Tuesday, February 18, 2014

When 'Telangana' Separated With Andhra Pradesh State?

By M H Ahssan | INNLIVE

ANALYSIS Fifty-eight years after the unification of Telangana and Andhra region, the Lok Sabha separated them by dividing the state of Andhra Pradesh. After blacking out the live coverage of the Telangana debate on Lok Sabha TV, the Hower House voted for Telangana state in a controversial voice vote. Interestingly, both Congress and BJP joined hands to divide Andhra Pradesh. Only the TMC and JDU staged a walkout calling it a murder of democracy.

According to experts the Congress which is staring at a rout in most parts of the country is likely to win big in Telangana which has 17 Lok Sabha and 119 Assembly seats. The Congress is expected to be decimated in Seemandhra region.
Most call it a cynical political move and not a genuine response of the Congress to the aspirations of the people. There is a sense of jubilation across Telangana and a sense of huge loss and sadness across Seemandhra region.

Arguments against Telangana
- Experts argue that Telangana may fall into the hands of Maoists like neighbouring Chhattisgarh and Odisha. Maoists have a huge presence on its border.

- They argue that except Hyderabad and Secundarabad, Telangana has no other developed area or city.

- But, the pro-united Andhra voices argue that after division Telangana will be a rich state with the money from Hyderabad-Secundarabad and Seemandhra will suffer economically.

- They say Seemandhra may not be able to pay even salaries and pensions with the meager income the region generates.

In a post on twocircles.com Suroor Ahmed describes Telangana state as a recipe for disaster.
- Telangana of today is not Telangana of immediate post-Nizam days of 1948 when the Communists raised the banner of revolt. Nor is it Telangana of 1960s when the demand for a separate state was raised.

- The twin cities of Hyderabad-Secundarabad have now acquired the nickname of Cyberabad and along with Vishakapatnam, which is in the coastal Andhra, can be also called as the Pharmabad as a number of pharmaceutical industries have come up in the last so many years. And in December 2009 Telangana agitation caused pharma industries suffer a loss of Rs 500 crore.

- In the post-industrial revolution age the coastal regions always have more economic activities than the landlocked ones. Unless it is a national capital for example, Paris, New Delhi, Beijing, Tehran etc all the big and important cities of the present age are ports. They naturally emerge as export-import centres and industrialists, for obvious reasons, too prefer to set up their plants in its vicinity.

- Those who want Telangana state are more inspired by the old political and emotional slogans and appear weak in understanding the changing geo-sociological realities of the world. Sooner or later they will learn from the failure of separate Jharkhand and even Chhattisgarh. Both ended up becoming the Maoists stronghold rather than benefiting the real poor people of the state. 

Telangana, as a part of Andhra Pradesh, in contrast, witnessed fall in Maoists' activities, though it has a long history of bloody struggle. Only time will tell whether the creation of a separate state will benefit the people or the nascent state would once again slip into the hands of ultra-Left as in the case with Jharkhand or Chhattisgarh.

- Jharkhand, arguably minerally the richest state in India, which was created in the name of tribals, has now become the laughing stock of the country with no government completing its term. Though all the chief ministers in the last 10 years of its existence were tribals, the truth is that the condition of adivasis has hardly improved - instead it has deteriorated.

- Another mineral rich state of Chhattisgarh is known for all the wrong reasons: Operation Greenhunt, the repeated daring attacks by Maoists and now life sentence to Binayak Sen.

- It is argued that minus Hyderabad-Secunderabad region there is nothing much in Telangana. But this holds true to other states too. Minus Kolkata there is almost nothing in West Bengal, barring to some extent steel plants in Durgapur and Burnpur (Asansol).

- Not only industrially even strategically the importance of Hyderabad-Secundarabad belt has increased in the last few decades. Along with Bangalore the twin-cities of Telangana have suited the Defence Ministry the most and several plants have come up.

- With north and western India getting saturated and have come within the firing range of China and Pakistan the Defence Ministry has decided to concentrate more in south.

- Today Telangana's per capita income is almost equal to the coastal Andhra and more than Rayalaseema. True agriculture land and rail and road connectivity may not be as good as the coastal region but this fact should be kept into mind that it is a plateau region with deep jungles. The geographical advantages or disadvantages would remain even if Telangana is made a separate state.

- The argument that people from other regions - and not Telangana - dominate Andhra Pradesh does not hold much water. The creation of separate Telangana is no guarantee to stop this phenomenon. Gujaratis still have a sizeable presence in Mumbai's business world even after the creation of two different states 55 years back.

