India after Independence: Major Events, Journey of India from 1947 to 2021

By K Balaji|Updated : November 11th, 2022

The history of India after Independence is an important topic for the Civil service exam or the UPSC exam. India's history as an independent nation within the British Commonwealth began on August 15, 1947, when it achieved that status. Starting in 1858, direct British rule impacted the subcontinent's political and economic unification.

India after independence in August 1947, faced many enormous obstacles, such as 8 million refugees from what is now Pakistan entering the nation as a result of partition. The new nation had to follow a political system to serve the people's hopes and expectations best. This in-depth article about India after independence will aid your studies of politics, history, and a few economic topics.

Table of Content

India after Independence

The situation of India after Independence was unstable immediately after 1947. The government, economy, housing conditions for the homeless, agriculture, and social justice all required significant improvement. In addition, there needed to be cooperation among the citizens of the various states. India had a massive population of 345 million at the time.

However, societal divisions such as caste systems, high castes, and low castes, as well as natural divisions like climate, exist between individuals.

Major Events in India after Independence PDF

In India after Independence, nearly every region had a unique language of communication; thus, language was a huge obstacle. People had various jobs, different diets, and different attire. The vast majority of people were highly impoverished and resided in the villages.

Journey of India from 1947 to 2021

The table below provides a quick list of significant post-independence events that occurred as milestones in the journey of India from 1947 to 2021:

Major Events in India from 1947 to 2021



India got its independence


First Prime Minister of Independent India was Jawaharlal Nehru


The death of Mahatma Gandhi and India-Pakistani aggression on Kashmir.


The Indian Constituent Assembly approves the new constitution.


Introduction of the Indian Constitution.


Initial amendment and the initial five-year plan.


The initial general election


Panchsheel Treaty of India


The State Bank of India replaced the Imperial Bank of India


Passage of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act


The Portuguese regions of Goa, Daman, and Diu were occupied by Indian forces.


War between China and India starts. China emerges victorious in the end.


The India-Pakistan war starts. Both sides claim victory as the conflict ends in a standoff. India has adopted Hindi as its national tongue.


Tashkent conference


Bank nationalization


Bangladesh's freedom and the India-Pakistani conflict


India's first international phone exchange


Pokhran hosts the first nuclear test


Aryabhatta, India's first satellite, is launched


20-point plan


The assassination of Indira Gandhi


India's Securities Exchange Board was founded


Economic changes


Kargil war


The founding of the new states of Uttranchal, Chhattisgarh, and Jharkhand


Gujarat was struck by an earthquake, leaving many people deceased


Gujarat riots


Submits a request to join the UN Security Council permanently


The southern and eastern coasts of India are severely damaged by tsunamis. You can read more about India's Coastal Plains on the provided link.


A nuclear accord is signed by the US and India


Pratibha Patil was the first female president.


The Chandrayaan - 1 moon mission was launched on October 22


Mission to Orbit Mars


A historic agreement is signed by India and Bangladesh


India joins MCTR; France to purchase 36 Rafale fighter planes from India.


Implemented Goods and Services Tax


Kerala, India, experienced a significant flood due to heavy rainfall.


The repeal of Articles 370 and 35A gave the state of Jammu and Kashmir special status.


Following a spike in Covid-19 instances in the weeks prior, the Indian government declared a complete lockdown of the nation on March 25.


On December 11, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced repealing the three farm laws, Indian farmers called an end to their year-long nationwide demonstration.


India after Independence: Dominion of India

The first years of India after Independence were characterized by upheaval, including the 1947 Indo-Pakistani War, a significant population exchange with Pakistan, and the unification of more than 500 princely kingdoms. The Deputy Prime Minister of India at the time, Vallabhbhai Patel, worked with Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi to ensure that the constitution of independent India would be secular and is primarily credited with bringing about India's political cohesion.

Partition of India after Independence

Another major event in India after independence was the partition of the nation into India and Pakistan. An estimated one million Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs were killed in the violent sectarian conflict, severely weakening both empires along their borders with Bengal and Punjab and the cities of Calcutta, Delhi, and Lahore. To escape persecution and tyranny in Muslim Pakistan, an estimated 3.5 million people from the North-West Frontier Province, West Punjab, East Bengal, Baluchistan, and Sind migrated to India.

Due to the joint efforts of Indian and Pakistani leaders, and mainly because of the efforts of Mohandas Gandhi, the leader of the Indian freedom struggle, who undertook a fast-unto-death in Calcutta and later in Delhi to calm people and emphasized peace despite the threat to his life, the violence was stopped by early September. Both governments built sizable refugee camps for arriving and departing refugees, and the Indian Army was called into service to deliver vast amounts of humanitarian aid.

India after Independence: Indo-Pakistani War

Between 1947 and 1948, India and Pakistan engaged in combat over the princely states of Kashmir and Jammu. This conflict is known as the Indo-Pakistani War. It was the first of four conflicts between the two newly independent countries, the Indo-Pakistan Wars. A few weeks after the beginning of India after independence period, Pakistan sparked the conflict by sending tribal Lashkar (militia) from Waziristan into Kashmir, whose future was jeopardized. The war's ambiguous outcome continues to impact both countries' geopolitics.

India after Independence: Nehru Administration

In 1957 and 1962, Prime Minister Nehru guided Congress to decisive electoral triumphs. The Parliament expanded the Hindu society's legal rights for women, strengthening laws prohibiting untouchability and caste discrimination. Numerous schools, colleges, and universities, including the Indian Institutes of Technology, were established nationwide due to Nehru's ardent advocacy for the completion of elementary education for all Indian children.

The nationalization of major industries like steel, aviation, shipping, electricity, and mining-impacted the Five-Year Plans. The Soviet model was built on centralized and integrated national economic programs, with no taxes for Indian farmers, a minimum wage, and benefits for blue-collar workers. Nehru favoured India's adoption of a socialist economic system.

