Himachal Pradesh Statehood Day: 25th January | History, Background & Significance (Complete Notes PDF)

Himachal Pradesh Statehood Day: 25th January | History, Background & Significance (Complete Notes PDF)

Himachal Pradesh Statehood Day: 25th January | History, Background & Significance (Complete Notes PDF)

Himachal Pradesh Statehood Day|| history of himachal pradesh pdf|| administrative history of himachal pradesh|| himachal pradesh formed || h.p. became part c state||  15 april 1948 himachal day|| modern history of himachal pradesh

Himachal Pradesh is celebrating its 53rd Statehood Day with full enthusiasm across the state on Wednesday(January 25). It was on this day in 1971 that Himachal Pradesh became the 18th state of India. let's discuss the complete history of the formation of Himachal Pradesh

The Eve of Independence:

On the eve of Indian Independence, the area that now forms Himachal Pradesh was almost equally divided between British Indian territory and the territory of the Indian states.
The latter, besides a few enclaves of Patiala, was again equally divided between the five Punjab Hill states of Chamba, Mandi, Suket, Bilaspur, and Sirmaur and the 26 Shimla Hill states.
Only five of these states were of some size, thirteen were less than 100 square miles, and three were less than ten square miles in area.

These states were under the control of the Political Department of the Government of India. The department controlled the Shimla Hill states through a Political Agent and the Punjab Hill states through a Resident. The powers of the Agent and the Resident were largely undefined, and therefore the rulers were not really free even in the internal administration of their states.

During the months before Independence, the Political Department played a very mischievous role. It encouraged the princes not to join either Dominion but to declare their independence as soon as paramountcy lapsed. Some of the rulers, like Raja Anand Chand of Bilaspur, even declared their intention to do so in so many words.

The Political Department, however, realized that the hill states were far too small to continue to exist independently. An attempt was, therefore, made to group them into a confederation. The plan, however, failed. By the end of July 1947, the rulers got panicky and there was a stampede for accession to the Indian Dominion. Between 3 and 15 August 1947, all of them signed instruments of accession.

Chief Commissioner’s Province of Himachal Pradesh:

Himachal Pradesh was born as a result of the integration of 26 Shimla Hill states and 4 Punjab Hill states (Chamba, Mandi, Suket, and Sirmaur) into Centrally Administered Area on April 15, 1948.
  • The headquarters was at Shimla and the secretariat was in the historical building of the Foreign Office at Shimla. The secretariat building was then called Himachal Dham. But this building was destroyed by fire on May 5, 1957.
  • These states were Baghat, Bhajji, Baghal, Bija, Balsen, Bushehar, Chamba, Darboti, Deloth-Dhadi, Dhami, Ghund, Jubbal, Khaneti, Kyarkoti, Kumarsain, Kunihar, Kuthar, Mandi, Madhan, Mahlon, Mangal, Kot (Ratesh), Keonthal, Rawinigarh, Sangri, Sirmaur, Suket, Tharoch & Theog.
  • Thus, 15th April is celebrated as Himachal Day. All these areas at that time constituted four districts viz. Chamba, Mahasu, Mandi and Sirmaur with an area of 27,169 square kilometers.
  • The bigger states like Chamba and Sirmaur were directly converted into districts with the same names, whereas the states of Mandi and Suket were integrated to form Mandi District. 26 Shimla Hill states including their tributaries were integrated to form Mahasu District probably named after the name of Mau Devata, which is widely worshipped in this area.
  • The Territory was headed by a Chief Commissioner and his Deputy. The first Chief Commissioner was N.C. Mehta (24/04/1948 to 09/01/1950) and his Deputy was E. Penderal Moon.
  • E. Penderal Moon was Chief Commissioner of Himachal Pradesh from 10/01/1950 to 29/03/1951. They belonged to the Indian Civil Service. 
  • As a Chief Commissioner’s province Hima,chal’s administrative setup was not fully democratic though the Chief Commissioner had an advisory body.
  • The Chief Commissioner was aided and advised in the discharge of his functions by an Advisory Council consisting of nine members, three of whom represented the erstwhile princely states and six nominated representatives of the people.
  • The Advisory Council was formed on September 30, 1948.
  • But the function of the Advisory Council was purely advisory and thus had no real power.
  • The Chief Commissioner, E. Penderel Moon, who was an Englishman, ruled the state autocratically from January 1950 to March 1951.
  • As a result of this, the Congress members of the Advisory Council resigned in disgust.
  • The Advisory Council resigned and an anti-Chief Commissioner day was observed throughout the state. In March 1951, Moon was replaced by an Indian officer Bhagwan Sahai (30/03/1951 to 19/02/1952).
  • There was widespread resentment against the undemocratic rule and a constitutional battle was waged inside and outside the Constituent Assembly for the democratization of administration in the centrally administered areas.
  • This led to the passage, in September 1951, of the Government of Part ‘C’ states Act, which conceded responsible government of a limited character to Himachal Pradesh along with some other Part ‘C’ states under a Lieutenant Governor.

