Political integration of India

India, following partition.
India, following partition.

The political integration of India established a united nation for the first time in centuries from a plethora of princely states, colonial provinces and possessions. Despite partition, a new India united peoples of various geographic, economic, ethnic, linguistic and religious backgrounds. The process began in 1947, with the unification of 565 princely states through a critical series of political campaigns, sensitive diplomacy and military conflicts. India was transformed after independence through political upheaval and ethnic discontent, and continues to evolve as a federal republic natural to its diversity. The process is defined by sensitive religious conflicts between Hindus and Muslims, diverse ethnic populations, as well as by geo-political rivalry and military conflicts with Pakistan and China.

When the Indian independence movement succeeded in ending the British Raj on August 15 1947, India's leaders faced the prospect of inheriting a nation fragmented between medieval-era kingdoms and provinces organised by colonial powers. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, one of India's most respected freedom fighters, as the new Minister of Home Affairs was the man responsible for employing political negotiations backed with the option (and the use) of military force to ensure the primacy of the Central government and of the Constitution then being drafted.

India's constitution pronounced it a Union of States, exemplifying a federal system with a strong central government. Over the course of the two decades following Independence the Government of India reclaimed the possessions of the French Empire and Portugal. But the trend changed as popular movements arose for the recognition of regional languages, and attention for the special issues of diverse regions. A backlash ensued against centralization — the lack of attention and respect for regional issues resulted in cultural alienation and violent separatism. The Central government attempted to balance the use of force on separatist extremists with the creation of new States in order to reduce the pressures on the Indian State. The map has been redrawn, as the nature of the federation transforms. Today, the Republic of India is a Union of 28 states and 7 territories.



British India

Created by the British, Madras was composed of five different linguistic groups and parts of five modern states.
Created by the British, Madras was composed of five different linguistic groups and parts of five modern states.

British colonization of the Indian subcontinent began in the early 18th century. By the mid-19th century, most of the subcontinent was under British rule. With the arrival of Lord Mountbatten (the former Lord Louis Mountbatten later created Viscount Mountbatten of Burma, then promoted to Earl) as the Viceroy of India in early 1947, the British government under Prime Minister Clement Attlee made a clear indication that the independence of India was imminent. India's top political parties, the Indian National Congress and the All India Muslim League were both negotiating the impending transfer of power as well as the make-up of the new Indian government. To this end, elections were held for the Constituent Assembly of India. In June 1947, the Congress and the League agreed to the planned partition of British India into two independent British Commonwealth dominions: India and Pakistan. Burma had been separated from British India in 1937 and it became independent along with Ceylon (never a part of British India) in 1948.

Without the princely states, the Dominion of India would comprise the provinces of Bombay Presidency, Madras Presidency, the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, the Central Provinces and Berar, Assam, Orissa, Bihar, and the chief commissioners' provinces of Coorg, Ajmer-Merwara, Panth-Piploda, and Delhi. The North West Frontier Province, Sind, and the chief commissioners' province of Baluchistan would go to Pakistan. The provinces of Bengal and Punjab had been partitioned in 1946, with India retaining West Bengal and East Punjab, the Hindu-majority portions of the larger provinces. West Punjab and East Bengal were heavily Muslim, and went to Pakistan. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the Lakshadweep Islands would be turned over to the control of India.


The states

The Saurashtra and Kathiawar regions of Gujarat (depicted) were home to over two hundred princely states.
The Saurashtra and Kathiawar regions of Gujarat (depicted) were home to over two hundred princely states.

There were between 570 and 600 princely states which enjoyed special recognition by and relationship with the British Raj. The British government announced in the Indian Independence Act 1947 that with the transfer of power on August 15 1947, all of these states would be freed of their obligations to the British Empire, and thus would be free to join either India or Pakistan, or to choose to become independent. The kingdom of Nepal was an independent treaty ally, and became a fully sovereign nation. The kingdom of Bhutan would dissolve its protectorate relationship similarly, but via treaty in 1949, India would become the guarantor of its security. The kingdom of Sikkim became a protectorate of India. Apart from a few which were geographically unalienable from Pakistan, approximately 565 princely states were clearly linked to India, the largest nation.

