Indian subcontinent; key historical events
(Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka)
Page last modified 28/8/2020
Secession of Bangladesh 1958-72
British military conquest of India 1751-1849
See also Myanmar
British East India Company
Bhutan - see Appendix 2
Maldives – see Appendix 3
Nepal – see Appendix 4
Sri Lanka from 1947 – see Appendix 5
Bangladesh, India, Pakistan
15/6/2020, Tensions along the ill-defined and disputed Himalayan border between India and China escalated. India accused China of annexing the Galwan Valley, some 60 square miles. China accused India of building military roads into disputed areas and of attempting to control more of Kashmir, including an area ceded by Pakistan to China that India claims. Some 20 soldiers died, mainly through falling into icy gorges.
14/2/2019, Pakistani terrorists suicide-bombed Indian security forces in Kashmir, killing 45. Tensions briefly rose between the two countries, with Indian jets striking Pakistan and one being shot down. The pilot was later returned to India as tensions eased.
5/1/2016, Violent riots broke out in Kaliachak, West Bengal, India, after political activist Kamlesh Tiwari allegedly insulted the Muslim prophet Muhammad.
16/12/2014, Taliban gunmen scaled the wall of an army-run school in Peshawar, Pakistan, and began shooting indiscriminately. 141 schoolchildren were killed before the army regained control; many more had been injured. This was in revenge for Army attacks on the Taliban.
24/4/2013, A large garment factory in Rana Plaza in the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, collapsed, killing 1,129 people.
16/2/2013, A bomb exploded at a marketplace in Quetta, Pakistan, killing over 80 people.
24/11/2012, A fire at a clothing factory in Bangladesh killed 112 people.
5/9/2011, India and Bangladesh signed a pact to end their 40-year border dispute.
26/11/2008, Pakistani Islamic terrorists struck at several targets in Mumbai, India, taking visitors at the Taj Mahal luxury hotel hostage. Indian forces stormed the terrorists in the hotel. 183 people were killed and over 300 injured.
2007, India and Pakistan signed an agreement to prevent accidental nuclear war.
27/12/2007, The moderate Pakistani politician, Benazir Bhutto, was assassinated whilst participating in an opposition rally against the hard-line ruler, President Pervez Musharraf.
11/7/2006, Bombs exploded in Mumbai railway station, India. 200 were killed. Pakistani Islamic militants were suspected.
19/5/2004, The Indian Congress Party gained a surprise victory in elections, defeating the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Manmohan Singh became Prime Minister.
2/5/2003, India and Pakistan resumed diplomatic relations.
8/5/2002, In Karachi a suicide car bomber blew himself up next to a bus, killing 14 people – 11 of them were French naval engineers working for the Pakistan navy.
13/12/2001, Terrorists attacked the Indian Parliament, killing 14 people. This brought India and Pakistan to the brink of war.
8/10/2001. Anti-American riots in several Pakistani cities. Banks, a shopping mall, and cinemas showing American films, were burnt down. Pakistan was a vital access point for USA forces seeking to enter Afghanistan. Raids continue over the next few days, with anti-American protests in Pakistan and Indonesia.
24/1/2001, The greatest gathering of people ever recorded took place at Allahabad, India, where 20 million people gathered for the Maha Kumbh Mela.
2000, India’s population now exceeded one billion.
12/10.1999, General Pervez Musharraf (born 1943) took control of Pakistan in a military coup.
10/8/1999, A Pakistani plane intruding into Indian airspace was shot down.
11/7/1999, India recaptured the town of Kargil from Pakistan, after two months of conflict.
26/5/1999, Indian air force planes attacked Pakistani intruders in Kashmir, sparking the Kargil War.
30/5/1998, Pakistan conducted further nuclear tests.
28/5/1998, Pakistan test-exploded five nuclear devices in retaliation for India’s nuclear tests earlier in the month. The US, Japan, and other nations imposed sanctions on Pakistan.
13/5/1998, The US and Japan imposed economic sanctions on India because of its nuclear test.
11/5/1998, India conducted a nuclear test in the Rajasthan Desert, its first such test since 1974. Pakistan, which already had nuclear weapons, was angered.
5/9/1997, Mother Teresa died in Kolkata (Calcutta), India, aged 87.
1995, In India, the Punjab Chief Minister was assassinated by Sikh extremists.
20/10/1993, Pakistan elected Benazir Bhutto (1953-2007) as President.
12/3/1993, 257 people were killing in a bombing in Mumbai, India.
7/12/1992. Religious riots swept India after Hindu fanatics destroyed the Babri Masjid mosque. 1,200 people died in these riots.
6/12/1992. Riots followed a Hindu attack on the Ayodha Mosque, India. This mosque was built by the first Moghul Emperor Babur in the early 16th century; Hindus contended that it was built on top of a Hindu temple marking the birthplace of the Hindu god, Rama. India appeared to be abandoning its secular legacy in favour of a militant Hinduism.
18/11/1992, In Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto was put under house arrest after police broke up a political demonstration.
21/5/1991. Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated. Police blamed Tamil Tigers.
26/2/1991, In Bangladeshi general elections, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party won 139 of 300 seats in the Jatiyo Sangshad. BNP leader Khaleda Zia, widow of President Zia, became President of Bangladesh on 19/3/1991.
31/10/1990. In India, Hindu fundamentalists again attempted to storm the mosque at Ayodhya. Hindus wanted to demolish the mosque, claiming it stood on the site of the birthplace of one of their gods, Lord Rama. Over 8 days, 170 died in India in clashes over this mosque.
19/1/1990. Free love guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh died of a heart attack at his commune in Poona, India. Aged 58, he owned nearly 100 Rolls Royces, and was banned from nearly 20 countries; including the US where his commune in Oregon was closed down.
6/8/1990, Ghulam Ishaq Khan, President of Pakistan, removed the Government of Benazir Bhutto, charging her with corruption. Islamists, the landed aristocracy and other political opponents wanted her gone, and Benazir’s supporters allged that the charges were purely politically motivated.
2/12/1989, VP Singh, leader of the Janata Dat Party, replaced Rajiv Gandhi as Prime Minister of India, although Rajiv’s Congress Party remained the largest single party.
1/10/1989. Pakistan rejoined the Commonwealth after 17 years.
15/2/1989, The United National Party won the Sri Lankan parliamentary election.
14/2/1989. Union Carbide agreed to pay US$ 470 million to the Indian Government in compensation for the 1984 Bhopal disaster.
31/12/1988, In the Pakistani capital Islamabad, the Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and his Pakistani counterpart Benazir Bhutto signed the first agreement between the two countries for 16 years.
8/12/1988, The new Pakistani Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto, released 1,000 political prisoners.
30/11/1988. Benazir Bhutto became the first woman Prime Minister of Pakistan; the first female leader of an Islamic country. These were the first democratic elections in Pakistan for 11 years. Her father, Zufilqar Ali Bhutto, was leader of Pakistan from 1971 until he was deposed in a military coup headed by General Zia in 1977; Zufilqar was hanged in 1979. Benazir inherited the leadership of the People’s Party and was an ongoing annoyance to the military regime until Zia died in 1987 in a plane crash.
17/8/1988, General Zia ul Haq of Pakistan died when his aircraft crashed shortly after taking off from a military demonstration of US tanks at Bahawalpur for Islamabad. The US ambassador to Pakistan was on board. A bomb or missile attack was suspected.
19/5/1988, In India, Sikh rebels occupying the Golden Temple in Amritsar surrendered.
4/1/1988, Indian Kami Bheel, who possessed the world’s longest moustache at 7ft 10 inches from tip to tip, was found decapitated.
1987, In Bangladesh, Ershad announced a State of Emergency as strikes and demonstrations paralysed the country.
12/5/1987, Rajiv Gandhi imposed direct Federal rule from New Delhi on the mainly Sikh province of Punjab, removing its provincial autonomy. The Sikhs in Punjab had wanted their own country, separate from India as Pakistan was, at Independence in 1947, but this did not happen. They have been agitating for independence ever since. Under Indira Gandhi’s rule (1966-84), which was nominally democratic but veered towards autocracy, especially in times of crisis, the Punjab was even subdivided by creating the new Province of Haryana, to weaken Punjab identity, and attacked the Sikhs at the Golden temple, Amritsar (see 6/6/1984). The Direct Rule was in revenge for the assassination of his mother, Indira Gandhi on 31/10/1984. The immediate cause of Rajiv Gandhi’s move was the assassination of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal, a Sikh politician who had collaborated closely with both Indira and Rajiv, by militant Sikh separatists. Sikh Separatism in the Punjab remains a major issue in Indian politics.
10/11/1986, President Ershad announced an end to martial law in Bangladesh
14/8/1986. In Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto was jailed by General Zia.
