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National Fervour at its peak as India celebrates its 70th Independence Day

India is, and will always remain the biggest democracy and is one of the most flourishing nations

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Jawaharlal Nehru addressing the audience on August 15, 1947. Source: Wikimedia Commons
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August 15, 2016:

This day, in 1947, marked the birth of a democratic and free nation. The historic day for Indians who were liberated from the clutches of 200-year-old British Raj. Today, India celebrates its 70th Independence Day amid monsoon showers, Olympic fever and Kashmir unrest. Even amid such tension, the patriotic fervour and zeal of celebrating independence day among Indians have not lost its way!

A refugee train, Punjab Source: Wikimedia Commons
A refugee train, Punjab Source: Wikimedia Commons

Instead of peace, communal violence rules two nations. The Partition of Hindustan into two nations- India and Pakistan were the outcome of pure communal politics, and the atmosphere of tension between the two is evident even today. A report suggests that more than 15 million people migrated from across the borders, and communal riots made it the biggest and the most torturous human resettlement ever.

The love-hate relationship between India and Pakistan ever since has taken an ugly and bitter turn with the increase of terrorism, the emergence of ISIS and Taliban, and Love Jihad.
It is for the first time that the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi has gone vocal about the terrorism spread by the neighbouring state and has promised to the fellow Indians that he won’t take the issue of India’s security lightly— be it the face of terrorism or the Kashmir narrative. With numerous preventive measures and some multi-national alliances with other countries— especially with Barack Obama and his government, PM Modi has been taking huge steps towards eradicating violence.

I. United we stand: PM Modi began the quest for a united battle against terrorism at the East Asia Summit, Kuala Lumpur in 2015. There needs to be a global solution to combat violence of any sort, especially terrorism and therefore this year, Modi has gone vocal about the international terrorism being spread by the neighbouring country.

II. Combating ISIS: The ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ is not only limited to cleaning all garbage from the country but ironically plans to clean all terrorism and let peace prevail around. Due to UPA’s reluctance, following are the ISI agents who were arrested or executed:

a) Traitors named Irshad Ansari, son Asfaq and brother-in-law Mohammad Jahan were ISI agents arrested from Bengal, who had alleged connections with Trinamool Congress.

b) Confidential information of the Indian Army had been sent to Pakistan by ISI agent Mohammad Kalam. He stayed in Bareilly since 2014 and was regularly paid ₹ 50,000 by ISI.

c) Ranjit, a former IAF officer, was accused and arrested for providing Pakistani intelligence ISI with vital information.

d) BSF officer Abdul Rasheed was arrested along with an ISI agent for cross-border transmission of confidential information.

3. “When terrorism is on the rise across the world and when we are encircled by terrorism sponsored by the neighbouring country, we will have to be united in this fight. The government expects constructive support from all opposition parties on this.” says Modi on the issue of the Kashmir turmoil. In an all-party press conference speech in J&K on August 12, Modi has spoken on a zero-tolerance  proposal on terrorism and Pakistan— that all consecutive violent terrorist activities in the Kashmir Valley are sponsored and ignited by cross-border enmity. Addressing the unrest in Jammu & Kashmir is the urgent need, but not at the cost of the nation’s integrity, says the Indian Prime Minister. The Central government has forwarded an amount of ₹ 80,000 crores to the state government for the re-development of Jammu & Kashmir. Also, in an attempt to increase employment in the Valley, a huge recruitment drive is also planned to be conducted by the Central Government.

In a reaction to Modi’s speech on PoK (Pak occupied Kashmir) and Balochistan’s issues, the Indian Diaspora now feels a ‘sense of belongingness’ says external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.

IV. Peace in Nagaland: India is finding difficulties with Hindus (and especially Dalits) converting to Islam and walking the path of terrorism. In an attempt to achieve peace, Modi govt. signed the historic peace treaty with Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland in order to maintain normalcy in north-east India.

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Terrorism is an alarming concern for the entire world, but India as a developing nation is ready to fight with all these issues and rise above them. Nearly 70 years after gaining independence, India has been prospering at high paces. Let us read some of the greatest achievements of India since its independence:

i. Right to Vote: India as the largest democracy has given rights to every adult to vote, and this was implemented from the first day of gaining independence. In the United States, this right was given nearly after 150 years of independence.

ii. Combining the Union: Independence brought partition but also the merging of all princely states into the Union of India, 560 to be precise. All of the acquisition was done without any bloodshed.

iii. Multi-lingual state: India has over 29 active languages and 1,650 dialects, making it the only country with the maximum number of languages spoken. Whereas in comparison, Canada has only English and French since the 1960s.

