Saturday, October 15, 2016

9/11, Junagadh Independence

9/11 Junagadh Independence

We became independent from British Rule on 15 August 1947. There were two India; British India and India of Princely States (under British suzerainty). The disputed British India (Punjab and Bengal Provinces) was divided by single majority vote of religious majority areas assembly votes. Sindh joined Pakistan through the resolution of the assembly. Northwest Frontier Province and Sylhet of Bengal went for referendum and joined Pakistan. Frontier Gandhi, Khan Abdul Gafar Khan wanted independent/autonomous Pakhtunistan but that couldn't been materialised as the sister of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Fatimaji played a big role through campaign in winning the referendum of the area in favour of Pakistan. Sylhet of Bengal went to East Pakistan (Bangladesh) by referendum of 7 July. Baluchistan (princely states of Kalat, Lasbela, Kharan and Makran) was acceded to Pakistan through instrument of accession. Kalat was recognised as Independent Sovereign State on 11 August 1947, but later merged into Pakistan in March 1948 under the gun. The Khan (ruler) of Kalat wanted Standstill status and later autonomy (except defence, currency, foreign relations and finance) of his province including his fiduciary states, but failed. It was acceded in March 1948 and merged into West Pakistan in 1955 through a resolution of the Baluchistan Assembly.

Other British Colonies of Myanmar (Burma), Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives remained unaffected with the partition of India.

The 552 Princely States (of which 222 from Saurastra) had three choices to exercise under the '3 June Plan' (Mountbatten Plan): either to join the new Dominion of India, or to join newly formed Pakistan or to remain Independent. But some of the Princely States were in dilemma or were on wrong track. Kashmir, Junagadh and Hyderabad were the major three.

Junagadh was under the rule of Babi Nawab, Muhammad Mahobatkhan III (1911-1947). The Nawab acceded Junagadh to the Dominion of Pakistan through the "Instrument of Accession" on 15 September 1947 as per the provision of the Indian Independence Act of 1947 and the GOI Act 1935. Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the Governor General of Pakistan accepted the Instrument of Accession of Junagadh to Pakistan on 16 September 1947. It was a wrong decision condemned by many, for a Hindu majority State to accede to Pakistan, against the "two nations partition theory" of Jinnah based on religion. The land borders of Junagadh was surrounded by India and it was connected with Pakistan only through the Arabian Sea. People revolted and rejected the decision of the Nawab.

Meantime, 51 Girasdars of Babariavad and the Sheikh of Mangrol signed the document of their accession to India on 3/9/47 and 23/9/47 respectively. Junagadh State send their army to these area, therefore, Government of India army, captured Sardargarh (3/10/47), Bantva(3/10), Manavadar (23/10), Mangrol(1/11) Babariavad (1/11), and the management was appointed.

In Mumbai, the Kathiyavadi people declared economic boycott of Junagadh State and Mr. Shamaldas Gandhi (the nephew of Mahatma Gandhi, editor Vande Mataram) and others formed 'Junagadh Samiti' on 15 September 1947. After Mumbai visit of Mr. VP Menon and Jam Saheb, it was decided to establish Aarzee Hukumat, similar like Azaad Hind Fauz of Subhash Chandra Bose. On 23 September 1947, in Janmabhoomi Office at Junagadh, 10 members committee was formed to establish Aarzee Hukumat (rule of people). Gandhiji, on 24 September 1947, from the Prayer meeting in Delhi said, "How could Pakistan be made in Junagadh? The adjoining riyasats are Hindu and the majority population of Junagadh State is Hindu. Still, Pakistan entered into Junagadh, that is very dangerous. But this is happening at many places in India. Pakistan from Junagadh must go." The words of Gandhiji injected energy into the people.

On 25 September 1947, in a big public meeting of 30,000 at Madhav Bag, Mumbai, Kanaiyalal Munshi declared the establishment of Aarzee Hukumat in Junagadh. Mr. Shamaldas Gandhi (nephew of Mahatma Gandhi, the editor of Vande Mataram and the landlord of Kutiyana) was elected as 'Sirnashin' (head) of the Aarzee Hukumat. Bhavanishankar Oza from Una, Durlabhbhai Khetani of Tori, Manilal Doshi of Amarapur, Narendrabhai Nathvani of Keshod, Suragbhai Varu of Babariavad and late Pushpaben Mehta were appointed as Ministers.

On 26 September, Gandhiji said at his prayer meeting: “He had been an opponent of all warfare but if there was no other way of securing justice from Pakistan, if Pakistan persistently refused to see its proved error and continued to minimise it, Indian Union Government would have to go to war against it.”

On 28 September 1947, the Aarzee Hukumat team arrived at Rajkot and captured Sardar Bag (present Circuit House) of Junagadh Nawab on 30 September 1947 and started running the Government from Sardar Bag. To stop goods and to impose economic ban over Junagadh, Pushpaben Mehta and Balkrishna Dave organised boycott committees at Kolkata, Mumbai, Malabar, Kochin ports. Government of India stopped coal to Junagadh. The daily income of the State decreased from ₹30,000/day to ₹5000/day. Many people stopped paying tax. The Nawab requested loan from Morabi and Porbandar. Morabi State agreed to give ₹50 lakh as loan to Nawab provided Junagadh accede to India. Pakistan didn't extend any help.

