india's growth blow by blow account.
this is a fantastic post by another person in another forum.
i read it and liked it so much that i felt i'd shaere it with you.
light_of_ernedi, i specially want you to read it .
any person who's about 30+ should be able to connect to this one soon.
My earliest memory of India was from the mid 1950s. I used to live in Patna the capital of the Eastern Indian State of Bihar. It was and is still one of the poorest parts of India. It was the initial years of our Republic. The Indian market was only partially closed to the foreign companies. Still many ordinary consumer products used to come from England. These included such ordinary consumer items of daily use.
2. On the streets we could see the big US made cars like Dodge, Buick, Studebaker etc. The small car scene was mostly dominated by British made cars like Morris, Hillman, Standard Vanguard and Austin. India had started licensed production of the Morris Oxford under the brand name of Hindustan 14 from 1950 onwards at the Hindustan Motor Works, Utter Para in West Bengal. The production line was changed to Landmaster in 1955 and Ambassador in 1958.Incidentally, the Ambassador car is still produced but it has undergone much up gradation and now is even produced with bullet proof body.
3. The import of consumer products and luxury items like cars etc were gradually stopped by the later part of the 1950s. However, a limited number of trucks were allowed importation for a few more years.
4. At that time the train coaches were made of wooden bodies and the engines were all steam locomotives. Refrigerators and Air conditioners were very few and whatever was available was imported from Europe. They were very expensive and only very few persons possessed these items. The radio set was manufactured in India with imported components. So it was also an expensive item and very few persons possessed them. However, with the arrival of the transistor radio in the market in the 1960s, there was rapid growth of this means of communication as the sets were inexpensive. Despite the arrival of the transistor radio, the newspaper and other items of the print media continued to be the main source of information for the masses.
5. Intercity transport was either by means of rail transport or by means of motor transport. The average speed of the mail or express train used to be 40 mph and the maximum permissible speed used to be 55 mph. The steam engine was much less powerful and could pull only 9 to 11 coaches depending upon the gradient of the route. The signaling used to be by means of mechanical leavers and pulleys using wires. The signal light used to be lanterns.
6. The availability of electricity was mostly confined to the big cities and towns and power generation was by means of captive power stations burning coal. There were neither super thermal power stations nor the national and regional grids.
7. Air Service in India had been nationalized in 1953, so in my younger days it was only the Indian Airlines which used to operate a handful of stations by using the small DC-3 aircrafts having an average cruising speed of 150 miles per hour. They were not pressurized and carried 27 passengers. For flying from Kolkata to Delhi it had to make at least 2 refueling stops en route and it took almost 8 hours to cover the distance. There were also four DC-4 Sky master aircrafts which were used to connect the four metros.
The non stop flight from Kolkata to Delhi by the Sky master used to take 5 hours.
8. The first modern aircraft to arrive in the Indian Civil fleet was the VICKERS VISCOUNT which carried 44 passengers in a pressurized cabin and had a cruising speed on 350 mph. They were very impressive looking aircraft powered by 4 Rolls Royse Dart turbo prop engines. However, in the initial years very few cities were connected by this aircraft as we did not had suitable airfields in all places. These aircrafts were followed by the acquisition of F-27 Fokker Friendship and the Caravel aircrafts. In later years these were followed by the acquisition of the HS 748 Avro (some were manufactured later by HAL), Airbus A-300, Boeing 737 and finally by the Airbus A-320.
9. However, in places like Patna, the airfield was so small and weak that the Dakota could be replaced by the F-27 only in 1964, then also it had to operate with a much reduced load. It took several years to upgrade the runway so that the aircraft could land and take off with full load of 40 passengers.
10. In those days there were very few trains between Patna and Delhi, which included the Toofan Express, Delhi Express, Junta Express and the Upper India Express. As the trains used to travel at a much slower speed, it used to take almost 24 hours to travel between Patna and Delhi. The distance between Patna and Kolkata (555 Km) used to be covered in 10 to 12 hours.
11. Food grains, particularly wheat, rice, sugar etc and kerosene oil were used to be supplied to the public only through the ration shops against the permits /ration cards given to the citizens. The same was the case with other essentials of life including baby food, edible oil and similar items of consumer consumption. For special occasions like marriages and festivals special permits were issued so that citizens could have more than their normal quota of supplies.
12. India was not self sufficient in food and neither it had sufficient money to purchase the essentials from the open world market. Therefore, it had to accept food aid from USA, Canada and Australia.
13. The Indian political leaders of the time were advocates of world peace and world disarmament. Consequently, not much resource was allocated for the modernization and proper maintenance of the armed forces. India was seen a great champion of world peace and disarmament. It advocated a world free of power blocks and started the non aligned movement. It took lead in the movement for decolonization of the Afro-Asian countries. It promoted peace and peaceful co existence with all countries.
14. India was in for a rude shock when in 1962 Chinese forces attacked India along the northern borders. The Indian Armed forces were totally unprepared and there was no logistic support along the border as not many maps and roads existed on our side of the border. The mighty Indian army was defeated and the Chinese forces intruded into Indian Territory both in the Eastern and Western Sectors of the border. The United States and the other Western Powers came to the aid of India and after 2o days of fighting the Chinese halted and withdrew from much of the Indian Territory they had occupied. In the previous 200 years of its history the Indian Armed forces had a glorious record. It was on the victorious side in both the First and the Second World War. The humiliation of the mighty Indian Armed Forces was a matter of great national shame and disgrace.
15. Out of the ashes of defeat and disgrace of 1962, the Indian political leaders got the realization of the need to have a powerful armed force as the capacity to defend itself is one of the essentials of a successful nation. Therefore, the planning of the nation was re oriented to ensure that adequate measures are taken to organize proper defense of the nation’s borders. The United States and Britain provided India with arms and equipments and the nation’s armed forces were modernized. Roads were constructed along the border areas and the size of the armed forces was also increased.
16. The 1962 disaster was a blessing in disguise. It resulted in the total reshaping of the foreign and defense policy of India. Several steps were taken immediately to modernize the armed forces and to increase its striking power. India started looking at the world from a different angle and continuously kept track of the changing geo-political situation in the world.
17. Since the mid 1950s, the Indian political leaders, particularly its first Prime Minister Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru, 1947-64 had embarked on a planned economic development program for the nation. It envisaged rapid industrialization of the country along with building of a strong agricultural base to make the country self sufficient in production of industrial goods, consumer products and food grain. India tries to achieve this target by reserving the vital sectors of the economy for the public sector while retaining a mixed economic system. Thus, it was ensured that the commanding heights of the Indian economy were to be controlled by the State. The private sector was allowed to operate but under the control of the State and certain sectors of the industry was reserved for the small scale sector.
18. India is predominantly an agricultural country. So it was essential to bring in land reforms to ensure the equitable distribution of land among the people engaged in agriculture. In 1953, the old Zamindari system under which landownership was mostly confined to the big land owners was mostly confined to few individuals was abolished. A land ceiling act was passed and the surplus land so available was distributed amongst the landless peasants. The new owners of land were given incentives to improve the agricultural output. The state also purchased their produce at a fixed price to ensure that they get a decent return from their land. At the same time, the State also initiated action to modernize the agricultural system and research for better variety o f agricultural inputs was intensified. This resulted in the development of the high yielding variety of seeds that increased the food grain production of the country.
"Take my hand, my child of love
Come step inside my tears
Swim the magic ocean,
I've been crying all these years"
"I liked the world where i used to live
I never really wanted to live"