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Separation should not be violent

Separation should not be violent
Highlights

Separation in any form is painful. A newly-married girl leaves her home to live with her husband amidst tearful scenes. A son leaves on a long sojourn...

Those who lived through the British era claimed that the British did a better job of governing India than its independent rulers. Politics had nothing to do with governance and law and order maintenance; corruption was not widespread and for most part communalism was under check.

Separation in any form is painful. A newly-married girl leaves her home to live with her husband amidst tearful scenes. A son leaves on a long sojourn to study abroad and again there are tears. These changes are inevitable, yet they signify separation which is sorrowful.

Vastly different are divisions of nations which once were united. For reasons of history, geography and politics, nations, from their composite form were separated causing anguish and, in most cases, bloodshed. India was one such painful example. The Sub-continent was divided in 1947 and many remember the resultant agony and bloodshed. Even today, Partition has cast a shadow, leading to difficult problems like the status of Kashmir which India legally claimed was its own. The cutting up of the Middle East to create the Zionist State of Israel proved to be the most serious political problem and created a war-like situation which refuses to go away. Likewise, the division of united Yugoslavia upset the balance of power in the Baltic States leading to the bloody Bosnia war involving Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia and Muslims of the region.

Politics of separation have kept the world in turmoil in many regions and in many instances violence marred the process. Nations which became independent had to face problems from regions which, for one reason or another, demanded separation. They wanted to be free from being part of big States which denied them their due and be independent States. India is no exception to this practice. The British ruled India, which they divided into four huge Presidencies each under a Governor who was invested with enormous powers and reported directly to the Viceroy. Those who lived through the British era claimed that the British did a better job of governing India than its independent rulers. Politics had nothing to do with governance and law and order maintenance; corruption was not widespread and for most part communalism was under check.

Once India got independence, the old system had to go and the States Reorganization process saw the country being divided on the basis of language. India was unlucky to be saddled with hundreds of languages and thousands of dialects. Some of the States were found to be too big and unwieldy. The border regions in some States wanted alternate arrangements because of what they perceived to be discrimination. The original Madras Presidency yielded four States, including Andhra, formed after death of freedom fighter Potti Sriramulu. Bombay Presidency was split into Maharashtra and Gujarat and no one could easily forget the bloody tussle over the inclusion of Bombay in Maharashtra. Hundreds of people died in the Samyukta Maharashtra movement and even a popular leader like Jawaharlal Nehru had to change his view that Bombay, because of its cosmopolitan nature, should be ruled directly by the Centre.

Maharashtra and Karnataka fought over Belgaum; Kerala and Karnataka fought over Kasargode and most of this happened because politicians tended to favour certain regions and discriminated against others. While Mumbai gloried as the financial capital of India, the nearby region of Vidarbha became notorious for a large number of farmers’ suicides caused by unbalanced regional development.

New adjustments were made; new States had to be created out of the existing larger ones. So emerged Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, Uttaranchal and others while similar demands emerged from Telangana, Vidarbha and Gurkhaland.

A nation as huge and diverse as India had to solve these problems. After years of unrest and agitations, the Telangana dream has been realized and hopefully the new State will come into being in 2014. As was to be expected, the rest of Andhra Pradesh is up in arms demanding its pound of flesh over the loss of Telangana and, in particular, Hyderabad. Today, this region is in a state of anarchy. The working of the State government has stopped. Some Telangana leaders, unable to appreciate the seriousness of the situation, growled that Andhras now working and living in Hyderabad had better leave their jobs, pack up and return to their original home towns.

This most unreasonable demand, even before the actual formation of the State, could not have come at a worse time. Of course, in the days and years to come, the people of Telangana who had been denied their due in government jobs, seats in educational institutions, industrial development and so on will have to be compensated and given their due. The feeling that Hyderabad had been trampled upon by ‘outsiders’ was an emotive one and could not be rejected outright. Under such circumstances it was unfortunate that some Telangana leaders threatened to throw out the rest of the Andhra people from their jobs and homes in Hyderabad. This sort of confrontation is harmful to both States.

The State of Telangana is now inevitable and should be accepted by the parties concerned. There would be plenty of teething problems for the new State and they will have to be handled with tact. The concept of Hyderabad as a joint capital was the only sensible solution and AP has enough resources and initiative to build a new one. Cooperation and mutual understanding will yield better results than confrontation and violence.

Everyone remembers the bitter struggle over Bombay at the time of creating the new States of Gujarat and Maharashtra. But once the inevitable was accepted, the controversy died a natural death. Bombay, though designated the capital of Maharashtra, maintained its cosmopolitan and national status. Of course, the Thackeray-led Shiv Sena and its offshoot, the MNS, continued to insist that Mumbai was their own but had little more than some nuisance value. There will be such rabble-rousers in Hyderabad and they must be dealt with severely. Both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are endowed with rich natural resources and should make a mark if squabbling politicians were prevented from spreading cheap regional chauvinism.

Point & counterpoint

With Seemandhra people up in arms against the Congress decision to bifurcate the State, various issues that have never been discussed openly are coming into sharp focus from the three regions. We have run a five-part series highlighting the Srikrishna Committee Report’s observations on key issues and asked our readers to respond. The idea is to create a platform where anybody can express his/her view freely and encourage more discussion on the State bifurcation issue. The views and counterviews will be published in these columns. They can be either directly related to the subjects mentioned in the Report or on carving out a separate state.

They articles should be written in English, not exceeding 800 words, and to the point. Please mention the complete address with phone number. Also attach a passport size photograph and mail to letters@thehansindia.in

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