Himachal Pradesh as a Part ‘C’ State:

In 1951, Himachal became a part 'C' state. Vide Section 3 of Part 'C' State's Act, 1951 Himachal Pradesh was brought under a Lt. Governor with 36-member Legislative Assembly and a three-member Cabinet.

Lieutenant Governors of Himachal Pradesh:

  1. The first Lieutenant Governor of Himachal Pradesh was Major General M.S. Himmat Singh who assumed the office on March 1, 1952 (01/03/1952 to 31/12/1954).
  2. He was followed by Raja Bajrang Bahadur Singh Bhadri (01/01/1955 to 13/08/1963).
  3. Bhagwan Sahai had the distinction of serving both as the Chief Commissioner of Himachal Pradesh as well as Lieutenant Governor of Himachal Pradesh (14/08/1963 to 25/02/1966).
  4. V. Vishwanathan from 26/02/1966 to 06/05/1967.
  5. Om Prakash from 07/05/1967 to 15/05/1967 (He was the Chief Judicial Commissioner, HP, was given dual charge).
  6. Lt. General K. Bahadur Singh from 16/05/1967 to 24/01/1971.

The Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly 

The Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly has no pre-constitution history – the state itself is a post-Independence creation.
  • Elections to the 36-member Legislative Assembly created under the new Act were held in November 1951.
  • The Congress party won 24 seats and the first popular ministry headed by Dr. Yashwant Singh Parmar was sworn in on March 24, 1952.
  • The other two ministers were Pandit Padam Dev and Gauri Prasad.
  • JaiJaswantm became the first Speaker of HP Vidhan Sabha on March 24, 1952.
  • Krishan Chand became the first Deputy Speaker of HP Vidhan Sabha on March 27, 1952.
  • K.L. Mehta, ICS became the first Chief Secretary of the state.
On July 1, 1954, the neineighbouringrt-C state of Bilaspur was integrated with Himachal Pradesh, it was converted into a district, thereby adding one more district with an area of 1167 square kilkilometresonsequent to this merger, the strength of the Himachal Assembly was raised to 41.

Bilaspur Hill State: 

At the time of independence, Raja Anand Chand of Bilaspur had held out over the signing of the merger agreement. Eventually, after a prolonged dialogue, he succeeded in gaining two concessions – Bilaspur retained its separate identity as a Part ‘C’ state, and for himself, he wrested a hand in the administration of the state; both lasted only for a brief spell. After a protracted battle of sorts, Bilaspur was finally merged with Himachal Pradesh in July 1954.

Nalagarh Hill State: 

The three princely states of Patiala, Jind, and Nabha in Punjab, collectively known as Phulkian states, along with five other princely states of Faridkot, Kapurthala, Nalagarh, Malerkotla, and Kalsia were integrated and made into one unit with the nomenclature of Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU) on 5th May 1948. The capital and principal city were Patiala. On 1st November 1956, PEPSU was merged with Punjab. But from 1st November 1966 on the reorganization of Punjab, Nalagarh hill state was transferred to Himachal Pradesh.

Himachal Pradesh continued as a part ‘C’ state of the Indian Union till 1956 when the States' Reorganisation Commission submitted its recommendations to abolish the categorization of states as part A, B, C, etc., and recommended the merger of all part `C' states either with the adjoining states of higher status or to maintain these independently as union territories till a further decision was taken.