The largest of them included Hyderabad and Kashmir, while 222 states existed in the Kathiawar peninsula alone. The states comprised more than half of the territory of India and a large proportion of its population. It was believed that without a single federal structure India would be susceptible to political, military and social conflicts. The British had taken control of India piecemeal and over the course of a century; most of the states had signed different treaties at different times with the British East India Company and the British Crown, giving the British Raj varying degrees of control over foreign, inter-state relations and defence. Indian monarchs accepted the suzerainty of Britain in India, paid tribute and allowed British authorities to collect taxes and appropriate finances, and in many cases, manage the affairs of governance via the Raj's Political Department. The princes were represented in the Imperial Legislative Council and the Chamber of Princes, and under law enjoyed relationships described as that of allies, not subordinates. Thus the princes maintained a channel of influence with the British Raj.


Process of accession

The states of Gwalior, Bikaner, Patiala and Baroda were the first to join India on April 28, 1947. Others were wary, distrusting a democratic government led by revolutionaries of uncertain, and possibly radical views, and fearful of losing their influence as rulers. Travancore and Hyderabad announced their desire for independence while the Nawab of Bhopal, Hamidullah Khan, expressed his desire to either negotiate with Pakistan or seek independence. The Nawab was a powerful influence on a number of princes, as he was the former chancellor of the Chamber of Princes. In addition, Jodhpur, Indore and Jaisalmer conducted a dialogue with Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the slated Governor-General of Pakistan, to discuss terms for a possible accession to it. While this surprised many in both India and Pakistan, neither party could ultimately ignore the fact that these kingdoms were Hindu-majority, which rendered their membership in overwhelmingly Muslim Pakistan untenable.

Vallabhbhai Patel in Bardoli, 1928.
Vallabhbhai Patel in Bardoli, 1928.

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was the Minister for Home and States Affairs, and was given the explicit responsibility of welding a united and strategically secure India in time for the transfer of power. Patel was considered the best man for the task by the Congress Party, as well as Lord Mountbatten and senior British officials. Mahatma Gandhi had, in fact, said to Patel "the problem of the States is so difficult that you alone can solve it".[1] He was recognised by the Princes and parliamentarians alike to be a man of integrity; and, in addition, he was believed to have the practical acumen and resolve to accomplish a monumental task. Patel asked V. P. Menon, a senior civil servant with whom he had worked over the partition of India, to become the Secretary in charge of the Home and States Ministry, as it then was. Patel's admirers would later call him the Iron Man of India[2] for his decisive actions at this time.


Instrument of accession

Sardar Patel and V.P. Menon devised a formula to propose to the monarchs. The Instrument of Accession was the official treaty to be signed between the Government of India or the Government of Pakistan and the accession candidates. According to the basic tenets of the treaty, the Government of India would control only foreign affairs, defence and communications, leaving all internal issues to be administered by the states. On July 5 1947, the official policy of the Government of India was released, and stated:

"We ask no more of the States than accession on these three subjects in which the common interests of the country are involved. In other matters we would scrupulously respect their autonomous existence. This country… is the proud heritage of the people who inhabit it. It is an accident that some live in the States and some in British India… None can segregate us into segments… I suggest that it is better therefore for us to make laws sitting together as friends than to make treaties as aliens. I invite my friends the rulers of States and their people to the councils of the Constituent Assembly in this spirit of friendliness… Congressmen are no enemies of the princely order." [3]

Considering that the princes had to sign away the sovereignty of states where their families had reigned for centuries, and that they believed that India's security would be jeopardised if even one state refused to sign on, Patel and Menon were of the opinion that this was the best deal that could be put to the princes. While negotiating with the states, Patel and Menon also guaranteed that monarchs who signed on willingly would be retained as constitutional heads of state, although they would be 'encouraged' to hand their power over to an elected government. Once the Instrument of Accession was signed, the state would be represented in the Constituent Assembly of India, thus becoming an active participant in framing the new Constitution.


Patel's diplomacy

Lord Louis Mountbatten played an important role in convincing reluctant monarchs to accede to the Indian Union.
Lord Louis Mountbatten played an important role in convincing reluctant monarchs to accede to the Indian Union.

