Tuesday, 23 April 2013

What Would India Look Like With 50 States?

I've been fascinated by this topic for a long time. I do believe smaller states bring power closer to the people and are more responsive, hence lead to faster development. In 2000, the BJP government blessed the creation of three new states (carving Uttarakhand out of Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand out of Bihar and Chhattisgarh out of Madhya Pradesh).

Since then, the demand for other new states has been raised from time to time, and the loudest voices seem to be for Telangana (from Andhra Pradesh) and Vidarbha (from Maharashtra).

[Update 31/07/2013: Telangana is now a reality. That was quick!]

I then did some further research on all the proposed new states in India, found a good reference here, another one here, a third one here, downloaded an uncoloured district-level map from Wikipedia, a detailed district map from elsewhere, then painstakingly created two maps by colouring and labelling them with The GIMP, one showing the 30 Indian states that exist today and the other showing the 50 states that could exist if all the demanded new states were created.

So without further ado, here's what India will look like with 50 states. Click to expand.

It's possible for India to equal the US in at least one respect...

[Trivia for fans of the Ramayana: Mithila is where Sita is said to have been from, which explains one of her other names (Maithili). And Koshal is where her mother-in-law was from, hence Kaushalya.]

For reference, here's what the country looks like today with 30 states. Click to expand.

After looking at the other map, the current states do seem too big and unwieldy

You can click on one of the maps, then toggle between them with your wheel mouse or by clicking on the thumbnails at the bottom of the popup window. I hope you have as much fun studying the maps as I had creating them.

On a more practical note, how can this ever become reality? The creation of new states always seems to be preceded by violent agitations and loss of life. It's a highly emotive issue for many, and not something to be pushed through by administrative fiat or because of political blackmail by some groups.

I think the idea can be eased into public consciousness (and eventual acceptance) through the creation of sports teams along the lines of those seen in the Indian Premier League (IPL) with its Delhi Daredevils and Rajasthan Royals. I can see a lot of scope for a new cricket or other sports code called (say) "India50" with teams like the Bundelkhand Bulls, Vidarbha Warriors and Konkan Conquerors. Once these identities get established in the public consciousness, statehood can follow more easily.
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