India and its 1.2 billion citizens face all the issues of a modern democracy coupled with the leftover problems from British colonial rule and the challenges resulting from three thousand years of history. The seventh largest country in the world, it only has 28 states and 7 union territories as political divisions. These political boundaries may date back to independence, or even farther into the long history of the subcontinent.
Many large and influential ethnic or economic groups have been marginalized by their inclusion into states that do not reflect their political ambitions or desires. India suffers from political and economic turmoil, as well as active armed rebellion in some places, due to the forced integration of various groups into the larger whole.
The southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh has been the center, for forty years, of a movement to create a new state called Telangana. The current state capital of Hyderabad would become the capital of the new state.
Telangana was added to other regions to form the state of Andhra Pradesh in 1953. The rest of the state had been ruled by the British from Madras, but Telangana was a part of the Muslim kingdom of Hyderabad.
The Hyderabad metro region has become a center for the Indian IT industry, and a world center for outsourcing. It also is a major location for the Indian pharmaceutical industry. The area has a large number of colleges and universities. It is a wealthier and better educated region than the rest of the current state.
Andhra Pradesh is the breadbasket of India. It also contains great mineral wealth and significant reserves of oil and natural gas. One natural division in the state’s population is that of farm and mine versus the IT and other industries around Hyderabad.
Opposition to the new state is based upon the economic and political losses that the current state would suffer. The economic center of Andhra Pradesh would be the new state. The major political parties of India have differing positions on the topic of Telangana, since a new state would mean new members elected to both houses of the national legislature. The overall influence of the area could be affected as the members of parliament of the two states would not have the clout that the MP’s of one united state do.
The creation of India’s 29th state is not assured. The process is long and complex, and the demands in other areas of India for the creation of new states are also going to influence the decisions made about Telangana.