Posts filed under ‘Why a separate Koshal state in India?’
Following is a report from the Sambad:
Following is a report from the outlook : (Thanks to Saket Sahu and Brundaban Sahu for the pointer)
Linguistic States: A 20th-Century Timeline
Dec 1903: Linguistic principle for organising India’s provinces figures for first time in Sir Herbert Risley’s letter to the Bengal government. Sir Herbert is home secretary at this point.
1905: Partition of Bengal takes place
1917: Dr Annie Besant strongly opposes linguistic organisation of provinces at the Calcutta session
1920: Congress adopts linguistic redistribution of provinces at the Nagpur session
1927: Congress adopts a resolution supporting creation of linguistic states
1928: Motilal Nehru Committee supports redistribution along linguistic lines
1945-46: Congress election manifesto promises provinces will be constituted on linguistic and cultural lines
Nov 1947: Prime Minister Nehru concedes the linguistic principle, but says security and stability of India important
1948: Linguistic provinces commission set up
Aug-Sept, 1951: G. Sitaramaiah fasts for creation of Andhra state
Dec 15, 1952: Potti Sriramulu dies while fasting for the creation of Andhra. The state is carved out of Madras Presidency only a year later.
Dec 1953: States Reorganisation Commission (SRC) is set up
1955: Nehru sends S.G. Barve to the former USSR for understanding the language policy as a state reconstruction programme
Jul 1955: SRC report submitted—14 states and 9 union territories recommended.
Aug 1956: SRC recommendations implemented
1960: Gujarat and Maharashtra come into being
1960-61: Sant Fateh Singh and Master Tara Singh undertake fast unto death for the creation of a Punjab state
1963-64: Language riots in Tamil Nadu
1963: Nagaland takes shape
1966: Haryana and Punjab created 1970-80: Other Northeastern states carved out
1992: Goa created
2000: Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand emerge as independent entities.
In 2012, 56 years after the very first round of the reorganisation of states, we seem to have a different ‘thali’ of questions before us. We seem to have arrived at the crossroads on one of the basic features of our federal structure. Federal unity is no longer a serious concern like in the ’50s and ’60s, but with a spate of demands for new states coming up from practically every corner of India at different intervals and with varying intensity, and that too from within states once seen as linguistic and cultural wholes, one wonders if we have slowly begun to move away from the idea of the linguistic state. Has the nation begun to transact with far more pragmatic parameters like development, economic growth, demographic size and administrative convenience, instead of mere emotion? Ever since the creation of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand in 2000 and now, in November 2011, with the resolution passed for a four-way split of Uttar Pradesh, haven’t smaller states become the buzzword? Should we become a nation of 50 states and eight union territories (see imaginary map) in the next few decades from the existing 28 states and seven Union territories? Is it time we constituted a second States Reorganisation Commission (src)?
It appears that there is a general recognition of a drift away from linguistic states and a simultaneous investment of faith in smaller states. Two recent incidents offer an insight. A few weeks back, the Kannada media reported that when a delegation of Marathi-speaking people from the ‘disputed’ border district of Belgaum met Raj Thackeray, he reportedly told the delegation to learn to live in Karnataka. Similarly, Rahul Gandhi’s taunt during his UP poll campaign that people from the state should stop ‘begging’ in Maharashtra was largely an invitation to envisage an economically vibrant state, for which the answer may lie in Mayawati’s idea of splitting it up into four.
The growth rates of smaller states in the last five years too have looked encouraging. Haryana and Himachal Pradesh have done well. The growth rate of a reorganised Bihar has been an impressive 11 per cent over the last five years. Uttarakhand has also posted impressive figures compared to its estranged ‘parent state’, UP.
