When we talk about India’s independence, our mind and heart swell with pride. Numerous freedom fighters like Gandhi ji, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad, Rani of Jhanshi and many others fought against the British Empire and contributed in the freedom struggle with their undying spirit and bravery. The valorous freedom fighters of India, right from the youth to old, sacrificed their lives to achieve independence.
In spite of severe torture and several hardships, these brave fighters never lost the hope to see India as a free country. Independent India was the dream of each and every Indian who lived under the British rule. Every individual, during this period, fought in some or the other way having a common aim of abolishing the British rule from different parts of India. At last, after a century of struggle, non-violent revolution, and sacrifices, India became independent on the 15th of August, 1947.
After the end of the British rule, India was
in need of new rules and regulations through which the country could be governed. To shape India’s polity post-independence, great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, Bhimrao Ambedkar, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and many others of the stature played pivotal roles.
Although India had achieved its independence from foreign domination, a mammoth task of uniting the princely states was still to be accomplished. So, this massive job was handed over to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the first Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of India. With great wisdom and political foresight, Sardar Patel consolidated more than five hundred princely states and brought them under Indian dominion. In the face of great adversity from some states like the Nizam of Hyderabad and Nawab of Junagarh, he achieved the impossible mission of uniting the nation. This is why he earned the sobriquet of ‘Iron Man’. The best part of this achievement was that Sardar Patel was able to unite the nation under one umbrella without any bloodshed.
However, after 66 years of independence, it seems that Sardar Patel’s efforts are going in vain. The green signal for the formation of the state of Telangana has unleashed demand for a bevy of new states. Hyderabad, the state which was most difficult to acquire by Sardar Patel, is today again becoming a difficult region as there is a tussle between the leaders of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana upon its ownership. Many people are happy with this separation but they are simply unaware of the repercussions of this incident.
It is a general phenomenon that a particular community feels safe with their own people. They even think that a leader will empathise more with them if he is of the same community. But there are bigger challenges which are being ignored. In all likelihood, small states will never be able to make a big impact at the Centre. Also there are chances that maintaining law and order, development and creating job opportunities will become difficult for the governments of these small states. And the worst thing, people of various communities who are peacefully living here from past many years will soon start to fight for their own state.
The decision to carve out a separate state of Telangana came after a gap of nine years when Jharkhand split from Bihar on November 15, 2000 to become the 28th state while Uttarakhand split from UP on November 9 and Chattisgarh was created on November 01 in the same year.
Apart from these new states, many more are in demand now. The most vocal demand has come from the hills of Darjeeling and its adjoining areas, who want Gorkhaland to be made a separate state. The Bodos in Assam have also raised their demand for a separate Bodoland and are threatening to disrupt life if their demand goes unheard. People of Vidarbha region have also renewed their demand. Right from Kukiland in Manipur to Kongu in Tamil Nadu, everyone wants a piece of their land to be separate entity.
However, except Uttar Pradesh, which during the Mayawati-led BSP government proposed to create four states, no state government had given any recommendation for carving out a new state.
According to the Home Ministry, if the demands of all the new states are met, India may have at least 50 states in the near future. Now, the point to ponder here is – Why the demands of different states are cropping-up? Does the common man hold government culpable for its sufferings?
It’s quite unfortunate that the common man doesn’t know what to do to end their woes and also where to look for an answer? So they think that a separate state government may provide them the much needed solution. But is the idea of forming new states the only solution left? Of course not, we often tend to forget that while casting our votes, we fail to see the ability of that leader. Due to which we suffer later.
In order to fulfil their own political aspirations, the local leaders show big dreams especially to the economically backward people. They are often misled by the notion that leaders from their own community will end their woes. But they forget, as Lord Buddha had said, “We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.” Hence, every citizen of India has to understand that they are Indians. We live in a united, independent nation and cannot be separated on caste and creed and no leader from a particular community can end the woes of the common man unless we chose our leaders wisely.
‘Unity in diversity’ is the strength of India where people of many different communities live together peacefully. But what we have started now in terms of forming smaller states is something inverse of India’s strength. To carve out such states, the agitators even use many wrong means to pressurise the Centre like strikes and violence. At the same time, sometimes government’s nod to such proposals smacks of political opportunism as well.
Moreover, such movements will keep cropping till the state governments do not start performing. There is a desperate need for change and development in many backward states like the seven sisters of the north-east. There are many remote under-developed districts here where politicians are only busy in filling their own pockets.
It was after decades of mass movements and intense deliberations that the modern Indian republic evolved as a political structure. The dilution of the Indian dominion will only increase the feeling of selfish approach towards one’s own language, caste or region.
At a time when the world is looking up to India to understand its theory of ‘Unity in diversity’, dividing the nation will have a negative influence on the society. Importantly, the thought process behind asking for a new state has to be rational, progressive and peaceful. For example, states like Chhatisgarh, Uttarakhand were formed after much deliberation, even though a state like Jharkhand has been politically unstable ever since its formation.
The need of the hour is to clearly re-invent the thought process for ‘united, independent India’ of the Iron Man’s dreams.