The Changing Indian Demography Since Independence

The Changing Indian Demography Since Independence

With the recent nullification of Jammu & Kashmir, and the state being divided into two Union Territories, the count of India’s states and UTs have changed. But do you know that during the time of independence, the country had 565 princely states that were officially recognized into the subcontinent apart from thousands of zamindari estates and jagirs? It was not easy to unite and bring together all the provinces into one nation. After the Second World War, the Britishers were left with no choice but to withdraw from India. Following the decision of the British withdrawal, the Congress party and the Muslin League decided to part India on religious note, under the provision of Indian Independence Act. Thus, India and Pakistan evolved as two separate territories, where India was allocated to majority of Hindus, on the other hand Pakistan was allocated for majority of Muslims.

Post the partition, the princely states were given the option to either join India or Pakistan. India secured 565 Subcontinent’s princely states and a major part of British provinces, and Pakistan acquired the remaining which includes western wing of the present day Pakistan and eastern wing of the Bangladesh. After the separation, nearly 3.5 million Hindus and Sikhs shifted from Pakistan to India, and around five million Muslims relocated to Pakistan from India. This period witnessed a tremendous loss of lives among both the countries, and created a rift between India and Pakistan, which further worsened over the acquisition of the princely states.

After several discussions, our then Deputy Prime Minister Vallabhbhai Patel and V.P. Menon persuaded the rules of various other princely states to merge with India, having obtained their possession. They gradually extended the central government administration over all the newly acquired princely state. However, Jammu & Kashmir, Tripura and Manipur intended to remain independent; but with the herculean efforts of Patel, over time, Hyderabad, Sikkim, Manipur, Tripura and Jammu & Kashmir joined the Indian Union.

In 1947, Uttar Pradesh, a Province of British Government obtained its name, Bengal, which served as a gateway for the British to invade India and its administrative capital, was partitioned into West Bengal and East Bengal in 1905, but it reunited in 1911. Present Rajasthan was known as Rajputana under the British rule. But several princely states joined together to form United States of Rajasthan in 1956. Orissa was made a separate province by British in 1936, and in 1950 it became a state and was renamed as Odisha in 2014.

Down South, the Madras Presidency was put together and formed into a state and was renamed as Tamil Nadu in 1950. Similarly, former states of Travancore, Cochin and Malabar were combined, and Kerala was born in 1956. Mysore state came into being by gathering all Kannada speaking regions in 1956, and the state was renamed as Karnataka in 1973. Likewise, all Telugu speaking regions were separated from the Madras Presidency and formed as Andhra Pradesh in 1956.

Thus the smaller provinces have gathered together and gradually evolved to form several states of our country.

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