Sunday, August 1, 2021

Himachal Pradesh Day: Tracing the genesis of India’s majestic Himalayan state

Situated in the lap of the Himalayas, Himachal Pradesh is home to breathtaking scenic valleys, gigantic pines, roaring rivers, exquisite flora, and fauna, which compose the symphony that is made exclusively for Himachal.

Today on this day in 1948, Himachal came into existence as a centrally administered province when its four districts Mandi, Chamba, Mahasu, and Sirmour were merged with 30 princely states and together named ‘Himachal Pradesh’ since then April 15 is observed as Himachal Day across.

In 1951, Himachal was categorized as a ‘C’ state under the Indian Constitution with a combined population of 9,83,367 people and an area allotment of 10,451 square miles.

In March 1952 Dr. Y S Parmar, a towering political figure of the state became the first Chief Minister heading a three-member cabinet. With the view of giving Himachal, a full statehood stature, Parmar advocated that administration should be controlled by the State itself, not the central government for the faster implementation of various development schemes.

A recommendation to combine Himachal Pradesh with Punjab put forth by the State Reorganisation Commission in 1956, But Himachal retained its individuality by became a union territory.

In 1963, the state’s Assembly was revived with Dr. Parmar becoming Chief Minister for the second time. In 1966, new districts were combined into the state — Kangra, Shimla, Kullu, Lahaul-Spiti, the Nalagarh tehsil (part of the Ambala district then), some parts of Una tehsil (part of the Hoshiarpur district then) and Dalhousie.

On December 18th, 1970 the State of Himachal Pradesh Act was passed by the Indian Parliament. On January 25th, 1971, former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi addressed a large gathering at Shimla’s landmark Ridge — a sprawling flat space in the heart of the hill town, amidst snowfall and exuberance to confer full statehood for Himachal Pradesh, thereby rosing it as 18th state of the Union of India.

Facts about Himachal that we should know

– Himachal is the amalgamation of two Sanskrit words, “Hima” (snow) and “Anchal” (lap). The state, situated amid valleys and hills, virtually sits in the lap of the Himalayas.

– Identified as “Dev Bhumi” Himachal Pradesh is believed to be the abode of Gods and Goddesses. The entire northern state of India is punctuated with stone as well as wood temples. It has a rich treasure of places of pilgrimage and of anthropological value. The State is home to rishis like Vyas, Parashar, Vashist, Markandey, and Lamas, etc.

– Himachal’s Kalka-Shimla Railway, often identified as the ”toy train”, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It traverses the steepest slope (over 5800 ft) in roughly 95 km.

– As of 2016, the Himalayan state almost universally electrified with 99.5% of the households having electricity. Himachal was declared India’s second open-defecation-free state in the same year. According to India Corruption Study 2017, Himachal Pradesh was declared as India’s least corrupt state.

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