Independence Day 2022: India celebrates 75 years of independence this year and the country's internal boundaries have undergone tremendous changes since 1947. The latest in line is the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir and the creation of two new Union territories (UTs) in August 2019.
However, Jammu and Kashmir's bifurcation was not the biggest change we saw in the internal boundaries of India. The Indian map witnessed significant changes in 1956, when an official States Reorganization Act was implemented.
Here's a step-by-step look at how the map of India has changed over the years, since 1947.
1947 - 1949
The external boundaries of India have basically changed just three times - when Goa was subsumed into the Indian Union in 1961, Pondicherry in 1962 and Sikkim in 1975. Regions that were covered in the country in the British era were the ones that achieved independence on August 15, 1947. However, there are many regions that were included in the map of India later. A number of states, including Kashmir, Hyderabad, Junagadh, Manipur and Tripura became part of the Union in the period between 1947 and 1949.
The smaller states in India amalgamated into larger regional territories by 1950. The change could be termed India's transition from a dominion to a republic of states. The new Constitution of India, which came into force on 26 January 1950, made India a sovereign democratic republic. The new republic was also declared a "Union of States".
The constitution of 1950 distinguished between three main types of states and a class of territories -
Part A states – which were the former governors' provinces of British India, ruled by a governor appointed by the president and an elected state legislature. The nine Part A states were Assam, Bihar, Bombay, Madhya Pradesh (formerly Central Provinces and Berar), Madras, Orissa, Punjab (formerly East Punjab), Uttar Pradesh (formerly the United Provinces), and West Bengal.
Part B states – which were former princely states or unions of princely states, governed by a rajpramukh, who was usually the ruler of a constituent state, and an elected legislature. The rajpramukh was appointed by the President of India. The eight Part B states were Hyderabad, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Bharat, Mysore, Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU), Rajasthan, Saurashtra, and Travancore-Cochin.
Part C states – which included both the former chief commissioners' provinces and some princely states, and each was governed by a chief commissioner appointed by the President of India. The 10 Part C states were Ajmer, Bhopal, Bilaspur, Coorg, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Cutch, Manipur, Tripura, and Vindhya Pradesh.
The sole Part D territory was the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which was administered by a lieutenant governor appointed by the central government.
Andhra State was created in 1953, from the Telugu-speaking northern districts of Madras state (now known as Chennai). The state was made up of two distinct cultural regions – Rayalaseema and Coastal Andhra. Andhra State did not include all Telugu-speaking areas as it excluded some in Hyderabad State.
The formation of a first "linguistic state" paved the way to creation of more such states and provided an opportunity for these states to develop independently, linguistically and economically, each of them having a state to support.
Three years later, under the State Reorganisation Act of 1956, Andhra State was merged with the Telugu-speaking regions of Hyderabad State to form Andhra Pradesh.
In the largest reorganisation of the regions of India, the country was organised into 14 states and six union territories. This was when the official States Reorganization Act was implemented. The Act was enacted on August 31, 1956.
Before it came into effect on 1 November, an important amendment was made to the Constitution of India. Under the Seventh Amendment, the existing terminology of Part A, Part B, Part C and Part D states was altered. The distinction between Part A and Part B states was removed, becoming known simply as "states". A new type of entity, the Union Territory, replaced the classification as a Part C or Part D state.
On 1 November 1956, Bombay State was re-organized under the States Reorganisation Act on linguistic lines, absorbing various territories - ncluding the Saurashtra and Kutch States, which ceased to exist. On 1 May 1960, Bombay State was dissolved and split on linguistic lines into two states - Gujarat and Maharashtra.
This came following massive protests and the Samyukta Maharashtra Movement, which claimed the lives of 107 people.
The Indian Parliament passed the Punjab Reorganisation Act on 18 September 1966, which dissolved the former state of East Punjab. Thereafter, a modern state of Punjab and a modern state of Haryana were created. The territory was transferred to Himachal Pradesh, then a Union Territory.
