Knowledge Corner

Dadra and Nagar Haveli is a Union Territory in Western India. Nagar Haveli is wedged between Maharashtra and Gujarat, whereas Dadra is an enclave 1 km NW, surrounded by Gujarat. The shared capital is Silvassa. The larger part spans a roughly c-shaped area up-river from the city of Daman on the coast, at the centre of which, and thus outside the territory, is the Madhuban reservoir.

Dadra and Nagar Haveli (DNH) are in the middle of the undulating watershed of the Daman Ganga River, which flows through Nagar Haveli and later forms the short southern border of Dadra. The towns of Dadra and Silvassa lie on the north bank of the river. The Western Ghats range rises to the east, and the foothills of the range occupy the eastern portion of the district. While the territory is landlocked, the Arabian Sea is just to its west, and can be reached via the state of Gujarat.


The profound history of Dadra and Nagar Haveli begins with the defeat of the Koli chieftains of the region by the invading Rajput kings. It was the Marathas that retrieved the region from the rule of the Rajputs in the mid 18th century. In 1779, the Maratha Peshwa formed an alliance with the Portuguese allowing them to collect revenue from the 79 villages of Dadra and Nagar Haveli. The rule of the Portuguese in the region continued till the region gained independence on 2 August 1954. The region was merged with the Union of India in the year 1961.

Dadra and Nagar Haveli : A few facts and a brief history.

Silvassa is the capital of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, a Union Territory of India. The Union of India is divided into 29 States and 7 Union Territories. The States are administered by the State Governments elected by the electorate of each State. But the Union Territories are administered directly by the Central (Federal) Government, although Pondicherry (Puducherry) and the Capital Territory of Delhi have semi-independent elected governments.

Dadra and Nagar Haveli (or D.N.H or D. & N. H.) was formerly a Portuguese colony until it was liberated in 1954. But the Territory remained independent until 1961 when it was integrated into the Union of India. It is located between the States of Maharashtra (in the south) and Gujarat (in the north). The nearest railway station is Vapi, located in Gujarat and about 18 k.m. from Silvassa. Vapi is located on the Mumbai-Delhi route. Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay, the capital of Maharashtra) is approximately 180 k.m. from Silvassa. The city of Surat located in Gujarat is about 140 k.m. away. Delhi is approximately 1600 k.m. away. Surat and Delhi are to the north of D.N.H. and Mumbai is to the south.

Since D.N.H. has many industries, people from all over the country have migrated to the region and the population is approximately 4,00,000. The territory has an area of approximately 491 square kilometers. Silvassa town is around 15 sq. k.m. as of 02.08.2016.

There are 72 villages, mainly inhabited by the various tribal communities like the Varly (Varlie), Kokana, Dhodia, Koli, Kathodi, Naika, Dubla and Kolgha. The tribal communities are locally known as adivasi (which means original inhabitant). Each community has its own culture, traditions and languages and dialects. None of these languages has written literature or script until today. The tribal communities consist of approximately 60% of the population of D.N.H. (Earlier in the eighties it was more than 80%, but after influx from different parts of the country, the percentage has reduced). But the influx has helped the tribal people in increasing their earnings and standard of living.

A brief history: In the year 1262 a Rajput prince from Rajasthan (now Rajasthan is a State in India, located to the north of the State of Gujarat) named Ramsinh established himself as the ruler of Ramnagar, the present day Dharampur, which consisted of 8 Paraganas ( group of villages ) and assumed the title Maharana. Nagar Haveli was one of the Paraganas.

Time passed on. In the year 1360 Rana Dharamshah I (First) shifted his capital from Nagar Haveli to Nagar Fatehpur.

With the rise of the Maratha power, Shivaji viewed Ramnagar as an important locality. He captured the region, but Somshah Rana recaptured it in 1690.

After the Treaty of Vasai ( 6 May 1739,) Vasai and the surrounding territories came under the Maratha rule.

