TIME FOR NEW TRIBAL STATES
N.Nandhivarman General Secretary Dravida Peravai
Telengana struggle with life sacrifices made by students had initiated public debate over reorganization of States. Telegana area extends to 1, 14,800 square kilometers with a population of 3.2 crores. The new state of Telengana wants Districts of Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy, Medak, Nalgonda, Khammam, Adilabad, Nizambad, Warangal, Karimnagar and Mehboob Nagar incorporated into it. We are concerned more about the large tracts of semi-arid land with low agricultural productivity, one of the main causes of backwardness of the region which had triggered the separate state demand. The new state must have a clear vision on how to distribute these lands to landless tillers or how to take away these lands from landlords, the next door exploiter in every village and how to liberate the poor by turning these lands into high yielding lands owned by the landless. Unless clear plan for equal-distribution of development and empowerment of the poorest of the poor is in their minds bifurcation alone will not bring down heaven to earth in Telengana.
A fresh demand for Tribal State carving out of current Andhra Pradesh known as Manya Seema should act as wake up call. Encompassing Adilabad, Karimnagar, Warangal, Khammam, East and West Godavari, Visakapattinam, Vijayanagaram and Srikakulam, the proposed Tribal State Manya Seema touches Telengana, Coastal Andhra and Uttar Andhra including whole of Godavari basin. The Chenchu tribal region including Mahboobnagar, Kurnool and Prakasam is not part of the Manya Seema proposal writes Kancha Illaiah in Op-Ed page of Deccan Chronicle dated 30 th March 2010.
In Gujarat, where I visited twice this year for Anna Centenary meetings, I found in newspapers [ Times of India: Ahamadabad 26.03.2010] that tribal leaders of Narmada, Bharuch, and Surat want Bhilistan comprising tribal areas of Gujarat, Maharastra, Madya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Movement had started in September 2009 and led by Bhilistan Vikas Morcha under the leadership of Mr.Chhotu Vasava, Member of Legislative Assembly from Jhagadia currently in Janata Dal [United]. This news shocked me. During my visits I found overall development of Gujarat under Mr.Narendra Modi, who seems to mean business when it comes to good governance, in spite of tainted image caused by riots. Further Mr.Narendra Modi was one of the two Chief Ministers who replied by email when I sought his presence for an Eye Opening Seminar on Indian policies towards Eelam Tamils which was planned to be held in New Delhi in 2006 but could not due to ego clashes of Pro-Eelam supporting parties. This showed his readiness to show solidarity with Tamil cause, so amidst ideological divisions I found him a better democrat than others. This time my 10 year old friend Elavenil daughter of Dr.Valarivan took me to the Akshardam Exhibition adjacent to temple. There for all portraits details were written except one. A king appeared dead in his throne, and a lady in tears seeking justice before him breaking her anklet. It surprised me why this story did not get its due illustration. May be a story similar to Tamil epic Silapathikaram existed in Gujarat or that portrait narrates Silapathikaram, so wantonly details were not written. I told her even if she writes Chief Minister Narendra Modi will rectify this mistake. Such was the impression he had left on me, but if in a state governed by him a New Tribal state demand could emerge, he must read the writing on the wall. Yes, even he had failed to deliver justice to tribals, is what I could arrive at my thinking.
DISADVANTAGED INDEGENOUS DEMAND: GONDWANA
Gondwana will have a population of 2.65 crores covering 1.59 lakh square kilometers, if new state emerges. It can elect 15 Members of Parliament.
Our party received a publication titled The Disadvantaged Indigenous registered with the Registrar of Newspapers in India in 2007. It is a news letter edited by Mr.Sheetal Markam, who claims to be the Commander in Chief of Gondwana Mukthi Sena. On going through the news letter it became evident, that the Editor had sought to register the title Scientists for Social Change but Registrar of News papers in India approved The Disadvantaged Indigenous on 18th July 2007.
It is a good title indicative of the ground realities in India. There are many struggles that go unreported in the media. Planning Commission of India, at the dawn of this century in 2000 confessed that 25 million persons have been displaced since 1950 in the name of development. Out of this 40 percent are tribals, and there rehabilitation had been a mirage chase.
