s Tomb                                Agra
Jagannath Temple                                            Puri
Jahaz Mahal (City of Joy)                                Mandu
Jai Stambha (Tower of victory)                     Chittorgarh
Jama Masjid                                                       Delhi
Jantar Mantar                                                    New Delhi
Jog (Gersoppa) Falls                                         Mysore
Kailasa Temple                                                  Ellora
Kalan Masjid                                                      Delhi
Kanyakumari Temple                                        Cape Comorin (Tamil Nadu)
Khajuraho                                                           Bhopal
Konarak                                                               Puri
Lakshmi Vilas Palace                                        Baroda
Lal Bagh Garden                                                Bangalore
Lalgarh Palace                                                    Bikaner
Lingaraj Temple                                                 Bhubaneswar
Mahakaleshwar Temple                                   Ujjain
Maheshmurti                                                      Elephanta (Trimurti) Caves
Mahmud Gawan’s Mosque                              Bidar
Malabar Hill                                                        Mumbai
Man Mandir Palace                                           in Gwalior Fort
Marble Rocks                                                     Jabalpur
Marina                                                                 Chennai
Minakshi Temple                                               Madurai
Mt Girnar (Jain Temples)                                 Junagadh
Nagin Lake                                                          Srinagar
Nataraja1                                                             Chennai
Nishat Bagh                                                         Srinagar
Padmanabha Temple                                        Thiruvanthapuram
Palitana                                                                Junagadh
Panch Mahal                                                       Fatehpur Sikri
Pichola Lake                                                        Udaipur
Qutab Minar                                                        Delhi
Raj Ghat                                                                Delhi
Rashtrapati Bhawan                                          Delhi
Red Fort                                                                Delhi
Sanchi Tope (The Great Stupa)                        Sanchi (Bhopal)
Santa Cruz                                                           Mumbai
Shakti Sthal                                                         Delhi
Shalimar Bagh                                                    Srinagar
Shahi Chashma                                                  Srinagar
Shanti Van                                                           Delhi
Shore Temple                                                     Mahabalipuram
Sidi Sayyid Mosque                                           Ahmedabad
Somnathpur Temple                                         Mysore
Statue of Gomateswara                                    Mysore
Statue of Ugra Narasimha                               Hampi
Sunderbans                                                        West Bengal
Sun Temple                                                         Konarak
Taj Mahal                                                            Agra
Tehzeeb Mahal                                                   Srinagar
Tirupati Temple                                                 Andhra Pradesh
Tower of Silence (of the Parsis)                     Mumbai
Victoria Memorial                                            Kolkata
Victoria Garden                                                Mumbai
Vijay Ghat                                                          Delhi

NATIONAL PARKS

Corbett National Park                 …  Uttarakhand
Darrah National Park                  …  Rajasthan
Hazaribagh National Park          …  Bihar
Kanha National Park                   …  Madhya Pradesh
Shivapuri National Park              …  Madhya Pradesh
Dudhwa National Park                …  Lakhimpur Kheri (Uttar Pradesh)
Great Himalayan Park                …  Kullu (Himachal Pradesh)
Nandadevi National Park            …  Chamoli (Uttarakhand)

 GAME SANCTUARIES

Bandipur Sanctuary                     …  Karnataka
Chandraprabha Sanctuary          …  Uttar Pradesh
Dachigam Sanctuary                   …  Srinagar
Ghana Bird Sanctuary                 …  Rajasthan
Gir Forest                                      …  Gujarat
Jaladapara Sanctuary                  …  West Bengal
Kaziranga Sanctuary                   …  Assam
Manas Sanctuary                         …  Assam
Melghat Sanctuary                      …  Maharashtra
Mudumalai Sanctuary                 …  Ootacamund (Tamil Nadu)
Periyar Sanctuary                        …  Kerala
Ranganthittoo Bird Sanctuary   …  Karnataka
Ranthambhur Sanctuary             …  Rajasthan
Sariska Sanctuary                        …  Alwar (Rajasthan)
Satna                                              …  Madhya Pradesh (World’s first white tiger Safari)
Simplipal Sanctuary                    …  Odisha
Vedanthangai Bird Sanctuary   …  Tamil Nadu
Chandaka Elephant Sanctuary …  Odisha

HILL STATIONS OF INDIA

(‘h’ stands for height above sea level)

Almora: h 1676 metres in Kumaon hills (Uttarkhand); nearest railway station is Kathgodam.

Cheerapunji: h 1358 metres—48 km south of Shillong; place of heaviest rainfall in the world (average 1182 cm annually).

Coonoor: h 2054 metres on the Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu; it is reached from Ootacamund by rail.

Dalhousie: h 2397 metres in Himachal Pradesh; 80 km from Pathankot.

Darjeeling: h 2184 metres in West Bengal; Magnificent snow views of Mt Everest and Kanchanjangha.

Gulmarg: h 2697 metres in Jammu & Kashmir; 48 km from Srinagar.

Kalimpong: h 1219 metres near Darjeeling reached from Siliguri.

Kasauli: h 2200 metres near Shimla reached from Kalka.

Kodaikanal:  h 2194 metres hill resort in Tamil Nadu.

Kulu Valley: h 2070 metres A picturesque valley in Himachal Pradesh.

Lansdowne: in Garhwal, Uttarkhand reached by N. Railway up to Kotdwar and then by motor service.

Mahableshwar: h 1372 metres summer retreat of the Maharashtra government.

Mt Abu: h 1372 metres (Rajasthan) place of pilgrimage for Jains; celebrated Dilwara temples situated here.

Mukteshwar: h 2171 metres in Kumaon hills (Uttarkhand); a beautiful spot; Government of India Veterinary Research Institute is located here.

Mussoorie: h 2286 metres in Uttarkhand; hill sanatorium; reached from Dehra Dun by motor; queen of hills.

Nainital: h 1950 metres in Uttarkhand.; magnificent lake; reached from Kathgodam or Haldwani by bus.

Ootacamund: h 2286 metres in Tamil Nadu (in the heart of the Nilgiris); summer Headquarters of Tamil Nadu government.

Pachmarhi: h 1066 metres in Hoshangabad; summer headquarters of Madhya Pradesh government.

Ranchi: h 640 metres capital of Jharkhand.

Shillong: h 1524 metres on Khasi and Jaintia Hills.

Shimla: h 2134 metres capital of Himachal Pradesh reached from Kalka by rail as well as by motor service.

Srinagar: h 1600 metres capital of Jammu and Kashmir State. It is a lovely and beautiful place for sight-seeing and attracts visitors from all over the world. It is situated on the river Jhelum.

Vagamon: h 1200 metres The Kerala government is building this unique tourist resort, described as the first hill destination to be planned after Independence.

INDIAN TOWNS ASSOCIATED WITH INDUSTRIES

Ahmedabad … Cotton Textiles
Aligarh … Locks
Alwaye … Rare Earths Factory
Ankleshwar [Gujarat] … Oil
Bengaluru …  Information Technology, Cotton Textiles, Toys, Carpets, Motors, Hindustan Aircraft, Industries and Machine Tools
Bareilly … Resin industry; woodwork
Batanagar … Shoes
Bhilai … Steel
Bhopal … Heavy Electricals
Bokaro  … Steel Plant
Kolkata   … Jute Manufacture, electric bulbs and lamps
Chhindwara [Madhya Pradesh]  … Lime-stone; Coal
Chittaranjan [West Bengal]  … Locomotives
Churk [Uttar Pradesh] … Cement
Dhariwal … Woollen goods
Digboi  … Petroleum
Durgapur  …   Steel
Firozabad  … Glass
Guntur  …  Cotton manufacture
Gurugram … Auto Industry, BPO, Services
Gwalior … Pottery
Howrah  … Jute
Hyderabad … Information Technology
Jaipur  …  Embroidery; pottery; brassware
Jalahalli  … Machine Tool Factory and Electronics
Jamshedpur [Tatanagar] … Iron and Steel goods
Jharia   …   Coal
Kanpur  …  Leather, shoes
Katni    … Cement
Khetri  …  Copper
Koyali  …  Petro-chemicals
Ludhiana  …  Hosiery
Mohali (SAS Nagar) …  Information Technology, LCVs, Tractors, Micro-chips
Moradabad   … Utensils, Calico-printing
Mumbai  …  Cotton Textile, Cinema
Mysore  …  Silk
Nangal  … Fertilizers
Nepanagar  … Newsprint
Neyveli  … Lignite
Noonamati  … Oil-refining
Perambur [near Chennai] …  Railway Coach Factory
Pimpri [Pune]   … Penicillin Factory
Rana Pratap Sagar   …  Atomic Power Plant
Raniganj  …  Coal Mining
Renukoot  … Aluminium
Rourkela  … Steel; Fertilizer
Rupnarainpur  …  Cables
Sindri … Fertilizer
Singareni  … Coal
Singhbhum  …  Copper
Surat  … Textiles
Suratgarh  … Modern Agricultural Farm
Tiruchirapalli  …  Cigar
Titagarh  …  Paper
Trombay  …  Atomic Reactors; Fertilizer
Varanasi … Electric locomotives
Vishakhapatnam  … Ship-building

Post-Independence History of India

The history of the Republic of India began on 26 January 1950. The country had earlier become an independent dominion within the British Commonwealth on 15 August 1947.

At the time of granting independence, the Muslim-majority northwest and east of British India was separated into the Dominion of Pakistan, by the partition of India. The partition led to a population transfer of more than 10 million people between India and Pakistan and the death of about one million people. Jawaharlal Nehru became the first Prime Minister of India and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel became the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs. The new Constitution of 1950 made India a secular and a democratic State.

Assassination of Mahatma Gandhi: The celebrations of independence had hardly died down when on 30 January 1948, a radical minded Hindu, Nathuram Godse, assassinated Gandhiji at Birla House, just before his evening prayers.

Refugee Problem: The Indian government had to stretch itself to the maximum to give relief to and resettle and rehabilitate the nearly six million refugees from Pakistan. By 1951, the problem of the rehabilitation of the refugees from West Pakistan was fully tackled.

However, the task of rehabilitating and resettling refugees from East Bengal was made more difficult by the fact that the exodus of Hindus from East Bengal continued for years. While nearly all the Hindus and Sikhs from West Pakistan had migrated in one go in 1947, a large number of Hindus in East Bengal had stayed on there in the initial years. However, as violence against Hindus broke out periodically in East Bengal, there was a steady stream of refugees from there year after year until 1971. Providing them with work and shelter and psychological assurance, remained a continuous and a difficult task.

Because of linguistic affinity the resettlement of the refugees from East Bengal could take place only in Bengal and to a lesser extent in Assam and Tripura. As a result, a very large number of people who had been engaged in agricultural occupations before their displacement were forced to seek survival in semi-urban and urban contexts as the underclass.

Political Integration of India: At the time of independence, India was divided into two sets of territories—the first being the territories of “British India”, which were under the direct control of the Governor-General of India, and the second being the “Princely States”, the territories over which the Crown had suzerainty, but which were under the control of their hereditary rulers. In addition, there were several colonial enclaves controlled by France and Portugal. The political integration of these territories into India was a declared objective of the Indian National Congress, which the government of India pursued over the next decade. Through a combination of factors, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel convinced the rulers of almost all of the hundreds of princely States to accede to India. Having secured their accession, they then proceeded to, in a step-by-step process, secure and extend the central government’s authority over these States and transform their administrations until, by 1956, there was little difference between the territories that had formerly been part of British India and those that had been part of princely States. Simultaneously, the government of India, through a combination of diplomatic and military means, acquired de facto and de jure control over the remaining colonial enclaves, which too were integrated into India.

The process, however, was not as successful in relation to the former princely State of Jammu & Kashmir, the accession of which to India was disputed by Pakistan, the State of Hyderabad, whose ruler was determined to remain independent, and the States of Tripura and Manipur, where active secessionist movements existed.

The Instruments of Accession were limited, transferring control of only three matters—Defence, Communication and External Affairs—to India, and would by themselves have produced a rather loose federation, with significant differences in administration and governance across the various States.

The first step in the process of complete merger, carried out between 1947 and 1949, was to merge the smaller States that were not seen by the government of India to be viable administrative units either into neighbouring provinces, or with other princely States to create a “princely union”. The bulk of the larger States, and some groups of small States, were integrated through a different, four-step process. In return for agreeing to the extinction of their States as discrete entities, the rulers were given a privy purse and guarantees similar to those provided under the Merger Agreements.

First General Elections: Democracy took a giant step forward with the first general election held in 1951-52 over a four-month period. These elections were the biggest experiment in democracy anywhere in the world. The elections were held based on universal adult franchise, with all those twenty-one years of age or older having the right to vote. There were over 173 million voters, most of them poor, illiterate, and rural, and having had no experience of elections. The big question at the time was how would the people respond to this opportunity.

Reorganisation of States: Potti Sreeramulu’s fast-unto-death, and consequent death for the demand of an Andhra State in 1953 sparked a major re-shaping of the Indian Union. Pt Nehru appointed the States Reorganization Commission, upon whose recommendations, the States Reorganization Act was passed in 1956. Old states were dissolved and new States created on the lines of shared linguistic and ethnic demographics. The separation of Kerala and the Telugu-speaking regions of Madras State enabled the creation of an exclusively Tamil-speaking State of Tamil Nadu. On 1 May 1960, the States of Maharashtra and Gujarat were created out of the Bombay State.

Post-Nehru India: Jawaharlal Nehru died on 27 May 1964. Lal Bahadur Shastri succeeded him as Prime Minister. In 1965 India and Pakistan again went to war over Kashmir, but without any definitive outcome or alteration of the Kashmir boundary. The Tashkent Agreement was signed under the mediation of the Soviet government, but Shastri died on the night after the signing ceremony. A leadership election resulted in the elevation of Indira Gandhi, Nehru’s daughter, as the third Prime Minister.

Birth of Naxalism: The CPM had originally split from the united CPI in 1964 on grounds of differences over revolutionary politics, (equated with armed struggle) and reformist parliamentary politics. A section of the party, consisting largely of its younger cadres and inspired by the Cultural Revolution then going on in China, accused the party leadership of falling prey to reformism and parliamentary politics and, therefore, of betraying the revolution. They argued that the party must immediately initiate armed peasant insurrections in rural areas, leading to the formation of liberated areas and the gradual extension of the armed struggle to the entire country. To implement their political line, the rebel CPM leaders launched a peasant uprising in the small Naxalbari area of northern West Bengal. The CPM leadership immediately expelled the rebel leaders accusing them of left-wing adventurism, and used the party organization and government machinery to suppress the Naxalbari insurrection. The breakaway CPM leaders came to be known as Naxalites and were soon joined by other similar groups from the rest of the country. The Naxalite movement drew many young people, especially college and university students, who were dissatisfied with existing politics and angry at the prevailing social condition.

