Make history; don’t make it up!


Make History; Don’t Make it Up!, f no-confidence motion, People of Telangana. The notice of no-confidence motion served against the UPA government by some of the Cong MPs and those belonging to Oppn parties is the last ditch effort to fell the govt

The notice of no-confidence motion served against the UPA government by some of the Cong MPs and those belonging to Oppn parties is the last ditch effort to fell the govt. It may help the Seemandhra MPs of the Cong, TDP and YSRCP to send signals to the people of their segments to convey that they fought to preserve the unity of the State to the best of their ability. It cannot stall the process. Their claims to the contrary are hollow

The nation has reason to rejoice, at last. After a series of bad news we had the results of the Assembly elections, particularly of Delhi, to cheer the people; now the Lokpal Bill, waiting for the President’s seal after it was passed by both the Houses of Parliament, a giant step. Two Indians are largely responsible for both the developments, Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal. They together created an atmosphere conducive for such a historic verdict by the people and a path-breaking legislation by the people’s representatives. Indians have to thank them.

Whatever may be its failures, there are far too many, the UPA government appears to be endowed with superlative skills to get important Bills passed by Parliament. The Left parties could not stall the Indo-US civil nuclear agreement. There were many voices opposed to the Food Security Bill saying that it is nothing but buying votes in kind. But the Bill got the approval of Parliament. Mulayam Singh Yadav had to give in ultimately on the Lokpal Bill by staging a pre-planned walkout. Will the UPA-II be able to do so in the case of AP Reorganisation Bill too?

One can only guess. As far as the people of AP are concerned, it is only a matter of time. Whether the Bill would be approved by this Parliament or the next is the only question. Thanks to the political leaders who did not heed the alarm bell that had been ringing intermittently right since 1969, if not earlier, the situation has gone beyond redemption. It is perhaps too late to save the State as it has been known for 57 years, whatever the leaders of different parties opposing the division may say. Even the leaders know they are fighting a losing battle. They put up a facade for future consumption.

The process of separation is truly painful. Be it brothers or wife and husband, parting of ways is the result of a series of failures in communication on the part of both the sides. It may be a court of law or a meeting of reconciliation presided over by a maternal uncle, the proceedings are usually associated with acrimony and blame game. The unsavoury spectacles at the media point in the Assembly complex we were cursed to witness the other day are the manifestation of years of suspicion and recrimination. People of AP are in the final stage of a painful experience.

Now that the Bill has been introduced, a detailed examination has to take place and it has to be concluded. Even a marathon race once started has to end. Every MLA or MLC will have enough time within the timeline stipulated by the President to say whatever he wishes. President Pranab Kumar Mukherjee’s stay in Hyderabad as part of his South India sojourn was used as an excuse to adjourn the Assembly sine die well before Christmas. Even after January 3, when the House is scheduled to reassemble, the Bill has to be discussed. There is no escape. If the discussion is not possible and the members are not allowed to speak, they can give written affidavits. Whether it is speeches or affidavits, there won’t be any new revelations in the deliberations. All possible points have already been made.

The leaders can only repeat themselves. If any one of them had read the Constitution carefully or had gone through the deliberations of the Constituent Assembly which produced the Constitution, he would have realised that the persons who participated in the historic debates were men of great vision. They were all stalwarts many of whom had the benefit of Oxford or Cambridge or Columbia University education. They had deep knowledge of the Constitutions of great and accomplished democracies like England, France and the US to guide them. Their extraordinary vision and foresight helped them envisage a situation where a majority would prevail over a minority and it may not always be right.

That was the reason why Baba Saheb Ambedkar, the architect of the Constitution, moved an amendment to the first draft making it possible for a minority to approach the President of the Republic seeking separation. Had Ambedkar not brought about the amendment, it would not have been possible for Andhras to walk out of the Madras State. It was K Santhanam who argued in support of the amendment proposed by Ambedkar, that if the consent, instead of consultation as the Constitution now mandates, of the State whose boundaries will undergo changes, is required “the way of Andhras would be blocked’. They were objective in their views since they were men of extraordinary qualities of heart and mind. A likely complication that may arise in future was envisaged hypothetically and a solution sought. At the time of deliberations in the Constituent Assembly, there was an active movement by Andhras to shrug off the Tamil majority’s bear hug. AP was only in the realm of imagination. Though Santhanam was a Tamil, he argued in favour of Andhras having their way. The members of the Constituent Assembly were conscious that they were preparing a Constitution for future generations of Indians to follow.

When Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy loudly, with dramatic gesticulations, swore thrice in his well-prepared Pulichintala oration the other day that he would defeat the draft Bill on the floor of the House at any cost, he was only proving that the fears of the founding fathers of the Constitution were not entirely unfounded. There is no doubt, after a very clear polarisation, that the MLAs who want the State to be united are in a majority in the House. No one can question the claim that even among the nine crores of people in AP a majority are against the division for whatever reason. Even then, our Constitution allows the minority voice to prevail if Parliament feels that the demand for a separate State is justified. The notice of no-confidence motion served against the UPA government by some of the Congress MPs and those belonging to Opposition parties is the last ditch effort to fell the government. It may help the Seemandhra MPs of the Congress, the TDP and the YSRCP to send signals to the people of their constituencies to convey that they fought to preserve the unity of the State to the best of their ability. It cannot stall the process. Their claims to the contrary are hollow.

The arguments on the floor of the legislature or outside that those who have majority would not allow division are, therefore, against the spirit of the Constitution. Article 3 of the Constitution was incorporated precisely for this reason; to prevent the tyranny of the majority. It is a different question altogether whether the people of Telangana or some of them are truthful in saying that they were subjected to tyranny. One can certainly argue that the people of Telangana were benefited because of the merger with Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions or that the people of both the regions can prosper if they continue their march in future.

Though the time for arguments is apparently over, there is still scope to present a case. The opportunity is provided by the President. The draft Bill can be the basis for a constructive articulation the kind of which had never taken place in the legislature in recent times. Let the leaders of all the parties prepare well in advance and come up with effective presentation of facts and figures without fudging them. A genuine introspection on the part of leaders on both sides of the divide is vital for them to realise what exactly went wrong with Telugus in their journey of five and half decades. Let there be confessions by leaders from the entire State on their failure to promote emotional integration. Is there any member in the Assembly or the Council who can persuade the people of Telangana to drop the idea of separation? If there is anyone, he or she can utilise the floor of the House. There is no need for large meetings; no need for mobilisation of people or street shows. All the TV news channels would telecast the proceedings live. Telugu-speaking people all over the world would be keenly watching the proceedings. If the arguments succeed in preventing a division, so be it. Even if that is not possible, could the members see that their words and actions help the people to live in harmony like the children of one Mother so that there would be an occasion to reunite at a future date? It happened in Germany and elsewhere. Why not here? Can there be more of positive vibrations, please, since we have had enough of negativity?

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