THE POHOTTUWA GOVERNMENT OF SRI LANKA Part 2 A 1
Posted on October 23rd, 2020

KAMALIKA PIERIS

Part 2 of this series is on international relations. The series starts with India. Despite its impressive size, India is a very young sovereign state, dating only from 1947. Before foreign rule, India consisted of a number of separate kingdoms. These vanished under Muslim and British rule.

The responsibility of creating the new  Republic of India  in 1947,  from an inherited  jumble of  princely states and British ruled states, was given to Nehru, who solved the problem by creating a set of linguistic states.  In the process all sorts of adjacent areas were dragged in against their wishes, to form contiguous states.  

Andhra Pradesh was the first to be created. It was created out of   former Madras province, Hyderabad, and Mysore, so that Telegu speakers would constitute its majority. Karnataka was created by merging the Kannada speaking areas of southern Deccan. Madhya Pradesh was created out of linguistically heterogeneous area of the former Centre Province and Madhya Bharat. Gujerat, Maharashtra,  Bombay became one state.

These artificially, hastily drawn states were not going to last and India knew this. The Indian constitution therefore permitted the formation of new states, provided that the division was helpful to India. Parliament can   create, abolish, truncate, or rename   states.  It can alter boundaries, increase or decrease the size of states. 

  India has eagerly accepted this invitation to fragment. The original boundaries are disappearing, said analysts. Gujarat broke away from Marathi speaking Maharashtra.    Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and   Uttaranchal were carved out of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Telengana became India’s 29 state in 2014. Telengana was enthusiastically received in India

More new states have been asked for. Maharashtra said they want a new state of Vidharba.  Uttar Pradesh wanted to divide into Harit Pradesh, Sundelkhand, and Provanchal.  In Assam the Bodo people want Bodoland, and Karbi want their own state. West Bengal wants Gorkhaland for Nepali speaking Gorkha community, and Cooch Behar for the locals. In Rajasthan they want a Maru state.  All these states complained that the existing states had confined development to the centre. India’s northeast is a very combustible region. Some 250 ethnic groups are arrayed against one another.

State governments are now very powerful . The states are unruly and difficult to control. Power is flowing away to state capitals where some s strong men and women are ruling, said analysts.  Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati cancelled a land grant made by the central government, banned a meeting Sonia Gandhi was attending and diverted her motorcade in 2010.

The states are now represented in regional parties, and the central government consists of coalitions of these parties, so states cannot be ignored at central level either. A new dimension has come with coalition governments at the centre, said analysts. State parties are now able to interfere in centre policies and influence centre-state relations. .

The Indian central government has been in headlong retreat for the past three decades, said Chandraprema. The powers of the Central government were challenged in Supreme Court in West Bengal vs. Union (1962) Rajasthan vs. Union (1977).

In the West Bengal case, the central government had wanted to take over some coal bearing state land. West Bengal said that centre could not take over land vested  or owned by the state. In the Rajasthan case, Central government had asked six states, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh and Orissa to dissolve its assemblies and hold fresh elections. The states     said this request was illegal.

The Indian Constitution gives the President the power to take over a state when necessary. By 1998, President’s rule had been declared 106 times in the states.   But President’s rule is now questioned.

The M.M.Punchhi commission of 2010 supported  this approach. The commission was willing to allow the states to decide on who would be their governor. It was prepared to restrict the discretionary powers of the Governors of the states in appointing and dismissing chief minister and informing the central government that a state of emergency has arisen. The commission also recommended that when a situation of public disorder justified central government intervention in a state that the state be asked before intervening. They also  recommended that the imposition of presidents rule on a state should be subject to judicial review.

Constitution of India recognizes only one common citizenship for the entire Indian people, but the Indian states are not interested in creating a unified India.  They  emphasis language .There is linguistic chauvinism and intolerance. State jobs are exclusively for the majority language group.  India had the world’s biggest ever electricity power outage In July 2012, where three regional grids, collapsed entirely. The reason was that every state draws far more than their specific quotas from the power grid.

