Posts Tagged ‘Princes’

Telangana Thoughts

December 15, 2009

The controversy in India over the proposed separation of Telangana from Andhra Pradesh as a new state brought two thoughts to mind: the irony of history and the tyranny of fashion.

There is little argument that many states in India are very large in area and population – much larger than many countries – and that there is a good case that smaller units can lead to more effective and participatory governance. Thus the call for decentralization is credible and consistent with the fashion of the day.

But think back now to 1947: At Independence India had about a dozen provinces governed directly by the British and over 500 princely states governed by treaty with hereditary local rulers who accepted British sovereignty in return for local autonomy. Could you have more decentralization than 500 states that had a coherence imparted by the legitimacy of tradition? (more…)