Saturday, February 4, 2012

Late M.S. Rajalingam's "For Linguistic States and Vishalandhra" in 31 January 2012 issue of LAW ANIMATED WORLD


- M.S. Rajalingam§


Why a Reorganization of States:

1) There is practically a unanimity of opinion about the need for a reorganization of the present States. They are not based on either economic or administrative or linguistic grounds. It is therefore not unreasonable to demand their disintegration and reorganization on a more rational basis.


2) To my mind, the following are the main objectives that should be kept in view in any scheme for the reorganization of states:

a) A strong Centre, in order to ensure the unity and independence of India;

b) Greater economic competence for the state units so that they may have adequate resources for Development Programmes calculated to raise the average standard of living in the States;

c) Improvement in the administrative efficiency of the States on democratic lines by paving for the people to get closer to the Government.

Advantages of reorganization of states
on linguistic basis:

3) As things stand today the above objective can be achieved by a reorganization on linguistic basis. Broadly speaking, the following advantages are likely to accrue from such a scheme.

a) Larger economic units have better resources to undertake development plans so as to ensure a higher standard of living for the citizens of the state.

b) A single language for the entire state facilitates more widespread [development] of education at less cost, better administration of justice and better understanding of the legislative and administrative activities of the state by the people. This would strengthen the democratic forces in the country, for legislation and administration in one single language of the people would enable the people to understand them better, exercise an effective check on their drawbacks, and facilitate more ready cooperation with regard to the developmental activities of the Government.

Linguistic States do not lead to
Autonomous Sovereign States:

4) It is sometimes contended that the political unity and strength of the nation is likely to be injured by the division – to the extent of saying that the linguistic, political units might pave the way for the establishment of autonomous sovereign state republics, as envisaged by the communities, thereby destroying both the national unity and democracy in India. Such fears are groundless in view of the following facts:



The present Constitution of India, though federal in form, is predominantly unitary in its content. The powers and functions of the state units and the Central Government are clearly laid down in the Constitution and in cases of conflicts, it is provided that the views of the Centre should prevail. The new States that are likely to be created [… are not likely] to become more independent of the central guidance, supervision and control. The general trend of opinion among all responsible sections of the population throughout the length and breadth of the country, as well as among the major political parties, is to strengthen the forces that make for an extension of the sphere of operation by the Central Government rather than curtail it. The growing need to coordinate policies among different state units for the sake of national development has tended to expand the powers and privileges of the centre and this process is bound to be continuous and it would not be possible for the new linguistic states to run counter to these trends.

b) The economy of the country either from the point of view of production, trend or employment is not likely to be injured, since under the Constitution, there can be no internal barriers to trade and since the industrial, labour and even financial policies are mainly controlled by the Central Government.

The schemes and priorities laid down by the first and second five year plans would be equally binding on the new states and the financial aid from the centre would be equally available for their implementation.

From the employment point of view, All India Government Services would be open to all the citizens of all States and so would be the entire private, agricultural, industrial and commercial sectors. It is only in the field of State services that distinction might be made in favour of the residents of the States. But then, employment in any State Government service hardly accounts for 5% of the total employment in that State.

c) From the administrative point of view, IAS officers would be in charge of all the key positions in the states at the secretariat, directorates and even at District levels. Personnel of the I.P.S. would be in the charge of Law and Order, though this falls within the purview of state jurisdiction. Accounts and audit would also be a central subject while the administration of justice would be under the supervision of the federal court. There is therefore little scope for any state to loosen the bonds of unity or weaken the control of the Centre.



