What makes you proud as an Indian?

Random collection of images that comes to my mind that makes me proud of India in the past century.

Abdul Kalam sworn as the President (2002). One of the great moments for Indian youth. Kalam represented everything good about India – tolerance, scientific acumen, modesty and human nature. It gave us a dream that leaders in a democracy need not be duck heads.

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AR Rahman’s Vande Mataram (1997). This is one of the most epic music renditions in modern Indian history.

Cricket World Cup  (1983). In India, Cricket is not a sport, but a religion. One of the fundamental reasons for India’s new found interest in Cricket stems from this unexpected victory. Cricket now reflects the soul of modern India – it unites people beyond all the great divisions of India. We followed up with 2 more Worldcup victories , but nothing as iconic as this.

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Re-Capture of Tiger Hills (1999). For people who grew up in the 1990s, capturing of Tiger hills during the Kargil War against Pakistan was one of the iconic things. I never felt as patriotic as I did during that time.

India opening up (24 July 1991)
On this day, PV Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh heralded the opening up of India – one of the most important days in India’s economic history. We stopped being a socialistic nation and joined the capitalist world. India misses a shrewd, unsung hero like Mr. Rao (although he was mired in a few corruption scandals by the end of his term).

This cartoon beautifully captures the role of Rao and Singh in India’s success.

Thermonuclear tests at Pokhran (1998). In an ideal world, there won’t be any nuclear weapons. India tried hard to push for those ideals for a long time, but couldn’t convince the world. Given that our neighbors were nuclear armed, we were left with no choice but to trigger the N-bombs in the Rajasthan desert. They signalled the birth of new India – a nation confident of its abilities. Since achieving nuclear status, India’s stature in global stage has improved and recognized as a major power in Asia. Pokhran was a proud moment for a patriotic India. The Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) is a great defense against both China and Pakistan.

War to liberate Bangladesh (1971). India valorously fought Pakistan to secure independence for Banglas and helped them create their own nation of Bangladesh.

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Surrender of Pakistan during the war, which heralded the birth of a nation

Tryst with Destiny Indian independence (1947). One of the great speeches (not as clearly seen in the video). Although he was a lousy leader, India’s first Prime Minster, Nehru, was a great writer, thinker and speaker. He talks about  the birth of the nation as it was getting out of centuries of colonialism and slavery. We had huge challenges and we defied the popular expectations that we would implode.

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Aishwarya Rai – Miss World (1994). On the face of it this is a silly inclusion – a silly title and an Indian won it. But, on deeper thinking, it coincided with India’s overall opening up – culturally, economically and technologically. Aishwarya’s crowning of the silly title was a turbo boost to the Indian ethos. It is as though an old leaf had fallen off Indian history and a new one started sprouting at the sight of spring.

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Launch of India’s first satellite – Aryabhatta (1975). Plenty of people mocked us that a nation that cannot put bread on the table has no business to be in space. World saw the poverty-stricken nation’s baby step as fantasy. Since then we have grown to be among the top 5 powers in space exploration. India’s space program not only generate sizable revenues (through commercial ventures) but also emerging as a strong tool to fight poverty (with better maps, rural connectivity, etc)

 

Introduction of Green Revolution in India (1963) –– The reason why famines are history is because of the efforts of Dr. Norman Borlaug and MS Swaminathan. Next time you touch wheat or rice say a silent thanks to these men who made the production possible to feed 1.2 billion Indians

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Gandhi’s Indian Independence movement (1916-1947). One of the epic struggles in human history. While Christ and Buddha struggled to achieve mass following for their moral path during their lifetimes, Gandhiji pulled a coup’ that is unprecedented in human history. He united the world’s most populous landmass with incredible diversity in languages, culture and history into a cohesive movement to fight for truth in a peaceful way. Indians are not the kind of people who will get into any kind of trouble or revolution. But, with no use of modern equipment he managed to make an average Indian do something they have never done in their history – fight for the nation. I still can’t imagine if he were a real human. The struggle was beautifully captured in Nehru’s “Tryst with Destiny” speech.

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India became the first country to enter Mars orbit in its first attempt. India launched its Mars Orbiter aka Mangalyaan (Sanskrit for mars crafter) on November 5, 2013 . This was India’s first interplanetary mission to mars and the orbiter was expected to reach the martian orbit by September 24, 2014.

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Whats so special about this ?

  • If the satellite makes it into the Martian orbit, India will become the fourth country in the world after US, Russia  and Europe to undertake a successful Mars mission.
  • The estimated cost of the mission was about 71,000,000$, which is much much less as compared to the previous mission to mars by other countries.
  • The orbiter can provide information about mars surface features, morphology, mineralogy and martian atmosphere by indigenous scientific instruments.

Nobel Prize for Peace for Kailash Satyarthi

Kailash Satyarthi, founder of Bachpan Bachao Andolan an NGO which saves children from slavery and forced labor, won the Nobel Peace Prize, which he shared with Malala Yousafzai, the brave heart child from Pakistan who was shot in the head by Taliban but still survived to tell the tale.
Kailash has saved more than 88,000 children from 144 countries and it is due to his efforts that International Labour Organization has adopted Convention No. 182, which is right now the guiding principle for all Governments against child labor and child exploitation.

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Dr. RAGHUNATH ANANT MASHELKAR, another pride of India.
During US President Barack Obama’s visit to the country earlier this year, the incidence below filled my heart with immense pride.
We all know that many Indian delegates were lined up in a queue and were introduced to Mr.Obama individually.

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Amongst them, was Dr. Raghunath Mashelkar, former Director General of
the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research(CSIR). On his turn, he was also introduced as a scientist to Mr.Obama. As Dr.Mashelkar approached the US President, Obama exclaimed ” OH! You’re a scientist? What science do you do?”  Dr. Mashelkar is a reputed and a revered personality in the country and he had never encountered such a question before. But, he kept calm and replied, ” I make science work for the poor.”

 

India is in the midst of one of the largest rescue missions from a foreign country.

Codenamed operation Raahat, the mission was launched in the last week of March to bring back Indians from war-torn Yemen.

On  March 31, India sent V.K. Singh, one of its ministers and former  chief of the Indian Army, to oversee the mission and ensure safe return  of its citizens.
By April 7 (Tuesday), India is expected to bring back almost all its citizens stuck in Yemen. As many as 4000 Indians—mostly engaged as laborers and nurses—were said to be living in the country before the rescue mission. About 2300 are now back in India, according to the news agency Press Trust of India.

Now, impressed with the evacuation procedure, 26 countries have sought India’s help to evacuate their citizens from the war-torn country!

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This is indeed the proudest moment for any Indian! India is truly blessed to have people with such dedication in the army and a PM with such a foresight and administrative capabilities!

Landmark event in IAF history: Meet India’s first 3 women fighter pilots 

Indian women broke yet another glass ceiling in an age when practically nothing much remains beyond their means anymore. This morning belongs to flight cadets Avani Chaturvedi from Madhya Pradesh, Bhawana Kanth from Bihar and Mohana Singh from Rajasthan, who are currently undergoing stage-II training on Kiran Intermediate Jet Trainers at Hakimpet Air Force Station in Hyderabad.

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The three women, in their early 20s, created history as India’s first women fighter pilots in the Indian Air Force (IAF), as they were commissioned from the first batch on Saturday.

All of them cleared the first stage of training and has about 150 hours of flying.

Now what according to you is/are the incident(s) that you feel make us proud as Indians in the comment section! :)

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