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Mains Practice Questions

  • The States People’s movement contributed towards the integration of princely states into the Indian Union. Discuss. (250 words)

    24 Feb, 2020 GS Paper 1 History

    Approach:

    • Highlight conditions and issues that people faced in princely states during British India.
    • Related how such issues were absorbed and addressed under the Nationalistic Freedom Struggle, along with Congress’s view of the polity of princely states.
    • Conclude that integration into the Indian Union was part and parcel of the freedom movement.

    Introduction

    • The princely states constituted two-fifths of British India. The people of princely states were burdened with higher land taxes, non-protection of civil liberties and were largely deprived of modernization in education, transport, communication taking place in the rest of British India.

    Body

    Role of people’s movement in states in integration into Indian Union

    • Rising political consciousness and national awakening in British India with movements like Khilafat and Non-Cooperation had a large impact on the people of princely states. This resulted in the organisation and mobilization of people in various princely states.
    • The urban middle class organised themselves into Praja-Parishads or Praja Mandals with nationalistic ideas emerging in the princely states. Earliest of them was in Baroda in 1917, followed by Kathiawar, Mysore, Hyderabad, etc. The All-India States People's Conference was organized in 1927 with an aim to influence states governments to initiate necessary reforms in administration and demanding democratic rights.
    • Activities of Praja Mandal Movements implemented the constructive programmes of the Indian National Movement in their princely states by establishing schools, using khadi, encouraging cottage industries and fighting against the practices like untouchability.
    • From the mid-20s, the Congress too changed its stance, affirmed by the presidential address of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in 1929 which stated that the ‘Indian States cannot live apart from the rest of India.’ At the 1938 Haripur Session, the Congress included the independence of the princely states as well in its goal of Poorna Swaraj or complete independence.


    Conclusion

    • Thus, by the time Indian independence reached its final stage in the 1940s, national awakening and mobilization of people in princely states by nationalistic movements have already created the essential political infrastructure for furthering the mobilization for and pace of India’s freedom along with a foundation for the integration of princely states into Indian Union.

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