Class 12 Political Science Chapter 1 Challenges of Nation Building NCERT Notes
Class 12 Political Science Chapter 1 Challenges of Nation Building NCERT Notes will cover all the important aspects of the topic, including the definition and key concepts. The purpose of these notes is to provide you with concise, step-by-step important points that will help clarify complex concepts.
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Chapter 1 Challenges of Nation Building Class 12 Political Science II CBSE NCERT Notes
In this chapter we will focus on the events leading to partition in India and following that how first few years of independent India were full of challenges. We begin the story of politics in India since Independence by looking at how three of these challenges of nation-building were successfully negotiated in the first decade after 1947.
- Freedom came with Partition, which resulted in large scale violence and displacement and challenged the very idea of a secular India.
- The integration of the princely states into the Indian union needed urgent resolution.
- The internal boundaries of the country needed to be drawn afresh to meet the aspirations of the people who spoke different languages.
Challenges for the New Nation
On 15 August, 1947, after ruling the subcontinent for over 200 years, the British left India and it became a free nation. It was a moment of celebration and rejoicing. On the eve of independence, political consolidation and nation building appeared to be a gigantic problem before India.
The problem was further made complicated by the problem of reorganization of states and conflicts over linguistic identity. These problems being of a serious nature tended to disrupt the cohesive fabric of the nation.
The first challenge was to shape a nation that was united yet accommodative of the diversity in our society. It spoke different languages and followed different cultures and religions. It was widely believed that a country full of such kinds of diversity could not remain together for long.
The second challenge was to establish democracy. India adopted representative democracy based on the parliamentary form of government. A democratic constitution is necessary but not sufficient for establishing a democracy so the challenge was to develop democratic practices in accordance with the constitution.
The third challenge was to ensure the development and well-being of the entire society and not only of some sections. The constitution clearly laid down the principle of equality and special protection to socially disadvantaged groups and religious and cultural communities.
Partition: Displacement and rehabilitation
On 14-15 August 1947, not one but two nation-states came into existence, India and Pakistan. This was the result of ‘partition’ the division of British India into India and Pakistan. Such a division was not only very painful, but also very difficult to decide and to implement
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 and rest was to stay India. But the division of the country had lot of difficulties:
First, there was no single belt of Muslim majority areas in British India. There were two areas of concentration, one in the west and one in the east and in no way these two areas could be joined. So it was decided that new country Pakistan will comprise of two territories, West and East Pakistan separated by a long expanse of Indian Territory.
Secondly not all Muslim majority areas wanted to be in Pakistan. Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan the leader of North western frontier province and known as Frontier Gandhi was opposed to the two-nation theory.
The third problem was that two of the Muslim majority provinces of British India, Punjab and Bengal had very large areas where the non-Muslims were in majority. So it was decided that these two provinces would be bifurcated according to the religious majority at the district and even lower level.
The fourth problem was of the minorities on both sides of border. Lakhs of Hindus and Sikhs in the areas that were now in Pakistan and an equally large number of Muslims on the Indian side of Punjab and Bengal found themselves trapped. They were aliens in their own land and became easy targets.
Consequences of Partition
There were killings and atrocities on both sides of the border. In the name of religion people of one community ruthlessly killed and maimed people of the other community.
Cities like Lahore, Amritsar and Kolkata became divided into communal zones. Minorities on both sides of the border fled their home and often secured temporary shelter in refugee camps.
They travelled to the other side of the new border by all sorts of means often by foot and were often attacked, killed or raped.
In many cases women were killed by their own family members to preserve the family honour. Many children were separated from their parents. For lakhs of these refugees the country’s freedom meant life in refugee camps for months and sometimes for years.
The partition was not merely a division of properties, liabilities and assets or a political division of the country and the administrative apparatus but also financial assets and things like tables, chairs, typewriters, paper-clips, books and also musical instruments of the police band.
It is estimated that about 80 lakh people were forced to migrate across the new border and about 5 to 10 lakh people were killed.
Integration of Princely States
British India was divided into what were called the British Indian provinces and the Princely states.
