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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Youths posing as GLP beaten.....3 buried but rescued alive...7 point conditions of Adivasis...... Dooars Strike...DG to visit hills......Kalimpong hospital accused of carelessness...1 killed in Accident...3 kids died ...Conman arrested

KalimNews : Two young boys who pretended themselves to be the Gorkhaland Personnel (GLP) volunteers in Algarah market in the evening of Tuesday were severely beaten up by the local residents for their misbehabiour with a tea stall owner Sarju Prasad. According to the eyewitnesses, these two youths came to the shop in the evening and demanded tea and snacks. When they were asked to pay for the same, the duo refused and threatened the restaurant owner to face consequences as they belong to nearby GLP camp. 
They even broke the windowpanes of the shop and started ransacking the hotel. Within a short period the local residents gathered on the spot, enquired about the matter and asked them to pay the bill but they refused. It is said they challenged the locals and attacked them as a consequence they were beaten by the locals. On receipt of the information the local party workers rushed to the spot. By then the youths had already managed to sneak from the spot. The GLP camp, however, refused involvement of its cadres in such acts. For verification an identification parade was held by the local GJM workers in the GLP camp located in Algarah but the restaurant owner Prasad could not recognise the face of the duo. 
Meanwhile, the local police authority despatched a troupe to the disturbed location to maintain law and order. No GLP instructor or commander were available for their comment on the incident. The situation in the valley which is located at a distance of 15 km from Kalimpong Police station is reported to be peaceful and under control now.
The anti-social elements have already started to take advantage of the absence of proper law and order situation in the wake of ongoing Gorkhaland movement which has reminded the local people of the stories of the first phase of the bloody agitation of the GNLF of 1986-88, added one social worker. 

3 buried abut rescued alive
KalimNews: 3 workers of a timber merchant shop were buried by a wall but within a hour they were rescued by the Fire Bigade and locals. Bijay Chhetri, Rabin Darji and Tirtha Sarki  were working in the godown of the shop while suddenly the wall collapsedn and buried them almost completely. But the rescue work was started  within a few minutes which lasted for an hour and all of thethree after rescue  were admitted in SD hospital Kalimpong with injuries.
7 point conditions of Adivasis
TT, Aug. 10: The regional unit of the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad has expressed a desire to work closely with Bimal Gurung’s outfit provided its seven conditions were accepted.
Apart from one condition, that the Morcha should not demand the inclusion of all Gorkha communities in the Scheduled Tribe list, the others are likely to be thrashed out without much problem. However, observers believe that even this condition could be accepted by the Morcha if it fetches them the tribal outfit’s support.
John Barla, the president of the Dooars Terai regional committee of the Parishad in a letter to Morcha president Gurung, said: “That we are in favour of the creation of a council, state, council under the purview of the Sixth Schedule or any interim setup up till December 31, 2011. Its nomenclature should not be in the name of any community such as Gorkhas or any other community (sic).”
With the Morcha already having proposed to the Centre that it wanted the interim set-up to be called Darjeeling and Dooars Regional Authority, accepting the Parishad’s demand is not expected to be difficult for the hill party.
The other five demands raised by the Parishad are:
• The entire Dooars and Terai must be included in a new arrangement, whether it is an interim set-up or a state.
• The general administration of the region should be controlled by the community in majority in the particular area, sub-dividing the proposed region into hills, Dooars and Terai
• Elections should be held under the Election Commission of India.
• Special provisions to safeguard the rights of the tribal people and implementation of the Prevention of Tribal Atrocities Act, 1989.
• Reservation in respect of elections/government services should be made on a regional basis, with separate quotas for the hill tribes in the hills and the Adivasis in the plains.
Morcha leader Binay Tamang said a central committee meeting would be held to discuss the proposal. “We will try and work out a common minimum programme,” he said, indicating that most of the demands of the Adivasis could be worked upon.
For one, the thorny issue of territorial jurisdiction is likely to be settled. The Morcha had demanded only pockets dominated by Nepali-speaking people in the Dooars lying north of NH31C but then there were apprehensions that the predominant Adivasi community of the region would oppose it. But with the Parishad now demanding the entire Dooars and Terai be included in the new set-up, the Morcha is unlikely to face any problem on the territory.