The states oppose each other. There are disputes over territory and water. Karnataka and Maharashtra are fighting over Belgaum, they both want it. It is a Marathi speaking district which had been given to Kannada speaking Karnataka in 1955.  Maharashtra has gone to courts. New Delhi is on the side of Karnataka, because otherwise it will get involved in reopening boundary cases. Commission appointed to study the matter stated that Belgaum belongs to Maharashtra but still the two states are fighting over it.

There are fights over water management between the states. Punjab and Haryana fought over Sutlej water, Kerala and Tamilnadu   over Mullaperiyar dam. Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh are now fighting over Bhabli dam. Delhi and Uttar Pradesh had a running feud on a host of things including bus routes. Jammu and Kashmir want to leave Mother India and join Pakistan.

In 2006 Kerala and Tamilnadu were clashing over Mullaperiyar dam.  The public also joined it and burnt Kerala buses, and blocked the road between Tamil nadu and Kerala. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh deployed at Tamil nadu’s request, the Central Reserve Police Force to protect the dam which irrigated the states four districts.

India has two national languages, Hindi and English. No one knows English and Hindi is spoken only by about 42% of the population. There are also 22 state languages, which operate only in their states. These include Tamil, Malayalam, Telegu, Kannada, Marathi, Gujerati, Rajastani, Urdu, Punjabi, Kashmiri, Hindi, Bihari, Oriya (Orissa) Bengali, Assamese. Primary education is in these languages. In the 2014 general election, the media reported that MPs took their oaths in Hindi, English, Kannada, Assamese, Oriya and Sanskrit.

There is also the Hindu Muslim clash, which is well known. Hindus and Moslems have fought over the Babri mosque at Ayodhya.  In Gujarat, Muslim mob had in 2002 burned a trainload of Hindu activists at a railway station. Then in 2014 also in Gujerat, Hindus had locked 23 Muslims who had fled into a house and then set it on fire.

India presently  has 28 states and 22 languages. Kuldip Nayar notes that that India has many fissiparous tendencies. The states are solidifying into separate entities and threatening to become permanent compartments. Consensus is becoming difficult. Even basic issues cannot get approval in Parliament.

 India will eventually ‘Balkanize’ into separate sovereign states, despite the anti-secession clause in the Indian constitution.  It will be a messy break up. Landlocked states will try to get access to the sea.   States will fight over boundaries and water.  Experts now warn of water wars due to scarcity of water and have identified India as one country where this will take place.

The international community knows that India will eventually break up. That is why India is never described as an emerging political power, only an economic power. Once it balkanizes it will not be an economic power either.  ‘TIME’ says China views India with disdain. China thinks India can be easily dissolved into its composite, regional parts.  ( continued)

One Response to “THE POHOTTUWA GOVERNMENT OF SRI LANKA Part 2 A 1”

  1. Ratanapala Says:

    It is the intention of the Western Christian Powers led by the US to balkanize all colonial constructs that after independence went on to become sizeable power centres outside their control. The biggest among these are India and Indonesia. Project Eelam in Sri Lanka is only a stepping stone to carry out this exercise beginning with Tamil Nadu.

    Ever since the independence of these countries after World War II the new emerging leader of the so called ‘Free World’ and the self designated Exceptional Country in the US together with other Western Christian Powers are on a course to destabilize, balkanize and contain these countries in order they may be kept as their cash cows for ever. These are long term projects and they have the patience to wait out even a hundred years to finally reap the ‘fruits of their labour’!

    India is in a battle to contain the centripetal forces that are out to breakdown India into her constitutional elements. India depends on the Indianness of her Indians as the centrifugal forces that India require for this exercise. This she has so far tried to derive from picking up battles with her neighbours for this is the only potent condition that bring up the Indianness in the Indians. Rest of the time they are divided by language, religion and mostly by geography – the mountains, the rivers and the water resources these two control and contain.

    As a neighbour of India, Sri Lanka must charter her way into the future with utmost diligence for India like a Red Giant has the propensity to destroy all around her when it goes out in a big bang! It is also in Sri Lanka’s interest to see that India remains intact as a single power. It is up to India to change her belligerent attitude against her neighbours for the danger against India is mostly from the Western Christian Powers led by the US and not from her neighbours.

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