National Movement with special reference to Praja Mandal movements in Himachal Pradesh, 1848-1948
The people of the hill also participated in the freedom struggle. The highlights of the freedom movement in this tract are listed below:
- Praja Mandal launched agitations against the British yoke in areas under direct British Rule.
- In other princely states agitations were launched for social and political reforms. However these were directed more against the princes than against the British and as such were mere extensions of freedom movement.
- The Mandi conspiracy was carried out in 1914-15 under the influence of the Gadhr party. Meetings were held in Mandi and Suket states in December 1914 and January 1915 and it was decided to murder the Superintendent and Wazir of Mandi and Suket, to loot the treasury, blow to up the bridge over Beas river. However conspirators were caught and sentenced to long terms in prison.
- The Pajhota agitation in which the people of a part of Sirmour state revolted is regarded as an extension of the Quit India Movement of 1942.
- Important freedom fighters of this state during this period included Dr. Y.S. Parmar, Padam Dev, Shivanand Ramaul, Purnanand, Satya Dev, Sada Ram Chandel, Daulat Ram, Thakur Hazara Singh and Pahari Gandhi Baba Kanshi Ram.
- The Congress party was also active in the freedom movement in the hill state particularly in Kangra.
- National Movement in Himachal Pradesh
Praja Mandal Movement and Ludhina conference-In 1939 at Ludhina in all India’s conference a decision was taken to set up Praja Mandal in all princely state in Himachal Pradesh. In this context, on 13 July 1939 a conference was organized under the chairmanship of Bhagmal Sautha of Shimla hill state. Then on Praja Mandal were set up in Sirmour, Chamba, Mandi, Bushar, Sundernagar etc. To organize and co-ordinate the activities of these Praja Mandals, in 1939 Himalayan Riyasti Praja Mandal was set up.
Dhami Firing Tragedy- To ensure the democratic rights of the people in Dhami state, Bhagmal Sautha gave notice to the Rana of Dhami. But Rana refused to comply with the demand of people. On 16th July 1939 under the leadership of Bhagmal, people started procession towards Dhami: fearing the violence, Rana order firing on the peaceful demonstrators.
Pajotha Movement- In 1939 the Raja of Sirmour started recruiting people forcefully from the state to assist British forces in the 2nd world war. People resented this move and farmers formed a Kisan Sabha and launched non-cooperation movement. The Raja adopted suppressive measure to silent the demonstrators. The prominent leaders were – Mian Chu Chu, Basti Ram, Chet Ram Verma and vaid Surat Ram.
Sirmaur Praja Mandal- Shivanand Ramul Chaudhary Sherjang and Dr. Devinder singh were the prominent leaders of Sirmaur Praja Mandal. Dr. parmar was district and session judge of Sirmaur at that time. He was exiled from Sirmaur due to his differences with the Raja. In 1949 Dr. Parmar resigned his government job. In 1943-46 Dr. Parmar formed Sirmaur assiociation in Delhi.
Chamba Praja Mandal- Chamba Praja Mandal was set up to reinsure democratic rights of the people of the state. This movement also had the blessing of Mahatma Gandhi.
Kangra Movement- Non-co-operation ans Sataygraha movements were successful in Kangra hills. The leading lights of the area were – Mangat Ram Khana, Comrade Ram Chandra, Hem Raj Sood, Paras Ram, Sharla Sharma, Pandit Amarnath and Brahmanand.
Mandi Confrence- A conference of Mandi Praja Mandals took place from 8th March 1946, in which 48 representatives participated. Ex-solider of INA colonel G.S. Dhillion presided over the meeting. This meeting was consulted with the message of democracy for all.
Integreation of Theog- Theog was first state to declare people’s raj on 15th August 1947. Theog ruler handed over the governance of the state to the people’s leader Surat Singh on this day.
Provisional Himachal Government- On 27th January, 1948 Himachal Pradesh state regional council’s meeting took place which decided to form a provisional government under the leadership of Shivanand Ramul.
Suket Satyagraha- Suket Satyagraha was led by Pandit Padam Dev for the merger of the state with Indian union. Raja Laxman Singh was the ruler of the state at that time, signed the accession document under public pressure. Then on princely rulers followed the process and ultimately on 15th April, 1948 Himachal was formed.
Himachal Pradesh name was proposed in a meeting of peoples representatives and local rulers on 26-28 February 1948, of Solan, which was presided over by the Rana of Bhagat Durga Singh.
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