21 October, 2020

Geography Lesson Revised

It won’t be such a bad thing—smaller states. Language-based units have run their course. It’s time to factor in economic, social, cultural realities.

Reuters (From Outlook, February 06, 2012)
Geography Lesson Revised
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, in the run-up to the reorganisation of Indian states in 1956, had said that “small states will have small minds”. In a volatile post-Partition milieu, he had become acutely apprehensive about smaller states being created essentially on the linguistic principle. He feared it would lead to balkanisation and the final implosion of the idea of India. “First things should come first,” he had insisted and that meant the unity and integrity of the new nation. But around the same time, for the same reasons of federal unity, B.R. Ambedkar had advanced his thoughts on linguism as an organising principle. He had warned: “One state, one language (and not one language, one state) is the rule. Wherever there has been a departure to this rule there has been a danger to the state.... India cannot escape this fate if it continues to be a congeries of mixed states.”

In 2012, 56 years after the very first round of the reorganisation of states, we seem to have a...

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