The Telangana blunder

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SummaryIt has been three years since P Chidambaram confided somewhat loudly that the UPA was going to grant Telangana statehood.

It has been three years since P Chidambaram confided somewhat loudly that the UPA was going to grant Telangana statehood.

There was once a young Brahmin boy who, having nothing to do, would spend his time in the village square. He used to admire a bull who had a pair of perfectly round horns which formed a circle. The boy thought of trying to jump through the horns. But being a prudent chap, he did not do so immediately. After a year of watching the bull, one day he took the plunge. The bull panicked and thrashed him about till others had to tame the bull and rescue the boy. When people admonished him about his thoughtless act, the boy replied, “It was not thoughtless; I had thought about it for a long time.”

That is the perfect analogy for the government’s (Congress?) decision on the Telangana issue. It has been three years since P Chidambaram confided somewhat loudly that the UPA was going to grant Telangana statehood. Confusion and denials followed. A commission was appointed whose recommendations were soundly ignored. More time was wasted and the issue simmered. YSR died leaving Andhra orphaned. Belying Jagan’s hopes of dynastic succession, chief ministers were appointed and replaced. Jagan was hounded and jailed, but the problem still persisted.

Then at last, and indeed too late for comfort, the demand has been granted. All hell has broken loose. There are power failures and mayhem on the streets. Ministers have resigned and the Chief Minister is itching to go. There have been old divisions within Andhra which have become new regional identities — Rayalaseema and Seemandhra. Telangana patriots refer to them as outsiders, even foreigners. There are politicians going on fasts to protest.

This is how we began 60 years ago. It was the fast by Potti Sreeramulu which precipitated the creation of Andhra, the first linguistic state. He did something that most people who go on a fast usually take care to avoid. He died. Pandit Nehru was against the creation of linguistic states despite it being the Congress party’s policy, as he feared Balkanisation. He had to concede. A commission was appointed to consider reorganisation of states and reported.

Nehru may have ‘discovered’ India but he did not fully appreciate its diversity. His was a centralist vision of India being a single entity. What he had to concede was that

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