North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

PM greets people on Statehood day of Tripura, Manipur, Meghalaya

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : States reorganization in India

Mains level : Read the attached story

state

Prime Minister has greeted people of three northeast states- Tripura, Manipur and Meghalaya on their Statehood Day.

What is the news?

  • Today marks the 51st anniversary of the formation of the states, which were created on this day in 1972.
  • While Manipur and Tripura were princely states which were absorbed into India in October 1949, Meghalaya, on the other hand, was part of Assam.
  • The states came into being the North-Eastern Areas (Reorganisation) Act, 1971, enacted on December 30 that year.

Quick backgrounder

  • These states attained statehood under the North Eastern Region (Reorganization) Act of 1971.
  • The NE composition consisted of Assam plains from the old Assam Province, the hill districts, and the North Eastern Frontier Tracts (NEFT) of the North-Eastern borderland.
  • Later on the NE region was turned into seven sisters with the statehood of Manipur, Tripura, Meghalaya, Assam, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, and Nagaland.

[1] Meghalaya

  • Apart from accounts of the more essential Khasi kingdoms in the chronicles of the neighbouring Ahoms and Kacharis, little is known of Meghalaya prior to the British rule.
  • However, in the early 19th century, the British desire to build a road through the region to link Bengal and Assam led to a treaty with the ruler (Syiem) of the Khasi principality of Nonkhlaw.
  • In 1829, opponents of the treaty persuaded the Syiem to repudiate it, and a subsequent attack on Britishers led inevitably to its military operations against the Khasis.
  • By the mid-1830s, most local rulers had submitted to the British.
  • For the next century, the British exercised its political control over the area, then known as the Garrows and Cossiya (Khasi) States, but the tribals who were left to fend themselves managed to preserve their traditional culture in seclusion.

Integration into India

  • In 1947, the rulers of the region acceded to the newly independent India.
  • The first PM Nehru evolved a policy to preserve and protect the culture of the tribal people.
  • The region was given special protection in the Indian constitution along with other tribal areas, and it retained a great deal of autonomy.
  • In 1960, when Assamese became the state’s official language, agitation for autonomy and self-rule gathered strength.
  • Unlike many other hill regions in north-eastern India, this movement was largely peaceful and constitutional.
  • In 1970, Meghalaya became an autonomous state within Assam and achieved full statehood on January 21, 1972.

[2] Manipur

  • Over 500 princely states had negotiated their accession to the Indian union before independence.
  • According to News Nine, the rulers of these states signed a document called the ‘Instrument of Accession’.
  • On August 11, 1947, Bodhachandra Singh, then Maharaja of Manipur, signed the document. He had been assured that the autonomy of Manipur would be maintained.
  • Elections were held in Manipur in June 1948, but its legislative assembly had differences of opinion on the merger.
  • However, the Maharaja signed a Merger Agreement with India in September 1949.

[3] Tripura

  • Maharajas of the Manikya dynasty ruled the former princely state of Tripura.
  • It was an independent administrative unit under the Maharaja even during British rule in India.
  • However, according to Tripura State Portal, this independence was qualified, subject to the Britishers’ recognition, as the paramount power of each successive ruler.
  • As per Rajmala, in the royal chronology of Tripura, around 184 kings ruled over the state before it merged with the Indian Union on October 15, 1949.
  • Since then, the history of Tripura has been interspersed with various political, economic and social developments.

Attainment of full statehood

  • On January 26, 1950, Tripura was accorded the status of a ‘C’ category state, and on November 1, 1956, it was recognized as a Union Territory.
  • With its people’s sustained efforts and struggle, it gained full statehood on January 21, 1972, as per the North-East Reorganisation Act, 1971.
  • Its democratic set-up further stretched to the village level in 1978 with an election to the local bodies that ultimately culminated in introducing a three-tier Panchayati Raj System.

 

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