Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Divide the state, but please don't expect anything to change on the ground

Undoubtedly, there is a strong sentiment for a separate state of Telangana. For years, promises by the political class to the people of this region have not been kept. The problems on the ground have only grown.

But to think that the problems are going to be solved by having a separate state can only be wishful. For example, I was told a few days back that there is a family supposedly from Andhra staying in their own house in Hyderabad. Their servants are natives. The servants apparently remarked that once the state of Telangana was formed, the owners would be forced to leave their house and the servants could take over the ownership!

In Uma Sudhir's blog, there is a similar sentiment echoed by one of the persons she interviewed. "Once we get Telangana, we can set up our own industries and generate employment.” Pray, what is stopping you now?

The agitation has reached such a stage where people look at statehood as the end to all their problems. Well, here's some news for you, dear friends - nothing is going to change on the ground. One set of corrupt politicians will be replaced by another set. One group of ineffective bureaucrats will be replaced by another group.

There will be tremendous initial euphoria. Jubilation all around. Then slowly, the truth will surface. Nothing will change on the ground. The romance of the struggle will all slowly fade away. People will become more frustrated than before because the expectations were so high.

I am not saying don't divide the state. I am not even saying divide the state. All I am saying is even if you divide the state, nothing much wil change on the ground.

17 comments:

Kartik said...

I can't agree more! People in Telangana shouldn't expect ground breaking changes! In fact, the Indian Freedom struggle is the best example for this (I am only comparing the expectations part, nothing beyond it) - nothing can change overnight, and this could upset a lot of people.

However, I heard that certain organisations like TDF are already working towards a 'vision document' - to at least make sure that the new state does not end up with a rudderless administration.

Also, just curious, is this family you mentioned here a film actor's family (Rajashekar I guess)? Because, that was the first and last time I heard something as silly ('you will leave this house for us' part). Definitely, some people in Telangana just don't understand the severe limitations that will continue to exist. And then all the politicians will come back to remind them that 'Rome was not built in a day'. But, I am sure, that a good number of people do understand the realities - they are definitely smart enough, at least from what we have already seen in the various poll verdicts.

And on the contrary, if bifurcation does happen, there will in fact be ground breaking changes in certain other parts of the remaining state, especially the new capital city!

Anonymous said...

I m happy that you have come up with this. Just want to add one more point. All these days only one thing was achieved and that is hatred among ppl from one area, towards ppl from another area. Common ppl will fight with themselves and politicians will be reaping the benefits as they were doing in the past.

Anonymous said...

i remember that Mr. Prof. Kodandaram said in one of interviews to TV, that even though one is born in telangana region, if his father/fore fathers are from other part of the state then this guy who is born in telangana region will be treated as an outsider. This term outsider can mean lot of things and can create lot of problems going ahead if the telangana state is formed. I don't say that we will not have any problems if the seperate state is not formed. so either way seems ppl like me who are born here but will be called as outsider(i feel like i m an indian but staying in pakistan who moved to pakistan while partition took place).

Anonymous said...

i don't understand why ppl/politicians/anyone is not ready for the 2nd and 4th option specified by Srikrishna committee? If ppl are more interested in getting a seperate state this is the gud time to go either with Option 2 or 4. Being an Hyderabadi I prefer option 2 or 4. I want some peace. Everybody is interested only in hyderabad.

Shravan Kumar. M said...

What ever is the matter... benefits would be much much less than losses by division... and more over the people fighting for separate T, should start realize the fact that if they invest the money or strength in bringing good projects and making developments to T region, would be more beneficial to the people of T region than fighting for T separation...

If T leaders really are wishing for T region benefits they should fight for solving problems in T state and not for fight for separation...

Remember the childhood preaches… being together is of more strength than being apart/ single!

Every one should remember that, even if T region is divided it would still be part of India and the government in T region should abide to central government...

Fight for the best. Fight for good future... not for selfishness Mr. ministers... this is sincere appeal from your citizens... Jai Hind!

