Challenges of Nation Building
1. The Indian Independence Bill passed by the British Parliament, provided for the creation of the two independent Dominions from 15 August 1947, to be known as India and Pakistan.
2. The country was free, but at the cost human life, a lot of trauma and displacement was accompanied with it which became one of the major challenges of nation building.
3. Jawaharlal Nehru made a memorable speech called ‘TRYST WITH DESTINY’ in the Constituent Assembly on the eve India’s Independence.
Three challenges of nation building which India faced:
Now that the country was Independent, the leaders faced three main challenges of nation building
1. To have a United India –the first of the challenges of nation building for our national leaders was to unite the people from different culture, different languages, different geographical locations in short to unite the diversity of the country.
2. To establish Democracy at all levels –the second of the challenges of nation building was to give the country a political system that was democratic. Our leaders believed in the ideals of Representative Democracy, Fundamental Rights, parliamentary Democracy, freedom and Equality and hence wanted the implementation of the same.
3. To secure social and economic development by appropriate state action – a democratic system was not an end in itself, but means to an end. The third of the challenges of nation building was ending poverty and ignorance and disease and inequality of opportunity . Progressive improvement in the conditions of citizens as directed by Directive Principles of State Policies.
It refers to the division of British India into two separate Dominions, named India and Pakistan.
Reasons for Partition
1. British Policies – the policy of divide and Rule by the British widened the gaps between the two communities.
2. Two-Nation Theory – this was propounded by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, because he and his party Muslim League were of the opinion that the Hindus and Muslims belong to two different civilizations and hence we need two different countries to accommodate them.
3. Communal tensions between Hindus and Muslims – in 1940’s , the rift between Hindus and Muslims increased which eventually convinced the Congress for Partition.
4. Political Competition between Muslim League and Congress- both the parties wanted to influence and have power and authority in the Independent India. But they have had contrasting ideologies and hence it became difficult to accommodate them.
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Process of Partition
British India was to be divided in two separate nations on the basis of religious majority, but there were various problems in achieving the goal.
1. In British India, there was no particular belt of area of Muslim majority – Muslims population was more dominated in two areas, one was in East and the other one in West. Hence these two areas could not be connected and so Pakistan would have different territories called the East Pakistan and West Pakistan which would be separated by Indian territory.
2. Question of North-West Frontier Province– the Muslim population of this region did not want to join Pakistan and wanted to stay with India. The leader of NWFP, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan who was also called as Frontier Gandhi was not satisfied with this region joining Pakistan. But a referendum was held in which people voted for join Pakistan and NWFP was made to merge with it.
3. Partition of Punjab and Bengal – the Mountbatten Plan proposed the partition of the two provinces –Bengal and Punjab. But this could not provide acceptable solution because both the areas had considerable size of the non-Muslim minorities. Which made them decide to bifurcate the territories on the basis of religious majority at the lower level. But this not was decided till the very day of Independence and it created a chaos where people did not know which country did they belong to.
4. The issue of Minorities– the size of minorities both in Pakistan and India was very large. Pakistan had lakhs of Sikhs and Hindus as minority , whereas India had huge population of Muslims in the country. These minorities were vulnerable to the attack from majority, leaders were not aware of how to stop this violence against minorities.
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Consequences of Partition
The consequences faced during and after partition were as followed
1. Massive influx of Refugees from across the border – the year 1947 experienced tragic influx of population from both the countries. Statistics suggest that almost 80 lakh people migrated during partition.
2. Communal Riots – in the name of religion people from both the sides were killing and maiming each other. There were places where the riots were so violent that they came to be known as ‘Communal Zones’. These cities were Kolkata, Amritsar and Lahore. 5-10 lakh people lost their life during partition .
3. Miseries of Migrants
• They had to leave their home and suddenly come to live in an alien place,
• They sought shelter in the so called ‘Refugee Camps’
• The administration and local police were unwilling to help them.
• They had no means of travelling to the other side.
• Abduction of women was very rampant where she was later forced to covert her religion and marry someone from the other religion. Women were also killed by their family members in order to protect their honour.
• Many women who had been raped and abducted committed suicides.
• Families separated from each other .
• These migrants had no place to live in and for years and years they lived in Refugee Camps.
4. Division of the administration of the countries – Even the minutest of properties and financial objects like typewriters, chairs, paper clips, tables, the employees of various departments were divided between the two counties.
5. Division of hearts – Lakhs of people were forced to leave their homes and to migrate across the new border. The sufferings of the migrants could be best recognized only by those who themselves suffered violence, rooted from their homes which previously owned and had to leave their whole settled life to stay in refugee camps.
6. The Question of Religious Minorities – after partition India had 12 % Muslim population and had other significant minorities like Sikhs, Jews, Jains, Christians, and Parsis. Regarding these minorities India decided not to create a Hindu theocratic state but to adopt the ideal of Secularism where all the religions were to be treated equally. On the other hand Pakistan chose to be an Islamic Nation clearly favouring Muslims, and hence the status of minorities will always remain deteriorated.
