Thursday, 22 March 2012

People's Movement and Princely States

People's Movement and Princely States
What was the contribution of the People’s Movement in Princely States under the British rule?

During the British Rule, along with the Nationalist Movement against the British by the Indian masses, there was a parallel movement by the people of the Princely States. While most of the territory of India had passed into the hands of the British by the beginning of the 20th century, some parts of the country were still under the princely rulers/Nawabs. Though most of the rulers had accepted the suzerainty of the British, yet most of them were despotic and callous towards the welfare of their people. Economic condition of people was poor with extremely high demands of land revenue and other taxes. Modern education and other social services were neglected by most of the rulers.

The people of these States were greatly influenced by the Nationalist Movement. The movements like the “Prajamandal Movement” and “All India States’ and People’s Conference” came to the fore. The Civil Disobedience Movement also spread to the States like Rajkot, Jaipur, Kashmir, Hyderabad and Travancore. The Princes suppressed these Movements with a heavy hand. They also used the communal cards to crush the movements. By 1935, the Indian National Congress came forward openly to espouse the cause of the States’ people. In the year 1935, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru became the President of All India States’ People’s Conference, which gave the required impetus to the Movement in these States.

The Nationalist Movement in the Princely States not only brought the nationalist consciousness among the States’ people, but it also brought them in the national mainstream. It also put the added pressure on the British to leave India and forced the Princely States to merge with the Indian Union as per the provisions of the Indian Independence Act. The new consciousness among these people also resulted in a united India after independence.

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