Soon after, the Marathas captured Ramnagar but reinstated the ruler, Ramdeo, under conditions. Thus the Marathas acquired the rights to collect revenue, known as chauthai from Nagar Haveli and two other paraganas.

During the time of Dharamdeo, the son of Ramdeo, due to his change of policies,( he neglected the conditions imposed earlier by the Marathas) the Marathas captured Nagar Haveli and the surrounding regions.

In 1772, the Marathas captured a Portuguese warship named Santana. At the same time the Marathas had to struggle with the British. They always feared that the Portuguese would join hands with the British against them. The Mughals were already a constant threat. A possible alliance between the British and the Portuguese was a nightmare for the Marathas.

Due to this, in 1779, the Marathas signed a treaty with the Portuguese by which, as a compensation for the loss of the warship Santana, the Marathas allowed the Portuguese to collect revenue from 72 villages of Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

The actual possession of the territory took place in 1783 and was placed under the administration of the Governor of Daman. (Goa, Daman and Diu were already Portuguese possessions.)

In 1818, the Maratha Empire collapsed. Thus the Portuguese ultimately became the virtual rulers of Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

But as Daman was more important from the point of view of generation of income from exports, D.N.H. received very little attention from the Portuguese except for the exploitation of the rich forest wealth of the region.

As time passed the Indian Independence Struggle picked up momentum. On 18 June 1946, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia was arrested in Goa. This was the beginning of the freedom struggle in Goa. He was deported to India. On 15 August 1947, India became independent from the British rule, but the Portuguese and other European colonies continued to be so.

The Goan struggle continued for many years. Shri. Atmaram Narsinh Karmalkar, an officer in the Banco Colonial (Portuguese Bank) at Pananji (in Goa) (also known as Panjim), who was popularly known as Appasaheb Karmalkar was indirectly involved in the freedom struggle in Goa. He was dismissed from the bank and finally took up the struggle to liberate Goa. In course of time he realized that liberation of D.N.H. was crucial if Goa was to be liberated. (Shri means Mr. and Smt. Means Miss/Mrs) (Smt is read as Shrimati or Shreemati)

Shri. Karmalkar reached Vapi and met Shri. Jayantibhai Desai from Dadra. He also met Shri Bhikubhai Pandya from Nani Daman and Shri. Vanmali Bhavsar from Silvassa.

Azad Gomantak Dal under the leadership of Shri. Vishwanath Lavande, Shri. Dattatreya Deshpande, Shri, Prabhakar Sinar and others, the Rashtriya Swaymsewak Sangh under the leadership of Shri. Raja Wakankar, Communist Party under the leadership of Mr. Shamrao Parulekar and Smt. Godavaribai Parulekar, and the United Front of Goans under the leadership of Francis Mascerenhas, J.M. D’Souza, Waman Desai and others were also attempting the liberation of D.N.H.

On 18 June 1954, many leaders met at Lavaccha. Lavaccha and Vapi were Indian territories. The order in which these places are lying is, N.H., Lavaccha, Dadra, Vapi and Daman. So the Portuguese officers required transit permit through Indian territories of Lavaccha and Vapi to travel to N.H, or Dadra or Daman.

On the night of 22 July 15 volunteers of the United Front of Goans under the leadership of Mr. Francis Mascerenhas and Mr. Waman Desai sneaked into the territory of Dadra and reached the police station. There were only three officers. One was attacked with a knife by one of the volunteers and the other two were overpowered. The Indian tricolor was hoisted and the Indian National Anthem was sung. Dadra was declared “Free territory of Dadra.”

On the night of 28 July, around 30 to 35 volunteers of R.S.S. and Azad Gomantak Dal proceeded to Naroli from Karambele (Karambeli) by swimming across the rivulets. June to September is the rainy season in the region and the rivers are usually flooded during this season. The Daman Ganga river was flooded and no help could reach Naroli. This was the reason to choose this date for proceeding to Naroli. There were only six police personnel. The volunteers and the villages reached the police station and asked them to surrender or face death. They immediately surrendered. The Portuguese rule of Naroli came to an end.

