Adr India

Heading towards Democracy!……
India: The World's Largest Democracy

India is home to over 846 million people.
With a billion people, the Republic of India is the world's largest democracy. With a population nearly four times that of the United States, India modeled its government on the British parliamentary system, with a healthy dose of influences from the United States and the rest of Europe.
India is run by a parliament made up of two houses, (similar to the United States Congress, which comprises the Senate and the House of Representatives). These two houses are called the LOK SABHA, or "House of the People," and the RAJYA SABHA, or "Council of States." Of the two, the Lok Sabha holds more power, but the two houses work together to make the laws of the country. The parliament is located in India's capital, New Delhi.

The United States has a two-party system, but in India candidates for seats in the Lok Sabha may belong to one of many different political parties. Once elected, the members of different parties may form coalitions to create a voting majority in the Lok Sabha.

The Parliament is India's governing body.
From the biggest coalition or party, the Lok Sabha chooses a prime minister. The prime minister does many of the same tasks that the president of the United States does, and works with the Council of Ministers to govern the country.

Unlike Great Britain, another parliamentary democracy, India does have a president. This president, a person elected to office for five years by members of both houses and important government officials from all over the country, serves mostly as a figurehead. The president's responsibilities include "officially" appointing ministers — even though someone else actually chooses those ministers. Most of the time, the president's job is simply ceremonial.

In a state of emergency, though, the president can take executive action that a large legislative body like the parliament might not be able to do quickly enough. If India faces a military threat, the president can declare a state of emergency and become the single governing authority in the country. Likewise, if an Indian state fails to function effectively, the president can step in and rule the state directly. Most of the time, however, the prime minister holds the most political power in India.

Jawaharlal Nehru

Jawaharlal Nehru and Mohandas Gandhi shared many ideas.
After gaining independence in 1947, India chose JAWAHARLAL NEHRU as its first prime minister. He had been an important voice in the Indian fight for independence and was a natural choice for the office.
Although he had been a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru accepted partition — the decision by the British to split South Asia into India and Pakistan — even though Gandhi did not. Nehru believed South Asia had little choice.

Nehru remained prime minister until 1964.

Jawaharlal Nehru was the first prime minister of India and the father of Indira Gandhi.
During that time, he championed a policy of remaining neutral and isolated from other countries. Later in his career, he found it difficult to convince the Indian people that this policy of nonalignment was good for the country.

In 1962, Nehru provoked a short and losing war with China over disputed territory in Kashmir.

Indira Gandhi

Born November 19, 1917, Indira Gandhi was the only child of Jawaharlal Nehru. In her twenties, she joined the National Congress Party, which sought independence for India. In 1942, she married Feroze Gandhi, also a member of the Congress Party.
In 1964, Gandhi's father Prime Minister Nehru died, and two years later she became leader of the Congress Party and prime minister.

In 1971, Gandhi put India's military might at the disposal of East Bengal, which seceded from Pakistan, becoming the autonomous nation of Bangladesh. Her support of East Bengal led to increased tension with neighboring Pakistan.

Indira Gandhi was the first and, to date, only female prime minister of India.
Due to election voting irregularities in 1975, India's High Court threatened to ban Gandhi from politics for six years. Ignoring the court, she declared a national state of emergency and imprisoned a number of her political foes. She also passed a very unpopular law that permitted large-scale sterilization as a national form of birth control.

In 1977, Gandhi and the Congress Party were defeated in national elections. She was jailed for a short time on corruption charges.

Gandhi returned to the office of prime minister of 1980 after the Congress Party dominated elections for the Lok Sabha. Her second tenure was marked by great tension with Pakistan, confrontation of the issue overpopulation, and fostering of nuclear weapons research.

Sikhs, in particular, were very unhappy with Indira Gandhi's policies. Followers of the Sikh religion wanted to found a new country, separate from both Pakistan and India, in the Kashmir region. Indira Gandhi opposed this plan.

In 1984, Gandhi countered violent Sikh extremists by ordering the army to attack the Golden Temple of Amritsar, the Sikhs' holy shrine. More than 450 Sikhs were killed in the attack. In response, on October 31, 1984, two of Gandhi's own Sikh bodyguards assassinated her — even as some of her Sikh guards tried to protect her.

Rajiv Gandhi

After Indira Gandhi's death, her son Rajiv was sworn in as prime minister. He served for 18 months and his term was marked by an attempt to cleanse congress of corruption and bold economic initiatives. Regardless, he lost the post of prime minister in the national elections of 1989. Gandhi was assassinated by Tamil separatists in 1991 while campaigning for the Congress Party.
A Nuclear Threat?

India is a very poor and overpopulated country, and most Indians never get the chance to enjoy the luxuries that most Westerners take for granted. They don't have the same technological advantages and certainly lack the wealth that the West enjoys.

India's initial test of nuclear weapons was on May 18, 1974, in the Thar Desert. The explosion created a crater 47 meters wide and 10 meters deep.
India does, however, have nuclear weapons at its command. In 1974, it tested a nuclear bomb. India has not made the effort to build up a big collection of nuclear weapons the way some other countries have, but the fact that they have the ability to make nuclear bombs has affected their relationships with other countries.

India has the greatest difficulties with Pakistan. The dispute with Pakistan over territory has persisted since the two countries were first split in 1947. This conflict continues to this day, occasionally taking the form of outright violence and bloodshed.

With other countries, India has often maintained neutrality, choosing to deal with its own problems rather than become embroiled in large-scale international conflicts outside of South Asia. They have accepted outside military aid on occasion, in particular when the Soviet Union offered support in a war with Pakistan in the early 1970s.