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Political Science Class 12 Notes Chapter 17 Regional Aspirations

Region and the Nation: Indian Approach

  • The Indian approach in nation building is to balance the principles of unity and diversity. The nation would not mean the negation of the region.
  • The one basic principle of the Indian approach to diversity is, the Indian Nation shall not deny the rights of different regions and linguistic groups to retain their own culture.
  • India adopted a democratic approach to the question of diversity. Democracy allows the political expressions of regional aspirations and does not look upon them as anti-national.
  • Democratic politics also means that regional issues and problems will receive adequate attention and accommodation in the policy making process.
  • Soon after Independence, Jammu and Kashmir and some parts of North-East faced mass agitations in many parts for separation from India.
  • These events were followed by mass movement in many parts for the formation of linguistic states, such as Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Gujarat.
  • In some parts of Southern India, there were protests against making Hindi the official language of the country.
  • With the passage of time the challenge of diversity was met by redrawing the internal boundaries of the country.

Jammu and Kashmir

  • The ‘Kashmir issue’ is always seen as a major issue between India and Pakistan.
  • Jammu and Kashmir comprises three social and political regions. Jammu-a mix of foothills and plains, Kashmir- heart of Kashmir region; Ladakh-mountainous region with very little population which is equally divided between Buddhists and Muslims.
  • Before 1947, Jammu and Kashmir was a Princely State. The state was having majority population of Muslims but Hari Singh was a Hindu ruler of the state.
  • In October 1947, Pakistan sent tribal infiltrators from its side to capture Kashmir. This forced Hari Singh to ask for Indian military help.
  • Indian Army successfully drove out infiltrators from Kashmir valley and Hari Singh signed an Instrument of Accession1 with the Government of India.
  • It was agreed that once the situation will be normalised, the views of the people of Jammu and Kashmir will be ascertained about their future and India agreed to maintain the autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir.

External and Internal Disputes

  • Externally, Pakistan has always claimed that Kashmir valley should be part of Pakistan.
  • Pakistan sponsored a tribal invasion of
    the State of 1947 and consequence of it, a part of the state came under Pakistani control.
  • India claims this area under illegal occupation whereas Pakistan describes this area as ‘Azad Kashmir.’
  • Internally, there is a dispute about the status of Kashmir within the Indian Union.
  •  Article 370 gives greater autonomy to J&K compared to other state of India. State has its own Constitution.
  • The special attention provokes two opposite reactions.
  • A section of people outside J&K feels that Article 370 should therefore be revoked and J&K should be like any other state in India.
  • Another section, mostly Kashmiries, believe that autonomy conferred by Article 370 is not enough.

Politics Since 1948

  • Between 1953 and 1974, the Congress Party exercised a lot of influence on the politics of the state.
  • National Conference remained in power with the active support of Congress for some time but later it merged with the Congress. Thus, Congress gained direct control over the government of the state.
  • In 1974, Indira Gandhi reached an agreement with Sheikh Abdullah and he became the Chief Minister of the State.
  • Farooq Abdullah succeeded after death of his father as Chief Minister in 1982.
  • Farooq Abdullah was soon dismissed by the Governor, his dismissal due to the intervention of the centre generated a feeling of resentment in Kashmir.
  • Ups and down in state politics continued till 1986 when National Conference agreed to have an
    electoral alliance with the Congress.

Insurgency and Effect

  • In 1987 assembly election the National Conference-Congress alliance gained a massive victory and Farooq Abdullah returned as Chief Minister.
  • By 1989, the state had come in grip of a militant movement mobilised around the cause of a separate Kashmir nation.
  • Throughout the period from 1990, J&K experienced violence at the hands of the insurgents and through army action.
  • In 2002 J&K experienced a fair election in which National Conference was replaced by People’s Democratic Party (PDP)-Congress coalition government.


  • Separatism surfaced in Kashmir ’rom 1989 and is made up of various strands.
  • One strand of separatists wanted a separate Kashmir nation, independent of India and Pakistan.
  • Jammu and Kashmir is one of th; living examples of plural society and politics.
  • Despite diversities and divergence on the one hand and the continued situation of conflict on the other, the plural and secular culture of the state has remained largely intact.


