Every mature Indian should be aware of the havoc that movements for new states have created. Most notable among them is the call for Telangana statehood. “India, that is Bharat shall be a union of states” says article 1 of our constitution but it does not mention the criteria for the formation of these states. At the time, when the constitution was written, it would not have been possible to mention these criteria if you revisit the history of state formation in India. Sardar Vallabhai Patel has rightly been called the ‘Iron man of India’ who brought a hundred and odd princely states under the republic of India.
As time evolved, a need was felt by the people for some rational basis on which they were to be categorized into different states. For a secular country like India, language was the most appropriate basis that one could think of. Though, indigenous cultures and languages are related to each other, their correlation does not amount to grouping people on the basis of cultures. Thus, dividing people into groups was and is just an administrative convenience and nothing more should be read into it. Communication forms an important part of administration and using language as the basis for state formation gets certain credence in that context.
What is the reason for inequitable development within states? How does formation of a new state provide a solution to this problem? Looking at these two questions, you could safely conclude that these regions are underrepresented in the existing political set up either numerically or in terms of power and thus it calls for some changes in the form of representation in the legislature and emphasis for these regions in the planned development envisaged by the Centre. Unless this is done, there will always exist certain regions which would complain of under development. Thus, division of states would be a recurring phenomenon like the mitotic division of cells and the theoretical limit would be ‘one person one state’ which is a kind of utopian rule. Are we heading towards this utopia? No, we are not. The disturbing fact about the existing demands for new states is that they are not only backed by reasons of developing a particular region but there a lot of electoral motives hidden behind them. These electoral calculations are an opportunity for certain political parties to come to power hassle free if at all such a state gets created. Thus, if development is the main motive of the new state movements and formation of new states does not essentially lead to development, the logical conclusion would be that the new state movements do not deserve attention. Developing these regions and making development independent of the spatial location does merit attention.