All roads are clear for Mother India to give birth to her 29th baby – Telengana and only a nod from the President of India is awaited. The history of the Telangana movement, like any other linguistic movement, lies on the root cause of economic and social exploitations. A Communist-led peasant revolt started in Telangana in 1946, which lasted until 1951. In 1953, the State Reorganisation Commission was appointed to prepare for the creation of states on linguistic lines.
The commission proposed that the Telangana region be constituted as a separate state with a provision for unification with Andhra state, after the 1961 general elections, but an agreement was reached between Andhra and Telengana leaders in 1956 to merge Telengana with Andhra, against the SRC’s recommendations of waiting until 1961, and proposed to the Centre to make a separate state. .
The politically cynical people compared the merger to a matrimonial alliance having “provisions for divorce” if the partners in the alliance cannot get on well. Following the Gentlemen’s agreement, the central government established a unified Andhra Pradesh in 1956. The agreement provided reassurances to Telangana in terms of power-sharing as well as administrative domicile rules and distribution of expenses over various regions.
In 1969, Telangana agitation rose after students felt betrayed and fought against the administration where many lives where claimed.
Telangana is the largest of the three regions of Andhra Pradesh state. It is inhabited by more than 40% of the state’s population and contributes about over three fourth of the state’s revenues .
Proponents of a separate Telangana state feel that the agreements, plans and assurances from the legislature and Lok Sabha over the last fifty years have not been honoured, and as a consequence Telangana has remained neglected, exploited and backward. They allege that the experiment to remain as one state has proven to be a futile exercise and that separation is the best solution.
The majority of the political parties are in favour of a separate state – Telengana. The formation of Telengana Rashtra Samity (TRS) led by Mr. K.C. Rao gave the movement a violent shape in 2001 and then opposition party Congress took the issue to the NDA Government who denied statehood on the grounds that smaller states were neither viable nor conducive to the integrity of the country. Now the NDA has taken a U-turn and become a staunch supporter of new state, Telengana.
It is a matter of formality now that the new state would born out of political chaos. While the advocators of Telengana rejoice, the Seemandra region is anguished over the process of bifurcation. The political parties must take a lesson from here for the future demands of statehood.
Unlike the statehood given to Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, created in 2000, the Telengana has come against the backdrop of legislative chaos and political expediency. Despite several Union Governments promising Telengana over the years, in the end it was left to a desperate UPA-II staring at an electoral debacle in Andhra to actualise the statehood demand.
The creation of Telengana could embolden other statehood demands across the country – Gorkhaland and Vidarbha – could be next in the line. While smaller states arguably make administration easier, they also create problem. Unless the financial power goes to the grassroots, the problem will persist and the people will feet again betrayed.o