Himachal Pradesh as An Union Territory:

The States Reorganisation Commission (with Justice Fazal Ali as its Chairman and H.N. Kungru and K.M. Pannikkar as the members) considered the question of reorganization of the states in India on linguistic basis. Various organizations, people, Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee, and the state government submitted detailed memoranda to the Commission justifying Himachal’s separate identity and claiming for the integration of Punjab hilly areas with it.

The majority verdict of the States Reorganisation Commission recommended Himachal’s integration with Punjab, though its Chairman Justice Fazal Ali dissented and recommended its retention as a separate entity for its development stating: “In small states, the administration will be more accessible to people and there will be a livelier sense of local needs.”

The people and their representatives were shocked at the verdict of the States Reorganisation Commission. They knew that what had been achieved in the last few years would come to naught and a frightful era of dominance by the plains would start in case of merger.

Time had come for starting a grim battle for the retention of the Pradesh as a separate entity on the map of India.

No sacrifice was considered to be too great for this. The Pradesh cabinet unanimously decided to forego its democratic rights to keep Himachal separate.

The Ministry gave in writing that if the only course, open to remain separate, was to surrender the legislature, it was prepared to resign.

So, this course was soon adopted. The battle was fought under the leadership of Dr. Yashwant Singh Parmar, the indomitable champion of separate status for Himachal Pradesh.

Ultimately, he was able to convince Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, the Prime Minister of India, of the necessity of separate Himachal Pradesh. But the Pradesh had to pay a heavy price for this concession.

It lost its assembly and popular ministry and reverted to the old pattern of bureaucratic rule.

“No sacrifice is too great to save Himachal Pradesh”, said Dr. Yashwant Singh Parmar at the time of laying down the office of Chief Minister on 31st October 1956.

The next day, 01 November 1956, Himachal Pradesh became a Union Territory.

Thus, despite the majority recommendation of the States Reorganization Commission for its merger with Punjab, Himachal Pradesh retained its separate identity, thanks to the famous dissenting note of the Chairman of the Commission, Justice Fazal Ali which found favour with the Centre.
  • On November 1, 1956, although Himachal managed to retain its separate identity, but the wheels of democracy took a back turn in this Pradesh as it was made a Union Territory under the Administrator with the designation of a Lieutenant Governor.
  • Raja Bajrang Bahadur Singh Bhadri (who was already on the post since January 1, 1955) assumed the charge of the Himachal Pradesh Administration as the Lieutenant Governor of the state with effect from the same date.
  • An unbearable period of travails again began for the Himachalis who had no say in the running of their Pradesh and had to suffer the bureaucratic rule.
  • A great price had to be paid as Himachal was made a Union Territory sans Legislative Assembly and was placed under an Administrator designated as Lt. Governor. Instead of a Legislative Assembly it was provided with a Territorial Council with limited powers.
  • The Chairman was elected by the members of the Territorial Council and the first and the only Chairman of the Territorial Council was Thakur Karam Singh who assumed office on August 15, 1957.
  • The Territorial Council formed under the Union Territories Act tried its best with the limited powers it enjoyed, since it could administer only the departments of Health, Education, and Animal Husbandry but only up to the district level besides the village roads.
  • The Territorial Council was a replica of the monarchical form of government.
  • The Territorial Council passed a resolution unanimously for the restoration of the democratic set-up in the Pradesh. The people throughout the state also held meetings for the democratization of administration.
  • Thereafter, the people and the political leadership of the state had to literally move heaven and earth for the restoration of the democratic edifice.
  • In 1960, the border Chini tehsil of Mahasu district was carved out as a separate administrative unit and district Kinnaur was formed raising the total number of districts to six.

Legislative Assembly of the Union Territory:

The efforts finally bore fruit in 1963, when a bill was passed by the Union Parliament for providing Legislative Assemblies and Council of Ministers to certain Union Territories including H.P. It was enforced in the case of Himachal Pradesh from 1st July, 1963 after receiving President's assent.
  • By the Government of Union Territories Act, 1963, the Himachal Territorial Council, re-elected in 1962, was turned into a Legislative Assembly and a popular ministry headed by Dr. Yashwant Singh Parmar was sworn in on July 1, 1963.
  • The other two ministers in the three-member popular ministry headed by Dr. Yashwant Singh Parmar were Thakur Karam Singh and Hari Dass.
  • The strength of the Assembly was fixed at 43 including 2 nominated members. The Assembly held its first sitting on the 1st of Octothe ber 1963.
  • Continuity of the Assembly is considered from this date hence its silver jubilee was celebrated in the year 1988.

