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Arzi Senanis of Junagarh to be honoured
After years of independence, the Indian government has attended to a neglected part of freedom struggle. It honoured the Arzi senanis of Junagarh on May 26, for revolting against their Nawab and fighting for the independence of India.
ALONG AN Indian road you may see a warning sign, ’Better late than never!’ Perhaps, the government of India also works on the same dictum as after 60 long years, the freedom fighters set up a pro-India government in Junagarh (Gujarat) in 1947, the Centre has decided to recognise their contributions.

Junagarh, literally meaning, ’Old fort’, is situated on the foothills of Girnar Hills in southwest Gujarat.

In 1947, at the time of India’s freedom, the Nawab of Junagarh had decided to join Pakistan despite the fact that his state was neither contiguous to Pakistan nor his Hindu subjects were supportive of joining the newly-created Islamic state of Pakistan. To protest against the decision of Nawab Mahabat Khan, the people of Junagarh had revolted against the autocracy and had started a people’s movement.

Pressed by the Indian forces as well as the pressure of his erstwhile subjects, the Nawab decided to force the resistance by using his military, which angered the local people as well as adjoining states.

It was in such conditions, that the freedom fighters of Junagarh decided to form the Arzi government to ensure that there was semblance of governance in the state. A group of Junagarhis, led by Samaldas Gandhi, formed a government-in-exile called the Arzi Hukumat or ’temporary government’.

After a prolonged stalemate, the Nawab of Junagarh was forced to exile and so, he migrated to Pakistan. India, then assumed control over the entire state of Junagarh.

A few months later, an election was held in which more than 1,90,000 people voted to be a part of India, while only 91 voted for Pakistan.

The local freedom fighters and Arzi Hukumat of Junagarh played an important part in fighting against the wishes of Nawab and the subsequent accession of the state to India.

Of late, recognising the role played by these freedom fighters, the Indian government has decided to award each Arzi Senani, with one lakh rupees in cash and a letter of appreciation on behalf of the Government of India. In case of demise of an Arzi Senani, the surviving spouse, and, in case of demise of surviving spouse too, the eldest unmarried daughter, if any, is to be given the cash award.

A function was organised at Junagarh in Gujarat on Monday (May 26) where Dr Shakeel Ahmad, Union minister of state (MoS) for Home Affairs will give away the cash award and the letter of appreciation.

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