“India on the Move”
September 13, 2014
Before the red coats arrived in the 19th century, India was a disintegrated spread of primitive sovereignties. Once the British began their cultural imperialistic acts, the populace felt robbed of their rights and authority to their own lives. Their birthrights and beliefs shined through a crusade of domestic rebellion guided by Mahatma Gandhi – “The father of independent India”. The Indians promoted the ideals of “swadeshi,” or self-sufficiency, and boycotted British’s commodities and services. Through persistence and resistance, Gandhi and the Indian people triumphed. After 25 years of constraint, Britain granted India full independence in 1947.
Unfortunately, Gandhi couldn’t help all of India. Since the 1930s, acrimonious disagreements spurred between the Muslim League and the Hindu Indian National Congress. Two secular, democratic states now subdivided India – India and East and West Pakistan. Violence and bloodshed spawned between the Hindus and Muslims “…claiming more than 600,000 lives” as refugees moved to and from India. Rage germinated through their minds and Gandhi was left unheard. He believed in a unified secular country, but was ill fated. In January 1948, Mahatma Gandhi, was assassinated by a Hindu extremist.
Personal and religious vendettas were midst between Hindus and Muslims. Wars commenced over regions such as Kashmir, and Bangladesh (See Exhibit 1) in 1948, 1965, and 1971. In 1992, alleged Muslim invaders destroyed the Ayodhya temple. Riots broke out after the devastation of the Hindu temple, with an estimated death count of 2,000 people. In 2002, Muslim militants firebombed a train, which killed 58 Hindu activists returning from the Ajodhya site. Vengeance possessed extremist Hindus to murder an estimated 2,000 Muslims and left tens of thousands of people homeless in the state of Gujarat. After these unfortunate events, The Supreme Court prohibited all religious activities upon the Ajodhya site. Hindu-Muslim conflicts added to India’s strife in terms of Politics, Social/Cultural features, and even in Economic aspects.
With a population of 1.05 billion in 2002, India faces demographic fragmentation. Each state differed in Literacy, Population, and Income (See Exhibit 5). There was a vast split of wealth within India’s population. About “44% of India’s population, were poor.” Within this exceedingly large diverse populace, there were over 650 dialects, numerous religions, and different official languages. An interesting fact about the Hindu religion is that – “Hindus are born into a specific “caste” of structured hierarchy. Each caste is broken in sub castes with varying restrictions placed on both social and professional activities.” This structure of hierarchy created a social stratification through ascribed group memberships and influenced discrimination within the population. In addition to religious/social/cultural conflicts, sluggish Economic development occurred in India from Independence (1947) to 1991. When India declared itself a republic (1949), the states had the exclusive right to tax agricultural income and property to control property ownership. In turn, the central government did not receive a key source of tax revenue - agriculture made up much of India’s GDP (See Exhibit 3).
When a foreign exchange crisis occurred in 1957, the government implemented an import substitution strategy, replacing imports with domestic production. Imports would be made uncompetitive, and India’s domestic industry flourishes. It also protected the nation’s sovereignty. In succession, the “Permit Raj,” was created – a system of control in the form of licensing and highly protective trade and investment restrictions. It cultivated inefficiency and exploitation. As the government was setting restrictions, the privatized sector and their economic freedom was being afflicted. On the second...
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