Dominion of India

India
1947–1950
India Administrative Divisions 1951.svg
CapitalNew Delhi
GovernmentConstitutional monarchy
Monarch 
• 1947–1950
George VI
Governor-General 
• 1947–1948
Louis Mountbatten
• 1948–1950
Chakravarthy Rajagopalachari
Prime Minister 
• 1947–1950
Jawaharlal Nehru
LegislatureConstituent Assembly
History 
15 August 1947
22 October 1947
26 January 1950
Area
19503,287,263 km2 (1,269,219 sq mi)
CurrencyIndian rupee
ISO 3166 codeIN
Preceded by
Succeeded by
British Raj
Interim Government of India
Republic of India
Part of a series on the
India
Satavahana gateway at Sanchi, 1st century CE

Between gaining independence from the United Kingdom on 15 August 1947 and the proclamation of a republic on 26 January 1950, India was an independent dominion in the British Commonwealth of Nations with King George VI as its head of state. Although the country shared its head of state with the United Kingdom, it was a fully sovereign independent state. It was created by the Indian Independence Act 1947 and was transformed into the Republic of India by the promulgation of the Constitution of India in 1950.[2]

The king was represented by the Governor-General of India. However, the governor-general was not designated viceroy, as had been customary under the British Raj. The office of Viceroy was abolished on Indian independence. Two governors-general held office in India between independence and its transformation into a republic: Lord Mountbatten of Burma (1947–48) and Chakravarti Rajagopalachari (1948–50). Jawaharlal Nehru was Prime Minister of India throughout this period.

History

Partition of India

The Partition of British India on 15 August 1947[3] led to the creation of two sovereign states, both dominions: Pakistan (which later split into the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the People's Republic of Bangladesh in 1971) and India (later the Republic of India).

Since the 1920s the Indian independence movement had been demanding Pūrṇa Swarāj (complete self-rule) for the Indian nation and the establishment of the Dominion of India and the Dominion of Pakistan was a major victory for the Swarajis. Nevertheless, the Partition was controversial among the people, and resulted in significant political instability and displacement.[4]

Aftermath

Most of the 552 princely states within Indian territory acceded to the Dominion of India due to the work of the civil servant V. P. Menon. The Hindu-majority Junagadh State located in modern-day Gujarat attempted to accede to Pakistan under the Muslim Nawab Muhammad Mahabat Khanji III. It was annexed militarily by the Indian government. Similarly, the State of Hyderabad sought to remain independent and was also annexed by India in 1948.[4]

Conflict with Pakistan

The newly created states of Pakistan and India both joined the Commonwealth, a platform for cooperation between the countries that had been part of the British Empire. Nevertheless, they soon found themselves at war beginning in October 1947, over the contested princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistani militants entered the state, alarming Maharaja Hari Singh who appealed to India for military intervention, in exchange for the signing of the Instrument of Accession and annexation into India. The region is contested to this day and two other Indo-Pakistan wars occurred as part of the Kashmir conflict.[4]

Hostilities and Mahatma Gandhi's attempt to reconcile the two nations via a fast led to his assassination in 1948 by Nathuram Godse, further increasing tensions between the two new states.

The Dominion of India began working towards a constitution based on liberal democracy immediately after independence.

Republic of India

The Constituent Assembly adopted the Constitution of India, drafted by a committee headed by B. R. Ambedkar, on 26 November 1949. India became a federal, democratic republic after its constitution came into effect on 26 January 1950, henceforth celebrated as Republic Day. The governmental structure was similar to that of the United Kingdom but within a federal system. Rajendra Prasad became the first President of India.

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