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Telangana – Divide and Rule?

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India is a phenomenon – the largest democracy on Earth, with a plethora of cultural, religious and linguistic diversity. It is simply a miracle that It still exists united, unlike the former Yugoslavian and Soviet countries. Though our forefathers had wisely divided the nation on linguistic basis for ease of administration and communication, the huge population and distances have forced many states to be further divided. One such crisis in the current scenario is Telangana. The situation of Telangana is very peculiar unlike Uttarakhand. Uttarakhand had to be carved out of UP as people in the hilly terrain of Tehri and Garhwal would take almost two days to reach the capital city, where most of the bureaucracy is situated. So it was justified that people of Uttarakhand wanted a separate state so that governance could be more efficient and communication more effective, giving a boost to economy and development in the region. The farther cities and towns are from the capital, the more they tend to get neglected with almost non-existent governance in some cases.

It was a similar case in Bihar where far flung areas, now in the state of Jharkhand, were considered a punishment posting for officers.  For the sake of good governance and prosperity, the carving of Jharkhand was totally justified. The same applies to the case of Chhattisgarh. It is the people of Chhattisgarh who wanted to separate and the Madhya Pradesh government accepted that demand for it was that much less burden on Bhopal. Due to lack of infrastructure the border districts of many states are not accessible and welfare is ignored, though not intentionally. To prevent disgruntlement in the far away districts due to this, Karnataka even shifted its capital for a few months to Belgaon, which had a tendency to join Maharashtra.

Coming to the Telangana issue, it is completely opposite. Here the capital city – Hyderabad is in Telangana, and all the investment and development has poured into it. Over a third of the economy of the entire state is based in the capital. This being the condition, it is the coastal Andhra or Rayal Seema people who should have demanded a separate state for self governance. While these two regions do not want to separate, there is no logic for people in the capital not wanting to have their association with Andhra. It doesn’t make much sense why a government would want to abdicate parts of its own state while states like Nagaland are demanding inclusion of more districts from other states for Greater Nagaland. It appears completely unfair to push away people when they want to be a part of united Andhra Pradesh. If the Nizam was alive, he would have loved to have more area in his state rather than shrink it. Usually it is the children who want to separate from the joint family but in this case it is the father who is pushing them away. For what benefit? The basis of separation is not very clear other than for vote bank politics.

One of the main grievances of Telangana is that the people of Seemandhra dominate almost every aspect of the state. No one from Telangana was ever stopped from getting involved in the political or economic arena of the state. The talented and hardworking will always capture attention wherever they are, just like Gujaratis, Parsis, Jains and Marwadis are dominant almost everywhere.

There are pockets of underdeveloped areas everywhere. There are slums even in Hyderabad, though equal opportunities are available to everyone. Time bound reservation packages for the upliftment of the community could also have addressed any such grievances. All in all, to an onlooker, the reason for separation remains a puzzle. The language and culture being the same across Andhra Pradesh, it remains to be seen how the bifurcation will work out because there has been such an intermixing of people from one area to another.

There is an ancient Sanskrit saying,

“Yo vai bhuma tat sukham, na alpe sukham asti”

That which is big and great is joyful; there is no joy in being small.

Just because the people of a region are dominating, pushing them away does not solve everything. The long term development of any region will only happen through education and empowerment, not through division.


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