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End of Visala Andhra – Musings ఫిబ్రవరి 26, 2009

Posted by M Bharath Bhushan in Culture, elections, Fazal Ali Commission, Identity, politics, Telangana.
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Editorial

Some musings on Telangana

The New Indian Express, 24 February 2009

With the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh declaring in the state assembly that his government “has no objection to the formation of Telangana state in principle and feels the time has come to move forward decisively on the issue”, the old dream of one Visala Andhra, seems destined for final burial. The CM, Rajasekhara Reddy, was the one remaining major opponent of abandoning the 50-plus years of a politically unified Telugu state; even he now seems to have decided it is no longer politically feasible to continue doing so. It is interesting how an idea which was dormant on the political horizon 10 years earlier has now come to dominate it, and on such an issue; the story of the long years of struggle for a unified Andhra was a compulsory staple in all state school textbooks, and all political speeches, from its formation.

Historians and political scientists will have much to ponder in coming years on how the idea lost attraction, finding so few defenders.

As someone once observed on this page, it is noteworthy how no one in these crucial years ever made a politically compelling case, let alone a campaign, for a unified state.

Our point here is neither to hail nor harry the case for splitting Andhra. But we would like to spend a few minutes in wondering where the trend — Vidarbha’s split from Maharashtra is possibly the next step in this direction — is heading and its implications. The Andhra formation history dates back to the early years of the previous century, and was the result of a strong political consensus. It seems to have run its course. A staple taught in our schools is that India suffered repeatedly due to a regular inability to internally unite. Are centrifugal forces a strong perennial in our system? What is the correct response? Are these a natural thing, a rejuvenating reaction, to be allowed to run their course? Or something to be worriedly observed and countered? Or is it a mistake to see all this in a this-or-that context? Or only partly so? We offer no answers; it is, perhaps, a mistake to expect any clear ones. But the issues should interest all of us, whether politically interested or not. These touch on some basic ideas within us on what India is about, and what it means to each of us. Or do we over-react to a local political development, a regular outcome in any democracy? Perhaps.

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