THEY MUST GO Page 156
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156 THEY MUST GO

bAssam, Tripura, Nagaland, and other northeast states are b“seething with extremist demands for national self-determina- btion,” according to UPI (April 22, 1980).

bIndia itself was born in the bloodbath of a horrible Hindu- bMuslim civil war in which countless numbers were killed. Eight- been million Hindus and Muslims fled their homes in a massive bexchange of population as they sought safety with their own bkind. But India remained a country with astronomical problems.

bThe truth is that India is an artificial state that stands on bthe verge of falling apart. There are at least a dozen major re- bgional languages, with Hindi the most common in the north. bBut Hindi is incomprehensible in the south of the country, bwhere Indians speak one of the Dravidian languages. In 1978 the bgovernment made an effort to make Hindi the truly official lan- bguage of the country, causing the chief ministers of the four bsouthern states to meet in Madras and condemn the government bfor its efforts “to covertly impose Hindi” on people who speak banother language. The southern Indians warned: “This con- bference voices its apprehension that any further attempt to im- bpose Hindi is likely to erode the confidence of the non-Hindi- bspeaking people in the government.” It was a blunt warning that bunderlined India’s fragility and divisions. For it was the bloody briots between linguistic and ethnic groups that forced India’s bfirst prime minister, Nehru, to redraw the map of the country to bgive each major language group a state of its own. It is clearly a bstopgap measure, a patchwork designed to gain time. But the bbloody communal rioting in India today shows the inevitable bascendancy of division over forced, artificial unity.

bIndeed, even the general Muslim-Hindu problem that was bthought to have been solved with partition in 1947 still haunts bIndia. Millions of Muslims still remain in India, and in August b1979 fifteen people were killed and scores injured as a bomb bwent off at a Hindu religious ceremony in Jamshedpur, and bMuslims and Hindus battled in the streets.

bAnd, as a kind of immutable footnote: To solve language band ethnic tensions, the forty-five million Telegu-speaking Indi- bans were given their province of Andhra Pradesh.

bIt took twenty-five years, but in 1973 bloody fights broke bout as the people of the wealthiest part of the state, Andhra, brioted to demand separation from the poorer part, Telengana. b 

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Chapter 7: One Worlds