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The Formation of States

During its struggle for freedom, the Indian National Congress had stated that each major Linguistic group would have its own province.

As Gandhiji’s dream of one nation did not materialize due to the partition of India, Congress leaders were sceptical about a further division of states on the basis of language. The partition of India resulted in the death of millions of people who were killed in the riots between the Hindus and the Muslims. They feared that this may happen if the country was divided on linguistic lines.

Prime Minister Nehru and Deputy Prime Minister Vallabhbhai Patel were against the creation of linguistic states.

Views of the Leaders

Prime Minister Nehru

Disruptionist tendencies had come to the fore"; to check them, the nation had to be strong and united.

Deputy Prime Minister Vallabhbhai Patel


The first and last need of India at the present moment is that it should be made a nation …Everything which helps the growth of nationalism has to go forward and everything which throws obstacles in its way has to be rejected.

  • This view of the leaders brought disappointment to the Kannada, Malayalam and Marathi speakers, as they had all looked forward to having their own state.

  • The strongest protests came from the Telugu-speaking districts of the Madras Presidency.

Madras Presidency

  • There was great protest in demand for a separate state for the Telugu speaking people.

Potti Sriramulu

  • In October, 1952, a veteran Gandhian named Potti Sriramulu went on a hunger fast demanding the formation of Andhra state to protect the interests of Telugu speakers.

  • Hartals and bandhs were observed in many towns.

  • On 15 December 1952, fifty-eight days into his fast, Potti Sriramulu died.

  • The death of Potti Sriramulu threw Andhra into utter chaos. The protests were widespread and intense that the Central Government was forced to give in to the demand.

  • On 1 October 1953, the new state of Andhra Pradesh was formed.


Andhra Pradesh State

  • After the creation of Andhra, other linguistic communities also demanded their own separate states.

  • A States Reorganisation Commission was set up, which submitted its report in 1956.

  • The Commission recommending the redrawing of district and provincial boundaries to form compact provinces of Assamese, Bengali, Oriya, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada and Telugu-speakers respectively.

  • The large Hindi-speaking region of north India was broken up into several states.

  • In 1960, the bilingual state of Bombay was divided into separate states for Marathi and Gujarati speakers.

  • In 1966, the state of Punjab was also divided into Punjab and Haryana.


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