On May 6, 1947, Patel began lobbying the princes, attempting to make them receptive towards dialogue with the future Government and trying to forestall potential conflicts. Patel used social meetings and unofficial surroundings to engage most monarchs, inviting them to lunch and tea at his home in Delhi. At these meetings, Patel would claim that there was no inherent conflict between the Congress and the princely order. Nonetheless, he stressed that Congress expected the princes to accede to India in good faith before the deadline, August 15, 1947. Patel also listened to the monarchs’ opinions, seeking to address their two chief concerns:

Patel invoked the patriotism of India's monarchs, asking them to join in the freedom of their nation and act as responsible rulers who cared about the future of their people. V. P. Menon was frequently dispatched to hold talks with the ministers and monarchs. Menon would work each day with Patel, calling him twice, including a final status report in the night. Menon was Patel's closest advisor and aide on the diplomacy and tactics, and handling of potential conflicts, as well as his link with British officials. Patel also enlisted Lord Mountbatten, who was trusted by most of the princes and was a personal friend of many, especially the Nawab of Bhopal, Hamidullah Khan. Mountbatten was also a credible figure because Jawaharlal Nehru and Patel had asked him to become the first Governor General of the Dominion of India. In a July, 1947 gathering of rulers, Mountbatten laid out his argument:

"...The subcontinent of India acted as an economic entity. That link is now to be broken. If nothing can be put in its place, only chaos can result and that chaos, I submit, will hurt the states first. The States are theoretically free to link their future with whichever Dominion they may care. But may I point out that there are certain geographical compulsions which cannot be evaded?"[4]

Mountbatten stressed that he would act as the trustee of the princes' commitment, as he would be serving as India's head of state well into 1948. Mountbatten engaged in a personal dialogue with the Nawab of Bhopal. He asked through a confidential letter to him, that he sign the instrument of accession, which Mountbatten would keep locked up in his safe. It would be handed to the States Department on August 15 only if the Nawab did not change his mind before then, which he was free to do. The Nawab agreed, and did not renege over the deal.[5]


Accession of the states

From June to August 15 1947, 562 of the 565 India-linked states signed the instrument of accession. Despite dramatic political exchanges, Travancore, Jodhpur and Indore signed on time. Patel was also willing to take on other Indian leaders for the sake of accomplishing the job. The privy purse pledge was offensive to many socialists, and Prime Minister Nehru had complained of Patel by-passing the Cabinet to make the pledge to the Princes. Patel described the pledge as an essential guarantee of the Government's intentions, and it was duly incorporated into the Constitution. (In 1971, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's Congress Party would repeal the clause through a constitutional amendment.[6]) Patel defended their right to retain property and contest elections for public office, and today, especially in states like Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, descendants of the formerly royal families play an important role in politics.

However, in the strenuous process of integration three major conflicts arose that posed a major threat to the Union:



Junagadh was a state on the southwestern end of Gujarat, with the principalities of Manavadar, Mangrol and Babriawad. The Arabian Sea stood between it and Pakistan, and over 80% of its population was Hindu. Possibly on the advice of his Dewan, Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto, who was prominent in the Muslim League, the Nawab of Junagadh Mahabhat Khan acceded to Pakistan. The accession was announced on August 15 1947, when Pakistan had come into being. When Pakistan confirmed the acceptance of the accession in September, the Government of India was outraged that Muhammad Ali Jinnah would accept the accession of Junagadh despite his argument that Hindus and Muslims could not live as one nation.[7] Patel believed that if Junagadh was permitted to go to Pakistan, it would exacerbate the communal tension already simmering in Gujarat.

Patel gave Pakistan time to void the accession and hold a plebiscite in Junagadh. Samaldas Gandhi formed a democratic government-in-exile, the Arzi Hukumat (in Urdu:Arzi: People's Request, Hukumat: Government) of the people of Junagadh. Eventually, Patel ordered the forcible annexation of Junagadh's three principalities. Junagadh's court, facing financial collapse and no possibility of resisting Indian forces, first invited the Arzi Hukumat, and later the Government of India to accept the reins. A plebiscite was conducted in December, in which approximately 99% of the people chose India over Pakistan.[8]



