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

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Jharkhand: From Separation to Liberation

Jharkhand is not a Mizoram or Meghalaya, not only because of its vastness but because of its very composition. Jharkhand is a mini India or, more correctly, a concentrated India. The making of Jharkhand is thus a part of the making of India. It has two simultaneous objectives: struggle and construction. Struggle against divisive forces and construction of the new state.

One feature of the Jharkhand movement has been its focus on Jhagrakhand as much as on Jharkhand. (There is in fact a district called Jhagrakhand just bordering Jharkhand in Madhya Pradesh!) No wonder then that there will be apprehension that the new state of Jharkhand will lead to some disputes. Some quarrel has already started on the chief ministership even before the new state has been born. So while celebrating the birth of the state after a long struggle of more than 15 years, all possible complications which may come in the way of its making should be carefully studied so that the challenges are met properly in time.

The vast track of mineral rich area in the heartland of India with its plains and plateaus, hills and jungles is known as Jharkhand since long. It is good that the attempt to rename it as Vananchal has been given up. The original demand included 18 districts of Bihar (79,638 sq km), three districts of West Bengal (26,546 sq km), four districts of Orissa (45,897 sq km) and two districts of Madhya Pradesh (31,247 sq km) with a population of about 4 crore people. The demand took its historic root in the South-West Frontier Agency formed by the British in 1833 clubbing all these areas with Chhotanagpur as a single unit with the headquarters at Hazaribag. However, the present Jharkhand state will be carved out of Bihar only. It has a population of 2.14 crore of which 27.67 per cent are tribals, 15 per cent harijan and 40 per cent other backward castes. According to the Indian Bureau of Mines, Jharkhand contains 32.35 per cent of India’s coal, 23.32 per cent of iron ore, 33.85 per cent of copper, 46.51 per cent of mica reserves. Even as it is so rich in resources, it is inhabited by the poorest people of India. Darkness under light is Jharkhand.

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