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Nation Building Process and its Challenges


To prepare for POST INDEPENDENCE HISTORY OF INDIA for any competitive exam, aspirants have to know about Nation Building Process and its Challenges. It gives an idea of all the important topics for the IAS Exam and the Economy syllabus (GS-II.). Important Nation Building Process and its Challenges terms are important from Economy perspectives in the UPSC exam. IAS aspirants should thoroughly understand their meaning and application, as questions can be asked from this static portion of the IAS Syllabus in both the UPSC Prelims and the UPSC Mains exams.

In this article you will learn about Challenges After Independent India, Partition and its aftermath, Integration of Princely States, Legacy- Colonial and National Movement, Issue of Official language, The Linguistic Reorganization of the States, Minority Languages And Associated Issues, Integration of the Tribals, Regional Aspirations and Hindu Code Bill


  • Rehabilitation of Refugess & Communal Riots
    • Integration of Princely States
    • Stability & Security of India
    • Establishment of Representatve Democracy & Civil Libertarian Political Order
    • Restoration of Law & Order after partition
    • Economic Development
    • Social, Politcal and Economic Equality


Important Statements of Nehru after Independence of India:

  • Nehru declared in his 14 August speech, ‘The achievement we celebrate today is but a step, an opening of opportunity, to the greater triumphs and achievements . . . That future is not one of ease and resting but of incessant striving so that we may fulfil the pledges we have so often taken.
  • Nehru declared in 1947, ‘First things must come first and the first thing is the security and stability of India.
  • “There is no lack of drama in this changing world of ours and, even in India, we live in an exciting age. I have always considered it a great privilege for people of this generation to live during this period of India’s long history … I have believed that there is nothing more exciting in the wide world today than to work in India.




  • Fifteenth August, 1947, the first day of free India, was celebrated. The sacrifices of generations of patriots and the blood of countless martyrs had borne fruit.
  • The initial few years of independent India were full of daunting challenges and concerns regarding national unity and territorial integrity of India. Freedom came with Partition, which resulted in large scale communal violence and displacement and unprecedented violence challenged the very idea of a secular India.
  • There was scarcity of food and other consumer goods, and a fear of administrative breakdown.
  • Independence had been accompanied by a multitude of problems, and centuries of backwardness, prejudice, inequality, and ignorance still weighed on the land.

Challenges facing India at the time of independence have been variously identified as:

  • Challenges facing India at the time of independence
    • Immediate problems
    • Medium term problems
    • Long term problems


  • Territorial and administrative integration of the princely states.
  • Communal riots that accompanied Partition.
  • Rehabilitation of refugees who had migrated from Pakistan.
  • Protection of Muslims threatened by communal groups.
  • Need to avoid war with Pakistan.
  • Communist insurgency.
  • Restoration of law and order.
  • Political stability and putting in place an administrative system, threatened with breakdown because of Partition.


  • Framing a constitution.
  • Building a representative democratic and civil libertarian political order.
  • Organizing elections to put in place the system of representative and responsible government.
  • Abolishing the semi-feudal agrarian order through land reforms.


  • Promoting national integration.
  • Pushing forward the process of nation-in-the-making.
  • Facilitating rapid economic development.
  • Removing endemic poverty.
  • Initiating the planning process.
  • Bridge the gap between mass expectations aroused by the freedom struggle and their fulfilment.
  • Getting rid of centuries-long social injustice, inequality and oppression.
  • Evolve a foreign policy which would defend Indian independence and promote peace in a world increasingly engulfed by the Cold War.
  • The national movement had brought together different regions, sections of society and ideological currents around a common political agenda.
  • The national leaders were committed to the goals of rapid social and economic change and democratization of the society and polity, and the values imparted by the national movement.
  • The leaders were committed to the values of democracy, civil liberties, secularism, independent economic development, anti-imperialism and social reforms and had a propoor orientation. • The leadership’s position was strengthened by the fact that they enjoyed tremendous popularity and prestige among almost every section of the people.


  • Rehabilitation of Refugees & Communal Riots – A very important task after Independence to give relief to and resettle and rehabilitate the nearly six million refugees from Pakistan who had lost their all there and whose world had been turned upside down.
  • Stability & Security of India- Nehru declared in 1947, ‘First things must come first and the first thing is the security and stability of India. After Independence , Indian leaders not only faced with the communal problem arise out of partition but they also required to protect the Indian territory from external threat mainly posed by Pakistan. This was an era of cold war and to protect its sovereignty was also a great challenge for Indians from the influence of USSR and USA.
  • Establishment of Representative Democracy & Civil Libertarian Political Order– One of the major tasks of Indian leaders was to establish a truly Democratic and Republic India with ultimate powers being given to citizens.
  • Restoration of Law & Order after partition – After Partition, India was in the midst of a communal holocaust. There was senseless communal slaughter and a fratricidal war of unprecedented proportions. To restore law and order, and to make India a internally peaceful state was also an immediate challenge at the time of Independence .
  • Economic Development – During Independence , Indian Economic development was in a negative state. To Build, frame and develop a strong and robust Indian economy with adequate employment was also a visionary challenge for the Indian leaders during Independence .
  • Social, Political and Economic Equality- The most important task after Independence was to grant political, economic and social equality to all Indians.

Partition of India and its Consequences

  • On 14–15 August 1947, two nation states came into existence, because of ‘partition’ of the division of British India into India and Pakistan. According to the “two nation theory” advanced by the Muslim League, India consisted of two ‘People’ Hindus and Muslims.
  • A very important task at hand was demarcation of boundaries. After 3rd June plan of Mountbatten, a British jurist Radcliff was invited to fix the problem and to form two boundary commissions one for Bengal and one for Punjab. Four other members were also there in commission but there was a deadlock between Congress and Muslim league. On 17th August, 1947 he announced his award.
  • According to Award, it was decided to follow the principle of religious majorities which means that areas where the Muslims were in majority would make up the territory of Pakistan. The remaining was to stay with India.
  • It initiated the process of migration from one India to Pakistan and vice versa.

Communal Holocaust-

  • India was in the midst of a communal holocaust. There was senseless communal slaughter and a fratricidal war of unprecedented proportions. Unspeakable atrocities were perpetrated on the minorities in both India and Pakistan.
  • In the span of a few months, nearly 500,000 people were killed and property worth thousands of millions of rupees was looted and destroyed. Communal violence threatened the very fabric of society.
  • The situation was brought under control within a few months through decisive political and administrative measures like Repression of Riots by using army and police etc.
  • Nehru carried on a massive campaign against communalism to instil a sense of security in the minorities, through public speeches, radio broadcasts, speeches in parliament, private letters and epistles to chief ministers.
  • A major setback to the communal forces occurred with Gandhiji’s martyrdom.
  • However, Communalism was thereby contained and weakened but not eliminated, for conditions were still favourable for its growth.


Nehrus’ speech on Communalism

If allowed free play’, ‘communalism would break up India.” 1951

  • Portraying communalism as ‘the Indian version of fascism’, he said in October 1947: The wave or fascism which is gripping India now is the direct outcome of hatred for the non-Muslims which the Muslim League preached among its followers for years. The League accepted the ideology of fascism from the Nazis of Germany . . . The ideas and methods of fascist organization are now gaining popularity among the Hindus also and the demand for the establishment of a Hindu State is its clear manifestation.’
  • On Gandhiji’s birthday in 1951, he told a Delhi audience: ‘If any person raises his hand to strike down another on the ground of religion, I shall fight him till the last breath of my life, both as the head of the government and from outside
  • At the Jaipur session of the Congress in December 1948 that the Congress and the government were determined ‘to make India a truly secular state.’
  • In February 1949 he described the talk of ‘Hindu Raj’ as ‘that mad idea.’ And he told his audience in 1950: ‘Ours is a secular state … Here every Muslim should feel that he is an Indian citizen and has equal rights as an Indian citizen. If we cannot make him feel like this, we shall not be worthy of our heritage and of our country.’


Nehrus’ speech on Communalism

  • If allowed free play’, ‘communalism would break up India.” 1951
  • Portraying communalism as ‘the Indian version of fascism’, he said in October 1947: The wave or fascism which is gripping India now is the direct outcome of hatred for the non-Muslims which the Muslim League preached among its followers for years. The League accepted the ideology of fascism from the Nazis of Germany . . . The ideas and methods of fascist organization are now gaining popularity among the Hindus also and the demand for the establishment of a Hindu State is its clear manifestation.’
  • On Gandhiji’s birthday in 1951, he told a Delhi audience: ‘If any person raises his hand to strike down another on the ground of religion, I shall fight him till the last breath of my life, both as the head of the government and from outside
  • At the Jaipur session of the Congress in December 1948 that the Congress and the government were determined ‘to make India a truly secular state.’

In February 1949 he described the talk of ‘Hindu Raj’ as ‘that mad idea.’ And he told his audience in 1950: ‘Ours is a secular state … Here every Muslim should feel that he is an Indian citizen and has equal rights as an Indian citizen. If we cannot make him feel like this, we shall not be worthy of our heritage and of our country.’


Rehabilitation of the Refugees

  • The government had to stretch itself to the maximum to give relief to and resettle and rehabilitate the nearly six million refugees from Pakistan who had lost their all there and whose world had been turned upside down.
  • By 1951, the problem of the rehabilitation of the refugees from West Pakistan had been fully tackled.
  • The task of rehabilitating and resettling refugees from East Bengal was made more difficult by the fact that the exodus of Hindus from East Bengal continued for years. While nearly all the Hindus and Sikhs from West Pakistan had migrated in one go in 1947, a large number of Hindus in East Bengal had stayed on there in the initial years of 1947 and 1948.
  • But as communal riots broke out periodically in East Bengal, there was a steady stream of refugees from there year after year till 1971. Providing them with work and shelter and psychological assurance, therefore became a continuous and hence a difficult task.
  • Unlike in Bengal, most of the refugees from West Punjab could occupy the large lands and property left by the Muslim migrants to Pakistan from Punjab, U.P. and Rajasthan and could therefore be resettled on land.
  • This was not the case in West Bengal. Also because of linguistic affinity, it was easier for Punjabi and Sindhi refugees to settle in today’s Himachal Pradesh and Haryana and western U.P., Rajasthan and Delhi.
  • The resettlement of the refugees from East Bengal could take place only in Bengal and to a lesser extent in Assam and Tripura. As a result, ‘a very large number of people who had been engaged in agricultural occupations before their displacement were forced to seek survival in semi-urban and urban contexts as the underclass,’ and contributed to ‘the process of immiseration’ of West Bengal.

NoteSardar Tarlok Singh of the Indian Civil Service was the director general of rehabilitation.


Growth of Communalism:

  • Partition and riots strengthened communal tendencies.
  • Though, communalism was weakened by massive campaign and measures but was not eliminated.


Economic Consequences:

  • The partition led to an uneven distribution of area and India had to share a greater burden of population in proportion to land share.
  • Migration due to partition involved a significant wealth shock for the households involved.
  • The flourishing jute industry was distorted – the boundaries separating west Bengal from East Bengal separated the jute growing areas in East Pakistan from jute mills in West Bengal.
  • India also had to bear the cost of rehabilitation of large number of refugees.


Effect on India-Pakistan Relations:

  • The partition resulted in far-reaching impacts in the region.
  • India-Pakistan rivalry emerged.
  • Kashmir conflict emerged as a constant source of tension resulting in numerous border clashes.
  • Another source of constant tension was the strong sense of insecurity among Hindus in East Bengal which emerged as a consequence of the communal character of Pakistan political system.


