Reorganise States – Improve Governance

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There are two types of people in India.

There are those that this government loves. The people government loves are those who love government. Or at least say that they love government. Talk of requitted love. Beautiful.

Then there are those that dislike the government. These people are always critical. Blind to the good days that are with us. Wilfully dismissive of how India has reached pinnacle of power in the world.  These people try to create trouble all the time. Protesting. Pointing to out-dated concepts like democracy. Freedom of expression. Rights (I wonder what those are). They do not stop there – they try to get support from others. Some times across State borders. Ridiculous. Why should people of Shaheen Baug think that they are entitled to support in Mumbai? Or farmers from Punjab and Haryana think that Maharashtra or Karnataka farmers should join them?  All in all, these guys are proving to be a headache. Government has to spend time on these irritants when they have so many goals to reach.  Something MUST be done and done now.

I have a suggestion – reorganisation of States. Government should use this blank template and draw up new states.

In 1956, the erstwhile British ruled Provinces and princely states were reorganised on linguistic lines. This created some trouble as we can see in Maharashtra which still wants Belgaum within it’s borders. But that is another story for another day. Let us stay focused. Since then, States have been broken up into smaller units but what happened in the late 1950s is more or less how we see India organised politically. This is a problem. Huge problem. There is too much confusion. What confusion, you say? Let me explain with an example.

Let us say that the government at the centre, has a problem with a pesky journalist in a State. A journalist who asks inconvenient questions and keeps talking about the truth, whatever that means. Let us assume that the central government is very powerful and all the arms of State can be deployed by it in a way it wants to. Now back to the pesky journalist. If she happens to be a resident of the State which is also governed by the same party that governs at the national level, life becomes easy. The cops will always be willing to pick the journalist up, beat her, imprison her. Courts will deny bail. Her life will be hell. No questions asked. No planning needed. The process itself is the punishment. Years of practice means that this is part of the limbic system. No conscious thought required.  However, if the State is governed by an opposition party, things may get difficult. The Central government may not be able to get it’s way easily. They may have to resort to threats, blackmail. Withholding of shared revenue. They may have to register cases in another state.  That’s too much work. But it has to be done. Dissent cannot be tolerated.

Journalists are not the only irritants. There are other troublemakers – lawyers, activists, ordinary citizens, students who, incredibly, raise their voice for justice. How dare they! The worms!  Now you will, my dear reader, agree that this is a ridiculous situation. Government should not have to do so much infructuous work. They have to build so many things – statues, water fronts, palaces, temples. They cannot be distracted by these irritants. Then what can be done?

We reorganize the States. Not on language, not on religion (though that is a very intriguing idea – can we extend it to caste?), not on culture but on profession.

Here is where we take lead from history. We reorganize the States. Not on language, not on religion (though that is a very intriguing idea – can we extend it to caste?), not on culture but on profession. Yes you heard right, profession. Imagine that we have separate States for (real) journalists, (godi) journalists, human rights activists, comedians (who are mostly liberal), students (one state for the right kind and one for the wrong kind), film actors (nationalists), film actors (antinational), farmers, corporate captains, and so on. There is no harm in having 800 States so let us not stint on the numbers please. Think big. We keep these different groups separate. Not allow them to mix. To cross boundaries.  We can build walls (know any corporate giant who can build walls?) to contain them. They can talk amongst themselves – anyway they exist in their own echo chambers. They need not mix, what the hell do students have to do with farmers anyway?  

Governance would be so easy whether it was imposition of taxes, apportioning police force for maintaining law and order, providing freebies – all made ridiculously easy.  Minimum government, Maximum Governance. At last. Yay! The only thing is people would have to choose and stick to their choices. Children of people who are born in, let us say, a State of comedians, would have no option but to become comedians themselves. But that is not a problem. Dynasties are a part of films, politics, business and sport anyway. Why not other professions too. Non? A bonus is that, there would be no cognitive dissonance for anyone, since this profession wise classification mimics centuries of tradition and culture.

Makarand