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Internal colonialism & exploitation – Demand for new states జనవరి 24, 2008

Posted by M Bharath Bhushan in Essays, Hyderabad, Telangana.
Times of India, Editorial, January 24, 2008
Think Small
The government is possibly having second thoughts about setting up another States Reorganisation Commission (SRC). On his way back from China, the prime minister said that the Union cabinet hadn’t yet taken a decision on a second SRC. The reluctance of the government is understandable. If a second SRC is set up, it is sure to be deluged by demands from different parts of the country for statehood.

Some of the demands that have already surfaced are Telangana (Andhra Pradesh), Vidarbha (Maharashtra) and the carving of Uttar Pradesh into four units — Purvanchal, Bundelkhand, Harit Pradesh and so on.

While some of them like Telangana go back several years, the other demands are much more recent. There is, however, a difference between the original redrawing of state borders in 1956 and the more recent demands.

The 1956 States Reorganisation Act, which led to the creation of 14 states and six Union territories, was primarily the outcome of linguistic demands. The carving out of a Telugu-speaking state from the earlier Madras province in 1952 set in motion a slew of similar demands that led to the setting up of the SRC.

At the time, the Congress, and Jawaharlal Nehru in particular, was dead against the formation of linguistic states. In hindsight, however, the carving up of India on the basis of language was perhaps a good idea. It defused regional tensions and ensured the break-up of unwieldy provinces.

The current demands have little to do with linguistic nationalism. They are sometimes spurred by ethnicity, but mainly by perceptions of neglect and the desire for economic autonomy. Telangana is one such example. The movement for a separate Telangana — based on grievances that the region was not getting its share of resources and was less developed than the rest of Andhra — has been going on since the 1960s.

Telangana stands the best chance among the present lot of aspirants because the Telangana Rashtriya Samiti, a political outfit fighting for statehood, is an ally of the Congress in Andhra Pradesh.

Whatever the motive of the movements for separate states, there is a case for smaller administrative units. Not only would it bring about decentralisation, it would also result in the splitting up of large and poorly governed states such as Uttar Pradesh.

UP has a population of 166 million, which is much more than many countries. The experience of the last three states that came into existence in 2001 — Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand — has shown that the mere creation of smaller units is not a magic pill.

But all three states are better off than where they were as part of a larger unit. As another Republic Day approaches, this might be a good time to think of a redrawing of the internal map of India.



1. Narendra Mohan - ఆగస్ట్ 7, 2013

How can colonization be ended by creating a separate state ? The leaders of the agitation have said they will not confiscate the capital of Coastal AP and Rayalaseema businesses. In fact they have invited more investment. And colonization would involve removal of capital to a different region. IF so, why is thousands of crores of investment flowing into Hyderabad from coastal AP and Rayalaseema while hardly any capital goes out in coastal AP and Rayalaseema ?


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