Shravan Kumar. M said...

btw... as India is democratic and every citizen of India has equal right to live in any part of India... don't expect non-T citizens would leave T region... that is just a blind belief!!!

Kartik said...

@Anonymous 1 - I guess it's a false perception that it's a fight between common people. If that was the case, the demonstrations wouldn't have been as 'controlled' as they have been. Considering the magnitude of the situation I am sure that things have been leaning towards a 'peaceful' protest - at least there has always been a conscious effort.

@Anonymous 2 - I am not sure if Prof.Kodandaram really said that. Even if he did, it does not hold true and he should be asked to clarify.
A recent ad-campaign by a TG organisation sums it up to perfection - "Hyderabad belongs to Telangana, Telangana belongs to India, Hyderabad belongs to Indians". However, it is important to understand that - wherever you are in India, it is important to respect the culture and values of that region, while continuing to practice whatever suits you, thus exchanging cultural elements over time. And I also believe that you don't have to be born in a region to belong to that region, however there are certain regional safeguards that have to be guaranteed to maintain a balance of power across the country.

And though I agree with Kamal that nothing will change on the ground "immediately", my stress is on the word "immediate". Over time, I am confident that both the states will do extremely well, and better than what they would achieve as a single unit. I would like to stress that we need more industrial zones, more urban centers than what we have now. In fact we could do away with several of the state taxes levied on movement of goods between the two states to make sure we don't see any drastic economic changes on either side.

Smaller units are definitely better managed, if managed efficiently.

Anonymous said...

T-Fever has caught up so high that who ever is suffering from this fever will come to know only after another Jharkhand or chattisgarh like state is carved out...then will see which JAC or which T-Political party will help.

Anonymous said...

Kartik, this is Anonymous 3. wat abt my comment? Why everyone is interested only in hyd. why can't ppl say ok to seperate telanga n andhra with out Hyd. In a way it is a win-win-win situation for all. I like Option 2. wat abt u(apart from seperate telangana)?

Madhav said...

Kamal garu,

The premise to come to such a drastic conclusion should have been much graver! But it wasn't to be. The figment of imagination of a greedy few can not be based to conclude that everything is gonna be business as usual - despite a separate State of Telangana.

Contrarily, if Telangna is formed there will be a reverse migration from Hyderabad to rural areas. I'll tell you why. You ask any of the maids, watchmen, owners of small tea points and such other petty businesses why they have migrated to Hyderabad, they will reply in unison - non-availability of water for agriculture. Unlike in coastal Andhra - where there's high incidence of contract farming, Telangana thanks to the partial implementation of land reforms boasts of farmers owning of small tracts of land - say 4 or 5 acres. Give them water they will prefer peaceful, leisurely rural life to "polluted" Hyderabadi urban life.

I happen to tour good part of Telangana during the recent by-elections. I asked one villager - " How will you get benifited immediately after Telangana formation?". He quoted a native proverb which meant 'you can not expect prosperity the moment you have a son'. We sometime underestimate these illiterate or semi-literate rural masses.

Lastly, why are Telanganites complaining only of Andhras? Why are they not complaining of the lakhs of Marathis,Tamils, north Indians and other Indians? Why is this 'reverse discrimination'. I think Kartik answered it.


And a word about industries. I must confess that Telanganites, generally speaking, are less inclined towards entrepreneurship than their coastal Andhra and Seema brethren. It has an historical root. Moreover, after the peasant uprising, many of the rich landlords migrated to other nations, particularly USA. Moreover, State government should encourage entrepreneurship among those who lag behind. But the scene is reverse. The nepotism in the present setup is very obvious towards Seema-Andhra.

And my 'original Hyderabadi' (as SKC report calls them)friend! Historically, kingdoms and states are known by their capital city. Ayodhya, Magadha Empire, Delhi sultanat, Byzantian Empire, Roman Empire, Vijayanagara Kingdom, Hyderabad Kingdom, Madras Presidency, Bombay Presidency etc. Even the first SRC, while recommending the formation of Telangana State, suggested that the new State be called 'Hyderabad' State.

