Thursday, January 06, 2011
Telangana 71: Tughlaqs of Modern India
When I was growing up there was a term used to insult someone. The word ‘Tughlaq’ was used to call someone a dumb idiot and a fool. Later on I got to know why the word ‘tughlaq’ became synonymous with a dumb idiot. Long ago in 14th century, a king named Muhammad bin Tughlaq ruled over Delhi and he came up with a ridiculous idea to move his capital city from Delhi to Daulatabad (Devagiri) nearly 1500 km south into Deccan. He forcibly moved his entire city population including cattle, from Delhi to Daulatabad. It was a major disaster. Thousands died, millions became homeless and economy was in shambles. Two years later, he moved the capital back to Delhi. To the current generation, that episode in history sounds utterly foolish and comes as surprise. One cannot believe that Tughlaq took such extremely nonsensical and unrealistic idea so seriously. However, back in those times, kings and nobles went with such decisions and ordinary people paid price with their lives.
Many such foolish ideas came about in the past. And we look back at them with wonder – not able to really grasp how people and leaders of that time could be so foolish.
One such event which we will recall later, fifty years from now, are the suggestions given by SriKrishna Committee. We will wonder how they could think of such extremely ridiculous propositions. Barring from suggesting that Hyderabad State should be made a part of Pakistan, they touched upon every other ridiculous idea. Here I discuss two of them:
Option 2: Bifurcation of the State into Seemandhra and Telangana; with Hyderabad as a Union Territory and the two States developing their own capitals in due course.
Why should Hyderabad be made Union Territory? Is there a historical precedent for a state which has a hole inside its map? Look at the map of Telangana with Hyderabad as Union Territory.
Why do most Union Territories eventually become states? And not the other way round? Why do states NOT prefer Presidential rule? Do these stupid people who clamor for Union Territory status for Hyderabad realize that they will be under President’s rule forever? Do they realize that they will end up with a city that cannot grow without cooperation of Telangana? [Chandigarh works only because both Punjab and Haryana cooperate with Chandigarh because of vested interests] Members of esteemed Srikrishna Committee should have studied history of Union Territories in India and understood the status of areas which are completely surrounded by another region before they made this suggestion.
Option 6: Keeping the State united by simultaneously providing certain definite Constitutional / Statutory measures for socio-economic development and political empowerment of Telangana region – creation of a statutorily empowered Telangana Regional Council
The Modern Tughlaqs, the members of Srikrishna Committee, want to repeat history. When something doesn’t work for 54 years, people with wisdom do not prescribe the same for another 50 years. Constitutional measures did not work for Telangana. Article 371(D) was scrapped. Gentlemen’s Agreement nullified. Mulki Rules diluted. Supreme Court decisions revoked. Promises broken. GOs unimplemented. Telangana people were ridiculed and suppressed and when rose in agitation, shot like birds. Tughlaq, if he was alive, would not have recommended this. A Regional Standing Committee was prescribed in 1956 in Gentlemen’s Agreement, which was slowly stripped of all powers and then discarded into dustbin of history. What kind of idiots would propose the same solution that has not clearly worked for nearly half a century in spite of support from Supreme Court of India? How do they think it will work this time? Which idiot would have the guts to propose the very same that has been rejected by history of our times?
It’s unfortunate that I met these folks (Committee members) when I made a presentation to them. They were quite silent when I spoke to them. I didn’t know if they were contemplating or if they were so thick that they were just not getting it. They asked some dumb questions – I didn’t know if they were acting dumb or were actually dumb. Now I know. From now on, in Telangana, we will not be calling the dumb idiots Tughlaqs anymore. We will be calling them Srikrishnas [with apologies to other Srikrishnas who are not dumb idiots].