• Before Independence, India was comprised of two political units – British Provinces which were ruled directly by British Government and the Princely States that were under the rule of native king or prince but were subject to British Government.
  • The division of British India into two Independent dominions – India and Pakistan were result of the Indian Independence Act, 1947. It offered three options to the Princely States –
  1. Join Indian Dominion
  2. Join Pakistan Dominion
  3. Remain Independent
  • Except Hyderabad, Junagarh and Kashmir, all other 549 Princely States joined India.
  • But they were too gradually integrated in India by the means of Police Action, Referendum and the Instrument of Accession respectively.
  • In 1950, the Indian Constitution came into existence which classified the constituent units of the Indian Union into the following if the four parts which are as follows –



Description – Former British Provinces

Administrator – An elected Governor and State Legislature

States Included – Total 9 number of States

  1. Assam
  2. Bihar
  3. Bombay
  4. Madhya Pradesh
  5. Madras
  6. Orissa
  7. Punjab
  8. United Provinces
  9. West Bengal


Description – Former Princely States or groups of covenanting states

Administrator – Rajpramukh (Former Prince)

States Included – Total 9 number of States

  1. Hyderabad
  2. Jammu and Kashmir
  3. Madhya Pradesh
  4. Mysore
  5. Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU)
  6. Rajasthan
  7. Saurashtra
  8. Travancore Cochin
  9. Vindhya Pradesh


Description – Former Princely States and Provinces

Administrator – Chief Commissioner

States Included – Total 10 number of States

  1. Ajmer
  2. Bhopal
  3. Bilaspur
  4. Cooch – Behar
  5. Coorg
  6. Delhi
  7. Himachal Pradesh
  8. Kutch
  9. Manipur
  10. Tripura


Description – Union Territory

Administrator – Governor appointed by the Indian President

States Included – Andaman and Nicobar Islands

  • Earlier, the British states were created on the basis of political, military and strategic planning by the Britishers. But they were not suitable for easy administration.
  • Therefore, the Reorganization of State borders was necessary and it was proposed on the basis of Languages of India. It aimed to replace Caste and Religion based identities with less complex in nature, the Linguistic identities.
  • Initially, the Indian National Congress supported the criterion of the Linguistic basis Reorganization of the Indian States but after the Independence, the Congress led government rejected this for being an unsuitable idea that would pose a threat to the National Unity of India.



  • A Linguistic Provinces Commission was set up under Chairmanship of SK Dhar, and other members of committee were Jagat Narain Lal and Panna Lal. Dhar commission was appointed by Government of India on 17 June 1948.
  • It was created to make recommendation whether the States should be organized on the basis of language.
  • The Commission submitted its report on 10th December ,1948, recommending that “the formation of Provinces on Linguistic consideration is not in the larger interests of the Indian Nation”.
  • It recommended the reorganization of the provinces of Madras, Bombay and Central Provinces on the basis of the Administrative convenience like geographical contiguity, financial self-sufficiency and ease of administration.



  • To examine the report of the Dhar Commission, the Government of India established another Committee in 1949. It was comprised of Jawahar Lal Nehru, Vallabhbhai Patel and Pattabhi Sitaramayya, therefore, was popularly known as the JVP Committee.
  • This Committee also rejected the idea of reorganization on the linguistic basis in its report submitted in April 1949.
  • In October 1953, the first Linguistic State was created by Government of India known as Andhra Pradesh by separating the Telugu speaking area from the Madras State which was followed by a prolonged popular agitation and the death of Potti Sriramulu, a Congress person of Standing, after a 56-day hunger strike for the cause.



  • The demand of reorganization of the States on the basis language intensified after the incidence of Andhra Pradesh. Therefore, the Government was forced to take quick action and thus formed another Commission for more recommendation.
  • In December 1953, a Commission was made under the chairmanship of Faizal Ali with two other members M. Panikkar and H.N. Kunzru for the purpose.
  • The Commission submitted its report in September 1955, it rejected the idea theory of “one language one state” but broadly accepted language as the basis of reorganization of States with due regard to Unity of India.
  • It recommended four factors to take into account for reorganization of States –
  1. Preservation and Strengthening of the Unity and Security of the country.
  2. Linguistic and Cultural homogeneity.
  3. Financial, economic and administrative considerations.
  4. Planning and promotion of the welfare of the people in each state as well as of the nation as a whole.
  • The Commission suggested for the abolition of four-fold classification of states and the creation of 16 states and 3 centrally administered territories. The government accepted the recommendations and as a result, 14 states and 6 union territories were created on 1 November, 1956.


STATESAndhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Bombay, Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Madras, Mysore, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

UNION TERRITORIESAndaman and Nicobar Islands, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Laccadive, Manipur and Tripura.


After 1956, the creation of some more states on the basis of language or cultural homogeneity resulted in the bifurcation of existing States:

  • Maharashtra and Gujarat- In 1960, Bombay was divided into two separate states – Maharashtra for Marathi speaking people and Gujarat for Gujarati speaking people.
  • Dadra and Nagar Haveli – By the 10th Constitutional Amendment Act it was converted into a Union Territory.
  • Goa, Daman and Diu – By the 12th Constitutional Amendment Act they were constituted as a Union territory but Goa conferred statehood in 1967.
  • Puducherry – By the 14th Constitutional Amendment Act it was made a Union territory in 1962.
  • Haryana, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh – Punjab was bifurcated in 1966 and created Haryana as a state and Chandigarh as a Union territory. Himachal Pradesh was elevated to the status of a State in 1971.
  • Manipur, Tripura and Meghalaya – In 1972, the three of them got Statehood.
  • Sikkim- By the 36th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1975 Sikkim was made a full-fledged state of India and this amendment added a new Article 371-F to provide special provisions with respect to the administration of Sikkim.
  • Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand- In 2000, Chhattisgarh was created out of the territory of Madhya Pradesh Uttarakhand was created out of the territory of Uttar Pradesh Jharkhand was created out of the territory of Bihar.
  • Telangana- In accordance with the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act of 2014, Andhra Pradesh was bifurcated into two separate States; Andhra Pradesh and Telangana with Hyderabad as joint capital for both the States.
  • Recently, the Parliament of India enacted the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019, which reconstituted the Indian administered State of Jammu and Kashmir into two; the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and the Union Territory of Ladakh.
  • Therefore, Presently India has 28 States and 08 Union Territories.

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