- Setting up another states' Reorganisation Commission is one thing but creating smaller states with small Assemblies is likely to create more political instability. Horse-trading of MLAs in smaller states, even like developed Goa, is much easy than the bigger ones, where much larger sum is involved to buy two-thirds legislators.

- Telangana's problem is that the demand for separate state has risen from the political centre of power of the state - Hyderabad - and not from far-off regions like Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh in case with Bihar and Madhya Pradesh respectively. And unlike in these two states Telangana has divided different castes and communities. For example, some Muslim organisations, such as Jamaat-e-Islami too, have supported the creation of Telangana.

- What is often not understood is that after the creation of Telangana, outfits like Shiv Sena would come up in the new state to chase the outsiders and minorities out on the plea that they are exploiting the local people. Herein lies the real threat of such movements.

Arguments for Telangana
BJP MLA and thinker G Kishan Reddy makes a strong case for Telangana state. In an article he argues.

- The Fazal Ali Commission was set up to re-organize the states of the Indian Republic was against the merger of Telangana and Andhra. Its recommendation to go about creating states on linguistic lines, indirectly paved the way for the creation of Andhra Pradesh. 

Andhra was formed from the northern districts of the erstwhile Madras state and the southern districts of the erstwhile Hyderabad state -- though the committee itself did not advocate such a merger and was against it.

Now, 58 years later, the very concept of the creation of states based on linguistic lines has become passé. We need to look for fresh parameters for the creation of states, and that has to be based on holistic development on economic and social lines for better administration and management. This fact has been proven with the creation of Chhattisgarh from Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand from Bihar and Uttaranchal from Uttar Pradesh.

- Two issues that seem to be at the centre of the contention between the two regions of Andhra Pradesh is the future of Hyderabad and the repercussions in terms of the sharing of river waters from the completed and planned irrigation projects after the division of the state. Any entity, political or otherwise, that is able to find pragmatic solutions to this conundrum would not only earn the respect of the people of the state but also help set a precedent in the matter of contentious State divisions in the future.

In an article in Telangana guru Dr Jayashanker argues in favour Telangana. He says: "The demand for a separate state of Telangana isn't new. Telanganites have very clearly expressed their opposition a decade before Andhra Pradesh was formed. They reasoned that in a united Andhra Pradesh they will not get justice. Even after five decades, this demand is continuing." 

The reason for this is the experience of past 48 years that justice will not be done to Telangana and belief that it will continue to be denied to Telanganites in united AP. Telangana demand is a peoples' movement born out of their problems. 

  • Are all the people robbed unabatedly, continuously for the 48-years and raising their voice again, unemployed political leaders? 
  • Who are the unemployed political leaders? 
  • Are they the farmers that have been suffering for lack of drinking water, irrigations water, and cuts in electric supply? 
  • Are they the workers who lost their livelihood due to lack of new industries, and closure of existing industries? 
  • Are they the unemployed youth whose job opportunities are hijacked by outsiders? 
  • Are they the innumerable people who have been labelled and suppressed as terrorists because they raised their voice for Telangana? 

When people are subject to robbery and injustice and take to the streets, it is natural for leaders to enter the fray. Just because out of power politicians support Telangana statehood, does it stop being peoples' movement? In any movement, politicians in and out of power join in. Some even deceive and attempt to side line the movement, but they can't stop the movement. Movements continue until justice is served to the people. The educated that are the pillars of this movement aren't unemployed. They aren't even after employment for themselves.

He also dismisses the arguments that smaller states are detrimental to India's progress. He says" "Out of the 35 states currently in India (28 states and 7 central possessions), 70 per cent are smaller than Telangana. Telangana's population is 30 million plus. There are 25 states that are smaller than Telangana. If these 25 don't cause national unity issues, why would creation of a larger state be any dangerous? 

Backwardness of Telangana is a major reason for the Telangana state demand but not the sole reason. All ten Telangana districts have same historical background, geographic closeness, cultural commonality, language unity, and mutual understanding among the people. These factors are all foundation for unity of thought. 

Never did the people of Telangana districts express a desire or sentiment to be separate from the rest of the districts directly or indirectly. There isn't an opportunity for such either. In our country there are some other backward districts in various states. Are they all demanding a separate statehood? It is meaningless and baseless argument.

He also rubbishes the arguments that the people who speak the same language can't have two states. He says: "If one language, one state is the norm, why do we have 9-Hindi speaking states? Next to Hindi, Telugu is the most spoken language in India. What is wrong with having two states that speak Telugu? Some people claim that Telangana Telugu isn't the proper Telugu. Some others say it isn't even Telugu. Why should these people that make fun of Telangana language and ridicule its culture should be objecting if Telangana is separate state?"