Shown in green is the Kashmiri region under Pakistani control. The dark-brown region represents Indian-administration Jammu and Kashmir while the Aksai Chin is under Chinese administration
Shown in green is the Kashmiri region under Pakistani control. The dark-brown region represents Indian-administration Jammu and Kashmir while the Aksai Chin is under Chinese administration

Maharaja Hari Singh, a Hindu, was equally hesitant about acceding to either India — he felt his mostly Muslim subjects would not like joining a Hindu-majority nation — or Pakistan — an eventuality which he would personally prefer to avoid. He personally believed that Kashmir could exercise its right to stay independent; a belief in which he was backed by Sheikh Abdullah, the leader of Kashmir's largest political party, the National Conference. However, Pakistan coveted the Himalayan kingdom, while Indian leaders including Gandhi and Nehru hoped that the kingdom would join India. Hari Singh signed a Standstill Agreement (preserving status quo) with Pakistan, but did not make his decision by August 15.

Pakistan, concerned about the lack of movement on the front, attempted to force the issue by permitting the incursions of tribals from the North-West Frontier, followed in September 1947 by regular forces. India offered military assistance to the Kashmiri Government, which was totally without an organised military; such assistance, however, was conditional on the Maharaja signing the Instrument of Accession, which he then did.[9] By this time the raiders were close to the capital of Srinagar. Indian troops secured Jammu, Srinagar and the valley itself during the First Kashmir War, but the intense fighting flagged with the onset of winter, which made much of the state impassable. Prime Minister Nehru, recognising the degree of international attention brought to bear on the dispute, declared a ceasefire and sought U.N. arbitration with the promise of a plebiscite. Patel had argued against both, describing Kashmir as a bilateral dispute and its accession as justified by international law. Patel had feared that the U.N.'s involvement would stall the process and allow Pakistan to reinforce its presence in Kashmir; in addition, it was far from clear, which way a plebiscite would go. In 1957, Kashmir was officially integrated into the Union, but with special provisions made for it in the Constitution's Article 370. The northwestern portion that remained under control of the Pakistan army is today Pakistan-administered Kashmir. In 1962, China occupied Aksai Chin, the northeastern region bordering Ladakh.



Hyderabad state in 1909. Its area stretches over the present Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra.
Hyderabad state in 1909. Its area stretches over the present Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra.

Hyderabad was a state that stretched over 82,000 square miles (over 212,000 square kilometres) in the center of India and with a population of 16 million, 85% of whom were Hindus. Its ruler was Nizam Usman Ali Khan, and had always enjoyed a special relationship with the British Raj. When the British ruled out dominion status, the Nizam set his mind upon independence, under the influence of Muslim radical Qasim Razvi. Without Hyderabad, a large gap would exist in the centre of the united nation envisioned by Indian nationalists and the Indian public. Patel believed that Hyderabad was looking to Pakistan for support, and could pose a constant threat to India's security in the future. Patel argued that Hyderabad was essential for India's unity, but he agreed with Lord Mountbatten that force should not be used immediately. A Standstill Agreement was signed — an agreement made with no other princely state without an explicit assurance of eventual accession. However, Patel required Hyderabad promise it would not join Pakistan. Mountbatten and India's agent K.M. Munshi engaged the Nizam's envoys into negotiations. However, no deal was reached that both sides found acceptable, and the Nizam alleged that India had created a blockade. India, on the other hand, charged that Hyderabad was receiving arms from Pakistan, and that the Nizam was allowing Razvi's Razakar militants to intimidate Hindus and attack villages in India.

Lord Mountbatten crafted a proposal called the Heads of Agreement, which called for the disbandment of the Razakars and restriction of the Hyderabad army, for the Nizam to hold a plebiscite and elections for a constituent assembly, and for eventual accession. While India would control Hyderabad's foreign affairs, the deal allowed Hyderabad to set up a parallel government and delay accession. Hyderabad's envoys assured Mountbatten that the Nizam would sign the agreement, and he lobbied Patel hard to sign for India. Patel signed the deal but retained his belief that the Nizam would not accept it.[10] The Nizam, taking Razvi's advice dismissed the plan. In September 1948, Patel made it clear in Cabinet meetings that he intended to use force against the Nizam.[11] He obtained the agreement of the new Governor-General Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari and Prime Minister Nehru after some contentious debate, and under Operation Polo, sent the Army to invade Hyderabad. Between September 13 and 18th, Indian troops fought Hyderabadi troops and Razakars and defeated them. Patel retained the Nizam as the head of state as a conciliatory gesture. The main aim of Mountbatten and Nehru in attempting to achieve integration through diplomacy had been to avoid an outbreak of Hindu-Muslim violence. Patel insisted that if Hyderabad was allowed to continue its independence, the prestige of the Government would be tarnished and then neither Hindus nor Muslims would feel secure in its realm. The successful annexation of Hyderabad was praised by many Indian Muslim leaders, and there were no episodes of civil violence.[12]


