26/03/10

dr.ambedkar on official language, linguistic states, surpluses, resources and 'exploitation'

a few points in the statement 'Maharashtra as a Linguistic Province' submitted by dr.ambedkar to the 'Linguistic Provinces Commission' or Dar Commission in 1948 that caught my eye:
The solution of the difficulties

9. If the problem must be dealt with immediately what is to be the solution ? As has already been pointed out, the solution must satisfy two conditions. While accepting the principle of Linguistic Provinces it must provide against the break-up of India's unity. My solution of the problem therefore is that, while accepting the demand for the re-constitution of Provinces on linguistic basis, the constitution should provide that the official language of every Province shall be the same as the official language of the Central Government. It is only on that footing that I am prepared to accept the demand for Linguistic Provinces.

10. l am aware of the fact that my suggestion runs counter to the conception of Linguistic Provinces which is in vogue. It is that the language of the Province shall be its official language. I have no objection to Linguistic Provinces. But I have the strongest objection to the language of the Province being made its official language where it happens to be different from the official language of the Centre. My objection is based on the following considerations:

(1) The idea of having a Linguistic Province has nothing to do with the question of what should be its official language. By a Linguistic Province, I mean a Province which by the social composition of its population is homogeneous and therefore more suited for the realisation of those social ends which a democratic Government must fulfil. In my view, a Linguistic Province has nothing to do with the language of the Province. In the scheme of Linguistic Provinces, language has necessarily to play its part. But its part can be limited to the creation of the Province, i.e., for demarcation of the boundaries of the Province. There is no categorical imperative in the scheme of Linguistic Provinces which compels us to make the language of the Province its official language. Nor is it necessary, for sustaining the cultural unity of the Province, to make the language of the Province its official language. For, the cultural unity of the Province, which already exists, is capable of being sustained by factors other than language such as common historic tradition, community of social customs, etc. To sustain Provincial cultural unity which already exists it does not require the use of the Provincial language for official purposes. Fortunately for the Provincialists there is no fear of a Maharashtrian not remaining a Maharashtrian because he spoke any other language. So also there is no fear of a Tamilian or an Andhra or a Bengali ceasing to be a Tamilian, Andhra or Bengali if he spoke any other language than his own mother-tongue. [emphasis mine].
later, in 1955, in his 'Thoughts on Linguistic States' dr.ambedkar had recommended that Hindi be made the official language of all states. but what he said in 1948, that the official language of a state should be different from the provincial language, should that principle have been applied to hindi speaking states too? dr.ambedkar didn't miss the provincialism or chauvinism of the hindi speaking states, and i feel he'd have talked more about it later, after the drive to impose hindi on the south in the 1960s by the central government. unfortunately, he passed away soon after the publication of his 'Thoughts on Linguistic States'. would he have stressed on the need to impose a language different from hindi as the official language of the hindi speaking states if he had lived into the sixties?

again, from his statement to the Linguistic Provinces Commission:
SHOULD THE MAHARASHTRA PROVINCE BE FEDERAL OR UNITARY?

20. I will now turn to what are known to be points on which there is controversy. There is no controversy regarding the unification of Maharashtra into one Province. The controversy relates to the way it should he brought about. One view is that the new Maharashtra Province should be a unitary Province, with a single legislature and a single executive. The other view is that Maharashtra should be a Federation of two sub-provinces, one sub-province to consist of the Marathi-speaking districts of the Bombay Presidency and the other of the Marathi-speaking districts of the present Province of the Central Provinces and Berar. The idea of creating sub-Provinces has originated from the spokesmen of the Marathi-speaking districts of Central Provinces and Berar. I am satisfied that it is only the wish of a few high-caste politicians who feel that in a unified Maharashtra their political careers will come to an end. It has no backing from the people of e fact that it gives me an opportunity to enunciate what I regard as a very vital principal. When it is decided to create a Linguistic Province, I am definitely of opinion that all areas which are contiguous and which speak the same language should be forced to come into it. There should be no room for choice nor for self-determination. Every attempt must be made to create larger provincial units. Smaller provincial units will be a perpetual burden in normal times and a source of weakness in an emergency. Such a situation must be avoided. That is why I insist that all parts of Maharashtra should be merged together in a single province. [emphasis mine].
that's quite clear. in 1948, dr.ambedkar was clearly in favour of 'all areas which are contiguous and which speak the same language should be forced' into a single province. which means he wouldn't have supported the idea of a separate telangana in 1948.