18/5/1986, Sri Lankan forces attempted to gain control over the Jaffna Peninsula in the north, held by Tamil rebels.
9/5/1986, Tenzing Norgay, or Tensing, the first joint conqueror of Everest, died.
22/1/1986, In India, three Sikhs were sentenced to death for the murder of Indira Gandhi.
30/12/1985, In Pakistan, General Zia ended martial law.
31/12/1984, Rajiv Gandhi became Prime Minister of India.
19/12/1984. Rajiv Ghandhi won the Indian elections by a large majority.
3/12/1984. The Union Carbide disaster at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh State, India. 410 died immediately as 30 tons of poison gas (methyl isocyanate) leaked; the final toll was 4,000 dead and 20,000 seriously injured; 150,000 required hospital treatment.
3/11/1984, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was cremated.
1/11/1984, Rajiv Gandhi, son of Indira, was sworn in as Indian Prime Minister
31/10/1984 Mrs Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India, 67, was shot dead by a Sikh member of her bodyguard, whilst in New Delhi. Beant Singh, one of the attackers, was then shot dead by other loyal bodyguards. She was succeeded by her son, Rajiv Gandhi. Indira Gandhi was cremated on 3/11/1984. The assassination was in revenge for Indian troops storming the Golden Temple of Amritsar.
29/6/1984, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi dismissed the Governor and the Police Chief of Punjab.
6/6/1984. Indian troops stormed the Sikh Golden Temple in Amritsar. 712 Sikhs and 90 soldiers were killed.
5/4/1984, India imposed detention without trial in Pinjab.
3/4/1984, India declared Punjab a ‘dangerously disturbed area’.
13/4/1984, India captured most of the Siachen glacier on its disputed Kashmir frontier with Pakistan.
10/1/1984, General Zia of Pakistan freed Benazir Bhutto, daughter of former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who had been executed in 1979.
6/10/1983, The Indian Government took over direct control of Punjab Province in response to growing unrest there.
24/3/1982, Military coup in Bangladesh. Ershad took power.
30/5/1981, President Ziaur Rahman of Bangladesh (born 1936) was assassinated. Abdus Sattar took power.
22/6/1980, 1,000 died in ethnic violence in Tripura, India.
6/1/1980. In India, Indira Ghandhi was re-elected as Prime Minister.
10/12/1979, Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work helping the destitute in India. Born in Albania in 1910, she joined a convent at age 18 and taught in the convent’s Calcutta premises. In 1946 she began working the streets of Calcutta to relieve poverty.
15/7/1979, Moraji Desai resigned as Indian Prime Minister. On 28/7/1979 Charan Singh became Indian Prime Minister.
4/4/1979. There were demonstrations in Pakistan as ex-Prime Minister Ali Bhutto was hanged. He was accused of conspiring to murder a political opponent. See 18/3/1978.
19/2/1979, In Bangladesh, Zia ur Rahman’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party won the elections.
10/2/1979, General Zia, ruler of Pakistan, introduced Islamic Shia law.
6/2/1979. Pakistan’s Supreme Court ruled that the former Prime Minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, should be hanged for conspiring to murder an opponent. He was hanged in Rawalpindi on 4/4/1979, despite pleas from world leaders.
7/11/1978, Indira Gandhi was re-elected to the Indian Parliament.
16/9/1978. Zia ul Haq became Head of State in Pakistan, succeeding President Chaudry.
8/7/1978, Two German mountaineers, Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeller, made the first ascent of Everest without oxygen.
18/3/1978. Former Pakistani PM, Zufilkar Ali Bhutto, was sentenced to death for ordering the murder of a political opponent in 1974, see 5/7/1977 and 4/4/1979.
3/1/1978. Ex-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was expelled from her Congress Party.
3/9/1977, In Pakistan, Bhutto was arrested on charges of conspiring to murder Ahmad Kasuri in 1974.
5/7/1977. In Pakistan, President Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the first democratically elected President of Pakistan, was overthrown, and then arrested, in a military coup by Zia, after rioting following accusations of vote rigging by Bhutto. Bhutto was later arrested and charged with treason, see 18/3/1978.
22/3/1977, Indira Gandhi resigned as President of India after an election defeat.
11/3/1977, Widespread violent protests in Pakistan, amid claims that Mrs Bhutto’s election victory was fraudulent.
7/3/1977. Bhutto won the Pakistani general elections. However opposition to her had been so widespread that vote-rigging was suspected, and the Pakistani Army stepped in, led by Zia Ul Haq.
1976, In Bangladesh, trades unions were banned.
22/7/1976, Relations between India and Pakistan improved. This day the first through train ran from Delhi to Lahore.
16/4/1976. India, to curb population growth, raised the minimum age for marriage to 21 for men and 18 for women.
24/9/1975. The south-west face of Everest was climbed for the first time by Douglas Haston and Doug Scott.
15/8/1975. In a military coup in Bangladesh, Sheikh Mujibur Rhaman was overthrown; he and his family were murdered.
30/6/1975, In India, Indira Gandhi imposed press censorship, to suppress dissent.
11/6/1975, The High Court in India ruled that Indira Gandhi had used unfair practices to win the election and must stand down. She refused to go.
18/5/1974, India announced that it had successfully underground-tested an atom bomb.
16/5/1975, India annexed Sikkim.
16/4/1975, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Indian statesman, died aged 86.
6/3/1975, Large demonstrations in New Delhi against Indira Gandhi.
11/11/1974, In Pakistan, Ahmad Kasuri, an outspoken critic of President Zufilkar al Bhutto, was assassinated by members of Bhutto’s security forces.
19/3/1974, Food riots in Bihar, India.
22/2/1974. Pakistan recognised Bangladesh.
1973, Prime Minister Bhutto of Pakistan initiated ‘Islamic Socialism’.
7/11/1973, Pakistan formally left SEATO.
20/10/1973, The Dalai Lama first visited Britain.
8/4/1973. Indian troops annexed Sikkim in the Himalayas.
11/12/1972, India and Pakistan agreed on a truce line in Jammu and Kashmir.
25/8/1972, China vetoed the admission of Bangladesh to the UN.
2/7/1972, India and Pakistan agreed to renounce the use of force in settling disputes.
18/4/1972. Pakistan became a member of the Commonwealth again. See 30/1/1972.
17/4/1972, Bangladesh formally seceded from Pakistan. See 26/3/1971.
19/3/1972. Bangladesh signed a treaty of friendship with India.
30/1/1972. Pakistan, under Zulfiqar Bhutto, withdrew from the Commonwealth, after Britain, Australia, and New Zealand recognised the independence of Bangladesh. See 18/4/1972.
12/1/1972, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was sworn in as Prime Minister of Bangladesh.
10/1/1972, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman returned to a heroes welcome in Dacca, Bangladesh.
22/12/1971, Mujibur Rahman was released from prison in West Pakistan, to become President of Bangladesh.
20/12/1971. In Pakistan, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto became President in place of Yahya Khan.
18/12/1971, Bangladesh formally came into existence after East Pakistan surrendered in the war with India.
16/12/1971. All eastern Pakistani troops surrendered to India.
9/12/1971, Indian planes bombed an orphanage in Dacca, East Pakistan, killing 300 children.
8/12/1971. Indian troops advanced to within 30 miles of Dacca, East Pakistan.
6/12/1971. India recognised Bangladesh as an independent republic.
3/12/1971. India was on a war footing with fighting on its western border with Pakistan. Yahya Khan knew he could not defend secessionist East Pakistan against India; India and Pakistan were hostile, and it was in India’s interests to see Bangladesh secede from Pakistan. Yahya Khan therefore tried to seize the initiative by attacking India from West Pakistan, hoping that a favourable outcome for Pakistan would force India to accept Pakistan’s terms in the East. On this day Pakistan launched air strikes into India. India responded decisively, completely overrunning East Pakistan The Pakistani offensive in the West petered out.
31/5/1971, India requested international aid to cope with the millions of refugees from the war in East Pakistan.
26/3/1971 The Pakistan Army easily overcame East Pakistani resistance by end-April. Assisted by Islamic fundamentalist groups, the Army then massacred all those deemed in favour of independence, including Awami league members, Hindus (about 10% of the population), also students and intellectuals, including teachers, lecturers and doctors. Between one and three million people weer massacred; a further ten million fled to India. Many more died in the makeshift refugee camps. Bangladesh could only attain independence win Indian intervention,which did occur later in 1971.
25/3/1971, Yahya Khan, leader of Pakistan, announced a ‘restore law and order’ campaign in East Pakistan (see 23/3/1971). Members of the Awami League were arrested.