India goes nuclear: India achieved a major success in terms of a breakthrough in science and technology when the Atomic Energy Commission detonated an underground nuclear device at Pokhran in the deserts of Rajasthan on 18 May 1974. The Indian government, however, declared that it was not going to make nuclear weapons even though it had acquired the capacity to do so. It claimed that the Pokhran explosion was an effort to harness atomic energy for peaceful purposes and to make India selfreliant in nuclear technology.

Green Revolution and Operation Flood: India’s long-standing food crisis was resolved with greatly improved agricultural productivity due to the Green revolution. The government-sponsored modern agricultural implements, new varieties of generic seeds and increased financial assistance to farmers that increased the yield of food crops such as wheat, rice and corn, as well as commercial crops like cotton, tea, tobacco and coffee. Increased agricultural productivity expanded across the States of the IndoGangetic plains and Punjab. Under Operation Flood, government encouraged production of milk and improved rearing of livestock across India. This enabled India to become self-sufficient in feeding its own population, ending two decades of food imports.

Emergency: Economic and social problems, as well as allegations of corruption caused increasing political unrest across India, culminating in the Bihar Movement. In 1974, the Allahabad High Court found Indira Gandhi guilty of misusing government machinery for election purposes. Leading strikes across India, that paralyzed its economy and administration, Jay Prakash Narayan even called for the Army to oust Mrs. Gandhi. In 1975, Mrs. Gandhi advised President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed to declare a state of emergency under the Constitution, which allowed the Central government to assume sweeping powers to defend law and order in the nation. Many civil liberties were suspended and elections postponed at national and State levels. Non-Congress governments in Indian states were dismissed, and nearly 1,000 opposition political leaders and activists were imprisoned and programme of compulsory birth control was introduced.

Although, India’s economy benefited from an end to paralyzing strikes and political disorder, many organs of government and many Congress politicians were accused of corruption and authoritarian conduct. Police officers were accused of arresting and torturing innocent people.

Post Emergency: Mrs. Indira Gandhi called for general elections in 1977, only to suffer a humiliating electoral defeat at the hands of the Janata Party, an amalgamation of opposition parties. Morarji Desai became the first non-Congress Prime Minister of India. The Desai administration established tribunals to investigate Emergency-era abuses, and Indira and Sanjay Gandhi were arrested after a report from the Shah Commission. But in 1979, the coalition crumbled and Charan Singh formed an interim government. The Janata Party become intensely unpopular due to its internecine warfare, and the fact that it offered no leadership on solving India’s serious economic and social problems. Ultimately, the Janata Party split in to its original constituents. The January Sangh emerged in its new avatar as Bhartiya Janata Party.

Indira Gandhi and her Congress party splinter group, Congress (Indira) were swept back into power with a large majority in January 1980. But the rise of an insurgency in Punjab jeopardized India’s security. In Assam also there were many incidents of communal violence between native villagers and refugees from Bangladesh, as well as settlers from other parts of India. When Indian forces, undertaking Operation Blue Star, raided the hideout of Khalistan militants in the Golden Temple—Sikhs’ most holy shrine— in Amritsar, in June 1984, the inadvertent deaths of civilians and damage to the temple building inflamed tensions in the Sikh community across India. Northeast India was also paralyzed owing to the ULFA’s clash with government forces.

On 31 October 1984, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s own Sikh bodyguards assassinated her, and anti-Sikh riots erupted in Delhi and parts of Punjab, causing the deaths of thousands of Sikhs.

Post Indira Gandhi: After the assassination of Mrs Indira Gandhi, the Congress party chose Rajiv Gandhi, her older son, as the next Prime Minister. The Parliament was dissolved and Rajiv led the Congress party to its largest majority in history (over 415 seats out of 545 possible) in the general elections, reaping a sympathy vote over his mother’s assassination.

Rajiv Gandhi initiated a series of reforms—the license raj was loosened, and government restrictions on foreign currency, travel, foreign investment and imports decreased considerably. This allowed private businesses to use resources and produce commercial goods without government bureaucracy interfering, and the influx of foreign investment increased India’s national reserves. Rajiv’s encouragement to science and technology resulted in a major expansion of the telecommunications industry, India’s space program and gave birth to the software industry and information technology sector.

In 1987, India brokered an agreement between government of Sri Lanka and rebel LTTE, and agreed to deploy troops for peacekeeping operation and to disarm the Tamil rebels. Butm the Indian Peace Keeping Force became entangled in outbreaks of violence—ultimately ending up fighting the Tamil rebels itself, and becoming a target of attack from Sri Lankan nationalists.

Rajiv Gandhi’s image as an honest politician was shattered when the Bofors scandal broke, revealing that senior government officials had taken bribes over defence contracts with the Swedish manufacturer. As the Defence minister in Rajiv Gandhi’s government, Mr V.P. Singh had unearthed the Bofors scandal, and was sacked from the party and office. Becoming a popular crusader for reform and clean government, he led the Janata Dal coalition to a majority in 1989 elections. He was supported by BJP and the Leftist parties from outside. Becoming Prime Minister, Singh started to implement the controversial Mandal commission report, to increase the quota in reservation for low caste Hindus. The BJP protested these implementations, and took its support back, following which he resigned. Chandra Shekhar split to form the Janata Dal (Socialist), supported by Rajiv’s Congress. This new government also collapsed in a matter of months, when Congress withdrew its support.

Post Rajiv Gandhi: On 21 May 1991, while former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi campaigned in Tamil Nadu on behalf of Congress (I), a Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) female suicide bomber assassinated him and many others. In the elections, Congress (I) won 244 Parliamentary seats and put together a coalition, returning to power under the leadership of Mr P.V. Narasimha Rao. This Congress-led government, which served a full 5-year term, initiated a gradual process of economic liberalisation and reform, which opened the Indian economy to global trade and investment. India’s domestic politics also took new shape, as traditional alignments by caste, creed, and ethnicity gave way to a plethora of small, regionally-based political parties.

In 1992, India was rocked by communal violence between Hindus and Muslims that killed over 10,000 people, following the Babri Mosque demolition by Hindu extremists in the course of the Ram Janmabhoomi dispute in Ayodhya. The final months of the Rao-led government in the spring of 1996 suffered the effects of several major political corruption scandals, which contributed to the worst electoral performance by the Congress Party in its history as Bharatiya Janata Party emerged as largest single party.

Era of Coalitions: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged from the May 1996 national elections as the single-largest party in the Lok Sabha but without enough strength to prove a majority on the floor of the Parliament. Under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the BJP coalition lasted in power 13 days. With all political parties wishing to avoid another round of elections, a 14-party coalition led by the Janata Dal emerged to form a government known as the United Front. A United Front government under former Chief Minister of Karnataka H.D. Deve Gowda lasted less than a year. Congress (I) withdrew support in March 1997.

Inder Kumar Gujral replaced Deve Gowda as the consensus choice for Prime Minister of a 16-party United Front coalition. In November 1997, the Congress Party again withdrew support for the United Front. New elections in February 1998 brought the BJP the largest number of seats in Parliament (182), but this fell far short of a majority. On March 20, 1998, the President inaugurated a BJP-led coalition government with Mr Vajpayee again serving as Prime Minister.

First Sikh Prime Minister of India: In January 2004, Prime Minister Vajpayee recommended early dissolution of the Lok Sabha and general elections. The Congress Party-led alliance won an surprise victory in elections held in May 2004. Manmohan Singh became the first Sikh Prime Minister of India.

First Female President of India: In 2007, Ms Pratibha Patil became India’s first female President. Long associated with Nehru–Gandhi family, Pratibha Patil was a low-profile Governor of Rajasthan before emerging as the favoured Presidential candidate.

2009 Elections: In the 2009 General Election, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance won a convincing and resounding 262 seats, with Congress alone winning 206 seats. Mr Manmohan Singh was re-elected as the Prime Minister.

2014 Elections: On 16 May 2014, ending the BJP’s 10-year political ‘vanvaas’, Narendra Damodardas Modi scripted a never-before win for the party, helping it cruise to power on its own steam at the Centre by breaking a three-decade old trend of fractured mandates. BJP attained a comfortable majority of 282 seats on its own.

GOVERNORS-GENERALS OF POST INDEPENDENCE INDIA

Louis Mountbatten: (15 August 1947 to 20 June 1948)
(The first Governor-General of Free India)

C. Rajagopalachari: (21 June 1948 to 25 January 1950) (The first Indian Governor-General of Free India).

PRESIDENTS OF THE INDIAN REPUBLIC

  • Dr Rajendra Prasad: (1950-62) The first President of the Indian Republic.
  • Dr S. Radhakrishnan: (1962-67) The Philosopher-President of India.
  • Dr Zakir Hussain: (13 May 1967 to 3 May 1969) The first President of India to have died while in office.
  • V.V. Giri: (24 August 1969 to 23 August 1974) The first President to be elected in contest against a Congress nominee.
  • Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed: (24 August 1974 to 11 February 1977) The fifth President of the Republic of India.
  • Neelam Sanjiva Reddy: (25 July 1977 to 24 July 1982) The sixth President of the Republic of India.
  • Zail Singh: (25 July 1982 to 24 July 1987) The first Sikh and seventh President of the Republic of India.
  • R. Venkataraman: (25 July 1987 to 24 July 1992) The eighth President of the Republic of India.
  • Shankar Dayal Sharma: (25 July 1992 to 24 July 1997) The ninth President of the Republic of India.
  • K.R. Narayanan: (25 July 1997 to 24 July 2002) The tenth President of the Republic of India.
  • A.P.J. Abdul Kalam: (25 July 2002 to 24 July 2007) The 11th President of the Republic of India.
  • Pratibha Devisingh Patil: (25 July 2007 to 24 July 2012) The 12th President of the Republic of India and first woman to become President of India.
  • Pranab Mukherjee: (25 July 2012 to 24 July 2017) The 13th President of the Republic of India.
  • Ram Nath Kovind (25 July 2017 to ____ ) The 14th and current President of the Repulic of India.

VICE-PRESIDENTS

  • Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan: (1952-1962)
  • Dr Zakir Hussain: (1962-1967)
  • Varahagiri Venkatagiri: (1967-1969)
  • Gopal Swarup Pathak: (1969-1974)
  • B.D. Jatti: (1974-1979)
  • Justice Mohammad Hidayatullah: (1979-1984)
  • R. Venkataraman: (1984-1987)
  • Dr Shanker Dayal Sharma: (1987-1992)
  • K.R. Narayanan: (1992-1997)
  • Krishan Kant: (1997-2002)
  • Bhairon Singh Shekhawat: (2002-2007)
  • Mohammad Hamid Ansari: (2007-2017)
  • Muppavarapu Venkaiah Naidu: (2017-______ )

India’s Freedom Movement

FIRST WAR OF INDIAN INDEPENDENCE OR THE 1857 REVOLUTION

Background and Causes: The rapid expansion of British dominion in India, changes in the administrative set-up and mode of existence in those days disturbed the placid current of Indian life and produced commotion in different parts of the country.

The revolt of 1857 was a combination of political, economic and socioreligious causes. It was a national upsurge which was directed to achieve freedom from foreign domination. Lord Dalhousie’s high-handed Doctrine of Lapse abolishing the titles and pensions of the Indian chiefs agitated the Indian rulers. There was a general feeling of annoyance and discontent among Indian masses against their foreign masters. This hatred was mingled with alarm at the spread of Christianity.

Passing of the Widow Remarriage Act in 1856 was regarded by the Hindus as undue interference with their social and religious life. As a reaction to foreign rule, a sense of pride in India’s glorious past had been revived and people had come to feel that the foreigners were usurpers and intruders. Even in the ranks of the Indian army there was dormant unrest. Indian sepoys were becoming increasingly impatient of the haughtiness of English Officers. In short the whole nation was in ferment. Then a rumour spread that greased cartridges supplied to Indian soldiers contained the fat of cows and pigs. This outraged the religious feelings of Hindu and Muslim sepoys.

The Revolt: On 29 March 1857, the 34th Regiment was on parade in Barrackpore. Suddenly, Mangal Pandey, a sepoy, broke the ranks calling upon his fellow countrymen to rise in revolt against the British. He shot and killed two British Officers. The Indian soldiers present refused to obey their British masters’ orders to arrest Mangal Pandey. The latter was, however, arrested, tried and hanged. The news spread to all cantonments in the country and very soon a countrywide revolt broke out. On 10 May 1857 soldiers in Meerut refused to touch the new cartridges. Greased cartridges was the most important issue that led to the Revolt of 1857. The soldiers along with groups of civilians, went on a rampage shouting “Maro Firangi Ko”. They broke open jails, murdered European men and women, burnt their houses and marched towards Delhi. Very soon the revolt spread like wild fire all over northern India. The heroine of this first war of independence for India was Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi, one of the most courageous and capable leaders of the mutiny. She fought the British forces strongly but fell. Among other notable figures who fell fighting were Nana Saheb, the adopted son of the last Peshwa and Tantya Tope, the brave commander of Nana Saheb’s forces.

The Result: The leaders of the revolt and their followers were fired with revolutionary zeal but they lost the war mainly because of lack of unity of purpose, effective organization, and a unified system of leadership. As against them, the British were well-organised and better-equipped and fought under one command. Thus the British were able to survive the most serious challenge to their rule in India. But the lessons of the revolt were not lost upon them.

FREEDOM MOVEMENT POST 1857

The revolt of 1857 failed not because it lacked national spirit or patriotism but because it lacked adequate organisation and military power. The 1857 movement, however, generated greater awareness among the people about freedom; it was an important step forward towards germinating the seeds of a more effective nationalism in the years to come.