The Special Reserve Police in the Indian Territory did not intervene in any way. Mr. J.D. Nagarwala, the D.I.G. of the Special Reserve Police in the Indian Territory, without entering D.N.H. asked Captain Fidalgo, the Administrator of Dadra and Nagar Haveli to surrender to the Indian Forces along with his paramilitary forces before they would be butchered by the liberators.

Leaving about 50 policemen and five civilian officers posted at Silvassa, Captain Fidalgo fled to Udva passing through Rakholi, Dappada and Khanvel and surrendered to the SRP on 11 August. They were later allowed to go to Goa.

In the meanwhile there were several rumours and the officers at Silvassa were in confusion. On 1 August the liberators took advantage of the situation and proceeded from Dadra and Naroli and liberated Pipariya. The five police officers surrendered without resistance.

During the night the volunteers divided themselves into three batches and reached the police chowky at Silvassa. The police Chowky at Silvassa was protected by sand bags. There were three policemen guarding from three sides. Shri Vasant Badve,Shri Vishnu Bhople and Shri. Shantaram Vaidya overpowered them from behind when least expected.

The other policemen surrendered without resistance on seeing the other volunteers. The volunteers spent the night awake at the police chowky.In the morning of 2 August 1954, the liberators reached the town of Silvassa to find it free of any Portuguese occupation. The liberation of Dadra and Nagar Haveli was complete.Senhor Luis de Gama, the eldest nationalist hoisted the Indian National Flag and declared the territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli liberated and the Indian National Anthem was sung.


The area of Dadra and Nagar Haveli is spread over 491 km2, landlocked between Gujarat to the north and Maharashtra to the south.

The Union Territory comprises two separate geographical units – Dadra and Nagar Haveli. It is close to on the Western coast of India between the parallels of 20° 0’ and 20° 25’ of latitude North and between the meridian 72° 50’ and 73° 15’ of longitude East. It occupies an area of 491 square kilometres (190 sq mi), comparatively equivalent to the Philippines’ Biliran Island. It ranks 4th among the Union Territories and 32nd including the states. The territory is surrounded by Valsad District of Gujarat on the West, North and East and by, Thane District of Maharashtra on the South and South-East (after division of Thane district, it is now surrounded by newly formed Palghar District.).


According to the 2011 census Dadra and Nagar Haveli has a population of 342,853, roughly equal to the nation of Belize. This gives it a ranking of 566th in India, out of a total of 640 districts. It has a population density of 698 inhabitants per square kilometre (1,810/sq mi), and its population growth rate over the decade from 2001 to 2011 was 55.5 per cent, which is the highest percentage growth among all Indian states and union territories. Dadra and Nagar Haveli has a sex ratio of 775 females for every 1,000 males, and a literacy rate of 77.65 per cent.


Warli is the language spoken by the Warli people. Agri is spoken by Agri community both are dilects of Marathi-Konkani. A former Portuguese enclave, Silvassa has a significant Roman Catholic population, speaking a distinct dialect of Portuguese. Marathi-Konkani and Gujarati languages are widely spoken. Hindi and Marathiare also understood.

The main tribes are Warlis, Dhodia Kokna, etc.

Skill Test

1. How many Rajya Sabha seats are from Dadra and Nagar Haveli?

2. Who is the current Administrator of Dadra and Nagar Haveli?

3. What is the name of the capital of Dadra and Nagar Haveli?

4. How many Lok Sabha seats are there from Dadra and Nagar Haveli?

5. Where is the nearest airport from Dadra and Nagar Haveli?

6. Which is a well-known tourist destination of Dadra and Nagar Haveli?

7. What are the two main languages of Dadra and Nagar Haveli?

8. When was the union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli established?

9. Which state borders the territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli from the South and South-East?

10. What is the total area of Dadra and Nagar Haveli?

11. Name the main river flowing through the territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

12. Which state borders the territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli on the west?