  • The decade of 1980s witnessed major developments in the State of Punjab.
  • Social composition of the state was changed first with partition and later-after the carving out of Haryam and Himachal Pradesh.
  • The Akali Dal, which was formed in 1920 as the political wing of the Sikhs, had led the movement for the formation of a ‘Punjabi Suba.’
  • Punjab had to wait till 1966 to be reorganised on linguistic lines for the creation of a Punjabi speaking state.

Political Context

  • After the reorganisation, the Akalis came to power in 1967 and then in 1977.
  • During the 1970s a section of Akalis began to demand political autonomy for the region. This was reflected in a resolution passed in a conference at Anandpur Sahib in 1973.

Cycle of Violence

  • The militants made their headquarters inside the Sikh holy shrine, the Golden Temple in Amritsar and turned it into an armed fortress.
  • In June 1984, the Government of India carried out ‘Operation Blue Star’ code name for army action in the Golden temple in which the government could successfully flush out the militants.
  • In this operation temple was damaged, which hurt the Sikh sentiments and their faith was betrayed.
  • Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated on 31st October, 1984 outside her residence by her Sikh bodyguards as a revenge of ‘Operation Blue Star.’
  • In many parts of Northern India violence broke give space out against Sikh community and continued for almost a week which results in the killings of more than two thousand Sikhs.

Road to Peace

  • In 1984, The new Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi initiated a dialogue with moderate Akali leaders and in July 1985 a peace agreement was signed between Rajiv Gandhi and Harchand Singh Longowal (the President of Akali Dal).
  • The agreement known as Rajiv Gandhi- Longowal Accord or the Punjab Accord.
  • The cycle of violence continued nearly for a decade and peace returned to Punjab by the middle of 1990s. The alliance of Akali Dal (Badal) and the BJP scored a major victory in 1997, in the first normal elections in the state in the post militancy era.

The North-East

  • The North-East region of the country now consists of seven states, also referred to as the ‘seven sister.’
  • The region witnessed a lot of change in 1947. The
    entire region of North-East has undergone considerable political reorganistation.
  • The vast international border and weak communication between the North-East and the rest of India have added to the delicate nature of politics there.
  • Three issues dominate the politics of North¬East: demands for autonomy, movements for secession and opposition to ‘outsiders,’

Demands for Autonomy

  • At the time of independence the entire region except Manipur and Tripura comprised the State of Assam.
  • There were opposition and protest riots throughout the state on various issues.
  • At different points of time the Central Government had to create Meghalaya, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh out of Assam.
  • The reorganisation of the North-East was completed by 1972.

Secessionist Movements

  • For autonomy there were secessionist movements in North-East region like Mizoram and Nagaland etc.
  • After independence, the Mizo hills area was made an autonomous district within Assam.
  • Movement for secession gained popular support after the Assam Government ‘failed to respond adequately to great famine of 1959 in Mizo hills.’
  • Mizo’s anger led to formation of Mizo National Front (MNF) under the leadership of Laldenga.
  • MNF fought guerilla war, got support from Pakistani Government and secured shelter in East Pakistan.
  • In 1986 a peace agreement was signed between Rajiv Gandhi and Laldenga.
  • This accord granted Mizoram as full fledged statehood with special powers, and MNF agreed to give up secessionist struggle.
  • Thus, the accord turn Mizoram as one of the most peaceful places in the region.
  • The story of Nagaland is similar to Mizoram except that started much earlier and had not yet such a happy ending.
  • After a section of violent insurgency a section of the Nagas signed an agreement with the Government of India but it was not acceptable to other rebels.

Movements Against Outsiders

  • The large scale migration into the North-East gave rise to a special kind of problem that pitted the ‘local’ communities against people who were seen as ‘outsiders’ or migrants.
  • The issue has taken political and sometimes violent form in many states of North- East.
  • The Assam movement from 1979 to 1985 is the best example of such movements against ‘outsiders’.
  • In 1979, the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), a students’ group not affiliated to any party, led an anti-foreigner movement. Movement demanded, outsiders who had entered the state after 1951 should be sent back.
  • With the successful completion of the movement, the AASU and the Asom Gana Sangram Parishad organised themselves as a regional political party called Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), which came to power in 1985 with the promise of resolving the foreign national problem as well as to build a ‘Golden Assam.’

Sikkim’s Merger

  • At the time of independence Sikkim was a ‘protectorate (A state that is controlled and protected by other) of India. Chogyal was its monarch.
  • In 1975, Sikkim was merged with India and it became the 22nd State of the Indian Union.