The Morcha is desperate to include the Dooars and Terai in the interim set-up, as the party believes that the inclusion would help them demarcate the area it wants for its new state.
The Parishad’s overtures also means that the state government has now been forced on the backfoot since so long it believed that the tribals were against the inclusion of any area in the Dooars within the interim set-up.
Birsa Tirkey, the state president of the Parishad, said over the phone that the letter to the Morcha had no relevance.
“John Barla is the president of one of the regional units of Parishad, which has a pan-Indian presence,” Tirkey said. “Unless the state committee and the central committee of our organisation approves any letter or step, such letters have no relevance and value.” 
Dooars Strike
TT, Siliguri, Aug. 10: An indefinite strike by the Joint Action Committee of Private Transports to demand the speedy repair of national highways in north Bengal threw life out of gear in Jalpaiguri district today.
The strike was a major blow to the commuters, who were already facing inconveniences because of the deplorable state of NH55 and NH31 and a two-week-long strike by the employees of Super Buses plying on the Siliguri-Jalpaiguri route.
As private and government vehicles kept off roads, there was rush on local trains from Alipurduar, Bamanhat and Haldibari to New Jalpaiguri and Siliguri Junction.
“Apart from the restoration of highways, we also demand a hike in wages and want police to refrain from registering cases under Section 304 of the IPC (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) after road mishaps,” said Ajoy Dasgupta, the joint-convener of the committee.
The employees of private buses, trucks and commercial light vehicles had originally planned to launch the strike from August 12. But after a police lathi-charge on committee members in Jalpaiguri yesterday, they decided to go on strike from today.
Bandh supporters raised pickets at several places in the district and there were incidents of vehicles being ransacked and defiant drivers being assaulted at Lataguri, Dhupguri, Mainaguri and Falakata.
“I was in Birpara for some business-related work and badly needed money. Unfortunately, I found the sole ATM at Birpara out of operation and had to take a vehicle to go to Falakata,” said Supratik Chatterjee, a Calcuttan. “We were stopped at Jateswar on the outskirts of Falakata by the agitators. With the motorcycle a resident had lent me, I reached Falakata and withdrew the money. The two-wheeler was given back to the owner at Jateswar, but the agitators did not allow me to return to Birpara,” said Chatterjee.
Jalpaiguri district magistrate held a meeting with leaders of the committee and bus owners today to discuss the demands. The workers were assured that the highways would be repaired soon and a meeting be held with bus owners to discuss the wage hike. On the imposition of Section 304, the workers were asked to submit a prayer to the district police chief. The committee, however, decided to continue with the strike.
DG to visit hills
TT, Siliguri, Aug. 10: Bengal director general of police Bhupinder Singh will visit the Darjeeling hills tomorrow to take stock of the state of affairs there, the first such visit by a high ranking police officer after the murder of Madan Tamang in May.
The state police chief will also inaugurate a police station, a football tournament and meet the police officials of the six districts of north Bengal during his two-day stay in the district.
In Darjeeling, Singh will hold a meeting with the district police officials.
“This is the first time such a high ranking police official is visiting the district after the murder of ABGL leader Madan Tamang, who was killed on May 21 in Darjeeling,” an official from the district police force said.
The police sources also added that the DG wanted to see for himself the state of affairs in the hills before the Centre’s next round of tripartite meeting with Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and state government on August 17.
The police chief will also inaugurate the Police Public Friendship Cup Football Tournament in Darjeeling and return to Siliguri by Thursday afternoon to meet the police officials of six districts at the office of inspector general of north bengal. Following that he will inaugurate the newly constructed building of Bhaktinagar police station the same evening.
On Friday morning he will hold a meeting with the administrative officials of Siliguri sub-division and return to Calcutta by afternoon. 
Manager assaulted-Garden closed
Chowdhury in a Siliguri nursing home. (Kundan Yolmo
TT, Jaigaon, Aug. 10: The management of Dim Dima Tea Estate at Birpara in the Dooars abandoned the garden late last night after an assistant manager was stabbed allegedly by a worker in the morning.