Challenges posed by communists immediately after independence:

The communists in India emerged as a major challenge for the government in the post-independence days.

  • After independence, the communists of India held the view that the country was yet to be liberated.
  • The Communist Party of India (CPI) proclaimed the beginning of a general revolution in India in 1948, declaring the Nehru government of being an agent of imperialist and semi-feudal forces.
  • The Communists maintained that the only way to liberate the country from the hold of the nationalist bourgeoisie was to wage war against them and seize power.
  • In the second Conference of CPI held at Calcutta in 1948, the future course of Communist activities in India was discussed and it was decided to wage a revolution in India in both agricultural and industrial sectors.
  • As per CPI’s programme, strikes in factories, railways, unrest in rural areas, revolt in police and army took place. Methods of guerrilla war-fare were applied.
  • The states of West Bengal, Madras, Assam, Bihar, Tripura, Hyderabad and Manipur were the centres of Communist Violent activities.
  • Telangana of Hyderabad was the worst affected area from the onslaught of Communists. Telangana had already suffered from an impoverished peasantry under the corrupt regime of Nizam.
  • The Communists also played an important role in other peasant struggles across India, like the Patiala Muzara Movement in Patiala, the Naxalbari Movement in West Bengal and Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh
  • They made all efforts to stimulate and exploit all form of urban and industrial unrest.



  • Nehru was highly critical of the policy and activities of the CPI.
  • Nehru brought the Prevention Detention Act in action with the result that a large number of communists including their leaders were arrested and detained.
  • However, he resisted the banning of CPI till he felt there was enough proof of its violent activities. He permitted the banning of CPI only in West Bengal and Madras where it was most active.
  • Nehru was in agreement with the basic socio-economic objectives of the communists and believed that the best way to combat their politics and violent activities was to remove the discontent of the people through economic and other reformist measures.
  • After the CPI decided to give up armed struggle, Nehru ensured that the CPI was legalized everywhere and its leaders and cadres released.



  • During Independence, an integration of Princely States within India 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.
  • As the British left, many of 565 princely states, began to dream of They had claimed that the paramountcy could not be transferred to the new states of India and Pakistan.
  • The ambitions were fuelled by the then British PM Clement Attlee announcement on Feb 20, 1947 that “His Majesty’s Government does not intend to hand over their powers and obligations under paramountcy to any government of British India”.

  • A. Jinnah who publicly declared on 18 June 1947 that ‘the States would be independent sovereign States on the termination of paramountcy’ and were ‘free to remain independent if they so desired.’
  • The British stand was, however, altered to some extent when, in his speech on the Independence of India Bill, Attlee said, “It is the hope of His Majesty’s Government that all the States will in due course find their appropriate place with one or the other Dominion within the British Commonwealth”.
  • The Indian nationalists could hardly accept a situation where the unity of free India would be endangered by hundreds of large or small independent or autonomous states interspersed within it which were sovereign.
  • Besides, the people of the states had participated in the process of nation-in-the-making from the end of nineteenth century and developed strong feelings of Indian nationalism.
  • Naturally, the nationalist leaders in British India and in the states rejected the claim of any state to remain independence and repeatedly declared that independence for a princely state was not an option—the only option open being whether the state would accede to India or Pakistan on the basis of contiguity of its territory and the wishes of its people.
  • In fact, the national movement had for long held that political power belonged to the people of a state and not to its ruler and that the people of the states were an integral part of the Indian nation.
  • Simultaneously, the people of the states were astir under the leadership of the States’ Peoples’ Conference as never before, demanding introduction of a democratic political order and integration with India.

Accession of Princely States in India-

  • On June 27, 1947, Sardar Patel assumed additional charge of the newly created states department with V.P. Menon as its Secretary.
  • Patel was fully aware of the danger posed to Indian unity by the possible intransigence of the rulers of the states. He told Menon at the time that ‘the situation held dangerous potentialities and that if we did not handle it promptly and effectively, our hard-earned freedom might disappear through the States’ door.
  • The government’s approach was guided by three considerations.
  • The people of most of the princely states clearly wanted to become part of the Indian Union.
  • The government was prepared to be flexible in giving autonomy to some regions. The idea was to accommodate plurality & adopt a flexible approach in dealing with the demands of the regions.
  • In the back drop of Partition, the integration and consolidation of the territorial boundaries of the nation had assumed supreme importance.


Process of Integration of Princely States in India-

Role of Sardar Patel-
  • Patel threw a series of lunch parties where he requested his princely guests to help the Congress in framing the new constitution for India.
  • Patel’s first step was to appeal to the princes whose territories fell inside India to accede to the Indian Union in three subjects which affected the common interests of the country, namely, foreign relations, defence and communications.
  • He also gave an implied threat he would not be able to restrain the impatient people post August 15, 1947. States were issued an appeal with an implied threat of anarchy and chaos.
  • With great skill and masterful diplomacy and using both persuasion and pressure, Sardar Patel succeeded in integrating the hundreds of princely states. Few princely states joined Constituent Assembly with wisdom & realism, patriotism, but other princely states still stayed away from joining it.
  • The next step of Patel was to convince Mountbatten to bat for India. 25th July speech of Mountbatten to the Chamber of Princes finally persuaded the Princes.
  • This speech ranked as the most significant Act of Mountbatten in India. After this, virtually all the states except 3 signed the instrument of accession.


  • Pursuance of Sardar Patel to Princely States
  • Mountbatten speech in Chamber of Princess
  • All the States signed the Instrument of Accession Except some
  • Trvancore, Bhopal & Jodhpur joined Indian Union
  • Merger of Junagarh, Hyderbad, Manipur & Kashmir in India
  • Accession of Goa in India


Merger of Important States Before 1947-
  • Travancore à Under the Maharaja of Travancore Chithira Thirunal but the real ruler was its Diwan C. P. Ramaswamy Aiyyer. There was an attack on C. P. Aiyyar, and after that it was Maharaja of Travancore which wired the government that they are ready for accession.
  • Jodhpur à A young Hindu king Hanwant Singh was there, its accession was a serious issue due to its proximity to border. Jinnah also persuaded him but after tremendous pressure from Patel, finally he signed the Instrument of Assession.
  • Bhopal à Mainly Hindu population and ruler was Habibullah Khan supported by Jinnah. There was a revolt against the Bhopal ruler, he faced pressure from Patel and communist population and finally he signed the Instrument of Accession.

Accession of Remaining Indian States after 1947-


  • Junagadh was a small state on the coast of Saurashtra surrounded by Indian territory and therefore without any geographical contiguity with Pakistan. Yet. its Nawab announced accession of his state to Pakistan on 15 August 1947 even though the people of the state, overwhelmingly Hindu, desired to join India.
  • Going against this approach, Pakistan accepted Junagadh’s accession. On the other hand, the people of the state would not accept the ruler’s decision.
  • They organized a popular movement, forced the Nawab to flee and established a provisional government. The Dewan of Junagadh, Shah Nawaz Bhutto, the father of the more famous Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, now decided to invite the Government of India to intervene. Indian troops thereafter marched into the state.
  • A plebiscite was held in the state in February 1948 which went overwhelmingly in favour of joining India.

Jammu & Kashmir

  • The state of Kashmir bordered on both India and Pakistan. Its ruler Hari Singh was a Hindu, while nearly 75 per cent of the population was Muslim. Hari Singh too did not accede either to India or Pakistan.
  • Fearing democracy in India and communalism in Pakistan, he hoped, to stay out of both and to continue to wield power as an independent ruler.
  • The popular political forces led by the National Conference and its leader Sheikh Abdullah, however, wanted to join
  • The Indian political leaders took no steps to obtain Kashmir’s accession and, in line with their general approach, wanted the people of Kashmir to decide whether to link their fate with India or Pakistan.
  • But Pakistan not only refused to accept the principle of plebiscite for deciding the issue of accession and instead it launched an offensive attack on Jammu & Kashmir.

Attack of Pakistan on Kashmir

  • On 22 October, with the onset of winter, several Pathan tribesmen, led unofficially by Pakistani army officers, invaded Kashmir and rapidly pushed towards Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir.
  • The ill trained army of the Maharaja proved no match for the invading forces, in panic, on 24 October, the Maharaja appealed to India for military assistance.

Reaction of Indian Government-

  • Nehru, even at this stage, did not favour accession without ascertaining the will of the people. But Mountbatten, the Governor-General, pointed out that under international law India could send its troops to Kashmir only after the state’s formal accession to India.
  • Sheikh Abdullah and Sardar Patel too insisted on accession. And so, on 26 October, the Maharaja acceded to India and also agreed to install Abdullah as head of the state’s administration.
  • Even though both the National conference and the Maharaja wanted firm and permanent accession, India, in conformity with its democratic commitment and Mountbatten’s advice, announced that it would hold a referendum on the accession decision once peace and law and order had been restored in the Valley.
  • Hence, On 27 October nearly 100 planes airlifted men and weapons to Srinagar to join the battle against the raiders. Srinagar was first held and then the raiders were gradually driven out of the Valley, though they retained control over parts of the state and the armed conflict continued for months.


  • Fearful of the dangers of a full-scale war between India and Pakistan, the Government of India agreed, on 30 December 1947, on Mountbatten’s suggestion, to refer the Kashmir problem to the Security Council of the United Nations, asking for vacation of aggression by Pakistan.
  • Nehru was to regret this decision later as, instead of taking note of the aggression by Pakistan, the Security Council, guided by Britain and the United States, tended to side with Pakistan. Ignoring India’s complaint, it replaced the ‘Kashmir question’ before it by the ‘India-Pakistan dispute’.
  • It passed many resolutions, but the upshot was that in accordance with one of its resolutions both India and Pakistan accepted a ceasefire on 3 December 1948 which still prevails and the state was effectively divided along the ceasefire line.
  • In 1951, the UN passed a resolution providing for a referendum under UN supervision after Pakistan had withdrawn its troops from the part of Kashmir under its control.
  • The resolution has remained infructuous since Pakistan has refused to withdraw its forces from what is known as Azad Kashmir. Since then Kashmir has been the main obstacle in the path of friendly relations between India and Pakistan.


Note – Nehru, who had expected to get justice from the United Nations, was to express his disillusionment in a letter to Vijayalakshmi Pandit in February 1948: “I could not imagine that the Security Council could possibly behave in the trivial and partisan manner in which it functioned. These people are supposed to keep the world in order. It is not surprising that the world is going to pieces. The United States and Britain have played a dirty role, Britain probably being the chief actor behind the scenes”.


