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States and Capital of India


India is a federal union of 28 states and 7 union Territories including The National Capital Region of Delhi. Of the 28 states, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttaranchal were recently formed from the erstwhile territory of Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh respectively.

The history of the formation of the states of India is a long drawn one and not a one-time exercise. After the British left India in 1947, debates were underway among the political establishment to determine the criteria for bifurcation of the states.

Congress was in favour of language being adopted as the benchmark for organizing the states; others had different ideas. Justice A.K Dhar was entrusted to find out a viable road map to resolving the vexed issue in 1948. The committee in its report concluded that administrative convenience rather than lingual unity be the criterion for organizing potential states. The government however rejected the recommendation owing to lack of unanimity within the central leadership. The thorny issue was kept in abeyance for the time being.

The indecision could not last long as vigorous demands for formation of states accelerate. The issue became unavoidable when on 15th December 1952, Sriramalu, a Congress leader from the Telugu-speaking part of the erstwhile Madras province died after a 56-day long fast demanding the formation of a separate state for the Telegu speaking people. The incident snowballed into a major crisis compelling the Centre to act fast. The demand of the martyr was conceded with the formation of Andhra Pradesh on October 1, 1952, the first state to be formed along linguistic consideration.

The formation of Andhra Pradesh literally opened a floodgate, if not a Pandora's box, to similar demands from all over the country. The government finally appointed a State Reorganisation Committee (SRC) in 1954, with Justice Fazl Ali as Chairman and Hriday Nath Kunzru and K M Panikkar as members. The committee emphasized the wisdom of preservation of the “unity and security of the nation, linguistic and cultural affinity of the people and financial, economic and administrative viability” while considering the formation of new states. Whereas the committee recommended the formation of 16 states and three centrally administered territories (U.T), the government in 1956 opted for 14 states and six centrally administered territories.

But the process of reorganization didn't end there. Further demands for new states were raised from various sections of the country, most of them representing sectarian, ethnic and communal entity. This led to division of Bombay into Marathi speaking Maharashtra and Gujarati speaking Gujarat in 1960. Then in 1966, Haryana was carved out of Punjab. Goa became another Union Territory in 1962 followed by the formation of Nagaland, Mizoram (union territory in 1972, became a state in 1986) and Meghalaya between 1963 and 1972.In 1975, Sikkim, which was an independent kingdom, was merged with India as a separate state. One after another, union territories such as Himachal Pradesh, Tripura (1972), Manipur and Goa became full-fledged states. Goa became the 25th state of India in 1987. The latest additions are the states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttaranchal.

The division of the country along ethnic and linguistic basis also has a flip side to it. Demands for separate Bodoland and Gorkhaland are bound to become intense and aggressive. Similarly, the demands for separate states like Vidarbha, Bundelkand, Telangana, Vindhya Pradesh, Mahakaushal, Purvanchal, Harit Pradesh and Mithilanchal have already been raised by the leaders of respective regions of Maharashrtra, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Other theoretical states that are being raised as potential states are Magadh, Bhojpuri Pradesh, Angika Pradesh, Bajjika Pradesh and Seemanchal from Bihar, Udayachal, Bodoland from Assam, Braj Pradesh and Rohilkhand from UP, Malwa from MP, Mewar from Rajasthan and Kuchh and Saurastra from Gujarat. If all these demands ever see the light of day, India will face the uneviable prospect of “states explosion” over and above her perpetual menace of population explosion!

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