Even if Telangana agrees for UT status for Hyderabad, centre will not concede this. Because it will set a wrong precedent and will mark as reversal of the road it took. That's why SKC did not favour 2nd option. They even brushed aside the 4th option.

Every region develops its capital. The relationship is not just economic. Even if you see it in those terms it's a give and take one. Consider the report itself, the water that rightfully belonged to Telangana for irrigation purposes (from Singur and AMRP) is being diverted to Hyderabad for quenching our thirst. There's some disappointment to this but not many really oppose this. Because the relationship is more than just economic.

Finally, the way the movement been carried on for the last 15 years is evidence enough to hope for a better life. It is symbolic of the growing maturity of people here!

Divide the State, not the people!

Anonymous said...

Madhav!You are true stating the kingdoms are referred by their capital cities. But gone are the days of those royal regencies of kingdoms dude!!! Many things have changed since first SRC...many preferences were reset. I think now, its all about satisfying the ego of ppl suffering from T-Fever. Wake up guys, think. Many blogs/sites states, andhrites looted the fare share of water, land, job etc etc from telaganites. Wat did really happen? Just dont go with the internet sites...with these nasty divisionist politicians. What was KCR doing till he was refused to provide a portfolio in Naidus govt? He then came out of his fast sleep and started yelling, Jai Telangana and then suddenly cropped up the umpty number of JACs, telangana lovers with deepest love towards Telangana (Note:Telangana with HYDERABAD too...not Telangana alone)...wow!!

Anonymous said...

Madhav,

Whether center will say ok for UT status to Hyd is not is the secondary thing. My point was why ppl/politicians from telangana are not ready for the option 2? If they really want to lead a peacefull life in their native places with the new state. Take one step and say all that you want is a seperate state whether it is with Hyd or without and ppl from other region might respond differently. The problem now is only with Hyd because of the development happened or the job oppurtunities or fear among ppl from other regions who have settled since years etc... Did anyone say that nothing is going to happen to ppl, if state is divided in to 2 or 3? Everytime pppl/Politicians from telangana say that "ma telanga maaku ivvaka pothe Andhravallani tarimi kodatamu", its the statements like these which are makign things more horrifying and complex.

Kartik mentioned about TDF. TDF can go ahead and work for betterment of backward regions in telangana even if the state is not divided. is anything stopping TDF from doing so?

Anonymous said...

"Smaller units are definitely better managed, if managed efficiently." --- Will the same old politicians(who were winning in telangana and was with Govt. Of Andhra Pradesh for years) with different party names and different policies resurrect the telangana and MANAGE IT EFFICIENTLY?!?! Just give Crores of rupees(10C,50C,100C,500C,1000C based on their levels and positions) to each of the MP/Politician and i debt they all shutup and fight for Andhra Pradesh again!! Friends, don't be fooled by the politicians or greedy agitators.

Kamal D Shah said...

I think it is fairly well established that the natives of the Telangana area were discriminated against over the past few decades. And this happened on their own soil. If you haven't done so already, please read Madhav Mudumbai's excellent article on the issue.

Now coming to the present. Madhav, I saw your viewpoint when I read your article. I totally agree to the fact that there has been gross injustice meted out to the natives of the region.

However, will the region's development happen with a new state? I sincerely do not think so. The development of a region needs people who are committed to its development. Yes, there is the TDF. How effective are they going to be without any authority? KCR and his ilk say they will dissolve their party once the state is formed. Even if that happens, I can bet my last paisa that they will have a lot to say in the new administration.

The whole problem is the leaders. The new state will need much more honest and sincere leaders. The sad truth is such leaders don't exist. Even if they do, they are at the periphery of the political process whereas the only way they can make a difference is by being right in the middle.

So, my argument is not against a new state. It is merely against the expectations that many people seem to have with a new state.

My two cents...

Kartik said...