Hindustan Times, 15 August 1947 Source: Wikimedia Commons
Hindustan Times, 15 August 1947. Image 
Source: Wikimedia Commons

iv. Empowering Goddesses: Ever since 1947, women have begun to be given equal rights and opportunities to grow and sustain themselves. India is the largest in number to ha e women elected in politics, especially as panchayats in villages. It is also the first country to appoint a woman (Pratibha Patil, the 12th President of India) as the head of State. Considering the state of affairs, Sucheta Kriplani was the very first woman chief minister of Uttar Pradesh in 1963. Following four states have women chief ministers:

a) West Bengal- Mamata Banerjee
b) Rajasthan- Vasundhara Raje
c) Tamil Nadu- J Jayalalitha
d) Gujarat- Anandiben Patel

v. Labour-free childhood: In an attempt to develop socio-economic scenarios in India, literacy has been highly focused on. From merely 12% in 1947 to 74.04% in 2011, the literacy rate in India has increased at a whopping pace.

Mid-day meals are an additional attempt towards achieving the goal which serves 120 million school children, making it the world’s biggest school lunch programme.

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vi. Freedom from Polio: India got Polio affectation rate down to zero since the last polio case was reported in January 2011, in West Bengal. After 20 years of battling the disease nationally, WHO has declared India as a polio-free nation.

vii. Green Revolution of the 1960s: India, before the revolution, suffered from food scarcity and began importing food and grains from foreign. Frequent famines like the Bengal famine of 1943 and others could not be sufficed by the agricultural production in the nation itself. The idea of Green Revolution eradicated this issue by increasing agriculture in Punjab and Haryana by using insecticides, pesticides, improving agricultural infrastructure and bringing land reforms.

Nobel prize holder Kailash Satyarthi in conversation with Narendra Modi. Source: Wikimedia Commons
Nobel prize holder Kailash Satyarthi in conversation with Narendra Modi. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

viii. Proud Indians: The list is endless and the Nobel Prize recipients and holders like Rabindranath Tagore, Mother Teresa, Dr. Hargobind Khorana, economist Amartya Sen, Indian origin novelist VS Naipaul are the ones, that Indians know by heart but this year in 2016, Kailash Satyarthi’s name has also been added to the pages of history for his incredible work to end child slavery and protect child rights. He is the fifth Nobel Prize winner for India and the second Indian winner of the Nobel Peace Prize after Mother Teresa.

ix. Non-Alignment: This was a major step taken to prevent World War- III. The world was split up in binaries of US and the Soviet Union, where India chose to be non-aligned in the Cold War.

x. Indian Diaspora: Indians constitute the world’s second largest Diaspora community across the world, with more than 20 million. They majorly reside in the United States, UAE, Canada and UK, contributing greatly to each country’s economic and socio-cultural stability.

xi. The United Nations and India: India has played a crucial role in supporting the objectives of U.N.O like the fight against apartheid and disintegrating colonisation. Various eminent personalities have also held positions in the United Nations, like Mrs. Vijaylakshmi Pandit who was the General Assembly’s President at United Nations.

India is, and will always remain the biggest democracy and is one of the most flourishing nations— rich in culture and heritage, knowledge and intelligence, with the world’s strongest army and even stronger citizens.

 Happy Independence Day to all!

– prepared by Chetna Karnani at NewsGram. Twitter: @karnani_chetna

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15 Amazing Facts About The Revolutionary Bhagat Singh

Bhagat Singh is considered to be a legend. Many of his actions are well-known. Even after his death, his inspiring actions continued to stir the desire for freedom.

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Bhagat Singh belonged to Punjab and popularly referred as legendary revolutionary Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh. Wikimedia Commons
Bhagat Singh belonged to Punjab and popularly referred as legendary revolutionary Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh. Wikimedia Commons
  • Bhagat Singh was born on 28 September 1907
  • At a very early age, he got inclined towards socialism and socialist revolutions
  • Bhagat Singh was a very versatile theatre artist

Bhagat Singh stands out to be one of India’s greatest revolutionary freedom fighter who was given the death penalty by the British colonizers. Although he died at a very young age of 23 but his actions inspired the youth of the nation to fight for the nation’s freedom.

Bhagat Singh belonged to Punjab and popularly referred as legendary revolutionary Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh. He was born on 28 September 1907 in the village of Banga, Lyallpur district (now in Pakistan). Bhagat Singh is considered to be one of the most influential revolutionaries of the Indian independence movement. He inculcated the spirit of martyrdom since his childhood.

