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Day 21 – Q 4. The 1960s and 70s can be regarded as the decades that restored India’s self-esteem and pride. Elucidate.

4. The 1960s and 70s can be regarded as the decades that restored India’s self-esteem and pride. Elucidate. 

1960 और 70 के दशक को भारत के आत्मसम्मान और गौरव को बहाल करने वाले दशकों के रूप में माना जा सकता है। स्पष्ट करें।


The 1960s and 70’s were the real watershed decades in the life of Independent India. It was the period which heralded the coming of age of the new Nation as a functional and vibrant democracy, and sowed the seeds of multiple developments, most of which were very significant and having far reaching impact on the future course of the nation.


Until the start of the 1960’s, India had been a young independent nation trying to tackle the challenges arising out of a nascent democracy in a polarised world order with problems like crisis of foreign exchange shortage by 1959. In this regard, the 1960’s and 70’s can be regarded as the decades that restored India’s self-esteem and pride due to the following factors:

  • Operation Smiling Buddha(1974) – In 1974, the Indian government conducted its first nuclear test in the deserts of Pokhran, Rajasthan making it a peaceful nuclear explosion. ‘Smiling Buddha’ was the assigned code name of India’s first successful nuclear bomb test. With the Smiling Buddha, India became the world’s sixth nuclear power after the United States, Soviet Union, Britain, France and China to successfully test out a nuclear bomb.

  • India-Pakistan war of 1965 – The war was the second fought between India and Pakistan over the region of Kashmir. The war began following the failure of Pakistan’s “Operation Gibraltar” which was designed to infiltrate and invade Jammu and Kashmir. Decisive mandate in the war helped India overcome the failure of 1962 Indo-China war and restored it’s self-esteem.

  • Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971 – The Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 was the first war between the countries that did not involve fighting over the Kashmir region. Pakistan was separated as a result of the war and the new nation of Bangladesh was formed with the help of India. Such a result restored India’s pride on the world stage as a regional power.

  • General Elections of 1967 and 1977 – The March 1967 general elections in India was perhaps the last time when the people voted to elect the Union as well as the State Governments simultaneously. The Congress party, even while retaining power at the Centre, had a reduced strength in the Lok Sabha and was voted out of power in nine states. Whereas in 1977 general elections, centre saw the 1st non-congress government in independent India. In the aftermath of Emergency(1975-1977), India emerged as a  more resilient democracy and strengthened democratic culture. 

  • Green Revolution and White Revolution – Green Revolution was aimed to increase the production of food-grains that resulted in a drastic reduction in imports and made India  self-sufficient in food-grains. White Revolution was the concerted effort on a cooperative level to increase milk supply through which Indian Dairy Industry  grew to the extent that milk output not only topped the world, but also represents sustained growth in the availability of milk and milk products. These efforts helped India overcome its dependency on foriegn countries for food and restored its self esteem and pride.

  • Economic Measures – June 6, 1966 was a defining day in independent India’s economic history. It was the day on which Indira Gandhi devalued the rupee by 36.5%, increasing the dollar’s value against it by 57.4%. Further in 1969, the Nationalization of Banks was carried out to ensure the release of huge amounts held by the Private Banks by way of deposits from the general public for the equitable and inclusive growth of the Country’s economy and facilitate easy access to credit for the common people for their various productive needs. These measures showcased confidence of nation to take decisive steps towards achievement of its ideals.

  • States Reorganisation – In 1960, the state of Bombay was bifurcated to create the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra following violence and agitation. In 1963, the state of Nagaland was created for the sake of the Nagas. By 1966, Punjab was divided into three states along linguistic lines—Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. Further,  more states were created in northeastern India. These efforts showcased the ability of Union to accommodate multiple demands of people.


Though some events like dynastic political succession and emergency in 1975 were a blot on the inclusive democratic functioning of the nation, the 1960’s and 70’s formed the defining decades of post independent India where India emerged as a resolute south asain power on the world stage with a stable democratic system which restored its  lost self esteem and pride.

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