would he have supported telangana in 1955, when he wrote his 'Thoughts on Linguistic States'? he was more concerned with the smaller size of the southern states on an average, in terms of population, in relation to northern states.

more from his statement to the Linguistic Provinces Commission:
44. Secondly, the surplus from Bombay is not consumed by Maharashtra alone but is consumed by the whole of India. The proceeds of the Income-tax, Super-tax, etc. which Bombay pays to the Central Government are all spent by the Central Government for all-India purposes and is shared by all other Provinces. To Prof. Vakil it does not matter if the surplus of Bombay is eaten up by United Provinces, Bihar, Assam, Orissa, West Bengal, East Punjab and Madras. What he objects to is Maharashtra getting any part of it. This is not an argument. It is only an exhibition of his hatred for Maharashtrians. [emphasis mine].

45. Granting that, Bombay was made into a separate Province, what I don't understand is how Prof. Vakil is going to prevent Maharashtra from getting share of Bombay surplus revenue. Even if Bombay is made separate Province, Bombay will have to pay income-tax, super-tax, etc. and surely Maharashtra will get a part of the revenue paid by Bombay to the Centre either directly or indirectly. As I have said the argument has in it more malice than substance.
how about the revenue surpluses from hyderabad which the telangani separatists claim are being used to fund development in other regions? following dr.ambedkar's common sensical logic, one could say: the surplus from hyderabad is not consumed by andhra pradesh alone but is consumed by the whole of India. and: granting that, hyderabad goes with a new telangana state, what i don't understand is how the separatists are going to prevent andhra-rayalaseema from getting a share of hyderabad's surplus revenue?

finally, one last point from the statement:
59. To reconstitute Provinces on economic basis—which is what is meant by rational basis—appears more scientific than reconstituting them on linguistic basis. However, unscientific linguistic reorganization of Provinces I cannot see how they can come in the way of rational utilization of economic resources of India. Provincial boundaries are only administrative boundaries. They do not raise economic barriers for the proper utilization of economic resources. If the position was that the resources contained within a Linguistic Province must only be explained by the people of the Province and no other than it could no doubt be said that the scheme of Linguistic Provinces was mischievous. But such is not the case. So long as Linguistic Provinces are not allowed to put a ban on the exploitation of the resources of the people by any body capably of wishing to exploit them a Linguistic Province will yield all the advantages of a rationally planned Province. [emphasis mine].
so, what would dr. ambedkar have said about all the noise being made by the separatists that telangani resources, like coal from singareni, are being 'exploited' by people from andhra-rayalaseema? as you can see, dr. ambedkar would have approved of the 'rational exploitation' of resources. if the rest of india can exploit resources from bombay high, or jharkhand or assam, why should there be any objection to resources from telangana being used to meet power needs in andhra-rayalaseema? they're not being 'stolen', they're being sold. just as they're being sold to power plants in karnataka, maharashtra and other parts of the country.

how i wish the separatists would read dr. ambedkar's views with open eyes, and minds, before putting words into his mouth!!

13 comments:

rajkumar said...

Ambedkar also found Hyderabad suitable as a second capital and advocated making Hyderabad,Secunderabad and Bolarum as Cheif Commissioner's province,the equivalent of an UT.
About the linguism Telangana leaders should understand that language is the glue that binds them and not the region as they claim.IF region was their concern let them reintegrate the torn pieces of Hyderabad state and resurrect it.
How did they get Telangana out of Hyderabad,what was the basis? The SRC trifurcated Hyderabad on basis of language and nothing else.If they are so interested let them get entire Raichur and Marathwada so that there would not be water sharing problems..

gaddeswarup said...