Soon thereafter, the country passed through a period of renaissance and reawakening. A number of factors gave impetus to the gradually growing national movement in the country. Some of these factors were as follows:

  • Religious Awakening: A number of prominent religious organisations such as Brahmo Samaj, Arya Samaj, and Ram Krishna Mission and religious leaders like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Pt Ishwar Chand Vidyasagar, Dayanand Saraswati, Ram Krishna Paramhansa and Vivekanand generated a strong feeling of pride among the people in their motherland and culture. They inculcated among the people patriotism and inspired them to fight for freedom.
  • The Influence of Western Education: The spread of Western education through English language broadened the outlook of Indians and brought them very close to the western concepts of nationalism, liberty, and freedom. This aroused among the Indians a spirit of nationalism.
  • Emergence of Indian Press: The emergence of a good number of nationalist newspapers in the nineteenth century revealed to the people the evils inherent in British imperialism. The press as well as popular literature awakened patriotism among the people who grew restless against foreign domination.
  • Economic Exploitation: The policy of the Britishers to discourage industrial growth in the country so that India might continue to be a good market for their imported goods caused great frustration in the country. Secondly, agriculture also remained neglected at the hands of the Britishers causing economic misery to the people whenever the monsoon failed. Indians were growing more and more conscious of their persistent economic exploitation by the foreign rulers.

These were some of the factors that set the pace for a national movement to start in India. The first sign of political organisation in India was the formation of the Indian Association by Surendranath Banerjee in 1876.

Indian National Congress: Very soon the need for an all-India organisation to give shape to the national urges of the people was felt. This led to the formation of the Indian National Congress in 1885. The organisation owed its origin to the inspiration provided by Surendranath Banerjee and A.O. Hume, a retired British Civil Servant, who suggested forming an organisation “for the mental, moral, social and political regeneration of the people of India”.

The first session of the Indian National Congress was held in Bombay in December 1885 under the Presidentship of Mr Woomesh Chandra Bonnerjee.

To begin with, the Congress was a moderate organisation committed to the use of constitutional means only for securing certain rights for Indians. From 1885 to 1905, the organisation remained in the hands of moderates as its leaders who were not prepared to lay down their lives for the motherland. They thought that their duty was only to highlight the weaknesses of the government and administration. During this period the party leadership pressed modest demands through prayers, appeals, petitions, deputations, etc. It avoided all extra-constitutional or agitational approach. Although the character of the Congress was moderate in its initial stages, it did in those days a great amount of spadework in national awakening, political education, uniting Indians and in creating in them the consciousness of a common Indian nationality.

Growth of Militant Nationalism 1906-1918: The activities and the programmes of the Indian National Congress from 1885 to 1905 indicated that most of the Congress leaders believed in constitutional methods for securing the favour of the Government and redressing their grievances.

They drew inspiration from the spirit of British liberalism. In the early stages the moderates in Indian National Congress sought political progress through boycotting the legislature and judiciary.

Swadeshi Movement (1905): After the year 1905, however, Indian nationalism entered a new phase. Militant nationalism attracted the youth throughout the country. At the Benares session of the Congress (1905) there was a feeling of revolt in the younger blood under the inspiring leadership of Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai and Bipin Chander Pal.

There were certain valid reasons for the rise of extremism at this stage. Some of these were: the failure of reforms introduced by the Government under the Indian Councils Act, 1892; economic misery caused by foreign domination, successive famines and crop failures; unemployment; Indians’ humiliation abroad; revival of Hinduism; influence of western political concepts of liberty, equality and fraternity which brought revolution in France; and, at the top of it all, revolutionary leadership provided by Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai and Babu Bipin Chander Pal.

Revolutionary Organisations: Many revolutionary organisations sprung up during 1905-13. The most important of them were:

Anushilan Samiti of Dacca: It was organised by Pulin Bihari Dass in 1905. It was the most important terrorist party with its centres in both Bengals. Its revolutionary activity comprised of violence, dacoity, assassinations, training in arms and making of bombs.

Anushilan Samiti of Calcutta: was founded by Barendra Kumar Ghose (brother of Aurobindo Ghose) in 1905. Though outwardly this organisation was meant for promoting social welfare and physical exercises, its real object was to paralyse the government.

The aims and objects of the two Anushilan Samitis were the same. Both employed identical means for realisation of their goals—achieving freedom by violence.

Even the newspapers during that period as Sandhya and Yugantar preached the gospel of blood and fire and advocated that “force must be met by force”.

Abhinav Bharat Society: was a secret terrorist organisation founded by V.D. Savarkar in 1906 with similar aims. It played an important role in Maharashtra.

Ghadr party: came into existence on 1 November 1913. It was founded by Lala Har Dayal who was in the U.S.A. at that time. It was violently antiBritish. He also founded the Yugantar Ashram. A paper called Ghadr was also started and circulated not only in America but also among Indians settled in other countries.

Komagata Maru case: It was an offshoot of the revolutionary activities abroad. Komagata Maru was a Japanese ship in which a number of Sikhs from India travelled to enter British Columbia in Western Canada. The Canadian authorities refused them permission to land and the ship had to return. It arrived back at Budge Budge near Calcutta, on September 29, 1914. It was arranged to send the passengers to Punjab by a special train which aroused suspicion and most of them refused to entrain for fear of being taken in custody by force. Troops were called and the men gathered around their leader Baba Gurdit Singh. Some of them marched towards Calcutta. Then suddenly shooting started. It was night by that time and the next morning rest of the Sikhs were sent by train to the Punjab. It all happened under suspicion by the Government that the party belonged to a most dangerous revolutionary movement.

The Surat Split (1907): The rise of extremists in Indian politics had its repercussions on the Congress party also. The Benares session of the Congress (1905) had already shown the widening gulf between the moderates and the extremists in the organisation. The Calcutta session next year (1906) showed that both the moderates and the extremists were heading fast towards a complete breach. And this actually happened in the Surat Congress (1907). The Surat session was greatly disturbed by rowdyism, confusion and disorder and police had to intervene to restore order. After the 1907 session, the moderates decided to have no truck with the extremists. The Congress organisation thus remained in the hands of the moderates; it, however, lost its popularity. Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai and Babu Bipin Chander Pal—were the real leading personalities in Indian politics during those years.

They commanded a massive following throughout the country.

Thus the difference between the “Moderates” and the “Extremists” led to a split in the Congress at its session held in 1907 at Surat.

The period 1907-14 saw a series of terrorist movements in the country through underground organisations with their network all over the country. Revolutionaries tried to blow up the train in which the Lieut-Governor of Bengal was travelling. Mr Allen, district magistrate of Dacca, was shot at but somehow he could survive. An attempt on the life of Sir Andrew Frazor was made in November 1908. The Hindus of Bengal burnt many places causing huge loss to the Government. In March 1908, riots broke out in Tinnevelly and many buildings were set on fire. Official records were consigned to flames. Such revolutionary activities generated a lot of anti-British feeling among the Indians and the Government launched rigorous measures to eliminate terrorism in the country. Stringent laws were passed; terrorists were arrested and imprisoned; their leaders were externed to other countries; many youths were sentenced to death; and curbs were placed on public meetings and processions.

The Government relaxed its ruthless policy of repression against the terrorists following the outbreak of the First World War. The Government diverted its attention to war. Besides, it urgently needed the help of Indians to face the war.

Reunion of the two wings of Congress: The efforts, which were being made since 1907 to unite the two wings of the Congress, succeeded in the Lucknow session of the Congress in 1916. The extremists were admitted to the Congress at this session.

This was briefly followed by a Home Rule Movement spearheaded by Tilak and Mrs Annie Besant. She had joined the Congress in the year 1915. The movement strengthened further the cause of self-government and highlighted the necessity of involving the general public for attaining the goal of independence. The movement grew very popular among the younger generation and was an important step forward in the direction of preparing people psychologically to get ready for a fight to achieve freedom.

Lucknow Pact (1916): It was executed between the Congress and the Indian Muslim League in 1916.

The war between Turkey and Britain aroused anti-British feelings among Muslims and paved the way for co-operation with the Congress.

Both Congress and the Muslim League, in their session at Lucknow in 1916, concluded the famous agreement known as the Lucknow Pact which included the recognition of separate electorates.

In the Lucknow session of the Congress, the Home Rule Leagues were able to demonstrate their political strength.

The Gandhian Era of Non-Cooperation (1918 to 1935): The finest period of the Indian Naitonal Congress was from 1918 to 1947 when Mahatma Gandhi dominated the Indian political scene. The period is also referred to as the “Gandhian era” in the history of the Congress. In India’s struggle for freedom, it was the most intense and eventful phase culminating in India’s throwing off the foreign yoke in 1947.

Gandhiji entered the Indian political scene at a very opportune time. There was a void in Indian politics. Gokhale had died in 1915. Tilak also died in 1920. Lajpat Rai was a constitutionalist. The Congress thus needed imaginative leadership supported by a dynamic political philosophy. Gandhiji’s entry into Congress at this crucial phase provided it not only a leadership of the highest order but also the political philosophy of non-violent Satyagraha which in later years became the most potent weapon to drive the Britishers out of this country.

Rowlatt Act: A sedition committee appointed by the Government in 1918 with Justice Rowlatt as chairman made certain recommendations for curbing seditious movements in the country. On the basis of these recommendations, the Rowlatt Act was passed giving unbridled power to the Government to arrest and imprison suspects without trial and crush civil liberties. The Act caused a wave of anger in all sections of the people throughout the country. People saw in the Act Government’s determination to deny them the right to self-determination and liberty.

The Act aroused Gandhiji’s conscience against the British Government and he decided to launch a fight against the measure. He gave a call for Satyagraha against the Act on 6 April 1919. His call for hartal met with a remarkable success all over the country. Gandhiji was arrested at Palwal on 8 April 1919. This led to a further intensification of the agitation at Delhi, Ahmedabad and the Punjab.

Following some disorders and disturbances at certain places, Gandhiji suspended the Satyagraha on 18 April 1919.

Jallianwala Bagh Massacre (April 1919): The arrest of Dr Kitchlu and Dr Satyapal on 10 April in connection with the Satyagraha caused serious unrest and agitation in Punjab. The people of Amritsar, who took out a procession to protest against their arrest and demand their release, faced heavy police firing. This made the crowd also violent who killed five Europeans and set several buildings on fire. General Dwyer, the Lt-Governor of Punjab, decided to teach Indians a lesson. The whole of Amritsar was converted into a military camp. A public meeting was announced on 13 April 1919 in the Jallianwala Bagh. Thousands of people assembled there. Before the meeting could start, General Dwyer ordered heavy firing on the crowd. This killed hundreds of innocent men, women, and children. At least 1200 were wounded and left unattended.

The massacre was a turning point in Indo-British relations almost as important as the mutiny of 1857; it lit the flame of liberty and inspired people to launch a more unrelenting fight for freedom. The tragedy provided much strength to Gandhiji’s mission to launch a campaign against the British, which ultimately led to their exit from India. This incident, in other words, proved to be a milestone in India’s struggle for freedom.

On 13 March 1940, Sardar Udham Singh, an Indian patriot hailing from Punjab, shot down Sir Michael O’Dwyer, the Lt Governor of Punjab at the time of the Jallianwala Bagh tragedy, while he was addressing a meeting in Caxton Hall, London. Lord Zitland, the Secretary of State for India, who was also one of the perpetrators of that heinous slaughter, escaped with bullet wounds.

Udham Singh mounted the gallows on 31 July 1940, with a smile on his face, proud and conscious of the fact that he had fulfilled his pledge to the people and avenged national humiliation.

Shaheed Udham Singh’s remains (ashes) were brought back from London to India on 19 July 1974, to enable the people of this country to pay homage to the great martyr after 34 years.)

Swaraj Agitation: The Reforms of 1919 having failed to fulfil the aspirations of the people of India, Indian National Congress launched an agitation for ‘Swaraj’ or Self-Government under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi.

Non-cooperation Movement: The Calcutta session of Congress in September 1920 gave a new dimension to the national freedom movement. It passed a resolution moved by Gandhiji to launch a non-cooperation movement against the British for attainment of Swaraj. The movement received support from a large number of Muslims also. The policy of progressive, non-violent cooperation adopted by Gandhiji turned out to be a unique technique in political agitation not tried elsewhere.

The non-cooperation movement envisaged:

  • surrender of titles and honorary offices and resignation from nominated posts in local bodies;
  • refusal to attend Government darbars and other official and semiofficial functions held by the Government officials in their honour;
  • gradual withdrawal of children from schools and colleges, owned, aided or controlled by government and in place of such schools and colleges, establishment of national schools and colleges in various provinces;
  • gradual boycott of British courts by lawyers and litigants and establishment of private arbitration courts by their aid, for the settlement of private disputes;
  • refusal on the part of military, clerical and labouring classes to offer themselves as recruits for service in Mesopotamia;
  • withdrawal by candidates of their candidature for election to the reformed Councils and refusal on the part of the voters to vote for any candidate who may despite the Congress advice offer himself for election;
  • boycott of foreign goods; and
  • adoption of Swadeshi in piece-goods on a vast scale.

The movement caught the imagination of the masses and spread like wild fire through the length and breadth of the country. Top-ranking lawyers such as Motilal Nehru and C.R. Das gave up their legal practice and actively joined the movement. Tukli and Charkha became the symbols of the movement and could be seen in every home. Charkha appeared on the national flag also. Khadi soon replaced European clothes. Large quantities of foreign goods were consigned to flames and a number of educational institutions set up by Congress gave a new direction to education. The non-cooperation movement led to a complete boycott of Prince of Wales when he visited India in 1921. This infuriated the British Government and it tried to beat back the noncooperation movement by passing the Seditious Meeting Act and arresting under it thousands of Indians. Except Gandhiji, all prominent Congress leaders were put behind the bars.

Chauri Chaura Incident (1922): Gandhiji got ready to face the repressive measures of the British Government with a call for civil disobedience movement in Bardoli and a no-tax campaign at Guntur. Before the civil disobedience could be started, a strong mob at a place called Chauri Chaura in Gorakhpur district of Uttar Pradesh clashed with police which had opened fire on it. The mob retaliated by burning down a police station and killing 22 policemen. This went against Gandhiji’s strict injunction to avoid adoption of violent methods and he abruptly called off the agitation. Thus, the Non-cooperation Movement was immediately withdrawn after the ChauriChaura incident.

Khilafat Movement: After World War I, peace was concluded between the Allied Powers and Turkey by the Treaty of Sevres (1920). This treaty imposed on Turkey terms which spelt disintegration of the Ottoman empire and undermined the Caliphate which was the backbone of the movement towards Pan-Islamism, popular among Muslims everywhere. This was resented by the Indian Muslims. There was a widespread feeling among them that the peace concluded with Turkey was not only unjust but also antiIslamic. Mahatma Gandhi who was at that time waging a non-violent struggle against British rule in India, threw his weight on the side of the Muslims in this matter, and condemned the machinations of British imperialism. He thus won over the Muslims to the cause of India’s freedom struggle. He started a country-wide non-cooperation movement in which both Hindus and Muslims participated whole-heartedly.