Lok Sena known as Mukti Fauz and Police Dal were formed. 4000 Soldiers were trained by Ratubhai Adani and Makrand Desai. Rasikbhai Parikh arranged for the vehicles. Malde Rana and Mahant Vijaydasji lead the Mers to protect the people of Junagadh.

On 24 October 1947, on Dashhera festival day, the Nawab escaped to Karachi Pakistan from Keshod Airport along with his advisers, Dr. Zaverilal Vasavada, Dr. Dinubhai Vasavada, the staff and the Dogs; leaving behind 9 wives. He then, didn't return. Later his wives went to Pakistan.

On 24 October, 1947 Pakistan raiders invaded Kashmir. Maharaja Hari Shingh left Shrinagar for Jammu on 25 October 1947 and signed the instrument of accession to India on 26 October 1947. In a letter sent to Maharaja Hari Singh on 27 October 1947, the then Governor General of India, Lord Mountbatten accepted the accession with a remark, “it is my Government's wish that as soon as law and order have been restored in Jammu and Kashmir and her soil cleared of the invader the question of the State's accession should be settled by a reference to the people.” Indian troops were airlifted to Kashmir on 27 October 1947 to push back the invaders.

It was timing of destiny that the Nawab of Junagadh flee to Karachi on 24 October, the raiders invaded Kashmir on 24 October and the Maharaja of Kashmir left Srinagar on 25 October 1947.

On 24 October 1947, in Junagadh, a remote village Amrapur declared its independence. Before the Eid, 11 villages were merged into India. On 1st November, Navagadh freed and Mangrol joined India. As a result, on 1st November 1947, Indian troops marched across Junagadh.

On 4th November, the Diwan of Junagadh, Shahnawaz Bhutto sent a report to the Nawab in Karachi. The Nawab telegrammed him, "To save the lives of the people of Junagadh, surrender to Indian union". The Diwan then went to Ms. Neelam Buch, Regional Commissioner of Rajkot. On 8 November, after the meeting with Captain Harvey Johns, some Muslim and other community leaders, the Diwan surrendered Junagadh to the Government of India. And on 9 November, the Diwan left for Karachi from Keshod. Captain Harvey Johns, along with the Commissioner Neelam Buch met Shamaldas Gandhi and signed a letter to occupy the State of Junagadh.

On 9 November at 6 PM at Majevadi Gate, the Regional Commissioner Neelam buch declared a general notice: " As per the order of the Government of India and the request of the Junagadh Council and the people of Junagadh, it is herewith declared that to control the situation of the State of Junagadh, I NM Buch O.B.E.I.C.S as the Regional Commissioner Western India and Gujarat State region take full authority and control of the State of Junagadh".

On 9 November (Vagh Baras, Diwali Parva) Junagagh acceded to India. On 11 November, India defended the accession of Junagadh. On 11 November, Mr. Tarachand Shah was appointed as Administrator of Junagadh and later Mr. SW Shivshankar, ICS was appointed as an Administrator of Junagadh with four Administrative Officers (Dolarray Mankad for Kutiyana, Madhavlal Parikh for Keshod, Jaishankar Jani for Una and Shambhuprasad Desai for Patan-Talala). On 13 November (Hindu New Year Day), Sardar Patel addressed the public gathering at Bahidein College, Junagadh. Later to support and advice the Administrator, Govt of India appointed a Council of 3 persons (Shamaldas Gandhi, Pushpaben Mehta and Dayashankar Dave) on 1 June 1948 and allotted them the portfolios. It was dissolved in 1949. Mr. Banesinhji Jhala was appointed as the first Collector of the district took over charge on 10 October 1949.

On Kashmir front, on 26 December, the Inner Cabinet of GoI decided that if Uri falls, the Indian troop will enter into Pakistan to obliterate the nerve centres of the raiders. On 28 December, VP Menon and Sardar Patel flown to Jammu and on 30 December 1947, Nehru referred the Kashmir issue to the UN. It was observed that if Nehru had not made the move Pakistan would have – making India a defendant rather than a plaintiff.

In Delhi, Gandhiji went on fast for communal peace in Delhi (12-18 January). With Cabinet decision to release ₹ 550 million dues to Pakistan on 15 January and the Peace committee signature on "Peace Pledge" on 18 January, Gandhiji broke his fast. But was assassinated by Nathuram Godse on way to evening prayer at 5.13 pm on 30 January 1948.

To take public opinion, referendum was conducted in Junagadh on 20 February 1948 and the results were declared on 1 March 1848. The ballot boxes were red for India and green for Pakistan. 190,779 people voted in favour of India and only 91 voted in favour of Pakistan. Junagadh was merged into India as a district.

The Government of Pakistan allotted a house (left by a rich Hindu during partition) and some land to the Nawab in Karachi. The house on Fatima Jinnah road was styled as 'Junagadh House' in which the Nawab died on 7 November 1959, just 2 days before Junagadh's Independence Day. With his death, the title of Nawab of Junagadh died out formally.

What a coincidence of number 9! Junagadh had 999 villages, 9 Nawabs, 9 wives of the Nawab, 9 Diwans and it's freedom on 9 November!

Wishing Happy Independence Day to Junagadh 9/11 in advance.

15 October 2016

NB: The house of the Diwan of Junagadh become the house of the IAS officers, the Collector and the DDO.


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