Conflicting agendas

The Indian subcontinent in 1948.
The Indian subcontinent in 1948.

Different theories have been proposed to explain the designs of Indian and Pakistani leaders in this period. Rajmohan Gandhi postulates that an ideal deal working in the mind of Patel was that if Muhammad Ali Jinnah let India have Junagadh and Hyderabad, Patel would not object to Kashmir acceding to Pakistan.[13] In his book Patel: A Life, Gandhi asserts that Jinnah sought to engage the questions of Junagadh and Hyderabad in the same battle. It is suggested that he wanted India to ask for a plebiscite in Junagadh and Hyderabad, knowing thus that the principle then would have to be applied to Kashmir, where the Muslim-majority would, he believed, vote for Pakistan. In a speech at the Bahauddin College in Junagadh following the latter's take-over, Patel said:

"If Hyderabad does not see the writing on the wall, it goes the way Junagadh has gone. Pakistan attempted to set off Kashmir against Junagadh. When we raised the question of settlement in a democratic way, they (Pakistan) at once told us that they would consider it if we applied that policy to Kashmir. Our reply was that we would agree to Kashmir if they agreed to Hyderabad."[14]

Patel's opinions were not India's policy, nor were they shared by Nehru, but both leaders were angered at Jinnah's courting the princes of Jodhpur, Bhopal and Indore.[15] In her book The Sole Spokesman, Ayesha Jalal argues that Jinnah had never actually wanted partition, but once created, he wanted Pakistan to become a secular state that was inclusive to its Hindu minority and strategically secure from a geographically-larger India, thus encouraging Hindu states to join. When Jinnah remained adamant about Junagadh, and when the invasion of Kashmir began in September 1947, Patel exerted himself over the defense and integration of Kashmir into India. India and Pakistan clashed over Kashmir in 1965 and 1971, as well as over the sovereignty of the Rann of Kutch in August, 1965.


Integrating the Union

The province of Punjab was one of the largest in British India, and was divided in 1946. Today it stands within Pakistan, and the Indian states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.
The province of Punjab was one of the largest in British India, and was divided in 1946. Today it stands within Pakistan, and the Indian states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.
Central Provinces and Berar: modern Madhya Pradesh.
Central Provinces and Berar: modern Madhya Pradesh.
The Madras Presidency gave birth to Kerela, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
The Madras Presidency gave birth to Kerela, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

Many of the 565 states that had joined the Union were very small and lacked resources to sustain their economies and support their growing populations. Many published their own currency, imposed restrictions and their own tax rules that impeded free trade. Although Prajamandals (People's Conventions) had been organised to increase democracy, a contentious debate opened over dissolving the very states India promised to officially recognise just months ago. Challenged by princes, Sardar Patel and V. P. Menon emphasized that without integration, the economies of states would collapse, and anarchy would arise if the princes were unable to provide democracy and govern properly. In December 1947, over 40 states in central and eastern India were merged into the Central Provinces and Orissa. Similarly, Patel also obtained the unification of 222 states in the Kathiawar peninsula of his native Gujarat. In a meeting with the rulers, Menon said:

"His Highness the Maharaja of Bhavnagar has already declared himself in favour of a United Kathiawar State. I may also remind you of the metaphor employed by Sardar Patel, of how a large lake cools the atmosphere while small pools become stagnant...It is not possible for 222 States to continue their separate existence for very much longer. The extinction of the separate existence of the States may not be palatable, but unless something is done in good time to stabilise the situation in Kathiawar, the march of events may bring more unpalatable results."[16]

