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Modern Indian History Archives | IAS MAINS

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An IAS aspirant's Online notes
Modern Indian History
Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present-
significant events, personalities,issues.
Post Independence India Integration
Posted on January 7, 2014 by admin
There were ~560 princely states at the time of Independence and Britishers have reinstated their
status as it was before their Accession. They were given choice to remain independent or join
dominion of Pakistan or India. The huge task of integration of maximum number of states to
India was given to Iron Man Sardar Ballabh Bhai Patel. He did the job with help of V P Menon.
Following Episodes of Prdhanmantri enumerates the incidents in lucid way. Go through them for
General Studies paper 1 mains post independence history portion.
Episode 1
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Story of Hyderabad and Junagarh
Story of Kashmir
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Story of Bombay and Madras State Reorganization
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Post Independence India Wars
Posted on January 7, 2014 by admin
Watch Following videos to understand what issues were involved and why India was forced to
participate in the war. A question based on this came in 2013 mains examination. These
episodes are in Hindi but who knows Hindi must watch these. These will be more effective than
studying topics from books.
India China war 1961
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India Pakistan War 1965 Lal Bahadur Shashtri
India Pakistan War 1971 Bangladesh Independence
Modern Indian History Archives | IAS MAINS
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India Pakistan Kargil war 1999
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India in the Eighteenth Century Short Notes
Posted on December 22, 2013 by admin

Bahadur Shah 1 (1707-12)
Muzam succeeded Aurungzeb after latters death in 1707
He acquired the title of Bahadur Shah.
Though he was quite old (65) and his rule quite short there are many significant
achievements he made
He reversed the narrow minded and antagonistic policies of Aurungzeb
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Made agreements with Rajput states
Granted sardeshmukhi tMarathas but not Chauth
Released Shahuji (son of Sambhaji) from prison (who later fought with Tarabai)
Tried to make peace with Guru Gobind Sahib by giving him a high Mansab.
After Gurus death, Sikhs again revolted under the leadership of Banda Bahadur. This led
to a prolonged war with the Sikhs.
Made peace with Chhatarsal, the Bundela chief and Churaman, the Jat chief.
State finances deteriorated
Jahandar Shah (1712-13)
Death of Bahadur Shah plunged the empire into a civil war
A noted feature of this time was the prominence of the nobles
Jahandar Shah, son of Bahadur Shah, ascended the throne in 1712 with help from Zulfikar
Was a weak ruler devoted only to pleasures
Zulfikar Khan, his wazir, was virtually the head of the administration
ZK abolished jizyah
Peace with Rajputs: Jai Singh of Amber was made the Governor of Malwa. Ajit
Singh of Marwar was made the Governor of Gujarat.
Chauth and Sardeshmukh granted to Marathas. However, Mughals were to collect it and
then hand it over to the Marathas.
Continued the policy of suppression towards Banda Bahadur and Sikhs
Ijarah: (revenue farming) the government began tcontract with revenue farmers and
middlemen to pay the government a fixed amount of money while they were left free to
collect whatever they could from the peasants
Jahandhar Shah defeated in January 1713 by his nephew Farrukh Siyar at Agra
Farrukh Siyar (1713-19)
Owed his victory to Saiyid Brothers: Hussain Ali Khan Barahow and Abdullah Khan
Abdullah Khan: Wazir, Hussain Ali: Mir Bakshi
FS was an incapable ruler. Saiyid brothers were the real rulers.
Saiyid Brothers
1. Known the Indian History as King Makers
2. adopted the policy of religious tolerance. Abolished jizyah (again?).
3. Pilgrim tax was abolished from a number of places
4. Marathas: Granted Shahuji swarajya and the right to collect chauth and
sardeshmukhi of the six provinces of the Deccan
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5. They failed in their effort to contain rebellion because they were faced
6. with constant political rivalry, quarrels and conspiracies at the court.
