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India was under British rule for over more than 200 years. The freedom of India did not come easily. It required fearless courage and true spirit to regain India’s freedom. The freedom history of India is full of great leaders and freedom fighters that faced exploitations, hardships and immense torture to earn freedom that was dutifully ours. It demanded immense courage and sacrifice to devote one’s life to the cause of freedom of the mother nation. Every Indian who lived under the British rule dreamt of an independent India.
Different freedom fighters adopted different ways of fighting the British Empire but the common objective was same, to earn the freedom. Credit must go to the spirit of those great fighters who aimed to abolish the British and various other colonial authorities ruling over different parts of India. The freedom of India came after a century of struggle, revolution, blood shedding, sacrifices and battles.
Jawaharlal Nehru born on 14th November 1889 in Allahabad, was the first Prime Minister of India and a central figure in Indian politics for much of the 20th century.
He emerged as the paramount leader of the Indian Independence Movement under Mahatma Gandhi and ruled India from its establishment as an independent nation in 1947 until his death in office in 1964. Nehru is considered to be the architect of the modern Indian nation-state; a sovereign, socialist, secular, and democratic republic. A committed nationalist since his teenage years, Nehru became a rising figure in Indian politics during the upheavals of the 1910s.
He became the prominent leader of the Indian National Congress during the 1920s, and eventually of the entire Congress,. As Congress President, Nehru called for complete independence from Britain He was the principal author of the Indian Declaration of Independence (1929). As Prime Minister, Nehru set out to realise his vision of India.
The Constitution of India was enacted in 1950, after which he embarked on an ambitious program of economic, social and political reforms. Chiefly, he oversaw India’s transition from a monarchy to a republic, while nurturing a plural, multi-party democracy. In foreign policy, Nehru took a leading role in Non-Alignment while projecting India as a regional hegemon in South Asia. Under Nehru’s leadership, the Congress emerged as a catch-all party, dominating national politics and winning consecutive elections in 1951, 1957, and 1962. He remained popular with the people of India in spite of political troubles in his final years and failure of leadership during Sino-Indian War. In India, his birthday is celebrated as Children’s Day. He died on may 27, 1964 in New Delhi.
Gulzarilal Nanda born on July 4 1898 in Sialkot, Pakistan, was an Indian politician and an economist with specialisation in labour problems. He was the interim Prime Minister of India twice for thirteen days each: the first time after the death of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1964, and the second time after the death of Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1966. The Government of India honoured Nanda with the Bharat Ratna award in 1997 Both his terms were uneventful, yet they were sensitive of period because of the potential danger to the country following Nehru’s death soon after a war with China in 1962 and Shastri’s death after a war with Pakistan in 1965. He died on January 15 1998 in New Delhi.
Lal Bahadur Shastri born on 2 October 1904 in Ramnagar, was the second Prime Minister of the Republic of India and a leader of the Indian National Congress party. Shastri joined the Indian independence movement in the 1920s. Deeply impressed and influenced by Mahatma Gandhi, he became a loyal follower, first of Gandhi, and then of Jawaharlal Nehru. Following independence in 1947, he joined the latter’s government and became one of Prime Minister Nehru’s principal lieutenants, first as Railways Minister (1951–56), and then in a variety of other functions, including Home Minister.
Shastri was chosen as Nehru’s successor owing to his adherence to Nehruvian socialism Shastri as Prime Minister continued Nehru’s policies of non-alignment and socialism. He became a national hero following the victory in the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965. His slogan of “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan” (“Hail the soldier, Hail the farmer”) became very popular during the war and is remembered even today. The war was formally ended in the Tashkent Agreement of 10 January 1966; he died the following day, still in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, of a heart attack on January 11 1966.
Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi born on 19 November 1917, was the third Prime Minister of India and a central figure of the Indian National Congress party. Gandhi, who served from 1966 to 1977 and then again from 1980 until her assassination in 1984, is the second-longest-serving Prime Minister of India and the only woman to hold the office. As Prime Minister, Gandhi became known for her political ruthlessness and unprecedented centralisation of power. She presided over a period where India emerged with greater power than before to become the regional hegemon of South Asia with considerable political, economic, and military developments.
Gandhi also presided over a state of emergency from 1975 to 1977 during which she ruled by decree and made lasting changes to the constitution of India. She was assassinated on 31 October, 1984, in the aftermath of Operation Blue Star. In 2001, Gandhi was voted the greatest Indian Prime Minister in a poll organised by India Today. She was also named “Woman of the Millennium” in a poll organised by the BBC in 1999.
Morarji Desai born on 29 Feb 1896 in Valsad, was a notable Indian independence activist and the fourth Prime Minister of India from 1977 – 1979. He was also the first Prime Minister to head India’s first non-Congress Government. At foreign fronts, Desai holds international fame for his peace activism and made notable efforts to initiate peace between two-rival South Asian states, Pakistan and India. After India’s first nuclear explosion in 1974, Smiling Buddha, Desai helped restore friendly relations with China and Pakistan, and vowed to avoid armed conflict such as Indo-Pakistani war of 1971.
