The Princely State of Junagadh was bordered by Porbandar in the northwest; by the princely states of Gondal, Manavadar and Nawanagar in the north; and by the territory of Bhavnagar in the east. The region of the state consisted of twenty four district blocks and included several enclaved states like Bilkha and Mangrol.
History of Princely State of Junagadh
The State of Junagadh was founded in the year 1748 by Mohammad Bahadur Khanji I, who was loyal to the Sultan of Ahmedabad. He drove out the Mughal governor and declared independence in 1748. The Babi Nawabs of Junagadh, who were his descendants seized vast regions in southern Saurashtra and reigned over the state of Junagadh for the next 2 centuries. The Chudasama Rajput dynasty was the ruling family of the region. Their rule came to an end by the year 1476, when the land was ruled over by the Muslim king of Gujarat. Later in 1573, Junagadh came under the Mughal sovereignty after Mughal Emperor Akbar defeated the last king of Gujarat, Muzaffar Shah III. The rulers of the princely state of Junagadh belonged to the senior branch of the Babi dynasty. The state of Junagadh augmented in size and supremacy during the latter half of the 18th century under the Diwanship of Amarji, a Nagar Brahmin from Mangrol.
The state of Junagadh came under the protection of the British East India Company in the year 1807. The British administration took charge of the territory by the year 1818, but the region of Saurashtra never came under the direct control of the British Empire in India. The British administration segregated the region into almost one hundred Indian princely states that remained in existence until the nation achieved independence in 1947.
The Princely State of Junagadh was honoured as one of the salute states of India with a local gun salute of 13 guns and a personal gun salute of 15 guns. Junagadh state was ranked third in order of precedence amongst the states of Western India. The native ruler of the state, who held the title of Nawab, exercised full civil and criminal jurisdiction and managed the administration of the princely state with the support of the Diwan and the State Council of Junagadh. The native state continued to mint its own currency and coinage. Under the 1943 Attachment Scheme, the princely state of Junagadh was attached 22 units with a total area of 560 sq miles and comprised a population of 144,816.
Accession of Princely State of Junagadh
After the nation achieved independence from the rule of the British and the partition of India in 1947, around five hundred and sixty two erstwhile princely states were provided an option of whether to join the newly formed Union of India or the Dominion of Pakistan or to remain as a sovereign state. Muhammad Mahabat Khanji III, the last Nawab of Junagadh state was a Muslim and whose ancestors had reigned over the state of Junagadh and other small principalities for around two hundred years. He decided to accede his state to the Dominion of Pakistan, much to the discontentment of the people of the state, as most of the population was Hindus. On the 15 September 1947, the Nawab acceded to Pakistan against the advice of Lord Mountbatten.
The princely state of Babariawad reacted and claimed sovereignty from the princely state of Junagadh and accession to the Union of India. After Pakistan acknowledged the Instrument of Accession of the Nawab on 16 September, the Indian Government became annoyed that Muhammad Ali Jinnah accepted the accession of the state of Junagadh in spite of his statement that Hindu population and Muslim population could exist as a single nation.
India emphasized that the former princely state of Junagadh was not adjacent to Pakistan. The Government of India assumed that if the state was acceded to Pakistan, communal tension would worsen and refused to accept the option of accession of the Nawab. India declared that the Junagadh state consisted of 96 per cent of Hindu population and called for a plebiscite to settle the issue of accession. The newly independent Government of India was invited by the court of Junagadh on 7th November to take over the administration of the former princely state. As a result of this, the Government of Pakistan protested, but India rejected the protests and accepted the invitation of the Diwan to mediate and intervene.
In February 1948, a plebiscite was conducted, which was not monitored internationally. The claims of Pakistan were not based on the plebiscite but on the judgment of Annexation of Kashmir. The direct vote of all the members of the electorate almost unanimously went in favour of accession to India. The state of Junagadh was incorporated as a part of the state of Saurashtra until 1st November 1956, after which Saurashtra became part of Bombay state. In the year 1960, Bombay state was divided into the linguistic states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. After the Maha Gujarat movement in 1960, it became part of newly formed state of Gujarat.
At present, Junagadh, which is the 7th largest city in Gujarat, is the headquarters of the district of Junagadh in Gujarat state, India.
Rulers of Princely State of Junagadh
The list of the native rulers of the princely state of Junagadh is given below-
* Nawab Shri Mohammad Bahadur Khanji I (1748- 1758)
* Nawab Shri Mohammad Mahabat Khanji I (1758- 1760)
* Nawab Shri Muzaffar Khanji (1760- 1762)
* Nawab Shri Mohammad Mahabat Khanji I (1762- 1774)
* Nawab Shri Mohammad Hamid Khanji I (1774- 1811)
* Nawab Shri Mohammad Bahadur Khanji II (1811- 1840)
* Nawab Shri Mohammad Hamid Khanji II (1840- 1851)
* Nawab Shri Mohammad Mahabat Khanji II (185- 1882)
* Nawab Shri Mohammad Bahadur Khanji III (1882- 1892)
* Nawab Shri Mohammad Rasul Khanji (1892- 1911)
* Nawab Shri Mohammad Mahabat Khanji III Rasul Khanji (1911- 1948)