Swaraj Party: Gandhiji’s decision to suspend the non-cooperation movement caused sudden frustration among the masses. His decision came in for severe criticism by his colleagues such as Moti Lal Nehru, C.R. Das and N.C. Kelkar. They formed a new party—Swaraj Party—and emphasised the need for entering the legislative councils by contesting elections in order to wreck the legislature from within. The Swarajists did not consider that Satyagraha was an effective method of political struggle. They were for giving a fight to the bureaucratic government in the legislature. In the elections held in 1923, the Swarajists captured 45 out of 145 seats. In the provincial elections, the Swarajists got few seats but in the central provinces they secured a clear majority. In Bengal, they were the largest party. For a considerable time, the Swarajists followed vigorously the policy of undiluted opposition. But after the death of C.R. Das in 1925, the Swarajists drifted towards a policy of co-operation with the government. This led to dissension within the party and it vanished in the year 1926. It should be conceded that the Swaraj Party emerged at a time when a great despondency had overtaken the people following the suspension of civil disobedience movement by Gandhiji. The Party rescued the people from the mood of bewildered frustration and made them aware of the role they could play in the governance of the country.

Simon Commission: The activities of the Swarajist Party had induced the British Government to have a second look at the working of the dyarchy (See Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms) in the country. Under the provisions of the Government of India Act 1919, the British Government appointed the Simon Commission in November 1927, to inquire into the working of the system of government, the growth of education, and development of representative institutions in British India. All the members of the Commission were whites and it had no Indian member. Indians felt greatly insulted and humiliated by this. Political leaders of all parties decided to boycott the Commission. Wherever the Commission went there were cries of “Simon Go Back”. It was while leading a demonstration against the Simon Commission in Lahore that a fatal lathi-blow was dealt to Lala Lajpat Rai.

Nehru Committee Report (1928): The Committee was set up under the Chairmanship of Motilal Nehru to determine the principles of the Constitution before actually drafting it. The Chief architects of the report were Pt Motilal Nehru and Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru. The recommendations evoked a lively debate concerning the goal of India—Dominion status or independence.

Lahore Congress: At its annual session held in Lahore in December 1929, under the presidentship of Pt Jawaharlal Nehru, the Indian National Congress passed a resolution declaring complete independence to be the goal of the national movement.

Historic Dandi March: To work towards the achievement of the goal, Gandhiji again drew up a civil disobedience plan. Along with his 79 trained followers, he started his famous march from Sabarmati Ashram on 12 March 1930, for the small village Dandi to break the Salt Law. Gandhiji covered a distance of 387 km in 24 days and all along the route thousands of people greeted him and took vow to shake the roots of the British Empire through a non-violent movement. On reaching the seashore Gandhiji broke the Salt Law by picking up salt from the seashore. This march of Gandhiji is known in the history as Dandi March. Following this, reports about violation of Salt Law, Sedition Law and Forest Laws by people in other parts of the country started flowing in. Another round of boycott of foreign goods and picketing of liquor shops was witnessed on a massive scale all over the country. Even the ladies came out in large numbers to take part in this civil disobedience movement that shook the British Government. Soon thereafter followed extremely repressive measures such as mass arrests, lathi charges, police firing, gagging the Indian press; the Government tried to crush the movement in all possible ways. But despite all this, the movement continued. About 100000 people went in jails.

First Round Table Conference (1930): The first Round Table Conference held in London on 12 November 1930, was totally boycotted by the Indian National Congress. The Conference, which was inaugurated by His Majesty the King and presided over by Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald, aimed at abridging the gulf between the Government and the Congress leaders on basic issues so that the non-cooperation movement might come to an end. The Conference was attended by 89 delegates from British India and 16 delegates of Indian States who were all yesmen of the Government. Three principles were suggested by Prime Minister MacDonald as the basis of discussions at the Conference. Firstly, a federation for India; secondly, full responsibility to the provinces with necessary safeguards; and thirdly, partial responsibility at the Centre with certain limitations. But as the Congress boycotted the Conference as a part of its programme of non-cooperation, nothing substantial came out of it. In the words of Subhas Chandra Bose, the Conference offered India two bitter pills—safeguards and federation. To make the pills eatable, they were sugarcoated with responsibility.

Mr Jawaharlal Nehru made the following remarks about it: “We are all agreed that the Round Table Conference and its various productions are utterly useless to solve even one of India’s problems. As I conceive it, the Round Table Conference was an effort to consolidate the vested interests of India behind the British Government so as to face the rising and powerful national and economic movements in the country which threaten these interests. Essentially, in international parlance, it was a fascist grouping of vested and possessing interests, and fascist methods were adopted in India to suppress the national movement. And because the mere preservation of all these vested interests in India cannot solve our economic ills—whether those of the masses or even of the middle classes—the effort is foredoomed to inevitable failure.”

Gandhi-Irwin Pact and Second Round Table Conference: Early in the year 1931, two moderate statesmen, Sapru and Jayakar, initiated efforts to bring about rapprochement between Gandhiji and the Government. Their efforts resulted in six meetings between Gandhiji and Lord Irwin, the then Viceroy, that finally led to the signing of a pact between the two on 5 March 1931. This pact is known as Gandhi-Irwin Pact. In terms of the Pact, the civil disobedience movement was withdrawn and Gandhiji agreed to attend the Second Round Table Conference. At the Conference held in September 1931, Gandhiji demanded the establishment of a responsible Government immediately. The communal issue, raised by the delegates of minorities, however, became more predominent than the national issue. Gandhiji attended this Second Round Table Conference as the sole representative of the Indian National Congress. Gandhiji’s voice as the sole representative of national interest appeared lonely. The Conference was closed on 11 December 1931, without any concrete results and Gandhiji had to return to India in disgust without achieving anything.

Poona Pact: In 1932, British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald gave the Communal Award which conceded separate electorates on communal basis. Besides, the Award was not fair to Hindus and its main aim was to divide Indians. It was based on undemocratic principles and had no historical basis.

The Award created immense dissatisfaction among the Hindus. At Calcutta session of the Congress, the Award came in for severe criticism. The Award was characterised as one that would lead to a special kind of despotic government. It would be tyranny of one community over another and it was this despotism which the Communal Award sought to install. Gandhiji staked his life to get the award annulled and went on a fast unto death. Ultimately the fast ended in the Poona Pact which repudiated the Award. The leaders of the various groups and parties among Hindus and Dr B.R. Ambedkar on behalf of the Harijans signed the Poona Pact.

Government of India Act, 1935: The Simon Commission completed its work in 1930 and submitted a report which formed the basis of the Government of India Act, 1935. This Act introduced provincial autonomy, abolished dyarchy in the provinces, making ministers responsible to the legislatures and Federation at the Centre, where Defence, External Affairs and Ecclesiastical matters were left in the hands of the Governor-General and all other subjects were transferred to the Ministers responsible to the Legislature.

Although the Congress opposed this Act, yet it contested the elections and formed ministries first in six provinces and then in two more when the new Constitution was introduced on 1 April 1937. The Muslim League formed a ministry in Bengal. Punjab too came to have a non-Congress ministry. The Congress High Command exercised a great hold upon the ministries of each province. A sub-committee formed by the Congress Working Committee maintained regular touch with the Congress Party in all the provincial legislatures.

The Congress Ministers rendered valuable service to the people during their term of office. They acted as the true servants of public. They won immense popularity through their hard work in the fields of public health, education and rural uplift. The Congress ministries passed a number of public welfare laws.

The Muslim leaders were, however, not happy with the Congress rule which they described as tyrannical. According to the Muslim League leader, Mr Jinnah, the Congress was drunk with power and was oppressive against Muslims.

Congress Ministries Resign: The Second World War broke out in Europe on 3 September 1939, that brought Britain also within its fold. Without consulting the Indian leaders, the Viceroy declared India also as a belligerent country. This evoked sharp criticism from Indians and the Congress took the stand that India could not associate herself in a war said to be for democratic freedom when the very freedom was denied to her. The Congress demanded that India should be declared an independent nation. Then only would the country help Britain in the war. The Viceroy in his reply dated October 17, 1939, rejected the Congress demand as impracticable and took the stand that the Government could think over the entire constitutional scheme after the war. The Congress condemned the Viceroy’s reply and the Congress ministries everywhere resigned on 22 December 1939. The provinces under the Congress again came under bureaucratic rule. Jinnah was happy over this and he called upon the Indian Muslims to celebrate the resigning day of Congress Ministries as the day of deliverance. Later, Jinnah built up a demand for Pakistan.

August Offer: On 8 August 1940, the Viceroy came out with certain proposals, known as ‘August Offer’ declaring that the goal of British Government was to establish Dominion Status in India. It accepted that framing of a new Constitution would be the responsibility of the Indians. It also laid down that full weight would be given to the views of minorities in the Constitution. Maulana Azad, President of the Congress, rejected the August Offer which aimed at bringing the Congress in the War. The Muslim League, however, welcomed the Offer as it ensured that no further Constitution would be adopted without the prior approval of Muslims. The League declared that the most difficult problem of India’s future Constitution could be solved only by a partition of India. In brief, the August Offer failed in gaining Indians’ cooperation for war and, in fact, further widened the gulf between the Congress and the Britishers as well as between the Congress and the Muslim League.

Individual Civil Disobedience or Individual Satyagraha: The Congress Working Committee decided to start individual civil disobedience on 11 October 1940. Vinoba Bhava was the first Satyagrahi who was arrested on 21 October followed soon by many more including Nehru and Patel.

Cripps Mission: In 1942, a realisation dawned upon the British Government that it could not ignore the Indian problem any further. The war situation had worsened for the Britishers with Japanese advance to India’s borders. By 7 March 1942, when Rangoon fell, Japan had occupied the whole of South East Asia. Calcutta was threatened and refugees had to get out of that great city. Indians were happy at the reverses of the British army. Subhas Chandra Bose openly asked Indians in his broadcasts from Berlin not to trust the British Government. In England too, public opinion was building up for a reconciliation with India. President Roosevelt of the USA. and the Chinese ruler, Chiang-Kai-shek, also pressurised the British Government to enlist the co-operation of Indians in the war by assuring them of independence after the war was over. On top of it all, Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru made vigorous efforts for a compromise between the Congress and the British Government.

All these factors impelled or rather compelled the British Government to send Sir Stafford Cripps on a mission to India to resolve the deadlock and to unite the Indian people against the Japanese menace.

Sir Stafford Cripps arrived in India on 22 March 1942, and had a series of interviews with prominent leaders of this country. After prolonged negotiations with Indian leaders, Cripps put forward his proposals envisaging that:

  • India should be given the status of a Dominion after the war;
  • during the war period, the Defence portfolio would remain in the hands of the Viceroy and except that all other subjects would be transferred to representative Indians;
  • after the termination of the war, a Constituent Assembly would be set up to decide the future of India.

It was a package deal which the Indian leaders were asked to accept or reject as a whole. The Cripps proposals, however, did not satisfy the Indians. These proposals amounted to opening the door to the possibility of an indefinite number of partitions. There was widespread frustration in the country because of the proposals. No party agreed to accept these proposals and the Cripps Mission thus ended in failure.

Quit India Movement: With the failure of the Cripps Mission, the British Government started painting a tainted picutre of India by giving an impression to the world outside that India was not fit for immediate freedom as it was a divided house. This added to the growing frustration in India. In the meantime, Japanese threat to India increased. Its attack on Bengal seemed ready. This gave rise to a new strategy in the mind of Gandhiji. He thought that there would be no cause left for Japan to attack India if the British immediately left this country. He proposed the passing of a “Quit India” resolution by the Congress demanding an immediate transfer of power to India. The failure to accept this demand would mean launching of a non-violent agitation against the British. Consequently, the Congress Working Committee passed the “Quit India” resolution at its meeting held on 14 July 1942. The Working Committee appealed to the Britishers for the transfer of power failing which it would start a non-violent movement under the leadership of Gandhiji. A meeting of the All-India Congress Committee confirmed the above resolution on 7 August 1942. The British Government acted swiftly. Before the movement could start all the Congress leaders, including Gandhiji, were put behind the bars within hours. The Congress was declared an illegal organisation and its offices were seized and locked. A revolutionary upsurge swept the country thereafter from one corner to the other and the Government used its entire machinery to crush the rebellion by ruthless measures and wholesale arrests without trial. As one historian has described, the mass-scale arrests of Congress leaders was immediately followed by “rule by ordinances, firings, lathi-charges…even bombings from airplanes were reported from some places. At some places, people driven to desperation retorted in kind, attacking railways and the police…More than 2000 unarmed and innocent people were shot down and about 6000 were injured by the people and military. Tens of thousands were wounded by lathis, about 15,000 jailed and about a million and a half of rupees were imposed as collective fines.”

In short, everywhere Government repression was very harsh and a police state was established to deal with the danger which constituted the gravest threat to the British Rule since the rebellion of 1857. At last, the Government succeeded in crushing the movement. Although the movement failed, it created a history in the Indian struggle for freedom.

As Dr Ishwari Prasad, a renowned historian, has put it, “The August Revolution was the revolt of the people against tyranny and oppression and can be compared with the fall of Bastille in the history of France and with October Revolution of Russia. It was a curious mixture of violence and non-violence. Its sustaining impulse was hatred of the British as the rulers of the land. Its objective was ‘Quit India’ and methods were violence and sabotaging the administrative machinery. It was symbolic of a new confidence and a new stature that the people had attained… All talk of Dominion status was consumed in the fire of the revolt. India would have nothing short of independence. Quit India had come to stay.”

Gandhiji’s Fast: Pained by the attitude of the British Government, Gandhi undertook a 21-day historic fast inside the jail. His condition deteriorated after 13 days and all hopes for his life were given up. But as a result of his inner moral strength and spiritual stamina he survived and completed his 21-day fast.

Wavell Plan: The war situation in Europe improved in the beginning of the year 1945. India’s goodwill was, however, needed as the war against Japan was expected to last for about two years. The situation within the country was worsening day by day as a result of deteriorating economic situation and famines. The British Government was compelled to come forward with some sort of plan to satisfy the Indians After consultations with the British Government on the Indian problem, Lord Wavell and Mr Amery, the Secretary of State for India, issued a statement known as Wavell Plan. The Plan, which chiefly concerned Viceroy’s Executive Council, proposed certain changes in the structure of the Council. One of the main proposals was that the Executive Council would be constituted giving a balanced representation to the main communities in it, including equal representation to Muslims and Hindus. Soon after the Wavell Plan was issued the members of the Congress Working Committee were released from jails. A conference of 22 prominent Indian leaders called at Simla to consider the Wavell Plan, reached no decision. What scuttled the conference was Mr Jinnah’s unflinching stand that Muslims approved only by the Muslim League should be included in the Executive Council. Communalism thus again became a stumbling block. For the Britishers, however, the dissension between the Congress and the Muslim League was a source of happiness.