23/3/1971. Bangladesh (meaning ‘The Bengal Nation’), formerly East Pakistan, proclaimed its independence under Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. This started a civil war on 26/3/1971 between Pakistan and East Pakistan, or Bangladesh, in which India intervened on to help Bangladesh become independent. India helped defeat Pakistan on 17/12/1971. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was reported killed on 28/3/1970 and 7,000 people killed in the uprising against the government in West Pakistan. See 17/4/1972. West Pakistani troops killed anyone deemed ‘Bengali’, even teenage boys, as well as any Hindus they came across; rape was also widespread. The USA had been a close ally of Pakistan, to counter the Soviet-India axis, and was now embarrassed to see its arms being used to massacre Bengalis. In rural areas of East Pakistan Awami supporters used local knowledge to outflank Pakistani troops, forcing them back into the cities; the troops and their supporters were massacred as brutally as the Bengalis had been. Meanwhile India faced a major refugee crisis as ten million Bengalis fled into the country.
7/3/1971, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, political leader of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), delivered his famous speech in the Racecourse Field in Dhaka, calling on the masses to be prepared to fight for national independence.
7/12/1970, In the Pakistani elections, the Awami League (inevitably) won 160 of the 162 seats reserved for Eastern candidates (see 23/9/1969). In the west of the country, Benazhir Bhutto did well, gaining 81 of the remaining 138 seats, but this still left the Awami League as clear election winner. Bhutto, backed by Yahya Khan, immediately announced that he would not countenance implementation of the Awami ‘Six Point’ plan. Rahman responded by proposing that he govern East Pakistan whilst Bhutto governed the West; a proposal tantamount to secession. Rejection of Rahman’s proposal precipitated widespread rioting across East Pakistan. In early March 1971 Yahya Khan announced an indefinite postponement of the convening of the newly-elected National Assembly and appointed General Tikka Khan as Military Governor of East Pakistan. Mujib responded by calling on his supporters to turn Pakistan’s Republic Day (23 March) into ‘Resistance Day’.
13/11/1970. In Bangladesh (East Pakistan) a cyclone and tidal waves killed over 500,000 people. Yahya Khan’s response was seen by East Bengalis as grossly inadequate. Only one military transport plane and three small aircraft were mobilised by Khan, leaving Bengalis more dependent on aid from Britain. Western aid arrived faster than aid from West Pakistan.
1969, The Swat region became fully incorporated into Pakistan. A valley kingdom in the Hindu Kush mountains, half the size of Wales, it remained an independent feudal state with its own monarch long after Pakistan was officially created in 1947.
17/9/1969, A week of violence between Hindus and Muslims broke out in Gujarat.
25/3/1969, Amidst increasing separatist tension in East Pakistan, Ayub resigned, handing power to General Yahya Khan. Khan promised elections for 7/12/1970, and that 162 of the 300 seats in the National Assembly would be reserved for East Bengalis. Given the popularity of the Awami League in East Pakistan, this appeared to invite further problems of governance.
1/1968, A general strike in East Pakistan, encouraged by Rahman, Subsequently, Rahman was arested and opposition tension increased.
1967, The Mangla Dam on the Jhelum River was completed. This was the first part of a World Bank scheme to improve irrigation and agriculture in Pakistan.
8/7/1967, Fatima Jinnah, Pakistani politician, died.
(15)5/1967, In the village of Naxalbari, West Bengal, peasants rebelled against landowners. This was the start of the Maoist rebel Naxalite movement in eastern India.
12/3/1967. Mrs Gandhi re-elected Prime Minister of India.
1966, The planned city of Chandigarh was built. Designed by le Corbusier, it was to be the capital of Haryana and Punjab.
1966, Rahman launched his ‘Six Points’ demands, which effectively meant almost complete autonomy for East Pakistan, except in the fields of foreign policy and defence. Even more alarmingly for Karachi, Rahman appeared to be demanding this devolution not just for the East but for ‘wherever [Pakistan] was divided ethnically or religiously’. This might have meant the breakup of West Pakistan, leaving the east as the largest singe unit.
7/6/1966, Demonstrations in East Pakistan, demanding greater autonomy.
19/1/1966. Indira Gandhi (no relation to Mahatma Gandhi) became Prime Minister of India. She succeeded her father Jawaharlal Nehru. She had been leader of the National Congress Party since 1959.
22/9/1965. India and Pakistan halted fighting in Kashmir.
6/9/1965. India invaded West Pakistan. A three-pronged attack threatened the Pakistani city of Lahore. Pakistan parachuted troops in behind Indian lines. The conflict in Kashmir escalated.
1/9/1965. Pakistani troops crossed into Kashmir over the cease-fire line.
30/6/1965, India and Pakistan agreed a ceasefire.
9/4/1965. Border clashes between India and Pakistan.
25/3/1965, In elections in Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Mrs Srimavo Bandaranaike lost to Dudley Senanayake.
2/1/1965, In Pakistani presidential elections, President Ayub Khan gained a clear majority over Miss Fatimah Jinnah.
30/12/1964. 500 were arrested in India on suspicion of spying for China.
27/5/1964 The Indian statesman 'Pandit' Nehru died, aged 74, having been the first Prime Minister of India since independence in 1947. He was succeeded by Lal Shastri.
22/3/1964. Anti-Muslim violence broke out in India.
13/1/1964. In Calcutta, 200 died in Muslim-Hindu riots.
1963, In East Pakistan, the Awami League chairman, Huseyn Suhrawady, died. This opened the way for the militant separatist, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, to become leader of the Aawami league. Rahman argued that economic growth due to the efforts of Easterners was benefitting West Pakistan alone/ It was true that Bengal was much poorer than West Pakistan and that foreign aid received by Karachi was spent mainly in West Pakistan. Rahman sturred up separatist sentiments in the East by continually referring to it as a ‘colony’ of Karachi.
29/8/1963, Gulzarilal Nanda replaced Lal Bahadur Shastri as Indian Minister for Home Affairs.
27/12/1962, India and Pakistan reopened talks on Kashmir,
27/11/1962, Britain agreed to supply arms to India in case of further Chinese military action.
21/11/1962, Ceasefire in the India-China border dispute.
2/11/1962, The US pledged to send arms to India in its dispute with China.
20/10/1962, Chinese troops attacked Indian border positions.
8/9/1962. China-India border dispute escalated. China crossed the 14,000 ft high Tangla Ridge and attacked Indian border posts on 20/10/1962. On 28/10/1962 the USA pledged to send arms to India.
19/12/1961. India annexed Goa from the Portuguese, after 400 years of Portuguese rule.
1960, The State of Bombay was divided into the States of Gujarat and Maharashtra.
14/2/1960, Muhammad Ayub Khan was elected President of Pakistan.
1959, The first newsprint mill was established in the Sundarbans region of East Pakistan (Bangladesh) to exploit the forest resources there.
29/12/1959, Durgapur steel works, West Bengal, officially opened.
23/12/1959, The Earl of Halifax, politician and Viceroy of India, 1926-31, died.
10/1958, East Pakistan was becoming more rebellious against the economic and political domination of (smaller) West Pakistan. In response to this unrest, the Governor-General of East Pakistan, Iskander Mirza, placed the half-country under military rule and appointed General Mohammed Ayub Khan as Prime Minister. Ayub Khan promptly exiled Mirza to London – effectively a military coup. Martial law in East Pakistan continued until 1962, during which time Ayub Khan replaced civilians in key government posts with senior military figures; the administration became highly centralised. Excluded from legitimate political participation, opposition parties became foci for discontent; the Awami League became the central locus for this discontent. Ayub Khan made efforts to placate Easterners, reserving half his Cabinet for them and making Dacca the ‘second capital’ of Pakistan; these measures were seen as tokenism and only intensified separatist ambitions,
7/10/1958, Following unrest in Pakistan, President Iskander Mirza proclaimed martial law and suspended the Constitution.
13/5/1957, India’s second election since independence continued the administration of Nehru’s Congress Party; however in the southern State of Kerala a Communist administration was elected.
31/3/1957, India continued its modernisation programme under Nehru with the introduction of a decimal currency. Nine days earlier the country had adopted a standard calendar.
26/1/1957, Kashmir joined India, under ‘special status’ agreements, providing for example that non-Kashmiri Indians could not buy property there. Pakistan protested.
1956. India passed the States Reorganisation Act. State boundaries were to be redrawn according to ethno-linguistic lines, with some divided, and new States carved out.
17/11/1956, Kashmir voted to become part of India.
23/3/1956, Pakistan became an independent Islamic republic within the Commonwealth
29/2/1956. Pakistan was declared an Islamic Republic.
1955, King Tribhuvan of Nepal died (reigned from 1951). He was succeeded by his son, King Mahendra.
14/10/1955, Baluchistan formally became part of West Pakistan
23/9/1955, Pakistan joined the Baghdad pact.
15/8/1955. India attempted to take over Goa.