Reorganization of Punjab:

The question of reorganization of Punjab cropped up in 1965.
On 1st November 1966, on the recommendation of the Punjab Boundary Commission, the Government of India while reorganizing Punjab into two separate states of Punjab and Haryana, integrated with Himachal Pradesh the Punjab Hill areas which were viz. the districts of Kangra, Shimla, Kullu and Lahaul-Spiti, Nalagarh area of Ambala district, parts of Una tehsil of Hoshiarpur district and of Pathankot tehsil of Gurdaspur district.
  • Thus, four new districts were constituted viz. Kullu, Lahaul & Spiti, Kangra and Shimla in Himachal Pradesh and merging Dalhousie into Chamba district.
  • The integration led to a sizeable increase in the area of Himachal Pradesh and it became larger than that of Punjab or Haryana or Kerala.
  • With this addition, Himachal Pradesh comprised ten districts, an area of 55,673 sq. Kilometres and a population of 28.12 lac according to the 1961 census.
  • Upon the integration of hill areas from Punjab, all the members of the Legislative Assembly representing the hill areas in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha were declared to be members of the Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha.
  • With the merger of new areas into Himachal Pradesh in 1966, the number of Members in the House rose to 56 including 2 nominated.
  • In January 1967, two more ministers Bakshi Pratap Singh and Lal Chand Prarthi from the new areas were added to the three-member cabinet of Dr. YashwanDringh Parmar.
  • The strength of the House was further raised to 63 (60 elected and 3 nominated) after section 24 (3) of the Punjab Reorthe ganization Act, 1966 (Act No. 31 of 1966) came into force in 1967.
  • The Pradesh went to the polls in February 1967.
  • Dr. Yashwant Singh Parmar was for the third time sworn in as the Chief Minister on March 14, 1967. Lal Chand Prarthi and Hari Ram Chaudhry were sworn in as ministers.
  • The Cabinet was expanded on April 22, 1967, to include Ram Lal and Sukh Ram as ministers.
  • Daulat Ram Sankhyan, Kartar Singh Wazir, Mehnga Singh and Nek Ram Negi were sworn in as Deputy Ministers.
The Chief Minister again expanded his cabinet on July 20, 1967. Thakur Karam Singh and Padam Dev were included as Ministers and Vidya Dhar was sworn in as a Deputy Minister.


  • January 24, 1968, the Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly passed a unanimous resolution that stated: “This House earnestly feels that it is high time for Himachal Pradesh to be recognized as a full-fledged state and to that end, it strongly urges that the Central leadership and the Union Government concede the demand of the Pradesh for statehood by bringing about the necessary legislation without further loss of time.”
  • On July 31, 1970, the Prime Minister made a declaration in the Parliament that Himachal would be granted statehood.
  • In December 1970, the bill for the grant of statehood was introduced in Parliament.
  • December 18, 1970, the State of Himachal Pradesh Act was passed by the Parliament and notified on December 25, 1970.
  • 25th January 1971: The state of Himachal Pradesh came into being as the 18th state of the Union of India.
  • On January 25, 1971: The declaration of a full-fledged state came from none other than the Prime Minister of India Mrs. Indira Gandhi from the historic Ridge Maidan
  • The first person to be sworn in on the morning of 25th January 1971 was the first Governor of the State, S. Chakravarti. The oath was administered by the Chief Justice, Mirza Hamidullah Beg in a simple and solemn ceremony held in Raj Bhavan.
In the afternoon Dr. Yashwant Singh Parmar, who had been appointed Chief Minister, was administered the oath of office and secrecy on the Ridge Maidan in the presence of Smt. Indira Gandhi soon after she had inaugurated the new state amidst a flurry of snow.

25th January is celebrated as Statehood Day.


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