Thursday, August 01, 2013

Telangana Effect: Telugu to enjoy unique status of being state language in two States

As Centre clears the formation of Telangana, there is another aspect that has not been discussed much till date--among the regional* languages, Telugu will now enjoy a unique position.

It will be state language in two states--Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. No other 'regional' language exclusively enjoys this status in India.

Nearly five decades ago Potti Sreeramulu had sacrificed his life, with his fast unto death for 'Telugu' speaking state and in process broken Jawaharlal Nehru's resolve.
Sreeramulu's death had forced government to form states on linguistic grounds [reorganisation]. Now, one again, the movement from the same land [region] in Deccan, has forced the Centre to bend their knees, and accept carving out Telangana from AP.
People have their own opinions about ramifications of the decision. But its a fact that till now no language was official and popular language in two states [except the Raj Bhasha, Hindi]. Bengali had West Bengal, Oriya had Odisha, Marathi had Maharashtra and Malayalam had Kerala. 

Rise in Telugu language status & clout!

One of the oldest languages, Tamil, that has a large number of speakers, also has one state--Tamil Nadu. Similar is the situation for Kannada, Gujarati and other languages. Urdu has status of first language in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and second language status in UP, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Jharkhand & Andhra Pradesh.
But this is more on paper, rather than being on ground. With two States [two chief ministers, two governments, two assemblies], both having large population [AP was a huge state], supporting Telugu, the language has surely stolen a march over all other non-Hindi languages in the Indian Union. 
It will challenge the balance of power. Having ceremonial status of allied first or second language is a different thing. One may say that Punjabi is spoken in Delhi or in Haryana but having two states solidly propping a language, is different.
Two states of nearly 5 crore each

You may say that the population remains same but the fact is that when two states--two governments, back a language, its status is bound to change and go up significantly. In the Census 2011, AP had a population of 8.46 crore. By now, it is over 9 crore. 
The two states will have a population of nearly 5 crore each. Area wise these states will be large enough. I doubt if the status of Urdu as second language will continue in Andhra Pradesh. Future will tell how this will affect the demands for other states. There are strong demands to carve out four states in Uttar Pradesh (UP). 
Further, there are demands for Saurashtra [from Gujarat], Vidarbha [in Maharashtra], Bodoland, Bundelkhand [MP and UP] et al. Ajit Singh wants Harit Pradesh in Western UP. Mayawati endorses it as she wants UP to split in Awadh, Bundelkhand, Purvanchal and Harit Pradesh. See link here

Speculations on ramifications of dividing AP

There is lot of concern among Muslims regarding their political future in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Many foresee rise of BJP in Telangana. A section of Muslim intellectuals and masses sided with TRS and its demand for dividing AP.
The fact is that Telangana will have a higher percentage of Muslims. nearly 13-15%. But their population will be much more high in urban areas. It will be over 25%. The fear of rise of communal forces may or may not come true. 
Interestingly, AIMIM leadership feels that though BJP may grow strong, the Majlis will also be strengthened. The reason is that in a smaller Assembly, there numbers will be more crucial in case of hung verdict. Will Congress get favour from electorate after the decision? It has to be seen. 

The ten districts in Telangana

The names of the districts that will form Telangana includes: Hyderabad, Rangareddy, Nizamabad, Adilabad, Khammam, Nalgonda, Medak, Karimnagar, Mahbubnagar and Warangal. There is a possibility of inclusion of two more districts including Kurnool.
The remaining districts would go to Andhra Pradesh [Seemandhra], which will be reduced to nearly half the size, comprising Rayalseema and Andhra regions. People in Telangana felt that they didn't get their due share in power and jobs.

Those from Andhra had been more successful, they felt. Reddys, no doubt, had money and wielded more clout. This is another reason that Andhraites want Hyderabad to remain a joint capital. As far as status of Hyderabad as joint capital or union territory is concerned, it is not practical as the City is not on border like Chandigarh [which touched both Punjab and Haryana] but in the heart of Telangana and far away from Andhra. 
Vizag [Visakhapatnam] or Vijaywada may be identified as capital of Andhra. There is strong argument for small states. It is said that mall states do ensure development in regions that remained backward for ages. People in far away districts also enjoy fruits of development. There can be differences of opinion over the success of small states, especially, in view of Jharkhand, Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh.
Still, there is more visibility of Government in small states. Chhattisgarh may have seen rise in Naxalism but it also witnessed development after it was carved out. Telangana will be a new state. One just hopes that the suicides and violence which we witnessed during the agitation for statehood would now come to an end.

[*Personally I don't like the term 'Regional language'. Especially, for languages spoken by tens of million which even internationally have more speakers than many of the big languages.]
[**Bangla is also one of the state languages in Tripura along with Kokborak and Manipuri but it is comparatively a small state]