The fastest time I have clocked to complete a book has to be this one. In Old History, New Geography, author Jairam Ramesh has kept the facts concise and hence makes you feel like Flash. The book meant to give me company till I reach the UK from home, but I ended writing the first draft of the article during my transit at Abu Dhabi.
Was the book like a piece of marvel that needed such dedication? No! As the story of Andra Pradesh l raw and fresh, the emotion is vivid. That got me reading this book like a madman.
The book opens up with a timeline of the story of the bifurcation. The timeline not only makes it easy for you to refer back when needed but also gives you a sense of the struggle that Government had to go through. It started way back from 1927 with Mahatma Gandhi raising his concern for the state and its bifurcation from the Madras province.
Andra Pradesh got the perk of being the first linguistic state.
The sentiments of some politicians were hurt because it was against their ideals of having to split Indians by language. The fierce rivalry between Pattabhi Sitaramaya and P.S.Kumaraswamy gave the importance of the split for ease of administration.
The need for bifurcation thus began.
Although I grew up in the neighbouring state, I found it complex to understand the emotion of the people of Andra. Half wants a separate state, and the other don’t want a split. The misguiding star is, both cases have had an equal number of protestors. Sriramulu, a famous politician, gave up his life by fasting until death! Comprehending this emotion is a task of its own.
The need for a separate Telangana state was there when Andra was being split from the Madras Province. The then central government put it down because they wanted to focus on the overall development of the country.
Factional politics did not let the fire die.
The Government took the step forward by forming the Group of Ministers(GoM). The author was one among the members. He played a pivotal role by driving the GoM towards the assigned task. The GoM stepped in and was quick to adopt technology as a means to gain support from the public.
Fight for bifurcation or Hyderabad?
Hyderabad was considered as a second capital of the nation. Capitalising on the IT boom, Hyderabad’s development skyrocketed giving tremendous amounts of revenue for the state and India. The Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority generated revenue which was more than half of the entire state. This fact made it easier to understand the purpose of the fight because it became evident to the people of Andra that the state will be bifurcated whether they like it or not.
The GoM adapted different governance models. Not to say, the idea of making Hyderabad a Union Territory and a common capital to both the states was debated for long. Finally, till the agitations settled and a fair amount of time was given for Telangana and Andra, particularly for the latter, a model of having two states with their capitals and a common Governor was finalised.
The new capital stands on 50,000 hectares of forest land
Hyderabad was given to Telangana. A compromise was made for the new state of Andra that time and funds from the Central Government will be given for building its new capital. Educational institutions, high court and administrative blocks needed time to come up. So till then, From Telangana, Hyderabad provided support to Andra Pradesh.
With new hopes, the capital of the new state is built with a cost of 50,000 hectares of degrading forest. The author and his team of ministers were careful in the allocation of natural resources, drawing policy for sharing government irrigation projects and structuring equal opportunities that the people of Andra once got from Hyderabad.
A seed for another movement?
Not to say, the bill to get passed from the Parliament faced a lot of high-profile drama. But looking at it, as a millennial of this digital age, the rage and fight for separation did not make sense to me. We have our leaders talking about being united, not to miss the speech by our former President Dr APJ at the United Nations, but seeing our government and our people creating a divide, was saddening.
The centre is now looking at the largest state of India, Uttar Pradesh. The same reason as ease of governance is giving them hints for a need of a split. Divide and rule can be confusing. Is it the way forward or the split inwards?
The MAK Tip
The book revolved around how people in positions of responsibilities played their way in setting this issue. People from the side who didn’t want the split just resigned when things did not go their way.
So the MAK tip is that when we consciously glue ourselves more during adversities, the best of leadership emerges.
Had the ministers stayed on, there would have been such hatred during the split. After all, we are from the same country.