Challenges of Nation Building
India achieved freedom from British rule on 15 August 1947, after long struggle and had two goals to achieve to establish democratic form of government and to work for socially disadvantaged groups. The country had three broad challenges in the process of nation building after a long successful freedom struggle. To maintain unity since Indians spoke different languages and followed different cultures and religions. Second goal is to develop democratic practices in accordance with the constitution. Third goal is to develop effective policies for economic development and removal of poverty.
The partition on the eve of independence was the result of the ‘Two nation theory’ of Muslim League. In the process of partition lakhs of Hindus and Sikhs in the areas in Pakistan and an equally large number of Muslims in India found themselves trapped. The partition between India and Pakistan led to severe consequences. Thousands of people were killed and wounded. With the independence of India as many as 565 states became independent. The princely states rulers had an option to join either India or Pakistan or remain independent. This also created a danger for the unity of India.
Sardar Patel the then Deputy Prime Minister and the Home Minister played historic role in persuading the rulers to join India. The rulers of most states signed ‘Instrument of Accession’ to join India before independence. Hyderabad was the largest princely state and its ruler carried the title of ‘Nizam’. He wanted an independent status for Hyderabad. The Nizam surrendered and that led to Hyderabad’s accession to India. The issue of Junagarh was resolved through a plebiscite to join India. Maharaja of Manipur signed the ‘Instrument of Accession’ on an assurance of internal autonomy by the Central Government. In Kashmir Raja Hari Singh wanted an independent status for Kashmir. He agreed to sign ‘Instrument of Accession’ with the Government of India when Pakistani tribals invaded Kashmir.
There was a challenge to draw internal boundaries among the Indian states. The States Reorganisation Commission was set up in 1953 to look into the redrawing of boundaries of states. On the basis of its report, the states Reorganisation Act was passed in 1956.