25/5/1955, A British expedition, led by Charles Evans, became the first to climb Kangchenjunga, the third highest peak in the Himalayas.
27/3/1955, Pakistan declared a State of Emergency.
10/7/1954, US President Eisenhower signed Public Law 480, the Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act of 1954, better known as PL-480. This facilitated the export of grain to US-aligned governments that were facing threats from Leftist agencies, either internal rebels or intimidation from a Soviet-aligned State next door. PL-480 could be used to keep recalcitrant allies, those possibly sliding towards Communism, in line. For example in 1965 US President Johnson shifted the renewal of PL-480 food aid to India from an annual to a monthly basis, threatening India with withdrawal of food aid as India’s President Shastri expressed disapproval of US bombing in Vietnam. However if Shastri abandoned Nehru’s ideas of land distribution to Indian peasants then India would receive US agricultural technology, enhancing food yields.
31/7/1954, K2, or Godwin Austen Mountain, in the Himalayas, was climbed for the first time.
31/12/1953, A British expedition arrived in India to search for the abominable snowman.
2/11/1953, Pakistan announced it was to adopt Sharia law.
21/6/1953, Benazir Bhutto, Prime Minister of Pakistan, was born in Karachi.
29/5/1953. The New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary, and the Sherpa, Tensing, became the first two climbers to ascend to the 29,028 foot summit of Mount Everest. They spent 15 minutes at the summit, taking photographs and eating mint cake before leaving the Union Jack, the Nepalese Flag, and the United Nations Flag at the summit. The news reached London on Coronation Day, 2/6/1953.
Sir Hillary headed the New Zealand Antarctic Expedition and reached the South Pole in 1957. In the 60s he set up a hospital for Sherpa tribesmen in Nepal. In 1974 his wife and daughter were killed in a plane crash. He remarried in 1989 and his son climbed Everest in 1990.
8/1/1953, Riots in Karachi, Pakistan, followed by unrest in other cities, due to adverse economic conditions.
8/12/1951, Jawaharlal Nehru, first Prime Minister of India, began his first 5-year Plan. Energy and Agricultire were to be prioritised in this Plan. Each successive Plan would target the sectors of the Indian economy that most needed improving. This tactic helped India’s economy advance rapidly.
16/10/1951, Liaquat Ali Khan, Prime Minister of Pakistan, was assassinated by an Afghan fanatic; civil disorder ensued.
3/7/1951, India lodged a complaint with the UN Security Council over Pakistani violations of the ceasefire in Kashmir.
3/6/1951, In India, the Socialist Party organised a large protest against the government’s food and housing policies.
3/6/1950, The Himalayan Peak of Annapurna was first climbed, by Herzog and Lachenal, members of a French expedition.
8/4/1950, India and Pakistan signed the Delhi Pact, each nation committing itself to protecting the rights of minorities within their borders.
26/1/1950, India became a democratic republic within the Commonwealth.
1949, The New Awami League demended more autonomy for East Bengal.
15/11/1949, In India, Nathuram Godse was hanged for the murder of Gandhi.
7/3/1949, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Indian politician, was born.
1/1/1949. India and Pakistan agreed a truce in the war over Kashmir.
4/11/1948, The new Indian Constitution was formally introduced to the Constituent Assembly.
13/9/1948, Nehru sent Indian troops to occupy the State of Hyderabad, whose ruler, the Nizam, had declined to join India. An appeal by the Nizam to the United Nations was in vain. The Nizam was allowed to keep his palaces and other private property.
11/9/1948, Death of Muhammed Ali Jinnah, first Governor-General of Pakistan.
28/2/1948. Last British troops left India.
12/2/1948, The ashes of Mahatma Gandhi were placed in the ‘holy waters’ of the River Ganges at Allahabad.
30/1/1948. The Indian leader Mahatma (= ‘Great Soul) or Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was assassinated by a Hindu fanatic. Gandhi had been at a prayer meeting when he was shot by Nathuram Godse, a fanatic who totally rejected Gandhi's message of goodwill, peace, and love. Some extremist Hindus saw that India could never become a Hindu-dominated state whilst Gandhi was still alive; Gandhi had preached tolerance between Hindus and Moslems.. Nathuram Godse was hanged on 15/11/1949. A previous attempt on Gandhi’s life had been made on 20/1/1948.
13/1/1948, Mahatma Gandhi began a six-day fast, in order to promote harmony between Muslims and Hindus.
30/12/1947. The Kashmir problem went before the UN.
26/10/1947. Kashmir joined India despite Pakistani protests.
24/9/1947. 1,200 Muslims fleeing India for Pakistan on a train were massacred by Sikhs at Amritsar in the Punjab.
15/8/1947. India became independent; the Union Jack was run down for the last time in New Delhi. Pandit Nehru was the first Indian Prime Minister. Ali Khan became first PM of the newly created Pakistan. See 4/6/1947 for more details.
14/8/1947, Pakistan became independent from Britain.
4/6/1947. The last British viceroy to India, Lord Mountbatten, announced that plans for Indian independence from Britain would be speeded up and completed in just 70 days, not the 12 months previously envisaged (see 20/2/1947). Britain was deep in economic crisis and wanted to shed Empire as fast as possible. As a result of this haste, the subcontinent was hacked crudely into three states, and following this a million people were massacred and one of the greatest forced migrations in history began as Muslims fled India and Hindus fled East and West. Pakistan. This was the start of the Kashmir problem. The Maharajah of Kashmir was faced with a choice of joining Pakistan, effectively ending his own rule, or of joining India with his mainly Muslim population. On Independence Day, 15/8/1947, Kashmir had still not decided who to join. In October 1947 Afghan tribesmen, backed by Pakistan, began invading Kashmir from Pakistan and in response India sent tens of thousands of troops to repel them, one day after the Maharajah had decided to join India. Had Britain not pulled out of India in such haste, more orderly arrangements for Kashmir could have been set up whilst Britain was still in a position to enforce them.
29/5/1947. The Indian Parliament banned 'untouchables'.
23/5/1947, Britain agreed to the partition of India. Muslims wanted a separate state (Pakistan), fearing they would be subsumed in a Hindi India.
23/3/1947, Lord Wavell resigned as Viceroy of India. He was succeeded by Lord Mountbatten, who announced, after consultation with local leaders, that the Muslim-dominated areas must become a separate State.
20/2/1947, Lord Louis Mountbatten was appointed the last Viceroy of India, the same day the British government announced that the British would leave India by June 1948. See 4/6/1947. Mountbatten was to supervise the peaceful transition to independence of India, despite major difference between Hindus and Muslims. Winston Churchill opposed Indian independence.
9/12/1946, In India the Constituent Assembly met to discuss independence; but it was boycotted by the Muslim League.
19/8/1946, Violence in Calcutta between Hindus and Moslems, thousands were killed.
16/8/1946, Major riots against the British salt tax began in Calcutta, inspired by Gandhi’s campaign of disobedience. The riots lasted till 20/8/1946.
21/2/1946, Indian naval mutiny at Bombay.
19/9/1945. Clement Attlee, UK Prime Minister, promised India will have independence.
20/8/1944, Rajiv Gandhi, younger son of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, was born.
1/3/1943. Gandhi broke his fast after 12 days.
9/8/1942. With Gandhi about to launch a major civil disobedience campaign to force the British out of India, the British arrested the whole Congress leadership, including Nehru.
5/1942, The British Government sent a special envoy, Sir Stafford Cripps, to India. In an effort to win over the nationalists, he promised India Dominion status after the War, that is, self-government but continued membership of the Commonwealth. There would also be an election for an indigenous assembly to draft an Indian Constitution – the Cripps Proposal. However this spurred nationalist leaders such as Gandhi and Nehru to step up their efforts for total independence.
15/1/1942. Gandhi named Nehru as his successor.
1941, In what is now Pakistan, the Jaamat e Islami Party (Islamic Group) was founded by the Leninist writer Maulana Abu Ala Maududi (died 9/1979).
23/3/1940. At the Moslem League conference in India, the Moslems there called for their own separate state within India.
6/7/1935, The Dalai Lama was born.
11/2/1935, The UK Government passed the 1935 Government of India Act, giving the colony of India more autonomy; Britain retained control of external affairs and defence.
24/10/1934. Gandhi left the Congress Party.
7/4/1934. Gandhi suspended his campaign of civil disobedience.
23/8/1933. Gandhi was released from Poona jail after his hunger strike over the government’s attitude to Untouchables nearly killed him.
4/7/1933. Gandhi was jailed for a year for anti-British activity.
16/5/1932. Clashes between Hindus and Muslims killed hundreds in Bombay.
4/1/1932. Gandhi was arrested in India as the Congress party was outlawed.
