Train travel to Mangalore teaches you one thing: the clearcut definition of states that we see on an Indian map is both arbitrary, and a fallacy.
Just the fact that Mangalore has three commonly used names is evidence. The official one now because of Kannadigization is Mangalooru. The British Mangalore is still used more frequently, but for Keralites, it’s Mangalapuram. It’s kind of funny actually – from the starting end, the train is Thiruvananthapuram Mangalapuram Express, when it reaches, it’s Trivandrum Mangalooru Express 🙂
This doesn’t mean the separation of states via language is a bad idea or that everybody in Mangalore is bilingual (I would guess far from it), but everybody there does understand a smattering of Malayalam, and many speak both.
Separating states based on language was a great idea – a brilliant stroke of post-independence diplomacy. How else could you preserve the vast differences between people that make India unique, remove old allegiances to territorial rulers, ensure cohesive growth and representation, and direct an emergence of a new, valid and distinct identity – all at the same time? It’s like a zillion birds with one stone. For the people responsible, see States Reorganisation Act on Wikipedia.
However, the recent creation of new states (Uttarakhand, Jharkhand) based on the existence of a tribal majority is I believe a mistake. What made sense 50 years ago hardly does so now. Isn’t it time we strongly instill the idea of Indianess as opposed to regional or communal identity? (part of what makes U.S. and China so strong is their sense of national fervor) Add to this, there’s the danger that Maoist separatists bring to the country. They’ve already toppled the leadership of one nation (arguably a good thing), and are fast becoming a distinct danger to Federal rule in India. No need to exacerbate that by splitting the country further. Thoughts?