With the recent news of the National Capital Region (NCR) covered with smog, I was wondering down south how India welcomed all the foreign dignitaries who arrived in Delhi (Britain’s Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla Parker Bowles) on the very same day. Even the Belgian royal couple were greeted with smog (the picture on the Quint, without the background blurred, says it all)!
Yes, I know that Beijing faces a similar issue – and world summits happen even when severe warnings of air pollution are issued. The point that I am trying to make is not that these foreign dignitaries should not visit Delhi, but that they should be accommodated in some other place in India.
Yes, I know that during the Chinese president Xi Jinping’s visit, Modi set his own protocol by receiving him in Ahmedabad in September 2014. Why can’t we have the same at Hyderabad House which hosts world leaders in Hyderabad? Why not welcome world leaders in the ‘proposed’ second capital of India, Hyderabad?
The reason I call it ‘proposed’ is because BR Ambedkar, in his book titled “Thoughts On Linguistic States”, said that Hyderabad should be the second capital of India. In fact, he dedicated one full chapter (titled “India And The Necessity Of A Second Capital: A Way To Remove Tension Between The North And The South”) to the matter. Ambedkar further cited climate as one of the reasons for this: “Delhi is most inconvenient to the people of the South. They suffer the most from cold as well as distance. Even the Northern people suffer in the summer months. […]Delhi is a vulnerable place. It is within bombing distance of the neighbouring countries.”
Tensions between different regions will always be there – particularly in a country as diverse as India. Probably from the administrative point of view, I think Hyderabad needs to be zeroed in. Even recently, in a debate on whether National Courts of Appeal should be established in the four corners of the country, former Chief Justice TS Thakur pointed out that “Isn’t access to justice a fundamental right for all? Does this mean access to justice has become an illusion for people of Kerala and Tamil Nadu?”
After all, the Supreme Court is situated in the far north in Delhi, and litigants from the southern states find it unduly long and expensive to come here in search of justice. In fact, this was one of the points Supreme Court’s amicus curiae cited for a Constitution Bench to decide whether National Courts of Appeal need to be established in the four corners of the country.
Ambedkar also finds Mumbai unsafe due to its coastline. Then, most interestingly, Ambedkar zeroes in on Hyderabad, and states, “I find Hyderabad to be such a place. Hyderabad Secunderabad and Bolarum should be constituted into a Chief Commissioner’s Province and made a second capital of India. Hyderabad fulfills all the requirements of a capital for India.” Most relevantly, he states Hyderabad’s equidistance to all states as the major reason for his choice.