The National Development Council, while apprising in mid term, the Tenth Five Year Plan admits that ” The tribals are being alienated from their lands due to the acquisition of land for public purposes, through fraudulent transfers, forcible evictions, mortgages, leases and encroachments, and the extent of land alienation stood at 2005 at 2.79 lakh acres in Andra Pradesh, 1.58 lakh acres in Madya Pradesh, 1.3 lakh acres in Karnataka, 1.16 lakh acres in Gujarat.” The voices of protest are not being heard. The tribals, who hoped independence will illuminate their lives, lost their land holdings and were driven into darkness of poverty. This had triggered various political demands including separate state for tribals. At the outset, it may appear that Constitution of India, through article 46 of the Directive Principles assures that “The state shall promote, with special care, the education and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and in particular of the Scheduled castes and Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of social exploitation.
Words won’t offer solace; deeds only will wipe tears from the cheeks of the tribals. Directive Principle also promises total prohibition, but that is not enforceable, it is meant to parade to the world the noble intentions of the Indian nation. Unless noble intentions and wishful dreams turn into reality, poverty cannot be wiped out, and in the survival of the fittest, tribals are the losers.
OTHER NEW STATE DEMANDS
►BUNDELKHAND: The state from where Chenji ruler Raja Desingh and Deccan Chronicle Consultant Editor R.Bhagwan Singh came to Tamil land, has a population of 5 crores in an area of 60,000 square kilometers to be carved out of 7 Districts each of Uttar Pradesh and Madya Pradesh. This region can send 10 Members of Parliament.
►POORVANCHAL: The proposed Poorvanchal state carved out of 27 Districts of Uttar Pradesh has 6.66 crore population covering an area of 86,000 square kilometers. It can elect 23 Members of Parliament.
►HARIT PRADESH : The proposed Harit Pradesh, the nourished dream of Mr.Ajit Singh, has a population of 5 crores covering 50,000 square kilometers. It can send 22 Members of Parliament.
►UTTAR PRADESH: After tri-furcation Uttar Pradesh will be left with 3 crore population living in 70,928 sqaure kilometers, covering current 15 Districts of UP. This state can still send 31 Members of Parliament.
►VIDHARBA : With a population of 2.63 crore carved out of 11 Districts of Maharastra with an area of 97,321 square kilometers could send 10 Members of Parliament, once new state emerges.Vidharba Jan Andholan led by Kishore Tiwari is heading the struggle for separate state.
►SAURASTRA : With a population of 1.25 crore covering 80,000 square kilometers in 7 Districts of Gujarat can elect 7 Members of Parliament once new state is carved out.
►GORKALAND: To be carved out of 2 Districts of West Bengal with a population of 30 lakhs covering 6450 square kilometers, the long drawn struggle by Gorkhaland Janmukthi Morcha, has the support of its Member of Parliament, scholarly Jaswant Singhji.
►MAHAKOSHAL: To be carved out of 10 Districts of Orissa in an area of 50,399 kilometers and a population of 90 lakhs, this new state could send 6 Members of Parliament. In this area I lived few years operating granite quarries and I know nook and corner of this region.
►BODOLAND: To be carved out of 4 Districts of Assam in an area of 8795 square kilometers wherein 30 lakh people live, Bodoland can send one Member of Parliament.
►KUDAGU; With 6 lakh population in an area of 1400 square kilometers, the proposed state to be carved out of Karnataka can elect one Member of Parliament once it emerges.
►KARAIKAL: The Karaikal Union Territory Struggle Group for which I am the Honorary President and Mr.A.S.T.Ansari Babu is the General Secretary had been fighting since 2005, to end the impractical bundling together of 3 enclaves near Bay of Bengal and 1 enclave closer to Arabian Sea, separated by hundreds of kilometers and forms UT of Puducherry, not a contiguous territory leading to economic backwardness to enclaves .Heeding our call to defeat all sitting 6 MLA’s who did not secure economic justice for Karaikal during last elections all 4 Congress legislators lost seats, remaining 2 scrapped through with 33 and 197 votes by DMK legislators. Karaikal is the only territory that seeks separate UT status, on the lines of enclaves of Goa made as UT when statehood was conferred on Goa. Citing this precedent Karaikal Union Territory Struggle Group had mailed appeals to all Members of Parliament in Indian Parliament.
Dravida Peravai endorses the need for State Re-Organization Commission. At the same time we want the leaders who demand separate states to spell out what magical formula they hold closer to their chest to end poverty and empower all sections of society and take them towards path of prosperity, instead of just saying separate state will bring heavenly comforts to earth. Leaders must have a mission. Let all of us put our brains together, debate what went wrong, why backwardness crept in, what made few segments of society affluent while tribals had to perish.