According to the Government of India Act 1932 the Federation of India is composed of the territories of a) Provinces of the British India and b) the Princely States. These units have different political arrangements.

British India Raj (TNE)

Provinces and Princely States of the Federation of India


The provinces of the Federation of India are organized in two classes:
Class A: Provincial Governors, have state functions similar to those of the Governor-General, who appoints them and are responsible to. They are to accept the recommendations of the ministers unless, in their view, they negatively affected his areas of statutory special responsibilities such as the prevention of any grave menace to the peace or tranquility of a province and the safeguarding of the legitimate interests of minorities. In the event of political breakdown, the governor, under the supervision of the governor-General, could take over total control of the provincial government. The provincial executive is in charge of a Chief Minister and provincial ministers. They are appointed by the Provincial Governor and must enjoy the support of the provincial legislature. A bicameral Provincial Legislature composed of a Legislative Council and a Legislative Assembly.

Class B: The Lieutenant-Governors have state and executive powers. They are appointed and responsible to the Governor-General. An elected Legislative Assembly advices the Lieutenant-Governor.

Province Capital Area (thousands of km²) Population (in million) Main religions Main languages Notes
Ajmer-Merwara Ajmer 7,021 0,5 Hinduism Hindi Class B Province
Andaman and Nicobar Islands Port Blair 8,140 0,3 Hinduism, Chistianism, Muslim and Sikhs Hindi Class B Province
Assam Shillong 129,920 8,8 Hinduism, Buddhism, Chistianism and Muslim English, Hindi and Tibeto-Burman languages Includes Assam and princely states of Tripura, Manipur and Sikkim
Baluchistan Quetta 140,450 0,4 Muslim Baluchi and Pashto Class B Province
Bengal (later renamed Bangladesh) Calcutta 392,495 49,7 Hinduism, Muslim and Christianity Bengali (Bangla)
Bombay Bombay 201,042 19 Hinduism Marathi, Gujarati, Karantaka, Kutchi and Hindi
Central Provinces and Berar (later renamed Madhya Pradesh) Nagpur 224,037 15,5 Hinduism Hindi and Marathi
Coorg Madikeri 4,100 0,2 Hinduism Kannada Class B Province
Sindh Karachi 123,080 Muslim Sindhi Separated from Bombay.
Delhi Delhi 1,536 0,6 Hinduism, Muslim and Sikhs Hindi Capital of the Federation of India.
Dravidistan (later renamed Dravida Nadu) Madras 365,678 46,7 Hinduism (88%), Muslim and Christianity Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Oriya, Tulu and English Composed of the Mandras Province, plus princely states of Banganapalle, Cochin, Pudukkottai, Sandur, and Maldives.
North-West Frontier Province (later renamed Pashtunistan) Peshawar 34,755 2,4 Muslim Pashto and Hindko Class B Province
Bihar Patna 180,639 30,4 Hinduism and Muslim Hindi and Urdu Created after the dissolution of Bihar-Orissa
Orissa Bhubaneswar 83,392 7,1 Hinduism Oriya Created after the dissolution of Bihar-Orissa
Punjab Lahore 286,626 23,6 Hinduism, Muslim and Sikhs Punjabi and Hindi
United Provinces of Agra and Oudh (latter renamed Uttar Pradesh) Lucknow 278.431 48,4 Hinduism, Muslim and Sikhs Hindi and Urdu

Princely states

The princely states, given their relationship has a suzerainty or paramountcy to the English Crown are organized on base of their relationship to the viceroy and his agents. In the areas of foreign policy, communication, defense and tariffs the Viceroy has powers to administer and promulgate the necessary laws. In the rest of the their internal affairs they remain autonomous.

The major Princely States, have direct political relations the Viceroy and the Government of India in the person of a British Resident.

  • Asafia flag of Hyderabad State Hyderabad
  • Flag of Mysore Mysore
  • Baroda flag Baroda
  • Jammu-Kashmir-flag Jammu and Kashmir
  • Gwalior flag Gwalior
  • Flag of Kingdom of Travancore Travancore, later Travancore-Cochin

The rest of the princely state either have a relationship by means of an agency, that oversees the affairs of the princely states on behalf of the Viceroy, or by political officers or agents who answer to the Provincial Governors. In the late 1930's most of the agencies, on agreement of the rulers of the princely states, became federation of states headed by a Rajpramukh (elected among the princes), with an elected legislative assembly.

  • Rajputana Agency (20 princely states, headquarters of political agent at Jaipur), later became Rajasthan Federation;
  • Central India Agency (147 princely states, headquarters of political agent at Indore), later became Central Indian Federation;
  • Baluchistan Agency (4 princely states, headquarters of political agent at Kalat), later became Baluchistan States Union
  • Eastern States Agency (headquarters of political agent at Raipur), later became Eastern Indian Union
  • Deccan States Agency and Kolhapur Residency (headquarters of political agent at Kolhapur), later became United Deccan States
  • Gujarat Federation (Capital Rajkot)
  • Punjab States Agency (headquarters of political agent at Simla), later became United Punjab States

Princely States under authority of Provinces

  • 5 under Madras
  • 354 under Bombay
  • 26 under Bengal
  • 2 under Assam
  • 34 under Punjab
  • 15 under Central Provinces and Berar
  • 2 under United Provinces.

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