Free Press Journal

Independence Day Special: India, then and now

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It is almost seventy years since India became independent. Today, many of us who rejoice in India’s current record as one of the fastest growing economies would have perhaps forgotten that soon after Independence, India had an equally roaring start. It was a pioneer in development planning, led by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, one of the most admired figures of the 20the century. What was even more special was that, under government-led planning process with widespread controls, India achieved industrial growth of more than 8 percent per annum on average between 1954-55 and 1964-65.

Also Read: Independence Day 2017: 10 quotes by freedom fighters that are relevant even today

And then, it all fell apart. The next 10 years, was perhaps the darkest period of India’s post-Independence history. In the next few days, as we celebrate 70 years of Indian Independence, here we see how India has changed through the years. After all, we are all “made by history”. Our ‘70 years of Independence’ series will look at everything that our history has made.

This combination of pictures released by the Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and taken on September 19, 1950, of shacks where refugee families lived on a pavement along Queen’s Road near Lothian Bridge in New Delhi following the Partition of India and Pakistan, and (bottom) the same scene in New Delhi on June 13, 2017.
/ AFP PHOTO / AFP PHOTO AND Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting / Prakash SINGH AND Handout


This combination of pictures released by the Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting taken circa 1947/1948 of a camp for displaced Indian Muslims next to Humayun’s Tomb in New Delhi, during the period of unrest following the Partition of India and Pakistan, and (bottom) the same scene in New Delhi on June 13, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / AFP PHOTO AND Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting / Prakash SINGH AND Handout

A photo taken on August 1947 shows Indian soldiers walking through the debris of a building in the Chowk Bijli Wala area of Amristar during unrest following the Partition of India and Pakistan, and (bottom) the same scene in Amritsar on June 29, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Narinder NANU AND STR

This combination of pictures released by the Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and taken in March 1948 of displaced Indian Muslims passing by Minto Bridge on their way to the Purana Qila and Humayun’s Tomb camps, during the period of unrest following the Partition of India and Pakistan, and (bottom) the same scene in New Delhi on June 13, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / AFP PHOTO AND Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting / Prakash SINGH AND Handout

A photo taken in August 1947 of a destroyed building in the Katra Jaimal Singh area of Amritsar during unrest following the Partition of India and Pakistan in Amritsar, and (R) the same scene in Amritsar on June 29, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Narinder NANU AND STR

A handout image released by the Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and taken on November 11, 1951 of Kamla Market in New Delhi, a large market used by refugees in New Delhi following the Partition of India and Pakistan, and (bottom) the same scene in New Delhi on June 13, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / AFP PHOTO AND Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting / Prakash SINGH AND Handout

This combination of pictures released by the Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting taken circa 1947/1948 of a family of displaced Indian Muslims at a camp by Humayun’s Tomb in New Delhi, during the period of unrest following the Partition of India and Pakistan, and (bottom) the same scene in New Delhi on June 13, 2017. / Prakash SINGH AND Handout

This combination of pictures released by the Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting taken circa 1947/1948 of a camp for displaced Indian Muslims next to Humayun’s Tomb in New Delhi, during the period of unrest following the Partition of India and Pakistan, and (bottom) the same scene in New Delhi on June 13, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / AFP PHOTO AND Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting / Prakash SINGH AND Handout

This combination of pictures created on July 28, 2017 shows (top) an undated picture taken circa 1947/1948 of Sikh people eating free food at a relief camp at Khalsa College in Amritsar following unrest in the wake of the Partition of India and Pakistan, and (bottom) Indian labourers eating food at Khalsa College in Amritsar on June 29, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Narinder NANU AND STR