Desai has the credible distinction of being the only Indian national to be conferred with Pakistan’s highest civilian award, Nishan-e-Pakistan, which was conferred on him by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan in 1990 in a colorful ceremony. Domestically, he played crucial role in Indian nuclear program after it was targeted by major nuclear powers after conducting a surprise test in 1974. Later, his policies promoted social, health and administrative reforms in the country. He died on 10 April 1995 in New Delhi.
Chaudhuri Charan Singh, was the fifth Prime Minister of the Republic of India, serving from 28 July 1979 until 14 January 1980. Charan Singh was born into a Jat family on December 23, 1902 in city Noorpur, Uttar Pradesh. Charan Singh entered politics as part of the Independence Movement. After independence he became particularly notable in the 1950s for opposing and winning a battle against Jawaharlal Nehru’s socialistic and collectivist land use policies, for the sake of the Indian Farmer, which endeared him to the agrarian communities throughout the nation, particularly in his native Uttar Pradesh. The leader of the Bharatiya Lok Dal, he was settled at the time for the largely honorary post of Deputy Prime Minister of India.
During 1977 Lok Sabha Elections, there was not a single party, hence it was problem, which symbol has to be adopted Hence, a request was made to Chaudhary Charan Singh (Lok Dal) and he agreed to release his party-Lok Dal’s symbol “HALDHAR’. It was because of efforts of Raj Narain he later became Prime Minister in the year 1979. He was sworn in as Prime Minister with the support of just 64 MPs.Charan Singh died on 29 May 1987 in New Delhi. He was survived by his wife, Gayatri Devi and five children.
Rajiv Ratna Gandhi born on 20 August 1944 in Mumbai, was the sixth Prime Minister of India, serving from 1984 to 1989. He took office after the 1984 assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, his mother, to become the youngest Indian Prime Minister. For much of Rajiv’s childhood his grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru was prime minister. He became a professional pilot for the Indian Airlines. In 1968, he married Sonia Gandhi—and the couple settled down in Delhi to a domestic life with their children Rahul and Priyanka. Although for much of the 1970s his mother was prime minister, and his brother Sanjay wielded significant unofficial power, Rajiv remained apolitical. After Sanjay’s death in a plane crash in 1980, Rajiv reluctantly entered politics at the behest of Indira.
The following year he became a member of the Lok Sabha. As part of his political grooming, Rajiv was made a general secretary of the Congress and given significant responsibility in organising the 1982 Asian Games. Rajiv Gandhi remained Congress President until the elections in 1991. While campaigning for the elections, he was assassinated by a suicide bomber from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in May 21 1991 in Sriperumbudur. Rajiv Gandhi was awarded the highest civilian award by the government of India, Bharat Ratna in 1991.
Vishwanath Pratap Singh born on 25 June 1931 in Allahabad, was the 7th Prime Minister of India. His initial ministry consisted of the following Cabinet ministers and their departments. The Cabinet was functional from the 2 December 1989 to 10 November 1990. Hence , he was ousted less than a year later. To hold unwieldy coalition together proved to be a formidable task. Additionally, Singh faced secessionist movements in the states of Punjab and Kashmir. The latter threatened to erupt into armed conflict with Pakistan in early 1990 and exacerbated Hindu-Muslim conflict in the country.
Known as a consensus builder, skilled negotiator, and a person of strong will, Singh’s talents were considerable, but were stretched to their utmost and ultimately failed. Singh held the post as Prime Minister less than a year due to pressures from political rivals and an electorate increasingly polarized along caste and religious lines. He died on November 10, 2006 in New Delhi.
Chandra Shekhar Singh born on 17 April 1927 in Ibrahimpatti, was the eighth Prime Minister of India. He became the eighth Prime Minister of India on 10 November 1990 as Congress decided to extend outside support to his government. The relationship crumbled quickly, as the Congress party accused him of spying on Rajiv Gandhi, their leader at that time. The Congress Party then boycotted Parliament and as Shekhar’s faction only had 64 MPs, he resigned in a nationally televised address on 6 March 1991. He remained in office until national elections could be held later that year.It was during these elections that Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated.
Shekhar was known for abiding by the parliamentary conventions and was honoured with the inaugural Outstanding Parliamentarian Award in 1995. Shekhar was a member of the Lok Sabha, India’s lower house of Parliament. He led the Samajwadi Janata Party. Starting in 1977, he won elections to the Lok Sabha eight times from Ballia constituency in eastern Uttar Pradesh. Chandra Shekhar suffered from multiple myeloma, a form of cancer of the plasma cell. He had been hospitalised for over three months by the date of his death, aged 80, in New Delhi on 8 July 2007 P. V.
