In Pictures: India marks an eventful 75 years since independence from UK

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In Pictures: India Marks An Eventful 75 Years Since Independence From Uk In Pictures: India Marks An Eventful 75 Years Since Independence From Uk
Jawaharlal Nehru salutes the flag as he becomes independent India’s first prime minister on August 15, © AP/Press Association Images
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By Associated Press Reporter

India is marking 75 years since becoming independent.

“At the stroke of the midnight hour,” India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru said, “when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom.”

The historic speech just before midnight on August 15 1947 turned the hopes of millions into reality with India a free, independent country and its British colonial history in the past.

Seventy-five years on, India is vastly changed and its story is told through its throbs of tumult, daunting hurdles, spirited triumphs and terrible tragedies.

The nation’s birth was not an easy one, with bloodletting claiming many lives as the former jewel in the crown of the British Empire was partitioned into predominantly Hindu India and largely Muslim Pakistan.

The assassination of Mahatma Gandhi was another difficult moment for the nascent nation but India pressed on with plans to become the world’s biggest democracy.

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Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama sought refuge in India following a failed uprising and the 1960s were marked by conflicts with China and Pakistan.


Muslim refugees sit on the roof of an overcrowded coach railway train in trying to flee India near New Delhi on September 19 1947 (File/AP)


The body of assassinated Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi, covered with rose petals, is carried to the site of his cremation in New Delhi, January 31 1948 (Max Desfor/File/AP)


Voters receive ballots from polling station officials for India’s first general election in a rural Delhi state village in India (File/AP)


Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, left, visits the Dalai Lama, spiritual and temporal head of Tibet, at Birla House in the hill station of Mussoorie, India (AP)

Bangladesh’s struggle to win independence from Pakistan won support from India in a conflict that further raised tensions between the neighbours.


Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi, right, and President of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto shake hands after signing an agreement in the Governor’s Mansion in Simla, India, on June 28 1972 (File/AP)

A glorious unifying moment came for India in 1983, when a team led by Kapil Dev won the World Cup at Lord’s in 1983 with an unexpected victory over the mighty West Indies.

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Few would believe that in decades India would become financially the dominant force in the sport it has helped transform.

But there were further tragedies ahead, including the bloody operation against Sikh militants in Amritsar and the chemical disaster at Bhopal that killed an estimated 15,000 people.


Indian cricket team captain Kapil Dev, second from left, hugs Indian bowler Madan Lal while the rest of the Indian team celebrate at Lord’s after Sunil Gavaskar had caught West Indian, Larry Gomes, for five. India won the World Cup for the first time in 1983 (Peter Kemp/File/AP)


A Sikh militant holds field glasses to look at government troops. About 1,200 people died in the fighting in 1984 after Indian troops stormed the Golden Temple in Amritsar (Sondeep Shankar/AP)


The pesticide plant at Bhopal, run by Union Carbide, leaked about 40 tonnes of deadly methyl isocyanate gas into the air, killing an estimated 15,000 people and affecting at least 500,000 more in 1984 (Peter Kemp/AP)


Young Muslim separatists come into the streets with guns, defying an army curfew and demanding independence in Kashmir in 1990 (Ajit Kumar/AP)

Following the deaths of Mahatma and Indira, another Gandhi, Rajiv, was killed by a Sri Lankan suicide bomber while the still unresolved Kashmir conflict simmered with Pakistan which, like its neighbour, had nuclear weaponry at its disposal.

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Rajiv Gandhi’s widow Sonia, centre, and her two children, Rahul and Priyanka, look back from the burning pyre after the body of the former Indian prime minister was set on fire during his funeral in New Delhi on Friday May 24 1991 (Denis Paquin, File/AP)


India’s conflict with Pakistan that raged for three months across the disputed Kashmir region in 1999 nearly brought the nuclear neighbours to war (Aijaz Rahi/File/AP)

In 2000, India’s population passed the billion mark and it is on course to replace China as the world’s most populous nation, though the tsunami of 2004 was another disaster that exacted a heavy toll on India.

But the largely Indian-inspired reinvention of world cricket and the impact of Bollywood has ensured India marks its anniversary with a strong cultural presence on the world stage.


Commuters travel on an overloaded vehicle outside the city then known as Calcutta on May 10 2000. India’s population officially hit one billion a day later (Bikas Das/AP)


A huge tsunami triggered by a massive undersea earthquake in the Indian Ocean killed more than 10,000 Indians. Paliyamma lost seven members of her family (Gurinder Osan/File/AP)


An Indian soldier takes cover as the Taj Mahal hotel burns in 2008 during a gun battle between Indian military and militants. The three days of terror in Mumbai carried out by the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba left 166 people dead (David Guttenfelder/File/AP)

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Bollywood dancers perform on stage as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attend a Bollywood Charity Gala hosted by the British High Commission and the British Asian Trust at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel in Mumbai, India (Ian Vogler/Daily Mirror/PA)


Narendra Modi is India’s leader as it celebrates its latest milestone (Saurabh Das/AP)

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