In this context of new demands and reasoning, many have felt that it would make eminent sense to constitute a second src. Senior journalist B.G. Verghese says that instead of reorganising the states in an untidy and piecemeal fashion, a new src would take a long-term view. “There is nothing wrong,” he says, “in envisaging India at 2040-50 with a population of around 1,600 million organised in 60 states, with an average population of 25 million each, and some 1,500 districts.” He also suggests that the terms of reference for the second src should not be political, but rather “techno-economic-administrative”. More states will not destabilise us, but agitation and alienation of the sort we see in Telangana will, he argues. To go with smaller states and new administrative boundaries, the setting up of natural resource regions, river basin authorities and zonal coordination committees that hold routine meetings become important. “If zonal panels as suggested by the first src were functional, then problems like the Mullaperiyar dam or Cauvery or Belgaum would have been sorted out very differently,” feels Verghese.Historian Ramachandra Guha is equally enthusiastic about smaller states and the setting up of a second src. India, he says, now faces a second generation of challenges, and these pertain to regional imbalances in social and economic development. A new src would look dispassionately into the demands for Vidarbha, Gorkhaland, Harit Pradesh (western UP), Kongu Nadu (western Tamil Nadu) etc. Smaller states alone would not do, the emphasis should also be on granting real financial and political autonomy to panchayats and municipalities, he adds.
Addressing the question on who should be assigned the responsibility of redrawing the map of India’s states, Guha goes a step ahead and suggests that the new src should draw its members not from political parties, but from the law, academia and the social sector. Pointing out that members of the first src were the jurist Fazl Ali; author and diplomat K.M. Panikkar and social worker H.N. Kunzru, who were all non-partisan and widely respected, he says that the members of the new src should be people like jurist Fali S. Nariman, economist Jean Dreze, sociologist Andre Beteille and social worker Ela Bhatt.
However, Marxist historian K.N. Panikkar, even as he concedes that there is a case for smaller states for effective administration and equitable distribution of natural resources, feels that there is no need for a second src as such. He fears that it would open up a Pandora’s box. Panikkar is more for blurring the boundaries between states. “The border should cease to be of any consequence for the people,” he says. “Internal migration and economic linkages should dissolve the existing boundaries between states, even when they maintain cultural identity and administrative distinction.”
The agitation for Gorkhaland. (Photograph by Reuters, From Outlook, February 06, 2012)
The reorganisation argument becomes further nuanced when bureaucrat and India’s former ambassador to unesco, Chiranjiv Singh, puts forward a cultural rationale in place of the familiar administrative or economic one. “Whatever demands we see for new states may not be on linguistic lines, but there is an underlying cultural reasoning. Be it Telangana, Vidarbha or the four divisions of UP and Mithila, they are all cultural units. Also, don’t underestimate culturally distinct North Karnataka’s resentment over Old Mysore,” he says. Linguistically, too, these regions vary to a large extent. Braj, Avadhi or Maithili may have been reduced to dialects in the popular imagination, but they are anything but that. Surdas wrote in Braj Bhasha and Tulsidas wrote in Avadhi. So, Singh’s argument that the new src should recognise these cultural zones appears to be perfectly in place.
Singh further argues that it can’t be assumed that administratively smaller units will spur economic growth. They are not linked to each other, he asserts, offering a few examples: “Assam may grow tea, but the market is in Calcutta and Amritsar. Similarly, Amritsar is the largest producer of nose rings and, needless to say, people in the region don’t wear them. Haveri in Karnataka does not grow cardamom, but it is the market for the spice. This proves that economic linkages don’t respect administrative boundaries. Therefore, it is better that we reorganise on cultural lines. That will also rest easy on the collective memory of the people,” he concludes.
The question of src and the redrawing of the map aside, what has led to the decline of the linguistic state—at least as an exclusive logic? If one were to extrapolate the historical arguments of anthropologist Lisa Mitchell in her book, Language, Emotion and Politics in South India, language as an object of emotion or its personification in India, more specifically the South, was only a late 19th-century creation. But within half a century of the creation of the language-emotion nexus, Potti Sriramulu gave up his life for Telugu and Andhra in December 1952, and soon after, since 1964, Tamil Nadu witnessed a number of self-immolation incidents for the Tamil cause. Earlier, till the 1890s, there were no specifically demarcated domains for any language; there was only a multilingual milieu. How and why this creation happened is an interesting historical process, says Mitchell. Going by this, we could logically assume that language-based emotion may have run its course in a hundred years.