7. Nobles headed by Nizam-ul-Mulk and Muhammad Amin Khan began to conspire
against them
8. In 1719, the Saiyid Brothers killed and overthrew FS.
9. This was followed by placing, in quick succession, of twyoung princes who died of
10. Murder of the emperor created a wave of revulsion against the SB.
11. They were looked down as namak haram
12. Now, they placed 18 year old Muhammad Shah as the emperor of India
13. In 1720, the nobles assassinated Hussain Ali Khan, the younger of the SB.
14. Abdullah Khan was also defeated at Agra

Muhammad Shah Rangeela (1719-1748)
Weak-minded, frivolous and over-fond of a life of ease
Neglected the affairs of the state
Intrigued against his own ministers
Naizam ul Mulk Qin Qulik Khan, the wazir, relinquished his office and founded the state of
Hyderabad in 1724
His departure was symbolic of the flight of loyalty and virtue from the Empire
Heriditary nawabs arose in Bengal, Hyderabad, Awadh and Punjab
Marathas conquered Malwa, Gujarat and Bundelkhand
1738: Invasion of Nadir Shah
Nadir Shahs Invasion (1738)
Attracted to India by its fabulous wealth. Continual campaigns had made Persia
Also, the Mughal empire was weak.
Didnt meet any resistance as the defense of the north-west frontier had been
neglected for years
The twarmies met at Karnal on 13th Feb 1739. Mughal army was summarily defeated.
MS taken prisoner
Massacre in Delhi in response to the killing of some of his soldiers
Plunder of about 70 crore rupees. Carried away the Peacock throne and Koh-inoor
MS ceded thim all the provinces of the Empire west of the river Indus
Significance: Nadir Shahs invasion exposed the hidden weakness of the empire to the
Maratha sardars and the foreign trading companies
Ahmed Shah Abdali
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One of the generals of Nadir Shah
Repeatedly invaded and plundered India right down to Delhi and Mathura between
1748 and 1761. He invaded India five times.
1761: Third battle of Panipat. Defeat of Marathas.
As a result of invasions of Nadir Shah and Ahmed Shah, the Mughal empire ceased to
be an all-India empire. By 1761 it was reduced merely to the Kingdom of Delhi
Shah Alam II (1759-
Ahmed Bahadur (1748-54) succeeded Muhammad Shah
Ahmed Bahadur was succeeded by Alamgir II (1754-59)
1756: Abdali plundered Mathura
Alamgir II was succeeded by Shah Jahan III
Shah Jahan III succeeded by Shah Alam II in 1759
Shah Alam spent initial years wandering for he lived under the fear of his wazir
In 1764, he joined forces with Mir Qasim of Bengal and Shuja-ud-Daula of Awadh in
declaring a war upon the British East India company. This resulted in the Battle of Buxar
Pensioned at Allahabad
Returned to Delhi in 1772 under the protection of Marathas
Decline of the Mughal Empire
After 1759, Mughal empire ceased to be a military power.
It continued from 1759 till 1857 only due to the powerful hold that the Mughal dynasty
had on the minds of the people of India as a symbol of the political unity of the country
In 1803, the British occupied Delhi
From 1803 to 1857, the Mughal emperors merely served as a political front of the British.
The most important consequence of the fall of the Mughal empire was that it paved way
for the British to conquer India as there was no other Indian power strong enough to
unite and hold India.
Succession States
These states arose as a result of the assertion of autonomy by governors of Mughal
provinces with the decay of the central power
Bengal, Awadh, Hyderabad
Hyderabad and the Carnatic
Founded by Nizam-ul-Mulk Asaf Jah in 1724
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Tolerant policy towards Hindus
A Hindu, Puran Chand, was his Dewan.
Established an orderly administration in Deccan on the basis of the jagirdari system on
the Mughal pattern
He died in 1748
Nawab of Carnatic freed himself of the control of the Viceroy of the Deccan and made his
office hereditary
Saadutullah Khan of Carnatic made his nephew Dost Ali his successor
1700: Murshid Quli Khan made the Dewan of Bengal
Freed himself of the central control
Freed Bengal of major uprisings
Three major uprisings during his time: Sitaram Ray, Udai Narayan and Ghulam
Muhammad, and then by Shujat Khan, and finally by Najat Khan
Carried out fresh revenue settlement. Introduced the system of revenue farming.
Revenue farming led tthe increased distress of the farmers
Laid the foundations of the new landed aristocracy in Bengal
MQK died in 1727. Succeeded by Shuja-ud-din.
1739: Alivardi Khan killed and deposed Shuja-ud-dins son, Sarfaraz Khan, and made
himself the Nawab
All three Nawabs encouraged merchants, both Indian and foreign.