Communism has lost momentum and driving force in India of today. Communism can thrive only in an atmosphere of serious discontent and in unsettled political and economic conditions. Political integration of the former Princely States with the Indian Union has stabilized political conditions throughout India, while the solution, to a large extent, of the food and clothing problems of the country has brought about contentment among the bulk of the people of the land. With further economic progress in the country, as a result of the second five year plan, causes for discontent would be further minimized while the success of the present democratic institutions would increase the faith of the nation in the democratic and constitutional method of solving the problems of the country in the various walks of life.

e) As feared in some quarters, linguistic states are not likely to perpetuate or augment parochial tendencies or ill-will among the different linguistic groups. At the government level, the all India political, economic, judicial and administrative policies and their effective execution throughout the length and breadth of the land are bound to make for unity, or at least, for better appreciation and understanding of the points of view of the different linguistic units and their problems, and thus minimize the scope for mutual antagonism. At the people’s level, the intercourse between the different states is restricted to the trade and business channels or cultural activities and in these spheres conflicts have no scope.

f) One argument, that is sometimes adduced, is that linguistic states would lead to a cutting up of the country into several small units with the resultant weakness [for the units] in finance, administration, etc. Whatever be the theoretical force of this argument, in practice it is [not] likely to result in such a situation. On the other hand, the total number of state units are likely to be less than the present aggregate number of states. As good fortune would have it, linguistic groups today exist in contiguous areas, thereby facilitating their amalgamation and a reconstitution of the states on linguistic lines. The states that are likely to come into being in this process would not suffer in administrative efficiency, due to the operation of all India factors relating to administrative services and personnel.

5) ………………………………………………


6) There can, no doubt, be other principles [also] to form the basis for reorganization of the states, such as, areas, population, financial viability, economic self-sufficiency, administrative convenience, etc., but these factors should be considered in the all India context. If only the regions that are self-sufficient are constituted into separate states, [then] what should happen to those tracts which are backward at present and may, perhaps, continue to be so in future also due to natural factors? It is only by integrating them with the adjacent States that we can have political units which are more rational in structure and conducive to the overall welfare of the Indian nation.

7) Further, mere economic self-sufficiency cannot be deemed to be a deciding factor as regards the boundaries of any State. Apart from the fact that economic self-sufficiency is rather a misnomer when the totality of the requirements of any particular tract is concerned, the aim should be to achieve a higher standard of living for the people at large by an adequate development of the resources of the State in men and material. This would require adequate and expanding financial resources which can be better ensured by the formation of larger political units.




In addition to the reasons indicated above, there is a fundamental political argument which goes to support the case for linguistic states, and that is the compelling factor of public opinion of the majority of the people in each and every state. The Congress Party, which represents the bulk of the people of the country, is committed to this principle of linguistic states by a series of resolutions at different sessions [of the Congress] in the past; in fact, its very organization is based upon a linguistic division of the territorial units. Even today, but for a small minority in the party, the majority of the members of the Congress, both at the all India and the state levels, are in favour of a reorganization of the country on the basis of language. Moreover, the opinion among the other important political parties in the country is also in favour of linguistic states. Political good sense and foresight would, therefore, call for an acceptance of this principle and pave the way for its early implementation. Otherwise, political parties, both within and outside the Congress, would agitate and educate public opinion in this regard and thus force the hands of the government within a fairly short time to concede to this demand. Even among those who are not in favour of a linguistic division of the country, there is a strong section which merely wants a postponement of the formation of linguistic states for a short period of 10 to 20 years. They are not opposed to the principle, but only urge that the present time is not propitious for its practical implementation. By and large, it is not unreasonable to assume that the bulk of the intelligent and politically conscious elements of the country favour an early reorganization of the present states [by conceding the] right to amalgamate with the people of the adjoining area, speaking the same language. This commitment should have a priority over the other agency or entity, disintegration of Hyderabad State is, therefore, an unavoidable step in this regard. On this issue there is absolutely no difference of opinion among the three major linguistic groups of this State [of Hyderabad], namely the Andhras[1], the Karnatakas and the Maharashtrians.

9) It is also stated in some quarters that the present Government of India has also given certain assurances to the ruler of the State and this is made much of. But this consideration can have no validity in the context of political developments in the country. In the democratic setup of the country today, the institution of Raj Pramukh would seem to be an anachronism needing correction.