United on division The Telangana demand is based on cultural/economic reasoning
Writer-translator Kalyan Raman points out other factors that may have come to dominate the emotive linguistic field. He says the economic liberalisation in 1991 initiated three trends: inter-state mobility of unskilled workers, especially from impoverished regions to more prosperous states or cities; competition among the states for domestic and foreign investment; increased territorial claims over resources due to pressures of economic development. He points out the dichotomy of the present-day linguistic state thus: “On the one hand, as economic units, linguistic states are depending less on the community’s cultural identity for economic mobilisation to spur growth. On the other hand, cultural/linguistic identity is pressed into service for confrontational politics, whenever required. But the original raison d’etre for linguistic states—of community integration on social and economic planes—seems to have gone past its expiry date. I would say that linguistic states have morphed into something else, and that something else, because it is based on economic clout and political power, may be hard to dismantle.”
The hegemony of the standard version of state language over dialects and other minority languages also may have caused immense damage and dissipation of interest in linguistic states. For instance, when Karnataka celebrated 50 years of its existence in 2006, it only celebrated Kannada and forgot that Konkani, Tulu, Byary and Kodava were the state’s allied languages. Also, the backwards and Dalits, who were seen as guardians of local tongues, have moved on to experience the economically liberating energies of English.
Finally, it is important to point out that our very worldview as a nation seems to have undergone a sea change. We no longer imagine or define ourselves as living in villages, the so-called repositories of culture, but have made cities the nucleus of our being. In some ways, the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (jnnurm) programme of the Union government is a metaphor for this transformation. Reporting some of the findings of the People’s Linguistic Survey of India, linguist G.N. Devy pointed out recently that Maharashtra is Marathi-speaking, but Mumbai linguistically needs to be seen as a ‘national city’ rather than a state capital. Ditto would be the results for Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai.
Sanjeer Alam says demands for new states won’t stop because of the population boom
ONCE AGAIN, the agitation for a separate state of Telangana is back to the centrestage of political drama in New Delhi. Once again, the spotlight is fixed on the blame game. And once again, the Centre seems to be sleeping with the virtues of reticence. For many, the fresh wave of Telangana crisis triggered by the resignation of elected representatives of people, MLAs and MPs, is largely an outcome of the inactivity of the central government, for it chose to sit over the recommendations of the Justice Srikrishna Commission for resolving the issue. However, the fact remains that the Telangana tangle epitomises the deeper structural problems facing India since the reorganisation of states way back in 1956. Today it is Telangana. Tomorrow it will be Vidarbha and so on.
One cannot be oblivious to the fact that the echoes of Telangana go far beyond Andhra Pradesh and New Delhi. There are longstanding demands for a Vidarbha state in Maharashtra, for Harit Pradesh and Purvanchal in Uttar Pradesh, for Mithila state in Bihar, for Koshal state in Odisha, for Gorkhaland in West Bengal and the list goes on. This is probably why the central government is interested in buying time rather than resolving it once and for all. The worry of the Centre is that statehood to Telangana will give momentum to many more demands of creating new states. So why put their fingers in a can of worms?
Why are there sustained movements for new states? Such movements, violent or otherwise, owe their career to the short-sightedness and the static approach of the political class. In the first place, administrative boundaries in any country are never static. They change in the course of time and in response to changing demographic social, economic and political conditions. In India, the last major exercise of drawing politico-administrative boundaries was carried out under the State Reorganisation Act (1956). Under this Act, the state boundaries were to be drawn on linguistic lines. In other words, the state and linguistic boundaries, as far as practicable, were to coincide with each other. As a result, due attention was not paid to other relevant criteria such as geographical contiguity, area, size of population, and socio-cultural attributes other than language. Therefore, dissatisfaction cropped up within a few years of reorganisation of the states. Even as linguistic homogeneity provided the basis of redrawing administrative maps of India in 1956, the problem remained far from settled. The Gujarati- speaking people rose to demand for a separate state. So, Gujarat was carved out of Bombay state in 1960. Six years later, in 1966, Punjab was divided into three states – Punjabi-speaking Punjab, Hindi-speaking Haryana and hilly state Himachal Pradesh. Furthermore, three new states based on mixed criteria of relative economic backwardness, geographical terrain and socio-cultural features were created in 2000. These states were Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. The journey of carving out as many as twenty-eight states so far suggests at least two things. One, that the aspirations of people channel out in complex ways. So, drawing or redrawing of politico-administrative boundaries should be sensitive to such complexities. Two, even if certain demands have enough justifications and usefulness, the political class will not move until push comes to shove.