In Punjab, the Patiala and East Punjab States Union was formed. Madhya Bharat and Vindhya Pradesh emerged from the princely states of the former Central India Agency. Himachal Pradesh was created from 30 states of the former Punjab Hill States Agency. A few large states, including Mysore, Kutch, and Bilaspur, remained distinct, but a great many more were merged into the provinces. The Northeast Frontier Agency (present-day Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland) was administered by the Ministry of External Affairs with the Governor of Assam. The Constitution of India, adopted on January 26, 1950 gave the states many powers, but the Union government had superior powers — including dissolving state governments if law and order were disrupted.[17] National institutions were emphasized to prevent factionalism and separatism. A common judiciary and the Indian Administrative Service and Indian Police Service were created to erect a single government infrastructure. The united leadership to fight social, economic challenges of India for the first time in thousands of years was welcomed by most Indians.


Pondicherry and Goa

See also: French India, Portuguese India

In the 1950s, the regions of Pondicherry, Karikal, Yanaon, Mahe and Chandernagore were still colonies of France, and Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Goa remained as colonies of Portugal. The lodges in Machilipatnam, Kozhikode and Surat were ceded to India in October 1947. An agreement between France and India in 1948 agreed to an election in France's remaining Indian possessions to choose their political future. Chandernagore was ceded to India on May 2, 1950, and was merged with West Bengal on October 2, 1955. On November 1, 1954, the four enclaves of Pondicherry, Yanaon, Mahe, and Karikal were de facto transferred to the Indian Union and became the Union territory of Pondicherry. Portugal had resisted diplomatic solutions, and refused to transfer power. Dadra and Nagar Haveli were incorporated into India in 1953 after bands of Indian irregulars occupied the lands, but Goa, Daman and Diu remained a bone of contention.

Arbitration by the World Court and the United Nations General Assembly favoured self-determination, but Portugal resisted all overtures from India. On December 18, 1961, in what Prime Minister Nehru termed as a police action, the Indian Army liberated Goa, Daman and Diu.[18] The Portuguese surrendered on December 19, and 3,000 Portuguese soldiers became prisoners of war. This take-over ended the last of the European colonies in India. In 1987, Goa achieved statehood.


States reorganization

The Constitution did not re-shape India's map — it established three orders of states that preserved the territories and governing structures of the recent past. However, India's ethnically diverse population was dissatisfied with colonial-era arrangements and centralised authority, which disempowered ethnic groups that did not form a significant population in a province. The many regional languages of India were without official use and recognition. Political movements arose in the regions demanding official use and autonomy for the Marathi-, Telugu-, Tamil-speaking regions of the Bombay state and Madras state. Incidents of violence grew in cities like Bombay and Madras as the demands gained momentum and became a potential source of conflict. Potti Sreeramulu undertook a fast-unto-death, demanding an Andhra state. Sreeramulu lost his life in the protest, but Andhra State was soon created in 1953 out of the northern, Telugu-speaking districts of Madras state as a result of aroused popular support.

Prime Minister Nehru appointed the States Reorganisation Commission to recommend a reorganization of state boundaries along linguistic lines. The States Reorganisation Act of 1956, which went into effect on November 1 1956, was the largest single change to state borders in the history of independent India. Bombay, Madhya Pradesh, Mysore, Punjab, and Rajasthan were enlarged by the addition of smaller states and parts of adjacent states. Hyderabad was partitioned among Bombay, Mysore, and Andhra Pradesh states, and the new linguistic state of Kerala was created by merging the Malayalam-speaking state of Travancore-Cochin with Malabar District of Madras state.

On May 1, 1960, Gujarat and Maharashtra were created out of Bombay State, which had been enlarged by the Act, as a result of conflicting linguistic movements. Violent clashes erupted in Mumbai and villages on the border with Karnataka over issues of Maharashtrian territory. Maharashtra still claims Belgaum as its own. In 1965, unrest broke out in Madras when Hindi was to take effect as India's national language.


