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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

From Junagadh annexation to India’s mythical union

The annexation of the princely state shows that India was bent upon annexing all the 565 princely states by hook or crook. At the time of the British withdrawal, the princely states covered 40 percent of the area of pre-independence India and constituted 23 percent of its population. By corollary, India could abolish the 'statehood’ of all other Indian states like Punjab, Tamil Nadu, and others

The Nawab of Junagadh (Muhammad Mahabat Khanji III) acceded to the Dominion of Pakistan on 15 August 1947. Junagadh like Sir Creek and Kashmir are unresolved issues on the United Nations’ agenda. On November 9, India invaded and annexed Junagadh.

The annexation of the princely state shows that India was bent upon annexing all the 565 princely states by hook or crook. At the time of the British withdrawal, the princely states covered 40 percent of the area of pre-independence India and constituted 23 percent of its population. The most important states had their own British Political Residencies: Hyderabad of the Nizams, Mysore and Travancore in the South followed by Jammu and Kashmir, and Sikkim in the Himalayas, and Indore in Central India.

Junagadh was mentioned by Pakistan when the Security Council took up the issue of the hostilities in the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir in January 1948. Under the UN Security Council resolution 39, a commission was set up for the “peaceful resolution of the Kashmir conflict”, and the mandate of this commission was to investigate allegations by India of the situation in J&K, as well as “other issues” raised by Pakistan, which included Junagadh that Pakistan accused India of “annexing and occupying by force”.

Read more: Looking back at India’s illegal annexation of Junagadh

Perfidious annexation of Princely States

Nehru telegrammed Liaquat Ali Khan: In view of special circumstances pointed out by Junagadh Dewan that is the Prime Minister of Junagadh – our Regional Commissioner at Rajkot has taken temporary charge of Junagadh administration. This has been done to avoid disorder and resulting chaos. We have, however, no desire to continue this arrangement and wish to find a speedy solution in accordance with the wishes of the people of Junagadh.

We have pointed out to you previously that the final decision should be made by means of a referendum or plebiscite. We would be glad to discuss this question and allied matters affecting Junagadh with representatives of your Government at the earliest possible moment convenient to you. We propose to invite Nawab of Junagadh to send his representatives to this conference.

Liaquat Ali Khan debunks Nehru’s lie:

Your telegram informing me that your Government had taken charge of Junagadh was received by me on November 10, 1947. Your action in taking over State Administration and sending Indian troops to state without any authority from Pakistan Government and indeed without our knowledge is a clear violation of Pakistan territory and breach of International law.

Sequel to annexation

The arrival of the Indian troops was accompanied by widespread murder, rape and looting of Muslim properties in Junagadh. Still,  India’s Ministry of Law brazenly stated that the accession of Junagadh to Pakistan had not been invalidated by India’s intervention.

The framers of the Indian constitution declared the name of the country was “India that is Bharat…” an interchangeable name. This is preposterous. The India that the constituent assembly inherited in 1947 was not the same as the Bharat of the Hindu Shastras. In fact, it was an artificial British creation. Since the end of the Mauryan Empire over 2,000 years ago, no one government had ever held sway over what is now called India.

Read more: Why India failed to emerge as a world power

Even Ashoka’s empire was much smaller than the British creature of “India”. British India did not resemble Bharatvarsha of the Puranas. Never was Bharat a unified political entity. At best, it was a reference to a social order of diverse communities living together, Sindhu, Hindu, Indu.

The Hindu fanatic parties, like Bharatiya Jana Sangh, the precursor to the Bharatiya Janata Party and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sevaksangh, began to claim that India was the exclusive homeland of the Hindu only. Vinayak Damodar Savarkar had redefined Hindustan as the land of the Hindus, a Hindu Rashtra (Hindu nation).

The British concept of “India” bears marked contrast to what is visualized under the Constitution of India. The English rulers never governed “India” as a unitary state. This reality is conspicuous from the pattern of British governance.

