Uttarakhand Movement

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UTTARAKHAND MOVEMENT: A SOCIOLOGICAL ANALYSIS ,was the topic for my dissertation for award of M Phil degree in JNU, New Delhi. This paper covers various dimensions of Uttarakhad Movement started for separate state to be carved out of UP.


UTTARAKHAND MOVEMENT : A SOCIOLOGICAL ANALYSIS(Part of the dissertation written in JNU in 1989 for award of M. Phil. under the supervision of Prof. K.L. Sharma)

PREFACE The Present work is an attempt to study a complex sociological dimension. A detailed account of region, regionalism, parties involved and their ideological inclination has been presented. Here, our attempt is basically to work out the causes and trends of the nation-wide process, of which Uttarakhand Movement is merely a part. However, this movement, of course, has many dimensions unique to itself. Uttarakhand movement is an expression of discontent arising out of inter-regional socio-economic inequalities. There has been a continuous isolation of the hills from the socio-economic, political and intellectual progress of the country as a whole. Due to lack of sociological studies or other literature on this particular movement, I have wholly relied on newspapers, pamphlets, party publications, interviews etc. Most of these sources were originally written in Hindi. Therefore, a few shortcomings in translation cannot be ruled out. For such shortcomings I am individually responsible. I gratefully thank my supervisor Prof. K L Sharma for guidance and inspiration to work for my dissertation. I am thankful to Mr. N.D. Panday, an activist of Uttarakhand Jan Parishad, Mr. Mahipal, correspondent Surya, Com. P.D. Singh and many other friends for their valuable support. (Sd/-) HIRA BALLABH



INTRODUCTION Chapter I Chapter II Chapter III Chapter IV Chapter V Chapter VI Bibliography Regionalism and State Reorganisation in India Ideological Contradiction on the question of Uttarakhand Movement and main Organizations Hill Sentiments in Uttarakhand : Background and Causes of Discontent. A Short History of the Movement Grass root Politics and Power Politics in Uttarakhand Conclusion ..........................................

1-8 9 - 16 17 - 19 20 - 25 26 - 32 33 - 40 41 - 42 43 - 44


INTRODUCTION The word Uttarakhand has been used not only in Vedas but also in many other scriptures like Puranas, Upanishads and Mahabharata as an abode of Rishis. Uttarakhand constitutes hill districts of Almora, Nainital and Pithoragarh, in Kumaun; and Chamoli, Tehri, Dehradun, Uttarakashi, Pauri and Haridwar in Garhwal. Uttarakhand nomenclature, for administrative purpose , was first used in 26 Feb, 1960 when the districts were reorganised. Region shares borders with Nepal, Tibet, Himachal Pradesh and Ruhelkhand area of UP. The composition of the people of hills from the point of their origin is not clear. However, Kolis, Kirats and the Khasas are the pre-Vedic inhabitants of the region. The Kolis are considered aboriginals and are represented by the Koltas, the Kolis and Doms constituting scheduled caste population during present times. The Kirats and Khasas are the later races of Mangoloid and Caucasoid origin which encroached this region successively. These two races constitute substantial portion of population and are represented by the Bhotias and the Khasa, Rajput, Brahmins respectively1. There were streams of people which flowed during medieval period and merged with rest of the people. The tribal population constitutes around 3.7 per cent of the population. The peculiar feature of the region is non-existence of inter mediatory castes. Minority communities are confined to urban centres. Almost 93 per cent of the population has Hindus faith though Islam and Christianity have had periodical influence. The immigration to Uttarakhand seems was basically for two reasons ,i.e. due to the pilgrimage centres in this area and, due to scapes from wars in Medieval period. Occupying about an area of 51122 km2 Uttarakhand is larger than many States of India, viz., Punjab, Haryana, Kerala, Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland, and Tripura. The State of Himachal Pradesh (55,673 km2) is marginally larger than this region 2. An important characteristic of the hills is that there are hundreds of largely isolated patches having varied cultural traits, slightly different from one another, within the larger whole. Even the dialect slightly differs in different sub-hills. One may find much similarity in the life style between Kali-Kumaon and Nepal than that of Garhwal. However, at the macro level Uttarakhand has a common culture. This cultural homogeneity has two basic reasons; one is similarity of climatic influence and another is adherence similar belief patterns. Prior to entry of British in Uttarakhand in 1816, there were two principalities i.e; Tehri (Garhwal) and Kumaon. The Kumaon was subsequently wholly merged in British colony but Tehri remained independent principality till 1948 as the merger was resisted by the then Tehri King Manvendra Shah. Thus Garhwal was divided between British and Tehri Garhwal. The caste structure of the villages is very simple. Most of the villages are inhabited by a single Jati. Caste tensions are not manifest. This is because each jati lives in a separate village and there is no big land holdings system which could have generated economic subjugation. Kshatriyas have numerical as well as economic dominance. Jatis have been divided into sub-jatis. The relation of superiority and inferiority exists within a