Due to the utter influence of Bhagat Singh, Britishers hanged him an hour ahead of the official time. Wikimedia Commons
Due to the utter influence of Bhagat Singh, Britishers hanged him an hour ahead of the official time. Wikimedia Commons

At a very early age, he got inclined towards socialism and socialist revolutions led by Lenin and soon he started to follow and read about them. The leaflet that he threw in the Central Assembly on 9 April 1929, he stated, “It is easy to kill individuals but you cannot kill the ideas. Great empires crumbled while the ideas survived.”

Also Read: 8 must-read works of Rabindranath Tagore

Take a look at the life of one of the most celebrated Indian freedom fighters.

  1. Bhagat Singh was a great actor in college and a theatre artist. He took part in several plays. The most notable plays he was part of were ‘Rana Pratap’, ‘Samrat Chandragupta’ and ‘Bharata-durdasha’.
  2. When the Jalianwala Bagh incident occurred, Bhagat Singh was in school. He immediately left the school and went straight to the place of the tragedy. He collected the mud of that place which was mixed with the blood of Indians and worshipped the bottle every day. At that time, he was just 12 years old.
  3. In his childhood, Bhagat Singh often talked and wanted to grow guns in the fields, so that he could fight the British and push them back.
  4. Being a kid, he never talked about toys or games. He used to speak about driving out Britishers from India.
  5. The bomb that Bhagat Singh and his associates threw in the Central Assembly, were made of low-grade explosives. They were thrown away from people in the corridors of the building and were only meant to startle and not harm anyone. The British investigation report and forensics details also confirmed this.
  6. Bhagat Singh coined the word “political prisoner” during his stay in prison in 1930. He demanded basic amenities for his comrades in the prison which were even given to British looters and goons in the jail.
  7. ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ was the very famous phrase of Bhagat Singh. It fueled the independence vision of the people and later on became the slogan of India’s armed freedom struggle.
  8. Due to the utter influence of Bhagat Singh, Britishers hanged him an hour ahead of the official time. He was then secretly cremated on the banks of the river Sutlej by jail authorities. However, on hearing the news of his execution, thousands of people gathered at the spot of his cremation and took out a procession with his ashes.
  9. When Bhagat Singh was imprisoned in Lahore Jail, he kept a diary with him in which he penned down his fervent thoughts about freedom and revolution.
  10. At the very young age of 14 years, Bhagat Singh took part in a protest against the killing of a large number of unarmed people at Gurudwara Nankana Sahib.
  11. Bhagat Singh debunked Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence. After the 1922 Chauri Chaura incident, he joined the Young Revolutionary Movement and began to advocate for the violent methods to overthrow the British Government in India.
  12. To avoid a forced marriage by his family, Bhagat Singh ran away to Kanpur and left a letter, which read, “My life has been dedicated to the noblest cause, that of the freedom of the country. Therefore, there is no rest or worldly desire that can lure me now.”
  13. When the British police became aware of Singh’s influence on youth, they immediately arrested him on the false pretext of having been involved in a bombing.
  14. After witnessing the Hindu-Muslim riots that broke out after Gandhi disbanded the Non-Cooperation Movement, he began to question religious ideologies of the society. After that point, Singh dropped his religious beliefs. He believed that the religion hinders the revolutionaries’ struggle for independence, and started studying the works of Bakunin, Lenin, Trotsky – all atheist revolutionaries. Later on, Bhagat Singh also wrote an essay titled ‘Why I am an Atheist’ in 1930 in Lahore Central Jail.
  15. Bhagat Singh wrote for Urdu and Punjabi newspapers which used to get published from Amritsar. He also contributed to the publishing of pamphlets by the Naujawan Bharat Sabha that excoriated the British. In his college time, Singh won an essay competition set by the Punjab Hindi Sahitya Sammelan. Bhagat Singh also published a series of articles on anarchism in Kirti and used many pseudonyms such as Balwant, Ranjit and Vidhrohi for publishing his writings.
    ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ was the very famous phrase of Bhagat Singh. Wikimedia Commons
    ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ was the very famous phrase of Bhagat Singh. Wikimedia Commons

     

    Also Read: 10 Facts You Need To Know About Homi Bhabha

    Bhagat Singh is considered to be a legend. Many of his actions are well-known. His execution ignited the feeling of unity in many people to take up the revolutionary path, playing an important role in India’s freedom struggle. On the other hand, many didn’t agree with his radical approach to attain freedom. Even after his death, his inspiring actions continued to stir the desire for freedom.

    Once Bhagat Singh said, “They may kill me, but they cannot kill my ideas. They can crush my body, but they will not be able to crush my spirit.