Police arrested Bikram Oraon against whom the management had filed an FIR. Bikram was produced in an Alipurduar court today and remanded in judicial custody for 14 days.
The police said assistant manager Mrityunjoy Chowdhury had been struck on the head and stabbed on the arms by Bikram. Chowdhury had protested when he spotted Bikram transporting illegal firewood through the garden. Chowdhury was first taken to the army hospital in Binnaguri but was later shifted to a private nursing home in Siliguri at night.
Manager S.S. Dhillon said they had left the garden because of the feeling of insecurity. “We were forced to leave and sent a suspension of work notice to the garden today. Since there was a transport strike, the notice could not be served on time,” Dhillon said.
Rabin Rai of the Citu-affiliated Cha Bagan Majdoor Union said all trade union leaders irrespective of party affiliations held a peace meeting in the garden today and appealed to workers to maintain normality. “We have also lodged a complaint with the Birpara police station and the assistant labour commissioner about the management abandoning the garden,” Rai said. The assistant labour commissioner of Birpara, Amiya Das, said the management had not yet contacted him.
The Dooars Branch of the Indian Tea Association, of which Dim Dima is a member, did not comment on the suspension of work notice. Instead, association secretary Prabir Bhattacharya said: “Work culture must be maintained in all gardens. It cannot be that there will be no discipline among workers.”
Kalimpong hospital accused of carelessness.
KalimNews : Death of a two year old child when he was being shifted to North Bengal Medical College and Hospital from Kalimpong Sub-Divisional Hospital on 9th August morning has created confusion in Kalimpong town. According to the allegation made against the hospital's Doctor T.K. Har, by the parents of the child it was the carelessness on the part of the health faculty that ultimately led the death of the patient on the way to Siliguri. According to them, the boy had fallen from a high step on the night of 8th August and was brought to the hospital for treatment. Since there was not a single medical attendant in the hospital that night they were compelled to visit the govt. residential quarter of Dr. Har. On examining the case Dr. Har advised the parents of the victim to do an X-ray and admit him in the Govt. hospital to avoid further deterioration of his condition as he was vomiting due to injury inside the stomach. The parents did as per his advice and visited the hospital for the admission of their child. The nurses on duty did not pay attention to the instructions of the Dr. Har alleged the parents of the child, according to them he (Dr Har) was not supposed to refer the case to the hospital as it was a surgical matter. However, when the parents insisted the little boy was given due admission and administered requisite medical treatment.
1 killed in Accident
Prakha,GANGTOK,August 10: A 24-years old lady was killed when a taxi (SK04-8625) traveling from Gangtok to Gnathang slipped and crashed some 100 ft down the Jawaharlal Nehru Marg at 7th mile turning today.
Yankee Tamang was killed at spot in the mishap which occurred around 1:30 pm, police said.
The driver, Passang Tshering (20) along with another passenger, Lucy Tamang (45) sustained injuries and were rescued by the Sherathang police and locals. Both of them have been rushed to STNM hospital for medical treatment.
The body of the deceased was also recovered by the Sherathang police and was brought here at SNTM hospital for post mortem.

3 garden kids die of poisoning
TT, Siliguri, Aug. 10: Three children died from suspected poisoning at the Naxalbari Tea Estate this evening.
Two teenaged girls — one of them was taking care of the children after they fell ill —also taken ill and are under treatment at Naxalbari Block Hospital and North Bengal Medical College Hospital.
Sources said the deceased were Hiralal, 6, his sister Karishma, 4, and Manjoy Goala, 4. Hiralal and Karishma were the children of Suresh Goala and Basanti, while Manjoy was the son of Fulkumari. The families are neighbours in the garden, 3km from here.
“The children had their lunch as usual and were fine till afternoon. Then they went to a stream flowing through the garden and returned with illness,” said Partha Nandi, the garden manager. “We rushed them to hospital but they could not survive.”
While the siblings died on way to Naxalbari Block Hospital, Manjoy breathed his last while being taken to the medical college.
