I was struggling to understand why there is only one answer to my question. Well, dear reader, let me ask the question too. Are you in favour of creating Telengana?
I may have posed this question to 9 or 10 of my friends over the past few months, most times knowing that they are Andhra-ites. The answer has been a very emphatic “NO WAY”.
Naturally I have asked the reason(s) for this. The responses I have heard so far indicate a deep seated fear about Telengana, and most importantly Hyderabad, becoming out of bounds for people from the rest of Andhra, or Seemandhra, or coastal Andhra plus Rayalseema. There is a good reason for this. Telengana political leaders keep saying that Seemandhra folks will have no place in the Telengana Govt. jobs. OK. But, what of the private sector, organised or otherwise? Would they not be the bigger employers? Do they also share this view? Perhaps they do. So while an Andhra-ite feels comfortable working and living in most parts of India, and to a fairly large extent in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the Seemandhra folks do not have the same feeling about Telengana.
I have a some more fundamental questions.
1. Would the Seemandhra folks agree that the districts of Andhra that comprise the Telengana region are amongst the poorest in Andhra Pradesh?
2. If the Seemandhra folks introspect, would they agree that the politicians and the administrators, as well as the people themselves, have let down the Telengana region, and the folks from there?
3. What should the politicians and people from Seemandhra do now to regain the trust of the people from Telengana?
It applies to all similar situations that are festering all over the country.
I would not at all be surprised that if Telengana becomes a reality, then some of the taluks of districts of Karnataka like Raichur, Gulbarga, Bidar may want to join up with them. Proximity of culture apart, they are so far off from the minds of the “rulers” (though they are supposed to be servants) of the state. Folks from Vidarbha often feel the same way.
I do not expect politicians from the Congress or the BJP to ask themselves the forward looking question – What do we need to do to regain their trust? Nor do I expect them to be take the steps to make it happen.
However, I do want my friends to introspect. We all need to find a way to be more giving and more inclusive to those who have less than us. Or those who feel alienated. For a fellow Indian. For another human.
Maybe you will tell me that I am wrong in this case. That Andhra govt. has done a lot for those districts. And this is just because a politician or two offered “Govt. jobs” to all students of Osmania University. Right!
Lastly, my own view – I am not in favour of another state being created as a potential vote bank. For now. If on the other hand, Andhra Pradesh, is unable to, in a time bound program, say 5 years, improve the state of administration and other standards in the Telengana region, we should seriously consider the statehood option as a big option. As a check, one has to ensure that the Andhra Govt. does not end up bleeding revenue from the region, as a spiteful act instead. Other states should have a time bound program too for improving their poorest districts. Else, be prepared to demands for even more statehoods.