Saturday, June 7, 2014

Reorganisation of States

The British rulers in India had formed the provinces from time to time on ground of expediency. After the merger of states, a number of new administrative units were created. Therefore, there was an immediate need for the

'Reorganisation of States’ on scientific lines, "so that the welfare of the people of each constituent unit as well the nation as a whole is promoted". In 1948, the Linguistic Provinces Committee known as the Dar Committee was appointed to examine the demands for the creation of linguistic states. The Dar Committee opposed the creation of linguistic states on the ground that nationalism and sub- nationalism were two emotional experiences which grew at the expense of each other. The report of this committee was strongly opposed by the supporters of the linguistic states. In this connection, the strongest agitation was launched in the Telugu speaking areas of the then Madras State. After the death of Potti Sriramulu, the leader of the agitation in that area, the situation became so tense that the Government of India was forced to create the state of Andhra as the first linguistic State in India. Subsequently, numerous agitations were launched in different linguistic regions for the creation of respective linguistic states. Though the Government of India initially opposed division of the country on the basis of language, ultimately Prime Minister Nehru made a statement in the Parliament on December 22, 1953, to the effect that a Commission would be appointed to examine “objectively and dispassionately” the question of reorganisation of the states of the Indian Union so that the welfare of the people of each constituent unit as well as the nation as a whole is promoted.

THE STATES REORGANISATION COMMISSION (1953)


The States Reorganisation Commission was headed by Mr Fazl Ali and its two other members were Pandit Hridayanath Kunzuru and Sardar K. M. Panikar. The Commission submitted its report to the government of India on September 30, 1955. Some of the important recommendations of the Commission were:

  1. The Indian Union was to consist of 16 States as against the existing 27 and three centrally administered territories.

  2. Special safeguards were recommended for linguistic minorities

  3. In the interests of national unity and good administration, the Commission recommended the reconstitution of certain All India Services It further recommended that at least 50 per cent of the new entrants to the All India Services and at least one third of the number of Judges in a High Court should consist of persons recruited from outside that State so that, administration might inspire confidence and help in arresting parochial trends.

  4. The Commission put emphasis on the need for encouraging the study of Indian languages other than Hindi but, for some time to come, English continue to occupy an important place in the universities and institutions of higher learning.


The Commission rejected the demand for the creation of a Punjabi Speaking State (Punjabi Suba) because “the creation of such a state will solve neither the language nor the communal problem”.

The State Reorganisation Act was passed by Parliament in 1956 to give effect to these recommendations. It provided for fourteen States and six Union Territories. But two of the most sensitive areas, Bombay and Punjab, were not reorganised on linguistic basis. The demands for separate tribal states, including Jharkhand and Nagaland, were also by passed.

To express resentment against the Commission’s report with regard to Maharashtra there was fierce rioting and violence under the auspices of two linguistically based organisations, namely, the Samyukta Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti and the Maha Gujarat Parishad. After three years of trouble, ultimately in 1960, the demands for reorganisation were accepted and Maharashtra and Gujarat were constituted as separate linguistic states with Bombay as part of Maharashtra.

Reorganisation of StatesThe creation of Nagaland as a separate state had its own peculiarities. The Naga tribes along the Assam-Burma border had never been fully controlled by the British and the problem was further complicated on account of the large scale conversion of the Naga tribes to Christianity by American Baptist missionaries. There was a long entrenched rebellion led by the Naga leader A. Z. Phizo, but the traditional leadership of the Naga tribes under the Naga People’s Convention wanted a settlement “within the Indian Union”. Ultimately in 1963, Nagaland was created as a separate State. In Punjab, at the time of partition, the Akali Dal had long demanded a Sikh State, if not an independent Khalistan. The demand for the Punjabi Suba was voiced not in communal but linguistic terms. However, strictly speaking, there was no language problem in Punjab. But the Akali Dal, encouraged by the bifurcation of Bombay in 1960 began agitation for the Punjabi Suba. The agitation continued without any response from the Government. Then in 1966, the State was divided into two parts, Punjab and Haryana. The hilly areas of Punjab were added to Himachal Pradesh, which itself was constituted as an independent state on January 25, 1971.

The map of India has undergone further changes since 1966. In 1975, there was an addition to the territorial boundaries of India in the form of the State of Sikkim, which was till then a protectorate of India. Radical changes have been made in the map of North-Eastern region of India which now has 7 States. Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Goa, Daman & Diu have been elevated to statehood and at present the Union of India consists of 25 States and 6 Union Territories.

The British rulers in India had formed the provinces from time to time on ground of expediency. After the merger of states, a number of new administrative units were created. Therefore, there was an immediate need for the

'Reorganisation of States’ on scientific lines, "so that the welfare of the people of each constituent unit as well the nation as a whole is promoted". In 1948, the Linguistic Provinces Committee known as the Dar Committee was appointed to examine the demands for the creation of linguistic states. The Dar Committee opposed the creation of linguistic states on the ground that nationalism and sub- nationalism were two emotional experiences which grew at the expense of each other. The report of this committee was strongly opposed by the supporters of the linguistic states. In this connection, the strongest agitation was launched in the Telugu speaking areas of the then Madras State.

After the death of Potti Sriramulu, the leader of the agitation in that area, the situation became so tense that the Government of India was forced to create the state of Andhra as the first linguistic State in India. Subsequently, numerous agitations were launched in different linguistic regions for the creation of respective linguistic states. Though the Government of India initially opposed division of the country on the basis of language, ultimately Prime Minister Nehru made a statement in the Parliament on December 22, 1953, to the effect that a Commission would be appointed to examine “objectively and dispassionately” the question of reorganisation of the states of the Indian Union so that the welfare of the people of each constituent unit as well as the nation as a whole is promoted.


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