The cause of illness and death, however, is yet to be known. Subir Bhowmik, the chief medical officer of health of Darjeeling district, said the three might have died because of poisoning. “It seems to be a case of suspected poisoning but something concrete can be said only after post-mortems are conducted,” he said. “On our part, we are sending a medical team to the garden tomorrow morning to ensure that other children in the area do not fall ill.” 
Lepchas stage demonstration
KalimNews: With a demand to issue separate residential proof certificate Lepchas have started a demonstration in Tenjing Norgay Bus Terminus of Siliguri. Lepchas of Darjeeling hills donot belong to Sikkim, they should not be considered as subjects of Sikkim is the demand of Lepcha Youth Association. About 130 youth members of the association are staging demonstration since yesterday and more are likely to join in said Dorjay Lepcha of LYA. It is reminded that all hill tribes are required to produce Gorkha Certificate for appointment in the military and para military forces. As Lepchas, Bhutias and some other tribals are not included in the Gorkha community they are denied of the certificate by the administrative Officers. Lately they were issued Hill community certificate by the local administrative officers which was not accepted by the Officials of the appointing force Board. Meanwhile Government of India issued a gazette notification which states that all Lepchas belong to Sikkimese community.   
Conman arrested

Prakha, GANGTOK, August 10: Early investigations into the scam allegedly played out by Rajesh Jhunjunwala to bag the Khangchendzonga Tourist Villa-cum-socio cultural & amusement park are pointing fingers to a racket operated by some chartered accountants in Kolkata who issues fake deposit receipts, income tax declarations and bank documents.
And the 42 years old conman is also claiming to the investigating agency that he had been busted just because he could not grease the palms of some officials in the Rural Management & Development department to get the park on a lease.
Readers are aware that an individual going with the name of Jhunjunwala had been placed in the custody of Crime Branch of Sikkim Police on August 9 by the Sikkim Vigilance Police after a complaint was lodged by the RMD department. His purported company had been selected by the department in the first week of July to run the Ranka amusement park on a lease for 21 years.
However, the lease agreement had yet to be signed, the RMD has maintained.
A joint secretary of the department had complained to the police that the accused had submitted fixed deposit receipt of Rs. 25 lakhs and temporary deposit receipt of Rs. 1.25 crores as security amount for the lease. These receipts turned out to be fake ones and as per the department, the bank documents of Jhunjunwala were also not proper.
Following the complaint lodged on August 9, Jhunjunwala was arrested and a case of cheating and forgery under sections 420/468/471 of IPC has been registered against him. Investigations are on by the Crime Branch.
The antecedents of Jhunjunwala have been traced to New Alipore near Kolkata but whether his real name is Rajesh Jhunjunwala and other details are yet to be confirmed.
However, the RMD officials have confirmed that the arrested person was Rajesh Jhunjunwala and the same person who had participated in the tender process.
During the preliminary investigations, the accused is claiming that some other persons based in Kolkata working as chartered accounts are involved in the fake bank receipts, fake income-tax details and other bank documents.
If there is some credibility on these claims, the Sikkim cops would have to work with Kolkata police to bust the racket, though it is too early to comment, sources said adding that investigations and questioning of the accused is on.
Jhunjunwala is also claiming to the police that some RMD officials had demanded money from him to bag the contract.
The accused has been placed in police custody for a week.
Though investigations are on by the police, it has been now established that Jhunjunwala had taken two local entrepreneurs here including an hotelier and some youths on a ride duping them of lakhs of rupees. He had been going around posing as a big-time businessmen and developing contacts with influential people in the capital.
Jhunjunwala had also flaunted a series of high quality photographs portraying him as a big businessman in order to add weight to his fake identity.
Sikkim Express is in possession of a couple of photographs including the one that is printed along with this news report.
Meanwhile, the RMD department has assured that the Khangchendzonga Tourist Villa-cum-socio cultural & amusement park will be open for the public by October.
We will be sending a proposal to the State government to make another tender process for selecting a competent agency to run the park and we are targeting to make the park open by October, said State RMD secretary AK Ganeriwala to media.

