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    On January 26, 1950, the last Governor-General of India, Mr. Chakravarti Rajagopalachri, formally proclaimed his?

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    On January 26, 1950, the last Governor-General of India, Mr. Chakravarti Rajagopalachri, formally proclaimed his country's independence as a Republic. Next Sunday (26 January) the people of India will celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the event.

    The day after the Republic was declared, Dr. Rajendra Prasad was installed as the first President. One of the functions the new President had to perform was the swearing in of the country's Prime Minister, Pandit Jawarharlal Nehru. He was not only one of the chief architects of India's independence, but was also destined to lead the development.

    Britain's Imperial rule in India had formally come to an end in August 1947, when the sub-continent had been split into two independent states, India and Pakistan. Each was granted dominion status within the British Commonwealth. India was intended for the predominantly Hindu population, and Pakistan was created as the home of the Muslim communities.

    The Indian Constitution, which came into force on 26 January, 1950, 1950, embodies the Indian peoples resolve to secure for all citizens Justice (social, economic and political), Liberty (of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship), equality (of status and opportunity), and Fraternity (assuring the dignity of the individual, and the unity of the nation).

    However, the old problems that had plagued India for centuries, did not disappear with its assumption of full independence as a sovereign democratic Republic. Poverty, diseases, have all played their part in handicapping the development of the country during its first twenty-five years.

    On the World stage, India-despite its domestic problems-has been a leader of the "non-aligned" movement of countries seeking independence of the great power blocks. Its policy in this respect was established by Prime Minister Pandit Nehru in 1961 when he attendant the first conference of non-aligned countries in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Even since his death in may, 1964, India has pursued a policy of non-alignment.

    Since becoming a Republic, India has three times found itself drawn into armed conflict along its long and tortuous northern borders. The first occasion was against China on the north-western and north-western frontiers in 1962. The second time was in 1965 when the long-standing dispute with Pakistan over the State of Kashmir blew up into a military confrontation. The most recent conflict-and the most serious-was the war in 1971 when India supported the right of Eastern Pakistan to proclaim its independence as the State of Bangladesh.

    In March, 1967, the Indian Parliament elected its first woman prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi the daughter of Pandit Nehru. She has ruled the country since then, and has presided over India becoming one of the select club of nuclear powers. On the 20 January, 1970 Mrs. sixty-two miles from Bombay. Designed and supplied by an American firm, the power station was intended to supply power for agriculture and to purify sea water for use in irrigating the surrounding land.

    Last year,1974, India earned full membership of the nuclear club by caring out its first nuclear test explosion at an underground testing range in the Rajasthan desert. The test explosion took place on 18 May, and the next day Mrs. Gandhi repeated to newsmen her Government's position that the test had been carried out for "peaceful scientific reasons". Nevertheless, many other countries found it disturbing that one of the leaders of the "Third Word" had acquired a proven nuclear capacity.

    Throughout the first twenty-five years of independent nationhood, the biggest problems facing the people of India and their Government, have always been caused by natural disasters. For many of the millions of people who live on the sub-continent, starvation is a fact of life. When climatic conditions aggravate the normal difficulties brought about by the shortage of food, the result is catastrophic.

    In 1969 for instance, the state of Tamilnadu (formerly Madras) suffered on of the worst droughts ever recorded in the area. Reservoirs dried up, and the State Government asked for 23 ponds million in aid. More than a million workers were unemployed.

    In November 1971, a cyclone and tidal wave hit Jammu, Kendrapara and Marsaghai, in Urissa State. Ten Thousand people died in the disaster, and thousands of other were left without food or shelter.

    Inevitably, if India is to provide the majority of the people with standard of living above subsistence level, then the major long-term problem to be solved is that of over-population. The populations was estimated at 548 million at the last census in 1971, and experts believe that it increases by ten million each year. The Government has therefore maintained a vigorous campaign encouraging birth control and sterilisation. But progress in all too slow.

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    Reuters - Including Visnews
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