Kuffir,
Ambdkar says "Provincial boundaries are only administrative boundaries. They do not raise economic barriers for the proper utilization of economic resources."
I get the impression, probably read somewhere, that landlocked states In India, generally, are not doing as well as the other states. Are there border taxes? Does the distance to the coast matter? There sre theories that geography matters for countries. I wonder how much it matters for states with in one country.

kuffir said...

rajkumar,

'About the linguism Telangana leaders should understand that language is the glue that binds them and not the region as they claim.'

that's a very good point you make. what they're seeking is division on the basis of a loose cultural identity that actually goes against the larger principle of linguistic states.

swarup garu,

now, since 1948, states have gone beyond being merely administrative divisions. this divide shall impose, apart from a political divide, also an economic and social schism. in a very broad sense, what the framers of the constitution probably envisaged was a broad common economic entity which ensured greater economic and social interaction. but what has happened is that the political division into states, though offering protection to linguistic and other cultural rights, also created barriers, through various restrictions on inter-state trade, for economic interaction between states and even districts within the same state.

yes, landlocked regions suffer from several disadvantages for the same broad reasons. because it restricts economic interaction or activity.

kuffir said...

swarup garu,

'in a very broad sense, what the framers of the constitution probably envisaged was a broad common economic entity which ensured greater economic and social interaction.'

i should add-- a common economic entity with common rules and regulations.

sravan said...

Kufr,
With this kind of contextomy, you proved that,
Ambedkar wanted all the hindi speaking states to merge into one.
According to you he miserably failed because of the upper caste dominance, since he could not unite all the hindi speaking states to one.

Sridhar said...

One of my friend during the college days used to quote the case of Singareni coal being transported and used in Vijayawada thermal power station. He felt that the power plant instead should have been established in Telangana itself and closer to the mines so that the region could have benefited by jobs and electricity. That was good point but I told him that Vijayawada with abundant water from Krishna is well placed to utilize the excess coal unutilized by Ramagundam and Kothagudem power stations. But am not sure if the politicians from Vjw had any role in the decision that led to the plant being established in Vjw when it was possible to find a equally good location in Telangana.

Remember JP saying that industries based on natural resources should best be established near the source and thereby eliminating unnecessary transportation costs. I don't know instances of horrible exceptions to this but there prob are. The worst I can think of is the case of iron ore from AP-Karnatake border regions being exported to China by private lease owners. Not only is the public losing by gaining negligible amount in royalties but by lost production and jobs.

sree said...

@sravan:

Kufiir did post his views on Dr ambedkar's thoughts on states reorganisation here:
http://kufr.blogspot.com/2010/01/drambedkar-on-reorganization-of-states.html

do read the complete post and also dr ambedkar's thoughts at the link provided in the above post.

rajkumar said...

Regarding the landlockedness,even Nizam felt the need to have a seacoast.He wanted to buy Goa from Portugal so that he wanted a seacoast.How many Telanganites know that? Sure there would not be development without seaport if you claim you want to develop industrially.
The last Nizam: the life and times of Mir Osman Ali Khan

rajkumar said...

Regarding the landlockedness,even Nizam felt the need to have a seacoast.He wanted to buy Goa from Portugal so that he wanted a seacoast.How many Telanganites know that? Sure there would not be development without seaport if you claim you want to develop industrially.
The last Nizam: the life and times of Mir Osman Ali Khan

ved said...

Most of the VTPS coal now a days comes from Mahanadi. Simhadri, Vizag, doesn't get any coal from Telangana. The only plant that exclusively gets coal from Singareni is RTPS, Cuddapah.

On a bigger scale, the distance between Singareni to Vijaywada or Cuddapah is neglible. They are still considered as local consumption.

In any case, as kufr pointed out, it is not given away for free. VTPS and RTPS buy the coal.

Sridhar said...

Ved, it is not all about buying and selling but it is about efficient use of resources and taking into accout the local developmental priorities especially when the natural resources happen to originate in less developed regions.

ved said...

Sridhar,

How close is close?. It is hardly 120 km from the source. Coal is not the only resource to worry about. Rail & Road network, water, human resources and access to other competing coal sources(domestic as well as foreign) is also important. In all this, let us not assume that Khmmam/Karimngar don't have power plants. In fact they have two giant thermal power plants.

In any case 55% of the electricity generated in AP goes to Telangana and 70% of that is generated in Andhra/Rayalaseema. Fortunately nobody from Andhra makes fuss about it. At least, not yet.

Venkat said...

You have both singareni and VTPS under government control and hence the debate. Why isn't anyone asking why Reddy labs is in Hyderabad, not in Nellore? When all the resources and major industries are owned/controlled by government, issues of locations, who heads them etc crop up. If they were in private sector, there would be no debate. The private industry will go where it can make things more cheaply.

 
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