Letter hints at irregular selection
TT, Siliguri, Aug. 10: A senior school education department official has asked the chairman of the District Primary School Council in Jalpaiguri to explain if he complied with rules in the recruitment of teachers, dropping enough hints that there were anomalies in the selection drive.
A letter sent by the director of school education to the council chairman Mrinal Pal on July 29 carried the names of 34 people who made it to the final list of candidates chosen for primary school teachers’ jobs.
The names were sent to the director by Jalpaiguri district magistrate Vandana Yadav, who wanted to know what rules and criteria were followed in the recruitment.
“The letter is enough to indicate that there was nepotism and malpractice in the recruitment process. The district magistrate has sought the criteria and guidelines from the state school education department as she must have found something wrong while going through relevant documents,” said Saikat Chatterjee, the Jalpaiguri district Youth Congress president.
“We suspect that the candidates named in the letter are relatives or close acquaintances of CPM leaders,” he added. Chatterjee asked the council chairman to shun silence and to make the results of recruitment exams public.
Today also, Pal evaded questions on the charges levelled against him.
After the publication of the final list to recruit teachers to 1,411 posts last month, the Trinamul Congress and the Congress took to streets, alleging nepotism and corruption in the selection process.
They alleged that friends and relatives of CPM leaders had cornered the jobs and demanded the cancellation of the list.
Even the DYFI, the youth wing of the CPM, submitted a memorandum to the district magistrate and sought a probe into the recruitment drive.
Following demonstrations and the closure of the council office by the agitators, the school education department was forced to form a five-member inquiry team headed by P.K. Adhikary, a joint-secretary in the department.
The probe team placed a box at the district magistrate’s office for the aggrieved candidates and the public to drop complaints. The box is scheduled to be kept till August 17 and after that, it will be opened by the inquiry team. Even today, a number of people were seen dropping sealed envelopes in the box.
Sources at the district magistrate’s office said Yadav had written to the director of school education on July 8.
“As several complaints poured in, particularly about the 34 candidates, the district magistrate wrote to the director, seeking guidelines and norms for the recruitment of primary teachers,” said an official.
Wife gets anticipatory bail in hubby torture case
TNN, KOLKATA: Calcutta High Court on Tuesday granted anticipatory bail to a woman accused of beating up her husband. The breather came with conditions for Rina Dhar, a resident of Siliguri. She has been told not to leave the jurisdiction of Siliguri police station without the court's permission and to meet the investigating officer in the case three days a week.
Rina's husband, Debashish Dhar, a central excise and customs inspector posted in Siliguri, had filed a police complaint alleging that his wife and in-laws have been physically and mentally torturing him since February 2008 and that they had forcibly taken money from him after the marriage. He said that the torment had driven him to try to commit suicide in June 2008 but he was saved by a neighbour.
The joint commissioner, central excise, Siliguri, also filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission in October 2008 over the issue. The commission directed the Darjeeling SP to probe the matter. When the SP did not act, Debashish moved Calcutta high court, alleging police inaction. The court directed Dhar to move the Darjeeling chief judicial magistrate.
The Darjeeling Court then directed police to investigate the case and, if necessary, arrest Rina. She then filed for anticipatory bail.
Rina's counsel Milon Mukherjee pleaded before a division bench of Justice Ashim Kumar Banerjee and Justice Raghunath Ray that it was merely a case of marital quarrel and pleaded that the court grant Rina anticipatory bail so that relations between the couple does not worsen.
State counsel Pradip Ray opposed the petition, but the court granted the accused anticipatory bail considering that the petitioner was a woman. 

(WHY is center keen on solving Gorkhaland ?
Is the Union Government of India led by INC of UPA preparing a way for the creation of a state of Telangana at the earliest? Is it true that for this it wants to make the road obstacle free by solving all the hurdles of Gorkhaland agitation and others by constituting GAA and others.? -Ed,KalimNews)

Reorganisation, then and now

The Indian experience of state formation reveals the processes of identity formation of regions and of various communities and groups.

