Wikimedia Commons Tanks of the 18th Cavalry (Indian Army) on the move during the 1965 Indo-Pak War.

India in Transition


INDIA has now been an independent nation for twenty years. While such a period is but a moment in the history of Indian civilization, those who struggled for freedom and worked to consolidate it looked upon the early years of Independence as a crucial period in establishing India's domestic institutions and its position in the world. Nehru's eloquent words on the eve of Independence reflected the widespread awareness that a unique moment was at hand:

Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.

The years since Independence have witnessed many accomplishments as the remarkable group of men who led the struggle for freedom turned their energies to the tasks of building a nation out of the disparate peoples of India and establishing the nation's position in the world. For many years the momentum was maintained, but recently the setbacks to India's progress have been more striking than her advances. In the international sphere, there has been some decline in India's prestige and influence, and war with her principal neighbors has magnified all her problems. The upsurge of patriotism and national determination that followed her humiliation by the Chinese in 1962 soon gave way to a sharp decline in national confidence as it became clear that even with the greatly increased defense build-up that was planned India would be unable to regain its lost territory and status. A measure of this lost confidence was restored as a result of India's performance in the Indo-Pakistani war in 1965: not only was India successful in repulsing Pakistan's effort to seize

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