Integration of Princely States
• The British India had two administrative units under it, namely Princely States and British India Provinces.
• Princely states were indirectly ruled by British by making the rulers and princes to rule their territory till the time they accept the Supremacy of the British. There were around 565 Princely States at the time of independence.
• Paramountcy or Suzerainty of the British Crown – the overall relations of the Princely States was defined by these terms. The rulers or princes enjoyed control over their internal affairs whereas the duties of the British Crown were to protect them from external attack, regulate disputed successions and to intervene in cases of grave misrule or breakdown of internal order.
• British India Provinces were directly ruled by British Government.
• After Independence, the British India Provinces came directly under the India, but the Princely States were given the choice to either remain independent or join any of the newly created India and Pakistan. Hence the integration of 565 princely states with India became a tedious task for the leaders.
• Nawab of Bhopal was against joining Constituent Assembly and Ruler of Travancore, Nizam of Hyderabad declared the intentions to become independent monarchies. These dangerous developments posed a serious threat to the strength and solidarity of India as a nation.
• The states were ruled by the Autocratic Rulers. Leaving the Princely States under these autocratic rulers meant that representative democracy could never grow in these areas.
• The rulers will not be willing to give up their powers which would lead to chaos in the area.
• The Interim Government of India was of the view that India should not be divided further into small principalities, but Muslim League was opposed to this. It demanded that the Princely States should be given free choice to decide any course.
• Sardar Vallabhai Patel played a crucial role in integrating the country.
• The Government of India approached the subject of integration from three viewpoints-
1. All the people of these Princely States were keen to become the part of Indian State.
2. To accommodate plurality of culture, region and traditions, the Indian Government was also ready to give certain amount of Autonomy to certain areas.
3. The integration and consolidation of all the independent territories under Indian State became very significant in the backdrop of tragic partition and to avoid such events in the near future.
• With peaceful negotiations, India was able to bring almost all the Princely States under the Indian Dominion by 15 August. The states signed a document named ‘Instrument of Accession’, which meant that pending the adoption of New Constitution, the Indian Parliament would make laws for the acceding states only in these matters –Defence, Foreign Affairs, Communications and the related matters.
Patel and National Integration
1. The first Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister of India, Sardar Vallabhai Patel emerged as a major leader of the freedom movement after the Kheda Satygraha and Bardoli Satyagraha.
2. At the time of Independence, the problem of Princely states was a big challenge to nation-building, under such circumstances, Patel undertook the task of uniting all 565 Princely States.
3. Known famously as Iron Man, he was not at all ready to compromise with territorial integrity of the nation.
4. By his political experience, diplomatic prowess and foresightedness he was able to unite and integrate the country.
5. He faced challenges at three places –Hyderabad, Junagarh and Kashmir. Under his leadership Indian Forces were compelled to Junagarh and Hyderabad. Both these regions were taken into Indian territory by force.
6. Patel wanted to do the same with Kashmir, but he could not achieve this due to several reasons and as a result special powers were granted to J&K to which Patel was totally against.
7. Patel’s able diplomacy saved India from breaking into pieces.
8. He wasn’t just a freedom fighter but architect of unified political structure in India.
The State of Junagarh
1. The state of Junagarh and a few more neighbouring states joined the United State of Kathiawar on December 31, 1948.
2. In Junagarh, a plebiscite was held to seek people’s consent on the question of joining Indian Union.
3. The people said yes to being part of Indian Union.
The State of Hyderabad
1. The State of Hyderabad was the largest of the princely states both in terms of area and population.
2. It had a Muslim ruler ruling over a fairly large Hindu population, his rule was tyrannical and unjust.
3. He wanted Hyderabad to be an independent nation.
4. In November, 1947 the Nizam entered into a Standstill Agreement with Indian government for a year. This meant that for a year things would remain as they were before August 15, 1947.
5. In July 1946, the peasants in the Telangana region had risen in revolt against the Nizam. They wanted distribution of fallow land to the agricultural labourers.
6. The Movement was led by the Communist Party and the Hyderabad Congress also took part in it.
7. The Nizam retaliated to these activities by encouraging the Razakars, which was a para-military force under Kasim Razvi. The Razakars were guilty of the most barbarous and inhuman atrocities. Their main target was the Hindu population and Hindus felt quite unprotected in the state.
8. On September 11, 1948 India gave an ultimatum to Nizam to accept India’s terms and conditions. Indian troops took action on September 13 and on September 18 Nizam’s forces surrendered to the Commander of the Indian army.
9. On January 26, 1950 Hyderabad formally acceded to the Indian Union.
The State of Jammu and Kashmir
1. On August 15, 1947 the State of Jammu and Kashmir was under the full control of Maharaja Hari Singh.
2. The state had majority Muslim population and Minority Hindu, Sikhs and Buddhists.
3. Pakistan was getting impatient to grab Kashmir by any means and at any cost.
4. J&K had to bear the brunt of tribal raids from across the border soon after partition. Fighting, plundering and arson had erupted all over the Kashmir Valley.
