Delhi’s challenge of 2010 : Telangana జనవరి 1, 2010Posted by Telangana Utsav in Andhra, Congress, fast, Identity, politics, Rayalaseema, regionalism, Settler, Sonia, Telangana, TRS.
The Telegraph, 01 January 2010
The real test before the Indian State in the new year will be its handling of the Telangana issue. The agitation has already gone out of control, thanks to the ineptitude of the Central government. What is worse is that the campaign for Telangana has spurred on agitations in other parts of India demanding smaller states. The argument against huge states of the size of the original Uttar Pradesh draws its strength from administrative convenience. This ground does not hold, say, in the case of Gorkhaland, which is to be carved out of the tiny state of West Bengal. Violent protests, bandhs and fasts-unto-death have become some of the methods of pressurizing the Central government to concede to demands for separate states. Such pressures will mount through the year and the challenge before Manmohan Singh’s government will be to negotiate with these demands without seriously compromising the existing political configuration of the Indian nation. The tension over Telangana may have been diffused for the moment, but the problem and its ramifications will continue to fester. The test will be to avoid bloodshed and not to concede too much.
The Prime Minister, Mr Singh, has made it evident that lasting peace with Pakistan is very high on his list of priorities. Just as he had pushed forward the opening up of the Indian economy and the nuclear deal with the United States of America, he is eager to establish ties of normalcy with Pakistan, provided the latter successfully eradicates terrorism. The proviso is critical since conditions within Pakistan suggest that no one actually is in control of that country. A dialogue to establish and maintain peaceful relationship, by definition, needs two sides. The absence of a responsible leadership in Pakistan will be the principle hurdle before Mr Singh. India, the chances are, will have to continue to live under the shadow of terrorist violence coming out of Pakistan.
The threat from without will inevitably exacerbate internal fears. The political class is suffering from a continuous loss of credibility. While it is true that democracy has deepened in India, it cannot be said with the same degree of certainty that the structures and institutions of democracy have been strengthened. Parliaments and legislatures are often disrupted by the unruly behaviour of members. Political parties take to the streets before discussing and debating issues. Dynastic principles and individuals prevail over institutions. These are some of the bigger issues that India will have to confront if democracy has to mature. The problems will not be solved in 2010. But unless they are taken up seriously in the course of the new year, the country will have made no substantive progress on issues that matter.