Bengal had the permanent settlement of land revenue, Punjab had the zamindari system and Madras had the ryotwari system. Where there were once the three presidencies of Bombay, Bengal and Madras, with significant powers, other British-ruled territories had lieutenant governors and chief commissioners with varying degrees of authority.

Directly ruled British India, coexisted with princely India, roughly one-third of the landmass of the empire that had its own rulers and systems of government, subject to the paramountcy of the British Crown. The Constituent Assembly of India inherited a diverse and fragmented India. The “British India” was a secular political entity. It gave no precedence to any race, religion, caste, or sect over another.

The ploy of “accession instrument”

The British gave virtual autonomy to the Princely States excepting British paramountcy in defense, foreign affairs and communications. After the creation of dominions of India and Pakistan, the Princely States became independent. India coerced the states to grant it the Instrument of Accession.

Read more: Is Modi’s strong man image finally losing political clout?

Even before drying of the ink on Instrument of Accession, India began to renege its pledges given to rulers of the Princely States. Menon himself notes a mere few months after these grand constitutional instruments had been signed Vallabha Patel began to create a union of Orissa and Chhattisgarh states in December 1947. Menon says these moves were “contrary to the assurances held out in his own statement”. Yet, the mergers and the reorganization of the states continued unabated.

By the end of 1950, almost all smaller states were reorganized into either union of states or merged in adjoining provinces. Some of them were converted into chief commissioner’s provinces, and only the three largest ones, Hyderabad, occupied Kashmir and Mysore were left territorially intact.

Seeds of disintegration

The coercive and fraudulent creation of the India Union bears seeds of disintegration. Around 1985, Sir John Hackett in his book The Third World War remained skeptical of India’s continued unity. He observed that India was disintegrating as a political union and devolving into smaller coalitions of mutually hostile proto-states. India, then, proved him wrong through political tolerance and resilience to secessionists’ and insurgents’ demands.

In the post-Partition period, India was wracked by insurgencies in her eastern states, the Khalistan and Naxalbari movements, and the Dravidian south movement. The latter was a reaction to fears that the majority of the population, mostly fair-skinned Hindus, would always dominate the South (Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu). Through talks, India was able to neutralize N T Rama Rao, Lal Denga, Ramachandran and a host of others.

India agreed to create new states (Chandigarh, Telangana, etc). Insurgents became chief ministers. In Tamil Nadu, the pro-center All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam emerged and defeated the secessionist Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam. Resilience paved the way for the resolution of issues peacefully through talks.

Read more: India’s attack on the UN vehicle: a mistake or planned?

But this was in the past. Now India is heading towards disintegration. New Delhi’s atrocities in Indian-occupied Kashmir, northeast (Bodo/Bodoland) and other states, and the creation of Telangana state have set off a domino effect. The Institute for Conflict Management estimated that till June 22, 2018, there were at least 805 fatalities in 12 districts spread across the four north-eastern states (Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, and Nagaland).

India is on tenterhooks. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s onslaught against non-Hindus to create a Hindu Rashtriya (nation) is in full swing. The Indian courts took no action after Babri Masjid’s demolition.

Indian leaders harbored a perfidious wish to annex all the princely states. Take the disputed Kashmir. The puppet Kashmir governor publicly announced that `there were no plans to abrogate Article 35A [and Article 370 about special status]’. But then India repealed not only article 370 but also article 35-A. By corollary, India could abolish the ‘statehood’ of all other Indian states like Punjab, Tamil Nadu, and others.

The Indian constitution allows the reorganization of the existing state. Before tomorrow’s dusk, India may abolish the statehood of any other state in the guise of “reorganization”.


Mr. Amjed Jaaved has been contributing freelance for over fifty years. His contributions have been published in the leading dailies at home and abroad (Nepal. Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, et. al.). He is the author of seven e-books including Terrorism, Jihad, Nukes and other Issues. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.