Haryana is a state in North India, formed in 1966 through the States’ Reorganisation Act (1965). It is surrounded by Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. It shares its capital, Chandigarh, with Punjab. Its contested status has led to Chandigarh being classified as a Union Territory.


The 2011 Census puts Haryana’s population at 25.4 million, and a rural to urban ratio of about 2:1. Haryana has the dubious distinction of being below the national average with a sex ratio of 0.87. The heavily skewed sex ratio is a result of rampant female foeticide. Concerns over the same led to a Supreme Court directive in January 2015 to accelerate decision on offences of sex determination and female foeticide.  Female literacy stands at 65.94%, compared to 75.5% among men, but has shown an improvement over the 2001 figure of 55.73%.

Haryana’s largest ethnic groups are Jats, Ahirs and Sainis. The Jats, despite being a dominant caste in Haryana, have recently begun agitating for inclusion in the OBC (Other Backward Class) list due to growing job insecurity in agriculture, a sector in which they were historically predominantly employed.  


Haryana is one of the most prosperous states in India, and has the second-highest per capita income Rs. 128,341. Haryana grew prosperous as a first wave state during the Green Revolution that modernized agriculture. However, it has since made the transition to industry and services. Thus in the 1960s, agriculture accounted for 60.7% of Haryana’s GSVA (Gross State Value Added), but by 2015-16, agriculture constituted 18.2% of GSVA.

Haryana also seeks to increase its footprint in the IT industry through the Information Technology and Action Plan . Additionally, on August 11, 2015, the Haryana government announced its new Industrial Policy easing restrictions on industry and investment: a move that, according to Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar (INC) will “…create four lakh jobs and accelerate economic growth to more than eight per cent. The new Policy will catalyse Haryana’s position as a pre-eminent investment destination and facilitate balanced regional and sustainable development supported by a dynamic governance system and wide scale adoption of innovation and technology.”

Political Parties

Prior to the reorganization of the Punjab Province, Sikhs formed about 35% of the state’s population while Hindus constituted 62%. Two parallel movements influenced the formation of Haryana. First, the Vishal Haryana Movement (1958), though largely unsuccessful, which germinated the idea of a separate Haryanvi identity. Second, the Punjabi Suba Movement (1950s), spearheaded by Akali Dal, which grew from a drive to protect Sikh religious, ethnic and linguistic identity. Thus, the Hindi-speaking portion of the state was ceded and became Haryana. 

The main political parties in Haryana today are Congress, Lok Dal (INLD), Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC- BL) and BJP. Congress’s Bhupinder Singh Hooda secured two terms between 2005 and 2014. However, the BJP dominated the 2014 State Assembly elections, winning 47 of 85 seats.

Suggested Readings

Bhim S. Dahiya, Power Politics in Haryana: A View from the Bridge (Gyan Publishing House, 2008)

Paul R. Brass, Language, Religion and Politics in North India, (University of Washington, 2005)