Safety of roads and rivers. Thanas and Chowkies at regular intervals.
Maintained strict control over the foreign trading companies
They, however, did not firmly put down the increasing tendency of the English East India
Company tuse military force, or to threaten its use, to get its demands accepted.
They also neglected to build a strong army
1722: Saadat Khan Burhan-ul-Mulk
Suppressed rebellions and disciplined the Zamindars
Fresh revenue settlement in 1723
Did not discriminate between Hindus and Muslims. The highest post in his government
was held by a Hindu, Maharaja Nawab Rai
Died in 1739. Succeeded by Safdar Jung.
SJs reign was an era of peace made an alliance with the Maratha sardars
Carried out warfare against Rohelas and Bangash Pathans
Organized an equitable system of justice
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Distinct culture of Lucknow developed during his period
Haidar Ali, in 1761, overthrew Nanjaraj and established his own authority over Mysore
1755: Established a modern arsenal at Dindigal with the help of French experts
Conquered Bidnur, Sunda, Sera, Canara and Malabar
He conquered Malabar because he wanted access tthe Indian Ocean
First and Second Anglo-Mysore War
1782: Succeeded by Tipu Sultan
TS was an innovator. Introduced a new calendar, a new system of coinage and new scales
of weights and measures.
Keen interest in French Revolution
Planted a tree of liberty at Srirangapatnam and became a member of the Jacobin Club
Made efforts to build a modern navy
Mysore flourished economically under Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan
Sent missions to France, Turkey, Iran and Pegu Myanmar to develop foreign trade
Some historians say that Tipu was a religious fanatic. But facts dont support this assertion.
Divided into large number of feudal chiefs in the 18th century
Four important states
Calicut (under Zamorin), Chirakkal, Cochin and Travancore
In 1729, Travancore rose to prominence under King Martanda Varma
Conquered Quilon and Elayadam, and defeated the Dutch
From 1766 Haidar Ali invaded Kerala and annexed northern Kerala up to Cochin
Revival of Malyalam literature
Trivandram became a famous centre of Sanskrit scholarship
Rajput States
Rajputana states continued to be divided as before
Raja Sawai Jai Singh of Amber was the most outstanding ruler of the era
Founded the city of Jaipur
Made Jaipur a great seat of science and art
Astronomer. Erected observatories at Jaipur, Ujjain, Varanasi, and Mathura
Drew up a set of tables, entitled Zij Muhammadshahi, tenable people tmake
astronomical observations
Translated Euclids Elements of Geometry into Sanskrit
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Social reformers. Reduce lavish marriage expenditures.
Jat peasants revolted in 1669 and 1688
Jat state of Bharatpur set up by Churaman and Badan Singh
Reached its highest glory under Suraj Mal, whruled from 1756 to 1763
Sikhsim transformed into a militant religion during Guru Hargobind (1606-45), the sixth
Guru Gobind Singh waged constant war against the armies of Aurangzeb and the hill rajas
After Guru Gobind Singhs death (1708), leadership passed to Banda Singh
(Banda Bahadur)
He struggled with the Mughal army for 8 years
Put to death in 1715
Banda Bahadur failed because
Mughal centre was still strong
Upper classes and castes of Punjab joined forces against him
He could not integrate all the anti-Mughal forces because of his religious bigotry
After the withdrawal of Abdali from Punjab, Sikhs were again resurgent
Between 1765 and 1800 they brought the Punjab and Jammu under their control
They were organized into 12 misls
Ranjit Singh
Chief of the Sukerchakia Misl
Captured Lahore (1799) and Amritsar (1802)
Conquered Kashmir, Peshawar and Multan
Possessed the second best army in Asia
Tolerant and liberal
Fakir Azizuddin and Dewan Dina Nath were his important ministers
known to step down from his throne to wipe the dust off the feet of Muslim
mendicants with his long grey beard
Negative point: He did not remove the threat of British. He only left it over this
successors. And so, after his death, when his kingdom was torn by intense internal
struggle, English conquered it.
