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26-01-1950

Republic of India is born

On January 26, 1950, the Indian constitution takes effect, making the Republic of India the most populous democracy in the world. Mohandas Gandhi struggled through decades of passive resistance before Britain finally accepted Indian independence. Self-rule had been promised during World War II, but after the war triangular negotiations between Gandhi, the British, and the Muslim League stalled over whether to partition India along religious lines. Eventually, Lord Mountbatten, the viceroy of India, forced through a compromise plan. On August 15, 1947, the former Mogul Empire was divided into the independent nations of India and Pakistan. Hundreds of thousands died, including Gandhi, who was assassinated by a Hindu fanatic in January 1948 during a prayer vigil to an area of Muslim-Hindu violence. Of Gandhi's death, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru said, "The light has gone out of our lives, and there is darkness everywhere." However, Nehru, a leader of the Indian struggle for independence, persisted in his efforts to stabilize India, and by 1949 the religious violence began to subside. In late 1949, an Indian constitution was adopted, and on January 26, 1950, the Republic of India was born.