THE demand for the formation of a Telangana state has been voiced for more than fifty years now. Soon after the creation of Andhra Pradesh in 1956 as the first linguistic State in post-Independence India, Telangana, a major region within the State, began to witness the demand for political autonomy and cultural identity within the broader parameters of federal polity and political economy of development. The Congress leadership’s decision to initiate a process to grant statehood for Telangana brings to the fore a number of issues concerning the rationale for creating newer and smaller states in contemporary India. In order to make a better sense of the new demands for statehood, we need to revisit the States reorganisation process carried out between 1950 and 1956 and in the following decades.
The States Reorganisation Commission (SRC) appointed by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1953 was initially against the unification of Telangana with Andhra. The SRC Report, submitted in 1955, states: “One of the principle causes of opposition to Vishalandhra also seems due to the apprehensions felt by the educationally backward people of Telangana that they may be swamped and exploited by the more advanced people of the coastal area. The real fear of the people of Telangana is that if they join Andhra, they will be unequally placed in relation to the people of Andhra and, in this partnership, the major partner will derive all the advantages immediately while Telangana itself may be converted into a colony by the enterprising Andhras” (Para 378).
Nehru ridiculed the idea of merging Telangana with the Andhra State, fearing a “tint of expansionist imperialism” in it. Later, he compared the merger to a matrimonial alliance having “provisions for divorce” if the partners in the alliance cannot get on well. The merger was facilitated by many promises and constitutional safeguards. However, the demand for separate statehood for Telangana has rested on factors such as the scale of inter-regional inequalities causing socio-economic backwardness of the region, inadequate industrial infrastructure, lack of educational and employment opportunities, diversion of water and natural resources of Telangana to the coastal region of Andhra, the hegemonic control of the coastal capitalist class over the Telangana region, the hegemony of upper castes and upper classes through the Congress party leaders in the State, and the distinctive historical and cultural identity of the region.
On the basis of the SRC’s recommendations, the linguistic reorganisation of 14 States and six Centrally-administered territories was partially completed in 1956, with several other States to be reorganised later on. This was a massive state rationalisation exercise, not simply to establish newer modes of power and authority but to rearrange social, cultural, regional and linguistic diversities into more manageable enclaves of state power. The deep-seated linguistic-cultural diversity and differences within different States and the regions had to be negotiated carefully during the early years of state formation.

The interface between political geography and cultural politics culminated in the consolidation of specific caste and class interests, strengthening the ideology of the nation-state building exercise, in various parts of the country on the one hand, and disintegrated the political architecture of the colonial state on the other. The story of the “integration of states” in post-colonial India is also a story of the disintegration and reintegration of various States and regions into more uniform and administratively rationalised units of state power.
Even before India achieved Independence, the nationalist leaders wanted to reorganise political and administrative boundaries of their country in consonance with its diverse geo-linguistic and cultural diversity to regenerate nationalist sentiments for unity among people belonging to different regions and communities. This attempt required an in-depth study of the regional and local bases of power and their cultural-historical pasts to understand the geographical locations of power. The historical experiment with territorial re-demarcation began in the 1920s, when Mahatma Gandhi proposed to reorganise the Congress provincial committees on the principles of cultural-linguistic and geographical contiguity. The idea was to strengthen cultural consolidation and political participation of the regions in the national movement. This was partially in response to the colonial state’s arbitrary realignment of provincial boundaries and borders by disregarding their historical cultural cohesiveness and bases of power.
Soon after Independence, the nation-building exercise of the new state had to be based on a more robust, democratic and participative pattern. The newly established federal democratic political structure needed to reconcile the balance of power between a relatively strong Centre and weaker States. The States, however, needed to be reconstructed and reconstituted in this long process of political consolidation and formation of the Indian nation. Attaining independence along with the partition of the country made some national leaders like Nehru and Vallabhbhai Patel apprehensive about the reorganisation process, which, in their view, could pose the danger of fragmentation of the new state.
The process of reorganisation was based on lessons learnt much from three decades of experimentation with the idea of the possibility of the creation of linguistic states. A number of language-centred identity movements that emerged during this period in regions comprising the Madras, Bombay and Bengal Presidencies, and parts of the United Provinces focussed on reorganising the new States on the principles of linguistic-cultural distinctiveness, economic viability and geographical unity along with the federal political and administrative rationality.
