Monday, December 14, 2009
How far will India be Telanganised?
For a year now, I will be a Non-Resident Indian....But that does not prevent me from being as concerned as I would be, were I there...Every day as I read papers, I wonder if, by the time I return, there would be a minimum of ten new states that I need to know....Maybe the question I framed in my mind needs to be put out there....How far will India be Telanganised? The question I have been grappling with for some time is whether it was all about a two week fast by a politician who had lost mandate even within Andhra Pradesh, to force the Centre's hand..Is this man, K Chandrasekhara Rao getting more credit than he actually deserves? I remember covering Andhra Pradesh elections in 2004, when Telangana was indeed a burning issue that KCR (as he is called) cashed in on... Then he had the voice of the 'people's mandate' to press his case...Then Sonia Gandhi and the Congress had turned a blind eye... So what changed? Was it that with the untimely death of Andhra Pradesh CM, YS Rajasekhara Reddy, the last big hurdle in the way of moving for Telangana was removed? I refuse to believe its as simple as that... The struggle for Telangana is over four decades old....The Centre has refused to cow down to pressure long enough to know how to put issues on backburners and get adamant politicians attempting to resurrect their nearly spent careers on such separatist pitch to toe the line..But this time, it does seem like KCR's fast was like the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back, doesn't it? But what about if we think of this as the Centre's way of trying to find a political solution to the the growing Naxal Insurgency in not only Telangana but choose it to make a role model for an anti-Naxal initiative that is not just a militaristic endeavour? The Prime Minister has spoken about how concerned he is about Naxal insurgency - the biggest threat to India's internal security...attacks that have been bleeding the Indian democracy economically and socially....With a shrewd Home Minister like P Chidambaram by his side, this could be a mastermove to tackle some fundamental issues that large, cumbersome states have not solved their way through.. So could be the Centre's first step towards seeking a political solution...agreeing for separate states to hasten concentrated progress in these regions? Perhaps the initiative of state building could be a method to divert some much needed focus to Telangana's festering wounds... But then I wonder, what about Chhatisgarh and Jharkhand? Those mineral rich states still remain just that...mineral rich, cash strapped, naxal hit and with little progress shown as far as improvement of the poor tribals go...only politicians like Madhu Koda and Shibu Soren have reaped the benefits of earning separate statehood...They turned multi-millionaires, accumulating more money than what their respective state's budgetary allocations were...Is KCR the next in line for similar political and financial largesse? I hear now Mayawati wants atleast four new states to be carved out of a mammoth UP....I would, in an ideal scenario, encourage the formation of more states - throwing away the logic that fewer states would mean stronger bargaining power...Let power be devolved...let more people get a say in how this democracy functions...Many have not even got a chance to save their lands as governments chose urbanisation and modernisation at high costs, with little heed paid to securing them an alternate livelihood... But if the end result is spawning more Kodas and Sorens and Mayawatis..I am certain Telanganisation is the solution...Today Telangana, tomorrow Rayalseema, Vidharbha will follow soon after....Pot is already boiling over Bundelkhand and other UP separations...Gorkhas want Gorkhaland... When I was taught India's political map in school, I was told India has 25 states and 7 union territories..today there are 28 states and 7 union territories..By the time I have kids and they start school, it could well be 35....The more the merrier, lets say, if the goals were nobler... But who's checking intentions? Votes count..but who's checking how fair the way it was polled was? Should one politician's whim be reason enough for such a mammoth decision..or should there be referendums? Time for some answers in this democracy...