10) Another issue that confronts the Telugu speaking population of the State [of Hyderabad] is whether they should form a separate and independent Telangana State or join hands with the people of the present Andhra State so as to constitute Visalandhra [Greater Andhra]. The main argument of the advocates of a separate Telangana state run somewhat on the following lines:

a) The proposed Telangana State, consisting of roughly 40,000 sq. miles and 101 lakhs of people and revenue of Rs. 114 crores (roughly half of the revenue receipts of the present State [of Hyderabad]), constitutes a self-sufficient viable political unit.

b) A compact, limited area would lend itself for better administrative efficiency.

c) It would ensure and quicken the [material] and cultural progress of the people of Telangana.

All these objectives can be achieved by amalgamating the Telangana [region] with the present Andhra State so as to constitute Visala Andhra. There is nothing in the concept of Visalandhra which would militate against these objectives. Perhaps they could be realized more speedily and more effectively by the formation of a single state for all the people speaking Telugu within and outside the State [of Hyderabad].

11) Some of the other arguments adduced by the protagonists of Telangana State are as follows, which [on a close] examination would prove to be untenable:

a) The per capita income of Telangana State is about Rs. 17/-.


This figure seems to have been arrived at by dividing the estimated revenue of about Rs. 17 crores by the population of Telangana – 101 lakhs. Thus it really refers only to the per capita contribution of the people of Telangana to the State revenues and not to their per capita earnings or income. Even the gross estimate of Rs. 17 Crores as the income of the proposed Telangana State is wrong for it includes the current receipts as well as the grants from the Centre, for specific development purposes, part of which, are on capital account. The latter should therefore have not been included in the estimate of the total receipts of the state on revenue account.

b) ‘One language – One State’ theory goes against the very security and unity of the nation.

As already explained in the previous paragraphs, a new linguistic state, however large, can function only under the provisions of the Constitution of India and as such cannot constitute a danger to the security or unity of the nation.

c) Large states are bound to be unwieldy and administratively inefficient, as a result of red tape and the extensive area to be served by the heads of the departments, especially the police. On the other hand, the smaller the unit, the better would be the administrative efficiency.

In these days of rapid communication by posts, the telegraph, the telephone and the wireless and quick transportation by road and rail, administrative efficiency cannot be considered to be impaired by the mere fact of the largeness of the area to be administered. The present Bombay and Uttar Pradesh States (and the previous undivided Madras State) have an area and population considerably more than those of the proposed Vishalandhra and it is not contended by any one that these States have been inefficiently administrative on account of their unwieldy areas or population. Further, as explained in the paragraph above, administrative efficiency, for the most part, depends upon the integrity and efficiency of the officers in the key posts and almost all of them would now belong to the All India Service cadre.

d) The revenues of the State would be augmented by about Rs. 30 lakhs on the basis of 25% ad-hoc increase in the assessment rates of about 30 taluqs and as a result of resettlement. About 2.72 lakhs of acres are proposed to come under irrigation as a result of new irrigation projects and tank repairs carried out under the five year plan and this addition to the irrigable area is expected to enhance further revenues of the State [of Hyderabad or of proposed Telangana].

(Go to p. 75®)

Possible increase in the land revenue on account of resettlement has already been taken into account in the present estimates (1954-55) of receipts of land revenue, but [they are] tentative increases in the land revenue rates in anticipation of the resettlement rates. Additional rates as a result of the extension of irrigation facilities and the levy of betterment tax would depend upon a large initial capital outlay, which the present resources of the state cannot ensure.


(Carried from p. 10®)

There are some who fear that the people of Telangana being backward than the people of Andhra State in respect of education, political consciousness and general economic condition, the interest of the former might suffer if Telangana becomes an integral part of Vishalandhra. Such a fear is groundless for adult suffrage from various constituencies would ensure the people of Telangana their legitimate position in the legislature and the government of Vishalandhra. The people of Telangana would constitute about a third of Vishalandhra and it is impossible to keep down politically, economically or otherwise, such a large section of the population.

