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The accession of Junagadh, 1947–48: Colonial sovereignty, state violence and post-independence India
journal contributionposted on 04.04.2019, 08:40 authored by Rakesh AnkitRakesh Ankit
By revisiting the events from July 1947 to February 1948 that comprised the accession of the princely state of Junagadh to India, this article gives an insight into the newly independent Dominion’s ‘mobilisation of violence’ in re-fashioning its sovereignty and authority. In doing so, it adds to the growing historical literature on state formation in India that argues that multiple crises of the period 1947–49—post-partition violence in Punjab and Delhi, rebellion, accession and war in Kashmir and the so-called ‘police-action’ in Hyderabad—far from being aberrations to the emerging Indian nation-state were, instead, affairs through which its new sovereignty evolved. The mobilisation of Indian defence forces in the lead up to the accession of Junagadh in November 1947 and the management of violence directed at Junagadh’s Muslims afterwards are yet another instance of the forcible incorporation of Indian princely states and Indian Muslims into the reconstructed post-colonial state. Present in this matrix were also the ‘sub-states’ within Junagadh and the attendant questions of their autonomy, an instrumentalist alarmism about popular will and unrest and a hastily conducted referendum. These aspects of this contested accession have remained overshadowed in the historical record and are here revised to provide an alternative narrative.
- Social Sciences
- Politics and International Studies