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Shaping the Newly Independent India(Part-2)

Shaping the Newly Independent India(Part-2)

Consolidation Of States In Independent India

  • The rehabilitation on East took years and it was more difficult because of constant exodus of Hindus from East Bengal continued for years. After handling this worst nightmare of Partition, Indian leadership had strived to consolidate India from within and look after its internal affairs.

Plan of consolidation   

  • The broad strategy for national consolidation after 1947 involved :
    • Territorial integration,
    • Mobilization of political and institutional resources
    • Economic development, and
    • Adoption of polices which would promote social justice, remove glaring inequalities and provide equal opportunities.

Integration of Princely States [Shaping the Newly Independent India(Part-2)]

    • Unifying post partition India and the princely states under one administration was perhaps the most important task faced by then political leadership. In colonial India, nearly 40% of the territory was occupied by five hundred sixty five small and large states ruled by princes who enjoyed varying degrees of autonomy under the system of British Paramountcy. British power protected them from their own people as also from external aggression so long as they did British bidding.
    • As the British left, many of 565 princely states, began to dream of independence. They had claimed that the paramountcy could not be transferred to the new states of India and Pakistan.
    • On June 27, 1947, Sardar Patel assumed additional charge of the newly created states department with V.P. Menon as its Secretary.  (Shaping the Newly Independent India(Part-2))
    • India’s first Deputy Prime Minister, Sardar Vallabhai Patel (Born on October 31st, 1875) used a combination of political manoeuvring and brute force to integrate the Princely states. Some of his notable actions on these states are listed below:
    • Jodhpur
      • The services of the Diwan of the neighbouring state of Bikaner were used to persuade the King of Jodhpur to align herself with India. Thus, the Instrument of Accession with Jodhpur was signed.
    • Bhopal
      • After Lord Mountbatten asked the Nawab of Bhopal to sign the Instrument of Accession, he tried to avoid any integration to the Union of India by reasoning the interests of Muslims in the Hindu dominated region will be compromised after the accession. But the people of Bhopal had realized that this was only being done to preserve the Nawab’s owns power in the state and had nothing to do with the genuine interests of any community. Hence, the Nawab had to sign the Instrument of Accession with India.
    • Junagarh
      • Junagarh was a princely state which had a majority of Hindus but ruled by a Muslim ruler. It had already signed the pact with Pakistan to be a part of the latter’s territory. However, India firmly believed in the will of the people for such a decision. Hence, V.P Menon and V.B Patel tried to convince the Diwan of Junagarh (Shahnawaz Khan Bhutto) to conduct a plebiscite. But not before severing air and land links of Junagadh. Following clashes between Indian and Junaghadi armies, the Nawab fled with his family to Pakistan. His Dewan Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto, the father of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, decided to invite the Government of India to intervene and wrote a letter to Mr Buch, the regional commissioner of Saurashtra in the government of India to this effect. The subsequent plebiscite held later saw the accession of Junagadh to India
    • Travancore
      • The southern Indian maritime state was strategically placed for maritime trade and was rich in both human and mineral resources.
      • It was one of the first princely states to refuse accession to the Indian union and question the Congress’ leadership of the nation.
      • By 1946, the Dewan of Travancore, Sir C.P. Ramamswamy Aiyar declared his intention of forming an independent state of Travancore that would be open to the idea of signing a treaty with the Indian union.
      • Sir C.P. Aiyar is also said to have had secret ties with the UK government who were in support of an independent Travancore in the hope that they would get exclusive access to a mineral called monazite that the area was rich in, and would give an edge to Britain in the nuclear arms race.
      • He stuck to his position till as late as July 1947. He changed his mind soon after he survived an assassination attempt by a member of the Kerala Socialist Party.
      • On July 30 1947, Travancore joined India.
    • Hyderabad
      • The indication that the power of the rulers of Hyderabad was short-lived, could be sensed through the events such as the movement of peasants under the communist leadership against the Jagirdars and Talukdars, the Telangana uprising, and the spread of Gandhian programmes such as Prabhat Pheri and Khadi. The Nawab of Hyderabad succeeded in mobilizing a group of orthodox Muslims called as Ittehadul Muslameen and a militia called Razakars. They challenged the idea of India and hence finally a police action was taken by the Government of India in 1948 leading to the surrender of Hyderabad on September 17 of that year. The Nawab agreed to accede Hyderabad to India. In return, he was made the Rajpramukh (Governor) of the democratic state of Hyderabad. This can be referred to as a smooth transition of the king into democracy without feeling a sense of dethronement.
  • Kashmir
    • It was a princely state with a Hindu king ruling over a predominant Muslim population which had remained reluctant to join either of the two dominions.
    • The case of this strategically located kingdom was not just very different but also one of the toughest as it had important international boundaries.
    • The ruler of Kashmir Maharaja Hari Singh had offered a proposal of standstill agreement to both India and Pakistan, pending a final decision on the state’s accession.
    • Pakistan entered into the standstill agreement but it invaded the Kashmir from north with an army of soldiers and tribesmen carrying weapons. In the early hours of 24th October, 1947, thousands of tribal pathan swept into Kashmir.
    • The Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir appealed to India for help. He sent his representative Sheikh Abdullah to Delhi to ask for India’s help.
    • On 26th October 1947, Maharaja Hari Singh fled from Srinagar and arrived in Jammu where he signed an ‘Instrument of Accession’ of J&K state.
    • According to the terms of the document, the Indian jurisdiction would extend to external affairs, communications and defence. After the document was signed, Indian troops were airlifted into the state and fought alongside the Kashmiris.
    • On 5th March, 1948, Maharaja Hari Singh announced the formation of an interim popular government with Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah as the Prime Minister.
    • In 1951, the state constituent assembly was elected. It met for the first time in Srinagar on 31st October 1951.
    • In 1952, the Delhi Agreement was signed between Prime Ministers of India and Jammu & Kashmir giving special position to the state under Indian Constitutional framework.
    • On 6th february 1954, the J&K constituent assembly ratified the accession of the state to the Union of India.
    • The President subsequently issued the constitution order under Article 370 of the Constitution extending the Union Constitution to the state with some exceptions and modifications.
    • As per Section 3 of the J&K constitution, Jammu & Kashmir is and shall be an integral part of the Union of India.  (Shaping the Newly Independent India(Part-2))
    • On 5th of August 2019, the President of India promulgated the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 2019.
    • The order effectively abrogates the special status accorded to Jammu and Kashmir under the provision of Article 370 – whereby provisions of the Constitution which were applicable to other states were not applicable to Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

