Cover Photo: 15th August 2017, Independence Day 7 am Mass at Auxilium Parish Kolkata. One of the celebrants is 96 year young Fr Rosario Stroscio. The Alter is decked with our national flags.
(Note: India celebrates her 70th Independence Day today August 15, 2017. Here are ten important events in the Indian history that shaped how our country evolved over the years.
Today is also a day to take stock of the contribution made by our Christian Community. There may be several. The name that immediately comes up is that of Leiutenant General Jacob Farj Rafael "J. F. R." Jacob, PVSM (1924 – 13 January 2016). He was a Jewish Indian Army officer and was best known for the role he played in India's victory in the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971 and the Liberation of Bangladesh. Jacob, then a Major General, served as the Chief of Staff of the Indian Army's Eastern Command during the war. During his 36-year career in the army, he also fought in World War II and the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965. He later served as the Governor of the Indian states of Goa and Punjab.
Then we have the golden duo, the Keelor brothers. Trevor Keelor, VrC, (8 December 1934 – 27 April 2002) was an officer of Indian Air Force who participated in the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965. He was honoured with a number of medals including the Vir Chakra and the Vayu Sena Medal. He had an elder brother, Denzil, who was also honoured for his service in the Indian Air Force. Both brothers have a Vir Chakra for the same feat of shooting down Pakistan Air Force F-86 Sabre fighters. It was the first time two brothers received Vir Chakras for the same reason. The living legend, Denzil Keelor, now 83 years of age, is currently Chairman of Frank Anthony Public Schools in India. He replaces Neil O'Brien, after he passed away on 24 June 2016. Neil O'Brien, father of Trinamool Party Rajya Sabha MP Derek O'Brien, is another Christian luminary who served in the field of education and was Chairman of Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE). Isaac Gomes, Associate Editor, Church Citizens' Voice).
IndiaToday.in | Edited by: Ekta Handa
New Delhi, August 14, 2017 | UPDATED 19:14 IST
On the 70th year of India's independence, here's a look at the watershed moments in the history that shaped today's India. These events hold importance in Indian history not only because of the important political or social issues they targeted but also because of the magnitude of effect these events had on our country.
British-ruled India was divided into two separate countries, India and Pakistan. The partition saw bloodshed and killings on both sides of the border, and left an everlasting impact on the minds of the people.
2. Accession of Kashmir
The ruler of Kashmir, Raja Hari Singh signed an agreement of accession as a result of which Kashmir became an integral part of India. The decision had widespread impact, with some people supporting the decision and many against it. Kashmir has become a hotbed of militancy since then. The decision of Raja Hari Singh to make Kashmir a part of India has led to four wars between India and Pakistan and has also led to a special status for the state of Kashmir under Article 370.
3. Formation of the Union of India
At the time of British rule, India was an amalgamation of more than 500 princely states. These princely states were annexed into the Union of India, eliminating the chances of small rebellions emerging from the Indian heartland. Indira Gandhi also introduced a 26th amendment in 1971 which abolished privy purses of the princely rulers.
4. Five Year plans
Five year planning was introduced in India in the year 1950. The main aim behind implementing five-year plans is to draw out a blueprint for India's future, fighting hunger and poverty that was caused as a result of crumbling economy because of partition.
5. Reorganisation of States
The states were reorganised on the basis of linguistic identities in various parts of the country. Andhra Pradesh was born in 1956, Gujarat in 1960 and Haryana and Himachal Pradesh in 1966.
6. Indo-China War
The Indo-China war of 1962 was a blow to India's belief in China being its strategic partner. The 1962 war also led to the shattering of Jawaharlal Nehru's image of being invincible. 52 years later, Indo-China border dispute is still a burning concern for both sides.
7. Creation of Bangladesh and India-Pakistan war
India intervened in the uprising in East Pakistan. The relationship with Pakistan was already tensed after the 1965 war. Also, the defeat of India in 1962 at the hands of China had weakened India's position in the region, thus helping in the creation of Bangladesh has re-established India as an important power in south Asia.
The infamous emergency imposed by the Indira Gandhi government in 1975 is a one of its kind event in Indian history. The press was gagged, protestors were sent to jail and there was a feeling of paranoia around the country.
The economic reforms of 1992 can be undoubtedly listed as one of the events that shaped India. The economy was failing, India was suffering from a stagnant GDP. The License Raj which was imposed to protect the local businesses was not benefitting the economy. The economy was opened to the foreign investments, changes in tax regimes and public sector holdings saw the rise of a new economic era for India.
10. Kargil War
Pakistan sent its troops to capture Kargil in 1999. What followed was three months of rigorous fighting from both the sides that led to loss of lives. US Diplomatic intervention was sought to ask Pakistan to withdraw from Kargil. Cross border terrorism took the central stage in India's foreign policy.
Isaac adds: In addition to the above milestones, the feather in India's cap was 15th February 2017, the day ISRO launched record-breaking 104 nano satellites into the orbit from a single rocket, a feat which left China red-faced. Indian PM Narendra Modi hailed it as ‘exceptional achievement’ that overtook the 2014 Russian record of 37 in a single launch.
On board was a 714kg satellite for earth observation and more than 100 smaller satellites weighing less than 10kg each. Three were Indian-owned, 96 were from US companies, and the rest belonged to companies based in Israel, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.
August 15, is also the Feast of Assumption of our Lady into Heaven. So for us Christians, it is a day of twin celebration.