Struggle for Freedom—New Phase: The struggle for freedom entered a decisive phase in the year 1945-46. Two important events—the INA trial and the Naval Mutiny—during this period completely turned the scale against the British Government and, at the top of it all, the coming of the Labour Party in Power in England finally set the pace for the fulfilment of Indians’ dream for freedom.

INA Trial: To elucidate, despite the best efforts of the Congress to win the legal battle the trial of Indian National Army (INA) prisoners at the Red Fort of Delhi in November 1945 led to their outright conviction on the charge of waging war against the King Emperor. The pressure of the Indian public opinion against this conviction, however, soon mounted high. This shook the British Government and it was compelled to suspend the sentences imposed on the INA convicts. Further, disaffection spread fast among the soldiers. The chief defence advocate during the INA trial was Bhulebhai Desai. Other defence lawyers were Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru, Jawaharlal Nehru and Asaf Ali.

Naval Mutiny: In 1946, the navy in Bombay openly rebelled against the British as a political measure. The Britishers for the first time seriously realized that with this awakening among the Indians and revolt in armed forces, it could not perpetuate its hold on India anymore.

The Labour Party came to power in England in the year 1945 by defeating the Conservatives by a sweeping majority.

The new Labour Prime Minister, Mr Atlee took a very realistic view of the situation in India. He sent a delegation to India to report to him on the Indian situation. The delegation expressed the view that the granting of freedom to India could not be put aside any further. Consequently, in a statement made in the House of Commons, Mr Atlee recognised the unity among the people of India, despite certain divisions, for achieving independence which could no more be ignored. Indians alone, he said, could now solve the social and economic problems which they were faced with. On 14 February 1946, he announced a proposal to send a Cabinet Mission to India for making an endeavour to help India achieve freedom as speedily and fully as possible.

Cabinet Mission: The Cabinet Mission, which consisted of Lord Pathick Lawrence, Sir Stafford Cripps, and Mr A.V. Alexander, arrived in India on 23 March 1946, and met the Indian leaders to negotiate handing over power. The mission met leaders of the Congress and the Muslim League but could not arrive at an agreed solution. Consequently, it drafted its own plan for the future political set-up of India.

Its recommendations were as follows:

  • There should be a Union of India comprising British India and the Indian States;
  • The federal centre should have control over defence, foreign affairs and communications;
  • The Provinces should form three groups (a) Group of the Hindu majority provinces—Bombay, Central Province, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madras, Orissa, Delhi, Ajmer-Marwar and Coorg; (b) Group of the Muslim majority provinces—Punjab, NWFP, Baluchistan and Sind; (c) Group of Bengal and Assam;
  • A Constituent Assembly should be set up to draft a Constitution for the Union and after that it should break up into three groups to frame the Constitution for the Group of Provinces;
  • Any Province could withdraw from any Group after the first general election and the entire set-up might be revised after 10 years.

The Mission also recommended that an interim Government should be formed by the major political parties.

The Commission rejected demand of the Muslim League for division of India i.e., creation of Pakistan. It gave certain valid reasons for rejecting this demand.

The Muslim League accepted the proposal but criticised it particularly on the issue of Pakistan. The Congress only agreed to the proposal for the formation of a Constituent Assembly and declined the offer to join the interim government proposed by the Mission. On persuasion by Lord Wavell, however, the Congress joined the interim government along with the Muslim League but the latter adopted an obstructionist policy from the beginning.

Constituent Assembly: The elections to the Constituent Assembly were held in July 1946. In the Muslim electorate, the Muslim League secured 73 out of 78 seats. The Congress won 199 out of 210 seats. The Muslim League, however, stuck to its negative policy and announced its decision to boycott the Assembly before it could even hold its first meeting fixed for December 9, 1946. A conference of the representatives of the Muslim League and the Congress called in London to sort out the differences between the two led to no agreement. The Congress challenged the right of the Muslim League to remain in the interim government as it did not attend the Constituent Assembly’s meeting.

The Constituent Assembly commenced its business with Dr Rajendra Prasad as its Speaker. But the non-participation of the Muslim League in the Assembly disrupted the working of the interim government itself. The Cabinet Mission’s objective thus failed to materialise.

The mischievous drama played by the Muslim League eventually bore fruits for it. It made certain Congress leaders say openly that let the Muslim League be granted Pakistan. This, they argued, would at least enable the Congress to keep in its hands peaceful progress of the rest of the country. Thus, the possibility of creation of Pakistan, discouraged by the Cabinet Mission, began gaining a new lease of life. For Mr Jinnah this was a decisive political gain and he had all reasons to feel happy about it. The Muslims too were in the grip of communal feelings fanned by Mr Jinnah and they rallied around him in support of his demand for a separate Pakistan.

The Mountbatten Plan: The formula for transfer of sovereignty to Indians worked out next was the Mountbatten Plan of 3 June 1947. It offered a key to the political and constitutional deadlock created by the refusal of the Muslim League to join the Constituent Assembly formed to frame the Constitution for India. It laid down detailed principles for the partition of India and the speedy transfer of political power in the form of Dominion Status to the newly born Dominions of India and Pakistan. Its acceptance by the parties concerned resulted in the birth of Pakistan.

The Indian Independence Act, 1947: The Indian Independence Bill, 1947 containing the main provisions of the Mountbatten Plan of 3 June 1947, was rushed through the British Parliament in the short period of 12 days (4 July to 16 July). It received the Royal assent on 18 July 1947 and passed as the Indian Independence Act 1947.

The Act laid down detailed measures for partition of India and speedy transfer of the political power to the newly born governments of India and Pakistan. It contained the following main provisions:

  1. The Constitution framed by the Indian Constituent Assembly will not apply to the Muslim-majority provinces.
  2. The Muslim-majority provinces will themselves decide the question of a separate Constituent Assembly.
  3. The question of the division of Bengal and the Punjab will be decided by their respective Legislative Assemblies. They will also decide about the Constituent Assembly they want to join.
  4. The Sind Legislative Assembly will separately decide about the Constituent Assembly it wants to join.
  5. There will be a referendum in the provinces of N.W.F. and Baluchistan to decide which of the Constituent Assembly each province would like to join.
  6. A referendum will be held in the Sylhet district of Assam to decide whether it wants to join India or Pakistan.
  7. A Boundary Commission will be appointed to decide the final lines of demarcation between India and Pakistan.
  8. Power would be transferred to Indian hands by the 15th August 1947.
  9. British paramountcy would lapse and the Princely States would be free to join India or Pakistan or to proclaim their independence.

Contribution of Sardar Patel

Sardar Patel, the iron man of India, who was appointed as Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of India in 1947 on attainment of independence, was a great administrator who integrated all the princely States with the Indian Union. When India was declared independent on 15 August 1947, there were more than 550 States in the country being ruled by Indian Princes as hereditary monarchs. Sardar Patel handled this tricky problem adroitly and steered India clear of possible balkanisation by all available means, e.g., appeal, tact and even pressure. He appealed to the patriotism and of the Indian princes, made them conscious of the utter futility of bids to establish independent Kingdoms, and where necessary (as in the case of Junagadh and Hyderabad) used strong-arm methods to achieve the great objective of India’s political unification.

Advent of Muslims in India

The Arabs were the first Muslims to come to India. They conquered Sind and Multan in 712 But they could not set up their kingdom in India. About three hundred years later (997-1030) Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni led a series of plundering raids, about 17 in number. He attacked and defeated Jaipal, the king of Punjab in 1001, attacked and conquered Lahore in 1021 and put it under the control of a Muslim governor. In 1025, he attacked and plundered Som Nath Temple in Kathiawar. These Muslim incursions did not, however, produce any serious effect in the vast interior of the sub-continent. The Muslim invaders soon became a spent force and for about a hundred years, India remained immune from any foreign invasion. In 1186, Mohd. Ghori appeared on the scene. He occupied Lahore in 1186. In 1191 he was defeated by Prithvi Raj Chohan at the Battle of Tarain near Thaneswar but next year he returned and fought a desperate battle on the same battlefield in which he completely defeated the Hindus. Thus commenced the Muslim rule in India.

Delhi Sultanate

The dynasties which ruled from Delhi till the coming of the Mughals in the 16th century were the Slaves, the Khiljis, the Tughlaqs, the Sayyids and the Lodis. This phase of Indian history is known as the Sultanate period. Under Altmash and Balban, they extended their sway over practically the whole of north India. Ala-ud-din, a powerful monarch of Khilji dynasty was able to carry the Muslim arms to the extreme South of India. But the Sultanate rapidly disintegrated after the death of Mohammed Tughlaq.

Although the impact of Islam was quite distinct, yet it could not bring about any violent change in Indian life. After the storm and stress of invasions, a general feeling of mutual harmony and tolerance in different spheres of life was generated.

The architectures of that period harmoniously blended Indian and Islamic traditions as represented at Jaunpur, Lakhnauti and Mandu. At the same time, traditional Hindu architecture did not lag behind as represented by Chittorgarh structures, Surya Temple at Konarak, magnificent temples and palaces of Hoysala period at Halebid, Belur and Somnathpur and of the Vijayanagar period at Hampi, Kanchipuram, Srirangam, Tadpatri and Vellore.

The Mughals

The foundation of the Mughal rule in India was laid by Babur in 1526. Babur was a descendant of Chingez Khan and Timur. He defeated Ibrahim Lodi in first Battle of Panipat and established Mughal dynasty which lasted till the establishment of British rule in India.

Akbar, the greatest of the Mughals, embarked upon a policy of recovery and expansion. He extended his sway over an area stretching from Kandhar in the west to Dacca in the east and from Srinagar in the north to Ahmednagar in the south. He consolidated his conquests by establishing a system of civil government which none of his predecessors could do. He thus turned a mere military occupation into a well-ordered empire. He was a great organiser, warrior, statesman and patron of art and literature. His court was adorned by soldiers, statesmen, scholars and singers.

Secularism during the reign of Akbar: Akbar was the real founder of the Mughal Empire and the first Muslim ruler who divorced religion from politics. He removed all individual distinctions based on race and religion and broad-based his government on the willing support of the people. He not only brought about political integration of the greater part of the country by his policies based on secularism but also converted the alien kingdom into something like a national empire. He was able to see through the Indian situation correctly and wisely attempted to win over the leading Rajputs by friendly persuasion wherever possible. He promoted the national outlook both in politics and culture.

Din-i-Ilahi was a new religion promulgated by Akbar in 1581. It contained elements adopted from all religions.

The Mughal Empire reached the zenith of its expansion under Aurangzeb. But he died a defeated man and contributed, more than any one else, to the fall of the Mughal Empire. He thought and acted in terms of an Islamic State and considered it his duty to wage Jihads against the unbelievers. He also encouraged large-scale conversions, and re-imposed the hated jaziya and pilgrim tax on the Hindus.

The Hindus were thus convinced that the Mughal Empire under Aurangzeb was an Islamic and not a national State. The policies followed by Aurangzeb ultimately led to the rise of Marhattas under Shivaji, transformation of the Sikhs into a martial brotherhood and the estrangement of the Rajputs.

Main causes which led to the downfall of the Mughal Empire in India:

  1. The Mughal Empire had become too big and unwieldy and could not be effectively governed from a single centre.
  2. Aurangzeb’s policy of religious intolerance was largely responsible for the downfall of the Mughal Empire. The government was a personal despotism and lacked popular support.
  3. The successors of Aurangzeb were not competent rulers. They were only ornamental figureheads. Most of them were worthless debauchees who cared little about the welfare of the State. They were more dependent on unscrupulous ministers.
  4. The rivalry, intrigues and corruption gave rise to administrative chaos. There were fratricidal or patricidal struggles for the throne. The nobility under the later Mughals were mostly selfish, parasitical and treacherous.
  1. Attacks of Nadir Shah and Ahmed Shah Abdali left the Mughal Empire only in Delhi and surrounding areas.
  2. The Mughal Empire had “shallow roots” and therefore collapsed with a dramatic suddenness within a few decades after Aurangzeb’s death.

Nadir Shah’s invasion of India: Nadir Shah invaded India in 1739 after the death of Aurangzeb. His invasion so dislocated the central Mughal authority that the Punjab easily passed into the hands of the Sikhs. The invasion of Nadir Shah also sealed the fate of the Mughal Empire and cleared the way for the rise of the Marathas.

Mughal Influence on Indian Architecture: The Mughal style of architecture has had a decisive influence on Indian architects from the 17th century onwards. This is evident in the widespread use of the curvilinear roof combined with arches, pavilions and domes. This is, however, not to say that the Indian architects became mere copyists of the Mughals. In fact they so absorbed and assimilated the foreign influence that they made it subserve their own inventive powers and genius. An example of this synthesis of the two styles are the Hawa Mahal of Jaipur. In this structure, perforated screens, domes, curvilinear roofs, arch-shaped openings are all non-Hindu elements, but the over-all design reflects the style of the temple towers in Odisa and Tamil Nadu.

History – Eras & Dynasties

The Eras

a) Vikram Era—58 BC, b) Saka Era—78 AD, c) Kalachuri Era—248 AD, d) Gupta Era—319-20 AD, e) Harsha Era—606 AD, f) Nevari Era of Nepal—October 20, 879 AD. g) Kollane Era of Malabar—825 AD, h) Chalukya-Vikramaditya Era—1075 AD, i) Ilahi Era started by Akbar—1556 AD.

Alexander’s Invasion (326 BC)

Alexander, son of Philip, King of Macedonia (Greece), crossed the Indus in 327 BC After defeating Porus near Jhelum and subjugating other tribes he reached Beas from where he retreated as his army refused to proceed further. At that time India was divided into a number of independent kingdoms. The most powerful kingdom in Northern India was that of Magadha ruled by Nanda Dynasty with its capital at Pataliputra (modern Patna). Alexander had to face stiff resistance from the small monarchies and republics. He returned by way of the Indus and died on his way to Babylon in 323 BC at the age of 33. Greek rule in north-west India came to an end soon after his death.

The invasion of Alexander did not produce any major political effect. It however, opened the land route from Europe to India. At the same time, it paved the way for the political unity of India.

