VIII.B.1 and 2. Territorial and Administration Changes, 1857 to 1947
In the ninety years that elapsed between the Revolt of 1857–59 and the granting of Indian and Pakistani indepen- dence, the territorial map of India was subjected to a substan- tial number of changes. Most of these changes were in response to the need for increased administrative efficiency, but a few entailed other political motives as well. Plates VIII.B.1 and 2 depict the changes made, with their dates, both in the extent of the several territorial jurisdictions comprising British India, its princely states, and neighboring countries within South Asia and in the legal status of these territories. The changes are indi- cated in chronological order by key numbers and letters within the areas affected, the specific details being provided, as a rule, in the notes below the maps themselves. Plate VIII.B.1 relates to changes made up to 1904 and VIII.B.2 to later events.
Among the principal events of the period, a number related to the extension of British domains in the North-West, the North-East, and Upper Burma from 1905 to the drawing of the McMahon Line in 1914. Since those events have been treated in some detail on plate VIII.A.1 and discussed in the relevant text, nothing more need be said about them here.
A second category of change was the establishment of new provinces within British India itself. In the early stages of Brit- ish expansion in India their possessions were extended, in the main, inward from the three presidency towns of Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras, and the process of adding new terri- tories to each of those presidencies was determined more by the vagaries of political and military fortune than by some preconceived territorial design. In the course of time the three presidencies became so extended that they were made exceed- ingly difficult to govern. As early as 1834 the Agra Presidency, reconstituted as the lieutenant-governorship of the North- Western Provinces in 1836, was carved out of the Presidency of Bengal. This area included the far-flung holdings of the British from the Bihar border westward to the Sutlej and from the border of Kumaun with Tibet south into what were then the Sagar and Narbada ("Saugor and Nerbudda") Territories in Central India. In 1853 portions of this area were combined with Britain's recent conquests west of the Sutlej to form the chief-commissioner's province of Punjab, and in 1856, on the annexation of Oudh, that area too was constituted as a chief- commissionership. In 1861, the Sagar and Narbada Territories were combined with the "Nagpoor Territories," till then still administered as a part of Bengal, to form the chief-commis- sionership of the Central Provinces. Subsequent chief-com- missioner's provinces created before 1905 included Burma (1862), Mysore and Coorg (1869), Ajmer-Merwara (1871), the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (1872), Assam (1874), Baluchistan (1887), and the North-West Frontier Province (1901). On the "rendition" of Mysore in 1881 to its former ruling house (to be discussed below) the chief-commission- ership of Mysore and Coorg was restricted to Coorg alone.
Probably the most politically significant changes in the ter- ritorial structure of India in the entire pre-independence period were those effected in the period 1905–12 (plate VIII.B.2, maps (a) and (b)). Despite the drastic reduction in the size of the Bengal Presidency during the nineteenth century, it re- mained, in the British view, too large and populous to be ef- fectively governed as a single unit. Apart from its staggering population (78.5 million in 1901). Bengal presented a situa- tion in which the relatively prosperous west contrasted mark- edly with the relatively isolated, and therefore neglected, east- ern districts. The latter were cut off by a maze of deltaic rivers from the economic growth of the region focusing on Calcutta and were being drained of what talents they had by the allure of service and other job opportunities in that metropolis. The potentially major port of Chittagong, the natural outlet for the jute of the eastern districts and the tea and newly develop- ing oil resources of Assam, also languished because of the commercial ascendancy of Calcutta. In light of these and other considerations, the viceroy, Lord Curzon, decided on the par- tition of Bengal, which was to be but one change among many he envisaged to rationalize the political map of India. Over the strongly expressed opposition of a significant segment of the Bengali population, Curzon's scheme went into effect in 1905.
The initial opposition to the partition of Bengal came pri- marily from the province's Hindu bhadralok (gentry). Apart from the concern of the easterners among them about being cut off from obtaining service positions in Calcutta and else- where in the west, educated Hindus generally saw in Curzon's scheme a partisan desire to create a Muslim majority prov- ince where none had previously existed (see pie graphs on map (a)) and to divide and weaken the politically active Hindu population. Among the subsequent responses to the act was the launching in Bengal of the "Swadeshi" movement, a boycott of British-made goods that later spread through much of India; an epidemic of terrorist bombings in Bengal and elsewhere; and the condemnation of the partition by
In turn, partially in reaction to the predominantly Hindu agitation of the period, the Muslim League was created in 1906, its first session being held in Dacca, the new provincial capital of East Bengal.
