Separate state : Telangana Andhra డిసెంబర్ 12, 2009Posted by Telangana Utsav in Andhra, Culture, Deccan, Economy, Gond, Hyderabad, Identity, Kakatiya, Mulki, politics, Rayalaseema, Telangana, Telugu.
Small states, big mistake?
Kingshuk Nag, TNN 13 December 2009, 02:13am IST
When Malik Kafur, Alauddin Khilji’s favourite general sacked the Yadava kingdom of Devagiri (present-day Aurangabad) and made inroads into the Kakatiya kingdom at Warangal at the fag-end of the 13th century, little did he realize that his incursions would change this part of the world forever. Kafur was happy making away with gold-laden horses and the Kohinoor. But in the series of invasions that followed, Muhammad bin Tughlak set up his capital in the area before he was forced to retreat north. This sowed the seeds of a Deccani (Dakhni) culture, which reached its zenith in the 20th-century Hyderabad state of the Nizams. It sprawled across present-day Maharashtra, north Karnataka and Telangana. “A distinctive culture evolved. It was a synthesis of north and south, of Hindu and Muslim traditions, and also tribal culture as part of the area was populated with Gonds,” says former minister Basheeruddin Babu-khan. A new way of life came into being with a distinct language, Dakhni, a synthesis of Urdu and Telugu; food habits; music and festivals that included Id, Dussehra and tribal feast days revolving around jungle cults.
Meanwhile, south of the Krishna river, the prosperous Vijayanagar kings held sway. Their kingdom, in present-day north-central Karnataka, controlled large parts of what is now Andhra Pradesh. The kings were great proponents of culture and built magnificent temples such as Lord Balaji’s in Tirumala. Thus, they spawned a distinctive way of life. “The two cultures were poles apart,” says Bharath Kumar who recently wrote a book on Telangana. From the 18th century, much of the area under Vijayanagar came into British hands. Madras was their regional headquarters. This brought English education to the region. As well as an irrigation system. All of this accentuated the differences with people in the Deccan region.
Unfortunately, the Nizams ran a military-feudal system, focused on revenue collection rather than mass education and development. Soon, the economic and cultural gap between the two peoples was enormous. “There was no common meeting ground, except for the Telugu language. But in Telangana the Telugu spoken was different and had no script. The Telugu in parts of the erstwhile British dominion was Sanskritised and classical,” says a former state chief secretary.
Post-Independence, Sardar Patel used military action to ensure Hyderabad state was integrated with India. Eight years later, his successors ensured that parts of the erstwhile state were dismantled and amalgamated into newly formed Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra. Andhra Pradesh itself was a union of the Telugu-speaking area of Telangana and the other part that was under the British. Interestingly, the creation of Andhra Pradesh ran counter to the recommendations of the States Reorganization Commission. It advised separate states. “But those were the heady days of integration and states on linguistic basis. Language was considered the basis of culture. So nobody thought that things could go amiss. Although things did not go awry in that sense, it was an uneasy alliance between two unequal economic partners,” says the former chief secretary.
Problems were compounded by mounting differences over the years, not least Telangana being an arid, resource-poor and landlocked region, perched in the highlands. It has no minerals and its coal is of dubious quality. The Godavari cuts through the area but it is difficult to funnel water from the river to the fields. In recent years, most Andhra farmers’ suicides have occurred in this region. The area has two major power and irrigation projects, at Srisailam and Nagarjunasagar on the Telangana-Andhra border. But most of the water and power goes to the non-Telangana part of Andhra Pradesh. Landholdings are concentrated in the hands of the few, not the many, so the Maoist movement has deep roots here. Activists for Telangana say it is “an internal colony of the rest of Andhra”.
They may have a point. Telangana has no native entrepreneurs but carpet-baggers from the coastal parts of the state have moved in. Right now, Telangana may never grow and develop unless the Centre pumps crores into developing it. It is worth noting that Andhra Pradesh’s most productive areas, investment-rich Vishakhapatanam and the K G Basin, will stay with Andhra. Which would leave a new Telangana with just one asset – Hyderabad. But Brand Hyderabad is not about the manufacturing sector. It is about IT and ITeS. Both require human capital and are more mobile than manufacturing units. Such sectors are sensitive to the slightest change in the ecosystem. If Telangana comes into being, the image of Brand Hyderabad is bound to be battered. “Telangana is not economically viable. But we can’t say that on the record,” laments a Congress leader from Telangana. Clearly, small may not always be beautiful