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DOUBLE ENGINE DERAILMENT

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BY HUGH & COLLEEN GANTZER
The term “Double Engine” is being used with increasing frequency and alarming ignorance. It was ill-chosen in the first place. In any system the coordination of the haulage capacity of two locomotives is a complex coupling and is used only when one engine doesn’t have the power to pull the load of its wagons. When the term is used in a political sense, it is an admission that the elected representative of the smaller state does not have the ability to handle the affairs of the state. This is a clear slap in the face of all the MLAS of that state. If the netas of that state need outside help to run the affairs of the state, then they are clearly incompetent and should resign. The double engine metaphor is nothing short of demanding central rule for the state.
IS THIS THE REAL OBJECTIVE OF THE FREQUENT USE OF THE TERM ‘DOUBLE ENGINE’.?
We have also noted the alarming frequency with which the Governors of opposition ruled states are interfering with the nitty-gritty of the governance of those states. They have not been appointed so that all states follow the diktats of a single political dispensation. India is a Union of States. It cannot be represented by a bundle of uniformly trimmed sticks bound tightly together around an enforcement axe. That is the symbol of fasces or fascism.
India cannot be fitted into any pre-conceived pattern. We are unique in all the world’ as described by a great scholar. Peter Frankopan is the Professor of Global History at Oxford University and Senior Research Fellow at Worcester College, Oxford. He is recognised as one of the world’s leading historians. In his remarkable global best seller THE EARTH TRANSFORMED he writes: A case in point comes from the Indian sub-continent, a region that is ecologically and culturally diversive and home to a wide array of settled villages, hunter-gathers, swidden cultivators, nomadic pastoralists and fisherfolk, as well as possessing astonishing species diversity and great climate and ecological variety: as such, some scholars argue not only that there are dangers in making generalizations about the sub-continent as a whole, but that comparisons with other parts of the world are simply not appropriate. Our wonderous racial diversity is enshrined in the extraordinary vitality of our many mother tongues.
India was divided into linguistic states based on such mother tongues in 1956, when the States Re-organization Act was passed and was effective from November 1, 1956. The total number of languages recognised are 22 today. They are Assamese, Bangla, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi , Kashmiri, Kannada, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, and Urdu. Hindi and English are the two official languages. English is also the state language of Nagaland. Finally, English is the aspirational language of India. While it might give Hindi speakers an ego boost to
hear the politicians of one party give all their answers in Hindi, this is an extremely counterproductive move. The Dravidian people are proud of the fact that Tamil has retained its pure form for so many generations that the jokes expressed in their ancient classics can still be enjoyed. They consider Hindi the language of the bazzars and barracks and of very little cultural significance. Bollywood would have been the greatest missionary of Hindi, if it had been left to its own devices. We have noticed the emergence of such a common language on TV. The Prime Minister was recently thanked by a young family for providing “toilet paper”. From the heartland of Hindus we learn of a ‘”ground breaking ceremony.” From the same state we hear of its popularity among “international investors”. Is such usage the shape of things to come?
Finally, central taxes are collected irrespective of the political affiliations of the tax payer. Or rather, that is the way it should be done. But then, is there any justification in the Central government trumpeting the great financial benefits that are heaped on states that become part of the Double Engine Sircar. Surely, in a democratic nation tax revenue should be dispersed on the needs of its citizens, and not on their political preferences. If welfare schemes are pegged to how citizens vote, then they are not welfare schemes but financial enticement. There is a word for such money-centric enticement. But we will leave our readers to savour that “achar” in their own minds!

(Hugh & Colleen Gantzer hold the National Lifetime Achievement Award for Tourism among other National and International awards. Their credits include over 52 halfhour documentaries on national TV under their joint names, 26 published books in 6 genres, and over 1,500 first-person articles, about every Indian state, UT and 34 other countries. Hugh was a Commander in the Indian Navy and the Judge Advocate, Southern Naval Command. Colleen is the only travel writer who was a member of the Travel Agents Association of India.) (The opinions and thoughts expressed here reflect only the authors’ views!).