While India got freedom at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, people of the erstwhile princely state had to wait for nearly two more years to taste liberation.
The last nawab of Bhopal, Hamidullah Khan, had made all efforts to delay the merger.
It was only after freedom fighters of the region launched a heavy movement for freedom that he finally signed the merger agreement on April 30, 1949, social activists said.
The Bhopal princely state was taken over by the Union Government of India on June 1, 1949.
People from all walks of life came together to celebrate Bhopal’s merger into the Union of India in 1949 on Monday at a programme organised at Swaraj Bhawan.
Activists at the programme, however, lamented that the struggle of the princely state for freedom has been ignored.
“Hamidullah Khan, the last Nawab of Bhopal, was twice chancellor of the chambers of princes, and had excellent diplomatic relationship with Pt Jawaharlal Nehru as well as Lord Mountbatten, apart from his being highly educated, which was rare among the rulers of princely states. As a result, he managed to delay the merger,” said Alok Gupta, secretary of the Bhopal Rajya Swatantraya Smarak Samiti (BRSSR), which had organised the event.
The movement that led to Bhopals merger into the Union of India and the accompanying history has however been ignored, he lamented.
“The younger generations must be made aware about the turn of events, especially, the movement,” he said.
Communist leader Shailendra Shaili said that the unique aspect of the merger movement was that people from all sections of the society had taken an active part in it. BRSSR president LS Herdenia, litterateur Dr Ali Abbas ‘Ummeed’ and a host of people attended the event.