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Debate : Point & Counterpoint

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With Seemandhra people up in arms against the Congress decision to bifurcate the State, various issues that have never been discussed openly are...

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 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

Demerger dilemmas, and a solution

Declare in 2013 formation of new states in 2033. Develop two mega cities one each in Andhra and Rayalaseema by 2025.The new states would be Telangana, Andhra and Rayalaseema. (If north coastal Andhra people want a separate state, they have to ask for it now or never again)

Ch Srikrishna Appaji
The issue of Hyderabad: Nowadays, Telangana protagonists are often saying that they are not asking for any new division of Andhra Pradesh but just a demerger to the pre-1956 status. They must be reminded that since merger in 1956, there has been grossly disproportionate public and private investment in Hyderabad because it happened to be the capital city of Andhra Pradesh.
From proportional population representation, it can be presumed that Seemandhra region contributed at least 60% to the state’s investment on Hyderabad after 1956. This has been at the expense of development of other towns and cities in Seemandhra region. Hyderabad may have a 400-year history but the employment and revenue generating “modern Hyderabad” is a relatively young city - the transformation occurring in the last 30 to 40 years. The once cultural and architectural showpiece of a city has grown into an economic and technological powerhouse generating as much revenue as the rest of Andhra Pradesh! As a result, there is a role-reversal in the sense that Hyderabad has now become the caretaker and the growth engine of Andhra Pradesh. Any division of state will do gross injustice to the region that does not have a Hyderabad.
India’s Census records also reveal that 48% of population is below 21 years of age. One can imagine the magnitude of the problem this young population in Seemandhra region will face in a new state without a metropolitan city. Extrapolating data from Census records regarding age distribution of Indian population, it can be presumed that for nearly 90% of Seemandhra people alive now, Andhra Pradesh and Hyderabad have been their state and capital since their birth. For all these people, unlimited access to opportunities and benefits of Hyderabad is their birthright.
Water sharing issues: For some, this is the key concern which may lead to ‘Water Wars’ in future. Farmers in Seemandhra region are apprehensive that water from Krishna and Godavari rivers, which pass through Telangana, will become less available for irrigation. Moreover, Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy has lamented that some of the major irrigation projects have been constructed with Andhra Pradesh and not regions in mind thereby making it very difficult to divide those projects between regions.
Future demands for newer states in AP: (i) Rayalaseema: To quote from Srikrishna Committee report, “there are strong indications that if Telangana does become a separate state, a movement for separation is likely to follow in Rayalaseema, which remains the most backward region in the state.”(page 413). (ii) North Coastal Andhra: Two of the most backward districts in AP – Srikakulam and Vizianagaram -- are located in Andhra. Like Telangana, north coastal Andhra has a major city, Visakhapatnam located geographically within it. There is a high possibility that it will demand a separate state in future, if not especially if Visakhapatnam is not made the capital of the new state.
The impasse: Telangana and Seemandhra regions remain uncompromisingly polarized on the issue of division of state. While majority people in Telangana favour a separate state, majority in Seemandhra region favour an undivided Andhra Pradesh. Unfortunately, for Seemandhra people, with the Centre’s December 9, 2009 and July 30, 2013 announcements, the demand for a separate Telangana state has been transformed from a need into a yearning with a feeling impending fulfillment. There are some in Seemandhra who demand a Union Territory or separate statehood to Hyderabad metropolitan region. Telangana people are unlikely to accept separation of Hyderabad from a Telangana state. Would Telangana agitation be so prolonged and intense if it did not have the confidence of a metropolis like Hyderabad located in its territory?
A solution – unpleasant but contextual:
Declare in 2013 formation of new states in 2033. Develop two mega cities one each in Andhra and Rayalaseema by 2025.The new states would be Telangana, Andhra and Rayalaseema. (If north coastal Andhra people want a separate state, they have to ask for it now or never again.) This solution will give time for future capitals and regional economies to develop, time to sort out water sharing and other issues, time for the youngsters in Seemandhra region to confidently utilize services in Hyderabad, and time for Seemandhra people to emotionally and materially detach from Hyderabad.
Telangana protagonists demand for a separate state will ultimately be fulfilled, albeit after some delay. Samaikyandhra protagonists can oppose my option if they can guarantee that Telangana statehood demand will not recur in future. Even if suppressed now, AP division may be inevitable in future. In such scenario, more damage is likely to be inflicted on Seemandhra region than it is now. There are many who feel that Andhra region would have flourished if separation occurred with Jai Andhra agitation in 1972. It was not a modern Hyderabad but a heritage Hyderabad then. Bad luck Andhra- you contributed immensely to growth of modern Hyderabad and lost 40 valuable years (from 1972) in the process.
(The writer is a medical practitioner with Vani Nursing Home,Narasapur,West Godavari Dt)
