Friday, December 11, 2009

India: Chandrasekhar Rao and the New State of Telangana

India is divided into 28 states and 7 territories. The map to the left shows the state boundaries.

In a fascinating article in today's Times (here), Jim Yardley reports that the federal government has preliminarily approved the creation of a new state -- Telangana -- which will be carved out of Andhra Pradesh. The current capital of A.P. -- Hyderabad -- will become the capital of Telangana.

A politician named Chandrasekhar Rao has been advocating for the creation of Telangana for a long time but had not gained any real traction until he embarked on a hunger strike:

"Rao's so-called fast-unto-death set off demonstrations on college campuses and plunged Hyderabad into a political crisis. Several universities were shut down, students were jailed and thousands of police and paramilitary officers arrived after a two-day general strike effectively paralyzed the city of four million people. With television trucks posted on a death watch outside Mr. Rao’s hospital room, the national government, led by the Congress Party, finally blinked. Late Wednesday night, Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram announced that the 'process of formation of the state of Telangana would be initiated.'"

Yardley says that this change is indicative of India's still-evolving democracy and federal system. He says that the three newest states were created in 2000 and that the Congress Party will convene a commission to comprehensively examine the country's borders.

It sounds as though the impetus is that the Telangana people consider themselves a distinct group and they believe that they've been marginalized by other factions in Andhra Pradesh and have not equally benefited from the economic growth of Hyderabad.



  1. September 26, 2009: Steve Coll argues that Obama should stress the connection between US efforts in Afghanistan and stability in India -- here

  2. September 5, 2009: The drought in India -- here

  3. May 17, 2009: The re-election of Manmohan Singh -- here

  4. April 15, 2009: The elections -- here

  5. April 7, 2009: Redevelopment in Mumbai's slums -- here

  6. April 5, 2009: A profile of Narendra Modi -- here

  7. February 9, 2009: Gender relations -- here

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