@Anonymous (all) - It will be a lot easier to reply over here if you reveal your identity (or at least use a pseudonym). Rest assured, there is nothing personal here, and it should not change anything with our camaraderie. At the same time, it is also important that we don't get personal.

Regarding Option 2 - Option requires Hyderabad to exist as a UT right in the middle of TG. The biggest problem here (for Hyderabad city) is that it will become dependent on another state for lots of basic resources, including land. It might curtail the growth of Hyderabad. On the positive side, standards of living might improve momentarily, thanks to all the state tax cuts - but more importantly it will stunt the growth and make it dependent on another state. This is not good for Hyderabad on the long run. Further, without Hyderabad, an economic/nerve center for this region geographically and historically (even before 1956) TG might face trouble with development which could fuel other kinds of problems. For instance, as Madhav mentioned, consider that water allocated officially for irrigation in TG is used by Hyderabad today.

Option 4 - Option 4 tries to address the above problem partially. It tries to include parts of Mahbubnagar and Nalgonda to create a contiguous UT that touches all three regions of AP. However, this is flawed again - 1) It needs TG to concede a part of it's region against the interest of the people living there. 2) If you haven't taken a look at the map proposed in option 4 in the SKC report, here's the biggest surprise about this option - Nagarjun Sagar has been very very cleverly included into Hyderabad UT in this map! Nagarjun Sagar was originally part of the Hyderabad government's plan before the 1956 merger - TG already lost out a lot on this project during it's implementation - now, implementing option 4 would be the last nail on the coffin, especially for the people of Nalgonda!

We know very well, that in the last 3 decades of politics in AP, at most times power was centered around a single person! Any MLA/MP would be at their mercy to protect their "political careers"! This nullifies questions on why people never brought out these issues before - the fact is they did, but most people (including me) were dead and blind to those requests! Representatives of Nalgonda for instance, have presented memorandums to every Prime Minister in the last 2 decades - but the key to implementation lies with the state government which never budged! M.Shashidhar Reddy & P.Jaradhan Reddy were ridiculed by the media as 'Hyderabad Brothers' when they tried to counter YSR on his moves to misuse water meant for Telangana. Very very cleverly each leader who raised issues against such moves was suppressed. And yes, the key is in unity as you mentioned - and it's unity across TG that is for a change making their elected representatives talk on behalf of them, collectively! This cannot be sustained for each and every small project, and hence the need for a divided administration!

As for money - try as you can - I'll be surprised to know if money hasn't already been offered to various representatives of TG to shut their mouth and forget statehood! But this time, it's as simple as this - take that money and leave their political careers forever or stay with the people!

Anonymous said...

@Kartik: I have come across so many instances where I heard comments like the one Mr Rajasekhar pointed (I didn't hear this).

My friend's son was asking him whether "Lord Anjaneya" belongs to Telangana or Andhra. He wants to know which god belongs to Telangana so that he can pray only to him.

My tenants were telling her daughter that they will get my house when Telangana is announced.

some of my friends say that I can stay here becoz I am born here. What the ****.

My friends made protests scolding our families in my colony.

In the last 4 years not less than 100 people who asked me whether I belong to Telangana or Andhra.

I feel that this political movement turned social movement has ruined people's brains and is questioning the coexistence of people from different regions here.

In this whole scenario, Hyderabad should be treated separately. For all the reasons that telangana separation is required, for the same reasons, Hyderabad should not be part of any new state to be formed.

The whole fight should have been fought for a greater cause. People who never fought for an industry or a project are now fighting their heart out for separation of people and land.
I pity my people who trust and follow the these leaders.

needless to say that the formation of new states will leave marks in millions of hearts which would prove very heavy someday.

Kamal D Shah said...

I have to agree to the point the last anonymous is making. This kind of animosity is totally uncalled for. Many people, egged on by these greedy politicians harbor such unjustified feelings of hatred that it makes you want to think - whether this entire movement of fighting for one's rights is going to be good in the end.