Maratha Families
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Peshwa Pune
Gaekwad Baroda
Bhosle Nagpur
Holkar Indore
Scindia Gwalior
The most powerful of the succession states
Could not fill the political vacuum because
Maratha Sardars lacked unity
Lacked the outlook and programme which were necessary for founding an all-India
Son of Sambhaji
Imprisoned by Aurungzeb
Released in 1707
Civil war between Shahu and his aunt Tarabai whruled in the name of her infant son
Shivaji II
The conflict gave rise to a new era of Maratha leadership, the era of Peshwa leadership
Balaji Vishwnath
1713: Peshwa of King Shahu
Induced Zulfikar Khan to grant the chauth and sardeshmukhi of the Deccan
Helped the Saiyid brothers in overthrowing Farukh Siyar
Maratha sardars were becoming individually strong but collectively weak
Died in 1720. Succeeded by his son Baji RaI
Baji Rao I
the greatest extent of guerrilla tactics after Shivaji
Vast areas ceded by the Mughals
Marathas won control over Malwa, Gujarat and parts of Bundelkhand
Rivalry with Nizam ul Mulk
Compelled the Nizam tgrant chauth and sardeshmukhi of the Deccan provinces
1733: Campaign against Sidis of Janjira and the Portuguese (Salsette and Bassein)
Died in 1740
Captured territories but failed tlay the foundations of an empire
Succeeded by Balaji Baji Rao(Nana Saheb)
Balaji Baji Rao(1740-61)
Shahu died in 1749. Peshwas became the de facto rulers
Shifted the capital to Poona
Captured Orissa
Mysore forced to pay tributes
In 1752, helped Imad-ul-Mulk tbecome the wazir
Brought Punjab under their control and expelled the agent of Ahmad Shah Abdali
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This led AS Abdali to come to India to settle accounts with
Marathas in the Third Battle of Panipat
Third Battle of Panipat
ASA formed an alliance with Najib-ud-daulah of Rohilkhand and Shuja-ud-daulah of

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India After Gandhi ebook
Posted on June 3, 2013 by admin
In general studies paper I, India after independence is added in syllabus. India after Gandhi is
very good book to understand sequence of events after attaining independence. The best thing
about this book is that it is very interesting to read. Also for net savvy and e-gadget freaks it is
best book as it is available in form of ebook at around 220 Rupees on flipkart. If someone wants
it for free, he can also get it after a little googling. It is in .mobi and .ebub format, so you need
some special reader like fbreader to read it.
I will recommend ethics to absorb in your personality and buy the book instead of downloading
it from net for free but anyway I leave it to your judgement. I do not want to be part of any
unethical practice so I will not give free download link here. Please google for it yourself.
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Evolution of Indian Constitution
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Posted on March 24, 2013 by admin
Government of India Act, 1858:
It was first statute passed by British Parliament for governance of India under direct
rule of the British Government. It was dominated by principle of absolute imperial
control without any popular participation. Subsequent sequence of statutes till writing
of our constitution is one of gradual relaxation of imperial control and evolution of
responsible government. According to this act, there would be a Secretary of
State(SoS) on India, assisted by 15 member Council of India, who would exercise
power of crown over India. SoS was responsible to British Parliament and governed
India through Governor General(GG) assisted by executive council. Essential features
of system introduced by this act were centralized administration, No separation of
function ie. civil, military, executive and legislative all powers in GG, absolute control
on Indian administration by SoS and totally bureaucratic system unconcerned of public
opinion in India.
Indian Councils Act, 1861:
GGs executive council, which so far included exclusively officials, was expanded to
include a few non-official members while transacting legislative business as
Legislative council. These non official members were to be nominated and had limited
mandate. They could only consider proposals placed before it by GG and could not
criticize act or conduct of officials. Same kind of provisions were made in Act of 1861
for Legislative Council in provinces.
Indian Council Act, 1892:
Two important relaxations were made in this act
1. Though majority of officials were retained, non official members henceforth
were nominated by Bengal Chambers of Commerce and Provincial Legislative
Council, whereas the non-officials of Provincial legislative council were
nominated by local bodies like municipalities, district boards and universities.
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2. Council could discuss budget and raise questions to executive.
Morley Minto Reform, Indian Council Act, 1909:
Majority of non-official members were introduced in provincial legislative council by
including elected non-official members in council whereas majority of official retained
in Central Legislative council. Legislative councils were also given power to pass
resolutions on the budget and other important public matters save some specified
subjects such as foreign affairs, military or Indian States. Separate representation for
Muslim community was introduced thus sowing seed of partition.
