Do you think linguistic reorganisation of Indian states post-independence was a sound policy? What arguments were put forth to support or oppose this policy? (200 W)

Mentor’s Comment:

The language problem was the most divisive issue in the first twenty years of independent India, and it created the apprehension among many that the political and cultural unity of the country was in danger. Introduction should in general explain about the need for linguistic reorganization of states. And how, they fulfilled the aspirations of people of some region.

Next, in the main body mention about the tenets of linguistic reorganization of states. The demand rose immediately after independence, appointment of various commissions, Dhar Commission, JVP commission followed by creation of state reorganization commission and acceptance of language as a sole criteria for creating new state.

Further, bring some points which is against such policy. Regionalism has gained importance, national interest has been left behind, administration and economic weightage, opened the Pandora’s box for raised demand of separate state in different parts of India.

Next, bring your own assessment, whether it was a good policy. Mention some supporting points.

Bring conclusion based on the points mentioned.


Model Answers:

Linguistic states mean people speaking one language belong to one state. The language problem was the most divisive issue in the first twenty years of independent India, and it created the apprehension among many that the political and cultural unity of the country was in danger. The promise of creating states on linguistic basis was done by Nehru during the freedom struggle, with a view to provide each community, an equal chance to progress, while fulfilling their own aspirations, under guidance of the central govt.

Linguistic reorganisation of States and its tenets:

  • The demand for reorganisation of States on linguistic lines arose immediately after independence.
  • The national leadership was opposed to such reorganisation as it was thought that the same would undermine national unity and integrity.
  • The Dhar Commission and the JVP committee, both rejected language as the basis for reorganisation of states.
  • The demand only intensified especially in the Telugu speaking regions of Madras State, where agitation was led by one Potti Sriramulu.
  • His death after a 56 day hunger strike forced the government to create the first linguistic state – Andhra.
  • This was followed by the appointment of the State Reorganisation Commission to examine the question holistically.
  • The commission broadly accepted language as the basis of reorganisation and this was followed by a massive reorganisation exercise.

Why some opposed this policy?

  • The situation was fragile after the independence with so many demands for secession for center to consider this.
  • This policy strengthened regionalism and regionalism sometimes compromises national interest for narrow interest.
  • Due consideration must also be given to other factors like administrative and economic weightage.
  • Minority languages becomes more vulnerable.
  • There has been many demands of separate linguistic states for minority languages too like Nagalim, Bodoland etc
  • In recent times, fear of loss of language and culture, as seen in Karnataka by the legislation favouring Kannadigas in blue-collared jobs.

Why it was a good policy:

  • It was promised by INC prior to independence and also suggested by SRC-1.
  • The division of states linguistic basis removed the major discord and disharmony among people. For ex. separation of Andhra from Madras addresses the agitation and protest by Telugu speaking people.
  • Creation of state which are homogeneous in nature improved the functioning of the state and government has been able to better connect with the masses in the language in which they understand. For ex. creation of Gujarat from Bombay resulted into betterment of people. This brought satisfaction and further caused the Indian Unity.
  • States can have their own official languages and official works could be carried on more efficiently to the lowest level.
  • It helped in strengthening cultural identity
  • Education could be given in preferred language or mother tongue and which would boost thinking ability and analysis, as is also scientifically proven.
  • Mass literacy became possible through mother tongue
  • Fear of majority language imposition on minorities was averted.

Although there have been some agitation on the basis of language for ex. creation of Tamil speaking nation, United Naga state etc.; however these have been not successful to get prominence due to public satisfaction with the states created on linguistic basis. Hence, according to me, the formation of linguistic state has strengthened the cause of Indian unity. Barring some concerns, the division on linguistic basis has been a success, considering the vast diversity of India.