dated January 26, 1960: The first decade

(From an editorial)

We celebrate on January 26 the tenth anniversary of our career as a free and independent Republic. The inauguration of India’s new Constitution, drawn up by her own elected Constituent Assembly and embodying the ideals and aspirations of the Indian people evolved during the long years of our freedom struggle, marks a new chapter not only in our own history but also in the history of the newly freed countries of Asia and Africa. India’s emergence as a great democracy has been one of the most significant developments of the post-war world. Her role in international councils as an uncommitted nation seeking to foster the idea of co-existence as the only basis on which a peaceful, international system can be built up, has been increasingly appreciated and approved. Internally, although our progress has been marked by setbacks, the past decade has witnessed many notable achievements. The development of power, the harnessing of rivers through multi-purpose projects, the diversification of industry, the development of rail and road transport, the laying of the foundation for expansion of heavy industries on the basis of increased production of coal and steel, the provision of social services on an expanded scale — all these are significant items on the plus side of the balance-sheet. Equally, the fairly smooth reorganisation of States, the holding of two general elections in which millions of voters, largely illiterate, went to the polls for the first time, the rehabilitation of millions of displaced persons who had lost their all in the tragic aftermath of partition, represent political accomplishments of no mean order. As against these, the critic may point to the enormous amount of unproductive and even wasteful spending, the unchecked growth of inflation in recent years, the gap between programmes and performance in many fields, the failure to solve the food problem, the decline in standards in education and many other spheres, and, above all, the failure to achieve the emotional integration of the people. These are formidable entries on the debit side and neither the people nor the leaders can afford to ignore the lessons to be drawn from them.

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