  • Hyderabad was the largest state in India and was completely surrounded by Indian territory. The Nizam of Hyderabad was the third Indian ruler who did not accede to India before 15 August.
  • Some parts of the old Hyderabad states are today parts of Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh. Its ruler was called “Nizam” and one the richest men of his time.
  • Rule of the Nizam was unjust and tyrannical and he had Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen or MIM (Council of the Union of Muslims) which was a Muslim political party to safeguard the interest of Muslims in India. The MIM advocated the setup of a Muslim dominion rather than integration with India
  • Nizam Mir Osman Ali wanted an independent status for Hyderabad.
  • But Patel made it clear that India would not tolerate ‘an isolated spot which would destroy the very Union which we have built up with our blood and toil.
  • In November 1947, the Government of India signed a stand-still agreement with the Nizam, hoping that while the negotiations proceeded, the latter would introduce representative government in the state, making the task of merger easier. But the Nizam had other plans.
  • He engaged the services of the services of the leading British lawyer Sir Walter Monckton, a friend of “Mountbatten, to negotiate with the Government of India on his behalf.
  • The Nizam hoped to prolong negotiations and in the meanwhile build up his military strength and force India to accept his sovereignty; or alternatively he might succeed in acceding to Pakistan, especially in view of the tension between India and Pakistan over Kashmir.
  • In the meanwhile, three other political developments took place within the state. There was rapid growth, with official help, of the militant Muslim communal organization. Ittihad ul Muslimin and its paramilitary wing, the Razakars.



  • Then, on 7 August 1947 the Hyderabad State Congress launched a powerful satyagraha movement to force democratization on the Nizam. Nearly 20,000 satyagrahis were jailed. As a result of attacks by the Razakars and repression by the state authorities, thousands of people fled the state and took shelter in temporary camps in Indian territory. The State Congress-led movement now took to arms.
  • By then a powerful Communist led peasant struggle had developed in the Telengana region of the state from the latter half of 1946. The movement, which had waned due to the severity of state repression by the end of 1946, covered its vigour when peasant dalams (squads) organized defence of the people against attacks by The Razakars.
  • By June 1948, Sardar Patel was getting impatient as the negotiations With the Nizam dragged on. From his sick-bed in Dehra Dun, he wrote a letter to Nehru advising military action to merge Hyderabad in India.
  • Finally, on 13 September 1948, the government of India launched Operation Polo (Also known as Hyderabad Police Action) and Indian army moved into Hyderabad. The Nizam surrendered after three days and acceded to the Indian Union in November.
  • The Government of India decided to be generous and not to punish the Nizam. He was retained as formal ruler of the state or its Rajpramukh, was given a privy purse of five million rupees, and permitted to keep most of his immense wealth.
  • With the accession of Hyderabad, the merger of princely states with the Indian Union was completed, and the Government of India’s writ ran all over the land.
  • The Hyderabad episode marked another triumph of Indian secularism. Not only had a large number of Muslims in Hyderabad joined the anti-Nizam struggle, Muslims in the rest of the country had also supported the Government’s policy and action to the dismay of the leaders of Pakistan and the Nizam.
  • As Patel joyfully wrote to Suhrawardy on 28 September, ‘On the question of Hyderabad, the Indian Union Muslims have come out in the open on our side and that has certainly created a good impression in the country.


  • Maharaja of Manipur Bodhchandra Singh signed the instrument of Accession with the Indian government on the assurance that the internal autonomy of Manipur would be maintained.
  • Under the pressure of public view, the Maharaja held elections in Manipur in June 1948 & thus the state became a constitutional monarchy.
  • Manipur was the first part of India to hold an election based on universal adult franchise. There were some differences over Manipur’s merger with India.
  • The state congress was in favour, but other political parties opposed this view.
  • The government of India succeeded in pressurizing the Maharaja into signing a Merger Agreement in September 1949, without consulting the popularly elected Legislative Assembly of Manipur. The caused a lot anger and resentment in Manipur, the consequences of which are still being felt.

After Integration –

The second and the more difficult stage of the full integration of the princely states into the new Indian nation began in December 1947.

  • Once again Sardar Patel moved with speed, completing the process within one year.
  • Smaller states were either merged with the neighbouring states or merged together to ‘form centrally administered areas.’
  • A large number were consolidated into five new unions, forming Madhya Bharat, Rajasthan, Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU), Saurashtra and Travancore-Cochin; Mysore, Hyderabad and Jammu and Jammu and Kashmir retained their original form as separate states of the Union.
  • In return for their surrender of all power and authority, the rulers of major states were given privy purses in perpetuity, free of all taxes.
  • The privy purses amounted to Rs 4.66 crores in 1949 and were later guaranteed by the Constitution.
  • The rulers were allowed succession to the gaddi and retained certain privileges such as keeping their titles, flying their personal flags and gun salutes on ceremonial occasions.
  • There was some criticism of these concessions to the princes at the time as well as later. But keeping in view the difficult times just after independence and the Partition, they were perhaps a small price to pay for the extinction of the princes’ power and the early and easy territorial and political integration of the states with the rest of the country.
  • Undoubtedly, the integration of the states compensated for the loss of the territories constituting Pakistan in terms of area as well
  • It certainly partially healed ‘the wounds of partition’.



Portuguese (1961)

  • The Portuguese establishments included Goa as a Capital, Daman & Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
  • The Portuguese were determined to stay on, especially as Portugal’s NATO allies. Britain and the USA, were willing to support this defiant attitude.
  • The Government of India, being committed to a policy of settling disputes between nations by peaceful means, was not willing to take military steps to liberate Goa and other Portuguese colonies.
  • The people of Goa took matters in their hands and started a movement seeking freedom from the Portuguese, but it was brutally suppressed as were the efforts of non-violent satyagrahis from India to march into Goa. In the end, after waiting patiently for international opinion to put pressure on Portugal.
  • Nehru ordered Indian troops to march into Goa under Operation Vijay on the night of 17 December 1961.
  • The Governor-General of Goa immediately surrendered without a fight and the territorial and political integration of India was completed, even though it had taken over fourteen years to do so.



Colonial legacy-

  • India’s colonial past has weighed heavily in her development since 1947. In the economic sphere, as in others, British rule drastically transformed India. But the changes that took place led only to what has been aptly described by Gunder Frank as the ‘development of underdevelopment’
  • These changes—in agriculture, industry, transport and communication, finance, administration, education, and so on—were in themselves often positive, as for example the development of the railways.
  • But operating within and as part of the colonial framework, they became inseparable from the process of underdevelopment.
  • Further, they led to the crystallization of the colonial economic structure which generated poverty, a dependence on and subordination to Britain.

Basic Features There were four basic features of the colonial structure in India.

  • Basic features of Colonial Legacy
  • Integration of Indian economy with the World
  • Peculiar Structure of Production & Division of Labour
  • Economic Backwadness
  • Role of Colonial State


Integration of Indian economy with the World:
  • colonialism led to the complete but complex integration of India’s economy with the world capitalist system but in a subservient position.
  • Since the 1750s, India’s economic interests were wholly subordinated to those of Britain. This is a crucial aspect, for integration with the world economy was inevitable and was a characteristic also of independent economies.

Peculiar Structure of Production & Division of Labour
  • To suit British industry, a peculiar structure of production and international division of labour was forced upon India. It produced and exported foodstuffs and raw materialscotton, jute, oilseeds, minerals— and imported manufactured products of British industry from biscuits and shoes to machinery, cars and railway engines.
  • This feature of colonialism continued even when India developed a few labour-intensive industries such as jute and cotton textiles. This was because of the existing, peculiar pattern of international division of labour by which Britain produced high technology, high productivity and capital-intensive goods while India did the opposite.
  • The pattern of India’s foreign trade was an indication of the economy’s colonial character. As late as 1935-39, food, drink, tobacco and raw materials constituted 68.5 per cent

Economic Backwardness-
  • The process of economic development is the size and utilization of the economic surplus or savings generated in the economy for investment and therefore expansion of the economy.
  • Net Savings – The net savings in the Indian economy from 1914 to 1946 was only 75 per cent of Gross National Product (i.e., national income). The small size may be contrasted with the net savings in 1971-75 when they constituted 12 per cent of GNP.
  • Total Capital Formation- The paltry total capital formation, 75 per cent of GNP during 1914-46 as against 20.14 per cent of GNP during 1971-75, reflects this jump.
  • Share of Industry the share of industry in this low level of capital formation was abysmally low, machinery forming only 78 per cent of GNP during 1914-46. (This figure was 6.53 for 1971-75).
  • Furthermore, a large part of India’s social surplus or savings was appropriated by the colonial state and misspent.
  • Another large part was appropriated by the indigenous landlords and moneylenders. Only a very small part of this large surplus was invested in the Agricultural development.
  • The ‘Drain’, that is the unilateral transfer to Britain in which India got back no equivalent economic, commercial or material returns for it in any form.
  • It has been estimated that 5 to 10 per cent of the total national income of India was thus unilaterally exported out of the country.

Role of Colonial State-
  • The fourth feature of colonialism in India was the crucial role played by the state in constructing, determining and maintaining other aspects of the colonial structure. India’s policies were determined in Britain and in the interests of the British economy and the British capitalist class.
  • An important aspect of the underdevelopment of India was the denial of state support to industry and agriculture. This was contrary to what happened in nearly all the capitalist countries, including Britain, which enjoyed active state support in the early stages of development.
  • The colonial state imposed free trade in India and refused to give tariff protection to Indian industries. After 1918, under the pressure of the national movement, the Government of India was forced to grant some tariff protection to a few industries.
  • Since the 1880s, the currency policy was manipulated by the government to favour British industry and which was to the detriment of Indian industry.
  • The colonial state devoted almost its entire income to meeting the needs of British-Indian administration, making payments of direct and indirect tribute to Britain and in serving the needs of British trade and industry and neglected the development of India.
  • Besides, the Indian tax structure was highly While the peasants were burdened with paying a heavy land revenue for most of the colonial period and the poor with the salt tax, etc., the upper income groups—highly paid bureaucrats, landlords, merchants and traders—paid hardly any taxes. The level of direct taxes was quite low.

  • Ruin of Artisans and Handicraftsmen: Cheap machine-made goods flooded the Indian markets and the Indian goods found it more and more difficult to penetrate the European markets.
  • The loss of traditional means of livelihood was not accompanied by a process of industrialization. Earlier, Indian handloom and textiles had a big market in Europe, Asia and Africa. With the coming of industrialization in England, the textile industry there made important headway. There was now a reverse of the direction of textile trade between Britain and India.
  • There was a massive import of machine made clothes from English factories to Indian markets. The British succeeded in selling their goods at a cheap price as foreign goods were given free entry in India without paying any duty.
  • On the other hand, Indian handicrafts were taxed heavily when they were sent out of the country. Under the pressure of its industrialists, British government often imposed a protective tariff on Indian textiles.
  • Therefore, within a few years, India from being an exporter of clothes became an exporter of raw cotton and an importer of British clothes. This reversal made a huge impact on the Indian handloom weaving industry leading to its virtual collapse. It also created unemployment for a large community of weavers.
  • Many of them migrated to rural areas to work on their lands as agricultural laborers. This in turn put increased pressure on the rural economy and livelihood.
  • This process of uneven competition faced by the Indian handloom industry was later dubbed by the Indian nationalist leaders as de-industrialization.


  • De-industrialization led to decline of many cities and hence, ruralisation of India with many artisans returning back to villages and taking up agriculture.
  • According to 1921 Census, only 11% population was living in urban area where in 1891 nearly 61% population was dependent on agriculture and this increased to 73% in 1921.


  • The cultivator had neither the means nor any incentive to invest in agriculture.
  • The zamindar had no roots in the villages, while the Government spent little on agricultural, technical or mass education.
  • All this, together with fragmentation of land due to sub-infeudation, made it difficult to introduce modern technology which caused a perpetually low level of productivity.
  • The peasants already suffering under landlord-moneylender nexus, saw increased pressure on land with ruralisation and deindustrialisation.
  • So far, agriculture was a way of life but now it began to be influenced by commercial considerations.
  • Certain specialised crops began to be grown not for the purpose of consumption but for sale in national and international markets as raw material for industries.
  • A major economic impact of the British policies in India was the introduction of a large number of commercial crops such as tea, coffee, indigo, opium, cotton, jute, sugarcane and oilseed.