Tribal Integration [Shaping the Newly Independent India(Part-2)]

  • During colonial times money lenders, traders & petty officials invaded the tribal areas and disrupted the tribal’s traditional way of life.
  • To conserve forests and to facilitate their commercial exploitation, the colonial authorities brought large tracts of forest lands under forest laws which forbade shifting cultivation & put severe restrictions on the tribals use of forest and their access to forest products.
  • Loss of land, indebtness
  • Exploitation by middlemen
  • Denial of access to forests & forest products
  • Oppression & extortion by policemen, forest officials and other government officials
  • Tribal population was spread all over India, their greatest concentration lies in Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, North-eastern India, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan. Except the North-East, they constitute minorities in their home states. Residing mostly in the hills and forest areas, in colonial India they lived in relative isolation and their tradition, habits, cultures and ways of life were exceptionally different with that of their non-tribal neighbours.
  • Tribal integration was an extremely difficult task due to –
  • Varied languages
  • Diverse dwelling conditions
  • Different habits and ways of life with their non-tribal neighbours
  • Different cultures & tradition
  • Resided mostly in hills & forest areas in colonial India
  • Spread all over India
  • Lived in isolation

India Tribal Policy  [Shaping the Newly Independent India(Part-2)]

  • Nehru stood for economic & social development of tribal people in multifarious ways, especially in the fields of modern medical facilities communications, agriculture and education. There were certain broad guidelines laid down by Nehru, with the help of V Elwin, which was called as “Tribal Panchsheel”. They are:
    • People should develop along the line of their own genius – avoid imposing anything on them
    • Try to encourage in every way their own traditional arts and culture
    • Tribals rights to land and forest should be respected
    • Technical experts needed for development but avoid introducing too many outsiders into tribal territory.
    • Judge results not by statistics or amount of money spent, but by the quality of human character involved.
    • Should not over administer these areas or overwhelm them with a multiplicity of schemes
  • In spite of the constitutional safeguards and the efforts of central & state governments, the tribals progress and welfare has been very slow. Except North East, the tribals continue to be poor, indebted, landless and often unemployed. Problem lies in weak execution of even well intentioned measures.

Facts About Tribal Population In India  [Shaping the Newly Independent India(Part-2)]

  • Tribal peoples constitute 8.6 percent of India’s total population, about 104 million people according to the 2011 census (68 million people according to the 1991 census). This is the largest population of the tribal people in the world.
  • One concentration lives in a belt along the Himalayas stretching through Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh in the west, to Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Manipur, and Nagaland in the northeast.
  • Another concentration lives in the hilly areas of central India (Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, and, to a lesser extent, Andhra Pradesh); in this belt, which is bounded by the Narmada River to the north and the Godavari River to the southeast, tribal peoples occupy the slopes of the region’s mountains. Other tribals, the Santals, live in Bihar and West Bengal.
  • Tribal people in India are called adivasi. Adivasi is an umbrella term for a heterogeneous set of ethnic and tribal groups considered the aboriginal population of India. Although terms such as atavika, vanavasi (“forest dwellers”), or girijan (“hill people”) are also used for the tribes of India, adivasi carries the specific meaning of being the original and autochthonous inhabitants of a given region and was specifically coined for that purpose in the 1930s.  (Shaping the Newly Independent India(Part-2))
  • The so called “tribal belt” embraces central and northeast India, which extends across the center of India from Pakistan in the west to Bangladesh and Myanmar in the east. The belt is home to 81 million indigenous people, whose ancestors may have inhabited India before Aryan invaders, the ancestors of Hindus, arrived around 1500 B.C.   (Shaping the Newely Independent India(Part-2))
  • The Bnei Menashe tribe, found in India’s Manipur and Mizoram, are descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel.
  • Instead of converting to other religions, these people converted back to the religion of their ancestors after rediscovering their roots.   (Shaping the Newly Independent India(Part-2))
  • The Gaddi tribe is one of the very few tribes of India that live like gypsies
  • The Ghoomar, which is a traditional folk dance of Rajasthan, was developed by the Bhil tribe

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