On 15th August 2006, when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will address the nation from Rampant of Lal Quila, India will be completing its 59 years of Independence and will be entering into “Diamond Jubilee” year of its existence.
As our country turns 60, we will look back about our historic timelines.
1600: The British East India Company is granted a royal charter by Elizabeth I, giving it a trade monopoly.
1639: The British East India Company gains permission from local rulers to create a trading post in Madras.
1658: Aurangzeb becomes the ruler of the Mughal Empire. In his 49-year reign, he will conquer India as well as parts of what are now Afghanistan and Pakistan.
1661: The group of islands known as Bombay is handed over to British rule as part of a dowry for Charles II’s wife.
1668: Bombay is leased to the British East India Company for £10 per annum.
1751: The capture and subsequent defence of Arcot in the Vellore district by Robert Clive and 500 men marks the turning point for the British Empire in its battle for control of India with the French.
1756: The Nawab Siraj-ud-Daulah, of Bengal, captures Calcutta and imprisons the surviving British in a prison that became known as the “Black Hole of Calcutta”.
1773: The British Parliament passes an Act that stresses its ultimate control over the British East India Company.
1803: Britain captures Delhi.
1806: In what some see as the first example of a mutiny against the British, Indian sepoys attack the British East India Company’s garrison in Vellore.
1818: The British East India Company defeats the Maratha Empire.
1853: The first passenger railway in India opens between Bombay and Thane.
1858: The running of India is taken over by the British government after the failed Indian mutiny. It marks the end of the British East India Company’s rule.
1869: Mahatma Gandhi is born.
1885: The Indian National Congress is created with the aim of gaining a larger role for Indians in the running of India.
1911: New Delhi is founded by the British and chosen to replace Calcutta as India’s capital city.
1919: The Massacre of Amritsar occurs when British troops fire on unarmed Indian protesters.
1920: As a result of the massacre, Gandhi launches the peaceful Non-Cooperation Movement by calling for Indians to stop supporting British rule without resorting to violence.
1922: Gandhi is imprisoned by the British after he ends the Non-Cooperation Movement as it descends into violence.
1942: The Indian National Congress launches the Quit India Movement
1947: India gains independence as Britain withdraws and creates Pakistan as a separate state.
1947: War breaks out between India and Pakistan over the disputed territory of Kashmir.
1948: Mahatma Gandhi is assassinated in New Delhi by a Hindu fanatic.
1952: India’s first general elections are comprehensively won by the Congress Party of India.
1962: Conflict between India and China over boundary disputes.
1965: Kashmir is again the cause of conflict between India and Pakistan before the UN intervenes.
1971: India and Pakistan go to war over the independence of Bangladesh.
1971: India signs a pact with the Soviet Union.
1974: India conducts its first nuclear test.
1975: The Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, is found guilty of electoral corruption but refuses to resign.
1984: The Gold Temple in Amritsar, being used as a refuge by Sikh separatists, is raided by the Indian army.
1984: Indira Gandhi, in her second spell as prime minister, is assassinated in New Delhi by her Sikh bodyguards.
1987: Indian troops are sent to Sri Lanka on a peacekeeping mission.
1988: Millions of Indians are displaced by floods.
1990: The Indian army withdraws from Sri Lanka.
1998: The international community condemns India after it conducts nuclear tests without warning.
2000: India’s census commission announces that the population has reached one billion.
2001: More than 20,000 people are killed by an earthquake in the Indian province of Gujarat.
2001: America lifts sanctions on India and Pakistan put in place after nuclear testing.
2002: War between India and Pakistan looms as Pakistan responds to India’s testing of nuclear-capable missiles with tests of its own.
2003: India and Pakistan agree a ceasefire in Kashmir.
2004: The Asian tsunami kills thousands in coastal areas.
2006: A bomb in Mumbai kills 187 train passengers; police blame Islamic militants based in Pakistan.
2007: A train from New Delhi to Lahore in Pakistan is bombed, killing 68; many were Pakistanis.