India’s history dates back to nearly 2500BC when the Indus Valley inhabitants developed a pattern of living similar to modern day urban culture based on agricultural trade and commerce. It declined around 1500BC mostly due to ecological changes. After the decline of the Indus Valley civilization, the Dravidian and Aryan tribes migrated from the northwest in the second millennium. They settled around the Ganges and adapted to the antecedent cultures. Under the Principality of Magadha they all united but eventually Magadha lost control but most of the northeast India was re-united in the 4th Century. This was the Golden Age when the Hindu culture and its political administration reached its new horizons. Around 500BC the Huns attacked Magadh dynasty and destroyed it. The rule of Kanaudsh between 606 and 647 led to the down fall of Indian rule and led to its disintegration.
The Gupta Empire again re-united Indian in the 4th and the 5th century. A feudal rule by Afghan sultan started by 1193 and lasted till the 14th century. The descendants of Genghis Khan established an Empire of great Moguls in the early 16th century ie 1526. The rule lasted for about 200 years. Hindus dominated the South India where Hindu Chola dynasty ruled from Vijaynagar. Two systems, namely Hindu and Muslim co-existed during this period and intermingled with each other leaving lasting impression on the culture of the country. Thereafter the Portuguese, the Dutch, English and the French acquired settlements in India along the coastal regions, which saw the insurgence of the foreign powers. In 1619, the British in Surat on the North West coast of India established the first outpost in South Asia. Later the East India Company established permanent trading stations in Mumbai, Madras and Calcutta under the protection of local rulers of the region. The Mogul Empire was seeing its last days around Delhi then.
The British established its colony in 1757 in east of India (Bengalen) after a war with the French. They expanded their influence thereafter and controlled most of present day Indian Pakistan by 1857. A rebellious outbreak in India in 1857 led to the transfer of all powers from the East India Company to the Crown in England. In 1858, the Mogul rule finally breathed its last after which the Empire created British India and styled the Empire of India as well. Although Britain ruled most of India but it also had local treaties with the feudal local rulers. The first steps towards self-governance were taken by late 1800s by the British where they appointed Indian councilors to acts as advisories to the British Viceroy and aid in establishment of provincial councils with members in India. By early 1920, Indian political leader, MK Gandhi transformed the Indian National Congress (INC) in a public movement to campaign against the British rulers. The party used non-violent resistance as well as parliamentary moves along with non-cooperation to achieve independence. Burma seceded from India in 1937.
India gained independence in 1947 and the erstwhile British India was divided into the Dominion of Pakistan and Dominion of India. The freedom leader Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated shortly thereafter-in 1948 and Jawaharlal Nehru became the first prime minister of India and the leader of the Indian National Congress. India became a republic and announced the same within the Commonwealth in 1950. Although India had a strong central government, its provincial legislature was still weak. Indian National Congress ruled India headed by Nehru and subsequently by his daughter and grandson with exception in 1970s and 1980 when Lal Bahadur Shastri succeeded Nehru after his death in 1964. During this time in 1961, India annexed Portuguese India in 1961.
In 1966, Indira Gandhi, daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru became the prime minister of India and ruled till 1977. She declared a state of emergency during her rule in 1975 due to deepening of political and economical problems in the country and denied civil liberties to the residents. However, in the same year, India acquired Sikkim and thereafter in 1977, a mandate for her policies, indira Gandhi called for general elections. Morarji Desai who was the head of the Janata Party or the People’s party, which was basically an amalgamation of five opposition parties, defeated her. Leader of the Janata Dal, Morarji Desai became the prime minister of India but his government crumbled in 1979. An interim government was formed by Charan Singh who headed the Janata Secular Party (JSP). Indira Gnadhi returned to power in 1980 but was later assassinated in 1984 and her son Rajiv Gnadhi was chosen by INC (I) or “Indira” to replace her. His government was bought down due to allegations from the opposition in 1989. The opposition party headed by VP Singh and Chandra Shekhar formed a coalition government.
However, the 1989 elections saw Rajiv Gandhi saw INC winning more seats than any other major single party but were unable to form the government with clear majority. A breakway party from Janata Party, the Bhartiya Janata Party formed alliance with the Janata Dal on the right and the communist on the left to form the government. However, this coalition was loose enough to collapse in 1990 and INC with support from Janata Dal returned to power in general elections in 1991. Tamil extremists from Sri Lanka murdered Rajiv Gandhi during his campaign and INC becomes the largest party thereafter headed by PV Narasimha Rao.
INC faces the worst electoral performance in its history in 1996 due to allegations and political corruption scandals. The Hindu Nationalist party, Bhartiya Janta Party emerged as the single largest party in the parliament but lasts only 13 days. A grand coalition thereafter headed by Janata Dal known as United Front formed the government under HD Dvegowda. INC withdrew its support from the coalition and Inder Kumar Gujaral replaced HD Deve Gowda to lead the 16-party united front.
Fresh elections in 1998 saw BJP coming to power as the single largest party and formed coalition government under AB Vajpayee. However, the coalition fell apart in 1999 but new elections in 1999 improved the position of BJP. Vajpayee led a successful government, which led to the improvement of economic conditions in the country and the relations with Pakistan. However, in one of the biggest blows BJP lost elections in 2004 and INC regained power under Sonia Gandhi to lead the government.
Get Answers from our Experienced Travel Consultants now