4/11/1931, Indian campaigner Mahatma Gandhi, in London for the Round Table Conference on Dominion Status for India, had tea with King George V at Buckingham Palace.
29/8/1931, The Indian nationalist leader Mohandas Gandhi came to London, to attend the second Round Table Conference at St James Palace.
3/3/1931. The Viceroy of India agreed to withdraw the salt tax.
16/2/1931, The Indian Viceroy received Gandhi.
10/2/1931, New Delhi was officially inaugurated.
1/2/1931. Gandhi continued his campaign of civil disobedience.
26/1/1931. Winston Churchill resigned from Baldwin’s shadow cabinet after disagreements over the policy of conciliation with Indian nationalism; Churchill opposed any hint of independence for India. In India, Mahatma Gandhi was released from prison, for talks with the government.
12/11/1930. The British colony of India demanded Dominion status.
5/5/1930. In India, Gandhi was arrested. Civil disturbances continued. A young Punjabi terrorist, Bhagat Singh, had been executed for shooting a British police officer. The Sikh majority in Punjab protested and called for demonstrations and strikes as a sign of mourning for Bhagat Singh. In Cawnpore the shopkeepers were mainly Muslim and refused to close their shops. Angry mobs of Sikhs attacked and burnt any shops they found open, massacring the shopkeepers and their families. Muslims fought back and violence continued in Cawnpore for several days. It was in Cawnpore that, eighty years earlier, hundreds of British civilians had been murdered in the Indian Mutiny. Gandhi tried to intervene to restore peace but was assaulted by the crowd. The British forcibly restored order with many troops and police but discontent remained.
16/4/1930, Rioting in India; police fired on the crowds.
6/4/1930. Mahatma Gandhi reached the Indian coast after a 300 mile walk from his ashram near Ahmedabad, taking 25 days. Thousands followed him, and prepared to defy the British salt tax. To India’s millions of nationalists, the salt tax of 1 rupee per 82 pounds is an effective poll tax, burdening the poorest, and a symbol of foreign oppression. At 5.30 in the morning, Gandhi walked down to the sea and picked up a piece of crystallised sea salt, so effectively breaking the salt laws. His followers did likewise. They had wanted to work the mudflats, covered with salt after each high tide, but the police forestalled them by stirring the salt into the mud.
8/3/1930. Mahatma Gandhi started a civil disobedience campaign in India.
3/2/1930, The first ever ‘untouchables’ were elected to local councils in India.
2/1/1930, The All-India National Congress called for ‘complete independence’.
22/12/1929. The All-India National Congress demanded Indian independence.
7/12/1929, Agha Khan III was married at a private ceremony in Aix les Bains, France, to a former candy store clerk and dressmaker. He was founder and first President of the all-India Muslim League.
28/9/1929, In India, marriage of girls aged under 14 was banned by the Sarda Act.
5/5/1929. In Bombay a curfew was imposed to quell Hindu-Moslem fighting.
17/11/1928, Lala Rajpat Raj, Indian politician, died.
1/9/1926, Adbur Rahman Biswas, President of Bangladesh, was born.
2/4/1926. In India, riots broke out between Hindus and Moslems. On 4/4/1926 martial law was declared in Calcutta.
24/3/1925, Quazi Nuruzzaman, Bangladeshi guerrilla commander, was born (died 2011)
18/9/1924. Mohandas Gandhi, serving 6 years in prison for sedition, began a 21-day hunger strike, to try and dissuade Hindus and Moslems from rioting.
11/7/1924. Hindus and Muslims rioted in Delhi.
8/6/1924. George Mallory, on his third attempt to conquer Everest, was seen for the last time at a point 800 feet from the summit.
12/6/1922, The Mallory expedition succeeded in getting within 3,200 feet of the summit of Everest.
18/3/1922. Gandhi was jailed for 6 years for civil disobedience.
11/3/1922, Ghandi was arrested at Ahmedabad.
25/12/1921, Gandhi organised a successful mass boycott of the Prince of Wales as he arrived in Calcutta.
10/10/1921, Ghandi set fire to a large pile of foreign-made clothing in Mumbai.
28/7/1921, The All-India Congress Party voted to boycott a visit to India by the Prince of Wales, and also urged a boycott of imported cloth.
3/1/1921, India's first parliament met.
10/9/1920, The Indian National Congress voted to adopt Mahatma Gandhi’s policy of non-co-operation with Britain’s colonial administration.
1/8/1920, Gandhi began his campaign of resistance to British rule in India.
13/4/1919. The British fired on and massacred Indian Nationalist rioters in Amritsar, Punjab. A British officer, General Dyer, panicked and ordered his troops to fire at point-blank range into a large crowd. 380 of Gandhi’s followers were killed and over 1200 injured. This massacre turned even moderate Indians against the British. The army had been called in by the police after several days of rioting against new security laws, in which some Europeans had been killed. Following the rioting and massacre, martial law was proclaimed in Amritsar and the infamous ‘crawling order’ was imposed, requiring Indians to crawl when passing the site of the attack on Mrs Sherwood. Meanwhile General Dyer was relieved of his command and sent home on sick leave. A further affront to the Indians was how upper class opinion in Britain rallied behind General Dyer.
10/4/1919, Rioting by Sikhs began at Amritsar, see 13/4/1919. A hartal had been proclaimed whoich passed off peacefully but the British then arrested and deported two nationalist leaders. This provoked the rioting, during which five Europeans were killed, two banks burned down and an English missionary, Mrs Sherwood, was attacked and left for dead. In fact she was taken in and cared for by an Indian family.
3/1919, Faced with mounting unrest against British rule, the Indian Government passed the Rowlatt Bills. These gave provinvial Governors the right to detain without trial and provided for trial without jury in political cases. The Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi urged peaceful resistance such as the hartal, effecrtively a one-say general strike and day of fasting.
9/1/1919, Major mill strike began in Mumbai, with 100,000 workers out on strike.
10/9/1918, Muslim riots in Calcutta (Kolkata), India.
19/11/1917. Indira Gandhi born in Allahabad. India’s first woman Prime Minister, she was the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru.
8/6/1915, Kayyar Kinhanna Rai, Indian poet, known for his poems and activism work for an independent India, was born in Kayyar, India (died 2015).
13/3/1914, Saroj Dutta, Indian Communist Leader, active in the Naxalite movement in India, was born (died 1971).
6/11/1913, Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the Indian Passive Resistance Mobement, was arrested.
12/12/1911, King George V was crowned Emperor of India, and founded the city of New Delhi, as new capital to replace Calcutta.
11/11/1911. The British King and Queen left Britain for the sea voyage to India. On 12/12/1911 there was a splendid ceremony at the Delhi Durbar, at which it was announced that henceforth Delhi would be the capital of India in place of Calcutta.
11/1/1911, 18 killed in riots in Bombay, India.
27/8/1910. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who dedicated her life to the relief of the poor in India, was born in Skopje (Yugoslavia), of Albanian parents.
22/6/1910, John Hunt, leader of the successful expedition to climb Everest in 1953, was born.
10/6/1910, Sir Charles Hardinge, British Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs, was appointed as the Viceroy of India, succeeding the Earl of Minto.
13/11/1909, Two bombs were thrown at the Viceroy of India, The Earl of Minto.
5/1/1909. Hindus and Moslems rioted in Calcutta.
24/3/1908, John Colvin, Governor of the North-West Provinces of India, died.
26/12/1907, The first session of the Indian National Congress was halted after clashes between moderates and extremists.
4/10/1907, Riots in India were blamed on a visit by UK MP Kier Hardie to the colony
6/6/1907. The British Government said it would never leave India.
14/5/1907, Muhammad Ayub Khan, President of Pakistan, was born (died 1974).
2/5/1907, Rioting in Rawalpindi and East Bengal, India.
30/12/1906, In India the Muslim League was founded, to call for separate Muslim areas and counter the Pan-Indian ideals of the Indian National Congress. The separate Muslim electoral areas were delivered under the Indian Councils Act of 1909. Ultimately this paved the way for the Partition of India in 1947.
20/7/1903, The UK Government announced it was to send large numbers of troops to India.
1/1/1903, King George VII was proclaimed Emperor of India.
1901, Dabadhai Naoroji published his book, Poverty and Un-British Rule in India, arguing that high taxation and exploitation of resources was damaging the Indian economy. This work inspired Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru.
10/11/1901. The North-West Frontier province was incorporated into India.
1/10/1901, Partap Singh Kairon, India politician and Chief Minister of the Punjab from 1956 to 1964, was born (assassinated 1965).
13/9/1901, Sir Sheshadri Aiyar, Indian statesman, died (born 1845). He did much to develop Mysore State.
12/2/1901, Britain extended direct rule from India into the tribal areas of Peshawar, Khyber and Waziristan, scene of much inter-ethnic fighting. Britain was concerned that unrest in these areas, on India’s northern frontier, would allow Russia to invade from the north through Afghanistan.
