ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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MAHARASHTRA- The Case of the Neglected Wife

August 31, 1968 THE demand for a separate Vidarbha State comprising the eight districts of Akola, Amraoti, Buldhana, Yeotmal, Wardha, Nagpur, Bhandara and Chanda is old, but the violent demonstrations in the region are an altogether disconcerting development, particularly because they reflect growing estrangement between the region's leadership and its people. The agitation for the location of an agricultural university in the region arises from genuine grievances, mainly economic. Though the region is strongly represented in the State Cabinet, Y B Chavan, the Union Home Minister, continues to reign supreme and Vidarbha, it is felt, is neglected by government. The decision to locate the new farm university at Ahmednagar in West Maharashtra has been viewed as a symbolic confirmation of that belief. The Vidarbha leaders in the Cabinet find it highly embarrassing to plead for benefits for their region because they arc afraid that, coming on top of their somewhat disproportionate strength in the Cabinet, their pleadings might give the impression that Vidarbhaites want to grab everything for their region. This fear of criticism has prevented them from attending to the growing frustration in their region. (That upper caste girls of Nagpur are married to Poona boys by tradition is only a historical coincidence.) The main point made in the recent demonstrations is that the promises given to Vidarbha in March 1960 when the unilingual State of Maharashtra was formed have not been honoured. One of the many assurances by Y B Chavan, then Chief Minister of bilingual Bombay, contained in the policy statement made by him in the Legislative Assembly in March 1960 was the establishment of a separate develop- ment board for Vidarbha. While a similar board has already been set up for Marattovada (the Marathi-speaking area taken over from Hyderabad), there is no move as yet to set up a board pilot surveys and investigations of soil and water resources in chronically drought-affected areas. During his recent visit to the State, Morarji Desai held out the assurance that a suitable provision would be included in the Fourth Plan.

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