Secondly, one, if not the sole, reason for having pluralities of administrative units is to ensure administrative efficiency and good governance. India is too big in size both in terms of area and population. The population of India is almost two times the population of Latin America and one and a quarter times the population of the whole of Africa. Owing to a relatively high growth rate of population, we add almost the total population of Australia or of Haryana every year. This obviously necessitates a periodic exercise of redrawing politico-administrative boundaries.
Thirdly, many states of India are not only super large but also quite heterogeneous in terms of socio-economic and cultural attributes. For example, Uttar Pradesh has more population (199.6 million in 2011) than Brazil (189.6 million in 2008). The population of Uttar Pradesh is two and a half times the population of Germany. In Maharashtra, there are more people than France and Spain put together.
IN BIHAR, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh, there are more people than Germany. Internally, Uttar Pradesh has more population than Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, the two largest states in terms of area, put together. Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have fewer people than Uttar Pradesh alone. Generally, though not necessarily, smaller states are better able to ensure administrative efficiency and governance. If the twin objectives of administrative efficiency and good governance are central to the exercise of redrawing and readjustment of administrative boundaries, states like Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and other bigger states can be divided into many viable states.
Fourthly and finally, most states are marked by huge socio-cultural and economic differences. For instance, economically and culturally, the western and eastern parts Uttar Pradesh are poles apart. On both counts, western Uttar Pradesh is closer to Haryana than eastern Uttar Pradesh. Similarly, the western and eastern parts of Bihar stand out in sharp contrast to each other. Both culturally and economically, the western region of Bihar is closer to eastern Uttar Pradesh. Similarly, the Vidarbha region in Maharashtra stands out in sharp contrast to the rest of Maharashtra. And so does Telangana in Andhra Pradesh. What needs to be underlined is that socially and economically backward regions within states have remained backward across time, without showing signs of convergence. Whether real or feigned, the backward communities tend to see their backwardness rooted in the discriminatory practices of the state dominated by those coming from an advanced region. Given that smaller states are generally doing reasonably well and are marked by lesser degree of regional inequalities, part of the problem of deprivation along regional lines can be resolved by carving out more states in the bigger ones.
The way the Telangana issue is unfolding, granting statehood to Telangana is inevitable. It is also certain that once Telangana becomes the 29th state of India, it is bound to give salience to the demands of creating states in other parts of country. It is high time that the Centre constitutes a Second States Reorganisation Commission to look into the legitimacy and usefulness of demands for new states.
Sanjeer Alam is visiting associate fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi
Following is Dr. Arjun Purohit’s take on this issue (this message was sent to various e-groups):
Koshal state is inevitable because of variety of reasons but primarily because it is in accord with emerging trends. It is begining to be evident bigger states do not necessarily better management of resources, especially human resource. Fear that Koshal and Orissa will be further disadvantaged once separated simply do not hold water. Both MP and Chhattisgarh are better off after separation. Bihar is on mend under Nitish Kumar after separating from Jharkhand; it is concentrating on overall development of the state, particularly on human resource now that it can not depend on easy money obtained from mining operations in Jharkhand. Even Uttaranchal is beginning to show progress concentrating on its own resources which remained untapped when it remained with UP. Sure they are going through teething problems, but on the whole all these new entities are on the mend.
In the case of Orissa and Koshal, several studies done since its inception suggest that inter regional variance is increasing, and the gaps are getting bigger with no sign of abetting. There is no sense of urgency or inclination to reverse this trend.More recently, the state sponsored a study to examine this self evident problem; It took four and half year and cost thirty five lakhs; and was produced two years ago. Mr.A.U.Singhdeo, the minister in charge said in Orissa assembly that the government is still studying it !! In the mean time, there has been utter failure of governance. Much of Koshal area is coming under the sway of Naxalites. Koshal is emerging as the most polluted part of Orissa. KBK area is languishing for decades even after alarm bell had been sounded decades ago.