24/7/1899, Sir Arthur Cotton, irrigation engineer in India, died (born 15/5/1803).
2/3/1898, Saiyid Ahmed, Indian educationalist, died at Aligarh (born 1817).
1897, Britain sent 30,000 troops to northwest India to quell a Pathan uprising,
13/6/1896, Sir James Browne, British engineer in India, died (born 1839).
29/2/1896, Ranchhodji Morarji Desai, Indian Prime Minister who was imprisoned with Gandhi, was born.
12/11/1893, The Durand Agreement, defining the border between Afghanistan and India, was signed. This line bisected Pathan lands.
22/10/1893, Dhuleep Singh, Maharajah of Lahore, died (born 2/1837).
1892, The first indigenous Indians sat on the legislative council.
14/11/1889, Pandit Nehru, first Prime Minister of India, was born in Allahabad.
1/10/1887. The British in India annexed Baluchistan, an area strategic to the North-West Frontier.
8/7/1887, Sir Ashley Eden, Britsh administrator of India, died (born 13/11/1831).
16/2/1887, Queen Victoria’s Jubilee was marked in India by the freeing of 25,000 prisoners.
1/1/1887, Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India in Delhi.
1885, The Indian National Congress was founded.
4/12/1883, The International Exhibition at Calcutta opened, the first exhibition to be held in India.
1/5/1876, Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India.
8/2/1872, Lord Mayo, British Viceroy to India, was murdered by nationalists.
25/1/1871, Sir Proby Cautley, British engineer of canals in India, died (born 1802).
2/10/1869, Mahatma Gandhi, Indian nationalist leader, was born in Porbandar, Gujarat.
23/12/1868, Sir Herbert Edwardes, British soldier in India, died (born 12/11/1819.
7/11/1862, Bahadur Shah II, last titular Mogul Emperor of India, died.
17/6/1862, Charles Canning, British Governor-General of India during the mutiny of 1857, died (born 14/12/1812).
20/11/1859, Mountstuart Elphinstone, Indian statesman, died (born 1779).
1/11/1858. Queen Victoria was proclaimed ruler of India. The East India Company, formed in 1600 to exploit trade with the East, but accused of imperial abuse from the early 1700s, was abolished and administration of India was transferred to the British crown. Misconduct by the East India Company had been partially curbed by the Regulating Act (1773) and Pitt’s India Act (1784). The Indian Mutiny broke the Company’s power, British influence being totally regained with the conquest of Lucknow in March 1858.
2/8/1858, The Government of India transferred the East India Company to the British Government.
1856, The Annexation of Awadh (Oudh) by the British East India Company. The loss of rights by hereditary landowners caused resentment which contributed to the Indian Mutiny.
24/9/1856, Henry Hardinge, British colonial Governor-General of India, died (born 30/3/1785).
1850, Sikkim, a region in the far north of India, became a British dependency, paving the way for British penetration into Tibet.
21/2/1849. Sikh forces were decisively defeated by the British at the Battle of Gujerat. This concluded the Second Sikh War; Britain annexed Punjab.
4/1/1849, British forces captured the city of Multan, India.
18/6/1848, A Sikh force was defeated by the British at Kinyeri.
28/6/1846, Defeat of Ranjit Singh by British forces at Aliwal, during the First Sikh War.
21/12/1845, The Battle of Ferozeshah began.
13/9/1845, Sir Henry Cotton, British administrator in India, was born.
29/12/1843, The Battle of Maharaipur.
17/2/1843, The Muslim Emirs of Sind refused to cede their independence to the East India Company. The British provoked an Anglo-Sind conflict, so that Charles Napier could destroy the 30,000 strong Baluch Army. In March 1843 Napier defeated the Emirs of Sind, and sent a one-word telegram to London “Peccavi”, meaning “I have sinned”.
7/4/1842, British forces defeated Akbar Khan at Jalabad.
24/7/1837, The Indian Post Office was established.
18/2/1836, Ramakrishna, Indian mystic was born in Kamarpukur, India (died 1886).
1835, The British in India ceased using Persian as the official language, replacing it with English.
6/5/1834, Sikh troops from the Punjab under Ranjit Singh took Peshawar.
28/1/1832, Sir Tiruvarur Aiyar, Indian High Court Judge (Madras), was born (died 1895).
18/11/1831, An uprising in Bengal against tyrannical Hindu rule was suppressed. Its leader, the Muslim Titu Mir, was killed by government forces.
13/11/1831, Sir Ashley Eden, Britsh administrator of India, was born (died 8/7/1887).
21/6/1830, Benoit de Boigne, first of the French military adventurers in India, died (born in Chambery, Savoy 8/3/1751).
17/6/1830, Lord William Bentinck, Governor-General of India, died in Paris).
4/12/1829, The practice of suttee, immolation of widows, was made illegal in British-controlled India.
28/11/1826, Francis Hastings, British colonial Governor of India, died (born 9/12/1754).
12/11/1819, Sir Herbert Edwardes, British soldier in India, was born (died 23/12/1868).
22/8/1818, Warren Hastings, British administrator and first Governor-General of British India, died in Worcestershire aged 85.
2/3/1816, Ghurkas signed a peace treaty with the British, following their heavy defeat in the Kathmandu Valley; this ended their year-long war.
1/7/1813, The East India Company lost its monopoly of trade with India.
14/12/1812, Charles Canning, British Governor-General of India during the mutiny of 1857, was born (died 17/6/1862).
29/5/1807, John Russell Colvin, Governor of the north-west provinces of India, was born in Kolkata (died 24/3/1908).
28/11/1803, The British army, led by Major John Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington, won a great victory over the Indians at Argaum, Madhya Pradesh.
1/11/1803, The British won the Battle of Laswari, against the Marathas of India.
23/9/1803, The British won the Battle of Assay, India, defeating the Marathas in the Second Maratha War.
14/9/1803, British General Lake captured Delhi, India.
15/5/1803, Sir Arthur Cotton, irrigation engineer in India, was born (died 24/7/1899).
20/2/1803, The British captured the town of Kandy, Ceylon (Sri Lanka).
4/5/1799, The British conquered Seringapatam, capital of Mysore in southern India.
23/4/1795, Warren Hastings was acquitted of high treason.
16/3/1792, Tippoo Sahib, Indian Sultan who was resisting the advance of the British East India Company into Mysore, surrendered. Tippoo had studied British military tactics and so was able to resist General Charles Cornwallis for longer than other Indian rulers.
30/3/1785, Henry Hardinge, British colonial Governor-General of India, was born (died 24/9/1856).
13/8/1784, The East India Act put the Company under a board of control to manage its revenue and administration.
3/4/1784, The British Parliament passed the India Act, to make the British East India Company more accountable.
1/7/1781, In India, British troops defeated Haidar Ali at Porto Novo.
18/10/1778, The city of Pondicherry surrendered to the British.
22/11/1774, Robert Clive, English soldier and Governor of India, died from an overdose of opium, shortly after being vindicated of improper behaviour regarding the East India Company.
14/9/1774, Lord William Bentinck, Governor-General of India, was born (died in Paris 17/6/1830).
13/4/1772, Warren Hastings was appointed Governor of Bengal.
12/8/1765, Robert Clive received revenue authority over Bengal from the Mogul emperor. The disintegration of the Mogul Empire created opportunities for the British, the French, and also Indian princes. See 12/8/1756.
23/10/1764, The British won the Battle of Buxar, Bengal.
3/5/1764, The British won the Battle of Patna, Bengal.
10/11/1763, Joseph Dupleix, French colonial governor of India, died (born 1/1/1697).
14/1/1761, At the Battle of Panipat, north of Delhi, the Afghans under Ahmad Shah Durrani defeated the Marathas Indians. Although Durrani weakened Mughal power he was unable to fill the resultant power vacuum, thereby opening the way for British dominance of India.
23/6/1757. The Battle of Plassey took place in Bengal. The British victory of Robert Clive over the Nawab of Bengal laid the foundations for the British Empire in India.
23/3/1757, The British won the Battle of Chandernagore, Bengal.
7/2/1757, The Treaty of Alinagar was concluded by Clive of Plassey, following his recapture of Calcutta from the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj al Daula. Under this Treaty, Calcutta was returned to the East India Company, who gained the right to fortify the city and to print money. Calcutta became a bridgehead from which the East India Company extended its control across Bengal.
2/1/1757, Clive of India captured Calcutta after it had been seized by the Nawab of Bengal. The Nawab had imprisoned 146 British in the infamous Black Hole of Calcutta, see 20/6/1756. This brought Bengal, with all its wealth, under British control.
