A group of villagers in North Karnataka’s Raichur district. 
A group of villagers in North Karnataka’s Raichur district. Photo: The Quint/Arun Dev 
  • 1. What and Where is North Karnataka?
  • 2. First Call for Unification Came from North Karnataka
  • 3. When Did the Separation Demands Start?
  • 4. Article 371(J) and Quelling of Dissent
  • 5. Why Did the Demand Resurface?
  • 6. Economic and Cultural Imbalance
  • 7. BJP Leader Supports New State
  • 8. Why North Karnataka Won’t Mutate Into Another Telangana
Explained: The Demand for a Separate North Karnataka State

One of the first mentions of the Kannada Nadu (the land of Kannada) was in a 9th century literary work – Kavirajamargam (the way of the king of poets).

According to the collection of poems, Kannada Nadu was the region between river Godavari to river Cauvery, defining the current state of Karnataka, centuries before the reorganisation of states based on language.

The poem was written by King Nrupathunga, who hails from today’s North Karnataka.

But in 2018, Nrupathunga’s North Karnataka was in the news for its demand for separate statehood. The state is bracing for a bandh called by farmer and student groups to highlight their demand on 2 August.

Why is North Karnataka, once the epicentre for the movement for the unification of Karnataka from the 9th century to the post-independence era, now demanding separation?

The answer lies in the long history of economic and cultural negligence on the parts of the ruling governments operating out of South Karnataka.

  • 1. What and Where is North Karnataka?

    North Karnataka is the region of Karnataka bordering Maharashtra and Telangana, which comprises 13 of Karnataka’s 30 districts. North Karnataka is further divided into two regions – Bombay Karnataka and Hyderabad Karnataka.

    Bombay Karnataka comprises of Belgavi, Hubli-Dharwad, Gadag, Bagalkote and Vijayapura. Before independence, this region of North Karnataka came under the Bombay presidency, giving it the name Bombay Karnataka.

    Similarly, the region that came under the rule of the Nizam of Hyderabad became Hyderabad Karnataka after independence. This region consists of Kalburgi, Yadgir, Raichur, Koppal and Ballari districts.

    This water-scarce region of the state has little to offer in terms of the natural resources. Being far away from the seat of power, there are no administrative offices located in the region, expect for Survana Soudha, a replica of secretariat in Bengaluru. But the secretariat is open for less than two weeks every year.

    To add to it, the heat and depleting water resources also leads to limited investment taking place in the regions.


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