India after Independence is the 12th chapter of the class 8 NCERT history book. It explains the challenges India faced after independence and what initiatives the new government took. The chapter India after Independence Class 8 has an important weightage in Class 8 Exams. So, let’s check out the important notes of this chapter.
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Brief Notes on India after Independence Class 8
When India became independent in August 1947 it faced a series of big challenges –
- As a result of Partition about 8 million refugees had come into the country from Pakistan and these people had to find homes and jobs.
- Then there was the problem of the princely states almost 500 each ruled by a maharaja or a nawab each of whom was to be persuaded to join the new nation. The problems of the refugees and of the princely states had to be addressed immediately.
- In the longer term, the new nation had to adopt a political system that would best serve the hopes and expectations of its population.
- India’s population in 1947 was almost 345 million. It was also divided between high castes and low castes, between the majority Hindu community and Indians who practised other faiths. The citizens of this vast land spoke many different languages, wore many different kinds of dress, ate different kinds of food and practised different professions. There was the problem of unification.
- Added to this was the problem of development. At Independence, the vast majority of Indians lived in the villages. Farmers, peasants and the non-farm sector of the rural economy depended on the monsoon for their survival. In the cities, factory workers lived in crowded slums with little access to education or health care.
- The new nation had to lift its masses out of poverty by increasing the productivity of agriculture and by promoting new, job-creating industries. Unity and development had to go hand in hand. If the divisions between different sections of India were not healed they could result in violent and costly conflicts and at the same time if the fruits of economic development did not reach the broad masses of the population, it could create fresh divisions.
The Indian Constitution
Between December 1946 and November 1949, Indians had a series of meetings on the country’s political future. The meetings of this “Constituent Assembly” were held in New Delhi but the participants came from all over India and from different political parties. These discussions resulted in the framing of the Indian Constitution which was adopted on 26 January 1950.
Features of the constitution were –
- One feature of the Constitution was its adoption of the universal adult franchise where all Indians above the age of 21 would be allowed to vote in state and national elections. This was a revolutionary step in that the Indians were allowed to choose their own leaders. In other countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States, this right had been granted in stages. On the other hand, India chose to grant this right to all its citizens regardless of gender, class or education after independence.
- A second feature of the Constitution was that it guaranteed equality before the law to all citizens regardless of their caste or religious affiliation. There were some Indians who wished that the political system of the new nation be based on Hindu ideals and that India itself be run as a Hindu state. However, the Indian Prime Minister – Jawaharlal Nehru, was of the opinion that India could not and must not become a “Hindu Pakistan”. Besides Muslims, India also had large populations of Sikhs and Christians, as well as many Parsis and Jains. Under the new Constitution, they would have the same rights as Hindus and the same opportunities when it came to seeking jobs in government or the private sector, the same rights before the law.
- A third feature of the Constitution was that it offered special privileges for the poorest and most disadvantaged Indians. The practice of untouchability was abolished. Hindu temples were open to all now including the former untouchables. The Constituent Assembly also recommended that a certain percentage of seats in legislatures as well as jobs in government be reserved for members of the lowest castes. Along with the former Untouchables, the Adivasis or Scheduled Tribes were also granted reservations in seats and jobs.
India after Independence Class 8 Notes: Levels of Government
The Constituent Assembly spent many days discussing the powers of the central government versus those of the state governments. Some members thought that the Centre’s interests should be foremost. Only a strong Centre “would be in a position to think and plan for the well-being of the country as a whole”. Other members felt that the provinces should have greater autonomy and freedom. The Constitution sought to balance these competing claims by providing three lists of subjects –
- Union List with subjects such as taxes, defence and foreign affairs which would be the exclusive responsibility of the Centre
- State List of subjects such as education and health which would be taken care of principally by the states
- Concurrent List under which would come subjects such as forests and agriculture in which the Centre and the states would have joint responsibility.
Another major debate in the Constituent Assembly concerned language since many members believed that the English language should leave India with the British rulers and its place should be taken by Hindi. However, those who did not speak Hindi were of a different opinion. Non Hindi speakers were against this. A compromise was finally arrived at and Hindi was made the “official language” of India and English was to be used in the courts, the services and communications between one state and another.
How were States to be formed?
- Back in the 1920s, the Indian National Congress had promised that once the country won independence each major linguistic group would have its own province. However, after independence, Congress did not take any steps to honour this promise.
- India had been divided on the basis of religion despite the wishes and efforts of Mahatma Gandhi and freedom had come not to one nation but to two. As a result of the partition of India, more than a million people were killed in riots between Hindus and Muslims. Therefore both Prime Minister Nehru and Deputy Prime Minister Vallabhbhai Patel were against the creation of linguistic states.
- The Congress leaders would now go back on their promise and create great disappointment. The Kannada speakers, Malayalam speakers, the Marathi speakers, had all looked forward to having their own state.
- The protests were so widespread and intense in the Andhra region that the central government was forced to give in to the demand. On 1 October 1953, the new state of Andhra Pradesh came into being. After the creation of Andhra other linguistic communities also demanded their own separate states.
- A States Reorganisation Commission was set up which submitted its report in 1956, recommending the redrawing of district and provincial boundaries to form compact provinces of Assamese, Bengali, Oriya, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada and Telugu speakers respectively and the large Hindi-speaking region of north India was broken up into several states.