Pamulaparti Venkata Narasimha Rao born on 28 June 1921 in Vangara, Karimnagar, was an Indian lawyer, politician and freedom fighter who served as the ninth Prime Minister of India from1991 to 1996. He led an important administration, overseeing a major economic transformation and several home incidents affecting national security of India. Rao who held the Industries portfolio was personally responsible for the dismantling of the Licence Rajas this came under the purview of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. He is often referred to as the “Father of Indian Economic Reforms”. Future prime ministers Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh continued the economic reform policies pioneered by Rao’s government. Rao accelerated the dismantling of the License Raj, reversing the socialist policies of Rajiv Gandhi’s government.
He employed Dr. Manmohan Singh as his Finance Minister to embark on historic economic transition. With Rao’s mandate, Dr. Manmohan Singh launched India’s globalisation angle of the reforms that implemented the International Monetary Fund (IMF) policies to rescue the almost bankrupt nation from economic collapse. Rao was also referred to as Chanakya for his ability to steer tough economic and political legislation through the parliament at a time when he headed aminority government. Rao died on December 23, 2004 of a heart attack in New Delhi. He was cremated in Hyderabad. He was a versatile personality with interests in a variety of subjects such as literature and computer software. He spoke 17 languages.
Haradanahalli Doddegowda Deve Gowda born 18 May 1933 in Haradanahalli was the 11th Prime Minister of India from 1996 to 1997 and the 14th Chief minister of the state of Karnataka from 1994 to 1996. He is an influential leader of the Vokkaliga community and is popularly known as “Mannina maga” (Son of the soil) for espousing the cause of the farmers. He is the National President of the Janata Dal (Secular) party. He earned his Diploma in Civil Engineering from Smt.L.V. Polytechnic, Hassan, Karnataka. He married Smt. Chennamma and the couple have 4 sons and 2 daughters. His parents, Shri Dodde Gowda and Smt. Devamma were from a middle class agricultural background. Hence, he was exposed to the hardships of farmers, early in his life and later became a champion of the farmers cause.
Inder Kumar Gujral was an Indian politician who served as the 12th Prime Minister of India from April 1997 to March 1998. Inder Kumar Gujral was born on 4 December 1919 to Avtar Narain and Pushpa Gujral in Jhelum, Pakistan. He studied at D.A.V. College, Hailey College of Commerce and Forman Christian College University, Lahore. He also participated in the Indian independence movement and was jailed in 1942 during the Quit India Movement. As a student he became a member of the Communist Party of India. Gujral was admitted at Medanta Hospital in Gurgaon, Haryana, on 19 November 2012, after being diagnosed with a lung infection.
He had suffered a serious chest infection a few days before being admitted to the hospital following more than a year of dialysis. His health deteriorated in the hospital and was reported to be “very critical”. On 27 November, he fell unconscious and his urine output system stopped working. Gujral died on 30 November 2012. The government of India declared a seven-day period of state mourning and cancelled official functions until 6 December.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee born 25 December 1924 in Gwalior, is an Indian statesman who served as the 10th Prime Minister of India, in three non-consecutive terms, first for 13 days in 1996, then for 13 months from 1998 to 1999 and then from 1999 to 2004 for a full five year term. A parliamentarian for over four decades, Vajpayee was elected to the Lok Sabha (the lower house of India’s Parliament) nine times, and twice to the Rajya Sabha (upper house). He is the only one to be elected from four different states at different times (Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Delhi.) He won his first election from Balrampur and later he moved to Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, until 2009, when he retired from active politics due to health concerns. Vajpayee was among the founding members of the erstwhile Jana Sangh political party and had also been its President. He was also the Minister of External Affairs in the cabinet of Morarji Desai.
Manmohan Singh is the 13th and current Prime Minister of India. A renowned economist, he is the only Prime Minister since Jawaharlal Nehru to return to power after completing a full five-year term, and the first non-Hindu to hold the office. Born on September 26, 1932 in Gah , Pakistan, Singh’s family migrated to India during its partition in 1947. He received a BA from Cambridge, and after obtaining his doctorate in economics from Oxford, Singh worked for the United Nations in 1966–69. He subsequently began his bureaucratic career when Lalit Narayan Mishra hired him as an advisor in the Ministry of Foreign Trade. Over the 70s and 80s, Singh held several key posts, in the Government of India such as Chief Economic Advisor (1972–76), Reserve Bank governor (1982–85) and Planning Commission head (1985–87).
In 2004, when the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) came to power, its chairperson Sonia Gandhi unexpectedly relinquished the premiership to Manmohan Singh. This Singh-led “UPA I” government executed several key legislations and projects, including the Rural Health Mission, Unique Identification Authority, Rural Employment Guarantee scheme and Right to Information Act. In 2008, opposition to a historic civil nuclear agreement with the United States nearly caused Singh’s government to fall after Left Front parties withdrew their support. Although India’s economy grew rapidly under UPA I, its security was threatened by several terrorist incidents (including the 2008 Mumbai attacks) and the continuing Maoist insurgency.The 2009 general election saw the UPA return with an increased mandate, with Singh retaining the office of Prime Minister.
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