20/6/1756, Night of the Black Hole of Calcutta. See 2/1/1757, and 12/8/1765. A total of 147 people were confined in what came to be known as the Black Hole of Calcutta. The remaining European defenders of Calcutta in the Seven Years War in India were shut away in a local lock up for petty offenders, following the capture of Calcutta by the Nawab Siraj Ul Dawlah of Bengal. The Black Hole was a room 18 feet long by 14 foot 10 inches wide, with only two small windows. According to the British leader John Z Holwell, only 23 of the 147 imprisoned survived, but this figure may be inaccurate. Instead of the suspected slaughter, the Nawab may have been guilty of negligence.
9/12/1754, Francis Hastings, British colonial Governor of India, was born (died 28/11/1826).
Reign of Aurangzeb
25/1/1628, Shah Jehan was crowned ruler of the Mughal Empire.
28/10/1627, Jahangir, ruler of the Moghul Empire, died.
3/11/1618, Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb born (died 1707).
10/1/1615, Sir Thomas Roe, Britain’s first Ambassador to India, presented his credentials at Agra.
15/10/1605, Akbar I (The Great), Jalal ud Din Muhammad Akbar, died. He was Mughal Emperor of India, 1556-1605 (born 1542). Succeeeding his father, Humayun, he took over from the Regent in 1560. He gained control of the whole of India north of the Vindhaya Mountains. He established a uniform system of weights and measures, encouraged the arts and sciences, and was tolerant to non-Muslims. He was succeeded by his son, Jahangir.
31/12/1600. Queen Elizabeth I granted a charter of incorporation to the East India Company. This charter gave George Clifford, the Earl of Cumberland, and 215 knights, aldermen, and merchants the right to trade in the East Indies (i.e. all countries beyond the Cape of Good Hope) for 15 years. The members of the Company paid a total of £72,000 to finance a large scale trading expedition and planned to send five ships to Java and Sumatra, to break the Dutch monopoly on the spice trade. Unauthorised interlopers were liable to confiscation of ships and cargo. See 20/3/1602.
1594, Lisbon closed its spice market to Dutch and English traders; at this time Portugal was in personal union with Spain, both being ruled by Philip II, and England was helping the Dutch to gain independecnce from Spain. This forced traders from those countries to get their spices directly from India, and the creation of the Dutch East India Company followed.
1572, Moghul forces conquered Gujerat region.
5/11/1556, Jalal-ud-Din, Moghul Emperor Akbar, defeated a Hindu army at the Battle of Panipat in the Punjab. He regained the Hindustani Empire.
27/1/1556, The Moghul Emperor Humayun died after falling from his library roof in Delhi. He was succeeded by his 14-year old son, Jalal-ud-Din, who returned from exile.
7/9/1539, Guru Angad Dev became the second Guru of the Sikhs.
26/12/1530, Death of Babur, founder of the Mughal Empire (born 1483).
16/3/1527, The Battle of Khanwa. Babur continued his conquest of northern India.
See also Afghanistan
21/4/1526, The First battle of Panipat. Babur became first Moghul (Mughal) Emperor of India. He captured Delhi, and northern India, beginning the Moghul Empire, which lasted until 1857. End of the Sultanate of Delhi, founded 1200.
24/12/1524. The Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama, who discovered the sea route from Europe to the East, died on his second voyage after landing in Cochin, on the Malabar coast of India. See 22/11/1497.
1519, Guru Nanak Dev built the first Sikh Temnple, in Kartapur, Punjab.
10/12/1510, The Portuguese seized Goa.
1/3/1510, Francesco de Almeida, the first Portuguese viceroy to India, died.
3/2/1509, Portugal defeated the Ottoman fleet at the Battle of Diu, Indian Ocean. Portugal was moving to dominate the spice trade, which had been lucrative for the Sultan of Gujarat, Mahmud Begada. Begada was supported by other beneficiaries of the established trade; Egypt, the Ottoman Empire and Venice. However the Portuguese ships, built to withstand the rigours of a long voyage, were superior, and Portugal’s victory gave them control of the Indian spice trade for a century.
20/8/1507, Guru Nanak Dev became the first guru and leader of the Sikh religion.
20/5/1498. Vasco da Gama arrived at Calicut, southern India, after discovering a route via the tip of southern Africa. , proving the feasibility of a sea route from Portugal to India and the Spice Islands. This meant Europe could buy spices independent from Venetian and Muslim middlemen.
13/1/1399, Delhi was captured and sacked by Tamerlane.
1388, Death of Firuz Shah Tughlaq (born 1305), the third Tughlaq ruler of the Kingdom of Delhi since 1351. His reign brought peace and stability, and he developed agriculture and irrigation; some of his canal works survive to the present day. He also promoted building works, and constructed a new capital, Firuzabad, which today forms part of Delhi.
1316, Death of Ala al Din Khalji, second ruler of the Khalji dynasty (acceded 1296). He subdued the Rajput and Gujerat princes, conquering large regions of southern India.
1279, Rajendra III, last Chola King, died, The Chila Kingdom was overrun by neighbouring Kingdoms.
1192, Rajput King Prithviraj III was defeated by Muslim forces. End of the Rajput era (began ca. 800).
1044, Death of King Rajendra I of the Chola Dynasty. He ruled over southern India from 1014 and extended his Tamil kingdom into Sri Lanka.
1021, Lahore fell to invading Turkish/Persian armies.
1014, Rajendra I became King of the Cholas.
985, Chola King Rajaraja I conqured Kerala, southern India.
973, King Tala II overthrew the Rashtrakuta Dynasty,re-founding the Chalukya Dynasty.
815, Death of King Govinda III (783-815).
773, Death of Rashtrakuta King Krishna I (ca. 756-773).,
711, Muslim armies conquered Sind.
642, Death of Chalukya King Pulakesin II (608-642). He died in battle with his Pallava rivals on the east coast. The Chalukya Kingdom now split into east and west; the west came under Rashtrakuta rule.
606, Shashanka became the first recorded independent King of Bengal.
606, King Harsha (ca.590-647) acceded to the throne of Thanesar and Kannauj.He began expanding his rule across northern India.
185, Vasudeva became Kushan Emperor.
99, An ambassador from India arrived in Rome.
23 BCE,The Buddhist canon was put in writing for the first time, in Sri Lanka.
128 BCE, Start of the Satavahana Dynasty in India.
232 BCE,The Mauryan Empire began to crumble after Ashoka’s death. Taxila was the first region to secede.
268 BCE, Start of the reign of King Asoka of India (died 232 BCE). He is called the ‘Buddhist Constantine’ because he orgamised Buddhism as the State religion. Asoka himself converted to Buddhism in around 260 BCE, and convened the 3rd great Buddhist Council at Patna in 244 BCE.
326 BCE, Alexander the Great reached the Indus River.
370 BCE, Start of the Nanda Dynasty in India.
415 BCE, The reign of Chandragupta II over much of northern India (375 – 415) ended.
480 BCE, Death of Siddhartha (Gautama Buddha), founder of Buddhism (born 563 BCE).
500 BCE, The Aryan language, Sanskrit, became established across India.
529 BCE, Birth of Buddhism. Siddhartha (Gautama Buddha), found enlightenment during a long period of penance in sackcloth at Buddh Gaya, near Benares.
540 BCE, Mahavira, founder of the Jain religion,was born.
7/4/563 BCE, Buddha was born, in the forest of Lumbini, NE India. He was the son of Suddhodana, King of the Shakya tribe. At birth Buddha was named Prince Gautama Siddhartha. His father had been forewarned that his son would forsake material possessions, and so tried to surround his son with every luxury available.
600 BCE, Aryan Kingdoms doiminated much of northern India.
800 BCE, Urban centres developed in the Ganges Valley
817 BCE, Traditional date of birth of early Jain teacher, Parshvanatha.
1500 BCE, Aryan invasion of India. Indus civilisation destroyed.
1750 BCE, Decline of the Indus Valley cities of Mohenjo Daro and Harappa, after two millennia of unregulated irrigation had caused soil salinization and decline in food production.
2600 BCE, Peak of Indus Valley civilisation.
4500 BCE, Estimated date of start of sedentary agriculture, in the Ganges floodplain.
India was named by the Greeks and Persians, after the great Indus or Sindhu River (which btoday lies mainly in Pakistan).
Appendix 2 – Bhutan
24/3/2008, Bhutan held its first-ever general elections.
1999, Bhutan inaugurated its first TV service.
1998, The King of Bhutan reformed the monarchy, making it more constitutional.
1972, Bhutan introduced a Gross National Happiness Index, intended to reflect people’s wellbeing more than GDP does. King Jigme Wangchuk began a process of modernisation.
1971, Nepal joined the United Nations.
1949, India was given influence over Bhutanese foreign affairs.
1907, The Bhutanese monartchy was esatablished, with Ugyen Wangchuk as hereditary ruler.
