[lg policy] Another earlier piece on Telangana sent to the lgpolicy-list in 2009

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at GMAIL.COM
Tue Mar 4 20:46:34 UTC 2014

New India state Telangana may fuel other statehood movements

The central government in India announced Wednesday it would move to
create a new state, Telangana, within the state Andhra Pradesh.
Telangana is likely to serve as a precedent for other statehood


By Mian Ridge Correspondent
posted December 11, 2009 at 8:53 am EST

New Delhi --
Protesters set fire to vehicles and burned effigies of senior
politicians across the southern state of Andhra Pradesh Friday over
plans to create a new state, Telangana, within the state - a move
analysts warn will be seen as a precedent for other statehood
movements around the country. The central government announced
Wednesday that it would push to carve Telangana, currently one of
India's most impoverished regions, out of Andhra Pradesh, one of
India's biggest states and home to the city of Hyderabad, where the
Indian headquarters of firms including Microsoft and Google are
located. The issue has long roused passions. Wednesday's announcement
followed a five-decade campaign for Telangana, which was last
violently active in 1969, when over 400 people were killed in riots.

Lately, the movement had died down, but in recent weeks, it gained
momentum with the well-publicized fast of an activist, K Chandrasekhar
Rao, and violent protests in Hyderabad - which quickly turned to
triumphant celebrations Wednesday. Telangana may serve as a precedent
to other statehood movements: The most active of these include demands
for a new Gorkhaland state in northwest Bengal; Vidarbha in
Maharashra; and Bodoland in Assam.  "Whatever the arguments for and
against the legitimacy of the Telangana cause, it's clear that by
ceding to it, the Centre has stirred up a hornet's nest," said the
Financial Express newspaper in an editorial Thursday.

State separatists have more than Telangana to encourage them, however.
Although linguistic differences were originally used to carve out
India's large states, other claims, such as economic disparities, have
prompted the creation of newer states in recent years. In 2000, three
new states were made: Chhattisgarh, which was part of Madhya Pradesh;
Uttarakhand, from Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand, out of Bihar. Telangana
will be India's 29th state. More locally, there are fears that if the
up and coming city of Hyderabad is included in Telangana, Andhra
Pradesh, which has invested heavily in its main city, will lose
significant amounts of revenue.

Friday, more than 100 members of the state assembly were reported to
have resigned in protest. The region - soon to be state - of Telangana
comprises 10 districts. Supporters of the statehood movement have long
accused the central government of ignoring the region; while
politicians have used the issue during electioneering.  The Congress
party, which leads the central government, formed an alliance with a
party dedicated to the creation of the state, the Telangana Rashtra
Samiti (TRS), in 2004, but the TRS accused the party of reneging on
its word.  Some observers believe that the government has been forced
to promise the new state now because of local political upheavals. In
September, Andhra Pradesh's powerful chief minister, YS Reddy, was
killed in a helicopter crash. His successor, K Rosaiah has not shared
Mr. Reddy's success in controlling the Telangana movement.

The government has not set a time frame for Telangana's creation. Some
have seen back-pedaling in Prime Minister Manmohan's Singh's comments
in parliament Friday that nothing would be done in haste.

[Clarification: I include these articles about Telangana because
Andhra Pradesh was the first state in Independent India to be created
on a linguistic basis after an activist, Potti Sriramulu, fasted to
the death in 1952 over the issue. Subsequently India passed the States
Reorganization Act, which divided the old states, left over from
British India, along linguistic lines. The formation of Telangana now
nullifies the linguistic basis of Andhra Pradesh, the only
Telugu-language state, which is what arouses the intense objection
among non-Telangana Telugus.  (HS)]



 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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