Indian tradition and dharma has always adored and worshipped the Motherland as superior to all Gods and Goddesses and the Heaven.
Adoration and worship of Bharat Mata, our Janmabhoomi, Punyabhoomi, Karmabhoomi, and Moksha Bhoomi, is the hallmark of Hindu Dharma.
The Vedas and Puranas proclaim the glory and greatness of our Motherland. In Ramayana there is a sloka uttered by Sri Rama.
जननी जन्मभूमिश्- च स्वर्गादपि- गरीयसी
Janani Janma-bhoomi-scha Swargadapi Gariyasi
The meaning of the above sloka is Mother and Motherland are greater than heavens. Nothing can be holier to us than this land.
Every particle of dust, everything living or nonliving, every stock and stone, tree and rivulet of this land is holy to us.
On Independence day, I look briefly at how some of the current states came into being. Some of them I had not even heard before. This is now India looked before partition.
° The United Province eventually became Uttar Pradesh. Apparently, “uttar” was not just “north” but also was “answer.” Some early word play. But given their way, they wanted to be called Aryavartha. Failing which they wanted “Hind” or even “Hindustan.”
° The centre had to put its foot down. Ambedkar made some changes and Pant had to promise not to continue with pompous names. They still think they are India, don’t they? 🙂
° Rajasthan started as Rajputana with 22 princely states.It look 7 different stages for modern Rajasthan to emerge. The changes were initially happening on a daily basis! It all started with the United States of Matsya …
° Not be left behind, a week later, a few others got together and created Rajasthan Union. Less than a month, we had an M&A 🙂 The combined entity was called United States for Rajasthan. The United States had such an influence on naming!
° It continued to evolve rapidly. This time the big princely states agreeing to join; in particular Jaipur. Finally, in the 1956 reorganisation of states, it settled to its present confines.
° Madhya Pradesh was initially Central Province and Berar with Nagpur(!) as capital. It quickly became MP while there was a separate Madhya Bharat, Vindhya Pradesh and Bhopal. Yes, Bhopal was a separate state for some time. In 1956, Nagpur (the capital!) went to Bombay State.
° A state losing its capital is astonishing and this is what linguistic division did. For this we have to thank the Andhra but then as it turned out, they couldn’t stay in one piece. Maybe linguistic was not the right way to reorganise.
° Which brings us to Bombay State. Which was one long state, containing parts of what is now Gujarat and Karnataka. In 1956, it picked up Saurashtra and Kutch. Someone actually thought this was *one* linguistic entity!
° Bombay was meant to be a bilingual state. But it didn’t last long. In 1960, Bombay State bifurcated into Maharashtra and Gujarat. There was even an attempt to make the city of Bombay into an union territory. More than a 100 people died in all this struggle
° Down south, Madras presidency became Madras. It managed to be on both sides of the peninsula! Whenever I look at this map, I am surprised at how it encircled Mysore to reach out to Mangalore (and Calicut).
° Madras was not just bilingual but had all four big dravidian languages. In 1956 it shrunk giving up portions of itself to Andhra, Karnataka and Kerala. In 1969 it was renamed for what it was: Tamil Nadu.
° Interestingly, Andhra wanted Madras city as part of Andhra Pradesh! Why not? Given what was happening with Nagpur and Bombay etc.
° Among the 500 odd princely states, the British had 5 residencies (diplomats etc) in India; three of them were in the south. Mysore grew into a superset by taking parts of Madras and Hyderabad. And it was eventually renamed Karnataka in 1973.
° Travancore grew into Kerala. And Hyderabad split into pieces that became part of Maharashtra, Karnataka and of course Andhra Pradesh. All this in 1956.
° When Andhra split recently, it was essentially the old divide; the regions from Madras Presidency and the regions from Nizam’s Hyderabad. The old fault lines, they don’t go away … Wouldn’t Nagpur want to be a capital again?
° In the east, Assam was of course big. Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland were all carved out of Assam. Many (like Mizoram and Meghalaya) started at union territories and later became states, some as recent as 87.
° At independence, India had an hierarchy of states: Part A t D. Many states have been split, and new states have been stitched together. It is a dynamic process. It will continue.
° There is even a list of “aspiring” states. If you look at this map, you will find the old boundaries and divides. The old yearnings. They don’t go away. They fade for sometime and then they come back …
° Haryana came from splitting Punjab in 1966. Three states I haven’t spoken about are Punjab, J&K, and West Bengal. The reasons should be obvious. And then Goa, Pondicherry, and Sikkim. More recently, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Uttarakhand.
° The states of India will continue to evolve along with its people. It has been along journey.
Let me stop here and wish you all a very Happy 73rd Independence Day!