PM greets people on Tripura, Manipur, and Meghalaya’s statehood days

  • The Prime Minister wished the people of three northeastern states, Tripura, Manipur, and Meghalaya, a happy Statehood Day.
  • This 20th January was the 51st anniversary of the states’ formation, which occurred on this date in 1972.
  • Manipur and Tripura were princely states that were absorbed into India in October 1949, but Meghalaya was a part of Assam.
  • The states were established by the North-Eastern Areas (Reorganisation) Act, 1971, which was passed on December 30, 1971.

Quick backgrounder

  • The North Eastern Region (Reorganization) Act of 1971 granted these states statehood.
  • The Assam plains from the old Assam Province, the hill districts, and the North Eastern Frontier Tracts (NEFT) of the North-Eastern borderland comprised the NE composition.
  • Later, the NE region was divided into seven states: 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.
  • The British desire to build a road through the region to connect Bengal and Assam, however, resulted in a treaty with the ruler (Syiem) of the Khasi principality of Nonkhlaw in the early nineteenth century.
  • Opponents of the treaty persuaded the Syiem to reject it in 1829, and a subsequent attack on Britishers forced the Syiem to launch military operations against the Khasis.
  • Most local rulers had surrendered to the British by the mid-1830s.
  • The British maintained political control over the area, then known as the Garrows and Cossiya (Khasi) States, for the next century, but the tribals who were left to fend for themselves managed to preserve their traditional culture in seclusion.

Integration into India

  • The region’s rulers acceded to the newly independent India in 1947.
  • The first Prime Minister, Nehru, devised a policy to preserve and protect tribal culture.
  • Along with other tribal areas, the region was given special protection in the Indian constitution, and it retained a great deal of autonomy.
  • When Assamese became the state’s official language in 1960, the movement for autonomy and self-rule gained momentum.
  • This movement was largely peaceful and constitutional, in contrast to many other hill regions in north-eastern India.
  • Meghalaya gained autonomy within Assam in 1970 and full statehood on January 21, 1972.

[2] Manipur

  • Before independence, over 500 princely states negotiated their admission to the Indian union.
  • According to News Nine, the rulers of these states signed a document called the ‘Instrument of Accession’.
  • On August 11, 1947, the document was signed by Bodhachandra Singh, then Maharaja of Manipur. He had been assured that Manipur’s autonomy would be preserved.
  • Manipur held elections in June 1948, but its legislative assembly disagreed about the merger.
  • However, in September 1949, the Maharaja signed a Merger Agreement with India.

[3] Tripura

  • The former princely state of Tripura was ruled by Maharajas of the Manikya dynasty.
  • Even during British rule in India, it functioned as an independent administrative unit under the Maharaja.
  • According to Tripura State Portal, this independence was conditional on British recognition as the supreme power of each successive ruler.
  • According to Rajmala, in Tripura’s royal chronology, approximately 184 kings ruled the state before it merged with the Indian Union on October 15, 1949.
  • Tripura’s history has been interspersed with various political, economic, and social developments since then.

Attained full statehood

  • Tripura was designated as a ‘C’ category state on January 26, 1950, and was recognised as a Union Territory on November 1, 1956.
  • As a result of its people’s perseverance and struggle, it was granted full statehood on January 21, 1972, under the North-East Reorganisation Act of 1971.
  • Its democratic structure was extended to the village level in 1978, with elections to local bodies culminating in the introduction of a three-tier Panchayati Raj System.
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