Since independence


Caste System



India since independence


After the partition of British India into India and Pakistan, there were in India 9 provinces and about 460 princely states. Most of the princely states within the Indian territory consented to join India. Some joined India under their own initiative and others were convinced by Sardar Villabbhai Patel (a very senior member of the Indian Congress) to join India. Patel who hold negotiations with the princely states, came to an agreement with the princely state rulers that they would continue getting monthly allowances as they were given to them by the British. And so began the designing of the internal map of India.

The big princely states of Mysore, Hyderabad and Kashmir remained in their original sizes and became new Indian states. To the big provinces like Bombay, Orissa and Bengal, small princely states around them were joined and these provinces also became new India's states. In north India some clinging princely states were joined together to create a new state. Rajastan was created in this way. Along with the states which the government created, there were also regions in India which for different reasons were subjected directly to the central government and were called union territories. For example Himachal Pradesh in north India was created by adjoining some princely states. It was a union territory.

Indian leaders and politicians who had different linguistic and cultural backgrounds demanded that the Indian states should be based on linguistic and cultural boundaries. The central government leaders, which belonged to the Congress party, opposed this idea. They feared that this could eventually lead towards separation of different Indian societies from India and would break the unity. But after a few years opposition the central government agreed to create Indian states based on linguistic differences.

The first step in this direction was made in 1953 when Andra Pradesh, in south India, was created for the Telegu speakers. In 1956 began the first organized process of creating Indian states based on linguistic differences. Among the states created that year were, Andra Pradesh which was created by adjoining certain parts of Telegu speaking areas from former Madras province and most of Hyderabad. For speakers of Malyalam, the state of Kerala was created. For Kanadda speakers the state of Mysore was created (which later on changed its name to Karnataka) from the former Mysore state and also from Kanadda speaking regions in Bombay, Madras and Hyderabad states. Along with states created based on linguistic boundaries, some other big states were created by joining small nearby states. For example Madya Pradesh, Punjab and Rajastan.

The central Indian government did not accept demands of all different cultural leaders for an autonomous Indian state. For example, the Sikhs wanted an autonomous Punjabi state which would have a Sikh majority with its official language, Punjabi. The central government did not accept this demand, instead created in 1956 the state of Punjab, which included also Hindi speakers in its territory and did not have a Sikh majority. But the Sikhs did not give up and continued demanding the Punjab state and in 1966, Punjab was parted into three new states. One of three states remained with the name Punjab and most of the Sikh population of India lived within its territory, but they were not the complete majority of that state. Another demand the central government did not accept was of the Maithali speakers, in present day Bihar, who also demanded a separate autonomous state for Maithali speakers.

Maharashtra for Marathi speakers and Gujarat for Gujarati speakers were created in 1960. Gujarat was created on northern part of the former Bombay state and Maharashtra was created from southern Bombay state and were joined to it parts of Madya Pradesh and Hyderabad. This process erased from India's map the state of Hyderabad, which was now distributed within three different states. Not all Gujaratis were enthused by the creation of new Gujarati state because this division meant that they had to give up the city of Bombay to the Maharashtrians.

Later on other states were created. In east India the state of Assam was parted a few times to create some new states. In 1963, Nagaland was created. In 1972, Manipur was created and there were others small states created from parts of Assam. In west India, Goa was established as a state in 1987. Before their establishment as states, Goa; Manipur and Nagaland were union territories. In the states that exist in India today, there are demands by other communities of India to create new autonomous states for their communities.

These demands for new states in India rise and fall according to the political power of the demanders. To point out such demands, which exist or existed, one can point out the demand of Jammu residents for an autonomous Jammu state in present day Kashmir. The Buddhist of Ladakh in Kashmir also demand autonomous state. In Bihar there was a demand for a separate Maithali state for Maithali speakers. In west Bengal, the Gurkha demands an autonomous Gurkhaland in north Bengal. Along the borders of Orissa and Bihar some tribal communities demanded to create Jharkhand. Similar demands of the aboriginal tribes of India exist in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Andra Pradesh.

In the year 2000, three new states were established in India. Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Uttaranchal. Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh were created from parts of Bihar and Orissa. And Uttaranchal was created from north Uttar Pradesh.

Besides with these demands for autonomous states within Indian union, there were and are also separation demands from India.

Aharon Daniel


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