Smaller States are Better

1)  "When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of Nature and the Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.  That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.  That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, having its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.  Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.  But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government."  ("Declaration of Independence," Thomas Jefferson, July 4, 1776). 

"The history of Telangana people is four hundred and fifty years of long history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over the state.  We, therefore, the representatives of Telangana State, declare a separate state within the Indian Union, in the name of and by authority of good people of Telangana." (Adaptation of "Declaration of Independence," Thomas Jefferson, July 4, 1776).

 If this is the will of Telangana people, then we should respect that will of the people.  Are they ready for it?

2) Andhra people wanted to be separate too. We should respect their democratic aspirations also.

3) Smaller states are better managed.  This is good for all three Andhra (~30 m population), Rayalaseema (~12 m) and Telangana (~24 m) regions, each having enough resources to survive. Each new state will have many times larger populations than countries like Suriname (0.5 m), Swaziland (1 m), Singapore (3m), Slovakia (5 m), Israel (5m), Eritrea (4 m), Switzerland (7 m), Denmark (5 m), (and more, both rich and poor countries, the list is very long), etc., each having a vote in the United Nations! Sweden (8m) won the seat in the UN Human Rights Commission by beating the US, recently. (see also 16).

4) All the three new states will need new capital cities. That means two new cities will be upgraded to the capital cities, one in Andhra and the other in Rayala Seema. I need not emphasize the advantages of having a capital city in each of these regions, hopefully with international airports and foreign embassies/consulates. If this is an unnecessary duplication, then there was no need for even one city- Hyderabad, because we could adjust with one capital-New Delhi, or even better one world capital-Washington DC.

5) There will be three states having Telugu as Official Language. Formation of Linguistic States didn't prevent Hindi speakers having several states. This allows the literature to flourish in three distinct Telugu languages.

6) Telangana has a distinct dialect that is developed over the past four hundred years, under the domination of Muslim autocratic regimes, for good or bad. Now Telangana has a distinct culture and language. It should not be extinct. It should be protected. The only way is to have a separate state.

7) Family Unity arguments, such as a family of three children with a mom and dad, are not relevant, because when the three children grow, marry and have their own families, they are going to be separate.  Joint family is a thing of the past.

8) The argument that they fight each other is not valid either, because all the brothers and sisters, who separate and have their own families, are not fighting. The old joint families gave away to the new viable and happy nuclear families. They are not killing each other. If a bitter fight achieves the separation, then the hatred continues for generations. That is why it is very important for us to recognize that fighting against an inevitable separation only sows seeds of hatred. It is important to separate with love and friendship.

9) By forcing a brother or sister in the same home, against their wishes, we are not going to achieve love or affection. We are certain to create emotional hell in that house. They will run away anyway. When they run away, they will not want even talk to us, because now we are enemies.  Also, this unity is similar to forcing someone into a marriage much against his or her wishes, especially when she or he has a different lover. The result would be suffering.

10) Telugu is different from Tamil today because we became separate and developed our own languages out of the old Dravidian language. Having new species in languages is not bad. Variety is the spice of life. If everybody speaks the same language, then there is no need for the existence of 6 billion people. That is not the way nature works. Nature is always for diversity and evolution of new species. Telangana is different from Andhra because of four hundred years of evolution and hybridization with Urdu. It is a new species that can survive on its own. It is high time she moved with her share out of the joint family and formed her own home, a nuclear family. It is better to separate than fight in a joint family.

11) Survival of the fittest is one of the evolutionary principles. If Telangana doesn't separate, the strongest and powerfull of the three dialects dominates the rest and we will have soon a problem of Srilankan magnitude.  Telangana will continue to fight until the separation is achieved or it is disintegrated. (By disintegration I mean loss of identity and culture.) To prevent the bloodshed and turmoil, it is better to follow the accepted principle of smaller of states, without prejudice against Telangana or Rayalaseema or Andhra.

12) One of the arguments has been that all this struggle and talk about separation is because of power hungry politicians. We may have a lot of Chennareddys, who abandon the cause for their personal gains. However, the cause remains until it is achieved and the problem remains until it is solved. If we are wise, we shouldn't give chance to Chennareddys. One way to do that is to solve the problem so that there won't be any more opportunities for the corrupt. That means separate the state into three states.