Nehru’s initial fears and scepticism about the disintegrative effects of this experiment disappeared with his consent for the creation of Andhra Pradesh as the first linguistic State. Though the SRC considered issues such as size, economic viability, economic planning, geo-linguistic durability and even the status of riparian states, it focussed more on redrawing the map of India along linguistic lines. On the other hand, the linguistic reorganisation of States in 1956 also created newer conflicts and contests among different States. The following decades continued to witness the process of reorganisation, with the creation of Maharashtra and Gujarat in 1960, Chandigarh, Haryana and Punjab in 1966, Himachal Pradesh in 1971, various States in the north-eastern region between 1960 and 1980, Goa in 1987 and Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand in 2000. The creation of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand, which was made possible by disintegrating regional boundaries and political territories from within the existing States of Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, respectively, was not along the same criteria laid out for the earlier reorganisation of States.
The political history of independent India needs to be conceptualised by locating it within the political demands for democratic representation and legitimation of authority, on the one hand, and modes of negotiation over and redistribution of rights and resources of the State and its constituents, on the other. The idea of large States and small States had a dominant concern over the political economy of these States. Some argued that larger States would be better governed with the mechanism of Central planning by the strong interventionist state that would ensure a proper balance between developed and underdeveloped regions through an equitable flow of capital and labour in these States. On the other hand, those favouring smaller states were worried about the excessive control over resources by larger states, resulting in the deepening of regional economic inequalities and hierarchies of power. The reorganisation process tells us a story wherein the state attempted to strike a balance between linguistic-cultural plurality and political centrality on the one hand, and strategies to refashion the scales of social, cultural and political hierarchies of regions and States on the other. The process recreated as well as remapped the given hierarchies of cultural and social geographies of castes, classes, regions, economies and cultures, which in turn, were reconstructed for specific political reasons.
Within a decade of reorganisation, it became obvious that language alone could not be a satisfactory basis for the division of States. Political scientists, public policy analysts, sociologists and even historians began to doubt the integrative effects of the process of reorganisation in this new polity. If Selig Harrison called these years “the most dangerous decades”, Joan Boundurant and others linked up the process of linguistic regionalism with “India’s political problem of creating a sense of national citizenship” that needed to be guarded against the parochial tendencies of linguistic chauvinism. Myron Weiner considered the problem of political integration as not just a territorial one but one being part of the national identity, which should also be seen in the context of territorial control, public security, public accountability and the proper balance between the rulers and the ruled. These states were considered to have ushered in the phenomenon of regional cultural renaissance. The process also resulted in the recreation of linguistic-cultural minorities in all large States demanding recognition of their language and cultural identity, such as the Bodos in Assam, the Coorgis in Karnataka and the Nepalese in West Bengal.
The expansion of the Eighth Schedule from 12 languages in 1950 to 22 languages reflects the increasing demands and aspirations of these linguistic-cultural communities for recognition as distinctive political collectives. Is the linguistic principle a better basis to reorganise the States, and if so, to what extent has it created a federal structure satisfying the aspirations of the cultural groups? Has language provided a bond to form durable cultural identities in States such as Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh? Such questions worried the State officials for quite some time in the initial decades after Independence.
These reorganised States had to negotiate their cultural-linguistic borders with their neighbours – issues arose between Karnataka and Maharashtra, Maharashtra and Gujarat, Haryana and Punjab, Orissa and West Bengal and between Andhra Pradesh and parts of Madras Presidency, among others. Not only this, the dominant linguistic communities in these States had their own specific regional and cultural forms of power. The specific regional linguistic identity provided cultural and economic capital and resources that were now institutionalised through a complex network of state patronage and recognition. These newly formed States had to deal with the large proportion of the population considered part of the cultural-linguistic minorities belonging to languages other than the State/official or regionally dominant and acceptable languages of power and privilege.
The principle of linguistic-cultural homogeneity along with the criteria of economic viability, administrative efficiency and geographical contiguity did not succeed in curtailing the future demands of cultural autonomy based again on cultural and linguistic differences among various groups and communities in these States. From the very beginning, the fears of the linguistic minorities were not unwarranted as the dominant language elites in these newly created States began to exercise cultural and political hegemony in the spheres of education, economy, social mobility, administration, judiciary and employment.