  • In the 1940s, India had 65,000 miles of paved roads and nearly 42,000 miles of railway track.
  • Roads and railways unified the country and made rapid transit of goods and persons possible.
  • However, in the absence of a simultaneous industrial revolution, only a commercial revolution was produced which further colonialized the Indian economy.
  • Also, railway lines were laid primarily with a view to link India’s inland raw material producing areas with the ports of export and to promote the spread of imported manufactures from the ports to the interior.
  • Moreover, unlike in Britain and the United States, railways did not initiate steel and machine industries in India. Instead, it was the British steel and machine industries which were the beneficiaries of railway development in India.


  • Indian traders, moneylenders and bankers amassed some wealth as junior partners of British capitalists in India.
  • These further provided loans to Indian agriculturists and aided British revenue collection.
  • There was a rise of a strong indigenous capitalist class with an independent economic and financial base.
  • The Indian capitalists were independent of foreign capital.
  • By the end of the Second World War, Indian capital controlled 60 per cent of the large industrial units.
  • The small-scale industrial sector, which generated more national income than the large scale sector, was almost wholly based on Indian capital.
  • By 1947, Indian capital had also made a great deal of headway in banking and life insurance.
  • Indian joint-stock banks held 64 cents of all bank deposits, and Indian-owned life insurance companies controlled nearly 75 per cent of life insurance business in the country.
  • The bulk of internal trade and part of foreign trade was also in Indian hands.
  • The development of Indian industry and capitalism was still relatively stunted and severely limited.

  • The term ‘economic drain’ refers to a portion of national product of India which was not available for consumption of its peoples, but was being drained away to Britain.
  • The drain theory was put forward by Dadabhai Naoroji in his book “Poverty and Un-British Rule in India”.
  • The major components of this drain were salaries and pensions of civil and military officials, interests on loans taken by the Indian Government from abroad, profits on foreign investment in India, stores purchased in Britain for civil and military departments, payments to be made for shipping, banking and insurance services which stunted the growth of Indian enterprise in these services.
  • The drain of wealth checked and retarded capital formation in India while the same portion of wealth accelerated the growth of British economy.
  • The surplus from British economy re-entered India as finance capital, further draining India of its wealth.
  • In 19th century India’s share in world GDP was 23% which declined to 4% at the time of independence while India contributed 27% to world export which declined to 2% at the time of independence.


  • The vast majority of Indians had almost no access to any kind of education and, in 1951, nearly 84 per cent were illiterate, the rate of illiteracy being 92 per cent among women.
  • This was marked by the prevalence of the extreme inequality of income, resources and opportunities.
  • It encouraged learning by rote, memorization of texts, and proof by authority.
  • The rational, logical, analytical and critical faculties of the students remained underdeveloped.
  • A major weakness of the colonial educational system was the neglect of mass education.
  • Health services were dismal. In 1943, there were only 10 medical colleges turning out 700 graduates every year and 27 medical schools turning out nearly 7,000 licentiates.
  • In 1951, there were only about 18,000 graduate doctors, most of them to be found in cities.
  • The vast majority of towns had no modern sanitation.
  • A modern water supply system was unknown in villages and absent in a large number of towns.
  • The vast majority of towns were without electricity, and electricity in the rural areas was unthinkable.
  • Epidemics of smallpox, plague and cholera and diseases like dysentery, diarrhoea, malaria and other fevers carried away millions every year. Malaria alone affected one-fourth of population


  • The character of the colonial state was basically authoritarian and autocratic, it also featured certain liberal elements, like the rule of law and a relatively independent judiciary.
  • Administration was normally carried out in obedience to laws interpreted by the courts. This acted as a partial check on the autocratic and arbitrary administration and to a certain extent protected the rights and liberties of a citizen against the arbitrary actions of the bureaucracy.
  • The laws were, however, often repressive. Not being framed by Indians, or through a democratic process, they left a great deal of arbitrary power in the hands of civil servants and the police.
  • There was also no separation of powers between administrative and judicial functions. The same civil servant administered a district as collector and dispensed justice as a district magistrate.
  • The colonial legal system was based on the concept of equality of all before the law irrespective of a person’s caste, religion, class or status, but here too it fell short of its promise.
  • The court acted in a biased manner whenever effort was made to bring an European to justice.
  • Besides, as court procedures were quite costly, the rich had better access to legal means than the poor.
  • Colonial rulers also extended a certain amount of civil liberties in the form of the freedoms of the Press, speech and association in normal times, but curtailed them drastically in periods of mass struggle.
  • But, after 1897, these freedoms were increasingly tampered with and attacked even in normal times.
  • Another paradox of the colonial state was that after 1858 it regularly offered constitutional and economic concessions while throughout retaining the reins of state power.
  • At first, British statesmen and administrators strongly and consistently resisted the idea of establishing a representative regime in India, arguing that democracy was not suited to India.
  • They said only a system of ‘benevolent despotism’ was advisable because of India’s culture and historical heritage.


  • The British left behind a strong but costly armed force which had acted as an important pillar of the British regime in India.
  • The British had made every effort to keep the armed forces apart from the life and thinking of the rest of the population, especially the national movement.
  • The other side of the medal, of course, was the tradition of the army being ‘apolitical’ and therefore also being subordinated, as was the civil service, to the political authorities.
  • This would be a blessing in the long run to independent India, in contrast to the political and economic legacy of colonialism.



Basic Features of National Movement & its legacy:

  • Character of National Movement
  • Economic Underpiniings
  • Secularism
  • Untouchability
  • Pro-poor orientation
  • Communalism
  • Gender Sensitisation:
  • Nation in the Making
  • Foreingn Policy
  • Political Norms


  • An appreciation of the hundred-year-old freedom struggle is integral to an analysis of developments in post-1947 India.
  • While India inherited its economic and administrative structures from the precolonial and colonial period, the values and ideals—the vision—and the well-defined and comprehensive ideology that were to inspire it in nation building were derived from the national movement.


Character of National Movement-

  • The freedom struggle was perhaps the greatest mass movement in world history. After 1919, it was built around the basic notion that the people had to and could play an active role in politics and in their own liberationGandhiji, the leader who moved and mobilized millions into politics, all his life propagated the view that the people and not leaders created a mass movement, whether for the overthrow of the colonial regime or for social transformation.

  • Satyagraha, as a form of struggle, was based on the active participation of the people and on the sympathy and support of the non-participating 21 million.
  • It may be pointed out, parenthetically, that it was because of the long experience of this kind of political participation by common people that the founders of the Indian Republic, who also led the freedom struggle in its last phase, could repose full faith in their political capacity. The leaders unhesitatingly introduced adult franchise despite widespread poverty and illiteracy.
  • The Indian national movement was fully committed to a polity based on representative democracy and the full range of civil liberties for the individual. From the very beginning the movement popularized democratic ideas and institutions among the people and struggled for the introduction of parliamentary institutions on the basis of popular elections.
  • From its foundation in 1885, the Indian National Congress, the main political organ of the national movement, was organized on democratic lines. It relied upon discussion at all levels as the chief mode for the formation of its policies and arriving at political discussions. Its policies and resolutions were publicly discussed and debated and then voted upon. Some of the most important decisions in its History were taken after rich and heated debates and on the basis of open voting
  • The major leaders of the movement were committed wholeheartedly to civil liberties. It is worth quoting them. For example, Lokamanya Tilak proclaimed that ‘liberty of the Press and liberty of speech give birth to a nation and nourish it’.

  • Gandhiji wrote in 1922: ‘We must first make good the right of free speech and free association … We must defend these elementary rights with our lives.’
  • Again in 1939: “Civil liberty consistent with the observance of non-violence is the first step towards Swaraj. It is the breath of political and social life. It is the foundation of freedom. There is no room there for dilution or compromise. It is the water of life have never heard of water being diluted.”
  • Its ideology and culture of democracy and civil liberties were based on respect for dissent, freedom of expression, the majority principle, and the right of minority opinion to exist and develop.
  • Congress ministries, formed in 1937, visibly extended civil liberties. Congress did not insist on uniformity of viewpoints or policy approach within its ranks. It allowed dissent and not only tolerated but encouraged different and minority opinions to be openly held and freely expressed.
  • Further, the resolution on Fundamental Rights, passed by the Karachi Congress in 1931, guaranteed the rights of free expression of opinion through speech or the Press, and freedom of association.

Economic Underpinnings of the National Movement-

  • The movement evolved a broad economic strategy to overcome India’s economic backwardness and underdevelopment. This was to form the basis of India’s economic thinking after independence.
  • The vision of a self-reliant independent economy was developed and popularized. Self-reliance was defined not as autarchy but as avoidance of a subordinate position in the world economy.
  • The Indian leaders also emphasized the close link between industry and agriculture. Industrial development was seen as essential for rural development.
  • Within industrialization, the emphasis was on the creation of an indigenous heavy capital goods or machine-making sector whose absence was seen as a cause both of economic dependence and underdevelopment. Simultaneously, for essential consumer goods, the nationalists advocated reliance on medium, small-scale and cottage industries. Small-scale and cottage industries were to be encouraged and protected as a part of the development strategy of increasing employment.
  • An active and central role was envisaged for the state in economic development by the nationalists.
  • Economic planning by the government and the massive development of the public sector were widely accepted in the thirties. As early as 1931, the Resolution on Fundamental Rights and Economic Programme, adopted at the Karachi session of the Indian National Congress declared that in independent India ‘the State shall own or control key industries and services, mineral resources, railways, waterways, shipping and other means of public transport. (Session was presided by Sardar Patel the Resolution drafted by Jawaharlal Nehru and moved in the open session by Gandhiji).
  • To promote planning as an instrument of integrated and comprehensive development Congress sponsored in 1938 the National Planning Committee while the Indian capitalists formulated the Bombay Plan in 1944.
  • The nationalist movement accepted the Gandhian perspective on cottage and small-scale industries. This perspective was to find full reflection in the Nehruvian Second Five Year Plan.
  • The National Movement helped in shaping the framework for economic development of India after Independence.


  • From its early days, the national movement was committed to
  • Secularism was defined in a comprehensive manner which meant the separation of religion from politics and the state, the treatment of religion as a private matter for the individual, state neutrality towards or equal respect for all religions, absence of discrimination between followers of different religions, and active opposition to communalism.
  • The Congress in its Karachi resolution of 1931 declared that in free India ‘every citizen shall enjoy freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess and practise his religion.
  • It is true that in his early years, Gandhi, a deeply religious person, emphasized the close connection between religion and politics.
  • This was because he believed that politics had to be based on morality, and to him all religions were the source of morality. Religion was, in fact, he believed, itself morality in the Indian sense of
  • Jawaharlal Nehru wrote and spoke passionately and with deep understanding on communalism. He was perhaps the first Indian to see communalism as the Indian form of fascism.
  • The leaders of the national movement never appealed to the people on religious grounds or that the British rulers’ religion was Christianity. Their critique of British rule was invariably economic, political, social or cultural.
  • It is true that the national movement was not able to counter forces of communalism adequately but it was because of the strong secular commitment of the national movement that, despite these traumatic events, independent India made secularism a basic pillar of its Constitution, as also of its state and society.