Motagu-Chelmsford Reform, 1919:
Dyarchy in Provinces: Subjects of Administration were divided in two categories-
Central and Provincial, Provincial were further subdivided into transferred and
reserved. Elected members in provincial council were raised to 70%. Transferred
subjects were to be governed by Governor on the aid and advice of Council of
Ministers thus laid down a responsible government in narrow sphere of transferred
Relaxation of central control over provinces was done through division of subjects in
Central and provincial. Thus provinces can formulate their own budgets to raise
revenue and spend it to run administration of such subjects. It should be noted that
Provinces got power by way of delegation from the Center and the central legislature
retained power to legislate for the whole of India relating to any subject. Therefor it
should be mistaken for federal distribution of power.
Bicameral Indian legislature was also introduced. 60 members 34 of which elected in
upper house aka Council of State and 144 members of which 104 were to be elected
in lower house aka Legislative Assembly. The electorates were however arranged on
a communal and sectional basis, developing tendency of separatism further.
There were many shortcomings in this Act such as it was GG and not courts who had
authority to decide whether particular subject was central or provincial or without prior
consent of GG , legislature could not take up for consideration any bill relating to a
number of subjects, finance was set as reserved subjects therefore many progressive
measures taken by provincial government were not effective for want of funds, ICS
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were responsible to SoS and not to ministers, overriding powers of governors, no
provision for collective responsibilities of ministers etc. Working of Dyarchy system in
provinces proved to be disaster and could not satisfy Indian aspirations and led to
Non Co-operation movement.
Simon Commission:
Simon commission was appointed in 1927 by British government to inquire into and
report on working of the Act of 1919. There was no Indian representative in the
commission and this fact invited wrath from masses of country in form of processions,
marches, protest, petitions, boycott of first Round table conference organised to
discuss Simon commission report that was submitted in 1930. A white paper was
prepared on the result of this conference, which was examined by a J oint Select
Committee of British Parliament and Government of India bill was drafted in
accordance with the recommendation of J oint select committee and passes with
certain amendments as Government of India Act, 1935.
Government of India Act, 1935:
Main features of this act were:
In all previous GoI acts government of India was unitary but first time in GoI Act,
1935, A federal structure of government was prescribed. But Indian rulers of
states never gave their consent and therefore federation as envisaged in act
was never realized.
Certain degree of autonomy was provided to provinces this time and provinces
were no longer delegation of Central government but were autonomous units of
administration. Legislative powers were divided between provinces and centre.
Now governor was not subordinate of Governor General and was required to act
on aid and advice of CoM. Governor was to govern on behalf of the Crown.
Though in certain matters, governor has power of discretion and exercise of his
individual judgement and not to act on advice of CoM.
A system of Dyarchy at center was placed. Function of GG were divided in two
Administration of defense foreign relations, ecclesiastical affairs and of tribal
areas, was to be made by GG in his discretion with help counsellors
appointed by him who were not reponsible to legislature.
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In All other matters, GG was to act on adivce of CoM who were responsible
to Legislature. But even in this regard, GG had power to act against advice if
he felt any of his special responsibilities was involved.
But in reality no counsellors nor any CoM were appointed under Act, the old
executive council provided by 1919 act continued to advice GG until the Indian
Independence Act,1947.
Central legislature was bicameral, legislature of some of provinces were
bicameral and some were uni-cameral. There were few limitations on Central
legislature as follows
A bill passed by Central Legislature was subject to veto by crown and
GG was empowered to prevent discussion or suspend proceeding in
legislature if he felt it would affect his special responsibilities.
GG could pass permanent acts at any time for discharge of special
responsibilites and promulgate ordinances at any matter during recess of
No bill or amendment could be introduced in legislature without GGs
previous consent wrt certain matters.
