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Samaldas Gandhi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Samaldas Gandhi was an Indian freedom fighter who headed the Aarzi Hukumat or Temporary Government of the erstwhile princely state of Junagadh.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • Integration of Indian States - II


As we discussed in last video, overall integration process of States went on smoothly, but integration of few States took a dramatic turn. In this video, we are going to look at some of these integration stories. Let’s first see the integration of Junagadh into India. Junagadh was the State with area of 8 thousand 6 hundred and 43 square km and population of around 6 lakh 70 thousand. While 80% population was Hindu, it was ruled by a Muslim ruler. Dewan of Junagadh was Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto, Father of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who was the first elected Prime Minister of Pakistan. Shah Nawaz Bhutto was also pro-Pakistan. It was the prime State in Kathiawar region surrounded by the small States which had already joined India. Junagadh had no land connectivity to Pakistan. Only Veraval was connected to Karachi Port in Pakistan which was 300miles away. Despite of all these facts, Nawab of Junagadh signed accession to Pakistan which was against the will of its citizens. Jinnah advised him to keep out under all circumstances till 15th August 1947. Jinnah also assured that he would not allow Junagadh to starve saying ‘Veraval is not far from Krarachi’. Indian government was suggesting referendum, but Nawab of Junagadh denied it. Meanwhile people of Kathiwar were prepared to take law in hand under the leadership of Samaldas Gandhi who was a nephew of Mahatma Gandhi. They were ready to set up parallel government. Sardar Patel was not happy about this. Kathiawar Congress leaders announced a provisional government of Junagadh known as Arzee Hukumat. Samaldas Gandhi was President and government consisted of 6 members. It had full public support. Babariwad was a group of 51 villages. It was not attached to Junagadh and had already joined India. But Junagadh refused to recognize sovereignty of Babariwad and sent its troops to Babariwad in September of 1947. Mongrol was another tiny state between Junagadh and Porbandar. It also had majority Hindu population. Sheikh of Mangrol first accepted Instrument of Accession, but later retracted the decision under the pressure of Junagadh. Junagadh refused to recognize Mangrol as independent state and considered it as its own territory. On 1st October 1947, Junagadh troops occupied Mongrol territory thus practically violating border of India. India asked for the removal of forces, but Junagadh refused to do so. Manavadvar was one more small State with majority Hindu population. It was surrounded on three sides by Junagadh. Khan was Manavadar was harassing local congress leaders and there was a danger of flare-up in State. More than 100 thousands of Hindus had already fled out of Junagadh. Finally, military action was decided by India. Lord Mountbatten suggested to take this issue to UN, but Sardar Patel as well as Nehru opposed the idea. Brigadier Gurdial Singh was in command of force. Troops were ordered not to violate Junagadh territory and were deployed only along Indian border. On 22nd Oct, small police force was sent to Manavadar to take up administration and manager was appointed. This was to avoid flare-up and spreading it to neighbouring states. On 1st Nov, civil administrator with small force was sent to Babriawad to take over administration. Mangrol was taken over by Government of India. Both Sheikh of Mangrol and Khan of Manavadar had fled to Pakistan. In the unsettled conditions traders refused to risk any business with Junagadh. Consequently, the food situation deteriorated considerably in spite of some help given by Pakistan. The revenues of the State also substantially decreased. In November of 1947, Nawab of Junagadh fled to Pakistan with his family, taking all cash, shares and securities in treasury. This encouraged the forces of Arzee Hukumat to occupy various parts of the State. On 5th Nov, Junagadh State Council held a meeting and it was decided that 'the position arising out of the economic blockade, inter-state complications, external agitation and internal administrative difficulties make it necessary to have a complete reorientation of the State policy and a readjustment of relations with the two Dominions even if it involves a reversal of the earlier decision to accede to Pakistan.' The Dewan was authorized 'to negotiate with the proper authorities.' On 7th Nov, Dewan of Junagadh opened discussions with Samaldas Gandhi. Made proposal to hand over administration to India. On 9th Nov: Indian govt took over administration. However, Pakistan demanded for the removal Indian troops and administration. By 13th Nov, Nawab of Junagadh was ready to join India. On 20th Feb 1948, referendum was held under C. B. Nagarkar who was neither Hindu nor Muslim. There were around 2 lakhs Registered voters out of which only 91 voted for Pakistan. At the same time, referendum was held in Mangrol, Manavadar and Babriawad. Here out of 31434 registered voters only 39 voted in favor of Pakistan. After referendum, democratization of administration was started. India decided to constitute an executive council of popular representatives to assist the administrator. On 1st June 1948, the Executive Council, consisting of Samaldas Gandhi, Dayashankar Dave and Mrs. Pushpavati Mehta, was set up. On 20 February 1949, The administration of Junagadh State, as well as of Mangrol, Manavadar and the erstwhile feudatories of Junagadh, was handed over to the Saurashtra Government at a simple ceremony. In this ceremony, the Chief Secretary of Saurashtra took over from the Administrator of Junagadh. This closed the first dramatic chapter in the process of integration. Let us now discuss the Kashmir’s integration which is still an unclosed chapter. Kashmir is the north most State in India. It is strategically very important for both Pakistan