  • The national movement recognized early on that the process of nation-formation in India was a recent one. In other words, India was a nation-in-the-making.
  • Promoting this process through the common struggle against colonialism became a basic objective. In this respect, the leadership of the movement acknowledged the role of colonialism in unifying India economically and administratively even while it criticized its furthering all kinds of politically divisive tendencies.
  • The national movement evolved the dual concepts and objectives of unity in diversity and national integration.

Foreign Policy-

  • Independent India’s foreign policy was also rooted in the principles and policies evolved by the nationalists since the 1870s.
  • Over time, Indian leaders had developed a broad international outlook based on opposition to colonialism and sympathy and support for the peoples fighting for their independence.
  • In the thirties and forties, the national movement took a strong anti-fascist stand. This was put forward in a most expressive manner by Gandhi. Condemning Hitler for the genocide of the Jews, and condoning violence, perhaps for the first time, he wrote in 1938: ‘If there ever could be a justifiable war in the name of and for humanity, a war against Germany, to prevent the wanton persecution of a whole race, would be completely justified.

Political Norms

  • In a mass-based struggle, ideology and its influence plays a critical role. Yet, a mass movement has also to incorporate and accommodate diverse political and ideological currents in order to mobilize millions. Besides, it has to be disciplined and organizationally strong and united; yet it cannot afford to be monolithic or authoritarian.
  • Recognizing this duality, Congress, under whose leadership and hegemony the anti-imperialist struggle was waged, was highly ideological and disciplined while also being ideologically and organisationally open-ended and accommodative.
  • Congress was able to achieve this task by functioning democratically. There was a constant public debate and contention between individuals and groups, and voting was done on majority basis.
  • The highest norms of politics and political behaviour were set up by the movement. Its major leaders for example, Dadabhai Naoroji, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Lokamanya Tilak, Gandhiji, Bhagat Singh etc.
  • The movement was able to develop the capacity to evolve, renovate and change with the times and highly original and innovative, keeping touch with contemporary world thought, processes and movement.

Gender Sensitization:

  • An aspect of its commitment to the creation of an egalitarian society was the national movement’s opposition to all forms of inequality, discrimination and oppression based on gender and caste.
  • It allied itself with and often subsumed movements and organizations for the social liberation of women and the lower castes.
  • Its reform agenda included the improvement of their social position including the right to work and education and to equal political rights.


  • As part of its struggle against caste inequality and caste oppression, abolition of untouchability became one of its major political priorities after 1920.
  • The movement, however, failed to form and propagate a strong anti-caste ideology, though Gandhiji did advocate the total abolition of the caste system itself in the 1940s.
  • It was because of the atmosphere and sentiments generated by the national movement that no voices of protest were raised in the Constituent Assembly when reservations for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes were mooted.
  • The passage of the Hindu Code Bills in the 1950s was facilitated by the national movement’s efforts in favor of the social liberation of women.
  • Congress in its Karachi Resolution of 1931 declared that in free India all citizens would be ‘equal before the law, irrespective of caste, creed or sex’, that no disability would attach to any citizen because of caste, creed or gender ‘in regard to public employment, office of power or honour, and in the exercise of any trade or calling’.


A Pro-Poor Orientation:

  • The Indian national movement was quite radical by contemporary standards. From the beginning it had a pro-poor orientation. For example, the poverty of the masses and the role of colonialism as its source was the starting point of Dadabhai Naoroji’s economic critique of colonialism.
  • With Gandhiji and the rise of a socialist current this orientation was further strengthened.
  • The removal of poverty became the most important objective next to the overthrow of colonialism.
  • It was committed to carrying out basic changes in society, economy and polity.
  • It accepted and propagated a programme of reforms that was quite radical by contemporary standards:
  • Compulsory and free primary education
  • lowering of taxes on the poor and lower middle classes
  • reduction of the salt tax
  • land revenue and rent
  • debt relief and provision of cheap credit to agriculturists
  • protection of tenants’ rights and ultimately the abolition of landlordism
  • workers’ right to a living wage and a shorter working day
  • workers’ and peasants’ rights to organize themselves
  • reform of the machinery of law and order.
  • And to crown this growing radicalism was that of Gandhiji who declared in 1942 that ‘the land belongs to those who work on it and to no one else’.


  • Jawaharlal Nehru wrote and spoke passionately and with deep understanding on communalism. He was perhaps the first Indian to see communalism as the Indian form of fascism.
  • Interestingly, the leaders of the national movement never appealed to the people on religious grounds or that the British rulers’ religion was Christianity.
  • It is true that the national movement was not able to counter forces of communalism adequately or evolve an effective strategy against them.
  • This contributed to the Partition and the communal carnage of 1946–47.
  • But it was because of the strong secular commitment of the national movement that, despite these traumatic events, independent India made secularism a basic pillar of its constitution, as also of its state and society.


Bombay Plan (1943)

  • The Bombay plan was a set of proposal of a small group of influential business leaders in Bombay for the development of the post-independence economy of India.



  • The prime objectives of the plan were to achieve a balanced economy and to raise the standard of living of the masses of the population rapidly by doubling the present per capita income within a period of 15 years from the time the plan goes into operation.
  • The Bombay Plan offers a comprehensive vision of mass education, including primary, secondary and vocational and university schooling.
  • It also made a provision of adult education and scientific training and research.
  • The plan emphasizes the importance of basic industries, but also calls for the development of consumption goods industries in the early years of the plan.
  • This plan envisages that the economy could not grow without government intervention and regulation. In other words, the future government protects indigenous industries against foreign competition in local markets.
  • Members à J. R. D. Tata, Mr. G. D. Birla, P. Thakurdas, Kasturba Lalbhai, Sir Shri Ram, Ardeshir Dalal, Mr. A. D. Shroff and John Mathai.




  • The language problem was the most divisive issue in the first twenty years of independent India. Linguistic identity during first 20 years after independence had become a strong force in all societies.
  • The problem posed to national consolidation by linguistic diversity has taken two major forms:
    • The dispute over official language of the union
    • The linguistic reorganization of the states
  • The controversy on the language issue became most virulent when it took the form of opposition to Hindi and tended to create conflict between Hindi-speaking and non-Hindi speaking regions of the country.
  • The dispute was not over the question of a national language, that is one language which all Indians would adopt after some time, since the view that one national language was essential to an Indian national identity had already been rejected overwhelmingly by the secular majority of the national leadership.
  • India was a multilingual country and it had to remain so. The Indian national movement had carried on its ideological and political work through the different Indian regional languages.
  • Its demand then was for the replacement of English by the mother tongue as the medium for higher education, administration and courts in each linguistic area.

Course of Official Language

  • The issue of a national language was resolved when the Constitution-makers virtually accepted all the major languages as ‘languages of India’ or India’s national languages.
  • Being a foreign language Gandhi opposed the idea that English would be an all India medium of communications in free India.
  • But the matter could not end there, for the country’s official work could not be carried on in so many languages. There had to be one common language in which the central government would carry on its work and maintain contact with the state governments. Therefore, Sharp differences marked the initial debates as the problem of the official language was highly political from the beginning.
  • Finally, Hindi was chosen over Hindustani [written in Devanagari or Urdu script] to be the official language of India & but not the national language.
  • The issue of the time-frame for a shift from English to Hindi produced a divide between Hindi & non-Hindi areas. Proponents of Hindi wanted immediate switch over, while non-Hindi areas advocated retention of English for a long if not indefinite period.
  • Views of Nehru– Nehru was in favour of making Hindi the official language, but he also favoured English to be continuing as an additional official language.


Role of Constitution-

  • The Constitution provided that Hindi in Devanagari script with international numerals would be India’s official language.
  • English was to continue for use in all official purposes till 1965, when it would be replaced by Hindi. Hindi was to be introduced in a phased manner.
  • After 1965 it would become the sole official language. However, the parliament would have the power to provide for the use of English for specified purposes even after 1965.
  • The Constitution laid upon the government the duty to promote the spread and development of Hindi and provided for the appointment of a Commission and a Joint Committee of the Parliament to review the progress in this respect.
  • The state legislatures were to decide the matter of official language at the state level, though the official language of the Union would serve as the language of communication between the states and the Centre and between one state and another.


Official Language Commission

  • In 1956, the report of the official language commission set up in 1955 in terms of a constitutional provision, recommended that Hindi should start progressively replacing English in various functions of the central government with effective change taking place in 1965.
  • Two members of commission, one each from West Bengal & Tamil Nadu, dissented this while accusing other members for pro-Hindi Bias. JPC [Joint Parliamentary Committee] reviewed the report to implement the recommendations of JPC.
  • President issued an order in April 1960 stating that after 1965 Hindi would be the Principal official language, but English would continue without any restriction as the associate official language.
  • To promote Hindi, according to President’s directive, central government took a series of steps to promote Hindi. These includes the setting up of central Hindi Directorate, publication of standards works in Hindi or in Hindi translation in various fields, compulsory training of central government employees in Hindi and translation of major text of law into Hindi & promotion of their use by the courts.


Official Languages Act, 1963

  • To allay the fear of non-Hindi speakers Nehru in the Parliament in 1959, assured them that English would continue as alternate language as long as the people require it. In 1963, official languages Act was passed. The object of the Act, was to remove a restriction which had been placed by the constitution on the use of English after a certain date namely 1965.



  • Because of ambiguity in Official Languages Act due to the world “may” instead of “shall“, they criticized it.
  • Now, many non-Hindi leaders in protest changed their line of approach to the problem of the official language, while initially they had demanded a slowing down of the replacement of English, now they shifted their stand and demanded that there should be no deadline fixed for the changeover.
  • There was immense amount of protests in Tamil Nadu, some students burnt themselves, Two Tamil Ministers in Union Cabinet, Subramaniam & Alagesan resigned, 60 people died due to police firing during agitation.
  • Later when Indira Gandhi became PM in 1966, in 1967, she moved an amendment to the 1963 official Languages Act.

Official Languages Amendment Act, 1967-

  • The Act put to rest all the ambiguities regarding Nehru’s assurance in 1959. It provided the use of English as an associate language in addition to Hindi for the official work at the centre & for communication between the centre and non-Hindi states would continue as long as non-Hindi states wanted it.
  • Indefinite policy of bilingualism was adopted.
  • The states were to adopt a three-language formula that is study of a modern Indian language, preferably one of the Southern languages, apart from Hindi and English in the Hindi speaking areas and of Hindi along with the regional languages and English in the non-Hindi speaking areas.
  • The Parliament adopted a policy resolution laying down that the public service exams were to be conducted in Hindi & English & in all the regional languages with the provision that the candidates should have additional knowledge of Hindi or English.


Report of Education Commission,1966

The Government of India took another important step on language in July 1967. On the basis of the report of the education commission in 1966 it declared that Indian languages would ultimately become the medium of education in all subjects at the University level, though the time from for the changeover would be decided by each university to suit its convivence.



Formation of Linguistic States

  • India is a land of many languages, each with its distinct script, grammar, vocabulary and literary tradition. In 1917, the Congress Party had committed itself to the creation of linguistic provinces in a Free India.
  • After Congress’s Nagpur Session in 1920, the principle was extended and formalized with the creation of provincial Congress Committee by linguistic zones. The linguistic reorganization of the Congress was encouraged and supported by Mahatma Gandhi.
  • After the bitter partition on the basis of religion the then PM Nehru was apprehensive of dividing country further on the basis of language. During that time some Marathi speaking Congress members raised the pitches for separate Maharashtra State. Following this demand, other language speaking people too demands a separate state for them.