The British Indian provinces were directly under control of the British government and several large and small states were ruled by princes called princely states. Princely states covered one- third of land area of the British Indian Empire and one out of four Indians lived under princely rule.
The problem of Princely Sates
There were 565 princely states and just before independence British announced that paramountcy over these states will come to an end. It was left to these states whether to join India or Pakistan or remain independent. This was a very serious problem and could threaten the very existence of a united India.
- The ruler of Travancore announced that the state had decided on Independence.
- The ruler of Hyderabad made similar announcement the next day.
- The ruler of Bhopal was also averse in joining the Constituent Assembly.
- So all this showed a strange situation since Indian independence aimed at unity and self determination as well as democracy.
Government’s approach towards Princely States
The government took a firm stance against possible division of India. The Muslim league opposed the Indian National Congress and took the view that states should be free to adopt any course they liked.
Sardar Patel played a historic role in negotiating with the rulers of princely states firmly but diplomatically and bringing most of them into the Indian Union. 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 and the idea was to accommodate plurality and adopt flexible approach in dealing with the regions.
- In the backdrop of partition which brought into focus the contest over demarcation of territory the integration of the territorial boundaries of the nation had assumed supreme importance.
Instrument of Accession
The rulers of most of the states signed a document called the ‘Instrument of Accession’ which meant that their state agreed to become a part of the Union of India.
The Princely states of Junagadh, Hyderabad, Kashmir and Manipur proved more difficult than the rest.
Hyderabad was the largest princely states and some parts of old Hyderabad state are today parts of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh Its ruler carried the title of Nizam
He entered into what was called the Standstill Agreement with India in November 1947 for a year while negotiations with the Indian government were going on.
The people of Hyderabad started a movement against the Nizam’s rule. The peasantry in the Telangana region in particular was victim of Nizam’s oppressive rule and rose against him.
The Communists and the Hyderabad were in the forefront of the movement The Nizam responded by unleashing a para-military force known as the Razakars on the people who committed lot of atrocities and communal nature on the Razakars. They murdered mutilated, raped and looted targeting particularly the non-Muslims.
In September 1948 Indian army moved in to control the Nizam’s forces and finally after few days Nizam surrendered and led to accession of Hyderabad to India.
A few days before independence the Maharaja of Manipur-Bodhachandra 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 opinion the Maharaja held elections in June 1948 and the state became a constitutional monarchy and became the first Indian state to hold elections based on Universal adult franchise.
There were lots of differences within the Legislative Assembly over the Merger of Manipur with India the repercussions of which are still being felt.
Reorganisation of States
The first important challenge India encountered after independence was the integration of princely and other native states. India had 562 princely states. The boundaries of the states had to be drawn in a way so that the linguistic and cultural plurality of the country could be reflected without affecting the unity of the nation. Our leaders promised the linguistic principle as the basis of formation of states.
After the Nagpur session of Congress in 1920 the principle was recognized as the basis of the reorganization of the INC party itself.
After independence and partition things changed and our leaders felt that this division on the basis of language would lead to disruption and disintegration. This decision of the national leadership was challenged by the local leaders and the people.
Protests began in the Telegu speaking areas of the old Madras province which included present day Tamil Nadu, parts of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka.
The Vishalandhra movement demanded that the Telegu speaking areas be separated from the Madras province and separate Andhra province be made.
The movement gathered momentum as a result of the Central government’s vacillation Potti Sriramulu, a Congress leader went on indefinite fast that led to his death which caused great unrest and resulted in violent outbursts in Andhra region.
Finally the PM announced the formation of a separate Andhra state in December 1952. The formation of Andhra Pradesh spurred the struggle for making of other states on linguistic lines in other parts of the country.
These struggles forced the Central govermment into appointing a States Reorganization Commission in 1953 to look into the question of redrawing of the boundaries of the states.
The States Reorganization Act was passed in 1956 which led to the creation of 14 states and 6 union territories.
Thus, we can conclude that creation of linguistic states which created fear of separatism and division of the country has rather changed the nature of democratic politics and leadership and has strengthened national unity.
Democracy in other words was associated with plurality of ideas and ways of life.