In the 1870s, the Maharaja (prince) of Patiala, a small princely state in the Punjab region of northern India, implemented the Biswedari (big landlord) system, which appointed biswedaris as local authorities of agrarian villages. The biswedaris, mostly government officials and close kin of the Maharaja, gradually took full possession of lands and reduced the original owners to the status of muzaras (tenants). Muzaras had to pay batai (share rent) to their landlords, consisting of half of their crop, though landlords often overestimated the crop yield to justify taking a larger share.
Goa, a state in Western India that borders the Arabian Sea, was a Portuguese colony until 1961. The anti-colonial movement of Goa started in 1910, when the Portuguese monarchy was abolished after a popular revolution, and went through several phases and sub-movements until India took Goa through force in 1961. This included constant diplomatic efforts and negotiations, several instances of extensive non-violent action, and ultimately Indian military action.
The British commissioner governed the state of Mysore in southern India from 1831 to 1881 when the administration reinstated the pre-existing Wodeyar (Wadiyar) Dynasty. Mysore became a princely state with the Wodeyar Dynasty ruling under the paramountcy of the British. The reigning Maharaja (king) during the Indian independence movement was Jayachamaraja Wodeyar. On 15 August 1947, India gained its independence from the British Raj.
In August of 2008, Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen was premiering his new documentary, “Leaving Fear Behind”, to a group of journalists in a Beijing hotel when Chinese police interrupted and forcibly shut down the screening.
On 30 April 1999, at 2 am, Jessica Lal was shot dead at an unlicensed bar in New Delhi. Lal, a 34-year-old model at the time, had been working as a barmaid at a party filled with actors, politicians, and other socialites. A little after midnight, the bar had run out of alcohol. At 2 AM, Siddharth Vashisht, known as Manu Sharma, along with some of his friends, Alok Khanna, Amardeep Singh Gill, and Vikas Yadav, asked Lal for some alcohol. Sharma offered to pay Lal 1000 Rupees, but she refused. He then took out a .22 pistol and fired it twice, killing Lal with a bullet in the head.
On 16 December 2012, six men raped and nearly beat a 23-year-old woman to death in New Delhi, the capital of the Republic of India. The woman had boarded a local bus with a male companion that night. Once the couple was on the bus, the six men began to taunt the couple. They gagged and beat the woman’s friend until he was unconscious. Then, the six men dragged the woman to the back of the bus, beat her with an iron rod, and gang-raped her. Following their attack, the men threw both the woman and her friend out onto the streets.
In the early 2000s, many residents of rural India did not own the land on which they lived and worked. Without land rights, peasant farmers were often economically insecure.
India has maintained much of its traditional caste system, which separates communities based on the socioeconomic status of the communities’ forefathers. Early 20th century constitutional reforms prevented the kind of medieval discrimination that used to make some castes literally ‘untouchable’. The untouchables were replaced by what are referred to as ‘scheduled tribes’ (STs), ‘scheduled castes’ (SCs) and ‘other backward castes’ (OBCs) that collectively refer to India’s socioeconomically disadvantaged people. Combined, they represent about 85% of India’s population.
According to the World Bank, about $1 trillion (USD) is paid in bribes annually worldwide; in India, alone, the economy is estimated to have lost half a trillion (USD) to corruption since her independence, and more than half of the country is estimated to have first-hand experience paying bribes or influence peddling.
The Salt Satyagraha campaign that began in 1930 sought to continue previous efforts that had attempted to undermine British colonial rule in India and establish Purna Swaraj (complete self-rule). The previous nationwide nonviolent campaign for independence (1919-22) had been called off by Gandhi because it broke into disarray and violence, even though it had been preceded by local campaigns: a campaign in Champaran (Indian peasants in Champaran campaign for rights, 1917) and a textile workers strike in Ahmedabad in 1918.
In 1998, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of the multinational beverage company, was granted a license to operate a bottling plant in Plachimada, a small village in the state of Kerala in southern India. Within two years of the plant's opening in 2000, indigenous people living near the plant, known as the Adivasi people, began protesting the bottling plant's presence in their community. The local population complained that Coca-Cola was lowering the water table and polluting surface and groundwater within the plant site and in the local community.
During the time of British occupation of India, peasants of Champaran district of the Bihar state were highly exploited by the indigo cultivation. The lessees of Indigo and agricultural areas had been Indians until 1793, but as the British Empire began its rule in India, European planters began to take over and gained total control of the indigo and sugar cane cultivation.
In March 1942, the British Parliament sent a delegation to India under Sir Stafford Cripps, a Labor Party Politician, in order to negotiate with the Indian National Congress a constitution that would secure Indian support of World War II. The Indian National Congress (INC) found the proposal for the new constitution unsatisfactory, since the draft declaration promised India domination status—but not complete independence—in return for its total cooperation during the war.
The Pashtuns are a Muslim group that occupied the North-West Frontier of British India, the area near present day Afghanistan. This area was occupied by the British in 1848 and divided into two areas. In one area, districts were established and made under British control. The other area was a tribal area where the people lived semi-independent lives without much influence from the British. In 1902, both the settled districts and the tribal region were consolidated into the “North-West Frontier Province” by the British Empire.
The Naga people have been entrenched in a largely violent struggle with the Indian government since the 19th century in an attempt to unify and secure the independence of areas in northeast India that are primarily populated by members of the Naga community. The National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN)--the leading Naga rebel group--declared a ceasefire with the Indian government in 1997 in order to begin peace talks, but little progress has been made since that point.