Punjab and northeastern India

A culture of centralization was resented across many regions — it stifled regional autonomy and cultural identity. Inefficiency, corruption and economic stagnation in 1960s and 1970s aided this argument. Although Punjab was one of the most prosperous states, demands for greater autonomy and statehood arose. In 1966, Punjab was divided into Sikh-majority Punjab and Hindu-majority Haryana, with their joint capital in Chandigarh, a union territory. Certain northern districts were allocated to Himachal Pradesh. Jawaharlal Nehru had opposed creating separate states for different religious communities, but it was carried out by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who faced pressure from the SGPC and leaders like Master Tara Singh. When the Khalistan insurgency created turmoil in the 1980s, the Army attacked militant encampments in the Golden Temple.[19] The bloody outcome outraged the Sikhs, who saw it as a desecration of their holiest shrine by the Government. Indira Gandhi was assassinated, which in turn resulted in communal violence in Delhi. The Government employed martial law and force to crush the militant groups, but also began a process of devolving powers to the states as a means to end separatism. Punjab today is one of the most peaceful and prosperous states.

Current political map of India showing states and territories.
Current political map of India showing states and territories.

China does not recognise the McMahon Line that is the framework of its boundary with India, and lays a claim to the territory of Arunachal Pradesh — briefly occupied by Chinese forces in the Sino-Indian War. In 1967, Chinese and Indian forces clashed at the Chola Border Post in Sikkim, whose merger with India was disputed for long but resolved in 2003.[20] Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Manipur, and Assam, known as the Seven Sisters, became states between the 1970s and 1980s. In 1975, India under Indira Gandhi integrated Sikkim into the Union after a plebiscite resulted in an overwhelming vote in favour of merger with India, but the Army had to forcibly take control from the Chogyal. In the 1960-70s, violent militancy arose in Assam and Nagaland.[21] Neglect and discrimination by the Union government, as well as poverty and cultural aversion resulted in violence against refugees from Bangladesh and other settlers. The ULFA insurgency paralyzed Assam in the 1980s. Similar tensions in Mizoram and Tripura forced the Indian government to impose a martial law environment. The decline of popular appeal, increased autonomy, economic development and rising tourism has helped considerably reduce violence across the region.


Modern developments

Several new states were created in 2000 — Chhattisgarh (from Madhya Pradesh), Jharkhand (from Bihar) and Uttaranchal (from Uttar Pradesh). This resulted from a national debate concerning the purported need to partition large states burdened with socioeconomic challenges, including overpopulation and the political marginalisation of ethnic minorities. Such debate has not ceased: there are proposals for the creation of Vidarbha from Maharashtra, Telangana from Andhra Pradesh, Bundelkhand from parts of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, and Jammu and Ladakh from Kashmir.[22]

Correspondingly, governments have begun devolving power to regional levels as a means of increasing popular representation and administrative efficiency, as well as alleviating social problems. These include disparities in economic growth — despite India's rapid economic development — and the corresponding easing of socioeconomic pressures faced by communities across these regions. Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh are forming special commissions for their Purvanchal, Rayalaseema, Telangana and Coastal Andhra regions. Groups, including self-appointed representatives of northeastern India's Bodo people, are pushing — often via violent insurgency — for either the formation of a Bodoland state or independence.[23] In 2003, an agreement was signed between the Union government, the state of Assam and the main Bodo separatist groups. This created the Bodoland Territorial Councils, which granted autonomy to regions with significant Bodo populations. Other groups are pushing for the conferral of statehood upon Kutch, Cooch Behar, Gorkhaland, Kamtapur and Coorg.


