Incidents and events have made India proud
Random collection of images that comes to my mind that makes me proud of India in the past century.
Abdul Kalam sworn as the President (2002). One of the great moments for Indian youth. Kalam represented everything good about India – tolerance, scientific acumen, modesty and human nature. It gave us a dream that leaders in a democracy need not be duckheads.
AR Rahman’s Vande Mataram (1997). One of the most epic music renditions in modern Indian history.
Cricket World Cup (1983). In India, Cricket is not a sport, but a religion. One of the fundamental reasons for India’s new found interest in Cricket stems from this unexpected victory. Cricket now reflects the soul of modern India – it unites people beyond all the great divisions of India. We followed up with 2 more worldcup victories , but nothing as iconic as this.
Re-Capture of Tiger Hills (1999). For people who grew up in the 1990s, capture of Tiger hills during the Kargil War against Pakistan, was one of the iconic things. I never felt as patriotic as I did during that time.
India opening up (24 July 1991)
On this day, PV Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh heralded the opening up of India – one of the most important days in India’s economic history. We stopped being a socialistic nation and joined the capitalist world. India misses a shrewd, unsung hero like Mr. Rao (although he was mired in a few corruption scandals by the end of his term).
This cartoon beautifully captures the role of Rao and Singh in India’s success.
Thermonuclear tests at Pokhran (1998). In an ideal world, there won’t be any nuclear weapons. India tried hard to push for those ideals for a long time, but couldn’t convince the world. Given that our neighbors were nuclear armed, we were left with no choice but to trigger the N-bombs in the Rajasthan desert. They signalled the birth of new India – a nation confident of its abilities. Since achieving nuclear status, India’s stature in global stage has improved and recognized as a major power in Asia. Pokhran was a proud moment for a patriotic India. The Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) is a great defense against both China and Pakistan.
War to liberate Bangladesh (1971). India valorously fought Pakistan to secure independence for Banglas and helped them create their own nation of Bangladesh.
Surrender of Pakistan during the war, which heralded the birth of a nation
Tryst with Destiny – Indian independence (1947). One of the great speeches (not as clearly seen in the video). Although he was a lousy leader, India’s first Prime Minster, Nehru, was a great writer, thinker and speaker. He talks about the birth of the nation as it was getting out of centuries of colonialism and slavery. We had huge challenges and we defied the popular expectations that we would implode.
Aishwyara Rai – Miss World (1994). On the face of it this is a silly inclusion – a silly title and an Indian won it. But, on deeper thinking, it coincided with India’s overall opening up – culturally, economically and technologically. Aishwarya’s crowning of the silly title was a turbo boost to the Indian ethos. It is as though an old leaf had fallen off Indian history and a new one started sprouting at the sight of spring.
Launch of India’s first satellite – Aryabhatta (1975). Plenty of people mocked us that a nation that cannot put bread on the table has no business to be in space. World saw the poverty-stricken nation’s baby step as fantasy. Since then we have grown to be among the top 5 powers in space exploration. India’s space program not only generate sizable revenues (through commercial ventures) but also emerging as a strong tool to fight poverty (with better maps, rural connectivity, etc)
Introduction of Green Revolution in India (1963) –– The reason why famines are history is because of the efforts of Dr. Norman Borlaug and MS Swaminathan. Next time you touch wheat or rice say a silent thanks to these men who made the production possible to feed 1.2 billion Indians
Last and most important:
Gandhi’s Indian Independence movement (1916-1947). One of the epic struggles in human history. While Christ and Buddha struggled to achieve mass following for their moral path during their lifetimes, Gandhiji pulled a coup’ that is unprecedented in human history. He united the world’s most populous landmass with incredible diversity in languages, culture and history into a cohesive movement to fight for truth in a peaceful way. Indians are not the kind of people who will get into any kind of trouble or revolution. But, with no use of modern equipment he managed to make an average Indian do something they have never done in their history – fight for the nation. I still can’t imagine if he were a real human. The struggle was beautifully captured in Nehru’s “Tryst with Destiny” speech.