The UPA Government made a wise decision in announcing the process for the formation of Telangana State. It has been a long wait for the people of this region. The formation of a Telangana State is not going to drive the Telugu-speaking people away from this region. Separation is only for effective and efficient administrative purpose. Smaller States are always better for growth and the people can prosper and realise the benefits easily. Punjab and Haryana in the north and Goa and Pondicherry in the south are standing examples. Even though in 1953 India constitutionally accepted the formation of States based on language, the people of Tamil Nadu never demanded the unification of Pondicherry with Tamil Nadu. Since the people of Pondicherry maintained cultural and linguistic identities and close links with France, Tamil Nadu respected their rights for autonomy. In fact, Andhra Pradesh was the first State in India formed on the basis of language in 1953 and in 1956, Telangana merged with it. Many political leaders including Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru opposed this move. But the State Reorganising Commission (SRC) suggested that initially all Telugu-speaking people will be brought under one State and that the people of Telangana will decide their future course later.
One should understand that the present move is not bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. Telangana is a not a new entity and it existed under the Hyderabad Kingdom ruled by the Nizams before India got freedom in 1947. Interestingly, Telangana has maintained its separate cultural and linguistic (Urdu) identity even after 60 years of freedom. However, Telangana has remained socially and educationally backward and became economically poor due to prolonged neglect. Out of 10 districts, nine were recognised by the Government of India as backward regions. These regions recorded maximum farmers’ suicides and increased joblessness every year. The Krishna and the Godavari rivers flow through this region, but water utilisation plans were not adequate. All these factors led to an upsurge of Naxals, Maoists and People’s War Group and their attacks led to a frequent breakdown of law and order. These are the reasons for the separation of Telangana from the fertile Andhra and the mines rich Rayalaseema regions.
The issue should be viewed from the development angle and not from a political perspective. In fact, in the last Parliament and State Assembly elections, all the political parties, both national and regional, listed in their election manifestos, the demand for a separate Telangana. The Congress has failed to highlight this and expose all these parties who oppose the separation of Telangana. Now they all try to downplay the separation issue because the Congress party will get political mileage and form the first ministry. A similar situation arose when Andhra Pradesh was separated from the Madras Presidency in 1953. They were demanding Madras city to be with Andhra and there was a big agitation all over Andhra with a slogan “Madras Manadhe” (Madras is ours). Actually, the Tamils exhibited an extraordinary maturity and magnanimity and they never opposed the partition of Andhra from Madras. This greatly helped the advancement and prosperity of Andhra Pradesh. It is unfortunate that a similar gesture from the people of Andhra towards the people of their own lingual origin is now lacking.