Till 12 days back, nobody outside Andhra Pradesh had even heard about Telangana and now the whole country seems to curious to know what’s all this about. Since the past 12 days life in Hyderabad has virtually come to a standstill. Petrol pumps had been closed; schools and colleges had been shut down. So for all the people wondering what the fuss is all about, here are the facts.
History behind Telangana:
Andhra Pradesh as we know it today (or probably as we knew it till yesterday) was originally made of 3 parts namely Andhra, Telangana and Rayalseema. Since states were to be formed on linguistic lines after independence the three regions were merged into one state called Andhra Pradesh. People of Telangana were never happy with the decision. They feared all the resources that belonged to them would now be diverted to the other regions. They also felt that they would be neglected when it came to government formation and education. There was an agreement signed that was called the gentleman’s agreement. This agreement provided reassurances to the people of Telangana as well to the people of Andhra in terms of power sharing as well as administrative domicile rules and distribution of expenses of various regions.
This is not the first protest that has taken place for the creation of the state of Telangana. There was one in 1969 which was more violent when compared to the present one. The reason this protest took place was because the gentleman’s agreement was going to lapse that year and they wanted that to be renewed. Even before this protest there was severe discontent among the people of Telangana regarding the agreement’s implementation.
So why do they really want a separate state? :
There are two problems here: one is the age old water problem. The two rivers, Godavari and Krishna flow through Telangana, but most of the water is diverted to Andhra and the rest of the regions. The people bearing the brunt of this are the farmers. AP has seen thousands of farmer suicides because of this. The other problem being that none of chief ministers till date have been from Telangana, also most of the jobs in the government sector are going to people of other regions, so the Telangana region has never been on their priority list. The argument of most of the “Telanganites” is, that, if there is a separate state of Telangana; they can start focusing on the development of the region.
What do people of the Andhra region say about this?
People from the Andhra region say it’s going to be horrible if the state is bifurcated. The problem here too is the water. The new Andhra Pradesh will be left without any water resources and would have to be dependent on Telangana for water and they fear the new state of Telangana would never release any water to Andhra Pradesh.
Problems forming a separate state of Telangana:
There are way too many problems in forming a new state. The first problem that needs to be sorted out is the status of Hyderabad. Both the regions claim Hyderabad to be theirs. Well the solution to this problem could be giving Hyderabad the status of a union territory and the capital of both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, which is what happened in the case of Chandigarh. The other problem is that if Telangana gets separated, Rayalseema would also want to separate and the Andhra region will get split into Uttar Andhra and Costal Andhra. So eventually the Andhra, as we know it today, would be divided into 5 parts: Telangana, Uttar Andhra, Costal Andhra, Rayalseema and Greater Hyderabad. Then there is the demand of forming other states like Gorkhaland in west Bengal and Vidarbha in Maharashtra. The government will soon find it tough to resist the demand of separate states like these.
I have been living in Hyderabad for the past 20 years and till recently I wasn’t even sure if my house comes under Telangana or Andhra. You may call me ignorant, but the fact is it never really mattered, for I was an Andhrite and nothing else mattered. Till yesterday I had never asked any of my friends whether they are from Andhra or Telangana. However since I had to write a post I have had to ask them this question and trust me, it made me feel weird. I wonder why, a chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, can’t behave like a chief minister of Andhra Pradesh. Why has the problems of the Telangana people been neglected for so long? It’s not as if this problem has just surfaced, it’s a problem the politicians have known since ages. Now that the problem is there, is a separate state of Telangana the solution? No, it’s not. Is continuing to live as one state like we always were, the solution? No, that’s not the solution too. The solution lies in targeting the problem, not in creating another one. If misuse of natural resources is the problem then the government should take immediate steps to ensure that this gets corrected. People of all the regions should start voting for people who speak of inclusive development of every region, rather than development of just their respective constituencies.
It frightens me when I think of the future this country could have if states were to be created as per the current demand. I just looked up on the net for the figure and it was frightening. The number of states in the country could go up to 50. Even a small state like Meghalaya wants to be divided into two states. Till what extent can this go on? Are we going back to having a country that is made up of 550 small princely states? The thought scares me. When we were in school we were taught “United we stand, divided we fall”, looks like we all need to go back to school and re-learn that.
Well this was my opinion, others may have their own. Do share your comments but please no hate comments or mudslinging at any community or region.
Filed under: Politics