Monday, October 24, 2016

It was not that easy

It was not that easy

After the loss of battle of Placy by Siraj-Ud-Daula in 1757, the outsourced British East India Company entered into the rule of India. Within 100 years, they were able to capture major part of the Country. But after the mutiny of 1857, direct rule of Government of England was established over India. Organised freedom struggle was started by INC but it got momentum by involvement of common people after the entry of Mahatma Gandhi in 1915. Gandhi lead the freedom struggle from 1918 to 1947. Starting with Champaran and Kheda (1918) agitation and supporting Khulaphat (1919) movement he came in lead role. But accepting Lacknow Pact of separate electoral votes for Muslim was a Himalayan Blunder. Jalianvala Bag massacre (1919) woke up the country against British atrocities. By introducing swadeshi and khadi, Gandhi launched nation wide freedom struggle of "Non Cooperation" in 1920 using non violence method of passive resistance. He was jailed. In 1930, he lead Dandi March, Salt Satyagraha and "Civil Disobedience Movement". Following Round Table Conferences, British allowed Indian voice in Provincial and National Governments under the Act of 1935. Gandhi remained busy is social issues of untouchability and women rights. But involving India in WW-II without the consent of INC opened the way for "Quit India" movement of "Do or Die" in 1942. The movement was crushed. Gandhi, Nehru and Sardar were put behind the bar and Jinnah (never been jailed) had an opportunity to establish his influence over the British and the Muslims. Cabinet mission plan (1946) for Indian unity failed. Jinnah's "Direct Action Day" (Great Calcutta Killings) call on 16 August 1946 for separate Muslim home land made India wild, put the country on fire of widespread riots and masslaughter of Hindus and Muslims. 

British won the WW-II but lost the lives and wealth. They could have continued for further more years, but Hindu Muslims riots, Naval Mutiny, and poor economy compelled them to quit India. They tried to keep the Country united under Cabinet mission plan but couldn't find compromise formula between INC and Muslim League and finally divided India in 1947. Hindu majority and Muslim majority countries were established but at the cost of masslaughter of thousands of people.

British population in India was 125,945 (84,000 officers and army) in 1861; 238,409 in 1891; 165,485 in 1921. A lakh of British were ruling India of 13-36 crore for two centuries. But after formation of Provincial Governments in 1935 and with the start of WW-II in 1939, they down sized the British establishment in India. When they left, they were less than 100,000. The country where they lived for 190 years, suddenly became unsafe for them. They had worked out alternative plan for the safe departure from India. They had identified Salaya port of Jamnagar to quit India by a sea route in case of emergency. For safe passage to the British ship in water, they had approached the Jam Saheb of Jamnagar. However, it was later not required. 

Most of the Princely States were against freedom struggle. They were with the British Vice Roy as their powers and perks were more safe in the hands of the British. They knew, once the local governments established, they have to quit. Therefore, they somehow managed to get the third option of independence under Indian Independence Act 1947. But they failed to exercise it. Gandhi Sena didn't allow that to happen. Gandhi thoughts, actions and movements woke the Indian mass up. They didn't want less than the independence. Ultimately, with the firmness and wisdom of Sardar Patel and his team, compelled them sign the "Instrument of Accession", and made them the part of the Indian Union. They and their families were the greatest loser in the freedom of India. One third of India (560 States) were under the rule of the Princely States, under the suzerainty (indirect rule) of British, became free from the Kings rule of centuries. Two third of India was already freed from Kings rule of centuries by the British. Both left the power and we won the democracy, the rule of the people of India. 

In 1950s, on Independence Day the children of Princely States studying in the schools were not standing up when the National Anthem was sung because they lost their powers and positions in freedom of India. A ruler of yesterday becomes a common man today. The olds in the family had a very hard time. Suddenly the kingdom vanished. Servants disappeared. The Royal families were given annual Privy Purse to integrate with India in 1947 and than merging with India by losing ruling rights in 1949. They surrendered their sovereignty and as a quid pro quo they were granted handsome Privy Purses (₹5000 - ₹ 2,000,000, as revenue share) and other privileges (gun salute, antiquity of dynasty, etc). But that was also discontinued by Mrs Gandhi in 1971, by 26th amendment of the Constitution. The bill was introduced in 1969 but lost by one vote in Rajya Sabha. It was proposed again in 1971 and passed. The official recognition of titles was abolished. All citizens become equal.

It was not easy for anyone of the Stakeholders. The British to Quit India, the Princely States to surrender sovereignty, the people to get freedom. Finally the people won. Gandhi won. Salute India. Salute the freedom fighters. 

24 October 2016


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