1864, Bhutan lost territory to Bengal and Assam in a British border war with India.
1731, Tibet imposed control over Bhutan.
1616, Bhutan was unified by Prince Abbot Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal.
Appendix 3 – Maldives
2005, The Maldives Parliament voted uninamimously to permit multi-party politics.
2003, Amnesty International accused the Maldives of torture and political repression. Anti-government riots in Male. Gayyoom was re-elected for a 6th 5-year term.
2000, Amnesty International claimed that opposition candidates in the 1999 Maldives election were tortured.
1998, Gayyoom was elected for a 5th 5-year term.
1988, An anti-Government coup was thwarted.
1985, The increasing tourist industry was fuelling economic growth in the Maldives.
1978, Gayyoom became President, after Nasir retired.
1968, The Maldives Sultanate was abolished. Ibrahim Nasir was elected first Prewsident of the new Republic.
27/7/1965, The Maldives Islands became independent, having been a British Protectorate since 1887.
1932, In a new democratic constitution, the Maldives Sultanate became an elected position.
1887, Britain declared a Protectorate over the Maldives. This formalised British control which had esisted since 1796, when Britain took over Sri Lanka.
1773, The Portuguese were ejected by Bidu Mohammed Takurufana, who founded a new Maldivian dynasty.
1558, Portugal took control of the Maldives.#
1153, Accoreding to legend, Islam reached the Maldives when an Islamic preacher converted the Maldivian ruler.
Appendix 4 – Nepal
2007, Maoists were admitted to the Nepalese Parliament under the terms of a temporary constitution.
24/12/2007, Nepal announced that the country’s 240-year old monarchy was to be replaced by a Republic in 2008.
2006, Parliament was reinstated after weeks of strikes and protests. Parliament curbed the King’s powers and held peace talks with rebels.
2005, King Gyanendra dismissed the Prime Minister and assumed absolute powers.
2003, Rebels observed a ceasefire, but pulled out of peace talks with the Government.
1/6/2001, Crown Prince Dipendra of Nepal killed his father, the King, and other members of the Royal family with an assault rifle, then shot himself. He died on 4/6/2001. King Gyanendra ascended the Nepalese throne.
1999, The Nepalese Communist Party (NCP) won elections. A Maoist insurgency continued in rural areas.
1995, A Maoist insurgency broke out in rural areas of Nepal; weak central government.
1994, Minority Communist Government in Nepal.
1991, The Nepalese Communist Party won elections. Girljad Prasad Koirala became Prime Minister.
15/5/1991, The Nepalese Prime Minister, Bhattarai, resigned.
19/4/1990. Victory for pro-democracy movement in Nepal.
1985, The Nepalese Communist Party began a campaign of civil disobedience, to force a return to multi-Party politics.
1980, The Panchayat System of devolved self-governance was confoirmed by referendum.
1972, King Birendra ascended the throne.
1960, The Nepalese Constitution was suspended by King Mahendra, who took absolute political control.
1959, Nepal adopted a multi-Party Constitution.
18/2/1951, The King of Nepal proclaimed a constitutional monarchy. End of Rana rule (see 1816).
1923, Treaty with Britain recognised Nepali independence.
1816, After a war with Britain (1814-16), Nepal came under a British quasi-Protectorate ruled by hereditary Ranas.
11/1814, Britain declared war on Nepalese Ghurkas. By early 1816 tye British, having done less aell at first as they despised the enemy and were unaccustomed to mountain warfare, were within 50 miles of the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu.
4/1814, Britain accused Nepalese Ghurkas of encroaching on the territory of the East India Company.
1768, King Prithwi Naryan Shah united Nepal into a single State, bringing together three valley kingdoms.
879, Nepal gained independence from Tibet.
Appendix 5 – Sri Lanka from 1947
21/4/2019, Co-ordinated bomb attacks on churches and hotels on Easter Sunday killed around 250 people and injured several hundred more. After a few days ISIS claimed responsibility for the suicide bomber attacks, stating they were in revenge for the attack on a mosque in New Zealand on 15/3/2019.
18/5/2009, The Sri Lankan civil war ended, after over 25 years, with the defeat of the Tamil Tigers. 80,000 people had died in the war.
2007, Sri Lankan troops cleared Tamil rebels from the east coast.
2006, The Tamil Tigers began a bombing campaign, in breach of the 2002 ceasefire.
2004, The Tamil Tigers gained control of the east coast.
6/10/2003, Sri Lankan schoolchildren protested at the abduction of 25 of their classmates by the Tamil Tigers. This drew worldwide attention to the plight of child soldiers.
22/2/2002. A Norwegian-mediated ceasefire began in Sri Lanka. Civilian flights to Jaffna resumed, and the Tamils dropped their demand for a separate State.
1999, Kumaratunga was injured in an assaniation attempt; she was re-elected.
1/5/1993, President Ranasinghe Premadasa of Sri Lanka was assassinated by a Tamil suicide bomber.
15/7/1990, Tamil Tigers killed 168 Muslims in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
24/3/1990, Indian peacekeeping troops pulled out of Sri Lanka. Tamil violence escalated.
2/1/1989, Ranasinghe Premadasa was sworn in as President of Sri Lanka.
1/5/1988. Tamil guerrillas set off a land mine in Sri Lanka under a bus, killing 26 passengers.
9/11/1987, A bomb explosion in Colombo, Sri Lanka, killed 32.
4/8/1987, Tamil rebels in Sri Lanka agreed to surrender arms to the Indian peacekeeping force.
2/6/1985, President Jayewardene of Sri Lanka discussed the ethnic violence in his country with Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
14/5/1985. Tamil violence spread across Sri Lanka.
30/11/1984, Tamil Tigers began a purge of Sinhalese from north east Sri Lanka, killing 127 people.
4/8/1984, Violent clashes between Tamils and Sinhalese in Sri Lanka.
28/7/1983, Sri Lanka imposed a ban on political parties advocating partition of the island between Tamils and Sinhalese.
25/7/1983, The Sri Lankan Government imposed a curfew following attacks on the Tamil community.
23/7/1983, Civil war began in Sri Lanka.
4/2/1978, Junius Jayawardene became President of Sri Lanka.
1977, In Sri Lankan elections, Tamil Separatists won all the seats in the Tamil areas.
22/5/1972. Ceylon, a self-governing dominion since 4/2/1948, became a republic within The Commonwealth, and adopted the new name of Sri Lanka.
1975, The Tamil Tiger rebel group was formed.
1972, Ceylon officially changed its name to the Sanskrit name of Sri lanka.
27/5/1970, The opposition won elections in Sri Lanka. Mrs Bandaranaike became Prime Minister,
20/7/1960, General election in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) was won by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party. Mrs Sirimavo Bandaranaike, widow of the late Prime Minister assassinated September 1959, became Prime Minister, She was the first woman Prime Minister of a Commonwealth country.
25/9/1959, Solomon Bandaranaike, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka from 1956, was shot by a Buddhist monk in Colombo; he died the following day.
27/5/1958, A State of Emergency was declared in Sri Lanka. This was due to Sinhalese-Tamil riots following the declaration of Sinhalese, not English, as the official language in 1956.
15/10/1957, The naval base at Tricomalee was handed over to Sri Lanka by Britain.
7/7/1956, In Ceylon (Sri Lanka), after the electoral victory of the Freedom Party, Sinhalese replaced English as the official language.
10/4/1956, Solomon Bandaranaike became Prime Minister of a United Front Government of Sri Lanka. He ended the British military and naval presence in Sri Lanka, but also provoked Tamil riots by attempting to institute Sinhalese as the only official language.
10/10/1950, The Royal Ceylon Air Force was formed, with assistance from the RAF.
1949, Indian Tamil workers in Sri Lanka were stripped of voting and citizenship rights.
4/2/1948. Ceylon became a self-governing dominion; it had been a British colony since 1802. It achieved full independence on 22/5/1972.
26/9/1947, In Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Don Stephen Senanayake became Prime Minister.
8/1/1899, Solomon Bandaranaike, Sri Lankan Prime Minister 1956-59, was born in the capital, Colombo.
1833, English was made the only official language of Ceylon.
1815, The British occupied Kandy, and brought in Tamil labourers from southern India to work on the tea, coffee and cocnut plantations.
1802, Ceylon became a British colony under the Peace of Amiens. This formalised Britiush control of areas they had occupied de facto since 1796. Before 1796, the Dutch had controlled Ceylon.
1656, The Dutch took control of Ceylon; their rule lasted until 1796.
1411, Cheng He, Chinese admiral, captured the King of Ceylon and took him back to China.
1017, Ceylon was conquered by the Chola Empire.
247 BCE, King Tissa of Sri Lanka converted to Buddhism.