Movement for separate State of Uttarakhand : Its immediate and far reaching consequences
Uttarakhand movement is termed to the events of statehood activism within the state Uttar Pradesh which ultimately resulted in a separate state Uttarakhand of the Republic of India. Uttarakhand became a separate state off Uttar Pradesh at 9 November 2000. It is notable that the formation of Uttarakhand was achieved with a very long struggle and heavy sacrifices. The first demand of Uttarakhand arose in 1897 and there had gradually been rising demand for a separate state several times. In 1994, the demand for statehood eventually took the form of mass movement that resulted in the forming of the country’s 27th state by 2000.
As a unit of Indian independence movement in 1913, national general convention of the Indian National Congress was held in Uttarakhand. Most representatives from Uttarakhand participated in the session. The same year in Uttarakhand, Tamta Sudharini Sabha held the convention for the upliftment of backwards and oppressed people of the area, as the Shilpkar Mahasabha. In September 1916, the Kumaon Parishad was founded by some young enthusiasts named mainly by Pt Hargovind vallabh Pant , Govind Ballabh Pant, Badri Datt Pandey, Indralal Shah, Mohan Singh Damarwal Chandra Lal Shah Prem Ballabh Pandey, Bhola Datt Pandey and Lakshmi Datt Shastri with the main objective to solve social and economic problems of the hill region. By 1916, in addition to the local general reforms, certain political objectives were added to the organization’s goals. In the Provincial elections of 1923 and 1926 the candidates of Kumaon Parishad, Hargovind vallabh PantGovind Vallabh Pant , Mukundi Lal and Badri Datt Pandey badly defeated their counterparties. In 1926 Kumaon Parishad was merged in the Indian National Congress. In May 1938, according to official sources in then British Raj, in the national general convention of Indian National Congress held at Srinagar, Garhwal, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru favoured the cause of movement of the residents of hill region to have their own decisions according to their circumstances and supported the movement to enrich their culture.
Throughout the year 1994, students all over the region participated in the collective movement for separate statehood and reservations. Uttarakhand movement then further intensified in the field by Anti-Uttarakhand statement of then Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mulayam Singh Yadav. The leaders of UKD held fast-unto-death in the support of their demand for a separate state. State government employees struck work for three months, and the events of Uttarakhand movement got more inestisfied with the blockades and confrontation with the police. Uttarakhand activists in Mussoorie and Khatima were shot down by the police. Under the aegis of the Samyukta Morcha in 2 October 1994 the massive demonstrations and protests for the support of statehood took place in the national capital Delhi. Thousands of the Uttarakhand activists marched to the Delhi to take participation in this struggle. The activists peacefully taking part in the demonstration near Rampur Tiraha crossing, Muzaffarnagar were tortured and openly fired without any warning prior to the firing. Policemen were also alleged for indecent behavior and rapes with women activists.Satya Pokhriyal was leader who leads all the people from the misshappening, other andolankari help other people and shows the bravery. Several people were killed and many were injured. This misadventure by the police added fuel to the fire for Uttarakhand movement. The next day 3 October, the protests were called off for the demolition of firing and several deaths all over the region.
The development experience of Uttarakhand over a nearly one and half decade has been quite encouraging in respect to achieving high economic growth. However, such growth has been mainly centred in three plain districts of the State, and ten hill districts remaining far behind in this increasing prosperity of the state. Most of the economic opportunities have been developed in plain parts of the state. As a result, population in hill region of the state has yet to struggle hard for eking out their livelihoods largely from agriculture by putting larger numbers of their household members into the labour force. As a result, the pace of out-migration could not slow down from the hill districts of the state after its formation. Rather it has accelerated during the recent years. This is reflected by the latest results of Population Census 2011. It shows a very slow growth of population in most of the mountain districts of the state.
An absolute decline in the population in two districts, namely, Almora and Pauri Garhwal in 2011 as compared to the year 2001 is a testimony of huge outmigration. Historically, these districts had well developed social indicators in comparison to many other districts of the state. The pace of out-migration is so huge that many of the villages are left with a population in single digit. In fact, this situation seems to arise due to an alarming increase in the out-migration from these two districts during the past, which is mainly associated with the lack of economic opportunities in the region and increasing pressure on local economy. In brief, the fruits of development could not reach to these districts which could have otherwise created out-migration reducing impact in the form of increased opportunities of economic and social well-being. The alarming de-population of villages in remote and border areas has raised the concern of security of the borders of the country falling along with the hill districts of Uttarakhand. This is in fact, a serious policy challenge that deserves immediate attention.
It is believed that due to lack of any policy and programme for attracting the skills and abilities of return migrants, a large number of out-migrants tend to settle permanently outside their villages along with their households. This has increased the tendency of out-migration of an entire household. The migration has also adversely affected the source areas in terms of loss of educated and experienced human resources, which could otherwise would have been utilized locally. The increased migration process in Uttarakhand’s hill districts thus could hardly transform the local economy in the form of increased flow of remittances as has been seen in Kerala and to some extent, Bihar.
At the same time, there are evidences to suggest that how farm diversification in Rawain valley in Uttarkashi district has transformed its local economy with the help of local development agencies and government support. Evidence also suggests the role of NGOs in promoting cooperatives of small and marginal farmers in hill districts of Pithoragarh and Champawat and reducing their vulnerabilities. These experiences have encouraging impact on the local economy in a form of reduced out-migration of semi-skilled and unskilled poor cultivating households associated with their improved their earnings.
There are several aspects relating to migration that need to be looked at from the viewpoints of enhancing understanding and policy and action. What is the magnitude of outmigration? Are people being pushed by depletion of livelihood resources or are migrating because they are in a position both in terms of capabilities and opportunities for really better avenues elsewhere? Migration of the whole family and villages which leaves the question of the use of abandoned resources for economic and environmental regeneration needs to be examined while partial family migration raises the issues of improved human to resources ratio at the origin and betterment of economic situation alongside possible deterioration in social situation at both ends.