In one of its desperate attempts to salvage a capsizing boat, a promise was made last year by the UPA government to place the proposal for forming Telengana to the INC-led government. What was quite clear about the move even at that time is that it was aimed to amass more support for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Whether mindless fragmentation of the Indian states actually helps in governing the wide demographics of the country is surely the fodder for another debate. But the drama that the Telengana Bill unfurled in the Parliament surely suggests that the problem is more deep-seated. Pepper sprays, flinging knives, shattered glass, hysteric MPs, hurled abuses, and a cause in question – the Parliament House of the world’s largest democracy, turned into a theatre where the foul play was staged with ultimate vigour, professionalism, and rather shamelessly.
What then is Telengana which is so much discussed about? In the history of the Indian Republic, states have been created and recreated. Sometimes, it has been done by the ruling coalition governments to squeeze out votes from a minority community in their favour and in the other cases, it has been done for the efficient administration as well as law and order issues. Jharkhand, Uttarakhand and Chattisgarh, the last three states born in this political State witnessed a fairly quiet process of conception. On the other hand, the newest one yet to be born, namely Telengana is undergoing painful and a stretched process.
Post debates and deliberations, Telengana was merged into Andhra Pradesh on 1st November, 1956, almost forcibly. Telengana was not, in anyway, ready for the merger then. In the very same way, Telengana is not happy with the merger now.
The then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had prophetically likened this union to a matrimonial alliance, “with provision for divorce”.
The divorce has been filed for but, more than fifty years later. The battle is only getting uglier day by the day as one section of the society is under the impression that the divorce will hardly bring any alimony for Seemandhra, the weaker partner. Telengana is the largest, richest, and the most prosperous chunk making up Andhra Pradesh. Not only that, it was and is the major, if not the only, contributor to the state’s coffers. If Telengana is gone, that what will be left is Seemendhra – a sorry ghost of the past.
If we look into this perspective, then the twenty-ninth state to be born is probably not Telangana. Telangana is indeed Andhra Pradesh –the flourishing, glorious state of the South in the same way as we know it. Andhra Pradesh will be crowned with a new name, Telengana – raher, with an old name. And what remains is Seemandhra – the coastal region of present Andhra Pradesh, and Ralayseema. What one really needs to worry about now is the Seemandhra region which had lived for around fifty-seven years under the shadow of its better half.
Had the Congress thought about the Seemandhra region being left pitiably orphaned while using its trump card last year? Possibly not.
With a different argument, a view is being held by the other section of the society that it is Telangana that has been the deprived partner from time back. It is almost being treated as a surrogate, thus justifying the Telangana Movement and the people’s demand for autonomy. That Telangana should be allowed to take up its politics and governance in its own hands is clearly depicted by this view. However, the political as well as social analysts are with a different view. They say that this division might not be of any help and just result in a lose-lose situation leading to more drawbacks than benefits for both the players involved.
Did the Congress take into account the possibility of leaving pushing the economically down further weakened – if not completely devastated? Possibly not.
The third section of the society opines that Hyderabad, being the mainstay of Andhra Pradesh, is tragically and callously being left to witness the sorry fight between the dissenting parents over the custody of this child.
Did the Congress get hints about the ugly turn that the very introduction of the Bill (let alone the possibility of it being passed) could take in the Parliament? Possibly not.
What the leadership had only considered in all probability was the number of seats that it would win from the Telangana region if they support the movement and become successful in passing the bill at the Parliament. That, though shamefully and unfortunately, is the only consideration that do govern all decisions of the esteemed elected representatives of this country.
With the Parliament adjourning sine die on February 21st and the elections due in May, the fight is literally over for the twenty-ninth state of the Republic of India to be born. If anything has been done in all these days, it has just started rolling – the shaft has been shot; it hasn’t got to make its mark yet; with the dirt enveloping this country’s political structure since post-independence and choking causes of national significance, the worst is yet to be done.
Having our democratic power exercised by voting our representatives into these honourable trusted positions of governance and authority, what we can do, at this point of time, is to only wait and watch as the drama unfolds further and perhaps, at the most, whisper a silent prayer!