REGIONAL DISPARITY OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN MAHARASHTRA, WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO VIDHARBHA

Dr. B. N. KAMBLE

Abstract


With the establishment of British colonial rule the Marathi speaking people were geographically divided into three political regions as a part of the "divide and rule" policy. Konkan and Deccan remained with in Bombay Presidency, Vidarbha-Nagpur became a part of the Central Provinces and Berar, and Marathwada came under the rule of the Nizam state of Hyderabad. The state of Maharashtra came into being in 1960, with the bifurcation of the bilingual state of Bombay. Historically the state is divided into four main regions, namely, Konkan, Marathwada, Vidarbha and western Maharashtra (WM).

Vidarbha witnessed prosperity during the colonial period due to expanded cotton cultivation, particularly following the American civil war and the Lancashire cotton famine. However, by and large, the region remained agriculturally backward owing to the absence of any irrigation and due to erratic monsoons. The Maha-Vidarbha movement which started in the early part of the 20th century demanding a separate statehood finally culminated in the Nagpur Agreement. Though the Nagpur Agreement was accepted as the basis for addressing regional inequality after the formation of Maharashtra State in 1960, excepting some symbolic changes such as the shifting of the legislative session to Nagpur and setting up of a high court bench, nothing substantial took place on the developmental front till the elapse of five successive five year plans. The process of agricultural development in Maharashtra over the last three decades indicates regional inequality in which WM remained much ahead of other regions in terms of major developmental indicators. However, compared to Vidarbha, the Marathwada region experienced better improvement in some respects. The Marathwada and Vidarbha regions were unable to compete effectively for a larger share of state*s resources due to the absence of a well-articulated structure of factions and alliances.


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