5. V.P. Menon reached Srinagar on October 25 and on October 26, 1947 the Maharaja formally acceded to the Indian Union.
6. An Interim Administration – Indian army reached Kashmir on October 27. On October 31 an Interim Administration was set up, with Sheikh Abdullah as the President.
7. The Security Council’s Resolution – the Security Council in its Resolution August 13, 1948 suggested a ceasefire Agreement between India and Pakistan.
8. The Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir – in 1951 a Constituent Assembly met in Srinagar to frame a Constitution for the State. The Constitution declares that ‘’Jammu and Kashmir is and shall be an integral part of India.’’
The State of Manipur
1. The Maharaja of Manipur, Bodhachandra Singh, had signed the Instrument of Accession a few days before Independence.
2. He did so after having an assurance from the Government that it would not violate internal autonomy of the State.
3. People of Manipur forced Maharaja to constitute a Legislative Assembly. Elections were held in June 1948 and thus Manipur became a Constitutional Monarchy.
4. In Independent India an election based on Universal Adult Franchise was held first in Manipur.
5. Manipur’s merger with India became a matter of serious debate in the Legislative Assembly. Manipur Congress supported the merger while the other parties rejected and opposed it.
6. The Government of India pressurized Maharaja to sign a Merger Agreement in September 1949 and he signed it without consulting the Legislative Assembly and hence the members were filled with resentment.
7. This was certain to have an adverse effect on the mutual relations that existed between the Government of India and the State of Manipur.
Reorganization of States
The next challenges of nation building was to draw the internal boundaries of the country. And this was to be done in a manner that the diversity of the country is being taken into account without it affecting the unity and integrity of the country.
The British rulers had constituted the Provinces only for their administrative convenience. They paid no heed to either the culture or to the linguistic aspirations of the people and this was one of the major challenges of nation building.
Linguistic Reorganization of States
After India gained Independence it strongly felt to reorganize the state boundaries on the basis of language. The Congress session of Nagpur in 1920 decided this too. But the leaders postponed the reorganization of state boundaries due to the following reasons –
1. Leaders felt that linguistic reorganization would hurt the unity and integrity of the nation and may cause disintegration of the nation.
2. More important social and economic issues were being faced by India at that time of independence and hence reorganization was nothing less than a distraction from significant issues.
3. It was also due to the lesson it learnt from the partition.
But this decision was not accepted by the local people and local leaders. And the protest for creation of new states began which became a serious challenge to nation building.
• Telugu speaking people had been agitating for some time for a separate Andhra state from the Madras Province. This movement was called the Vishalandhra movement.
• This movement garnered support from diverse range of political forums. Nearly every political party agreed to creation of a new state.
• Many ugly incidents occurred in the wake of the movement. P Sriram ulu, a veteran Congress leader went on fast unto death and after 56 days of fast he died.
• There was a public outcry and much anger shown by the people on the government. When the situation became violent and uncontrollable , the government had to accept the demand for separate Andhra state.
• The Prime Minister promulgated formation of a separate Andhra state in December 1992 and on October 1 ,1953 a new Andhra state came into being.
• In fact, Andhra Pradesh was the first state to be formed on a purely linguistic basis.
• The creation of Andhra Pradesh paved the way for similar demands from the other regions posing new challenges of nation building.
• A Commission, therefore, was appointed to suggest the reorganization of States. It was called the States Reorganization Commission, which came into being in 1953.
• The Commission favoured the formation of the states on linguistic basis, because it led to administrative convenience.
• The Commission gave its report in 1955 and in 1956 a State Reorganization Act was passed.
• The Indian Union was reorganized into 14 States and 6 Union Territories.
1. The State of Gujarat came into being on May 1 ,1960 by separating Gujarati-speaking areas from the former Bombay State.
2. In 1966 there came into being the State of Haryana, by dividing the old Punjab State into two entities, namely Punjab and Haryana.
3. In 1972, many separate states, Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura were carved out of Assam.
4. The State of Nagaland had come into being in 1963.
5. Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram became the States of Indian Union in 1987.
6. The states of Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand were carved out of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar respectively in the year 2000.
7. India got its 29th state on 2 June 2014 called Telangana separated from Andhra Pradesh.
Advantages of Linguistic States
Initially the leaders were reluctant to take this course because they felt that it could pose threat to unity and integrity of the country and may lead to disintegration or chaos. Again becoming one of the challenges of nation building. But it didn’t turn out as anticipated. The advantages are as followed
1. With the experience, it can be definitely argued that reorganization of state on basis of language has been a success.
2. It has provided uniformity in reorganization of the state.
3. It has actually boosted the national unity and integrity quite opposite to what was expected.
4. In a democracy the administration should be carried out in people’s language. It gives them satisfaction to the people if their relations with State Officials or ministers are very direct.
5. Because of smaller linguistic States regional literature and languages blossomed.
6. Democracy is about accommodating and consolidating diversity, which was principally underlined during reorganization of states. This was done to accept pluralism and give people the space to proliferate their language and interests .
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