Justice S K Dhar Commission (1948)-

  • Following this demand, other language speaking people too demands a separate state for them. Hence, Constituent Assembly in 1948 appointed the Linguistic Provinces Commission, headed by Justice S.K. Dhar, to enquire into the desirability of linguistic provinces.
  • The Commission submitted its Report on December, 1948 and recommended the reorganisation of states on the basis of administrative convenience rather than linguistic factor.
  • The recommendation of Dhar Commission created much resentment and led to the appointment of another Linguistic Provinces Committee by the Congress in December, 1948 itself to examine the whole question afresh.


JVP Committee (1949)-

  • It consisted of Nehru, Sardar Patel and Pattabhi Sitaramayya.
  • It submitted its Report in April 1949 and formally rejected language as the basis for reorganisation of States.


Andhra Pradesh- First state on the basis of Linguistic Reorganisation: –

  • The movement was spread throughout India for the organisation of State on Linguistic basis. However, the agitation in Telugu areas sparked the movement into climax.
  • After Independence, the speakers of Telugu asked the congress to implement its old resolution in favour of linguistic states. The method they used to advance their causes were various: Petitions, representations, street marches, parts.


  • To support their cause, former Madras CM T. Prakasam resigned from the congress party in 1950. Another politician Swami Sitaram went on hunger strike to support Telegu people’s cause. Later he called off his hunger strike on the appeal of veteran Gandhian leader Vinobha Bhave.
  • On 19 October 1952, a popular freedom fighter, Potti Sriramulu undertook a fast unto death over the demand for a separate Andhra and expired after fifty-eight days. After his death people were agitated and it was followed by rioting, demonstrations, hartals and violence all over Andhra.
  • The Vishalandhra movement (as the movement for a separate Andhra was called) turned violent. Finally, the then PM, Nehru announced the formation of a separate Andhra State in December 1952.
  • In October, 1953- The Government of India of forced to create the first linguistic state known as Andhra State by separating the Telugu speaking areas from the Madras State.


Fazl Ali Commission (1953)-

  • The formation of Andhra Pradesh spurred the struggle for making of other states on linguistic lines in other parts of the country. Hence Nehru appointed in August 1953 the states Reorganisation Commission (SRC) with justice Fazl Ali (Chairman), K.M. Panikkar and Hridaynath Kunzru as members, to examine “objectively and dispassionately” the entire question of the reorganization of the states of the Union.
  • It submitted its Report on September, 1955 and accepted language as the basis of reorganisation of States.
  • But it rejected the theory of ‘One-Language- One State’.
  • Its view was that the unity of India should be regarded as the Primary consideration in any redrawing of the country’s political units.


State Reorganisation Act, 1956

  • Finally, the state’s Reorganization Act was passed by parliament in November 1956. It provided for fourteen states and six centrally administered territories.
  • As of now, India consists of 28 statesand 8 union territories, for a total of 36 entities.
  • Recently, the state of Jammu and Kashmir was reorganised to create two union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. Both these union territories came into existence on 31st October 2019.
  • While two Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Diu Daman were merged and single union territory Dadra Nagar and Haveli and Daman and Diu was created on 26th January 2020.

Aftermath of SRC and State Reorganization Act 1956:

  • The strongest reaction against the SRC’s report and the States Reorganisation Act came from Maharashtra where widespread rioting broke out in 1956.
  • Under pressure, the government decided in June 1956 to divide the Bombay state into two linguistic states of Maharashtra and Gujarat with Bombay city forming a separate, centrally administered state.
  • This move too was strongly opposed by the Maharashtrians.
  • The government reverted in July to the formation of bilingual, greater Bombay.
  • This move was, however, opposed by the people of both Maharashtra and Gujarat.
  • The Gujarat’s felt that they would be a minority in the new state. They too would not agree to give up Bombay city to Maharashtra.
  • Violence and arson now spread to Ahmedabad and other parts of Gujarat.
  • In view of the disagreement over Bombay city, the government stuck to its decision and passed the States Reorganisation Act in November 1956.
  • Popular agitation continued for nearly five years.
  • The government finally agreed in May 1960 to bifurcate the state of Bombay into Maharashtra and Gujarat, with Bombay city being included in Maharashtra, and Ahmedabad being made the capital of Gujarat.



  • The other state where an exception was made to the linguistic principle was Punjab.
  • In 1956, the states of PEPSU had been merged with Punjab, which, however, remained a trilingual state having three language speakers—Punjabi, Hindi and Pahari—within its borders.
  • In the Punjabi speaking part of the state, there was a strong demand for carving out a separate Punjabi Suba (Punjabi speaking state).
  • The issue assumed communal overtones.
  • Finally, in 1966, Indira Gandhi agreed to the division of Punjab into two Punjabi and Hindi speaking states of Punjab and Haryana, with the Pahari speaking district of Kangra and a part of the Hoshiarpur district being merged with Himachal Pradesh.
  • Chandigarh, the newly built city and capital of united Punjab, was made a Union Territory and was to serve as the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana.
  • Thus, after more than ten years of continuous strife and popular struggles the linguistic reorganization of India was largely completed, making room for greater political participation by the people.
  • Evaluation of the linguistic basis of reorganization of states
  • Events since 1956 have clearly shown that loyalty to a language rather complementary to loyalty to the nation.
  • By reorganizing the states on linguistic lines, the national leadership removed a major grievance which could have led to fissiparous tendencies.
  • Linguistic reorganization of the states has not in any manner adversely affected the federal structure of the Union or weakened the Centre.
  • In spite of the leadership’s earlier reservations the reorganization resulted in rationalizing the political map of India without seriously weakening its unity.
  • It removed what had been a major source of discord.
  • It created homogeneous political units which could be administered through a medium that the vast majority of the population understood.
  • It can be said, rather than being a force for division has proved a cementing and integrating influence.


  • A large number of linguistic minorities, that is, those who speak a language other than the main or the official language of the state, continue to exist in linguistically reorganized states.
  • Overall nearly 18 per cent of India’s population do not speak the official language of the states where they live as their mother tongue.
  • The important point to be decided upon was the status and rights of these minorities in their states.
  • On the one hand, there was the question of their protection, for there was the ever-present danger of them being meted out unfair treatment.
  • On the other, there was the need to promote their integration with the major language group of a state.
  • A linguistic minority had to be given the confidence that it would not be discriminated against and that its language and culture would continue to exist and develop.
  • At the same time, the majority had to be assured that meeting the needs of the linguistic minority would not generate separatist sentiments.


The Solution

  • To confront this problem certain Fundamental Rights were provided to the linguistic minorities in the constitution.
  • For example, Article 30 states that ‘all minorities, whether based a religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice’ and, more important, ‘that the state shall not, in granting aid to educational institutions, discriminate against any educational institution on the ground that it is under the management of a minority, whether based on religion or language’.
  • Article 347 lays down that on a demand being made on behalf of a minority, the President may direct that its language shall be officially recognized throughout the state or any part thereof for such purposes as he might specify.
  • The official policy since 1956, sanctioned by a constitutional amendment in that year, has been to provide for instruction in the mother tongue in the primary and secondary classes wherever there is a sufficient number of children to form a class.
  • The amendment also provides for the appointment of a Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities to investigate and report regularly on the implementation of these safeguards.
  • On the whole, the central government has tended to play a very positive role in defense of the rights of the minorities, but the implementation of the minority safeguards is within the purview of the state governments and therefore differs from state to state.
  • In general, despite some progress in several states, in most of them the position of the linguistic minorities has not been satisfactory.


  • The Tribal live in varied conditions in different parts of the country speaking tribal languages and having distinct cultures.
  • Their greatest concentration is in Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, north-eastern India, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan.
  • Except in the Northeast, they constitute minorities in their home states. In colonial India, they lived in relative isolation (in comparison with present times). Their traditions, habits and cultures were markedly different from those of their non-tribal neighbours.
  • 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.
  • Radical transformation and penetration of market forces integrated the isolated tribal people with colonial power.
  • A large number of money lenders, traders, revenue farmers and other middlemen and 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 and 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 and forest products, oppression and extortion by policemen, forest officials and other government officials was to lead a series of tribal uprisings in the nineteenth & twentieth centuries, e.g. Santhal & Munda rebellion.


The Problem of Tribal Integration in India

3 Approaches for Tribal Integration

  • Policy of Isolation- The Policy of Isolation aimed to leave the tribal people alone, uncontaminated by modern influences operating outside their world.
  • Policy of Assimilation– The second approach was that of assimilating them completely and as quickly as possible into the Indian society all around them. The disappearance of the tribal way of life would represent their ‘upliftment’.
  • Policy of Integration– Instead of these two approaches, Nehru favoured the policy of integrating the tribal people in Indian society, even while maintaining their distinct identity and culture. There were two basic parameters of the Nehruvian approach: ‘the tribal areas have to progress’ and ‘they have to progress in their own way’
  • Approcahes for Tribal Integration
  • To solve problem of Tribal Integration
  • Policy of Isolation
  • Policy of Asssimilation
  • Policy of Integration


Policy of Integration

  • The problem was how to combine these two seemingly contradictory approaches.
  • Nehru stood for economic and social development of the tribal people in multifarious ways, especially in the fields of communication, modern medical facilities, agriculture and education.


In this regard, he laid down certain broad guidelines for government policy. These are known as Tribal Panchsheel –

  • First, the tribal should develop along the lines of their own genius; there should be no imposition or compulsion from outside.
  • Second, tribal rights in land and forests should be respected and no outsider should be able to take possession of tribal lands.
  • Third, it was necessary to encourage the tribal languages which ‘must be given all possible support and the conditions in which they can flourish must be safeguarded’.
  • Fourth, for administration, reliance should be placed on the tribal people themselves, and administrators should be recruited from amongst them and trained.
  • Fifth, the effort should be to administer and develop the tribal’s through their own social and cultural institutions.

Government’ Policies

  • The beginning was made in the constitution itself which directed under Article 46 that the people and should protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation, through special legislation.
  • The governors of the states in which tribal areas were situated were given special responsibility to protect tribal interests, including the power to modify central and state laws in their application to tribal areas, and to frame regulations for the protection of tribal’s right to land and also their protection from moneylenders. The application of the Fundamental Rights was amended for this purpose.
  • The constitution also extended full political rights to the tribal people.
  • In addition, it provided for reservation of seats in the legislatures and positions in the administrative services for the Scheduled Tribes.
  • The constitution also provided for the setting up of Tribal Advisory Councils in all states containing tribal areas to advise on matters concerning the welfare of tribals.
  • A Commissioner for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes was appointed by the President to investigate whether the safeguards provided for them were being observed.
  • Legislative as well as executive action was taken by the state governments to prevent loss of tribal lands to non-tribal people and to prevent exploitation of the tribals by moneylenders.
  • The central and state governments created special facilities and organized special programmes for the welfare and development of the tribal areas and the tribal people including the promotion of cottage and village industries and generation of employment among them.
  • In spite of the constitutional safeguards and the efforts of central & state governments, the tribals progress and welfare has been very slow and even dismal. Except the North East, the tribals continue to be poor, indebted, landless and often unemployed. The problem lies in weak execution of even well-intentioned measures.