caste irrespective of higher and lower rank. The kshatriyas have greater homogeneity in comparison to others. The immigrant castes belonging mainly to Brahmins and Kshatriyas, have acquired major share in new opportunities due to historic advantages. Since, purity-pollution and superiority-inferiority is ascribed to work, the nature and type of work determines prestige and dignity of individuals. However, there are certain things which are regarded impure in other parts of India but may not be the same in Uttarakhand. A section of the people who were patronized by the colonial power in past still have feudal ways. Thus one can see the bourgeois morality and ethic among the proletariats of Uttarakhand. Demographic Structure. The total population of Uttarakhand in 1981 was 48.15 lakh, having a growth rate of 2.77 per cent annum. The growth rate is higher than the one experienced by UP during the same period but slightly below all India average. The following data have been taken from the various census reports :Table-1 Population Growth in Uttarakhand ( in 000 ) SN 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 District Nainital Almora Pithoragarh Kumaun Division Pauri Chamoli Tehri Uttarakashi Dehradun Garhwal Division Uttarakhand Uttar Pradesh India 1961 574 631 262 1467 479 253 347 122 430 1631 3098 73673 439235 1981 1133 773 480 2386 624 364 493 191 754 2429 4815 110886 685185

Table 2


Percentage Distribution of Rural-Urban Population SN 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 District Nainital Almora Pithorgarh Kumaun Div. Pauri Chamoli Tehri Uttarkashi Dehradun Garhwal Div. Uttarakhand UP 1961 Rural 80.49 95.72 100.00 92.52 95.20 100.00 97.68 97.55 55.58 86.20 88.25 87.25 Urban 19.51 4.28 0.00 9.48 4.80 0.00 2.31 2.45 44.42 13.80 11.75 12.75 Rural 72.29 94.05 44,37 83.78 89.52 92.03 95.94 43.19 50.53 79.42 81.58 81.99 1981 Urban 27.71 5.95 5.63 16.22 10.82 7.97 4.06 6.81 49.47 20.58 18.42 18.01

Table 3 Literacy Rate (Percentage) SN 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 District Nainital Almora Pithoragarh Pauri Chamoli Tehri Uttarkashi Dehradun UP India Total 27.2 21.8 22.4 22.7 21.3 15.9 15.6 38.6 17.2 24.0 1961 Male 36.4 39.1 40.2 42.4 40.9 32.6 28.7 47.4 26.7 34.4 Female 14.3 5.4 5.7 5.9 3.8 2.1 1.9 27.1 6.8 13.0 Total 37.2 28.1 37.9 41.7 37.7 27.3 28.3 51.9 27.4 36.2 1981 Male 46.7 57.4 36.3 58.2 57.6 47.0 45.2 60.5 38.9 46.7 Female 26.0 20.7 20.4 27.2 27.2 9.5 9.3 41.5 14.4 24.9

Table 4 Ethnic Composition (Percentage) (1981 census) No 1 2 3 Religion Hindus Muslims Sikhs 92.17 4.43 2.45 No 4 5 6 Religion Christians Buddhists Jains 0.55 0.21 0.19


TRIBES : The principal tribes are Bhotias (Saukas), Jaunsaris, Tharus and Rajis. The Bhotias live in Almora, Chamoli, Pithoragarh and Uttarkashi district. While the Jaunsaris live in Jaunsar-Bawar which is situated in Cis-Himalayas forming the northern half of the district of Dehradun. Jaunsar and Bawar are the two constituents of which Jaunsar roughly forms the lower half of the area4. The Rajis are confined to Dharchula, Didihat, Champawat and Kanalichchina blocks of Pithoragarh district. The agriculturist Tharu tribe lives in Sitarganj, Khatima developmental blocks of Nainital district. All tribes part of Kshatriya caste of Hindus. The Bhotias of Johar valley belong to proud trading class who traditionally have carried goods like spices and salt between Tibet and India.5 Due to this occupation they were able to produce great explorers like Pandit Nain Singh (1832-1882 ). They were declared tribe under Indian constitution after indo-china war in 1962 as their trade got restricted. Due to their trade practice with majority population in kumaon, they were always part of the mainstream of Uttarakhand. Till the medieval period salt was the only commodity people in Uttarakhand needed from outside. People lived in isolation and were reasonably self-sufficient. People could not visit far-away urban areas since market visit meant a loss of 40-50 days. Horse used to be the most important means of transportation and in some place it is still there. The barter system was a means of exchange. The Tharus are traditionally a land owing tribe, although presently a good part of their land has been taken away by outsiders. Caste Composition. The caste structure in the region is very simple. The region lacks intermediary castes. The three main Varnas are Brahmin, Kshatriya and Sudra (known as silpkars). Unfortunately, there has not been any comprehensive sociological study of the region which could have touched these aspects scientifically. The Kshatriyas are economically as well as numerically dominant and the second comes Brahm