10 Tragic Events That Changed The Course Of Modern Indian History

Unfortunately, there have been many tragedies since India’s independence.


As a country, we need to be a progressive nation not only in technology but the mindset of the country also needs to change. The way Indians think needs to change.

In the past, tragedies have hit us and we have braved it only for the situation to back to normal. We have survived disasters but as a country that has been through so much, seldom do we learn from our history.

These are only 12 out of the many tragedies the people of the country have braved together.

#1 Partition


After 300 odd years of oppression, the British left a permanent scar on India. The partition of the Hindu majority- India and the Muslim majority- Pakistan into two separate nations.

One of the greatest migrations of all time was a violent one too. Mind you, both the communities had lived together for almost a millennium, and now, were against each other and it was painted in blood.

Nisid Hajari, in “Midnight’s Furies” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), his fast-paced new narrative history of Partition and its aftermath, writes, “Gangs of killers set whole villages aflame, hacking to death men and children and the aged while carrying off young women to be raped. Some British soldiers and journalists who had witnessed the Nazi death camps claimed Partition’s brutalities were worse: pregnant women had their breasts cut off and babies hacked out of their bellies; infants were found literally roasted on spits.”

#2 Indian Emergency


Those 21 months when India was in the state of emergency is said to be the dark age of Indian democracy. India’s first and only female Prime Minister- Indira Gandhi declared a state of emergency. It has been 40 years since the emergency. The economic growth of the country was at a standstill, lakhs of railway workers boycotted work, a 25-year-old law student- Lalu Prasad worked to throw the Congress government out of Bihar, there were protests all over and in the end, Indira Gandhi was disbarred as a member of Parliament by the Allahabad Court.

Gandhi used the Emergency as a restart button.

The emergency led to all the competitors of Congress being arrested. Everything that was printed by the media was checked by the government first. Indian Express even published a blank newspaper. Taxes were revised. As a part of Sanjay Gandhi’s 5 point plan, mass sterilization was conducted. In 1977, the state of emergency was called off two months before the elections. Indira and Rajiv Gandhi lost the elections. The AIR played ‘Waqt Ne Kiya Kya Haseen Sitam’ after they announced that the Congress had lost the elections.

#3  Bhopal Gas Tragedy


33 years ago, an accident took place at the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal. It released 30 tons of a highly toxic gas called methyl isocyanate. 600,000 people were exposed to the gas and it caused lifelong damage to the people.

Ever since the disaster took place, those affected by the tragedy have given birth to mentally and physically disabled children. Human rights groups say that thousands of tons of hazardous waste remain buried underground, and the government has conceded the area is contaminated.


1993 Mumbai Blasts


On 12 March, twelve bombs blasted within a span of 2 hours and 10 minutes. 257 people died and over 1,400 were injured, and property worth Rs 28 crore was damaged.

Bombay came to a halt. It was reported that India’s most wanted criminal Dawood Ibrahim was behind this dastardly act. It is said that this conspiracy was done by Mumbai’s underworld kingpin Dawood Ibrahim to create violence against the Hindu community.

#5 Kargil War


18 years ago, in 1999 a devastating war took place between India and Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistani terrorists infiltered into the Indian territories. India won the war but humanity lost. The official death toll on the Indian side was 527, while that on the Pakistani side was between 357 and 453.

#6 Parliament Attack


On 13th December 2001, terrorists had entered the complex of the Parliament and opened fire indiscriminately.

Five policemen, a Parliament security guard, and a gardener were killed, and 22 others were injured. No member of parliament was injured. The hour-long gun battle was broadcast live on national television.

#7 Godhra Riots


It has been 15 years and no one knows who was responsible.  790 Muslims and 254 Hindus were killed, and as many as 100,000 Muslims and 40,000 Hindus were rendered homeless. 130 lives are still missing and we don’t know how many more lives were ruined and not been reported.

It began with a fire in coach S6 of the Sabarmati Express on February 27, 2002, killing 59 persons. 2000 Muslims were killed by Hindu mobs. The Gujarat Police acted more firmly on Muslim mobs as 24 Muslims and 13 Hindus were killed in police firings.

#8 Delhi bombings


It has been 9 years, five bombs went off in a span of 30 minutes. Within a month and a half of Jaipur, Bangalore and Ahmedabad terror blasts, Delhi was mauled on Saturday leaving 30 innocents dead and 90 injured.

#9 26/11 Mumbai blasts


2008 was the year Indians didn’t feel safe. It has been 9 years, that night is still fresh in our memories. More than 160 people were killed and 600 were injured.

The wounds, though, will take a lifetime to heal. The three places under attack were crucial and were something every Mumbaikar has etched to some memory of theirs and it felt as if someone was ripping them apart one by one.

#10 Demonetization


PM Modi’s step towards curb of black money was phenomenal and caused deaths too. A 100 lives, reportedly, were taken away because of demonetization. Two of the largest currency bills were discontinued and the decision was taken to clean up the Indian economy. It will be something that Indians will never forget.

What have we learned?

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Posted by

Shivani Ahuja

Finds poetry in the simplest things.

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