When you get peanuts for Rs. 40,00,00,00,00,000, you ask a few questions

The Aug 16th edition of the Economic & Political Weekly carried an article by Papia Sengupta and T Ravi Kumar from Kilorimal College, University of Delhi. The two scholars argue that India badly needs systems which ensure a greater acceptance of diversity, especially linguistic diversity. Could anybody disagree?

Growing Regional Disparities

As may be seen from the table, the economic performance of regions in India has been extremely diverse over the past two and a half decades resulting in higher levels of regional disparities. The coefficient of variation (COV) of per capita regional incomes, measured as per capita net state domestic product (PCNSDP) at constant prices, increased from 29.4 in 1981-82 to 35.3 in 2005-06. The ratio between the maximum and minimum incomes across regions increased from 3.0 to 4.7 over the same reference period.

In 2005-06, seven of the nine states with PCNSDP higher than the national average, viz, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab and Tamil Nadu, are non-Hindi states (Table, col 3). Similarly, of the nine states whose economies grew at a rate higher than the national average over the period 1980-81 to 2006-07, five states – Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu – are non-Hindi states. Two of the remaining four states, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand, were created only in the year 2000 and in terms of economic performance their parent states – Bihar and Uttar Pradesh – are placed near the bottom, with ranks of 16 and 18 respectively (see the Table, col 4).

The growing regional disparities within India have generated stress on federal relations between the union and the states. For example, the recommendations of the recent finance commissions have been accompanied by demands from the richer and faster growing states, which are primarily linguistic “minority” states, to dilute the progressivity of the horizontal devolution formula since a higher degree of progressiveness redistributes resources from the centre away from them and towards the poorer states which are largely “majority” language states [Kumar 2005]. Recently, the chief minister of Gujarat – a linguistic “minority” state which has developed the fastest over the past 25 years – is reported to have remarked that the central government should “…stop collecting taxes from Gujarat and also stop aid to the state” as “….Gujarat gives Rs 40,000 crore as taxes to the centre and receives only 2.5 per cent of it in return”.

The major theme in multicultural studies relates to the need for policies not only to preserve the minority cultures but also to ensure their effective integration into the national mainstream. It is implicitly presumed that conflicts may arise within society primarily due to the minority groups feeling excluded in terms of benefiting less than the majority group from the overall national development process. However, the disparate economic performance of the states of India poses a set of issues that suggest a need for multiculturalism taking greater cognisance of the possibility of friction between the majority and minority cultural groups occurring due to the latter progressing faster than the former. A broader analytical structure is required for the identification of not only the conditions under which these can occur but also the policies that need to be pursued under these circumstances to ensure a greater acceptance of diversity within multicultural societies.


Raj said...

This is a great article! It is quite clear that the progressive states are being harshly penalised so that the backward states can get rewarded for their backwardness.

While the progressive states have managed to stabilise the population or are on the verge of doing so, the population of the backward states is expanding at an uncontrollable rate. The backward states are a drain on the progressive states. The taxes that are taken away from the performing states certainly do not go towards developing the backward states. It is almost completely siphoned off before it reaches the poor who need it the most. This is the reason why there are so many disparities even if the taxes are disproportionately distributed. If this is allowed to continue, the non-performing states will hold back the progressive states and the country as a whole.

And what do the progressive states get in return apart from the peanuts? One particular regional language called Hindi is unfairly and inhumanly imposed on them by several shocking means and their own languages are sought to be wiped out from their own states. What a horrible shame! This is not a federal democratic system by any stretch of the imagination.

Instead of progress reaching the backward areas, the backwardness is affecting even the progressive areas and the country as a whole!

Anonymous said...

Really great article. Yes burgeoning population in so called bihar and UP is not only increasing migration to rest of developed / fast developing states and also crime rates also sharp rising. Its high time these linguistic minority states get their due, interms of equality, respect to their local language and culture by both Central governament and hindi speaking people who migrate to these states - Karuna

ರಾಜ್ said...

There needs to be united action by all the people of the non-Hindi states i.e. the majority of Indians to force the central government to throw its notoriously criminal language imposition policy into the dust-bin where it belongs.

Also, there are some state governments in the non-Hindi states that give unnecessary importance to the regional language of Bihar and U.P. (Hindi). The regional language Hindi seems to be compulsorily taught for a few years in some non-Hindi states. The state governments must be asked by the people to stop teaching the regional language of Bihar (Hindi) as it is an unnecessary burden on the students, especially as the Hindians do not learn any other language. Some BIMARU states don't even teach English for all classes. The schools that follow central boards must be forced to teach the national language of the people of the state compulsorily for a few years at least while the regional language Hindi must be made optional. The broad-minded patriotic Indians of the non-Hindi states should never let the notorious language fascist politicians of U.P. and Bihar and their boot-licking bureaucrats succeed in their evil, nefarious designs of wiping out the national languages of India (including English) and replacing it with their regional language Hindi. This inhuman Hindi fascist linguo-nazi policy of the central government and the criminal politicians of BIMARU is a heinous violation of the rights of Indians. It is a serious crime against India and humanity!

People of the non-Hindi states would do well to stop patronising cheap, C-grade, plagiarised movies (Bollywood bullshit) and music made in the regional language of Bihar and U.P. (Hindi). They should be proud of their own national languages and encourage only books, theatre, music and most importantly films in their own national languages and not the regional language of Bihar (Hindi). The Hindi fascist linguo-nazis always try to deny non-Hindians our rights and culture. Lack of cultural pride in their own national languages affects many non-Hindians. This enables the Hindi fascists to take advantage of them and impose their regional language Hindi on others.

Let every non-Hindian face this truth. Even if you master the regional language Hindi, you can never compete in Hindi with a Hindian because it is his mother tongue/first language. Can someone who learns Chinese or Japanese as a second language even hope to compete in those languages with a native speaker? Never! By learning the regional language of the Hindians when living in a non-Hindi state, non-Hindi Indians they are slowly but surely lowering themselves into the status of second-class citizens in their own country. The Hindians would like it because that is the aim of the nefarious Hindi imposition policy - slowly but steadily wipe out the national languages of India (including English) and replace it with their regional language Hindi. Hindia is NOT India and Hindi is NOT the national language of India! Hindi happens to be just one of the many national languages of India. Even if you do happen to learn Hindi after spending a lot of time, the Hindi fascists will mock and ridicule you for not speaking their regional language like they do, just like the Mumbaikars in Mumbai are mocked and ridiculed by the Biharis and Uttar Pradeshis for speaking "Bambaiyya Hindi" and not Bihari or Uttar Pradeshi Hindi. By speaking one's own national language, one remains a true Indian who recognises the diversity of India. By giving more importance to the regional language of Bihar and U.P. over one's own national language, one merely becomes a stooge of the Hindi fascist linguo-nazi politicians who are opposed to the very idea of India as they want to destroy the linguistic diversity of our country and turn the whole of India into U.P. and Bihar. We should never allow that to happen!

Equality is our birth-right and we shall have it!!!

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