13) What is "small" and where is the end?  Well, viability is the limit.  I don't think there is any other limit. For example, Arunachal Pradesh (~0.8 m), Mizoram (~0.5 m), Sikkim (~0.5 m), Goa (~1m), Manipur (~ 2m), Meghalaya (~ 2m), Nagaland (~1 m) etc. are all viable states. So are the countries like Suriname (0.5 m), Swaziland (1 m), Denmark (5 m), Switzerland (7 m), etc.

14) The argument that smaller state doesn't solve the problem of backwardness because the cause for lack of development is corruption is not valid.  There is no society in this world without some kind of corruption.  There will always be self-centered and corrupt people in any society. However, the problem here is that the Telangana leaders are relegated to puppets by powerful Andhra politicians. An example is PV's short tenure as Chief Minister.

15) The question of lack of leadership is often cited. I hear people argue for a charismatic leader. However, if the dominant Andhra politicians are not there, automatically there will be a leader emerging out of nowhere to lead the state. Here again a good example is PV, who became prime minister and ran the country more efficiently than many charismatic leaders, with all his drawbacks like, lack of charisma and leadership qualities, being a puppet for all through the life, etc.  We need to give a chance to the local people to become leaders.  The present situation doesn't give that chance as proved by the past fifty years.  It may take a little while for the new state to reorganize and go full steam. When we wasted 400 and 50 years, another experiment with local leadership is not going to hurt. I am certain; it will prove to be the most efficient system so far.

16) While European Union is consolidating, we still see separatist movements in Balkans, which looks like an odd thing. However, there is a very good point, that is, each people want to be part of the European Union as an independent state with their identity intact. It is same here in the Indian Union. Nobody is interested in separating from the Indian Union. However, for reasons like the preservation of cultural and linguistic identity, better administration etc., the smaller states are advocated. Nobody disputes the fact that the smaller states have a chance to do well economically. Most of the large states/countries are among the backward/underdeveloped states in the world. (Only glaring exception being the United States, which is an entirely different kind of beast that cannot be dragged into this discussion at all. One main reason being it is a country of immigrants, while the discussion is around densely populated old civilizations that don't have incentives/reasons for immigration. Nobody from US or Europe wants to go to Medak looking for green pastures or gold!).

17) Smaller state doesn't guarantee success.  However, compared to a part in a larger state, the smaller state fares better. If Telangana State is formed today and fifty years from now the state remains wretched and poor, then Telangana has nobody to blame but herself, (except natural calamities or terrorism, if any).

18) Neocolonialism (disguised imperialism) is another argument raised now and then - Andhra people dominated the Telangana.   They brought their money and expertise to develop Hyderabad.  Hyderabad city is a better and different city compared to fifty years ago.   They could have developed Vijayawada or Visakhaptnam instead.  Now is the chance to do that.  By getting rid of a backward region, a drag on the economy of the rich coastal belt, they will do better.  Probably the looser is Telangana, but certainly not Andhra.  Andhra has an incentive to get rid off Telangana.  If a Coastal Andhra State is carved out, it will develop faster and further, with a new capital city and with an enviable coastal line, rich soil and resource.

19) As I said in the first point, it should be the will of the people. The people of Telangana, Andhra and Rayalaseema should raise their voices for smaller states. If Telangana wants to be separate, there is a need for a massive agitation. There is a need for leaders like Potti Sriramulu, who can sacrifice their lives for the cause.  Unless such momentum is achieved, there won't be a Telangana State. As long as Chennareddys are the leaders, nothing will happen.  Unfortunately, that is a fact.

20) Until then, no matter how many arguments and counter arguments we have on the Internet involving intellectuals like me (who adopted the US as home), nothing will happen. The ball has been in the court of the people of Telangana.

Sreenivasarao Vepachedu, May 6, 2001

ps: A suggestion to the Federal Government of India: A new State Reorganization Committee should review and recommend that about 65 to 130 states be created based on, 1) population - each state should have 2 million to 20 million population (no more  and no less), 2) linguistic differences, 3) cultural diversity, 4) economy, 5) geography, and 6) sustainability.  If a country with 300 million has 50 states (the USA), a country with 80 million has 16 states (Germany), how many states should there be in a country with 1.3 billion people? If each state has 20 million or less, there should be about 65 to about 130 states, e.g.,  AP (about 80 million) can be divided into at least 5 states, if not 16 states like Germany - North Telangana, South Telangana, North Andhra, South Andhra and Rayalaseema.

(Please read an analysis  "Does India need more States?" by Devesh Kapur, Assistant Professor of Government, Harvard University, published in Hindu last year (Monday, August 21, 2000)

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