Reasons for dismal performance of Tribal Policy

  • Quite often the funds allocated for tribal welfare are not spent or are spent without corresponding results and sometimes funds are even misappropriated. The watch dog of tribal interests, Tribal Advisory Council has not functioned effectively.
  • Administrative personnel are either ill trained or prejudiced against tribals.
  • A major handicap from which tribals suffer is denial of justice, often because of their unfamiliarity with the laws & the legal system.
  • Violation of strict land transfer laws for tribals, leading to alienation of land & eviction of tribals.
  • Rapid extension of mines & industries has worsened their conditions in many areas.
  • While deforestation proceeds apace, the tribal’s traditional right of access to the forest and its produce is continuously curtailed.
  • The progress of education among the tribal people has been disappointingly slow.
  • Exploitations from the forest officials and unsympathetic attitude of official
  • Forest laws and regulations are also used to harass and exploit the tribal people.


Positive Developments-

  • Legislation to protect tribal rights and interests’
  • Activities of the tribal welfare departments
  • Panchayati Raj
  • spread of literacy and education
  • Reservations in government services and in higher educational institutions
  • Repeated elections have led to increasing confidence among the tribal people and greater political participation by them.
  • They are demanding a greater share in national economic development.
  • Protest movements have sprung up among tribals out of their frustration with the lack of development and welfare. These are bound to produce positive results in time. But some of the protest movements have taken to violence, leading to strong state action against them. Little ground has been gained by them, though they have often dramatically drawn national attention to the tribal condition.

Tribals in the North East-


  • The tribes of north-eastern India, consisting of over a hundred groups, speaking a wide variety of languages and living in the hill tracts of Assam, shared many of the features and problems of the tribal people in the rest of the country.
  • But their situation was different in several respects. For one, they constituted the overwhelming majority of the population in most of the areas they inhabited.
  • Then, non-tribals had not penetrated these areas to any significant extent.
  • The tribal areas occupied by the British then formed part of the Assam province but were given a separate administrative status.
  • No nontribal plainsmen were allowed to acquire land in the tribal areas because of which the tribals suffered little loss of land.
  • At the same time, the British government permitted and even encouraged the Christian missionaries to move in and establish schools, hospitals and churches and to proselytize, thus introducing change and modern ideas among some of the tribal youth.
  • The missionaries, in turn, collaborated with the colonial authorities and helped keep the nationalist influence out of the tribal areas.
  • In fact, immediately after independence, some of the missionaries and other foreigners even promoted sentiment in favour of separate and independent states in north-eastern India.
  • The virtual absence of any political or cultural contact of the tribals in the Northeast with the political life of the rest of India was also a striking difference.
  • A powerful factor in the unification of the Indian people as a nation was the common bonds forged in the course of the anti-imperialist struggle.
  • But this struggle had little impact among the tribals of the Northeast. The tribal policy of the Government of India, inspired by Jawaharlal Nehru, was therefore even more relevant to the tribal people of the Northeast.
  • A reflection of this policy was in the Sixth Schedule of the constitution which applied only to the tribal areas of Assam.
  • The Sixth Schedule offered a fair degree of self-government to the tribal people by providing for autonomous districts and the creation of district and regional councils which would exercise some of the legislative and judicial functions within the overall jurisdiction of the Assam legislature and parliament.

Problems in Assam/Demand for Autonomy-Assam (1950)

  • The problems arose because the hill tribes of Assam had no cultural affinity with the Assamese and Bengali residents of the plains.
  • The tribals were afraid of losing their identities and being assimilated by what was, with some justification, seen to be a “policy of Assamization”.
  • Especially distasteful to them was the attitude of superiority and even contempt often adopted by non-tribals working among them as teachers, doctors, government officials, traders, etc.
  • Soon, resentment against the Assam government began to mount and a demand for a separate hill state arose among some sections of the tribal people in the mid-1950s.
  • The demand gained greater strength when the Assamese leaders moved in 1960 towards making Assamese the sole official language of the state.
  • In 1960, various political parties of the hill areas merged into the All-Party Hill Leaders Conference (APHLC) and again demanded a separate state within the Indian Union.
  • The passage of the Assam Official Language Act, making Assamese the official language of the state led to an immediate and strong reaction in the tribal districts.
  • In the 1962 elections, the overwhelming majority of the Assembly seats from the tribal areas were won by the advocates of a separate state, who decided to boycott the State Assembly.
  • Prolonged discussions and negotiations followed. Several commissions and committees examined the issue.
  • Finally, in 1969, through a constitutional amendment, Meghalaya was carved out of Assam as ‘a state within a state’.
  • As a part of the reorganization of the Northeast, Meghalaya became a separate state in 1972, incorporating the Garo, Khasi and Jaintia tribes.
  • The Union Territories of Manipur and Tripura were granted statehood.
  • The transition to statehood in the case of Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh was quite smooth.
  • Trouble arose in the case of Nagaland and Mizoram where secessionist and insurrectionary movements developed.
  • This fulfillment of demands couldn’t stop some tribes from aspiring a separate state only for their tribal communities like Bodos, Karbi and Dimasas.
  • They drew centre’s attention towards their demand of autonomy. They mobilised public opinion through popular movements and insurgency.
  • It was not possible for the centre to fulfill all the regional aspirations, and create smaller and smaller states. So, the centre devised some other alternative to fix this demand, such as grant of Autonomous District for such tribes.

North-East Frontier Agency-

  • Nehru’s and Verrier Elwin’s policies were implemented best of all in the North-East Frontier Agency or NEFA, which was created in 1948 out of the border areas of Assam.
  • NEFA was established as a Union Territory outside the jurisdiction of Assam and placed under a special administration.
  • From the beginning, the administration was manned by a special cadre of officers who were asked to implement specially designed developmental policies without disturbing the social and cultural pattern of the life of the people.
  • NEFA was named Arunachal Pradesh and granted the status of a separate state in 1987.


  • Jharkhand, the tribal area of Bihar consisting of the Chota Nagpur and the Santhal Parganas, has for decades spawned movements for state autonomy.
  • Economic differentiation has set in; there are a significant number of agricultural labourers and a growing number of mining and industrial workers.
  • The landholding pattern among tribals is as unequal and skewed as among non- tribals.
  • A large class of moneylenders has also developed among them.
  • The tribal society in Jharkhand has increasingly become a class-divided society. Most of the tribals practise two formal religions—Hinduism and Christianity.
  • The Jharkhand tribes, however, share some features with other Indian tribes.
  • They have lost most of their land, generally to outsiders, and suffer from indebtedness, loss of employment and low agricultural productivity.
  • Nearly two-thirds of Jharkhand’s population in 1971 was non-tribal.
  • The overwhelming majority of both tribal and non-tribal were equally exploited.
  • The party achieved a remarkable success in electoral politics of Bihar during the 1950s. The population composition of Jharkhand was such that even after getting a separate state the tribal would still constitute a minority in it.
  • To overcome this problem the party tried to give its demand a regional character by opening its membership to the non-tribals.
  • The States Reorganisation Commission of 1955, however, rejected the demand for a separate Jharkhand state on the ground that the region did not have a common language.
  • In 1963, a major part of the leadership of the party, including Jaipal Singh, joined Several tribal parties and movements developed in Jharkhand after 1967, the most prominent being the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), which was formed in late 1972.
  • The JMM revived the demand for the Jharkhand state. The JMM began to assert that all the older residents of the Jharkhand region.
  • Concentrating on economic issues, it also acquired the support of the non-tribal poor. The JMM turned to a radical programme and ideology. Joined by other groups, especially leftist groups such as the Marxist Coordination Centre, it organized several militant agitations.
  • Shibu Soren emerged as the charismatic leader of the JMM during the early 1970s. Cooperation with the leftists did not, however, last long; nor did the tribal–nontribal alliance.
  • The movement for the Jharkhand state underwent constant ups and downs and splits over the years with new groups coming up every so often. Jharkhand can be put after all north eastern states.
  • Major differences among the Jharkhand leaders pertained to the question of cooperation or alliance with the main all-India parties.
  • The movement also found it difficult to shift completely from tribal to class based regional politics, since it was basically built around tribal identity and Tribal society was also not homogeneous; it contained landlords, rich peasants, traders and moneylenders.
  • However, for various reasons, Jharkhand finally came into existence as a state in 2000 during Atal NDA government.
  • Secessionist Movements-The demands of autonomy can be fulfilled with the constitutional provisions, but when someone demand a separate country from a sovereign country, then the issue get complicated.


  • Unhappiness with the Assam government’s relief measures during the famine of 1959 and the passage of the Act in 1961, making Assamese the official language of the state, led to the formation of the Mizo National Front (MNF), with Laldenga as president.
  • The MNF created a military wing which received arms and ammunition and military training from East Pakistan and China.
  • In March 1966, the MNF declared independence from India, proclaimed a military uprising and attacked military and civilian targets.
  • The Government of India responded with immediate massive counter-insurgency measures by the army.
  • Within a few weeks the insurrection was crushed and government control restored, though stray guerrilla activity continued.
  • Most of the hard-core Mizo leaders escaped to East Pakistan.
  • In 1973, after the less extremist Mizo leaders had scaled down their demand to that of a separate state of Mizoram.
  • The Mizo district of Assam was separated from Assam and, as Mizoram, given the status of a Union Territory.
  • Mizo insurgency gained some renewed strength in the late 1970s but was again effectively dealt with by the Indian armed forces.
  • Having decimated the ranks of the separatist insurgents, the Government of India, was now willing to show consideration, offer liberal terms of amnesty to the remnants of the rebel forces and conduct negotiations for peace.
  • A settlement was finally arrived at in 1986. Laldenga and the MNF agreed to abandon underground violent activities, surrender and re-enter the constitutional political stream.
  • The Government of India agreed to the grant of full statehood to Mizoram, guaranteeing full autonomy in regard to culture, tradition, land laws, etc.

Mizo-India Peace Accord

  • As a part of the accord, a government with Laldenga as chief minister was formed in the new state of Mizoram in February 1987.


  • The Nagas were the inhabitants of the Naga hills along the Northeast frontier on the Assam-Burma border.
  • The British had isolated the Nagas from the rest of the country and left them more or less undisturbed though Christian missionary activity was permitted, which had led to the growth of a small educated stratum.
  • Immediately after independence, the Government of India followed a policy of integrating the Naga areas with the state of Assam and India as a whole.
  • A section of the Naga leadership, however, opposed such integration and rose in rebellion under the leadership of Z. Phizo, demanding separation from India and complete independence.
  • They were encouraged in this move by some of the British officials and missionaries.
  • In 1955, these separatist Nagas declared the formation of an independent government and the launching of a violent insurrection.
  • The Government of India responded with a two-track policy.
  • On one hand, the Government of India made it clear that it would firmly oppose the secessionist demand for the independence of Naga areas and would not tolerate recourse to violence.
  • Refusing to negotiate with Phizo or his supporters as long as they did not give up their demand for independence or the armed rebellion, he carried on prolonged negotiations with the more moderate, non-violent and non-secessionist Naga leaders.
  • Once the back of the armed rebellion was broken by the middle of 1957, the more moderate Naga leaders headed by Dr Imkongliba Ao came to the fore.
  • They negotiated for the creation of the state of Nagaland within the Indian Union.
  • The Government of India accepted their demand through a series of intermediate steps; and the state of Nagaland came into existence in 1963.
  • A further step forward was taken in the integration of the Indian nation.

