Major Milestones: India
End of British Rule, Partition, Integration of Princely States
The feeling of nationalism had started growing in the minds of Indians as early as the middle of the nineteenth century but it grew more with the formation of the Indian National Congress (INC) in 1885. By the 1920’s the mood of the national movement had become more aggressive. With Mahatma Gandhi at the helm of affairs, the Congress launched many movements against the British rule. With the pace of developments all over the world (after the Second World War). The British came to realize that it was not possible to rule India anymore and they decided to quit. The Muslim League had vowed for a separate nation, Pakistan. The league concerned that a united independent India would be dominated by Hindus.
The partition of the Subcontinent, however, led to severe rioting and population movement as Muslims, Sikhs, and Hindus found themselves on the wrong side of the partitioned provinces of Punjab and Bengal. In the aftermath of Partition, the princely states of India. Which had been given the choice whether to accede to India or Pakistan or to remain outside them by the Indian Independence Act 1947, were all incorporated into one or other of the new dominions. The rulers of the princely states were not uniformly enthusiastic about integrating their domains into independent India. Bhopal, Travancore, and Hyderabad announced that they did not intend to join either dominion.
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A number of factors contributed to the collapse of this Initial resistance and to nearly all princely states agreeing to accede to India. An important factor was the lack of unity among the princes. The key factors that led the states to accept integration into India were, however, the efforts of Vallabhbhai Patel and V. P. Menon, who were respectively the political and administrative heads of the Indian Government’s States Department. Which was in charge of relations with the princely states.
This event formed the cornerstone of Patel’s popularity in post-independence era and even today, he is remembered as the man who united India. He is, in this regard, compared to Otto von Bismarck of Germany, who did the same thing in the 1860s. Gandhi had once told Patel the problem of the States is so difficult that you alone can solve it”. He was considered a statesman of integrity with the practical acumen and resolve to accomplish a monumental task.
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In May 1947, Patel began lobbying the princes, attempting to make them receptive towards dialogue with the future Government and trying to forestall potential conflicts. He convinced the princes of 565 states of the impossibility of independence from the Indian republic, especially in the presence of growing opposition from their subjects. He proposed favorable terms for the merger, including the creation of privy purses for the descendants of the rulers.
While encouraging the rulers to act with patriotism, Patel did not rule out force, setting a deadline of 15 August 1947 for them to sign the instrument of accession document. All but three of the states willingly merged into the Indian union only Jammu and Kashmir, Junagadh. And Hyderabad did not fall into his basket. Patel’s use of force and diplomacy made rulers of these states see the writing on the wall. They either fled the country or agreed to accede, albeit reluctantly. The world’s largest democracy and the second most populous country, India emerged as a major power in the 1990’s. It is militarily strong, has major cultural influence and is a fast-growing. and powerful economy. A nuclear-armed state, it carried out tests in the 1970s and again in the 1990s in defiance of world opinion.
Partition, Dispute, and War
In 1947, the British dominion of India came to an end with the creation of two new nations. India and Pakistan. Each of the 565 Indian princely states had to decide which of the two new nations to join: secular India or Islamic Pakistan. Jammu and Kashmir Which had a predominantly Muslim population and a Hindu ruler the largest of these autonomous states and bordered both modern countries. Its ruler was the Dogra King (Maharaja), Hari Singh. Hari Singh preferred to remain independent and sought to avoid the stress placed on him by either India and Pakistan by slaying each against the other.
According to the Indian theory, Pakistani tribals (Kabailis) from North Waziristan, aided and supported by Pakistani soldiers, entered Kashmir to force the Maharajah out of power as he had avoided a vote to decide Kashmir’s fate during partition. The Maharajah was not able to withstand the invasion; he decided to cede Kashmir to India. The Instrument of Accession accepted by Lord Mountbatten, Governor General of India October 27, 1947. The Indian troops then marched into Kashmir.
However, the Pakistani theory contests this narrative. It is asserted, rather, that Indian troops marched towards Kashmir amidst the tensions resulting from the indecision of the Maharajah. This ultimately forced the Maharajah to accede with India, whether willingly or unwillingly is still unclear. After hearing about Indian soldiers pouring into Kashmir Mohammad Ali Jinnah (the founding father of Pakistan) ordered the then head of the Pakistani Army. Who was a British officer, to stop the undemocratic takeover of Kashmir by sending his troops to the area. This order was denied by the General on the grounds that. It would have constituted an attack motion against his own British counterparts in the Indian Army. Following this, the kabaili tribesmen of northern Pakistan attacked and took control of over 1/3rd of Kashmir from the Indian army.
Indo-Pakistan War of 1947
The irregular Pakistani tribals made rapid advances into Kashmir (In Baramulla Sector) after the rumours that. The Maharaja was going to decide for the union with India. Maharaja Hari Singh and Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah of Kashmir asked the Government of India to intervene. However, the Government of India pointed out that India and Pakistan had signed an agreement of non-intervention. (Maintenance of the Status Quo) in Jammu and Kashmir. And although tribal fighters from Pakistan had entered Jammu and Kashmir.
There was, until then, no iron-clad legal evidence to unequivocally prove that the Government of Pakistan officially involved. It would have been illegal for India to unilaterally intervene (In an open, official capacity) unless Jammu and Kashmir officially joined the Union of India. At which point it would be possible to send in its forces and occupy the remaining parts.