Orissa government has no mining policy yet mining is going on in full spate for much of the last century. Even if humongous amount of mineral resources is known to be stolen away, and is being stolen away, Orissa government steadfastly opposing any CBI enquiry even though its own government apparatus is incapable in stopping the loot. The irony is that proceeds from these operations did not improve the lots of Orissa and it is locked in the bottom of literacy and wealth ladder.We have been in the resource trap all these decades, and unfortunately lives of people who are effected by these mining operations is degrading in all measures. Not that all areas of Orissa are languishing. It is as if the sixty mile zone surrounding Bhubaneswar is where all the proceeds of Orissa is being dumped with Koshal and South Orissa remaining in the rain shadow area. Worst part of it all is that a nexus has developed in that sixty mile zone which thinks that that area alone needs to be developed. Ironically, that nexus consisting primarily of senior bureaucrats(working and retired) and academics of coastal area, is unofficially determining the shape of destiny of Orissa, and is immune from political engagement.
Orissa government has lost touch with people beyond this sixty mile zone. Our Adivashi population, who constitute nearly a fourth of population, have been singularly impacted from such deliberate neglect. More recently, the government has turned hostile towards this population. Unfortunately, both Koshal and South Orissa contain the bulk of this population. Protests from this group have not been heard, they have been replied with lathi charge, and even gun shots. And thus it is creating a fertile ground for Naxalites. We are watching in living colour the upheavals in Arab countries graphically demonstrating what happens when the governments are disconnected with people. We too in Orissa witnessing something similar albeit in a minor scale.
But Koshal should not be a separate state because of a protest movement. The daunting task of Koshal state will be how to prepare the state for twenty first century, and align itself to overall growth and main stream of India. Key to this is single minded focus on human resource development and create an ambiance of trust between between people and the government.We have to learn from the blunders of Orissa, which made it dysfunctional. All state resources must be equitably distributed across the regions. Overcentrilisation of state institutions and deployment of resources in a small part have been the main fault lines of Orissa; these must be avoided. Policies and procedures must be established to institute decentrilisation based upon proximity,accessibility and pragmatics. We simply can not afford to marginalise a huge chunk of population and expect progress. The Adivashi population is integral part of the state, and is a source of our strength. All social scientists will tell you that geniuses are produced in all clusters of population; therefore as it stands, by ignoring this population we are depriving ourselves a major source potential enhancers of the society. We must also develop better methods of conflict resolutions. In Orissa, we are locked into unnecessary battles between mining industries and Adivashis, farmers and industries, mineral exploitation and environmental concerns,etc.. We all have a stake in the upliftment of the state. Many of these conflicts are soluble, but we do not have in Orissa proper mechanisms to defuse these issues. Therefore I fully endorse the stand of Sai Prasan and Parvin Patel. Koshal can be a model state if we play our cards right from the beginning. All these can be achieved without violence. And I believe Orissa will too will be better off without Koshal.
The demand for a separate Kosal State got louder with the Kosal Kranti Dal (KKD) having organised a huge rally and meeting before the Collectorate here on Saturday, attended by delegates from eleven districts of western Odisha.
“The people have gathered here to protest against their continuous exploitation by the successive Governments at Bhubaneswar, and Kosali, not Odia is our mother tongue as well as language of the region,” observed KKD president Pramod Mishra.
All those anti-Kosal forces making capital of the resources of this region would be ousted from here by 2014. This is a token strike and protest by the people of the Kosal region and there would be many more such rallies in future. A separate Kosal State is the only solution to the problem, Mishra said further.
Condemning the reported move of the Government to mine bauxite in the Gandhmardan hills, Sajjan Kumar said the mining would destroy the precious flora and fauna of that area besides damaging the ecology beyond repair.
He called upon the KKD activists to save Gandhmardarn and save the ecology as the next 50 years would be crucial for mankind, as the deteriorating environment is going to bring damages to the earth.
He also called upon the people to reject the political party tickets and rather file nominations as KKD candidates and work for formation of a separate Kosal State.
“We would not allow lifting of kendu leaves, coal and other minerals from this region,” observed Baidyanath Mishra.
Protesting against the continuous economic exploitation of this region by the outsiders, a bandh will be observed in the 11 Kosal districts on March 31, Mishra announced.
The culture and language of the region is one of the best in the world and no political parties have worked for promotion of the Kosali Language, observed Goreknath Sahu and presented a film CD on Kosali to Pramod Mishra.
Eminent Kosali poet Haldhar Nag recited a poem in praise of the Kosal land.
Earlier, a massive rally from the Kosal Kalamandal was taken out through the town.
The KKD leaders submitted a memorandum addressed to the Prime Minister through the District Collector demanding a separate Kosal State.