Movement Against Outsiders

  • The migration of people from other part of the region of North-east region for its rich resources created lots of problem and increased the tension between ‘local’ and ‘outsiders’.
  • The migrant people were seen as encroachers, who would snatch away their scarce resources like land, employment opportunities and political power and render the local population without their legitimate due.
  • To drive away the outsiders from the region, there was one Assam Movement from 1975 to 1985. Their main targets were Bengali Muslim settlers from Bangladesh.
  • In 1979 the All Assam student’s union (AASU) a student’s group not related to any political party, led an anti-foreigner movement.
  • Their area of focus was illegal migration, domination of Bengali and other outsiders, against faulty voter’s register of lakhs of immigrants. AASU members used non-violent and violent methods
  • Their violent agitation took human lives and damaged lots of properties. After 6 years of violent turmoil, the then PM, Rajiv Gandhi negotiated with AASU leaders. Both the sides (Union Govt and AASU) signed an accord in 1985.
  • According this accord, the foreigners who migrated into Assam during and after Bangladesh war, were to be identified and deported.
  • With the success of signing this accord, the AASU and Assam Gana Sangram Parishad came together, formed their political party, Assam Gana Parishad, won the Assembly elections in 1985 with the promise of resolving the foreign national problem and make Assam a “Golden Assam“. However, the problem of immigration hasn’t been resolved yet, but it brought peace to some extent.


Region or state are asserted against the country as a whole or against another region or state in a hostile manner and a conflict is promoted on the basis of such alleged interests it can be dubbed as regionalism.

What Regionalism is not?

  • Local patriotism and loyalty to a locality or region or state and its language and culture do not constitute regionalism.
  • They are quite consistent with national patriotism and loyalty to the nation.
  • A person can be conscious of his or her distinct regional identity – of being a Tamil or a Punjabi, a Bengali or a Gujarati – without being any the less proud of being an Indian, or being hostile to people from other regions.
  • Aspiring to or making special efforts to develop one’s state or region or to remove poverty and implement social justice there, is not to be branded as regionalism.
  • In fact, a certain interregional rivalry around the achievement of such positive goals would be quite healthy—and in fact we have too little of it.
  • Local patriotism can help people overcome divisive loyalties to caste or religious communities.
  • Defending the federal features of the constitution is also not to be seen as regionalism.
  • The demand for a separate state within the Indian Union or for an autonomous region within an existing state, or for devolution of power below the state level, may be objected to on several practical grounds, but not as regionalist, unless it is put forward in a spirit of hostility to the rest of the population of a state.

What Regionalism Is?

  • If the interests of one region or state are asserted against the country as a whole or against another region or state in a hostile manner and a conflict is promoted on the basis of such alleged interests it can be dubbed as regionalism.
  • In this sense, there has been very little inter-regional conflict in India since 1947, the major exception being the politics of the DMK in Tamil Nadu in the 1950s and early 1960s, the DMK has also increasingly given up its regionalist approach over the years.


How Has India Contained Regionalism Over the Years?

  • Regionalism could have flourished in India if any region or state had felt that it was being culturally dominated or discriminated against.
  • However, India has proved to be quite successful in accommodating and even celebrating India’s cultural diversity.
  • The different areas of India have had full cultural autonomy and been enabled to fully satisfy their legitimate aspirations.
  • The linguistic reorganization of India and the resolution of the official language controversy have played a very important role by eliminating a potent cause of the feeling of cultural loss or cultural domination and therefore of inter-regional conflict.
  • Many regional disputes do exist and they have the potential of fanning interstate hostility; there has been friction between different states over the sharing of river waters: for example, between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, Karnataka and Andhra, and Punjab and Boundary disputes have arisen out of the formation of linguistic states as in the case of Belgaum and Chandigarh.
  • Construction of irrigation and power dams has created such conflicts.
  • But, while these disputes tend to persist for a long time and occasionally arouse passions, they have remained within narrow, acceptable limits.
  • The central government has often succeeded in playing the role of a mediator, though sometimes drawing the anger of the disputants on itself, but thus preventing sharper interregional conflicts.

Economic Imbalances & Regionalism-

Economic Imbalances & Regionalism: – Economic inequality among different states and region could be a potential source of trouble. Economic inequality among different states and regions could be a potential source of trouble. However, despite breeding discontent and putting pressure on the political system, this problem has not so far given rise to regionalism or feeling of a region being discriminated against. Hence from the beginning, the national government felt a responsibility to counter the imbalance in regional development. To influence the rates of growth in poorer states and regions and to reduce economic distance from richer states, the central government adopted a whole range of policies

  • A major instrument in government’s hand in bringing development to the poor state was transfer of financial resources, which was done by Finance Commission, a constitutional body.
  • Planning was also used as a powerful instrument to remove regional inequality. Planning Commission allocated greater plan assistance to the backward states. The assistance was given in both the forms, grants and loans.
  • The 1956 Industrial Policy Resolution of the Government of India asserted that ‘only by securing a balanced and coordinated development of the industrial and agricultural economy in each region can the entire country attain higher standards of living’.
  • The Third Plan explicitly stated that ‘balanced development of different parts of the country, extension of the benefits of economic progress to the less developed regions and widespread diffusion of industry are among the major aims of planned development’.

Planning Commission (Now NITI AAYOG)

  • Public investment by the central government in major industries such as steel, fertilizers, oil refining, petro chemicals, heavy chemicals, and in power and irrigation projects has been a tool for the reduction of regional inequality.
  • Government incentives have been provided to the private sector to invest in backward areas through subsidies, tax concessions, and concessional banking and institutional loans at subsidized rates.
  • The system of licensing of private industrial enterprises, which prevailed from 1956 to 1991, was also used by the government to guide location of industries in backward areas.
  • Following nationalization of banks in 1969, the expansion of the network of their branches was used to favour backward areas.
  • Economic mobility of population through migration of unskilled labour from the backward regions and of skilled labour to them can also contribute to the lessening of regional disparity.

Sons of Soil Doctrine-

  • This doctrine mentions that particular state belongs to majority linguistic group inhabiting it or constitutes an exclusive “homeland” for regional language speakers.
  • The doctrine is majorly popular in cities. In the struggle for the appropriation of economic resources and economic opportunities, recourse was often taken to communalism, casteism and nepotism.
  • Active in these movements have also been members of the lower-middle class or workers, as well as rich and middle peasants whose position is unthreatened, but who increasingly aspire to middle-class status and position for their children.
  • In similar way, language loyalty and regionalism were and is still used to systematically exclude the “outsiders”.
  • Some groups could then take advantage of the ‘sons of the soil’ sentiment for gaining political power
  • This doctrine was profoundly utilized in big metros like Mumbai (Marathi) [Earlier Bombay], Bangalore (Kannada), Kolkata (Bengali), etc.
  • Sons of the soil doctrine arise when there is actual or potential competition for industrial and middle-class jobs, between the migrants and local educated middle-class youth.
  • The worst case of anti-migrant or implementation of Sons of the Soil doctrine was movement led by Shiv Sena which appealed regional chauvinism and assumed fascist proportions.
  • However, the courts approved the reservation on the grounds of residence, but maintained people’s right to migrate and their allied fundamental right regarding their movements.
  • Outsiders’ have been often far more numerous in rural areas. Here the ‘sons of the soil’ sentiment was absent because no middle-class jobs were involved.
  • The ‘locals’ did not compete with the ‘outsiders’ for rural jobs. Consequently, there has been little conflict with the ‘locals’ when there has been large-scale migration of labourers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh to Punjab and Haryana or Bombay city.
  • Such migrations have not posed a threat to the local middle classes—the middle classes have been the chief beneficiaries (the welcome domestic workers).
  • The Indian constitution is to some extent ambiguous on the question of the rights of the migrants. Article 15 prohibits any discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. Article 16 prohibits discrimination in the employment or appointments to any office under the state on grounds of ‘descent, place of birth or residence’.
  • However, parliament can pass a law laying down the requirement of residence within a state for appointments under that state.
  • Under political pressure and taking advantage of the ambiguity in the constitution, many states in fact reserve jobs, or give preference for employment in state and local governments and for admission into educational institutions to local residents.
  • Also, while the constitution permits reservation or preference in state jobs only on grounds of residence and not language, some state governments have gone further and limited the preference to those local residents whose mother tongue is the state language.
  • They have thus discriminated against long-term migrants and their descendants, and even the residents who can speak the state language. This has been in clear violation of the constitution.


“Son of The Soil” As a Threat to National Unity:

  • While protective and preferential regulations have been widespread since the late 1960s, antagonism, hostility and violence against migrants have increased in recent years.
  • The problem posed by the ‘sons of the soil’ doctrine is still a somewhat minor one and there is no ground for pessimism on that score.
  • Even at its height, only a few cities and states were affected in a virulent form, and at no stage did it threaten the unity of the country or the process of nation-in-the-making.
  • Besides, its effects on the Indian economy have been negligible: migration within the country has not been checked; interstate mobility is in fact growing.
  • But the problem is likely to linger till economic development is able to deal effectively with unemployment, especially among the middle classes, and regional inequality.


  • The Hindu code bills were several laws passed in the 1950s that aimed to codify and reform Hindu personal law in India. Following India’s independence in 1947,
  • The Indian National Congressgovernment led by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru completed this codification and reform, a process started by the British Raj.
  • Nehru administration saw such codification as necessary to unify the Hindu community, which ideally would be a first step towards unifying the nation.
  • They succeeded in passing four Hindu code bills in 1955–56: the Hindu Marriage Act, Hindu Succession Act, Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, and Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act.[
  • In 1941, a committee headed by BN Rau (future constitutional advisor) was set up by the British. This committee toured India and finally came up with a draft of Hindu personal code in 1946.
  • This draft was presented to a committee chaired by B. R. Ambedkar in 1948 and was called Hindu Code Bill, despite its name, the ‘Hindu’ Code Bill was to apply to Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains as well as all Hindu castes and sects.

Provisions of the act:

  • The Hindu Code Bill included right to property, order of succession to the property, maintenance, marriage, divorce adoption, minority and guardianship.
  • The Code gave Women equal rights in Property
  • The property including both movable and immovable property should be acquired by a woman
  • The acquisition of property should be made by a woman before and after marriage even during the widowhood from her parents or husband.
  • The share of the property of each unmarried daughter shall be half that of each son and the share of each married daughter shall be one quarter of that of each son.
  • Hindu Personal Law considered marriage as sacred and divorce as blasphemy. The code gave both the man and woman a right to divorce if the marriage is untenable.
  • Widows and Divorcee got the right to remarry.
  • Inter-caste marriage was permitted and promoted to establish cohesiveness among the Hindus.
  • Making monogamy mandatory.
  • Allowance of adoption of children of any caste.
  • Also, decisions regarding the guardianship of the child in case of divorce were mentioned under these laws.


  • During the debates over the Hindu code bills in the General Assembly, large segments of the Hindu population protested and held rallies against the bills. Numerous organizations were formed to lobby for the defeat of the bills and massive amounts of literature were distributed throughout the Hindu population.
  • The giants like Rajendra Prasad, Vallabhbhai Patel, S Mukherjee etc vehemently opposed the bill.
  • The main concern of opposing leaders was the government should introduce Uniform Civil Code and not only Hindu Code Bill.


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