13) By and large the people of Telangana have nothing to lose and a good deal to gain by becoming a part of Visalandhra. According to the rural economic enquiries conducted in the State about three years ago, the average annual per capita income in the rural families in the different districts of Telangana range from Rs. 116/- to Rs. 226/-, 41% of the resident families owe debts on securities other than land, and the average debt per indebted family works out to about Rs. 340/-; the area under cultivation is hardly one acre per capita and the irrigated area is just 0.12 acres. Production of [yields on] a farm of an average quality varies from 11 maunds to 11/8th maunds in the different districts of Telangana in the case of Jowar and 36 maunds to 12 maunds in case of paddy. The amenities of life available to the rural folk of Telangana are also far from satisfactory. Every village has not yet got a primary school and there is hardly one high school or middle school in 44 towns and villages. There is about one mile of road for every……… There is, thus, an imperative necessity for a considerable development expenditure in case the lot of the people of Telangana is to be bettered during the next four or five years.



Computing roughly about 50% of the receipts and expenditure of the State [of Hyderabad], the budgetary position of Telangana would be as follows:


[Rs Crores]

[Rs Crores]

Surplus/ Deficit

1952-53 Accounts



+ 0.72

1953-54 Budget Est.



– 0.16

1953-54 Revised



– 0.76

1954-55 Budget



– 0.53

It would be seen that the financial resources of the [proposed] Telangana State are rather very limited compared to the population and their requirements. The abolition of internal customs and the gradual fall in the excise revenue, as a result of education and realization of the evils of drink, would further reduce the receipts of the State. With the implementation of the land reforms, revenue from agricultural income tax is bound to be practically insignificant. Increased receipts from land revenue also are not practicable as the rate of land revenue assessment in the State is already high. The present per capita tax revenue of Telangana can be estimated at about Rs. 11/-; it is higher than the general property of the masses and [due to] the backward economy of the region, the scope for stepping up the revenue is very limited, at least for the next four or five years. (The burden of debt is also rather heavy at about Rs. 35/- per capita – half of the amount of public debt divided by the population of Telangana).* On the other hand, the need for ample funds to finance development programmes already undertaken, and to be undertaken in future, in the interests of the masses, is bound to grow from year to year. The development expenditure in Telangana under the five years plan is about Rs. 15 Crores.** The shortfall in the resources would be of the order of Rs. 5½ Crores (on the basis of the present shortfall in the resources of the whole State [of Hyderabad] in respect of the 5-year plan). The Central Government, with all its goodwill, would not be in a position to go more than a part of the way, to assist the state government in respect of its ever growing financial requirements. This would inevitably mean a slowing down, if not a setback, in the economic development of Telangana and its people.

* * * * *

[1] The use of ‘Andhras’ to indicate the people of Telangana by Sri MS Rajalingam only shows the pride and identity of the people and leaders of Telangana in those days with the denomination ‘Andhra’; I may remind our readers that the entire cultural renaissance and socio-economic and political awakening and resistance movements in Telangana during 1920-1948 were conducted under the leadership of Andhra Janasangham/Andhra Mahasabhas and they had even spurned the suggestion [and offer] of the Nizam Nawab to provide all official support and recognition to their bodies if only the word ‘Andhra’ were to be dropped and some other one, say Telangana or Telugu or Hyderabad etc., inserted in its place. - IMS.

* Source: Reserve Bank of India Bulletin, May 1954

** Source: District-wise distribution of the five year plan of the State.

§ Late Sri M.S. Rajalingam (b. 1918; d. 23-01-2012), native of Warangal, eminent Congress leader, Gandhian and freedom fighter; was a Joint Secretary of Vishalandhra Mahasabha in 1949-55. Though still an integrationist at heart, in his last days he used to stress that unity or separation should be achieved in a constitutional and peaceful manner; preferred the sixth option of the SKC Report. The rational and analytical argumentation in this article, I feel, holds good to this day and effectively answers the main contentions of the separatists of the present. Our reverent tributes to this departed leader. Emphases in bold generally ours - IMS.

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