Accommodation and National Integration

  • Regional aspirations are very much a part of democratic politics. Expression of regional issues is not an aberration or an abnormal phenomenon.
  • The best way to respond to regional aspirations is through democratic negotiations rather than through suppression.
  • Regional imbalance in economic development contributes to the feeling of regional discrimination.

Goa’s Liberation

  • After independence 1947, British withdrew but Portuguese who were ruling since 16th century in Goa, Daman and Diu refused to withdraw themselves.
  • Goa was liberated in 1961 from Portuguese by an army operation. Goa, Daman and Diu was declared an Union Territories.


1. 1980s may be seen as a period of rising regional aspirations creating various regional movements which conclude in a negotiated settlement or accords between the government’s groups. Indian approach maintained a balance in the principles of unity and diversity even by redrawing the internal boundaries of country in response to preserve the culture of different regions and linguistic groups.

2. Immediately after independence, India had to cope up with the issues of partition, displacement, integration of princely states and reorganisation of states i.e. Jammu and Kashmir issues political aspiration, North-East had no consensus to be a part of India and Dravidian movement briefly toyed with the idea of separate country.

3. Jammu and Kashmir comprised of three social and political regions namely Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh region. On the issue of regional autonomy, Accession was promised on reference of people. Special federal status guaranteed by Article 370, to protect regional autonomy.

4. During most of the period between 1953 to 1974, Congress exercised a lot of influence on the politics of Jammu and Kashmir. Finally, in 1974, Sheikh became Chief Minister of the state. Except it, from 1989, separatist politics was also surfaced in Kashmir with the stronger demand for intrastate autonomy rather than state autonomy. In present scenario, most of separatist in dialogue are trying to re-negotiate a relationship of the state with India.

5. In Punjab, Anandpur Sahib Resolution was passed at the conference of Akali Dal at Anandpur Sahib in 1973 to ascertain regional autonomy and to redefine centre-state relationship. It had a limited appeal and Akali government was dismissed in 1980. Afterwards, the movement launched by Akali Dal took the form of armed insurgency and resolution became controversial.

6. In 1985, Punjab accord was signed between Rajiv Gandhi and Harchand Singh Longowal, President of Akali Dal to transfer Chandigarh, appointment of a commission to resolve border dispute and agreement for compensation to better treatment. But peace did not come easily, violence led many excesses and fragmentation of Akali Dal. Hence, it led to president’s rule in the state. In 1997, first normal elections in Punjab were held in post militancy era and alliance of Akali Dal and BJP scored a major victory.

7. The North-East region consisted of seven states referred to as ‘Seven Sisters’. The reorganisation of North-East was complete by 1972 but did not end the autonomy demands i.e. Bodos, Karbis, Dimasas demanded separate state in Assam and issues were resolved with the grant of some autonomy to these issues. Even ‘Assam Accord’ was signed over the issue of‘Outsiders’ in Assam in 1985.

8. The Assam movement was combination of cultural pride and economic backwardness as it was against outsiders to maintain cultural integration and poverty, unemployment also existed despite natural resources like oil, tea and coal.

9. Regional aspirations range from demands of statehood and economic development to autonomy and separation were coming up which taught many lessons to us i.e. expression of regional issues is not abnormal phenomenon, to respond through democratic negotiations, power sharing among groups and parties, economic development of region and flexible federal system.

10. Goa was under the Portuguese along with Daman and Diu, which expected freedom in 1947 but Portuguese refused. Goa wanted to be merged with motherland and suppressed from religious conversions and civil rights known as ‘Goa Problem’. In 1961, Government of India sent army under ‘Operation Vijay’ and liberated Goa from Portugal rule and in 1987, Goa attained the status of ‘State’ position.


  1. Instrument of Accession: An accord signed between Maharaja of Kashmir and government of India on the accession of state.
  2. Insurgency: An affair to be directed against one’s own constitutional government within national boundary with the support of local people.
  3. Khalistan: A separate state of Sikh community to maintain the autonomous Sikh identity.
  4. Operation Blue Star: A code name for army action in Golden Temple in June 1984 by Government of India when Sikh militants made their headquarters inside Golden Temple.
  5. Seven Sisters: It is referred to seven states of North East region to be referred as Seven Sisters.
  6. Mizo National Front (MNF): It was formed in 1959 by the groups of Mizo under the leadership of Laldenga for autonomous States of Mizos.

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