KHASI KINGDOMS TO REVISIT THE 1948 AGREEMENTS
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A federation of 25 Himas or Khasi kingdoms that have a cosmetic existence today, plan to revisit the 1948 agreements that made present-day Meghalaya a part of India.
- The revisiting is aimed at safeguarding tribal customs and traditions from Central laws in force or could be enacted, such as the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) intends to bring in if voted to power again.
- The bill is one of the factors in our move to strengthen the Federation of Khasi States that were ruled by a Syiem (king-like head of a Hima). But things are at an initial stage.
- The Government will be holding a series of meetings to come to a conclusion on how best to insulate our customs and traditions from overriding central rules and policies.
- The erstwhile Khasi Kingdom comprised of almost 25 sovereign Khasi chiefdoms during the mid-16th century. During the year 1815 the states under the Khasi kingdom came under the control of the British Empire in India.
- Before the advent of the British East India Company, from the 13th to the 18th centuries, the Jaintia conquered a large number of kingdoms. At the commencement of the 16th century, Jaintia rule was extended to Sylhet, which marked the initiation of Brahmin influence on the Jaintia.
- By the year 1860, the British administration had annexed the entire Jaintia Hills region and imposed taxes on it as a part of British India. The Khasi states had very restricted cultural relations before the arrival of the British East India Company, which was characterized in large fraction by internal warfare between villages and states.
- Moreover raids, trade and commerce in the Sylhet and Brahmaputra valleys were the major features of the Khasi kingdom.
- In the year 1765, the markets at Sylhet were incorporated as a part of the British dominated India for the purposes of enhancement of British colonial economy. This marked the subjugation of the Khasi kingdom in Meghalaya which became an essential part of the British Indian Empire.
- During the year 1790, several raids were conducted in the Khasi territories and consequently the British authorities fortified the foothills blocked the trade of the various goods from the Khasi Kingdom in the markets of Sylhet.
- In 1837, the construction of a road through the state of Nongkhaw which was linked with Kolkata to the Brahmaputra Valley led to the eventual cessation of the hostilities between the Khasi Kingdom at Meghalaya and the British East India Company.
- The rivalry authoritatively finished by the signing of treaties between the British and all of the Khasi states in the year 1862. As a result, the Khasi states were allowed autonomy and liberation from payment taxes to the British Empire in India.
- The Instrument of Accession was an authoritative or legal document initially introduced by the Government of India Act 1935. The instrument was used in 1947 to empower each of the rulers of the princely states under British paramountcy to join one of the new dominions of India or Pakistan created by the Partition of British India.
- The 25 Khasi states had signed the Instrument of Accession and Annexed Agreement with the Dominion of India between December 15, 1947, and March 19, 1948.
- The conditional treaty with these states was signed by Governor General Chakravarty Rajagopalachari on August 17, 1948.
- After independence,
- The British territories became part of the Indian dominion but the
- Khasi states had to sign documents beginning with the Standstill Agreement that provided a few rights to the states