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The Maharaja and Prime Minister desperately needed the Indian military’s help when the Pakistani tribal invaders reached the outskirts of Srinagar. Just before they entered Srinagar, negotiations for acceding Jammu and Kashmir to India. In exchange for receiving military aid completed between Maharaja Hari Singh, Sheikh Abdullah and Jawaharlal Nehru. The agreement which ceded Jammu and Kashmir to India signed by the Maharaja and Lord Mountbatten.
Pakistan claims that the Maharaja and Prime Minister acted under duress and that the accession of Kashmir to India’s invalidated by a previous agreement between India and Pakistan, to maintain the “status quo”.
The resulting war, the First Kashmir War, lasted until 1948 when India moved the issue to the UN Security Council. The UN previously had passed resolutions setting up for the monitoring of the conflict in Kashmir. The committee it set up called the United Nations Committee for India and Pakistan. Following the set-up of the UNCIP, the UN Security Council passed resolution 47 April 21, 1948. The resolution imposed that an immediate cease-fire takes place and said that Pakistan should withdraw all presence and have no say in Jammu and Kashmir politics.
It stated that India should retain a minimum military presence and stated. “that the final disposition of the State of Jammu and Kashmir will make in accordance with the will of the people expressed through. The democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of the United Nations”. The cease-fire took place December 31, 1948.
At that time, the Indian and Pakistani governments agreed to hold the plebiscite but neither side actually removed its troops. The plebiscite never took place, leading the UN Security Council to pass several more resolutions which reaffirmed its earlier resolution.
Aftermath of War
Under the leadership of Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad. A Constituent Assembly of Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir (which also it Legislative Assembly) had ratified the State’s accession to India. And had adopted a constitution, calling for a perpetual merger of the state with India. This constitution promulgated on 26 January 1957, making nationalists and Kashmir as the only state in India to have a separate constitution (much to the displeasure of many nationalists in India).
Pakistan still asks for a plebiscite under the UN (United Nations). However, India is no longer willing to allow plebiscite as it claims that. The situation has changed and that a large number of the Hindus. Who once lived in Kashmir forced to move out due to a threat from separatist activities. It also claims that Pakistan or China is not willing to demilitarize areas occupied by them, This mentioned as one of the conditions at the UN.
The cease-fire line is known as Line-of-Control (LOC) and is the pseudo-border between India and Pakistan in most of the Kashmir region.
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Reorganization of the Indian union into smaller states
India after independence consisted of a much smaller number of states that we see today. Few states with a dominant central government the way the country organized politically. However, demands for creation of new state gained ground as people felt that. Their aspirations not being met by the government of the day. The movement: create a Telugu-speaking state out of the northern portion of Madras State gathered strength in the years’ aft: independence. Overwhelming public support for such agitations made the Central government sit up and take notice. Such demands could no longer suppress by force.
- In December 1953, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru appointed the States Reorganization Commission to prepare for the creation of states on linguistic lines and in 1953, the 16 northern. Telugu-speaking districts of Madras Stare became the new State of Andhra which the first created purely on a linguistic basis.
- The commission created a report in 1955 recommending the reorganization of India’s states.
- The States Reorganization Act of 1956. Which went into s effect on I November, eliminated the distinction between Part A, B, and C states. It also reorganized the state boundaries and created or dissolved states and union territories.
The recent creation of Telangana out of Andhra Pradesh has been fuelling new statehood movements across the country. This has once again thrown open the debate – whether smaller states are better. The story so far of the new states can at best be described as a mixed bag with no concrete proof of smaller states being essentially better administered than the bigger ones or vice-versa. Apart from historical, u cultural and linguistic dimensions, the quest for a new state is understood to be driven. And shaped by two factors – the development aspirations of the people and the vaulting ambitions of the politicians leading it.
Look at Some Examples
- Jharkhand carved out of Bihar in 2000, is a case point. Where the unbridled ambitions of its politicians rode roughshod over the development aspirations of the people after it created. There was massive opposition to it. Because the Bihar politicians felt its creation would rob the parent state of the mineral, forest and industrial resources that Jharkhand endowed with. Jharkhand today is seen as a case study in bad governance and dreadful levels of corruption. Their chief ministers, Madhu Koda and Shibu Soren became familiar names only. Because of involvement in a multi-crore corruption scam and criminal cases.
- Creation of the northeastern states, today marked by political corruption, unstable governments, ethnic tensions, and insurgency, hardly espouse the case for smaller states. The breaking up of Assam in seven units in the 1970’s had no justification except the politics of tribal-ethnic identity. These states financially unviable as almost 80 percent of their budgetary outlays depended on transfers from the Centre while only 20 percent of the revenue locally generated.
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- Those espousing the case for smaller states also present their case with cogent arguments. They point to the unwieldy size of some large states. And the sense of alienation people living in districts far-flung from the power centre, i.e. the state capital. Cultural identity is another reason why people demand separate states. Uttar Pradesh is a classic example of how small states make better sense in a democracy. It is the sixth largest in terms of population in the whole world.
- The area now comprising Uttarakhand prospered after being carved out of UP.
- Gujarat better off after being cut from the larger Bombay Presidency.
- Punjab split into three Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab and all of these are better off. Carved out of a larger Punjab in the 1960s. Haryana and Himachal have been examples that vindicate the case for smaller states.
- In 2014 the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization. Act 2014 approved by Indian parliament and Telangana became India’s 29th State on June 2nd, 2015.