See also

          Indian Independence Movement               
History: Colonisation - East India Company - Plassey - Buxar - British India - French India - Portuguese India - More...
Philosophies: Indian nationalism - Swaraj - Gandhism - Satyagraha - Hindu nationalism - Indian Muslim nationalism - Swadeshi - Socialism
Events and movements: Rebellion of 1857 - Partition of Bengal - Revolutionaries - Champaran and Kheda - Jallianwala Bagh Massacre - Non-Cooperation - Bardoli - 1928 Protests - Nehru Report - Purna Swaraj - Salt Satyagraha - Act of 1935 - Legion Freies Indien - Cripps' mission - Quit India - Indian National Army - Bombay Mutiny
Organisations: Indian National Congress - Ghadar - Home Rule - Swaraj Party - Anushilan Samiti - Azad Hind - More...
Indian leaders: Mangal Pandey - Rani of Jhansi - Bal Gangadhar Tilak - Gopal Krishna Gokhale - Lala Lajpat Rai - Bipin Chandra Pal - Mahatma Gandhi - Sardar Patel - Subhash Chandra Bose - Badshah Khan - Jawaharlal Nehru - Maulana Azad - Chandrasekhar Azad - Rajaji - Bhagat Singh - Sarojini Naidu - Purushottam Das Tandon - More...
British Raj: Robert Clive - James Outram - Dalhousie - Irwin - Linlithgow - Wavell - Stafford Cripps - Mountbatten - More...
Independence: Cabinet Mission - Indian Independence Act - Partition of India - Political integration - Constitution - Republic of India
States and territories of India Flag of India
States: Andhra Pradesh • Arunachal Pradesh • Assam • Bihar • Chhattisgarh • Goa • Gujarat • Haryana • Himachal Pradesh • Jammu and Kashmir • Jharkhand • Karnataka • Kerala • Madhya Pradesh • Maharashtra • Manipur • Meghalaya • Mizoram • Nagaland • Orissa • Punjab • Rajasthan • Sikkim • Tamil Nadu • Tripura • Uttaranchal • Uttar Pradesh • West Bengal
Union Territories: Andaman and Nicobar Islands • Chandigarh • Dadra and Nagar Haveli • National Capital Territory of Delhi • Daman and Diu • Lakshadweep • Puducherry


History of South Asia

History of India
Stone Age 70,000–7000 BCE
Mehrgarh Culture 7000–3300 BCE
Indus Valley Civilization 3300–1700 BCE
Late Harappan Culture 1700–1300 BCE
Vedic Civilization 1500–500 BCE
· Iron Age Kingdoms · 1200–700 BCE
Maha Janapadas 700–300 BCE
Magadha Empire 684–26 BCE
· Maurya Dynasty · 321–184 BCE
Middle Kingdoms 230 BCE–1279 CE
· Satavahana Empire · 230 BCE–199 CE
· Ancient Tamil Kingdoms · 200 BCE–200 CE
· Kushan Empire · 60–240 CE
· Gupta Empire · 240–550
· Chola Empire · 848–1279
Islamic Sultanates 1210–1596
· Delhi Sultanate · 1206–1526
· Deccan Sultanates · 1490–1596
Hoysala Empire 1040–1346
Vijayanagara Empire 1336–1565
Mughal Era 1526–1707
Maratha Empire 1674–1818
Colonial Era 1757–1947
Modern States 1947 onwards
National Histories
Republic of India · Pakistan · Bangladesh
Sri Lanka · Nepal · Bhutan · Maldives
Regional Histories
Punjab · South India · Bengal · Assam
Pakistani Regions · Sindh · Tibet
Specialised Histories
Dynasties · Economy · Indology · Language
Literature · Maritime · Military · Mathematics
Science and Technology · Timeline
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  2. Sardar Patel. University of California. Retrieved on 2006-10-27.
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  6. The Constitution (26th Amendment) Act, 1971 (PHP). National Informatics Centre (2004-11-09). Retrieved on 2006-10-27.
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  9. "Instrument of Accession" (PHP), Hindustan Times, 2006-05-02. Retrieved on 2006-10-27.
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  14. Gandhi, Rajmohan (1991). Patel: A Life. India: Navajivan, 438. ASIN B0006EYQ0A.
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  17. President's Rule has been imposed frequently in states, especially during the Indian Emergency (1974–1977) under the Articles 352-360.
  18. Liberation of Goa (PHP). Bharat Rakshak. Retrieved on 2006-10-27.
  19. Operation Bluestar (PHP). Bharat Rakshak. Retrieved on 2006-10-27.
  20. The Chola Incident (PHP). Bharat Rakshak. Retrieved on 2006-10-27.
  21. K. P. S. Gill. Isolation breeds terrorism (PHP). South Asia Terrorism Portal. Retrieved on 2006-10-27.
  22. "Jammu State Demand" (PHP), Rediff.com. Retrieved on 2006-10-27.
  23. Bodoland Insurgency (PHP). Globalsecurity.org. Retrieved on 2006-10-27.



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