Moment of Uncertainty by Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam (AUGUST 05, 2013)

Uncertainties abound in the wake of creation of states (provincial units). The creation of new nation states is even more seriously fraught with risks of violence and awakening of old historical animosities that can trigger repeated wars.

However, the territorial reorganisation and creation of new states within national boundaries is a necessity that cannot always be ignored. The creation of Telengana out of Andhra Pradesh is the culmination of a movement that had been going on for the last six decades.

States’ reorganisation and creation of new states had been going on since the late 50s. The first phase, under Pandit Nehru, was carried out on the basis of language and linguistic affinity between people.

The creation of Jharkhand, Uttrakhand and Chhattisgarh towards the closing decades of the 20th century was done on the basis of larger cultural and ethnic identities and aspirations, the language (or languages) factor still being pivotal.

Creation of new states also creates new animosities and rivalries, besides accentuating older antipathies within the new state’s jurisdiction and the neighbouring states, including the original state from which it is carved out.

Hyderabad may be suited more to Telengana than Andhra Pradesh because it is culturally closer to Telengana by virtue of being closer to it in physical space. For ten years it has to serve as the capital of both states. However, like Chandigarh they may work out a modus vivendi to keep the city as a common capital beyond the 10-year period.

In fact, this will be a cooling period for both states to learn new ways of functioning and modes of co-operation. This applies to Muslims of both states as well as any other group. Muslims are by nature slower to adapt to new political realities compared to other groups. They took more time to adjust to political realities of the post-Hyderabad state dispensation.

Telengana happens to consist of ten districts with relatively good number of Muslims. These ten are among the fourteen districts of undivided Andhra Pradesh with a relatively significant Muslim population. These districts also happen to be home to Urdu language, which is still popular among many non-Muslims as well. Muslims, of course, are Urdu-speaking and have an equal fluency in Telugu as well. Muslims should continue and enhance this valuable trait.

As the creation of Telengana has enhanced the percentage of Muslims in the new state, it has also, simultaneously, decreased their percentage in Andhra. In both states they should act as forces of integration between different caste and language groups.

This area (Telengana) has been a site of communist movement since the 50s. Great poets and writers contributed to it. In the following decades RSS too began its activity on the usual communal, divisive lines, as against the unifying politics of the communists.

It is because of these facts that some Muslims are concerned about Telengana’s future political direction. They argue that it is likely to go the way Jharkhand, Uttrakhand and Chhattisgarh did. Sangh politics seems to dominate in such states.

This is not the only uncertainty for Muslims, for whom the best course would be to support the integrating and unifying forces.

It is interesting to note here that the Institute of Objective Studies had organised a seminar on states’ reorginasation on August 4, 1990. It had favoured the creation of smaller states. One of the oft-cited reasons, backed by the seminar, was that smaller states were conducive to better administration.

Keeping in view our principled stand on the issue, we support and welcome the new state and wish it well.


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