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Independence Day in the history of Bhopal

While the entire nation was celebrating its new birth after a long struggle for independence, Bhopal was still miles away from joining the festivities. India as we know it, got its Independence on August 15 in the year 1947, but did you know that Bhopal got its Independence 2 years later?

Even when the entire nation had become independent, Bhopal was under Nawabi rule. Nawab Hamidullah Khan had refused to join the Indian Union because he wanted Bhopal to be a part of Pakistan. He had good relations with Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Because of this, Jinnah offered the Nawab to be made the Secretary General of Pakistan. Nawab Hamidullah Khan asked his daughter, Abida Sultan, to take command of Bhopal and become the next ruler. She refused and as a result, Nawab Hamidullah Khan stayed in Bhopal and went against the Indian Government to keep Bhopal an independent state.

Nawab Hamidullah Khan did not participate in any festivity of independence of India. He declared Bhopal as an independent state in 1948 and announced a Bhopal cabinet. Chaturnarayan Malviya was made the Prime Minister.

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel dealt with this with a strong attitude. He sent a message to the Nawab that Bhopal cannot remain an independent state. On 29th January, 1949, the Nawab dissolved the cabinet and assumed all the powers himself. This led to a mass resistance for three months. When Nawab Hamidullah lost, he reluctantly signed the merger agreement for Bhopal to be a part of India on 30th April, 1949. Bhopal became a part of India on 1st June, 1949.

Commisioner N.B. Banarjee took charge in Bhopal and the Nawab was given privy purse of ₹11 lacs per annum while taking away all of his ruling powers.

The extent of Nawab Hamidullah Khan's reluctance can be seen in the fact that when the National Flag was being hoisted in every street of newly born India, Bhopal's sky could see only one National Flag (on the Jumerati post office building). And in 1949, again, the first flag hoisting took place in the same building.