Challenges for the New Nation
India became independent in August 1947 immediately after independence, there were three challenges in nation building.
(i) The first and the immediate challenge was to shape nation that was united, yet accommodative of the diversity existing in the society and eradication of poverty and unemployment.
(ii) The second challenge was to establish democracy.
(iii) The third challenge was to ensure the development and well-being of the entire society and not only of some sections.
Partition : Displacement and Rehabilitation
(i) On 14th to 15th August, 1947, two nation-states India and Pakistan came into existence. Lakhs of people from both sides lost their homes, lives and properties and became victims of communal violence.
(ii) On the basis of Muslim majority belt West and East Pakistan was created which were separated by a long expanse of Indian Territory.
(iii) Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan also known as ‘Frontier Gandhi’ was the undisputed leader of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP). Despite his opposition NWFP was merged with Pakistan.
(iv) The portion of Punjab and Bengal caused the deepest trauma of partition.
Consequences of Partition
(i) The year 1947 was the year of one of the largest, most abrupt, unplanned and tragic transfer of population of human history is known.
(ii) Minorities on both sides of the border fled their home and secured temporary shelter in ‘refugee camps’.
(iii) Women were often abducted, raped, attacked, and killed. They were forcefully converted to other religion.
(iv) Political and administrative machinery failed on both sides.
(v) There was huge loss of lives and property. Communal violence was on its culmination.
Integration of Princely States
(i) There were two types of provinces in British India-The British Indian Provinces (directly under the control of the British Government) and Princely states (governed by Indian princes) .
(ii) Immediately after independence there were almost 565 princely states. Many of them joined Indian Union.
(iii) Travancore, Hyderabad, Kashmir and Manipur initially refused to join Indian Union.
(i) The then interim government took a firm step against the possible division of Indian into small principalities of different sizes.
(ii) The government’s approach was guided by three consideration.
(a) The people of most of the princely states clearly wanted to become part of the Indian Union.
(b) The government was prepared to be flexible in giving autonomy to some regions.
(c) Consolidation of the territorial boundaries of the nation has assumed supreme importance.
Instrument of Accession
(i) The rulers of the most of the states signed a document called the ‘Instrument of Accession’ but accession of the Junagarh, Hyderabad, Kashmir and Manipur proved more difficult than the rest.
(ii) After initial resistance, in September 1948, Hyderabad was merged with Indian Union, by a military operation.
(iii) The Government of India succeeded in pressurising the Maharaja of Manipur into signing a Merger Agreement in September, 1949. The government did so without consulting the popularly elected Legislative Assembly of Manipur.
Reorganisation of States
(i) During national movement Indian National Congress recognised the demand of state reorganization on linguistic basis.
(ii) After independence, this idea was postponed because the memory of partition was still fresh and the fate of the Princely states had not been decided.
(iii) After a long movement, in December 1952 Andhra Pradesh was created on linguistic basis.
(iv) Creation of this state gave impetus to reorganize states on linguistic basis. As a result, Government of India appointed States Reorganisation Commission in 1953.
(v) This commission accepted that the boundaries of the state should reflect the boundaries of different languages.
(vi) On the basis of its report the states Reorganization Act was passed in 1956. This led to the creation of 14 States and 6 Union Territories.