Sunga dynasty

This dynasty was established by Pushyamitra Sunga in about 185 BC after slaying the last prince of the Maurya dynasty named Brihadratha. Sunga dynasty is said to have lasted for 112 years until 73 BC.

The reign of Pushyamitra appears to mark a violent Brahmanical reaction against Buddhism, which had enjoyed much favour in the time of Ashoka. Pushyamitra also repelled the invasion of Greek king, Demetrios, son of Euthydemos.

The capital of this dynasty was Pataliputra.

Satavahana dynasty

This dynasty, called ‘Andhras’ in Puranas, mentions the name of thirty kings whose rule lasted for a period of about four centuries and a half. The first king of the line was Simuka who probably ruled for 23 years from about 235 BC to 212 BC. He is said to have destroyed the Kanvas. The capital of this dynasty was Pratishthana (now Paithan) on the upper Godavari.

Maurya Dynasty (322-185 BC)

Chandra Gupta Maurya (322-289 BC) was the founder of the Maurya dynasty and also founder of the first historical Empire in India. With the help of his wise and able tutor (afterwards Minister)—Kautilya or Chanakya— he drove the Greeks out of the Punjab and conquered Magadha. He also defeated Seleucus in 305 BC Megasthenes, the Greek Ambassador sent by Seleucus came to his court and wrote the book “Indica” which gives valuable information about that period.

Ashoka, the Great (273-232 BC) the most famous king of Maurya dynasty and one of the greatest kings in history; conquered Kalinga in 261 BC, but this battle killed the ‘soldier’ in him and he embraced and preached Buddhism. He was the first Indian King to speak directly to the people through his inscriptions.

The Ashokan inscriptions, in the form of 44 royal orders, were composed in Prakrit language, and written in Brahmi script (from left to right) throughout the greater part of the empire. But in the north-western part, they appear in Kharosthi script (from right to left), and in Kandhar in Afghanistan, they were written even in Aramaic, in Greek script and Greek language.

The Mauryan period constitutes a landmark in the system of taxation in Ancient India. The Samaharta was the highest officer in charge of assessment, and the Sannidhata was the Chief custodian of the State treasury and store-house.

The punch-marked silver coins, which carry the symbols of the peacock, and the hill and crescent, formed the imperial currency of the Mauryas.

The Mauryas introduced stone masonry on a wider scale.

In the Mauryan period, burnt bricks were used for the first time in northeastern India, the Maurya structures made of burnt-bricks have been found in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh Houses were made of both bricks and timber. Megasthenes speaks through Indica that there were wooden structures at the Maurya capital ‘Patliputra’.

The Maurya empire was finally destroyed by Pushyamita Sunga, a brahmana general in Mauryan army, by killing Brihadarth, the last Mauryan King, in 185 BC. The Sungas ruled in Patliputra and Central India and they performed several Vedic sacrifices in order to mark the revival of the brahmanical way of life. They were succeeded by the Kanvas who were also brahmans.

Kushan Dynasty (AD 120 to AD 162)

Kushans were a war-like tribe driven out by the Chinese from their country. They came to India in the Ist century AD. Kanishka was the third and the greatest king of Kushan dynasty; was a great conqueror; became a patron of Buddhism and was the only ruler of India who had his territory even in Central Asia beyond the Pamirs. Kushans were the first rulers in India to issue gold coins on a wider scale. Along with the Sakas, they strengthened the idea of the divine origin of Kingship. They also introduced Satrap system of government.

Gupta Dynasty (AD 320-550)

The Imperial Guptas ruled for about 200 years (AD 320-550) and founded a powerful empire. It was the golden period of the Hindus. The founder of this powerful kingdom was Chandra Gupta-I (AD 320-330). He started the Gupta Era. The other famous kings of the Gupta dynasty were Samudra Gupta (AD 330-375) and Chandra Gupta II, popularly known as Vikramaditya (AD 375-413).

The Imperial Guptas freed the country from foreign domination and the country made much progress politically, intellectually and culturally during their reigns.

Chandra Gupta I (AD 320-330): Founded a powerful kingdom. Started the Gupta Era.

Samudra Gupta (330-375): son and successor of Chandra Gupta I; one of the most powerful and the ablest of the Hindu kings; a great military genius, a great scholar, poet and musician; known as the Indian Napoleon on account of his great conquests.

Chandra Gupta II (Vikramaditya) (AD 375-413): was as brave as his father Samudra Gupta; defeated the Saka rulers of Malava, Gujarat and Kathiawar and thus wiped away the last trace of foreign rule from India; visit of Fahein, the first Chinese pilgrim; art and literature flourished; great personages who lived during his period include Kalidasa—poet and dramatist, known as the Shakespeare of India; Aryabhatta, Varahamihira and Brahmagupta—the greatest mathematicians and astronomers of their times; Kumarila Bhatta and Shankaracharya—the great preachers of Hinduism and Dhanwantri—a great physician. A Gupta inscription from Allahabad district suggests that decimal system was known in India at the beginning of 5th century AD.

Huns

The Huns (5th century AD) were a wild and fierce nomadic tribe of Central Asia who invaded India in the middle of the 5th century.

Their attack destroyed the Gupta power and many small kingdoms were set up in the country. The Hun Power came to end in AD 450 and many of the Huns embraced Hinduism.

Chalukya Dynasty (AD 450-1189)

The Chalukya dynasty was founded by Chulik, the barbarian Gujar chieftain. The greatest of the Chalukyas was Pulakesin II (608-642), a contemporary of Harsha. Pulakesin II defeated Harsha when the latter attempted to invade the Deccan. Chalukyas and Pallavas were hereditary enemies and the two royal houses carried on a ceaseless struggle for supremacy. Pulakesin II was defeated and probably slain by Narasimhavarman, the Pallava king of Kanchi. By the end of the twelfth century, the Chalukya empire was split up among the Hoysalas of Mysore, the Yadavas of Devagiri, and the Kakatiyas of Warangal.

Hoysala Dynasty (AD 1006-1343)

Hoysala was a dynasty of Mysore which came from the ruins of Chaulakyan empire. It is also at times spoken of as the Later Chaulakya dynasty, or the feudatories of Chaulakyas. Its traditional founder was Sala (1006), a Jain. His capital was Dorasamundra, now Halebid.

The Hoysalas attained great prominence under Vishnuvardhana. They are notable for having raised unique temples especially the Chenna Kesava temple built in 1133 at Belur.

It was one of the most powerful dynasty in the Deccan. Their shortlived dominion was shattered in 1310 by the attack of Malik Kafur and Khawja Haji, the generals of Ala-ud-din Khilji who ravaged the kingdom and sacked the capital.

Vardhana Dynasty (AD 606-647)

Harsha Vardhana (AD 606-647): was the king of Thanesar who conquered nearly the whole of Northern India and established a strong empire. He was the last great Hindu king of Northern India.

The famous Chinese pilgrim Hiuen-Tsang visited India (630-44) during his reign.

Banabhatta was the court poet of Harsha and was the source of information about him. He wrote Harshacharitra, Harsha’s biography and Kadambri.

Harsha himself was a poet and dramatist. The three Sanskrit dramas attributed to him are: Ratnavali, Priyadarsika, and Nagananda.

During his reign, the high officers of the State were not paid in cash but they were assigned “jagirs” in return of their services. He moved his capital from Thanesar to Kanauj.

He was defeated by Pulakesin-II of the Chalukya dynasty.

The last Buddhist empire in India was that of Harshavardhana. Information regarding time of Harsha is contained in the books of Kalhana.

The Rajputs (AD 650-1200)

After the death of Harsha, the brave Rajputs established their rule in the whole of Northern India and formed several petty independent kingdoms. These kingdoms lasted for about 500 years and then succumbed to the Muslim invaders one by one. The well known Rajput rulers of this period were: Prithvi Raj Chohan, the king of Delhi and Ajmer (Chand Bardai, the author of Prithvi Raj Raso, lived during his time). He defeated Mohammed Ghori in 1191 at the battle of Tarain but next year Mohammed Ghori defeated and killed him. Jai Chand Rathor was the last and most famous king whom Mohammed Ghori defeated and killed in 1194. Bihar was ruled by Palta dynasty and Bengal by Sena dynasty. In 1199 Mohammed Bakhtiar Khilji swept away both of them. The Chandel Rajputs ruled the Bundelkhand kingdom. In 1203 Qutab-ud-din Aibak conquered it. Sisodia dynasty founded by Bapa Rawal was ruling in Mewar with Chittor as its capital. Mewar rose to great power under Rana Kumbha (15th century). The Rana defeated the Muslims and erected the Tower of Victory at Chittor to commemorate this victory. Rana Sangram Singh (Sanga) and Rana Pratap belonged to this dynasty. Mirabai, the celebrated devotee to Lord Krishna was the daughterin-law of Rana Kumbha.

Rashtrakutas, Pratiharas, and Palas (AD 700-1200)

These dynasties were involved in ‘tripartite struggle’ between themselves. The object of political ambition of all was to conquer and hold the city of Kanauj, which had become the symbol of imperial power.

Rashtrakutas: The famous king of this dynasty was Amoghavarsha. His long reign (814-80) was distinguished for patronage of Jaina religion and of regional literature. His main problem was the rebellious feudatories. In 753, they brought the first Chaulakya dynasty to an end but by the end of the tenth century, Chaulakyas brought the Rashtrakuta dynasty to an end.

Pratiharas: were descendants of the Gujara people of Rajasthan in Western India. The Arabs conquered Sind in 712 but their attempts at further conquests were resisted both by Pratiharas and Rashtrakutas. After successfully resisting the Arabs, the pratiharas ruled over a large part of Rajasthan and also captured Kanauj.

Palas: Who controlled most of Bengal and Bihar, was the third power involved in the three-sided conflict between Rashtrakutas and Pratiharas over the control of Kanauj. The king of Palas was Gopala who attained renown from the fact that he was not the hereditary king but was elected. He established the Pala dynasty but it was his son Dharampala who made it a force in north Indian politics.

Chola Dynasty

The Chola dynasty was an ancient Tamil kingdom on the lower coast of India along the banks of the river Cauvery. They were the leading power of the south. Cholas reached zenith of their power under Rajaraja I, the Great (985-1014). He conquered the territories of the Cheras, Pandyas, Vengi, Kalinga and even Ceylon and the Laccadive and Maldive Islands. Temple architecture was the most developed under Cholas. The great Siva temple at Tanjore, the masterpiece of Chola architecture, was built by him. Village autonomy was a unique feature of the administrative system of Cholas. Their power ultimately declined in the 13th century when their territory was divided between the Hoysalas of Mysore and the Pandyas of Madura. Karikal the greater King of Cholas founded the new capital at Puhar.

Bahmani Kingdom (1346-1526)

It was a Muslim Kingdom established in the Deccan during the reign of Mohammad Tughlak and founded in 1347 by Zafar Khan, a brave soldier.

The most important person of this kingdom was Mahmud Gawan, a Persian who was a minister for a long time. He was put to death by the king and after that this kingdom began to decline and was split up into five independent States, viz., (1) Bidar (2) Berar (3) Ahmednagar (4) Bijapur (5) Golkonda. Even after this disintegration, the States continued their wars with the Hindu kingdom of Vijayanagar and at last, in 1565 they combined (except Berar) and destroyed the Vijayanagar Kingdom at the Battle of Talikota.

Vijayanagar Kingdom (1336-1565)

It was a Hindu Kingdom in the Deccan, situated to the south of Bahmani kingdom from the Krishna to Cape Comorin, and founded during the reign of Mohammad Tughlak by two Hindu brothers Hari Har and Bukka Raya in 1336 in order to check the tide of Muslim conquests. The most famous Raja of this kingdom was Raja Krishna Dev, the last great Hindu ruler of Southern India (1509-1529). He was a very learned man, capable ruler and a great warrior, who often defeated the Muslims. The last king of this dynasty was Ram Raja. In 1564-65 a fierce battle was fought at Talikota between the Hindus and the Muslims in which Ram Raja and about one lakh Hindus were killed. Muslims were victorious and this ended the Vijayanagar kingdom.

The Marathas

The Marathas rose to power during the second half of the seventeenth century. Their rise is considered to be an important factor in the Indian political life. The Marathas were then the strongest of the indigenous powers. They aspired after India’s sovereignty. Under Shivaji (1627-80) they became a great power. Under Peshwas, during the weak rule of Aurangzeb’s successors, they made a bold bid to build up a Hindu Padshahi. Baji Rao was the ablest of the Peshwas whose policy was to strike at the very heart of the Mughal power. He conquered Gujarat, Malwa and Bundelkhand and advanced as far as Delhi. But he died in 1740 leaving the reins of affairs in the hands of his son Balaji, the third Peshwa who at best was a reckless person. The Maratha power under him extended from one end of India to the other and was at its zenith but in the intoxication of success, he failed to win over the Rajputs, Jats and Sikhs. Just at that time when the Marathas were master of nearly the whole of India, a Muslim coalition headed by Ahmed Shah Abdali inflicted a crushing defeat to the Peshwa’s forces at Panipat in January 1761. The Marathas lost, but neither side gained control of India. The field was left clear to a body of foreign traders viz., the English East India Company. The strongest among the Marathas was Chhatrapati Shivaji.

The Sikhs

The Sikh community was founded as a religious sect by Guru Nanak during the religious revival of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1707), the tenth and the last Guru of the Sikhs, transformed the religious sect into a military brotherhood. In the confusion and disorder that followed the invasion of Nadir Shah and Ahmed Shah Abdali, they increased their military strength and became a strong power.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh was the greatest Indian ruler of his time and founder of the Sikh rule in the Punjab. Born in 1780 at Gujranwala, he occupied Lahore in 1799 at the age of 19 and made it his capital. He conquered Amritsar in 1802, occupied Ludhiana and after incessant wars, annexed Kangra, Attock, Multan, Kashmir, Hazara, Bannu, Derajat and Peshawar. He died on the 27th June 1839. His empire at that time included the Punjab and Kashmir and touched the base of the Afghan hills.

The Sikh power was, however, broken by the British after the death of Ranjit Singh. The British annexed the kingdom of the Sikhs.

History – Battles & Wars

BATTLES & WARS IN INDIA

Battle of Hydaspes (Vitasta, modern Jhelum) 326 BC—Alexander the Great, defeated Porus, the Paurava king.

Battle of Kalinga 261 BC—Ashoka defeated the king of Kalinga. This battle killed the ‘soldier’ in Ashoka and he embraced and preached Buddhism during the rest of his life.

