Fonseca Sosa, Special correspondent
INDIA attained its independence in
1947 in the midst of a chaotic economic and social
situation, and after having been colonized by
Britain for close to 200 years.
Prior to that, it was savagely
dominated and exploited by the Royal English East
India Company until the 1857 armed insurrection –
known as the Indian Mutiny or the Sepoy Rebellion –
which ended the regime, but not British domination.
Years later the leader Mahatma
Gandhi entered the political stage with his unique
methods of nonviolence, peaceful resistance and non-cooperation.
The invaders were forced to withdraw against their
will. They took advantage of religious and cultural
differences which characterized the millennial Asian
country and divided it into two states: India and
The colonizers argued that Hindu
Indians formed one nationality and those who
professed Islamism, or Indian Muslims, constituted
another. In its turn, Pakistan was split into two,
separated by the new India.
A wave of violence followed. Muslims
expelled Hindus from their territory and vice versa.
Many families left their homes and property on the
other side of the border and the already disastrous
socioeconomic situation was exacerbated.
However, India’s current reality is
very different. While it is confronting difficulties
such as poor health and social differences, it is an
emerging economy – a member of the BRICS group –
with huge development potential and a strong
regional and international presence.
The first independent Indian
government, headed by Prime Minister Jawaharlal
Nehru, implemented five-year plans, which have
continued. Along the way, these came up against
various obstacles, given lack of experience and
resources, but efforts were always focused on
improving the people’s quality of life and
It should not be forgotten that the
conflicts with China in 1962 and Pakistan in 1965
had an adverse effect, given that they made it
impossible to fulfill the anticipated plans.
Moreover, in 1971, Pakistan attempted to eradicate
through genocide the nationalist movement in the
eastern part of the country, which involved India in
another war. During months, millions of people
crossed the border in search of refuge, until in
December of that year, Bangladesh emerged as a
A further India-Pakistan clash took
place in 1998 and came close to turning into a
Since then, with much hard work and
more than a few setbacks, India has been moving
forward at a faster rate. It has moved from
importing the bulk of its foodstuffs to having a
significant reserve of grains – tens of millions of
tons – which allows it to cover a large percentage
of its needs and to export. The Gross Domestic
Product grew by 8.2% in 2011.
India has a population of
approximately 1.2 billion people and this figure is
set to exceed that of the Chinese population within
a few years. This implies serious challenges for the
government, whose priorities include guaranteeing
food for all inhabitants.
Currently all of the major
international companies have subsidiaries in India,
where a skilled workforce is available for lower
wages than their counterparts in other capitalist
markets. Language also plays a role here, for while
multiple caste dialects coexist in the country,
English is in general use.
The nation has also managed to
increase its industries and services, which are the
principal sources of employment. It is moving ahead
in the sectors of information technology, space,
aeronautics, software and hardware,
telecommunications and medical electronics.
There remains much to be done:
reducing poverty, extending the reach of educational
and health programs, lowering population growth
indices, attaining more participation and social
weight for women, disadvantaged castes and ethnic
minority groups; as well as maintaining
environmental balance. But there is no doubt that we
are witnessing a rapidly growing India.