and India. Kashmir has vast stretch of plain land surrounded by the high Himalayan ranges. This makes the natural defence for the country. Many important rivers like Jhelum, Chenab, ravi originate in Kashmir. So their flow can be controlled from Kashmir. Mohammad Ali Jinnah termed Kashmir to be the Jugular vein of Pakistan. It connects to central Asia through Afaganistan which can be important trade route. Coming back to the 1947 situation of Kashmir. It had majority Muslim population in most of the parts, but was ruled by Hindu ruler, Raja Hari Singh. Only Ladakh had majority Buddhist population. Key positions in administration were occupied by Hindus. Because of this, Sheikh Abdullah led an organization called ‘National Conference’ which was campaigning against the ruler. Till 15th August 1947, Kashmir didn’t accede to any dominion. However, ruler had signed Standstill agreement with Pakistan. On 22nd Oct 1947, operation gulmarg was started. Tribal invasion started in Kashmir. Muslims in the Kashmir battalions deserted; shot the Commanding Officer and his adjutant. They joined the raiders, and acted as advance-guard to the raiders' column. The raiders then marched towards Baramula along the road leading to Srinagar. On 24th Oct, raiders captured Baramula as well as Mahura Power House, which supplied electricity to Srinagar. Srinagar was plunged into darkness. The raiders had announced that they would reach Srinagar on 26th October in time for the Id celebrations at the Srinagar mosque. Raiders were operating against Kashmir from bases in Pakistan. Their modern military equipments could only have been obtained from Pakistan sources; mortars, artillery and Mark V mines are not normally kind of armament which tribesmen possess. Motor transport, which the raiders had been using, and the petrol required for it, could also be obtained in Pakistan only. Food and other supplies were also secured from Pakistan;. Reliable reports stated that the raiders get their rations from military messes in Pakistan. Liaqat Ali Khan was encouraging tribesmen for invasion and made speeches to effect that Pakistan will never give up Kashmir. Despite of the Standstill agreement, Pakistan started economic blockade of Kashmir. Pakistan authorities had cut off the supply of food, petrol supply and other essential commodities, and hindered the free transit of travelers between Kashmir and Pakistan. Raiders had indulged in the most ghastly atrocities including wholesale murder of non-Muslims and abduction and auctioning of Kashmiri girls. Ruler of Kashmir was incapable of handling these raiders as his force was dispersed along the 450 miles frontier. On 24th October, he made desperate appeal to India for help. Sheikh Abdullah also requested India for help. On 25th October, meeting of defence committee was held which was presided by Lord Mountbatten. Indian Officials flew to Kashmir to study the situation. They first moved Maharaja and his family out of Srinagar in case Srinagar fell in hands of raider. On 26th Oct, Maharaja of Kashmir signed the Instrument of Accession. However, he further expressed the strong opinion that, in the view of the composition of the population, accession should be conditional on the will of the people being ascertained by a plebiscite after the raiders had been driven out of the State and law and order had been restored. This was readily agreed by Nehru and other ministers. India finally decided to launch military operation in Kashmir. There had never been an operation like the airlift of Indian troops to Srinagar on 27th October and subsequent days. With no previous thought, no organized planning, and at such remarkably short notice, Indian troops carried out the airlift successfully. At this point, Jinnah got impatient and ordered Pakistani troops to enter Kashmir, however their British supreme commander denied. In meantime, Sheikh Abdullah was invited by the Maharajah to form an interim emergency government. Also Kashmir issue was being discussed among Nehru, Jinnah and Lord Mountbatten. On 8th November, Indian troops recaptured Baramula. Negotiations on Kashmir were still going on. Plebiscite was suggested for Kashmir to which Nehru agreed, but Jinnah rejected. On 22nd Dec, official letter was given to Liaqat Ali Khan by Nehru before making reference to united nations. Since no reply was received till 31st dec 1947, India formally appealed to United Nations. Conflict continued for year. Finally, on 1st Jan 1949, both nations ordered cease-fire. However practically this conflict is still not over and lot of bloodshed is still going on over Kashmir issue. Map of Kashmir as of today looks like this. China claimed that ‘Aksai Chin’ is part of China and occupied it. In 1963, Pakistan illegally ceded some part of Pakistan occupied Kashmir to China. So today, half of the Kashmir is not controlled by India. In our next part, we will look at integration story of Hyderabad. Thank you for watching this video. Please like, share and comment, because discussion is solution. For more discussions please subscribe our channel.


Early life

Samaldas was the son of Laxmidas Karamchand Gandhi, elder brother of Mohandas Gandhi, the leader of the Indian independence movement. Samaldas was a close follower of his uncle, Mohandas.

Integration of Junagadh into India

When the Nawab of Junagadh acceded his state to Pakistan in 1947, Samaldas headed a government-in-exile created by citizens of Junagadh to reflect the wishes of its majority population who wished the state to become part of India instead.

When Indian forces entered Junagadh and its principalities, Mangrol and Manavadar, at the invitation of the Nawab's dewan, Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto, Samaldas was invited to accept the reins of the state but deferred to the Government of India.


Samaldas Gandhi is widely remembered in Junagadh and the state of Gujarat today as a hero and patriot. There are several schools, public foundations and hospitals named after him.

See also

This page was last edited on 13 November 2018, at 08:18
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