First Battle of Tarain or Thaneswar AD 1191—Prithvi Raj Chohan defeated Mohammed Ghori.

Second Battle of Tarain AD 1192—Mohammed Ghori defeated Prithvi Raj Chohan. This battle gave an irreparable blow to Rajput power.

First Battle of Panipat 1526—Babur defeated Ibrahim Lodhi. This laid the foundation of the Mughal rule in India.

Battle of Kanwah 1527—Babar defeated Rana Sanga of Mewar. This battle resulted in the defeat of the powerful Rajput confederacy.

Second Battle of Panipat 1556—Bairam Khan (Akbar’s General) defeated Hemu (the Hindu General and right-hand man of Mohd. Adil Shah). The defeat of Hemu frustrated all hopes of the Hindus to establish their own Rule in India. It also ended the Afghan Rule and Mughal Rule began instead.

Battle of Talikota 1564-65—United alliance between Bijapur, Bidar, Ahmednagar and Golkonda under Hussain Nizam Shah defeated Ram Raja of Vijayanagar. It destroyed the Hindu Kingdom of Vijayanagar.

Battle of Haldighat 1576—Akbar’s forces headed by Raja Man Singh and Asaf Khan II defeated Rana Pratap, the brave Rajput king who had refused to acknowledge Akbar’s suzerainty. Rana Pratap took refuge in remote fortresses.

Battle of Plassey 1757—The English under Lord Clive defeated Sirajud-Daulah supported by the French forces. It brought Muslim Rule in Bengal to an end and laid foundations of the British Rule in India.

Importance of the Battle of Plassey in the modern history of India:

(1) The Battle of Plassey paved the way for the conquest of Northern India; (2) Mir Jaffar, who became Nawab of Bengal, assigned to the East India Company, a tract of country near Calcutta (24 Parganas) in addition to paying a crore of rupees; (3) With the Bengal gold and silver which the Battle of Plassey had placed at their disposal, the English could defeat the French in the south; (4) The British merchants fully utilized the newly acquired power in Bengal for their own interest and they reduced the reigning Nawabs like Mir Jaffar and Mir Kasim to impotence and removed them from power whenever it suited them.

Battle of Wandiawash 1760—The English defeated the French. The battle sealed the fate of the French in India.

Third Battle of Panipat 1761—Ahmed Shah Abdali defeated Marhattas. It gave a terrible blow to the Marhatta power. This battle also sealed the destiny of the Mughal Empire. It made the field clear for the English.

Causes of the defeat of the Marhattas at the hands of Ahmed Shah Abdali in 1761: The Marhattas suffered a defeat at the hands of Ahmed Shah Abdali in 1761 for the following reasons: (1) The Marhatta General Sadasheo Rao committed the fatal blunder of giving up the guerilla methods of warfare and of engaging his army in a pitched battle against Ahmed Shah Abdali; (2) The desertion of Holkar at the critical moment hastened the defeat of the Marhattas; (3) The Rajputs and the Sikhs remained neutral; (4) Fearing the growth of Marhatta power, all the Mohammedan powers made common cause with Abdali in ousting the Marhattas from the Punjab; (5) The Marhatta army had by this time become denationalised; (6) The Forward Policy of the Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao was not wisely carried out; the idea of a Hindu sovereignty with all the Hindu chiefs under one flag was neglected; (7) The Peshwa tried to further his own interests at the cost of Marhatta Confederacy.

Battle of Buxar 1764—Fought in 1764 between the forces of the English under Major Munro and the combined forces of Mir Kasim, Shuja-ud-Daulah (Nawab of Oudh) and the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam; the battle of Buxar is described as the biggest battle yet fought by the Company in India. The English victory at Buxar finally riveted the shackles of the Company’s rule upon Bengal. It not only completed the work of Plassey but also did something more. Besides Bengal, it made Oudh completely prostrate at the feet of the English.

First Mysore War (1767-68)—By his skilful diplomacy, Haider Ali broke alliance against him between the English and the Nizam, later joined by the Marathas. He detached the Marathas by a bribe of 35 lakhs and then won the Nizam to his side. His forces with those of the Nizam attacked the English under Col Smith in 1767. But in 1768, he was defeated by the English relinquishing all his rights over Mysore in favour of the English.

Second Mysore War (1780)—A grand alliance between Haider Ali, the Nizam and the Marathas was formed and Haider Ali swooped down on the plains of Carnatic in July 1780, causing death and destruction and in October 1780, he defeated the English and took possession of Arcot and became the undisputed master of the Carnatic.

Third Mysore War 1790-92—Fought between the English and Tipu Sultan. Tipu Sultan had to submit and was compelled to sign the Treaty of Seringapattam which crippled his resources and stripped him of half his territory.

Fourth Mysore War 1799—The British forces under Arthur Wellesley and General Harris, defeated Tipu Sultan. The decisive battle was fought at Malavali and this brought the short Mohammedan dynasty of Mysore to a violent end.

Marhatta War 1803-05—It brought under English protection the States of Hyderabad and Oudh; weakened the Marhatta power and destroyed the French influence. The English annexed Tanjore, Surat and Carnatic.

Fourth Marhatta War 1817-18—The British forces under East India Company defeated Marhattas and this campaign finally extinguished the Marhatta Empire. It also placed the East India Company on the Mughal throne with a more absolute authority than Akbar or Aurangzeb had ever enjoyed.

Battle of Cheelianwala 1849—Forces of the East India Company under Lord Hugh Gough defeated the Sikhs under Sher Singh.

Burmese War 1885—As a result of this War, the whole of Burma was occupied by the English and made a part of India.

Afghan War III 1919—As a result of this War, Treaty of Rawalpindi was signed by which Afghanistan was recognised as an independent State.

India-China War 1962—The cause of the war was a dispute over the sovereignty of the widely separated Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh border regions. Aksai Chin, claimed by India to belong to Kashmir and by China to be part of Xinjiang, contains an important road link that connects the Chinese regions of Tibet and Xinjiang. China’s construction of this road was one of the triggers of the conflict. The Chinese launched simultaneous offensives in Ladakh and across the McMahon Line on 20 October 1962. Chinese troops advanced over Indian forces in both theatres, capturing Rezang la in Chushul in the western theatre, as well as Tawang in the eastern theatre. The war ended when the Chinese declared a ceasefire on 20 November 1962, and simultaneously announced its withdrawal from the disputed area.

Indo-Pak War 1965—This was Pakistan’s third attack on India. While India had the upper hand, the fighting was brought to a stop by a call for cease-fire issued by the Security Council. Two battles in the conflict, fought at Phillora near Sialkot and Asal Uttar near Khem Karan, were described as the heaviest tank battles since World War II.

Indo-Pak War December 1971—Pakistan started the war attacking India on December 3 with surprise air-raids on a number of Indian airfields. India defeated Pakistan on all fronts. Pakistani occupation forces, numbering about one lakh, in East Bengal (Bangladesh) surrendered. The outstanding achievement was complete liberation of Bangladesh. India emerged victorious, stronger and a united nation.

Kargil War: May-July 1999—It was an armed conflict between India and Pakistan in the Kargil district of Jammu & Kashmir and elsewhere along the Line of Control (LOC). The conflict is also referred to as Operation Vijay (Victory in Hindi) which was the name of the Indian operation to clear the Kargil sector. The cause of the war was the infiltration of Pakistani soldiers and Kashmiri militants into positions on the Indian side of the LOC, which serves as the de facto border between the two States. The Indian Army, supported by the Indian Air Force, recaptured a majority of the positions on the Indian side of the LOC infiltrated by the Pakistani troops and militants. With international diplomatic opposition, the Pakistani forces withdrew from the remaining Indian positions along the LOC.

BATTLES AND WARS OUTSIDE INDIA

Battle of Marathon 490 BC—The Greeks defeated the Persians at Athens.

Battle of Salamis 480 BC—The Greek fleet defeated the Persians.

Battle of Thermopylae 480 BC—Spartans under Leonidas wiped out by Persians.

Battle of Zama 202 BC—Scipio defeated Hannibal.

Battle of Pharasalus AD 48—Caesar defeated Pompey.

Battle of Hastings AD 1066—William, the Duke of Normandy defeated Harold, the king of England. England came under the control of Normans.

Hundred Year’s War 1338-1453—Fought between France and England. The cause of the war was the succession question to the throne of France which was claimed by Edward III of England. The war was resumed by Henry V and was brought to an end by the heroism of Joan of Arc—“A country girl who overthrew the power of England.” Joan of Arc was burnt alive at the stakes in 1431.

Battle of Leopanto 1571—The Christians League defeated the Turks.

Battle of England or the defeat of the Spanish Armada 1588—The British fleet under Lord Howard defeated the Spanish Armada. A heavy storm scattered the Spanish fleet. This victory of the British established their supremacy over the seas.

Battle of Gibraltar Bay 1606-07—The Dutch defeated the Spaniards and the Portuguese.

Battle of Preston 1641—Cromwell defeated Charles I and succeeded in establishing the Protectorate.

Battle of Naseby 1645 – Royalists in England defeated.

Battle of Blenheim 1704—England and Austria headed by Marlborough defeated the French and Bavarians.

Seven Years War or Anglo-French War III 1756-63—England and Germany defeated France and Russia.

American War of Independence 1776-83—George Washington defeated the British forces. America became independent.

Battle of the Nile 1798—The British fleet under Lord Nelson defeated the French fleet and established their supremacy over the Mediterranean Sea.

Battle of Trafalgar 1805—The British fleet under Lord Nelson defeated the combined French and Spanish fleet. By this defeat, Napoleon’s scheme of invading England was foiled.

Battle of Austerlitz 1805—Napoleon defeated Austria and Russia.

Battle of Leipzig 1813—The English and the Allies (Russia and Prussia) defeated Napoleon and called this battle as “the Battle of the Nations”.

Battle of Waterloo 1815—the British under Duke of Willington (Sir Arthur Wellesley) defeated the French under Napoleon. Napoleon was captured and exiled to St Helena where he died.

Crimean War 1854-56—The combined forces of the British, French and Turks defeated Russia.

American Civil War 1861-1865—Northern States of America under Abraham Lincoln defeated the Southern States and established a Federal State.

Sino-Japanese War 1894-95—Japan defeated China and occupied Formosa and Korea.

Battle of the Omdurman 1898—The British and Egyptian forces defeated the forces of Khalifa (Mehdists).

Battle of the Sea of Japan (1905) – (i) Battle of Port Authur and (ii) Battle of Yalu—Japanese fleet defeated the Russian fleet. It led the wave of the idea of Asian Resurgence.

Battle of Jutland 1916—Naval battle between England and Germany during World War I; England defeated Germany.

Battle of Verdun 1916—famous battle of World War I fought between France and Germany.

Second Battle of Marne 1918—was fought on 15 July 1918 between the Germans and French in World War I. The Germans were defeated.

World War I 1914-18—Britain and her allies (France, U.S.A. and Belgium) defeated Germany and her associate powers.

World War II (1st September 1939 to 14th August 1945)—The Allies (England, France, USA and USSR) defeated the Axis Powers (Germany, Italy and Japan).

Battle of El Alamein 1942—The Allies victory during the Second World War and retreat of General Rommel’s forces.

Suez Crisis 1956—Britain, France and Israel attacked Egypt. All the three countries had to withdraw their invasion forces under pressure of the UN.

Arab-Israel War (5-9 June 1967)—Fought between Israel on one side and the UAR, Syria and Jordan on the other. Israel achieved victory within 80 hours before all hostilities ceased on June 10 in response to repeated ceasefire calls by the UN Security Council. Israel, after virtually destroying the air forces of Egypt, Jordan and Syria, (1) overran the entire Sinai Peninsula; (2) advanced up to the Eastern bank of the Suez Canal, and captured the Gaza strip; (3) gained whole of Jerusalem; (4) captured high ground on Syrian border; (5) overran the whole of Jordan west of the Jordan river.

Vietnam War: The Vietnam War occurred in present-day Vietnam, Southeast Asia. It represented a successful attempt on the part of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam, DRV) and the National Front for the Liberation of Vietnam (Viet Cong) to unite and impose a communist system over the entire nation. Opposing the DRV was the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam, RVN), backed by the United States. The war in Vietnam occurred during the Cold War, and is generally viewed as an indirect conflict between the United States and Soviet Union, with each nation and its allies supporting one side. On 27 January 1974, a peace accord was signed in Paris ending the conflict. By March of that year, American combat troops left the country. After a brief period of peace, North Vietnam recommenced hostilities in late 1974. Pushing through ARVN forces with ease, they captured Saigon on 30 April 1975, forcing South Vietnam’s surrender and reuniting the country.

Falkland War: The world witnessed a unique war as a result of the surprise invasion of the British-owned Falkland (in South Atlantic) by Argentina on 2 April 1982. The British claimed sovereignty over the islands on the basis of certain agreements reached over 150 years ago. But Argentina has laid claims to at least three dependencies of Falklands and still describes the territory as disputed. To regain control 10,000 strong armada was sent by Britain. Argentina damaged several ships, shot down several planes and thwarted the British forces plan for a quick victory for several days. However, on 16 June, 1985, Argentinian forces surrendered. It cost Britain over 2 billion dollars and loss of several lives to regain its hold on the disputed islands.

Iran-Iraq War: The war between the Gulf countries started when Iraq suddenly invaded Iran on 22 September 1980. Though Iraq gained some initial advantages, but lost them with Iran mobilising its forces effectively. The Iranian-Iraqi frontier has been a trouble-spot for decades, with periodic skirmishes erupting over Iraqi efforts to control Shatt-al-Arab waterway at the head of the Gulf, the key oil gateway to both the nations. On 20 August 1988, the eight-year-old war ended. Iran and Iraq implemented a UN-brokered ceasefire. A de facto truce had come into effect on 8 August 1988, when the UN Secretary-General, Mr Javier Perez de Cuellar, announced a ceasefire.

Gulf War: The foundation stone of the Gulf War was laid when Kuwait was invaded and captured by Iraq on 2 August 1990. On 30 November 1990, the UN Security Council gave an ultimatum to Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait by 15 January 1991. The deadline was not observed and on 16 January 1991, the Gulf War began. The massive military might of 28 countries seeked to smash Iraq’s impressive array of weapons and bases through almost non-stop bombing raids—about 2000 bombardments daily.

The war ended on 28 February 1991, when President George Bush announced a halt to six-week old war. The cease-fire followed within hours of Mr Saddam Hussein’s acceptance of all UN resolutions on the war.

