Friday, February 12, 2010

Students' views on demand for separate states



Objective of the competition

The recent demand for smaller states from several quarters and related violent incidents have led to considerable concern about the future of the federal structure of India , with serious long term implications for the prosperity and progress of the country. Several University students are reported to be taking part in the agitation for separate states.

In order to give an opportunity to the college students all over India to express their view on the subject and enable them to assess the problems in proper perspective, Nandini Voice For the Deprived organized All India Essay competition.

Participation of the students

Number of college students from all over India participated in the essay competition. While a few of them are of the view that there may be sound reasons for creating separate Telangana state, most of the students are of the view that creating separate Telangana state will open the pandora box and the present Government of India, lacking strong leadership quality, cannot face the consequent situation. According to the students, creating separate Telangana state is a calculated risk and should better be avoided at this juncture. Almost all the students also suspected the motives of the politicians from all sides who have been clamouring for separate Telangana state or against it.

While politicians and several people in public life and lawyers discuss about Telangana issue from various view points, it is gratifying to see the clarity of thought in the essays written by the students. Most of the essays have been of reasonably high standard and should do the nation proud.


Telangana problem is due to dishonoured commitments

The “gentlemen’s agreement” of 1956 was signed by the Chief Ministers of the states of Hyderabad and Andhra Pradesh which says that Telangana will have a separate Regional Committee which will have the right to provide legislation on economy, local self government, public health, agriculture, education and industries among other things.

It even went as far as saying that if the Chief Minister were from one region of Unified Andhra Pradesh, then the Deputy Chief Minister will be from the other region.

These commitments were never honoured from day one.

Hence the people of Telangana have always been dissatisfied with the treatment handed out to them. Hence on the ground in Telangana, a deep sense of betrayal and lost pride is being felt among the people, which in turn has led to the demand of the formation of Telangana.

Imagine India with umpteen states – More states mean more disputes
Imagine India with umpteen states. What frame does that unfold before us?

More institutional establishments, increased number of political outfits, high level of accommodative politics and appeasement measures, many more inter state disputes and same setup. In short, no great change in efficiency, productivity or development.

To put it in realistic terms, it would result in formation of more Cauveri Water Commission type bodies or more cases of the kind of Periyar Dam dispute.

And did I forget, the most vial consequence – the loss of unity and integrity of India.

Demand for states due to self centered politicians

India has heeded to many claims for states in the past, but the present state of affairs warrants an alternative approach.

The current demands are not toward the cause of unification but based on self centred politics of greedy regional level politicians and their family members .

Larger states in USA are governed well

The argument put forth by the promoters of small states that “smaller states directly correspond to better governance” –is not correct.

Countries with thrice the land area as India, viz. China, Canada and United States of America – have proportionately larger states and have better governance.

Will lead to demand for many more states

Granting of demands for more states would only embolden all the sectarian forces to call for further more states, which in short would imply sounding of death knell to the very federal system advocated by the Constitution of India.
European countries moving towards each other – Our states moving away

While the European countries which had been fighting amongst each other for centuries have moved on and now shed off their differences to form a European Union with the aim of forging a unified alliance, India is making its way towards more states and disintegration of federal structure.
Countries crumble due to internal crisis

History has it that countries have ruptured more often not out of external war, but out of internal differences and due to the act of selfish politicians and India shall be no exception.

Nothing else but India’s internal unrest and fissiparous tendencies can imperil the integrity of the country.

The primary roots of jeopardizing the setup lies in fracturing the inter state boundaries on political consideration.
How India split after Mughal Empire ?

Let us not forget as to how India broke into fragments after the decline and disintegration of the Mughal Empire.

Many ex-governors of the Mughal principalities called “subahs” declared their independence. And by the middle of the 18th century there were congeries of `rajas’ and `nawabs’ who held sway over 600 principalities across the sub-continent. It was this India that Robert Clive defeated and subjugated after the historic Battle of Plassey in 1757.

It is believed that history is the best teacher that should make us realize our mistakes and reform and refine ourselves for the betterment of our society.
Splitting India is easy; cementing is difficult

To unite as many as 554 states was definitely a tough task, but splitting it up once again into 30 to 35 states will just take a couple of our politicians to do a “fast unto death”.

But cutting the cake into many tiny pieces can lead to it forming crumbs and nobody being able to enjoy eating it.
The newly formed states have not done better

In 2000, three new states were formed – Uttaranchal (now called Uttarakhand) out of Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand out of Bihar and Chhattisgarh out of Madhya Pradesh.

The main rationale for the slicing was the marginalization and underdevelopment of these regions while they were within the larger state.

But almost a decade after these states got their own bureaucracies and politicians, there have not been much transformation. Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh are reeling under Maoist insurgencies that the state governments have not been able to handle effectively.

Decentralization and statehood do not seem to have made any significant dent in the poverty, hunger and malnutrition prevailing in the states.

Nothing matters for our corrupt selfish politicians

For our corrupt selfish politicians , nothing matters as long as they can call themselves the Chief Minister of a state, even if the state is small and does not have any significant resources for economic development.
We will end up with hundred odd states

Each part of our country is so unique in itself that if we were to divide the country into states keeping in mind their identities and culture and customs, we will end up having at least a hundred states, which is not desirable.
Colonial view of India

The colonial view of India was that it could hardly ever become a `nation’. Are we confirming the colonial view
Do not exploit the gullible public and students

Encouraging the student community and common public to protest against the government, bringing entire administration to standstill, seeking media attention by undertaking fast unto death, claiming rights over national property and physical features affects the pillar of democracy.
Better governance is the need

Economic disparities need to be addressed, but bifurcation is not the way out. This is not a feasible option because disparities exist in every state.

