Dec 12, 2006

Telangana (T-Factor) resurfaces in AP, Is Separate Statehood only Solution?

Last week's Parliament By election in Karimanagar resulted in the expected win of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti chief (KC Rao), albeit by a larger margin. Financial Express examines the impact of the win on the Real Estate scene in Hyderabad and rest of AP. The widely held belief is that prices in Hyderabad would fall/stabilise while in Andhra they would rise.

Why this trend? Will a separate Telangana not be attractive to investors and hence the decline in prices? The humongous investments that several MNCs and Indian IT companies have made in Hyderabad will not disappear, but will future investments be forthcoming with as much vigour? What will happen to Hyderabad if Andhra Pradesh splits?

Small states has been a favourite election past time of Indian politicians. Though they mean more overhead costs for the state machinery, the local populace tends to self-express themselves better. The logic goes that if Hindi speaking folks can have more than one state (in fact they have almost a dozen), why not Telugu speaking people have two states? I believe the logic is flawed because AP cannot be simply split into two states. Rayalaseema comprising of four districts (Cuddapah, Anantapur, Kurnool, Chittor) forms a region too and soon there will be demands for a separate state there too. Even within the Coastal Andhra region, from Srikakulam to Nellore comprising of nine districts, there is considerable variance in dialect, food, attire, customs and so on. What I hear people speak in a Nellore bazaar is very different from what I hear on say, a train to Bacheli from Visakhapatnam. There is this considerable diversity within India in general and in Andhra Pradesh too that needs to be celebrated rather than manipulated and exploited for political reasons.

So here you have the prospect of one reasonably stable and upcoming state like AP split and Balkanise into three states, with some possible repercussions on neighbouring states. Imagine the diversion of public attention and energy into this major fission reaction! All this while competing neighbour states like Tamilnadu, Maharashtra and Karnataka are racing towards industrial strength and greater bargaining power with the center. One doesn't hear similar separatist dialogues as much in these states inspite of significant divides existing there, take the North Karnataka (aka Hyderabad Karnataka) divide with South Karnataka for example or the Vidarbha cause in Maharashtra.

There is significant common history: the famous Vijayanagara Kingdom used to have Telugu as its court language. Most of the Carnatic music sung in any concert in South India even today constitutes of songs composed in Telugu by the famous Trinity. The need of the hour is greater unity and sincere attempts by the government and politicians to address the core needs of the population and ensure equity across regions. Creating a new state is a mere legislative procedure, what is needed is a vision that is able to harness the true potential of the people.

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Update on 17 Aug 2013: The recent developments have indeed hastened the process of 'division'. This in itself is not a bad idea as I blogged earlier - this could unleash energies to build afresh. One hopes there is no acrimony in the division and that contentious issues are resolved amicably upfront.

1 comment:

Rambabu said...

Nice one. Unexpected linkages to past heritage and brings out the need to stay united.