The British response to the altered political climate in India took several forms. It included not only passage of the Indian Councils Act of 1909 (to be discussed in reference to plates VIII.B.3 and 4), but also, in 1912, a revocation of the parti- tion of Bengal, insofar as the area of Bengali language was concerned; the reconstitution of the province of Assam; and the separation from Bengal of a new province, Bihar and Orissa. The newly constituted province of Bengal was for the first time, for all practical purposes, unilingual; but religiously it was almost evenly split between Muslims and Hindus. While the former had a slight edge numerically, the latter were edu- cationally and economically more advantaged. It was an ar- rangement both groups proved able to live with until the ap- proach of Indian and Pakistani independence.
A further change, of immense symbolic significance, was the shift in 1911 of India's capital from Calcutta to the traditional seat of imperial power, Delhi, and the decision to construct near the latter site the planned city of New Delhi, whose splen- dor would befit the nation's glorious past.
From 1912 to 1947 (plate VIII.B.2, map (c)), two changes relating to the provinces of British India were of particular note: the separation in 1935 of Orissa from Bihar and Sind from Bombay. Both of these changes were based primarily on linguistic considerations and foreshadowed the demand for lin- guistic states that was so important an aspect of internal poli- tics in the post-independence period (cf. plate IX.A.1 and 2).
It has been mentioned in the introduction to section VIII that, after the establishment of crown rule in India in 1858, princely states were put into direct fedual relationships with the British sovereign and that the British recognized the right of the princes to adopt heirs and thereby preclude annexation of their domains under the so-called doctrine of lapse. Conse- quently, after the confiscation of the territories of the handful of states that had acted disloyally during the Revolt of 1857–59, very few states ceased to exist in the remainder of the pre- independence period, and the important state of Mysore, which had been placed under British administration in 1831, was ac- tually restored to its maharaja in 1881. A certain number of largely insignificant changes were made by rulings whereby "states" were downgraded to the legal status of "estates" and vice versa, "states" being legally ruled by their princes and "es- tates" merely being owned, despite the fact that the owners may have had the title of "raja." Elsewhere, princes were re- warded or, more commonly, punished by the granting or se- questering of land for suitable causes. The most frequent cause for sequestration of land held by the princes was defaulting on debts or other obligations owed to the British. In that way a considerable diminution of the territories of the Nizam of Hyderabad had been effected in 1853. But in return for the Nizam's loyalty during the Revolt of 1857, portions of the "Ceded Territories" were restored in 1860, while at the same time other territorial exchanges were also made.
After 1912 (plate VIII.B.2, map (c)), the changes in the extent of individual princely states were few. Several new states agencies (groups of states within the charge of a British political agent) were, however, created in 1933, and in that year many states were shifted from one agency to another in an attempt to create a more rational system of overseeing princely rule.
The final major event of the period under review was the severance of Burma from the British Indian Empire and its constitution as a separate crown colony.
East India (Indian States) (1929); India, Census (1901), (1911).
W. W. Hunter (1894); Imperial Gazetteer . . . (1909), (1931).
J. Bartholomew (various years); Great Britain, Parliament, House of Commons, East India (1869), (1873); India, Sur- veyor General's Office (1881); National Geographic Society (1946).
G. Johnson (1967, listed under Unpublished Works), (1973); W. Lee-Warner (1910); K. M. Panikkar (1932).
VIII.B.3 and 4. Constitutional Development
In the introduction to section VIII we observed that a num- ber of enactments in the period since 1857 broadened the de- gree of participation of Indians in local, provincial, and all- Indian administration and government. In 1885, for instance, an act provided for the establishment of district boards to function in an advisory capacity under the district magistrates
Like the Act of 1892, that of 1909 enlarged the size of the Imperial and Provincial Legislative Councils and further ex- panded their purview. Their designations notwithstanding, however, the "Legislative" Councils did not yet really legislate in the sense of independently enacting laws. Rather, they dis- cussed the annual budgets and other matters of governmental concern, within highly circumscribed limits, and passed recom- mendatory resolutions that the government, in the person of the governor general or the respective provincial governors, was not bound to accept.
Seats in the imperial and provincial councils were filled par- tially by officials serving ex officio, partially by nomination of qualified nonofficials, and partially by election, the former two groups almost always slightly exceeding the third (only Bengal having a slight preponderance of elective seats). The total number was not to exceed a stipulated figure, sixty in the case of the Imperial Council, but it could be somewhat less depend- ing on the number of permissible nominated seats that were actually filled. The allocation of elective seats was not fixed by the Act itself but was based on regulations promulgated by the governor general in council. A portion of the elective seats were set aside for the representation of specific classes (land- holders, chambers of commerce, etc.), another portion were reserved for the Muslim community (in response to the Mus- lim League's call for separate electorates in 1906), and the balance were designated as "general" constituencies. To cite the example of Bombay, the allocation of seats on its forty-six member council was as in the accompanying outline.
It should be noted that no special seats were reserved in this Act for Hindus as such, and even though most of the elected seats not specifically reserved for Muslims in 1909 (or for Muslims and other non-Hindu communities under the 1919