Probably, the argument that better administration is possible if the state is smaller is valid and worth taking note of, but that is certainly not the only solution. Democratically functioning local development boards (with more powers, responsibilities and funds) can most definitely fulfill the objective.
Every division brings more miseries

I and many others like me would be totally against any bifurcation or further division of India if they know that every division brings in untold miseries to some common people, while there are politicians and opportunists who gain a lot in turn. Division does not guarantee development.

A smaller state means fewer MPs in Parliament and hence less representation at the national level and reasons alike.
Lack of development no reason for splitting

But still if lack of development is a reason for the creation of separate state, almost two thirds of the country should be divided into such small states.
Design of China

Historical evidence suggested that India as a nation never really existed in history. It was held together by decadent Hinduism which encouraged caste system and exploitation.

Long ago, a Chinese think tank and strategist suggested in an article that China with a little help of other countries should break up the Indian Union into 20 to 30 nation states like Europe.

It was suggested that China in its own interest should join forces with different people in regions in India like the Assamese, Tamils and Kashmiris and support the latter in establishing independent nation states of their own out of India.

With the present prevailing fiasco of Telangana and demand for smaller states, China could get a golden opportunity by bringing into its fold countries like Pakistan, Nepal and Bhutan, support ULFA in attaining its goal for Assam’s independence, back aspirations of Tamils and Nagas, give political support to Bangladesh enabling the latter to encourage ethnic Bengalis in India to get rid of Indian control and unite with Bangladesh as one Bengali nation and lastly recover the 90 000 sq. km territory in southern Tibet and disintegrate the so called Great Indian Federation.
Call it United States of India

With the way things are going and the number of demands for statehoold, the new number of states may well cross 50. And in that case, we may as well call ourselves the United States of India instead of India. Is it necessary to move towards this path?
Regional parties exploiting national parties

The hold of fissiparous tendencies had lightened after the major national parties started roping in the all sort of communal / regional outfits to get local communal votes to win elections and even gave their `leaders’ an undeserved status in ministerial offices, without regard to their honesty and capacity to rule.Such development have created demand for more states.
It is sad that a few hired goons can change the picture

The `interest groups’ in every locality can dictate terms to government after collecting a few thousands of unemployed / hired goons to shout in the streets. It is not the people but some groups of unprincipled elements who raise the issue of separate statehood.
Regional mind set is still prevalent

The developments highlights the fact that people of India have not yet discarded the regional mindset that started from the Mauryan Empire, which is very disgusting and shocking. This mindset is not good to country, which is aiming to become world economic superpower 2030.
Smaller states prone to political instability

Small states are more prone to political instability hindering the development of the state, due to the small number of legislators in the assembly. Changing of sides by a handful legislators can potentially force change of government and hence cause instability in the state.

The demand for smaller states will undoubtedly lead to disintegration of India.
Is poverty elimination so simple by splitting the country?

If poverty of a region could be abolished by carving out a separate state then this approach would have been pursued by our government long back.

Common men want only two square meals a day

In reality, common man is not concerned about whether Telengana is formed or not. If a party can assure him that he would be able to procure two square meal a day by living in “Telengana”, he would then be a part of the movement gladly. Sadly this bribe is given to the locals to garner their support for this movement.

Need for strong central leadership

If we consider the history, there is a view that India as a union under a federal structure is still in the making. A federal structure can remain only so long as there is a strong central leadership.

In the absence of such a leadership, the very spirit of the Indian Constitution favouring federal structure of the country is getting diluted and resulting in disintegration.
Put off the fire

The ones who wanted to light the fire have done so, now we must at least try to put off the fire before more oil is added to make the problem in a large scale.

Following 10 students have been awarded prizes

* Mr.R.Raghav,
II Year Undergraduate Student
School of Mechanical Sciences,IIT Bhubaneswar

* Ms.Gitanjali Maria
IVth Year , B.Tech,(Chemical Engineering)
Sardhar Vallabhabhai National Institute of Technology (SVNIT),Surat

* Ms.Vaishnavi,
B.Sc., Psychology,
PSG College of Arts & Science,Coimbatore

* Ms.Divya Ramesh
II year M.A. Historical Studies,
University of Madras,Chennai

* Mr. Abhishek Kumar,
4th year ,
Chanakya National Law University, Patna

* Mr. Pratap Premnath,P.,
B.E. (Mech). VIII semester,
College of Engineering,Guindy, Anna University, Chennai

* Mr.Subhojit Panda
2nd Year Engineering ,Bhubaneswar, Orissa

* M.Subhashini
II B.Sc., C.S `D’,
Srimathi Indira Gandhi College,Trichy

* Ms. Ritupriya Gurtoo
Ram Manohar National Law University,

* Mr. Vinod Kumar Yadav
B.A.II Year (History Hons)
Nalanda Open University,Patna (Bihar)

---Nandini Voice For The Deprived congratulate all the students, who participated in the essay competition and wish them all success in their endeavours. The very fact that there are students like the above participants who think on such progressive lines give hope about the future.

Report by:
N S Venkataraman

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