The Saurashtra State or the United State of Saurashtra, which was formerly known as United State of Kathiawar, was a separate state within the Dominion of India or Union of India
. The territory was established after the nation gained independence from the British administration and existed from the year 1948 till 1956. The capital of the Saurashtra State was at Rajkot. After the Indian independence in 1947, 217 princely states of Kathiawar, including the erstwhile kingdom of Junagadh, were merged to create the of Saurashtra state on February 15, 1948. Originally the region was known as United State of Kathiawar but was later renamed as Saurashtra State in November 1948. The state was formed out of almost 200 Princely States of Kathiawar Agency
, which included both prominent and smaller states, during the rule of the British Empire in India
. The name of territory was specified after the Kathiawar and Saurahstra region, as both represent the same geographical region of lands of peninsula in Gujarat
History of Saurashtra State
Most of the princely states of Kathiawar agreed to join the newly formed Union of India and sign Instrument of Accession
mainly due to the influence of Mahatma Gandhi and the efforts of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
. The process to meet and convince the native rulers of the states and petty subas took up a lot of time of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. There were around 222 states in Saurashtra region. Maharaja Krishnakumar Sinhji of the princely state of Bhavnagar offered extensive support and submission his royal empire of Bhavnagar (Gohilwar) to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. However, Maharaja Krishna Kumar Sinhji
of Bhavnagar State readily extended to offer his large and royal empire of Bhavnagar to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Bhavnagar became first princely state in the nation to get incorporated into the Dominion of India.
Amongst the native states of Kathiawar Agency, there were fourteen salute states, seventeen non- salute states, one hundred and ninety one petty principalities and forty six estates. Most of the native rulers of the Kathiawar states entered into a Covenant on the 24th January 1948, for the creation of the United States of Kathiawar. The large Kathiawar peninsula comprised of several major Princely States of India namely the princely state of Baroda
, princely state of Nawanagar, princely state of Bhavnagar
, princely state of Wadhwan
, princely state of Porbandar
, princely state of Idar, princely state of Dhrangadhra, princely state of Rajpipla, princely state of Cambay, princely state of Gondal, princely state of Morvi, princely state of Wankaner
, princely state of Baria, princely state of Dharampur
, princely state of Dhrol
, princely state of Limbdi, princely state of Rajkot, princely state of Palitana, princely state of Sachin
and many others.
Amongst the Kathiawar States, the princely state of Baroda was third largest Princely State of India, which was scattered over the territory of Dwarka in the west of Kathiawar to Bombay in the south. Baroda state did not sign Covenant for the establishment of the United States of Kathiawar. But on September 4, 1948, the former native ruler, Maharaja Pratap Singh Gaekwad of Baroda, declared a full responsible Government, with Jivraj Narayan Mehta as Prime Minister of the state, according to the scheme visualized by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Later on 1st May 1949, the princely state of Baroda was merged with Bombay State
There were still some regions in Kathiawar which belonged to the princely states of Manavadar, Mangrol, Junagadh and others, even after the formation of the United States of Kathiawar. But after incorporation of Junagadh state into the Union of India
, a referendum was conducted and Babariawad, Manavadar, Mangrol, Junagadh and others legally became a part of the republic of India. But due to some technical issues, these regions even after referendum, remained under an Executive Council of popular representatives of Junagadh, which was lead by Samaldas Gandhi
, who supported the administrator appointed by the Government of India
in managing affairs of these states.
The United State of Kathiawar was renamed as the Saurashtra State or the United State of Saurashtra in November 1948. After the United State of Saurashtra was formed a second supplementary covenant was implemented in January 1949, which provided the incorporation of Junagadh
with Saurashtra. The administration of the princely state of Junagadh, Sardargarh, Bantva, Babariawad, Manavadar and Mangrol were officially reassigned to the Government of Saurashtra state.
Dissolution of Saurashtra State
The Saurashtra State or the United State of Saurashtra ceased to exist as a separate state on 1st November 1956 and was incorporated as a part of Bombay State. The territory of Bombay State was expanded and included the regions of Saurashtra State, Kutch State, Marathwada and Vidarbha. The southern portion was excluded and was given to Karnataka
On 1st May 1960, the Bombay State was dissolved and was divided into 2 separate states of Gujarat
that were formed on linguistic basis. The Saurashtra State eventually became a geographical region of Saurashtra in the state of Gujarat. The region of Saurashtra, including the former kingdom of Sorath (Junagadh), is presently a part of the Gujarat state.
Rajpramukhs of Saurashtra State
The choronology of the emininent personalities who served as Rajpramukh of the Saurashtra State or the United State of Saurashtra are mentioned below-
* Krishna Kumarsinhji Bhavsinhji
- Former ruler of Bhavnagar State (1948- 1948)
* Digvijaysinhji Ranjitsinhji Jadeja- Jam Sahib and former ruler of Nawanagar (1948- 1956)
* Upa Rajpramukh Mayurdwajsinhji Meghrajji III- Former ruler of Dhrangadhra State- acted as Deputy Rajapramukh (1948- 1956)
Chief Ministers of Saurashtra State
The following personalities served as the Chief Minister of the Saurashtra State-
* Uchharangray Navalshankar Dhebar (1948- 1954)
* Rasiklal Umedchand Parikh (1954- 1956)