Why demand against bifurcation unreasonable?
Self-respect and self-confidence are not individual in the case of Telangana agitation but a demand by all the communities irrespective of caste, creed and religion and they are offshoots of continuous exploitation by Seemandhra leaders
Ch Srisailam
Adusumilli Jayaprakash’s write-up titled “10 reasons against bifurcation” which appeared in the Debate column could have appeared much before the UPA announced its decision of carving out a separate Telangana state with Hyderabad as its capital.
Adusumilli mostly dwelt with social problems which don’t carry importance in the ongoing agitation and is of no consequence in the face of continuous exploitation by Seemandhra leaders since Andhra Pradesh was formed. Following are my replies to each of his 10 un-compromising reasons:
1. Though there are different dialects in Telangana, the accent mostly is the same and is discernable throughout the region. No doubt, with the abolition of Urdu medium, Telugu has undergone some changes but these can be observed only in educated families. Because 80% of uneducated speak with Telangana accent which has been in vogue before and after the formation of AP, this accent and dialects have nothing to do with the major issue of separation which is purely based on exploitation in the fields of water, finance, employment avenues, and land. How these were exploited to the benefit of Seemandhra region against the Gentelmen’s Agreement, the very basis of formation of AP, made the people belligerent to achieve a separate Telangana State.
2. The Telangana agitation has been smoldering since 1956. Whenever exploitations peeped into different fields, the agitations have surfaced because the long standing grievances have not been addressed since 1972. The 6-point formula, Girglani’s report which were to be implemented after the 1972 agitation (in Andhra) have not been addressed till 2000 and onwards. So, now Telangana people have been agitating for separate state, since they came to the conclusion that the problems facing the region would not be solved in Andhra Pradesh State.
3. The contention that after the trifurcation of the Nizam dominion in 1956, Telangana has remained a region, but not a state. What if so? Does he mean that merger can never be demerged? One should recall Nehru’s words that “unwilling partner can divorce at any time, if it is an unholy alliance. Dissolution of Telangana state and installation of Vishalandhra (AP) was effected simultaneously. So Telangana remained a state to its logical end.
4. The demand for Telangana state is not based on dialects but based on exploitation. They never said the dialect is the crux of the problem. The dialect figured in the ongoing agitation when Telangana dialects were exposed to insulting postures in the movies.
5. The demand for splitting AP into 5 or 6 states on the basis of smaller state is not wrong if it is feasible and if there has been a demand ever since the formation of AP. Now the question revolves around that part of Nizam state which merged into AP state. Here the people want not the creation of new state but demerger of that region which was annexed against the wishes of the people and SRC report. Here incessant exploitation contributes to the division of the state, not the smaller or bigger states.
6. The Seemandhra politicians ruled the state for 52 years with biased attitude and to the advantage of Seemandhra region. All the benefits that are to be accrued through judicious agreements have been flouted. I am skeptical of Adusumilli’s contradictory theory wherein he stated that “self rule” slogan applied only to the foreign and monarchies rule. If it is so, why did Andhra leaders in 1951-53 raise the same slogan “self rule” while demanding separation from Madras state in the face of exploitation by Tamilians? Pattabhi Seetha Ramayya, former AICC President, went a step forward demanding Madras to be made a Union Territory. This angered the then CM, C. Rajagopalachari who shouted at them saying that they would be booted out if they failed to vacate Madras. Now the same tactics are being put forth by Seemandhra leaders for Hyderabad. But Telangana leaders are magnanimously agreeing to the citizenship of Seemandhra people in Hyderabad.
7. Any agitation is based on certain demands for achieving their genuine goal. Self-respect and self-confidence are not individual in the case of Telangana agitation but a demand by all the communities irrespective of caste, creed and religion and they are offshoots of continuous exploitation by Seemandhra leaders.
8. No doubt, in the beginning, there were setbacks in the electoral results because of deceptive alliance the TRS proposed in the hope of getting Telangana statehood. Both the Congress party, which included the separation in the manifesto, and the TDP which passed a resolution for separate Telangana, ditched the TRS during elections. These deceptive tactics played by Congress and TDP paid rich dividends to the TRS in the by-elections in which both the Congress and TDP candidates forfeited their deposits. After that the TRS has never faced defeat. So, the contention that the TRS was rejected by the electorate is a wrong notion.
9. Language alone need not be the binding force among the masses. Here no government has ever tried to integrate the peoples of three regions emotionally. Because Seemandhra people segregated Telanganites whose culture, language, habits they hated all these decades, social segregation, which is no less than apartheid, has contributed towards separatist tendency.
10. The question of incompatibility arose because of absence of emotional integration. So, Adusumilli’s ten reasons against bifurcation are not only silly but also of any consequence.
(The writer is retired headmaster,Huzurabad, Karimnagar Dt)
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