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History of Haryana -The people of Haryana agitate for a separate state

The region of present day Haryana was made a part of Punjab in 1858 by the British. Due to the active role of people of Haryana in the revolt of 1857, this region was punished and no significant development work took place. The people of Haryana region were treated as second-class citizens. Moreover there were many difference between the people of these two regions like language, clothing and other habits. The demand for a separate state got a boost with the demand of Master Tara Singh for a 'Punjabi Suba' in 1948. Moreover there were problems between the Hindi-speaking and the Punjabi-speaking  population. 

To solve this problem the then Panjab Chief Minister, Sh. Bhimsen Sacchar introduced the 'Sacchar Formula' on 1 October 1949. According to this formula, the state was sub-divided into two parts: 1. Panjabi Area 2. Hindi Area. The Hindi Area included the districts of Rohtak, Hissar, Gurgaon, Kangra, Karnal and the tehsils of Jagadhari and Naraingarh. It was decided that the official language of the Punjabi area would be 'Panjabi' (Gurumukhi script) and the official language of the Hindi area would be Hindi (Devnagri script). The then state of PEPSU also decided to follow the same formula. But the 'Sacchar Formula' could not succeed and it became especially unpopular in the Hindi area. 

On 25 December 1953, the Indian government set up a commission under the chairmanship of Syed Fiazal Ali for suggesting the reorganization of states according to language and culture. The proponents of 'Panjabi Suba' and Haryana both appeared before the Commission to press their case. But the Commission in its wisdom did not approve of the division or reorganization of Panjab. This decision of the commission caused great despondency in the region.

Panjab government tried to find a solution to this increasingly difficult problem by suggesting the division of the state into Panjabi speaking and Hindi speaking areas.  Accordingly, in April, 1956 the Indian government declared Panjab to be a dual-language state and divided it into 'Panjabi Area' and 'Hindi Area'.  Both Hindi and Panjabi were declared its official language. The Hindi Area this time included the districts of Hissar, Rohtak, Karnal, Gurgaon, Mahendergarh, Shimla, Kangra, Kohistan and the tehsils of Ambala, Jagadhari, Naraingarh, Jind and Narwana. But in 1957, due to certain actions of Pratap Singh Kairon, the then Chief Minister of Panjab, this solution too failed.

The failure of this solution accelerated the demand for separate states in both the regions. In 1960 Master Tara Singh launched a 'Morcha' to press for his demand of 'Panjabi Suba'. He was promptly arrested on the orders of Panjab CM, P. S. Kairon. On the arrest of Master Tara Singh, Sant Fateh Singh took over the leadership of the agitation. Because Sant Fateh Singh was a secular person and well connected with the masses, he became more popular. He went on a 'Fast unto death' to force the government to accept their demand for the 'Panjabi Suba'. More than 57,000 people went to jail in this 'Satyagrah'. Both the Indian and Panjab government were shaken by this agitation. The wily Panjab Chief Minister Kairon then played his trump card and released Master Tara Singh from jail. Master Tara Singh was greatly disturbed by the increasing popularity of Sant Fateh Singh. He took the leadership of the agitation back from Sant Fateh Singh and persuaded him to break his fast. The he himself decided to go on a 'fast unto death', but broke the fast after 48 days. This caused Master Tara Singh to loose his popularity and Sant Fateh  Singh became the leader of the Panjab people especially the Sikhs. Meanwhile discontent keep on simmering in the people of  Haryana region for a separate state. 

In 1965, Sant Fateh Singh again decided to go on a fast on 10 August 1965 to press for the demand of the 'Panjabi Suba'. He further threatened self-immolation if the demand was not accepted in 25 days. The Hindus of the Panjabi Area opposed the demand for the division of the state fearing that they would be in a minority in the new state. The local press, which was also controlled by the Hindus, too joined in and openly opposed the division. The people of Haryana region, except for RSS and Jan Sangh followers, supported the demand for the division of Panjab into Hindi speaking and Panjabi speaking states. 

Finally bowing to the growing pressure from the people of both the regions, the Indian government announced the setting up of a parliamentary committee for reorganization of Panjab on 23 September 1965. This committee was headed by Sardar Hukam Singh. Meanwhile in October, all the legislatures belonging to the Haryana region got together an discussed the issue of the new state. On 17 October 1965, in a big meeting in Rohtak, three important resolutions were passed:

  • A new Hindi speaking state should be formed, which shall include in addition to the Hindi speaking areas of Punjab, some areas of Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
  • If the states of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh are not agreeable, then the new state should be formed consisting of Hindi speaking areas of Panjab.
  • The people of Haryana region would not tolerate any division of the Hindi speaking area and whole of this area should constitute the state of Haryana.

Hukam Singh committee agreed to the division and reorganization of Panjab and recommended that a 'Boundary Commission' may be set up to facilitate this division. On 23 April, 1966, acting on the recommendation of the Hukam Singh Committee, the Indian government set up the Shah Commission under the chairmanship of Justice J. C. Shah, to divide and set up the boundaries of Punjab and Haryana.


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