History of modern chattishgarh after independence

History of modern chattishgarh after independence

The demand for a separate Chhattisgarh state was first raised in the early twenties. Similar demands kept cropping up at regular intervals; however, a well-organised movement was never launched. Several efforts were made by individuals and organizations towards highlighting the Chhattisgarh identity and expressing the sense of perceived marginalisation. There were certain protests with mass support but these were limited and sporadic. There were several all-party platforms formed and they usually resolved around petitions, public meetings, seminars, rallies and bandhs.

A demand for separate Chhattisgarh was raised in 1924 by the Raipur Congress unit, and later on also discussed in the Annual Session of the Indian Congress at Tripuri. A discussion also took place of forming a Regional Congress organisation for Chhattisgarh. Sporadic attempts to give a call for a separate state for Chhattisgarh continued in the years immediately following Independence. In 1955, a demand for a separate state was raised in the Nagpur assembly of the then state of Madhya Bharat.

When the State Reorganisation Commission was set up in 1954, the demand for a separate Chhattisgarh was put forward to it, through this was not accepted. It was reported that the State Reorganisation Commission rejected the demand for Chhattisgarh on the grounds that the prosperity of Chhattisgarh would compensate for the poverty of other regions of Madhya Pradesh.

The eighties were a comparatively quiet phase in the demand for Chhattisgarh. The 1990’s saw more activity for a demand for the new state, such as formation of a state wide political forum, especially the Chhattisgarh Rajya Nirman Manch. The Late Chandulal Chadrakar led this forum, several successful region-wide Bandhs and rallies were organised under the banner of the forum all of which were supported by major political parties including the Congress and the BJP. The rallies of the all party forum were attended by leaders from most political parties.

The Congress Government of Madhya Pradesh took the first institutional and legislative initiative for the creation of Chhattisgarh. On the 18th March 1994, a resolution demanding a separate Chhattisgarh was tabled and unanimously approved by the Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha. Both the Congress and the Bhartiya Janta Party supported the resolution. The election manifestos of the Congress and the BJP for both the 1998 and the 1999 parliamentary elections as well as the Madhya Pradesh assembly election of 1998 included the demand for creation of separate Chhattisgarh. In 1998, the BJP led Union Government drafted a bill for the creation of a separate state of Chhattisgarh from sixteen districts of Madhya Pradesh. This draft bill was sent to the Madhya Pradesh assembly for approval. It was unanimously approved in 1998, although with certain modifications.

The union government did not survive and fresh elections were declared. The new National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government sent the redrafted Separate Chhattisgarh Bill for the approval of the Madhya Pradesh Assembly, where it was once again unanimously approved and then it was tabled in the Lok Sabha. This bill for a separate Chhattisgarh was passed in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, paving the way for the creation of a separate state of Chhattisgarh. The President of India gave his consent to The Madhya Pradesh Reorganisation Act 2000 on the 25th August 2000. The Government of India subsequently set the First day of November 2000 as the day on which the state of Madhya Pradesh would be bifurcated into Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. Many political observers have commented on the relatively peaceful manner in which the Chhattisgarh state has been created.

There is no single factor responsible for the creation of Chhattisgarh. It is in fact a complex interplay of a combination of factors that paved the path for a separate state. The long standing demand and the movement for Uttarakhand and Jharkhand which led to the acceptance of separate states for these two regions, created a sensitive environment for the Prithak Chhattisgarh demand. Therefore, the creation of Chhattisgarh coincided with the creation of these two states and became a concurrent process. Another important factor leading to the creation of Chhattisgarh was that there was clear acceptance, within Chhattisgarh and outside that Chhattisgarh had a distinct socio-cultural regional identity that had evolved over centuries.

A consensus had evolved and emerged on the distinctiveness of Chhattisgarh. The people of Chhattisgarh accepted this and saw Prithak Chhattisgarh as giving expression to this identity. A sense of relative deprivation had also developed in the region and people felt that a separate state was imperative for development to take place in the region. In a democratic polity, the people’s demand has a high degree of legitimacy and weight. Therefore the people’s demand voiced through democratic channels was heard and contributed immensely to the creation of Chhattisgarh.

The consensus regarding the distinctiveness of Chhattisgarh did not remain limited to its socio-cultural identity. All over Madhya Pradesh, the consensus on a need for separate Chhattisgarh was also carefully developed. This consensus cuts across geographical regions castes, classes and political parties. A strong reflection of this consensus was evident in the unanimous passing of the Chhattisgarh bill in the Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha. This consensus is a pointer to the high degree of maturity of Madhya Pradesh polity and the smooth passage of the Prithak Chhattisgarh bill resulting in the peaceful and unanimous creation of a new state a tribute to this maturity.

The movement for consolidating the Chhattisgarh identity has continued through the decades. It would become dormant for some years and then against erupt in some other district. It is therefore, impossible to create a linear pattern of the creation of Chhattisgarh identity. However, it is important to underscore that the multilayered and multilateral process of formulating and expressing Chhattisgarhi identity took place over a long period of time. Various other political and non-political formations have, within the framework of their ideological positions and worldview, been working towards the formation of an identity for Chhattisgarh.

Chhattisgarh Samaj, an organisation formed under the umbrella of the Proutist Sarva Samaj Samiti has working for the development of a political, social and cultural consciousness of Chhattisgarh. Since the late sixties the Samaj has been publishing a weekly news paper in Chhattisgarhi through which they have been working for the growth of the Chhattisgarhi language. Through the different wings of the Samja, an attempt is being made to spread regional consciousness which they believe will then translate into the development of Chhattisgarh. A diametrically opposite non-party political formation struggling for the identity of Chhattisgarh is Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha or the CMM.

This mass based people‚Äôs movement started as a trade union movement and then moved on to link the exploitation of the region to the fact that its cultural identity had been suppressed. Gradually the movement started focussing on the struggle of Chhattisgarh against the exploitative oppressive and hegemonic mainstream. On 19th December, 1979, in an attempt to link the tradition of struggle to the ethos of Chhattisgarh, the CMM then the CMSS, initiated the tradition of observing Shahid Vir Narain Singh’s date of execution by the British as martyr’s day.

he identity of Chhattisgarh has been created and evolved through a complex process that has largely charted its own course. A combination of cultural historical, social, economic and political factors have contributed to this process. The wide pluralities of cultures, traditions, histories and customs existing in the region have combined to form a unique mixture that has fed into the development of the Chhattisgarh ethos and identity. However, the key point is that the identity of Chhattisgarh cannot be viewed as separate from the people of Chhattisgarh. It is important to note that the Chhattisgarh identity has been asserted in different forms and has become more pronounced in adverse circumstances manifesting itself especially as protest against exploitation. Dr. H. L. Shukla distinguishes between self image and other image for a more holistic understanding of Chhattisgarh identity and ethos. It is imperative to synthesize and blend the two images to understand the priorities and challenges facing new Chhattisgarh. The identity of Chhattisgarh is an inclusive identity, in spite of the movement for Prathak Chhattisgarh. There exists in the Chhattisgarh identity while being sensitive towards as well as protecting and preserving the plurality of customs, traditions and cultures.

Thus, Chhattisgarh was formed as a separate state of India from Madhya Pradesh on 1st November, 2000 bounded by Jharkhand in South and Orissa in the east, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra in the west, Uttar Pradesh and Western Jharkhand in the north and Andhra Pradesh in the South. Areawise Chhattisgarh is the ninth largest state and population-wise it is seventeenth state of the nation.