- In 1960 the bilingual state of Bombay was divided into separate states for Marathi and Gujarati speakers. In 1966 the state of Punjab was also divided into Punjab and Haryana the former for the Punjabi speakers and the latter for the rest.
Planning for Development
Lifting India and Indians out of poverty and building a modern technical and industrial base were among the major objectives of the new nation.
- In 1950 the government set up a Planning Commission to help design and execute suitable policies for economic development. There was a broad agreement on what was called a “mixed economy” model where both the State and the private sector would play important and complementary roles in increasing production and generating jobs.
- In 1956 the Second Five Year Plan was formulated. This focused strongly on the development of heavy industries such as steel and on the building of large dams. These sectors would be under the control of the State. This focus on heavy industry and the effort at state regulation of the economy was to guide economic policy for the next few decades.
- This approach had many strong supporters but also some vocal critics. Some felt that it had put inadequate emphasis on agriculture. Others argued that it had neglected primary education. Still, others believed that it had not taken account of the environmental implications of economic policies.
An Independent Foreign Policy
India gained freedom soon after the devastations of the Second World War and at that time the United Nations was formed in 1945.
- The 1950s and 1960s saw the emergence of the Cold War where power rivalries and ideological conflicts between the USA and the USSR were heightening with both countries creating military alliances.
- This was also the period when colonial empires were collapsing and many countries were attaining independence. Our Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was also the foreign minister of the newly independent India. He developed free India’s foreign policy in this context.
- Non-alignment formed the bedrock of this foreign policy. It was led by statesmen from Egypt, Yugoslavia, Indonesia, Ghana and India. The non-aligned movement urged countries not to join either of the two major alliances.
- But this policy of staying away from alliances was not a matter of remaining “isolated” or “neutral” where the former means remaining aloof from world affairs whereas non-aligned countries such as India played an active role in mediating between the American and Soviet alliances.
- They tried to prevent war, often taking a humanitarian and moral stand against war. However, for one reason or another many non-aligned countries including India got involved in wars. By the 1970s a large number of countries had joined the non-aligned movement.
What happened in Sri Lanka
In 1956 the year the states of India were reorganized on the basis of language the Parliament of Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) introduced an Act recognizing Sinhala as the sole official language of the country.
- This made Sinhala the medium of instruction in all state schools and colleges, in public examinations, and in the courts as well. The new Act was opposed by the Tamil-speaking minority who lived in the north of the island.
- For several decades a civil war has raged in Sri Lanka whose roots lie in the imposition of the Sinhala language on the Tamil-speaking minority. And other South Asian country Pakistan was divided into two when the Bengali speakers of the east felt that their language was being suppressed.
- By contrast, India has managed to survive as a single nation in part because the many regional languages were given the freedom to flourish. Had Hindi been imposed on South India, in the way that Urdu was imposed on East Pakistan or Sinhala on northern Sri Lanka India too might have seen civil war and fragmentation.
- Contrary to the fears linguistic states have not threatened the unity of India. Once the fear of one’s language being suppressed was gone the different linguistic groups have been content to live as part of the larger nation called India and flourish together.
Also Read: Samudragupta Maurya– The Indian Napolean
India After Independence Class 8: Post-Independence
A crucial part of the chapter India After Independence Class 8 is Post-Independence. On 15 August 2007, India celebrated sixty years of its existence as a free nation. That India is still united and democratic are achievements that we might justly be proud of.
- Many foreign observers had felt that India could not survive as a single country and that it would break up into many parts with each region or linguistic group seeking to form a nation of its own. Others believed that it would come under military rule.
- However, as many as thirteen general elections have been held since Independence as well as hundreds of state and local elections. There is a free press as well as an independent judiciary.
- Finally, the fact that people speak different languages or practice different faiths has not come in the way of our national unity.
- On the other hand deep divisions also persist where despite constitutional guarantees the Untouchables or the Dalits face violence and discrimination.
- In many parts of rural India, they are not allowed access to water sources, temples, parks and other public places. And despite the secular ideals enshrined in the Constitution, there have been clashes between different religious groups in many states.
- Above all the gulf between the rich and the poor has grown over the years. Some parts of India and some groups of Indians have benefited a great deal from economic development. They live in large houses and dine in expensive restaurants, send their children to expensive private schools and take expensive foreign holidays.
- At the same time, many others continue to live below the poverty line, housed in urban slums, or living in remote villages on lands that yield little, they cannot afford to send their children to school.
- The Constitution recognizes equality before the law but in real life, some Indians are more equal than others. Judged by the standards it set itself at Independence the Republic of India has not yet been able to resolve these issues but we are still trying our best to achieve them.
Check Class 7 History Notes
India became independent on the midnight of 14 -15th August 1947.
India faced many problems like poverty, refugees after partition, unification of princely states and how to keep the country united with the vast diversity that India contained among other problems. These are explained in detail above.
In 1950 the government set up a Planning Commission to help design and execute suitable policies for the economic development of the country. This was part of the plans of developing the leaders had after the independence of the country.
India’s population in 1947 was almost 345 million.
In 1950, the government set up a Planning Commission and its primary goal was to help design and execute suitable policies for economic development.
It was called the Mixed Economy Model
This was a very informative chapter. It was hopefully as interesting to read for you as it was to explain for us. We hope these notes helped you understand the chapter better and we also hope it will help you get better marks in exams. For help with other chapters and subjects like English, Maths, Science and others for class 8 please check out Leverage Edu.