The war left both Iraq and Kuwait in ruins. 90 per cent of the oil wells in Kuwait caught fire—in allied bombings or were put on fire by retreating Iraqi soldiers.

Gulf War II: After months of threats and a long military build-up, the United States attacked Iraq on 20 March 2003, in an operation codenamed Operation Iraqi Freedom. The attack by coalition forces of USA and Britain came in complete defiance of United Nations which wanted to give Iraq some more time to destroy its weapons of mass destruction.

In the first week of May 2003, following the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime in Baghdad, the Gulf War-II ended and Iraq came under direct control of the occupation forces. On 14 December 2003, the coalition forces captured Saddam Hussein.

Afghan War: The War in Afghanistan began on 7 October 2001, as the armed forces of the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, France, and the Afghan United Front (Northern Alliance) launched Operation Enduring Freedom. Following the September 11 attacks, the US administration organized an allied invasion to dismantle the terrorist organization and end its use of Afghanistan as a base. The US also intended to remove the fundamentalist Taliban regime from power and create a viable democratic State.

NATO forces continued to battle the widespread Taliban insurgency, and by 2011 the war expanded into the tribal areas of neighbouring Pakistan. The War in Afghanistan had become the United States’ second-longest war. On 2 May 2011, US forces raided the urban compound of Osama bin Laden and killed him in Abbotabad, Pakistan. On 21 May 2012, the leaders of the NATO-member countries endorsed an exit strategy during the 2012 NATO Summit in Chicago.

WORLD WARS

World War I (1914-18)

Background: After the dismissal of Bismarck, the young Kaiser, William II, of Germany sought to build a supreme Navy to dominate the Atlantic and to push towards the East. This was known as his policy of Drang nach Osten.

Germany’s rival was the Triple Etente, formed between Britain, France and Russia during the period of Armed Peace (1905-13) in Europe.

It was Germany’s ambition to be a world power but she found herself thwarted in every direction. She was determined to have her ‘place in the sun’ and for this purpose, she acquired a dominating influence over Turkey and committed herself to support the Balkan policy of Austria. She looked upon England as her greatest enemy.

Immediate Cause of the War: Archduke Ferdinand, the Austrian heirapparent to the throne, was murdered in a street of Serajevo, the capital of Bosnia, an annexed territory of Austria, by a Serb national. Austria held Serbia responsible for this act and denounced Serbians as the ‘nation of assassins’. After one month of the incident, Austria delivered an ultimatum and moved for war. This brought Russia into the field as she felt a kinship with Slavic People. Russia’s entry brought Germany to the side of Austria. One by one France and England, both signatories of the Triple Etente, entered the war.

Main Contestants of World War I: There were two camps. One was the Central Powers comprising Germany, Austria, Hungary, Turkey and Bulgaria and the other was the Allied Powers—England, France, Belgium, Serbia, Russia and Japan. Italy and the U.S.A. joined the Allies in 1915 and 1917 respectively.

Results of the War: The Central Powers were completely defeated by the Allied Powers and an Armistice was signed on 11 November 1918, followed by a Peace Conference at Paris and the Treaty of Versailles in 1919—the principal treaty, curbing the power of the German Empire.

The Treaty of Versailles: It was signed in June 1919. According to this treaty, boundaries of European countries were re-arranged and many new States viz., Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, etc., were formed.

At the instance of Woodrow Wilson, the American President, the League of Nations was established on 10 January 1920, “to prevent all future wars”.

Wilson’s Fourteen Points: In an address to the Congress in January 1918, American President Wilson outlined the basis of a peace settlement— his famous Fourteen Points—for lasting peace in the world: (1) There was to be no more secret diplomacy; (2) freedom of the seas; (3) removal of economic barriers of international trade; (4) reduction of armaments; (5) impartial adjustment of all colonial claims on the basis of the interests of the subject population; (6) national self-determination; (7) establishment of a League of Nations for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity of great and small States alike.

The remaining points dealt with the formation of new boundaries and new States on the basis of nationality and demanded that Germany must evacuate all lands she had forcibly occupied.

World War II (1939-45)

Background: The Treaty of Versailles itself sowed the seeds of another world conflagration. It was such an unjust Treaty that the Allied Powers sought territorial and economic benefits brushing aside the idealistic war axims. The discontented Germany, during the great slump period of the world economy, when she had been suffering from a terrible economic crisis, brought onto its political stage a person who promised to build a new Germany and free the country of the shackles of the Versailles Treaty.

In 1933, Adolf Hitler became the Chancellor of Germany and in the following year he became the President of the German Republic after the death of Von Hindenburg. To tear away the Treaty of Versailles, he joined hands with Mussolini, the Fascist leader of Italy, and both began their verbal crusade against the Big Powers who had monopolised whole colonies of the world.

One by one, Hitler broke the terms of the Versailles Treaty by occupying Sarr, Alsace-Loraine, Sudetenland and Czechoslovakia. This onward march of Hitler also alarmed Britain and France. Mussolini attacked Abyssinia and Japan attacked China. This aggressive mood of the Fascist Powers got its fullest expression when they formed an Axis providing for mutual aid in the international sphere.

Immediate Causes of World War II: Encouraged by his threats and blistering, which had brought success in the past, Hitler, demanded from Poland a corridor to establish a direct link with East Prussia. Britain and France guaranteed aid to Poland in the event of any aggression against her and started friendly negotiations with Russia.

Britain’s negotiations with Russia, however, failed and Hitler, taking advantage of this failure, succeeded in signing a Non-Aggression Pact with Russia. Being convinced that Britain would not now fight for Poland, he attacked Poland on 1 September 1939, and this started World War II. Britain and France, who were under treaty obligations to side with Poland in case of aggression against her, declared war against Germany on 3 September 1939.

Main Contestants of World War II: Germany, Italy and Japan, called the Axis Powers, were on one side and Britain, France, Russia, U.S.A., Poland and others, called Allies, were on the other side. The war ended on 14 August 1945.

Result of World War II: The ravages of the war were so complex and widespread that no formal Peace Conference could be held immediately after the surrender of Germany and Japan. The meetings of the Big Three (Russia, U.K. and U.S.A.) at Cairo, Teheran, Yalta and Potsdam formulated general principles, which ultimately led to disagreements betwen the victorious Powers. Germany was divided into four zones, one under occupation of each great power. The country was ultimately divided into two States— East Germany under the Soviet Union and West Germany under the Allies. Another noteworthy sequel to this war was emergence of the U.S.S.R. as one of the biggest powers of the world, while the United Kingdom and France lost much of their past glory.

Nearly all the East European countries embraced Communism and communist rule was established in the Chinese mainland also.

Indian States & UTs

INDIAN STATES (Capital, Principal Languages, Area, Density, Sex Ratio)

Andhra Pradesh: Capital: Hyderabad. Languages: Telugu and Urdu. Area:  1,60,205 sq. km. Population: 5,24,106,53. Density (per sq km): 308. Sex Ratio: 992.

Arunachal Pradesh: Capital: Itanagar. Languages: Nissi/Dafla, Adi Wancho, Monpa, Nocte, Bengali and English. Area: 83,743 sq. km. Population: 1,382,611. Density (per sq km): 17. Sex Ratio: 920.

Assam:  Capital: Pragjyotishpur. Languages: Assamese and Bengali. Area: 78,438 sq. km. Population: 31,169,272. Density (per sq km): 397. Sex Ratio: 954.

Bihar: Capital: Patna. Language: Hindi. Area: 94,164 sq. km. Population: 103,804,637. Density (per sq km): 1102. Sex Ratio: 916.

Chhattisgarh: Capital: Raipur. Language: Hindi. Area: 135,191 sq. km. Population: 25,540,196. Density (per sq km): 189. Sex Ratio: 991.

Goa: Capital: Panaji. Languages: Marathi, Konkani and Gujarati. Population: 1,457,723. Density (per sq km): 394. Sex Ratio: 968.

Gujarat: Capital: Gandhinagar. Language: Gujarati. Area: 1,96,024 sq. km. Population: 60,383,628. Density (per sq km): 308. Sex Ratio: 918.

Haryana: Capital: Chandigarh. Language: Hindi. Area: 44,212 sq. km. Population: 25,353,081. Density (per sq km): 573. Sex Ratio: 877.

Himachal Pradesh: Capital: Shimla. Languages: Hindi and Pahari. Area: 55,673 sq. km. Population: 6,856,509. Density (per sq km): 123. Sex Ratio: 974.

Jammu and Kashmir: Capital: Srinagar (Summer), Jammu (Winter). Languages: Kashmiri, Dogri, Urdu, Ladakhi, Balti, Dardiro and Pahari. Area: 2,22,236 sq. km. (2,22,236 sq.km.—provisional geographical Area); of this 78,114 sq. km. is under illegal occupation of Pakistan and 5,180 sq.km. illegally handed over by Pakistan to China and 37,555 sq. km. under illegal occupation of China. Population: 12,548,926. Density (per sq km): 56. Sex Ratio: 883.

Jharkhand: Capital: Ranchi.  Language: Hindi. Area: 179,714 sq. km.

Population: 32,966,238. Density (per sq km): 414. Sex Ratio: 947.

Karnataka: Capital: Bengaluru. Language: Kannada. Area: 1,91,791 sq. km. Population: 61,130,704. Density (per sq km): 319. Sex Ratio: 968.

Kerala:  Capital: Thiruvanthapuram. Language: Malayalam. Area: 38,863 sq. km. Population: 33,387,677. Density (per sq km): 859. Sex Ratio: 1084.

Madhya Pradesh: Capital: Bhopal. Language: Hindi. Area: 308,144 sq. km.  Population: 72,597,565. Density (per sq km): 236. Sex Ratio: 930.

Maharashtra: Capital: Mumbai. Language: Marathi. Area: 3,07,690 sq. km. Population: 112,372,972. Density (per sq km): 365. Sex Ratio: 946.

Manipur: Capital: Imphal. Language: Manipuri. Area: 22,327 sq. km. Population: 2,721,756. Density (per sq km): 122. Sex Ratio: 987.

Meghalaya: Capital: Shillong. Languages: Khasi, Jaintia and Garo. Area: 22,429 sq. km. Population: 2,964,007. Density (per sq km): 132. Sex Ratio: 986.

Mizoram: Capital: Aizawl. Languages: Mizo and English. Area: 21,081 sq. km. Population: 1,091,014. Density (per sq km): 52. Sex Ratio: 975.

Nagaland: Capital: Kohima. Languages: Ao, Konyak, Angami, Sema and Lotha. Area: 16,579 sq. km. Population: 1,980,602. Density (per sq km): 119. Sex Ratio: 931.

Odisha: Capital: Bhubaneswar. Language: Odia. Area: 1,55,707 sq. km. Population: 41,947,358. Density (per sq km): 269. Sex Ratio: 978.

Punjab:  Capital:  Chandigarh. Language: Punjabi. Area: 50,362 sq. km. Population: 27,704,236. Density (per sq km): 550. Sex Ratio: 893.

Rajasthan:  Capital: Jaipur. Languages: Rajasthani and Hindi. Area: 3,42,239 sq. km. Population: 68,621,012. Density (per sq km): 201. Sex Ratio: 926.

Sikkim:  Capital: Gangtok. Languages: Lepcha, Bhutia, Hindi, Nepali and Limbu. Area: 7,096 sq. km. Population: 607,688. Density (per sq km): 86. Sex Ratio: 889.

Tamil Nadu: Capital: Chennai. Language: Tamil. Area: 1,30,058 sq. km. Population: 72,138,958. Density (per sq km): 555. Sex Ratio: 995.

Telengana: Capital: Hyderabad. Language: Telugu & Urdu. Area: 1,14,863 sq. Km. Population: 3,22,54,880. Density (per sq km): 310. Sex Ratio: 992

Tripura: Capital: Agartala. Language: Bengali. Area: 10,486 sq. km. Population:  3,671,032. Density (per sq km): 350. Sex Ratio: 961.

Uttarkhand: Capital: Dehradun (provisional); Language: Hindi, Area: 53,483 sq. km. Population: 10,116,752. Density (per sq km): 189. Sex Ratio: 963.

Uttar Pradesh:  Capital: Lucknow. Language: Hindi. Area: 2,38,566 sq. km. Population: 199,581,477. Density (per sq km): 828. Sex Ratio: 908.

West Bengal:  Capital: Kolkata. Language: Bengali. Area: 87,752 sq. km. Population: 91,347,736. Density (per sq km): 1029. Sex Ratio: 947.

UNION TERRITORIES

Andaman & Nicobar Islands: Capital: Port Blair. Languages: Bengali, Hindi, Nicobarese, Tamil and Malayalam. Area: 8,249 sq. km. Population: 379,944. Density (per sq km): 46. Sex Ratio: 878.

Chandigarh: Capital: Chandigarh. Languages: Punjabi and Hindi. Area: 114 sq. km. Population: 1,054,686. Density (per sq km): 9252. Sex Ratio: 818.

Dadra & Nagar Haveli: Capital: Silvassa. Languages: Bhili/Bhildoli, Gujarati and Hindi. Area: 491 sq. km. Population: 342,853. Density (per sq km): 698. Sex Ratio: 775.

Daman & Diu: Capital: Daman. Languages: Marathi and Gujarati. Area: 112 sq. km. Population: 242,911. Density (per sq km): 2169. Sex Ratio: 618.

Lakshadweep: Capital: Kavaratti. Language: Malayalam. Area: 32 sq. km. Population: 64,429.  Density (per sq km): 2013. Sex Ratio: 946.

The Laccadive, Minicoy and Amindivi group of islands were renamed as Lakshadweep in 1973. Lakshadweep is a group of coral islands consisting of 12 atolls, three reefs and submerged sand banks. Of the 36 islands, only 11 are inhabited. These lie scattered in the Arabian Sea, about 280 km to 480 km off Kerala coast.

Puducherry:  Capital: Puducherry. Languages: Tamil and French. Area: 492 sq. km. Population: 1,244,464. Density (per sq km): 2598. Sex Ratio: 1038.

NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION

Delhi: Capital: Delhi. Languages: Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu. Area: 1,483 sq. km. Population: 16,753,235. Density (per sq km): 9340. Sex Ratio: 866.

  • Arunachal Pradesh has a strategic location bordering Bhutan, Myanmar and China.

  • Odisha has its longest border with Andhra Pradesh.

  • Uttar Pradesh has the highest population (16.44% of total population).

  • Sikkim has the lowest population (0.05% of total population).

  • Among Union Territories Delhi has the highest population while Lakshadweep has the lowest population.