(News) Statehood for Bundelkhand, a genuine demand

 Statehood for Bundelkhand, a genuine demand

Bundelkhand, known as Jaijak bhukti until medieval period, is a geographic region of central India that spreads between Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. The six districts of Madhya Pradesh — Chhatarpur, Damoh, Datia, Panna, Sagar and Tikamgarh — and the seven districts of Uttar Pradesh — Jalaun, Banda, Chitrkoot, Hamirpur, Jhansi, Lalitpur and Mahoba — form the Bundelkhand region. Bundelkhand kingdom was established by the Bundela dynasty, a Rajput clan. Geographically Bundelkhand lies between the Indo-Gangetic plains to the north and the Vindhya Range to the south.

Demand for statehood to Bundelkhand has gathered momentum after the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minster, Ms Mayawati, who has a strong political hold in this region, expressed her support.

Agricultural economy

Bundelkhand has been in the news for the backwardness and distress that has plagued it for a long time. Persistent poverty in Bundelkhand forces migration of people from villages to other States in search of alternative source of livelihood. This region can be characterised as a feudal area that discourages private investment.

The economy of Bundelkhand is largely agricultural, owing to its predominantly rural population. People's livelihood are mainly based on subsistence, rain-fed, single crop agriculture and small-scale livestock production, with wheat and oilseeds being the predominant crops.

The uncertainty of rainfall along with poor quality soil makes agriculture difficult in many parts of Bundelkhand. Throughout the year the people here face water scarcity for both agricultural and domestic use. Large numbers of farmers are highly dependent on the monsoon rains for agricultural activities.

Industries are mostly absent in this region. According to the web site of Development Alternatives, there is only one factory for every 100,000 people. The entire region is characterised by some of the lowest levels of per capita income and human development in the country.

The only solution to the problems — poverty, hunger, lack of development and infrastructure — in the region is statehood. This would not only help the cause of better governance but also preserve the region's sub-cultural identity. There are many other reasons as well for the statehood of Bundelkhand.

Shrinking UP, MP

Owing to their large population, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh are chronic cases of underdevelopment, and governance is not done adequate enough. In terms of population, Uttar Pradesh is bigger than Pakistan or Russia. While Madhya Pradesh is bigger than all the southern African countries. Therefore, reducing the size of both States has become an absolute necessity for directing the benefits of developmental programmes to the common man. The basic argument for statehood for Bundelkhand is that adequate voice in political decision-making, and better governance and employment opportunities are not possible within the integrated Uttar Pradesh.

If formation of new States was based on only linguistic criterion, there should have been only one State for all Hindi-speaking regions such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. The truth is that our States have been formed on no common basis. There were different reasons applicable for different States.

The North-Eastern States were formed because of tribal demands. Likely, Goa had come in existence because of its own historical background. Notwithstanding the linguistic factor, administrative efficiency, regional, cultural and other such factors make new statehoods desirable.

Statehood of Bundelkhand will not only be helpful in articulation of local and sub-cultural regional identities, but also in equitable expansion of regional development in the coming years.

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Courtesy: The Hindu