- October 26, 2021
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Subject – History
Context – Book release “FALSEALLIES: India’s Maharajahs in the Age of Ravi Varma”
- Before the independence of India, there were many princely states in India, referred to by the Britisher’s as Native States. These states varied from very large to very small in area and population and were scattered all over the country interspersing the British Indian areas. These areas were ruled indirectly by the British through the princes themselves(principle of paramountcy)
- The form of government in these states was monarchical and the general perception of the British administrators as well as their nationalist opponents was that they were tradition-bound, unchanging, disinterested in progress. The people of princely states were burdened with higher land taxes, non-protection of civil liberties and were largely deprived of modernization in education, transport, communication taking place in the rest of British India. They were honourable exceptions and some states like Baroda and Mysore succeeded in promoting industrial and agricultural development, administrative and political reforms and education to a considerable degree.
British India policy towards princely states:
- Used them to prevent the growth of national unity and counter rising national movement. In 1921, the Chamber of Princes was creating to enable the princes to meet and discuss under the British guidance matters of common interest. In1935, the proposed federal structure was so planned as to check the forces of nationalism. It was provided that princes would get two-fifth of the seats in the Upper House and one third of seats in the Lower House.
- The princes indeed depended on British authorities for their survival and self-preservation from popular revolts.
State People’s Struggle:
- Around this time people of the state started organising movements for democratic rights. Numerous local organizations of the States’ people came into existence. Earliest of them was in Baroda in 1917, followed by Kathiawar, Mysore, Hyderabad, etc. Nationalists among the States people, such as Balwantray Mehta and Manilal Kothari of Kathiawar and R. Abhyankar of the Deccan, convened an All-India States People’s Conference in December 1927, which, though based on West Indian initiative, was attended by 700 delegates from all over India.
- The All India States people Conference has already founded in 1927 to coordinated political activities in different states. The AISPC’S aim was to influence the governments of the states to initiate the necessary reforms in the administration by the force of collective opinion of the people and the states and to emphasize popular representation and self-government by the elective principle in all states. Almost from the time the first conference was called in 1927, the AISPC became a permanent political organization.
- It was consistently anti-feudal, but not as clearly anti-imperialist as the National Congress. This was to a great extent explained by the fact that as far as the States people were concerned, the feudal system was the more direct exploiter.
The Civil disobedience movement produced a deep impact on the minds of the people of the states. Numerous local organizations of the States’ people came into existence.
National Congress attitude towards State People’s Struggle
- INC supported the State People’s Struggle and urged the princes to introduce democratic representative government and to grant fundamental civil rights.
- In 1938, when the INC defined independence it included independence of the princely states.
- At Tripuri session, it decided to take a more active part in the State People’s movements. Jawaharlal Nehru became the President of the All-India States People’s conference in 1939.