A brief history of Telangana battle
The Telangana struggle has been a long battle and it finally may come to an end soon. Here's a brief look at the Telangana story so far.

Telangana is a region comprising 10 of Andhra Pradesh's 23 districts. Originally, the region was a part of the erstwhile Nizam's princely state of Hyderabad. In 1948, India put an end to the rule of the Nizams and a Hyderabad state was formed. In 1956, the Telangana part of Hyderabad was merged with the Andhra state.

The Andhra state had been carved out of Madras Presidency in 1953 after Potti Sreeramulu's agitation for Telugu statehood. The people from Telangana were against merger with Andhra as they feared job losses. That is because education levels and development in Andhra were better than in Telangana.

There were cultural differences too. Under Nizam's rule, the culture and language in Telangana bore influences of North India. 

In 1969, the Telangana movement intensified under the leadership of Marri Chenna Reddy and the Telangana Praja Samithi. There was widespread violence and over 350 protesters were killed in police firing and lathicharge.

However, the movement could not last long as Chenna Reddy went on to merge his party with Congress and was eventually made chief minister by Indira Gandhi. In 2001, the movement revived once again when K Chandrasekhar Rao quit the Telugu Desam and formed the Telangana Rashtra Samithi. 

In 2004, the Congress joined hands with Rao, promising separate Telangana but later backtracked. In 2009, Chandrashekhara Rao's fast unto death forced the then Union Home Minister P Chidambaram to announce the creation of a separate state of Telangana.

The Centre appointed a commission headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court, BN Srikrishna, to look into the matter of bifurcation. The commission submitted its report in December 2010 and it was rejected by the TRS. The late chief minister YS Rajashekhara Reddy's son YS Jagan Mohan Reddy's decision to quit the Congress to launch his own outfit YSR Congress Party once again revived the Telangana debate.

The Congress's diminishing fortune in Andhra Pradesh is the main reason behind its decision to bite the Telangana bullet.

The Recent History or Timeline

  • 2009 - KCR goes on a fast unto death. The then Union Home Minister P Chidambaram announces creation of Telangana state.
  • Government of India appoints Justice BN Srikrishna Commission.
  • Justice BN Srikrishna Commission submits its report on December 31, 2010.
  • TRS rejects the report and continues its mass agitation.
  • 2012-2013 - MPs and MLAs from Telangana mount pressure for a new state. MPs and MLAs from Seemandhra oppose. Congress Core Committee decides on Telangana. Union Cabinet clears the Bill. Sent to AP Assembly. Assembly debates the bill for over a month. Finally, rejects it on January 30.
  • The Lok Sabha clears Telangana Bill by a voice vote on February 18, 2014.
  • The Rajya Sabha to debate and vote the Bill on Thursday.
The Telangana tangle
  • Andhra Pradesh - Districts 23
  • Telangana 10
  • Andhra 13
  • Within Andhra
  • Coastal Andhra Pradesh 9
  • Rayalaseema 4
Telangana - districts
  • Hyderabad, Adilabad, Khammam, Karimnagar, Mahbubnagar, Medak, Nalgonda, Nizamabad, Rangareddy and Warangal
Seemandhra - districts
  • Coastal districts - Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam, East Godavari, West Godavari, Krishna, Guntur, Prakasam and Nellore
  • Rayalaseema districts - Kadapa, Kurnool, Ananthapur and Chittoor
Telangana - political
  • 119 Assembly seats
  • 17 LS Seats
Seemandhra - political
  • 175 Assembly seats
  • 25 LS seats
Telangana - outline
  • Area: 1.14 Lakh sq km
  • Population: 3.52 crore (2011 census); 41 pe rcent of AP state population
  • Naxal hotbed
  • Mostly barren land
  • Accute power shortage
  • Law & order could be a big problem
  • Hyderabad is the only major developed & industrialized district
Seemandhra - outline
  • Area: 1.60 Lakh Sq km
  • Population: 5 crore (2011 census); 60 per cent of AP state population
  • Well developed, better infrastructure
  • Has a long coast
  • Has many major developed and industrialised cities
  • Has vast natural resources
  • Has better road and rail transport
  • Naxals have a marginal presence
The bone of contention - Hyderabad
  • Population: 70 Lakh
  • Hyderabad has always been the centre of Telangana
  • Seemandhra does not want to give up its right over Hyderabad
  • Telangana people say it is non-negotiable
  • Telangana was the Centre of Nizams state of Hyderabad

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