Meanwhile, the city of Chandigarh became a temporary Union Territory to serve as the provisional capital of both the Punjab and Haryana. This separation was the result of the Punjabi Suba movement, which agitated for the creation of a Punjabi-speaking state (the modern state of Punjab). In the process a majority Hindi-speaking state (Haryana) was also created.
The whole of 1970s witnessed several changes in the boundaries along the north-eastern frontier.
Manipur and Tripura were granted statehood and the state of Meghalaya and Union territory Mizoram were carved out of Assam in 1972.
Three years later, a referendum held in Sikkim, till then India’s protectorate, voted for joining the Indian Union as a state.
The birth of two more north-eastern states - Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh was witnessed in the 1980s. Both the states were granted statehood in 1987.
Meanwhile, Goa and Daman & Diu were split into the state of Goa and the UT of Daman and Diu
The next big changes to the Indian boundaries happened with the onset of the millenium.
The Uttarakhand movement (events of statehood activism within the undivided state of Uttar Pradesh) ultimately resulted in the formation of Uttarakhand from within the undivided state of Uttar Pradesh. Uttarakhand became to be known as a state on November 9, 2000.
The demand to make Uttarakhand a state was first raised at a special session of the Indian National Congress held in Srinagar in May 1938. The demand gradually strengthened which was followed by a series of events. In 1994, the demand for a separate state eventually took the form of mass movement that resulted in the formation of India's 27th state by 2000.
In 2000, a campaign led by the BJP for a separate state culminated with the passage of the Bihar Reorganisation Act, creating Jharkhand as a new Indian state.
Meanwhile, Chhattisgarh was separated from Madhya Pradesh on November 1, 2000. The demand for Chhattisgarh to be a separate state first rose in the 1920s, with similar demands appearing at regular intervals; however, a well-organised movement was never initiated. Several all-party platforms were created and usually resolved around petitions, public meetings, seminars, rallies and strikes.
In the 1990s, the demand became more prominent, resulting in the formation of a statewide political forum known as the Chhattisgarh Rajya Nirman Manch. The forum was led by Chandulal Chadrakar and several successful region-wide strikes and rallies were organised under it, all of which were supported by major political parties, such as the Indian National Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The new National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government sent the Separate Chhattisgarh Bill for approval by the Madhya Pradesh Assembly, where it was unanimously approved and then submitted to the Lok Sabha.
The bill was passed in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, which allowed the creation of the state of Chhattisgarh.
On June 2, 2014, India witnessed the formation of Telangana State. Kalvakuntla Chandrashekar Rao was elected the first chief minister of Telangana.
Back in 2013, the Congress Working Committee had unanimously passed a resolution to recommend the formation of a separate Telangana state. After various stages, the bill was finally placed in the Parliament of India in February 2014. In February 2014, Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014 bill was passed by the Parliament of India for the formation of Telangana state comprising ten districts from north-western Andhra Pradesh. The bill received the assent of the president and published in the Gazette on March 1, 2014.
The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 became effective on October 31, 2019. A bill for the act was introduced by the Minister of Home Affairs, Amit Shah, in the Rajya Sabha on August 5, 2019 and was passed on the same day. It was then passed by the Lok Sabha on August 6, 2019 and it received the president's assent on August 9, 2019.
The act comprised of provisions to reconstitute the Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir, a part of the larger region of Kashmir which has been the subject of dispute among India, Pakistan, and China since 1947, into two Indian-administered union territories (UTs) - Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
The act consists of 103 clauses, extends 106 central laws to the UTs, repeals 153 state laws, and abolishes the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Council among other things.
The introduction of the bill was preceded by a presidential order which indirectly amended Article 370 of the Indian constitution and revoked Jammu and Kashmir's special status.
The act has also given powers to the central government to pass a number of executive orders in relation to both the union territories. These orders have resulted in the modification or repeal of over 400 state and central laws with respect to the union territories. The act has been challenged in court through a number of petitions.
One of the most important, but this may not be the last of the changes in India’s internal boundaries. Several regions across India still aspire for full statehood, although the intensity of demand varies across regions, and over time.