India, the world’s most populous democracy and the country with the second-largest population, is a federal union made up of 28 individual states and 8 union territories, which are effectively new states that fall under the jurisdiction of the central government.
New states & union territories in India can only be formed by the Indian Parliament (or merge old ones).
More than 450 languages have been recorded from the people of India, and state borders are often based on the dominant language spoken in a given area. Twenty-two of these languages is officially recognised by the constitution.
India’s state and territorial government organization
Technically, all of India’s states and unions share three capitals. There is the administrative capital, which houses the executive branch of government.
The second most important city is the judicial capital, which houses the highest courts in the territory. In the third position is the state capital, which is also the site of the state assembly.
While some states, like Bihar’s Patna, have one city act as the capital for all three branches of government, many others split these functions between two or (in the case of Goa) even three separate towns.
Some nations and territories even have two capital cities, one of which they move to every season.
There is an elected legislature in each state and an elected Chief Minister who leads the government for a five-year term. Five territories make up India, and three of them share a political structure. The central government chooses administrative heads for the remaining five territories.
Largest and smallest states in India by size and population
In terms of total land area, the state of Rajasthan in Northern India, with more than 342,269 square kilometres, takes the cake. Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in India with over 199 million, is the biggest in terms of size.
Sikkim, on the other hand, has India’s smallest population of 610,000, making it the only entire state with a population of less than 1,000,000. Goa has the smallest land size of any state at approximately 3,702 square kilometres.
Different parts of India have different official languages, reflecting the country’s linguistic diversity. Marathi, Hindi, Bengali, Nepali, Kannada, and several other languages fall within this category.
There are several countries with more than one official language; these countries generally have English and/or Urdu as well as a regional language is spoken by the majority of the population.
List of former states of India
Multiple states from India’s past no longer exist owing to political realignments that took place after India gained independence in 1947 and before it became a republic in 1960. Examples of such phrases are:
- Ajmer State — Merged with Rajasthan in 1956
- Andhra State — Merged with part of Hyderabad State in 1956 to form Ummadi Andhra Pradesh
- Bhopal State — Merged with Madhya Pradesh in 1956
- Bilaspur State — Merged with Himachal Pradesh in 1954
- Bombay State — Split into Gujarat and Maharashtra in 1960
- Cooch Behar State — Merged with West Bengal in 1949
- Coorg State — Merged with Mysore State in 1956 and renamed Karnataka in 1973
- East Punjab — Merged into Punjab in 1956
- Easter States Union — Dissolved in 1948, incorporated into Orissa, Bihar, and Madhya Pradesh. Some former ESU land is now part of Chhattisgarh
- Hyderabad State — Split in 1956 and merged into Andhra State, Mysore State, and Bombay State
- Jammu and Kashmir State — Split into Jammy and Kashmir territory and Ladakh territory in 2019
- Kutch State — Absorbed into Bombay State in 1956, now part of Gujarat
- Madhya Bharat — Merged into Madhya Pradesh in 1956
- Madras State — Parts absorbed into Andhra State, Mysore State, and Kerala 1953-1956, remainder renamed Tamil Nadu in 1969
- Mysore State — Renamed Karnataka in 1973
- Patiala and East Punjab States Union — Absorbed into Punjab State in 1956, currently part of modern-day Punjab, Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh
- Saurashtra — Absorbed into Bombay State in 1956, now part of Gujarat
- Travancore-Cochin — Merged to form Kerala in 1956
- Ummadi Andhra Pradesh — reorganized in 2014
- Vindhya Pradesh — Merged into Madhya Pradesh in 1956
Also See: Immigration by Country 2022