அறிஞர் அண்ணாவின் கட்டுரைகள்


Hopes of fair and equitable treatment at the hands of the Centre, seem to be withering out—and unable either to answer or satisfy the demand made in their respective ‘regions’, one after another of the Chief Minister of the South, are becoming more and more vocal and are attempting to become bold. That by itself is a healthy sign—a step in the right direction.

When it was pointed out, that the Government of India is industrialising the North alone—sinking thousands of crores of rupees there, and neglecting the South,—these ‘Chiefs’ sneered at such remarks, and said that to think in terms of this or that region is foolish—you are masters of the industrialised North as much as you are of the South! Bhakra is as much yours as it is the Punjabi’s, for, Southern or Northern, you should remember you are an Indian, and should rejoice at the remarkable pace of industrialisations going on in some part or other of India.

Much as they tried to vend this stuff, they had to close down the shop! People felt and began to express their concern at the fact, that the North was being more and more inudstrialised.

The biggest dams, the largest factories, the latest Research Centres were all located in the North—while the South was asked to enjoy idyllic beauty!

People were shown statistics of improvement—the information films brought before their eyes, the panorama of improvement—all of the North! Naturally they were irritated.

The State Ministers of the South, found to their dismay, distress written on the faces of the teeming millions. The clamour for more and more employment became acute. Only through an extensive and intensive industrialisation, could this growing menace of unemployment be warded off.

‘Chiefs’ of the South could only plant cashew-nut seedlings or open chapel shops. The bigger projects, needed the approval of and active help from the Centre and the Centre was busy loading the North with more and more plants and projects.

The Ministers of the Southern States, had to offer some explanation for the backwardness of their respective States.

They for some time explained the situation by pointing out that essential raw materials like iron, coal and power were not available. But geologists disproved this argument and experts pointed out the classic example of Japan which has built up a flourishing steel industry, though there are no iron ores there!
So, the Ministers were placed in an awkward position—they had to fish out some other apologia! For, to demand justice and fair treatment might cause irritation in the minds of those at Delhi—who were practically controlling the destiny of these leaders.

They dare not talk in terms of North and South—that would mean they are falling in line, with those agitating for a radical change in the pattern of political arrangement. The Demi-Gods at Delhi would smite them down!
They should speak for their ‘region’ if only to pacify their people but in a language that would not awaken either suspicion or anger in the minds of those at Delhi. And writers of Economic Text books, came to their rescue; they offered the phrase, ‘imbalance’.

The Chiefs, clutched at this sheet anchor with joy.

It is not a question of North Vs. South—it is not rancour or jealousy—it is an economic tenet, pure and simple, there should not be concentration of industries in a particular region alone—industries ought to be spread out; if not there would be imbalance!

“Masterjee! Please do not think that because of hunger, I covet those things on your dining table—I am but placing this plea before you; if so much is consumed by your goodself, there is the possibility of an attack of indigestion, and that is bad—and so to avoid indigestion, give away some dishes to the needy—for instance, me, emaciated as I happen to be.”

If a beggar becomes eloquent, he would talk in some such strain—the Chiefs somehow took up this line of argument, and began speaking about the dangers of imbalance.

Probably they thought that such a nice hint would be enough for the astute leaders at Delhi. They thought, that there would be a sort of decentralisation and the like.

But, as if in answer to their criticism about the imbalance, came the new slogan from Pandit Nehru—“this craze for gigantism in industry should be given up.”

Gigantic Projects and plans are by now completed—in the North—and just at the moment, when those Chiefs of the South, marshalled out enough courage to speak about the dangers inherent in imbalance, Pandit Nehru came forward banging at the very idea of big industries—gigantism.

Hopes were hence dashed to the ground—and now the Chiefs had to become a bit outspoken.

It was in such a mood, that, Mr.Sanjeeva Reddi spoke, while inaugurating the Andhra Pradesh Businessmen’s Conference held at Hyderabad.

Inaugurating the Conference he said industries in the country today were concentrated in certain areas and he pleaded for a ‘spread over.’

Mr. Sanjeeva Reddy urged the businessmen to start new industries in the Andhra Pradesh.

It is significant, that Mr. Sanjeeva Reddy invited businessmen from Madras and Mysore to come and start industries. It is not without significance that the Chief of Andhra Pradesh did not think it fit to invite businessmen from North!

It was for the first time, the chief minister said, that businessmen from the four Southern States had got together. He hoped the meeting would help them assess us to how best the resources of these States could be pooled up for their industrial development.

The conference it is reported was attended besides delegates from Andhra Pradesh, by over 60 representatives of various Chambers of Commerce of Madras, Mysore and Kerala.

In fact, after the deliberations, taking the cue perhaps from the Chief Minister’s speech the zonal council of the Chambers of Commerce of Southern India, announced the formation of a Committee of five to draft the development plan for the South.

These are not trends without significance—the more explicit our interpretation of these trends, the louder would be their denial! For, they are cautious men, who would refuse to be dragged into controversies! For them, prudence is the better part of valour.

Nor was this all. An Andhra M.P., Mr. Rami Reddy, began lecturing about the evils of imbalance on the floor of the Lok Sabha—and pleaded for the starting of a fertiliser factory at least in the public sector!
And, Mr. Brahmananda Reddy, the Finance Minister, has stated that the Centre’s assistance was not encouraging.

The Minister sounded a note of regret that the Central assistance in the shape of loans and grants for the Andhra Pradesh plan had remained practically stationary, at about 19 crores to 20 crores a year, while the State’s own contribution had risen in each of the last three years.

Mrs. Nallamuthu Ramamoorthi, though in the Congress fold, had to voice forth the feelings of the State of Madras thus:
The South had been given not a single new railway line during the second plan. Something must be done to make good this deficiency in the very first year of the third plan.

They who control the destiny of the Southern States, dare not present a ‘fatalist’ interpretation—they have to be plain even at the risk of incurring the displeasure of those at Delhi—for, their real masters, the people, want the truth to be told! And truth always triumphs.

And these sentiments expressed, do but show, that truth comes trickling! That is better than flat denials or bunkum. They are on the right track.

(Sub-Editorial - 22-02-1959)