Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The world that is Hyderabad.

Are you from Andhra Pradesh? If so, it should not be a surprise if Hyderabad is supposed to be the center of your world. Am a Telugu guy working in Chennai and whenever I tell my non telugu friends that I am going home, most of them quip if I am going to Hyderabad. I am from Vizag, a place with a population of more than 20 lakhs(census 2001) and hell a lot of public sector industries. I am quite comfortable working in Chennai and I dont like people telling me to look for opportunities in Hyderabad(If there are opportunities, so be it...but why just Hyderabad, why cant someone talk about Bangalore to me?). Why should I be in Hyderabad? I am as much at home in Chennai as anywhere else . Most of my telugu friends who go to the US for higher studies tell me that they are generally asked if they are from Hyderabad. So bad. Andhra Pradesh is the fifth largest state in India, the rice bowl of India(Hyderabad doesn't produce one bit of it-no fields there) and there should be something more than just Hyderabad to it.
The point is just not about Hyderabad. It is about the state of Andhra Pradesh and the state of things there. Hyderabad has been and is being projected as the biggest thing in the State, the place to be, the happening one and what not. I think every sane mind in the country knows that the reason why politicians want a separate Telangana or do not want a separate Telangana is because of the amount of money that is present in Hyderabad. Guntur, Krishna, the Godavari districts, Visakhapatnam are all big places. Why weren't these places ever seen as fit for the kind of development that Hyderabad has been witness to. Its been a total policy failure of successive governments and finally we see people holding the state to ransom for just one place.
The question is not who it belongs to or who it should belong to. The question actually is : "Why did we need to think about belonging at all?". Why weren't nodal centers for business and service sectors developed in other parts of the state, when there is a constant supply of skilled labour in most parts of the state. Also, the ground conditions in Hyderabad are generally more turbulent when compared to other regions in the country and the reasons for it, we know, are obvious. In such a situation, instead of projecting the "thriving in the turbulence" as a quality of the city(which is undoubtedly true), things must be done to mitigate the level of problems that could arise out of the possible turbulences. It would have been common sense not to invest so much in one single such place and that too when the region that plays host to this city itself is relatively very underdeveloped.

Look at Maharashtra. Mumbai without doubt is its shining jewel. But hasn't Pune built up a reputation of its own? Look at Karnataka. Bangalore is where the big daddies are, still; dont the IT companies have a sizeable presence in Mysore and Mangalore? Come to Andhra Pradesh and for ages we have been hearing of Tier 2 centers being developed. There are a few in Vizag, but that I have been hearing since my college days. And these days, I find most of the tier-1, heavily staffed companies(TCS,Wipro,Infy and CTS) building bigger and bigger facilities in Chennai. Things are not that rosy anymore. What came to the fore more than anything during the recent Telangana crisis, is the lopsided development that Andhra Pradesh has seen in the areas of infrastructure and business creation. Different parties have been party to it in different ways. It is time we saw the bigger picture and made equitable development a serious concern. And afterall, the center of the world is where it is. Not in Hyderabad or Vizag.

Jai Hind!