A reply to Kanche Ilaiah

By: J R Janumpalli

Kanche Ilaiah the social activist has denunciated the new Telangana State and extoled residual Andhra Pradesh, in his chat with Hindu (Bifurcation proves bane for Telangana — 17, November 2015). He has cursed TS to dwindle in its economies because of drought and commended A.P. owing for its coastline, large agrarian base and Amaravati, its would be world class capital. He has opined that coastal Andhra supplied food to Telangana all these years in united state. And says that, now TS has to import food from other states including A.P. and buy basic things such as salt. He thinks that bifurcation was due to the vested interests of few communities. He also says that Maoists were the game changer. And alleges that they thought Andhra upper caste industrialists were more dangerous than the feudal land lords of Telangana. He also avers that Hyderabad was developed by the business men from coastal parts of A.P. Here is the take on each one of his observations in the diatribe.

His prediction for Amaravati, the capital of Andhra to become world class, has no complaints. It is his whimsical wish like many others. It may become world class or not it is any body’s guess. Presently there are no world class cities in India. It is not known whether our best cities like Mumbai and Delhi can be called world class in the parlance of Amaravati baiters, who mean it to be Singapore, Tokyo, and Shanghai etc. Even our not so world class cities took hundreds of years to become what they are today. Even this, to be world class city, cannot be created in a hurry in 5, 10 or 20 years. After hundreds of years even it becomes world class, how it is going to help present residual A.P., it is difficult to comprehend now. Anyway, whatever happens there, it is no concern to TS. Let Amaravati baiters like Ilaiah get a kick out of they earning. It is up to A.P. to have any class of capital it likes. Whether world or Indian class, TS has Hyderabad, whose revenue has been a bone of contention earlier.

‘TS are land locked with a history of drought and AP has long coastline and a huge agrarian base’: Drought is not new to Telangana or A.P. In A.P. also whole of rayalaseema and some parts of Andhra are also drought prone. Rivers Godavari and Krishna have more spans and more watershed area in TS. TS is eligible for more water than hitherto allotted.

The matter is before Supreme Court. If the woefully neglected 46000 MI tanks are repaired; hundreds of tmc of water stole by Andhra without completing the irrigation projects pending since 1956, which are now being brought on to the anvil, is restored; redesigning and completing the deliberately ill-designed, neglected existing and ongoing irrigation projects is done, the drought in TS can be alleviated. And the state can challenge Andhra for agriculture production. Already district like Karimnagar has upstaged Krishna district in the production of rice. Telangana has great agrarian base too, its population is less and its per capita revenue is more. The andhras’ revenue deficit is the Telangana’s revenue surplus spent on it in united state, which is now wholly available to Telangana. Presently Andhra is struggling to make both ends meet because of its less per capita revenue & the revenue deficit. Those are the ground realities.

Andhra is not supplying food to Telangana, despite drought. Perhaps Mr.Ilaiah was reminiscing on pre independence or early independent rice-rationing days. Telangana is producing enough food for itself. Even if it is so, they would not supplying it for free. Salt can be bought from anywhere else. Many states are getting salt from other states. That is not germane to development. There is absolutely no need for TS to import food from A.P. Referring to buying of basic things like salt in this context, sounds ridiculous, for the very primitive sense of it, in these modern times.

Long coast line to A.P. may have some advantages to it. Let A.P. state enjoy those benefits. But, in India it is not TS alone —- there are more land locked states than the coastal states. Coast line alone does not decree the economy of a state. Some land locked states have more per capita income (PCI) than many coastal states in the country e.g., Haryana, Punjab & Sikkim. TS has more per capita income than A.P. even now.

Mr.Ilaiah’s views on bifurcation are very intriguing. By saying bifurcation is because of the vested interest of few upper castes, is taking his dislike for caste system a little too far. Game changer here, is not his illusory premise. Many Dalit leaders argue that the bifurcation is because of Dalit support and it is felt good for backward and Dalit class representation in government. Actually the game changer is the renewed exploitation of Telangana by Andhra administration and participation of all sections of Telangana society in this episode of Telangana struggle.

Ilaiahs comparison of Andhra industrialists with now nonexistent Telangana feudalism makes a very interesting reading. Feudalism of Telangana is a thing of the past. The Andhra majority political-corporate hegemony has replaced the so called feudalism. His love for Andhra industrialists who are the fore runners of the organized exploitation of Telangana by Andhra administration is very paradoxical. He does not know if andhras developed Hyderabad or Hyderabad developed Andhra industrialists and corporate politicians. In posh colonies like Banjara Hills, Jubilee Hills etc. 80 to 90% are these Andhra industrialists and political-corporates. A few lakhs of acres of land in and around Hyderabad is in the hands of these people. Most of the neo rich millionaires in erstwhile A.P. are from this class of people.

Mr.Ilaiah’s views are completely inverted. It is because, he considers his prejudices and biases without regard to ground realities, as facts of life. Everything cannot be looked at from the point of caste system alone. There are several other parameters in the creation of a state and its survival. We must look at it with a holistic perception. The merger of Andhra and Telangana was an historical blunder. If both Andhra and Telangana remained separate states from 1956, they would have developed by now as front running states in the country. Though it is late, they can develop even now on their own in to two prosperous states. But, eulogizing Andhra and denigrating TS as Mr. Ilaiah tries to do perfunctorily has no valid basis. When Punjab and Haryana was divided in 1966, some had opined in the same vein. But, it is proved wrong. The backward and irrigation starved Haryana has now overtaken Punjab. It will be the same story in case of TS too.

Bifurcation of State is a fait accompli. It cannot be changed now. Umpteen numbers of new states were created in independent India. No new state had proved to be a bane for itself. TS has more resources and more positive credentials than many earlier new states to become a very successful state on its own. There is no need for any ‘social activist’ to worry about it with his imaginary premises.

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