Though Indian states did not join the Federation, the federal provisions were in
fact applied as between center and provinces. The division of legislative
subjects between center and provinces proposed in this act were kept more less
same in Our present Constitution. Subjects were divided in 3 categories-
Federal(External affairs, military, coinage, census etc), provincial(Police,
education, provincial public services etc) and Concurrent(Criminal laws and
procedures, Marriage and divorce, Arbitration etc). In case of repugnancy in the
Concurrent field, Federal law will prevail over provincial law to the extent of
Dominion status was not conferred by GoI Act, 1935
Cripps Mission
Demand for constituting Constituent assembly for framing their own constitution by
Indian people were made by J awahar Lal Nehru in 1938. In 1940, British Coalition
government recognized the principle that Indians should themselves frame a new
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Constitution for autonomous India and in March 1942, Cripps was sent with draft
declaration that provided
A constituent assembly be elected to frame Indian constitution and India will be
given Dominion status.
There should be one India Union comprising all unions and Indian states
Any province which was not ready to accept the constitution would be free to
retains its constitutional position and can enter into separate constitutional
As expected Cripps proposals were rejected by Muslim League protesting concept of
one Indian union and one constituent assembly.
Cabinet Mission
Cabinet delegation was sent to reach an agreement on constitutional question among
Congress and Muslim league. Though it rejected Muslim leagues demand for a
separate constituent assembly and a separate state for Muslims, the scheme which
they recommended involved virtual acceptance of the principle underlying the claim of
Muslim league. Main features were
There will union of India comprising both Indian provinces and states and having
exclusive jurisdiction over external affairs, military and communication. All
residuary power will belong to states and provinces.
Any question raising a major communal issue would require its decision a
majority of representatives of two major communities present and voting as well
as a majority of all the members present and voting.
The provinces will be free to form groups with executive and legislatures and
each group would be competent to determine the provincial subjects which
would be taken by the group organisation.
It also recommended scheme for electing constituent assembly as follows
Each province and each state or group of states were allottes the total
number of seats proportional to their representative population roughly in the
ration of one to a million. As a result, the provinces were to elect 292
members while Indian states were allotted a minimum of 93 seats.
Seats in each province were divided in three main communities- muslim and
sikh and general, in proportion to their population.
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Members in each community in the provincial Legislative assembly elected
their own representatives by the method of proportional representation with
single transferable vote.
The method of selection in the case of representatives of Indian states was
to be determined by consultation.
Mountbatten Plan
Congress and League reached at an agreement over partitioning two problem
provinces of Punjab and Bengal so as to form absolute Hindu and Muslim majority
blocks. The actual decision to partition however was left to the vote of members of
Legislative assemblies of these two provinces, meeting in two parts, according to a
plan known as Mountbatten Plan.
One part representing muslim majority districts and the other the rest of the province.
The members of each part will be empowered to vote whether or not the province
should be partitioned. If a simple majority of either Part decided in favor of partition,
division will take place. If partition were decided upon, each part of legislative
assembly would decide whether it would join the existing or a new and separate
Constituent Assembly.
Indian Independence Act, 1947
It declared that India ceased to be a Dependency and the suzerainty of Crown
over Indian states with effect from 15 August, 1947. Office of Secretary of State
of India was abolished. Crown was not longer source of authority of neither India
nor Pakistan.
Governor Generals of 2 dominions and Provincial governors to act as
constitutional heads.
There was not longer executive council or Consellors as envisaged in GoI Act,
1935. The words in his discretion and individual judgement were removed
from GoI Act, 1935, wherever they occurred in act. Thus GG and Governors of
provinces lost their extra ordinary powers of legislation so as to compete with
The central legislature ceased to exist on 15 August 1947. Newly formed
constituted Constituent assembly was to also function as Central legislature of
dominion until new legislature was constituted under new constitution.
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Constitution as formulated by Constituent assembly was signed by President of
Assembly on November 26, 1949 and was declared as passed.
Source : Introduction to Constitution of India by DD Basu- Chapter 1 and 2.

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Subjects and Topics
General Studies I
Geophysical phenomena and geographical features
History of world
Indian Culture
Modern Indian History
The freedom struggle
Women,Population,Poverty and urbanization
World Industeries,Natural resources
General Studies II
Bilateral and regional co-operation
Constitutional posts and Bodies
Executive and the Judiciary
Governance, transparency and accountability
Government policies and interventions for development
India and its neighborhood- relations
Indian Constitution
Indian Diaspora and relevant policies and politics of other countries
International institutions
Issues relating to poverty and hunger
Representation of Peoples Act