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At the MarginsDiscourses of Development, Democracy, and Regionalism in Orissa$
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Jayanta Sengupta

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198099154

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198099154.001.0001

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Congress against the Rajas

Congress against the Rajas

Princes, Prajamandals, and Partition, 1937–49

(p.253) Chapter Five Congress against the Rajas
At the Margins

Jayanta Sengupta

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses Congress’s role in organizing states’ people’s movements in the Oriya-speaking princely states in the 1930s and 40s, which gave it the opportunity to extend its base among poor peasants and tribals in these areas, and to project an ‘anti-feudal’ image. More crucially, this made it possible for Congress to make – during the ‘endgame of empire’ in the immediate aftermath of World War II – a strong bid for the incorporation of the states in the Indian Union. The final sections of this chapter examine the nature of the popular upsurge in the Orissa states in the late–1940s, as well as the mechanics of the tripartite diplomatic manoeuvres between Congress, the colonial state, and the princes themselves, which eventually led to the merger of the princely states in the Orissa state in 1948–9.

Keywords:   Congress, princes, peasants, tribals, feudal, popular politics, prajamandal, Partition, merger

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