Thursday, May 29, 2008


The arguments for Telangana are quite old, but I still can't exactly understand them. All of the arguments seem to be based on emotional grudges and wishful hopes rather than any understanding of how creating a separate state would help the people of the region. Pointed questions are sidestepped rather than answered.

For example, consider this FAQ from the US-based Telangana Development Forum.

Q: Isn't it economically better to be a bigger state than a smaller state?
A: Bihar is bigger than Goa but poorer, so this argument is false.
>: Citing exceptions doesn't prove anything; the fact is it is much harder for a smaller state to compete economically because its bargaining power is low.

Most of the argument is based on the notion that rich Andhra people habitually come to Telangana to "steal" resources or "divert" them to Andhra. The source of this sentiment is easy to trace: blaming someone else for your problems is always the path of least resistance.

The idea that the Andhra regions are exploiting the Telangana regions may be grounded in truth. But there is no verifiable data on any of these sites to support this. Almost all of the claims are rants rather than arguments.

Off the top of my head, here are some reasons why Telangana would be BAD for everybody involved:
  • Loss of bargaining power for both Andhra and Telangana. The whole is much more powerful than the sum of the parts.
  • Partitions of states with protracted separation movements hate each other (e.g. India-Pak, Pak-Bangladesh, Punjab-Haryana). This has always been true. The governments and people of Andhra and Telangana would spend inordinate amounts of energy quarrelling with each other.
  • Politicians will have finer control of the pie. Instead of having one top dog, we would have two top dogs in the same area. As the number of top dogs increases, things always get worse for the ordinary people.
  • Look at Karnataka and Tamil Nadu fighting. Arguments over various issues are bound to crop up between neighbouring states. The balance of power lies with larger states. If Tamil Nadu or Karnataka have a problem with the much smaller Telangana, they will chew up the small state and spit it out. It is an unrealistic dream to imagine that everything can be worked out between Telangana and its neighbours.

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