Post-Independence Political History
When freedom came to the peoples of South Asia in 1947 and 1948 the per-
ceptions of their probable future assumed a diversity of forms. Some students of
the region foresaw a long period of unremitting communal strife, ending perhaps
in the forcible reabsorption of Pakistan into the Indian nation; others saw in the
partition of the subcontinent the beginnings of a continuing process of Balkaniza-
tion along religious and linguistic lines; there were those who predicted that in the
absence of British guidance the economic and political order would soon lapse
into a state of perennial chaos; and, finally, there were many who saw in freedom
the key to the steady advance of democracy, welfare, and social justice. Events
have proved that none of these views was accurate. It is, in fact, difficult from the
vantage point of the present to discern any single strand running clearly though
the most recent decades of South Asian history.
In this section of the atlas we focus on the political history of the post-indepen-
dence period, touching occasionally on social, cultural, and economic issues that
bear directly on political events. For a more extensive treatment of social, cultural,
and economic evolution, stressing process rather than event, the reader is directed
to sections X and XI, in which developments over the past century are cartographi-
The terminal dates of specific maps or map series of this section range from
1970 to 1975. Since this atlas was prepared over a twelve-year period, the termi-
nal date of a particular map may in certain instances reflect the latest information
available at the time its compilation was completed and the subsequent ease or
difficulty of updating it before surrendering the work to the printer. Regrettably,
on certain maps, which already bore a very heavy information load, late revisions
we wished to make proved unfeasible, while the excessive crowding of others
largely reflects the obtrusion of unanticipated events between the planning and
the execution of the work. At the conclusion of the atlas text, under the heading
"Late Particulars," we have added some of the major happenings of the last few
years not shown in this section.
The first three map plates of this section, subsection IX.A, deal with internal
territorial and administrative changes in South Asia since 1947. Subsection IX.B
depicts the results of every significant election at the national level or, in India and
Pakistan, at the level of states/union territories and provinces up to 1972 (1973
in the case of Bangladesh). The status, age, and nature of international bound-
aries within and around South Asia, and territorial and related disputes involving
the nations of South Asia, form the subjects of subsection IX.C. Political move-
ments and events with both internal and international significance are treated in
subsection IX.D; among these events the birth of Bangladesh is undoubtedly the
most important. Finally, subsection IX.E relates the politics of South Asia to those
of the world community.
The documentation for the events of the post-independence era is voluminous
and, despite the fact that on many issues much of the available literature is slanted
to convey a partisan point of view, reliable neutral sources can normally be found
to provide the factual basis for the maps in this section. Government maps and
documents, various news digests, and newspapers themselves have provided the
bulk of the material used in map compilations; the comprehension of the mate-
rials, however, entailed considerable study of journal articles and longer mono-
Ahmad, Mushtaq. Government and politics in Pakistan, 3d ed. Karachi, 1970.
Asian Recorder, New Delhi, 1955–.
Brown, W. Norman. The United States and India, Pakistan, Bangladesh (3d rev.
ed. of The United States and India and Pakistan). Cambridge, Mass., 1972.
Burke, Samuel M. Mainsprings of Indian and Pakistani foreign policies, Minne-
apolis, Minn., 1974.
Callard, Keith B. Pakistan: A political study. New York, 1957.
Dupree, Louis. Afghanistan. Princeton, N.J., 1973.
Facts on file. New York, various years.
Harrison, Selig. India: The most dangerous decades. Princeton, N.J., 1966.
Keesing's contemporary archives. London, various years.
Morris-Jones, W. H. The government and politics of India. New York, 1967.
Wilson, A. Jeyaratnam. Politics in Sri Lanka, 1947–1973. London, 1974.
Wriggins, W. Howard. Ceylon: Dilemmas of a new nation. Princeton, N.J., 1960.
IX.A. INTERNAL TERRITORIAL AND
IX.A.1 and 2. Territorial Changes from 1947 to 1975;
Political Structure under the Indian Constitution of 1950
and the Pakistani Constitution of 1962
The political map inherited by India and Pakistan as they
began their independent existence was one of almost incredible
complexity (cf. plate VIII.D.1). Provinces varied enormously
in both size and population, and in the more than six hundred
princely states the variability was even greater. States like
Gwalior, Indore, and Baroda consisted of numerous discon-
tiguous and often widely separated parcels of territory. Simi-
larly, most states agencies and several provinces did not consist
of a single continuous area, and many were punctuated by
enclaves under another political jurisdiction. The lack of com-
pactness in the shape of other provinces which were continuous
(e.g., Madras), gave rise to administrative inefficiencies and
to a sense of neglect on the part of people living in the more
peripheral areas. But, most important, in few provinces was
there any popular sentiment of linguistic and cultural cohe-
sion. Three major languages, for example, were widely spoken
in Madras and in Bombay, each in a different region, and four
in Hyderabad (which did not, however, become a part of India
until November 1949). Finally, encysted within the territory
of India were a number of relics of colonialism in the form of
French and Portuguese possessions, whose legal status was not
altered by Britain's departure from the subcontinent. Thus,
one of the first major tasks of the new governments was to
rationalize their territorial structure. The ways this was ef-
fected have been indicated on plates IX.A.1 and 2.
Two phases of change in the reshaping of the political map
may conveniently be recognized, one before the Indian States
Reorganization in 1956 (plate IX.A.1), the other from the
reorganization itself to the present (plate IX.A.2). In the for-
mer period emphasis was laid on absorbing into India and
Pakistan the princely states within their respective territories
and, in many cases, on consolidating petty states into larger,
more viable political groupings or absorbing them into border-
ing provinces. These changes had for all practical purposes
been completed in India by 25 January 1950, the date when
its new, republican constitution went into effect. Three classes
of states were created by that constitution: Part A states,
formed essentially from the former provinces of British India,
except for small provinces governed by chief-commissioners;
Part B states, formed essentially from single large princely
states (e.g., Hyderabad, Mysore) or merged groups of former
princely states (e.g., Rajasthan, Saurashtra); and Part C states,
with a large degree of central control, formed from former
chief-commissioner's provinces (e.g., Delhi, Coorg) or smaller
princely states that could not be conveniently merged with
others to join Part B states (e.g., Bhopal, Manipur). Addition-
ally, Sikkim and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands were con-
stituted as Class D territories—the former, however, only until
December 1950, when its status was altered to that of an In-
dian protectorate. Between 1950 and 1956 changes in the map
of India were few. Those worth noting are the absorption, in
several steps, of the French enclaves, the creation of the North
East Frontier Agency in 1954, and, most important, the sepa-
ration of the Telugu-speaking state of Andhra from Madras in
1953. It was this last event that opened the floodgates to a
stream of demands for new linguistic states from all quarters
of India (see plates X.B.1, map and chronology, and X.B.2).
In September 1956, following the recommendations of the
State Reorganization Commission (established in 1953) In-
dia's map underwent a fundamental reorganization. The dis-
tinctions among Part A, B, and C states were abolished and
that between a single class of "states" and less politically com-
petent "union territories" took its place. Not counting tribal
minority regions, most of the post-1956 states consisted of a
single territory with a high degree of linguistic homogeneity
and contained no significant linguistic minority areas in which
one of the major languages specified in the constitution was
spoken. The two major exceptions were the bilingual states of
Bombay and Punjab; but there, too, separatist agitation (see
plate IX.D.1, map (a)) ultimately led to linguistic partition,
in 1960 and 1966 respectively. (The Punjabi case was par-
ticularly complicated in that the distinction between Punjabi