India after Independence: States Reorganisation

Potti Sreeramulu's 1952 fast-to-death and subsequent death in support of the demand for an independent Andhra State led to a dramatic restructuring of the Indian Union. Due to the recommendations provided by the commission Nehru established, the States Reorganisation Act was passed in 1956, which is marked as a major event in India after independence. Old states were dismantled, and new ones were created following shared linguistic and ethnic demographics.

Tamil Nadu, an all-Tamil state, was made possible by the division of Kerala and the Telugu-speaking parts of Madras State. The bilingual Bombay State was split into the smaller Punjabi-speaking Punjab and Haryanvi-speaking Haryana states on 1 May 1960. On 1 November 1966, the larger Punjab state was split into the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Foreign Policy and Military Conflicts in India after Independence

India after independence was a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement, influenced by Nehru's foreign policy. While preserving friendly connections with the Soviet Union and the United States, Nehru encouraged the People's Republic of China to join the worldwide community of nations. An international conference decided to take action against Egypt in 1956 after the Egyptian government took control of the Suez Canal Company. Along with the USSR, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Egypt, India was one of the four supporters of that nation.

India after independence, had opposed the Soviet Union's suppression of a pro-democracy uprising in Hungary and Israel, the UK, and France's invasion of the Sinai Peninsula in 1956. However, India did not oppose direct Chinese authority over Tibet. Canada and France helped India develop nuclear power plants for energy production despite Nehru's repudiation of nuclear ambitions for India. In 1960, India and Pakistan also struck a deal regarding the fair use of seven rivers that both nations shared.

During this time, two of the four wars or military clashes occurred between India and its neighbour Pakistan. In the 1947 Indo-Pakistani War, fought over the disputed state of Kashmir, Pakistan acquired one-third of Kashmir, which India says is it's own. Pakistan lost three-fifths of Kashmir to India. India after independence, launched a full-scale attack on Pakistan by crossing the international border when Pakistani troops attempted to invade Indian-controlled Kashmir by crossing the de facto border between India and Pakistan in Kashmir.

India after Independence: Significant Developments

After independence, India, now a major worldwide power, has developed significantly. The following is a brief discussion of some of the most significant developments in India after Independence:

  • In 1951, the Indian Railways was established. One of the world's biggest and busiest rail systems is found in India after independence. The company, known as Indian Railways, has more than 7000 stations.
  • In 1951, India had its first general election, with Congress taking the majority.
  • India created Asia's first nuclear reactor, proving to the world that it has the potential to become a powerhouse. In 1956, the Apsara nuclear reactor was created.
  • In 2008, Chandrayaan 1 was sent to the moon in one of the most impressive displays in the world.
  • The father of Indian economic planning, Sir M Visvesvaraya, contributed to developing the country's economy.
  • Most of the increase in the services industry was in the telecom and software development industries in India after independence.
  • Infrastructure had been greatly expanded due to the availability of power and the distribution of enormous sums of money. With an increase in total road length from 0.399 million km in 1951 to 4.24 million km in 2014, India now boasts one of the most significant road networks in the world.
  • One of India's greatest healthcare successes is extending life expectancy. For instance, life expectancy rose from about 37 years in 1951 to 65 years in 2011.
  • India has advanced its space and rocket technologies to new heights. Since 1975, when its first satellite, Aryabhatta, was launched. India after independence, has emerged as a rising power that has successfully launched numerous foreign satellites.
  • The 86th amendment to the Constitution, passed in 2002, defined primary education as a fundamental right for children between 6 and 14. India's literacy rate grew from a pitiful 12.2% before independence to 74.04% in 2011.

India after Independence: First Independence Day

India celebrated its first Independence Day in 1947. Indian Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru raised the tricolor flag of his nation. The Red Fort served as the location of this Independence Day ceremony. Since then, the Indian Prime Minister has hosted the tricolor flag at Red Fort once a year. On August 15, 1947, India attained independence. At New Delhi's Lahori Gate, the flag is raised. India after independence celebrates its first independence day in honor of the courageous men and women who gave their lives to free their country.

Their goal was to leave their children and grandchildren a new India unencumbered by British rule. But in the process, many men and women perished and endured torture. Under the British, many children were abandoned and suffered. India after independence, however, arose courageously. A military parade is now held in the Red Fort following the Prime Minister's address during the Independence Day program. This parade serves as a global demonstration of the nation's military might. Additionally, the Indian President makes an address that is shown on television.

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FAQs on India after Independence

  • India after independence encountered many issues. Eight million Pakistani migrants entered India following its partition. Nawabs and Rajas governed more than 500 princely states in India. A new governmental structure that tried to meet the needs and expectations of the populace was necessary.

  • Since 1947, India has had 15 prime ministers. Jawaharlal Nehru, the country's first prime minister, ruled the Dominion of India from 15 August 1947 to 26 January 1950 before leading the Republic of India until his death in May 1964.

  • On August 15, 1947, India attained independence. At New Delhi's Lahori Gate, the flag is raised. India celebrates its first Independence Day in honor of the valiant men and women who sacrificed their lives to set their country free.

  • Some major events in India from 1947 to 2021 include the annexation of Sikkim, the Formation of Northeastern states, the Green revolution, Operation Flood, the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971, the Indian Emergency, and the Janata interlude after India became independent.

  • India has created a solid foreign policy, a modern economy (with the second-fastest growth), has kept its democracy, has helped millions of people escape poverty, and has become a space and nuclear power.

  • As India marks 76 years of independence, its development into one of the biggest democracies in the world is hailed as a success story on a worldwide scale. India's GDP has increased from USD 103 billion at Independence to USD 2.6 trillion.

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