In this context, the present demand for 35 more languages to be included in the Eighth Schedule needs to be kept in mind. The state rationale, therefore, began to conjoin demands of cultural autonomy with developmental polity and regional inequalities – economic and cultural – within a uniform agenda of political economy of development.
A number of ethnic, state autonomy, sub-national and sons of the soil movements emerged in different States and regions in the following decades. The institutionalisation of cultural pluralism of this kind began to reinforce the cultural hierarchies, leading to the emergence of, what Myron Weiner has called, two political cultures, that is, elite culture and mass culture with newer forms of subordination and domination. The demand for the creation of new states clearly indicates the complex relationship between political legitimation of power, on the one hand, and the actual social and cultural diversity and its representation and recognition, on the other. The non-congruence between these two realms is one of the reasons arguing for more states in different parts of the country.
What is important for our analysis is that the principle of linguistic-cultural homogeneity favoured by the SRC had cultural, educational, political and economic manifestations.
The Indian experience of state formation through an extensive exercise of redrawing the boundaries and territories reveals the processes of identity formation of regions, sub-regions and of various communities and groups. The story of integration of states, as V.P. Menon pointed out, was also a story of the simultaneous disintegration of states. The new linguistic States were considered to have ushered in the phenomenon of regional cultural renaissance resulting from the consequences of the redrawing of boundaries culminating in the indigenisation and democratisation of provincial politics, further leading to the development of diverse regional political cultures.
The rise of regional political parties is closely tied up with the emergence of regional consciousness and region-based identity movements as an offshoot of the reorganisation process itself. These political parties and their local bases of power have posed newer challenges of governance and political stability at the Centre in the post-Congress era. However, the experience of the last 50 years shows that the pace of economic development has not been achieved uniformly across regions and has instead increased regional disparities and inequalities. Furthermore, these disparities have increased during the post-reform period between and within these States. Liberalisation facilitated the processes in the formation of an all-India market and increasing competition among States for private investment – both domestic and foreign – putting the backward States at a distinct disadvantage.
Therefore, greater attention needs to be paid to the specific needs of the backward regions and States to allocate adequate and more equitable investment of scarce resources. Factors such as political instability during coalition governments, consolidation of vote-bank politics within and across States, the growing significance of regional political parties in capturing power in the States, the impact of globalisation on the national spaces of economy and labour, and the increasing assertion of lower class/caste communities in the democratic functioning of the Indian state have acquired significance and given way to administrative and political reasons behind the idea of the territorial redrawing of the existing States. The political initiatives of renaming of the States, redrawing their territorial boundaries and creating newer states and districts from within the existing ones have to be carefully planned and executed, keeping in mind the historical processes of contestations over the categories of regions and states in the identity politics of modern India.
The proposed second SRC not only needs to look carefully into the demands for carving out newer and smaller states such as Bhojpur (Uttar Pradesh and Bihar), Bodoland (Assam), Bundelkhand (Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh), Coorg (Karnataka), Gorkhaland (West Bengal), Harit Pradesh (Uttar Pradesh), Marathwada (Maharashtra), Mahakaushal (Orissa), Mithilanchal (Bihar), Muru Pradesh (Rajasthan), Poorvanchal (Uttar Pradesh), Saurashtra (Gujarat), Telangana (Andhra Pradesh) and Vidarbha (Maharashtra) but also take into account the complex relationship between regional autonomy and political viability of these regions, and their cultural and political consolidation within a more democratic, plural, secular and participative developmental politics in contemporary India. Only then will it be possible to ensure better and equitable economic distribution of resources within and between States, better protection of the most marginalised sections of the population, more decentralised governance, political accountability to some extent, and the restraints on bureaucratised, centralised oppressive Indian state apparatus.

Asha Sarangi is Associate Professor, Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, Article adapted from published Frontline Volume 26 - Issue 26 :: Dec. 19, 2009-Jan. 01, 2010

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