Bombay and Madras Presidency

After the independence of India, there was a big question to keep India united. This was the first test given by free India. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru became the first Prime Minister of India. Nehru conducted rallies to address his plans after India’s independence, people from every part in the country involved themselves to listen but in Madras Presidency everyone was opposing Nehru. When Nehru came to address people in Guntur(A place in Madras Presidency) nobody wanted to listen to him and people started shouting slogans and the mob became restless. He had to leave the place without addressing. At that time we were on the verge of civil war and India was on the verge of another division.

The biggest question was the division of State based on the language will divide India once again like Pakistan. On 27th Nov 1947 he agreed on the division of Andhra from Madras Presidency but disagreed on the Division of Karnataka and Maharashtra. Tanguturi Prakasam a well known Telugu figure announced in April 1948 that Andhra Pradesh will be formed as he was chief minister of Madras during that time. Pandit Nehru was not happy with T.Prakasham’s decision. This was a huge turnaround and it also created conflict in his party. Due to disputes in his party, taking a stern decision was very difficult and it could create a ridge and divide the party into two. So, Pandit Nehru was not clear exactly what to do in this situation. Nehru was thinking if we give the decision to divide one state then other states will also ask for division based on language and this will give rise to civil war in the country.

Nevertheless, to check the need and feasibility of such reorganization, the then President Rajendra Prasad constituted the ‘Linguistic Provinces Commission’ headed by SK Dhar in 1948. But Dhar was not supporting the formation of Andhra Pradesh. People were asking Andhra and Madras as one province but it was not possible to include Tamil Nadu in Andhra because the Tamil language was different from the Telugu Language. Nehru was totally against this formation of states. Because this could hurt the sentiments of Tamilians and this could rage violence in Madras Presidency. T Prakasam left congress because he had given confirmation that Andhra Pradesh will be formed and Madras as the capital and congress was against it. So, he joined a regional party Kisan Mazdoor Praja Party which was established in 1951 by J.B.Kripalani. T Prakasam filed his opinion without Madras as Capital Andhra Pradesh will not be formed. Nehru was against this view so he started blaming Prakasam for the delay in the formation of Andhra. When elections were held in December 1951 Congress won with a huge margin in other states but faced a huge defeat in Madras Presidency. Congress only managed to score 43 seats out of 145.

T.Prakasam did not change his views on Andhra after the defeat of Congress. Not only T.Prakasam but one social reformer and Indian revolutionary Potti Sreeramulu sat on fast on 19th October 1952. He was very clear on his point that he will break his fast until Andhra is not formed with Madras as his capital. He was a great believer of Gandhian philosophy and he suggested all his followers not to use any means of violence. Due to these fast and unrest there, Nehru still did not agree to form Andhra with Madras as its capital. After 50 days of Sreeramulu’s fast, Nehru was having very little time to form a new State. Everybody even his followers pressurized Sreeramulu to break his fast but he didn’t break his fast. C. Rajagopalachari chief minister of Madras Presidency was not willing to give Madras. On 15th December 1952 Potti Sreeramulu died and violence broke out on railway stations, government offices. For 3 days of huge attacks, stone pelters were carried out. After that, on 19th December 1952, Nehru decided to make a new State of Andhra Pradesh. But after this, it didn’t stop then and now every province was asking to make a new State based on language.

The other state who started making pressure was Bombay. On 22nd December 1953 Reorganization Commission was formed to look after the division of Bombay. 3 groups wanted division in their favor. The three stakeholders were Marathis, Gujratis and Businessmen of Bombay who wanted Bombay to be a state. Bombay Citizens’ Committee was an advocacy group that lobbied to keep Bombay city out of Maharashtra during the state reorganization, because Bombay has a mixed language ratio Hindi, Gujaratis, Marathis and people from Madras presidency. So the Bombay Citizens’ Committee wanted Bombay to be a state so that language should not be a barrier in a progressive society because of this a memorandum was submitted by business and working-class people to the Reorganization Committee on 20th June 1954. Nehru already knew the Reorganization Committee Report. Nehru wrote a letter to his friend Mountbatten on 12th October 1955 telling about the present state of India and the division of Bombay State and asked for his suggestions. Morarji Desai Bombay proposed his thought of making the three different states of Maharashtra, Gujrat, and Bombay. Morarji Desai and SK Patil faced injury in stone-pelting in one of his rallies while discussing the issue of the Bombay division.

After huge violence and loss of government property, Nehru gave his decision as Gujarat and Maharashtra to be two different states and Bombay will be centrally ruled. Many People disagreed with this decision even his own cabinet minister C.D. Deshmukh. He gave resignation from his position as he didn’t agree with Nehru’s decision and this can draw a ridge in Congress party. Nehru was not sure what to do on this because it was adding huge violence in the state. Later on, after 58 years under the leadership of Dr. Manmohan Singh Telangana was also divided from Andhra Pradesh on 2 June, 2014.

Now, we have 29 states and 7 union territories (before Jammu & Kashmir division). The question lies how many more states and union territories will be formed, how many times India will be divided based on language, caste, and religion. Please share your views in the comment section. Please, like share and subscribe for more informative content.

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Ashish Pandey

Hello Everyone I am Ashish Pandey . I am working as a software developer in Tata Consultancy Services. I like reading books and love sci-fi movies. I started writing blogs this year and ourblogger has given nice platform to share my views independently. Please share your views regarding my blogs either positive or negative. So we can reach on a great conclusion. Hope you all will like my blogs.

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