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Small State Debate- Gorkhaland, Telangana, etc జూన్ 22, 2008

Posted by Telangana Utsav in Articles, Fazal Ali Commission, politics, Six Point Formula, Telangana.

Is it time for reorganisation of states?


We need to debate our federal structure

Peter R deSouza, Director IIAS*, Shimla


Peter R deSouza

Peter R deSouza
IIAS*, Shimla

The agitation in Darjeeling for a separate Gorkha state has brought to the fore, once again, the need to examine the place of the ‘state’ in India’s democratic architecture. In sixty years a significant shift has occurred in the locus of power from a dominant ‘Centre’ to one that has now to share power with the states, to not just accommodate their claims but to concede their demands. The state has begun to drive the equations of power in national politics. This is all well known.

What is less well debated is the reason for this shift in the locus of power and the policy responses to it. Some have argued for a new States Reorganisation Commission (SRC) as the appropriate response. Before we consider appropriate response, however, let us examine some of the causes that give rise to the demand for new states.


The first is the growth in population. A fivefold growth in the electorate since Independence, to in excess of 650 million, necessarily means that the current federal form is probably inadequate to meet the voters rising aspirations. Coupled with this is the second cause, the deepening of what D L Sheth has called India a democracy of communities.

Democracy has created an assertive politics of communities that now, enjoying their arrival on the big stage, want a home of their own. This ambition gets fuelled, the third cause, by the increasing attention that community leaders get from the media and those who count. Yesterday’s nobody has become today’s somebody. Community politics makes one a somebody.

The fourth is the development deficit. Since community politics is necessarily sectoral, some gain and some lose. And the losers react.

* The Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla. Views are personal



Smaller states no answer to people’s needs

Nilotpal Basu, Member, CPI (M), Central Secretariat


Nilotpal Basu

Nilotpal Basu
Member, CPI(M) Central Secretariat

First there was Telangana, and now disquiet and violence have enveloped the hills of Darjeeling. And unlike the Gorkhaland agitation of the ’80s, there is a conscious attempt to extend violence to the plains. The statehood question has, since the days of our freedom struggle, been complex. India through ages has assimilated cultures and ethnicities, emerging as a composite and plural society. Celebration of ‘Unity in Diversity’ has been the signature tune of Indian nationhood.

All political forces engaged in freedom struggle recognised this basis for building modern, post-independent
India. The sole exception was RSS. Advocating the enforcement of ‘oneness’ with emphasis on religious identity, subsuming the historical diversities of ethnicity, language, culture and geographic reality.

Therefore, it was not a coincidence that the Constituent Assembly rejected the conceptual framework of creating over 100 states, which the RSS preferred. The emphasis was on creating linguistic states, which while recognising historical pluralities would also reinforce modernism to strengthen national unity.

The States Reorganisation Commission, formed in 1953, recommended formation of linguistic states. However, language was not the only criterion. Administrative and economic viability and geographic reality were also emphasised. That is why the entirety of Hindustani-speaking areas was not clubbed into a single state.

However, the post-Independence period has not been free from tensions. The inherent nature of capitalist development has resulted in regional imbalances. Lack of development has been a basis for demanding new states, often undermining the principle of linguistic states. On the other hand, ethnic and linguistic considerations, which ignore the question of viability, have been pushed to the fore. Care has to be taken to evolve mechanisms like autonomous councils for some communities — with adequate constitutional safeguard for their respective identities and greater role in deciding their own future.

Imperialism, particularly
US imperialism, has been using the identity question to destabilise nations. So, formation of new and obviously smaller states cannot be an answer to the aspirations of our people.


Source- Economic Times, 19 June 2008


India’s federal experiment is a record of such reactions. As a result, we have new states, special status states, a council of states, autonomous councils, development boards, and special schedule states. And yet the demands keep coming. We may or may not need a new SRC. What we certainly do need is a new debate. The above causes can singly or in combination lead to the demand for a separate state. National politics will determine whether it will be conceded



1. Asra - జూన్ 23, 2008

The movement for seperate statehood(be it telangana, darjeeling or any other state)has been an ongoing debate in the parliament which is not taken on board seriously by our political pandits.The Telangana movement reached its peak when it actually took the fore but was subsided by poeple who were initially in the forefront. We should not forget the political climate we are living in. Durnig freedom struggle success of any movement was largely depended on people’s coopertaion besides the charismatic leadership of the person leading the movement.India is lacking effiecient leaders who can unfold the movement into reality.Separate statehood does give us an identity in addition to an array of opportunities in areas of education, employment generation, agriculture , industry etc.I think what we need at this juncture is efficient, committed, determined leadership to make any movement a success.


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