If Belgaum should go away, how about Bombay?

Y.P. Rajesh in the Indian Express:

“Maharashtra’s undying desire for 865 villages in Karnataka’s border districts of Belgaum, Bidar, Gulbarga and Karwar, as well as for Belgaum city itself, defies logic. True, there are Marathi speakers in these districts just as there are Kannada speakers on the other side and Gujarati speakers in Mumbai, Hindi speakers in Vidarbha, and so on.

“The reorganisation of states in the 1950s may not have been a perfect job like so many others and the debate over carving out smaller states from existing mega-states remains a volatile issue as Telangana so recently demonstrated. Why would Maharashtra want to absorb these districts, and add to its burden of governing an already unwieldy state? It has hardly done a great job of ensuring equitable development across its regions such as Marathwada, Vidarbha and the northern districts.

“In fact, the state that was once India’s industrial powerhouse is staring at an uncertain future. If language were the sole criteria for these villages to be a part of Maharashtra, then the same argument could be applied to Mumbai as well. Even at the time of the reorganisation of states, the Marathi population of Bombay was around 43 per cent. Today it is estimated at under 35 per cent. At neither time was it a majority but does that mean the protectors of Marathi pride will allow the debate over to whom or where Mumbai belongs, be reopened”

Read the full article: Big issues, petty politics