Is separate telangana essential?
TRS President K.Chandrasekhar Rao announced that he was going to take a ‘fast unto death’ for the sake of the formation of a separate Telangana state. He sent official letters to The Prime Minister of India, Sonia Gandhi, the President of the Indian National Congress and the President of India and the leaders of the Opposition parties at the Central Government. On the day of the beginning of his fast he was arrested on his way to Siddhipet where he is supposed to fast on a raised platform in the presence of a public gathering. He was arrested by the Police for no apparent reason inspite of the resistance of hundreds of surrounding Telangana activists at Algoonur on the outskirts of Karimnagar. In a matter of hours many TRS leaders were dragged away by the Police and KCR was unconstitutionally transported to another district Khammam.
A day after the failure of talks with Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy over the issue of separate statehood to the Telangana region, senior Congress leader G. Venkatswamy said the separate state could be achieved only through sacrifices. The Congress party’s deputy leader in Lok Sabha said a separate Telangana could not be achieved through talks and hinted that a movement similar to the one witnessed in 1969 was required.
“The movement then had taken 350 lives and I don’t know how many more lives it requires,” he told a seminar on development issues in the backward Telangana region.
He said a separate Telangana would help address the Maoist problem. He was referring to the argument by opponents of a separate state that it would strengthen Maoists.
Referring to his dinner meeting with the chief minister Friday, the former union minister said he made it clear there would be no compromise on the demand for a separate state.
The talks between the chief minister and senior leaders headed by Venkatswamy at the latter’s house had failed to break the ice. During the 90-minute meeting, Rajasekhara Reddy failed to mollify the group, which decided to continue to agitate for formation of a separate state before next year’s election.
After the meeting, Venkatswamy, who is a member of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), told newsmen that the chief minister unfortunately failed to give any specific assurance over the issue.
Venkatswamy told Rajasekhara Reddy that if he took the initiative, a separate Telangana would become a reality.
The chief minister reportedly told the senior leaders that it was not proper to criticise the party leaders as this would cause damage to the party.
The meeting came in the backdrop of mounting criticism by the senior leaders after they were denied an appointment with party president Sonia Gandhi to convey their sentiments over the issue. Venkatswamy had even stated that the denial of appointment to a senior leader like him was an insult to the party.
The demand for separate statehood to Telangana region comprising 10 districts including Hyderabad is over four decades old.
The Congress leaders from the region intensified their efforts in the wake of Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) threatening to resign en masse from parliament and state legislature to mount pressure on the Congress-led UPA government.
AFTER NEARLY four decades of struggle for a separate state, the Telangana issue seems to have reached a flashpoint, with the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) setting a deadline for the formation of a separate Telangana state. A war-like situation arose in Andhra Pradesh politics as the TRS declared that all its elected representatives, viz, 16 MLAs, six MLCs, four MPs and others from the local bodies would resign on March 6 if the process for formation of the state was not initiated in the budget session of the parliament. The development warrants that political parties, leaders, cadres and the general public from both the regions view the issue from a proper perspective. They should make it clear, whether a separate Telangana state is justified or not.
The first battle for separation of Telangana from Andhra Pradesh erupted in 1969 under the leadership of Marri Chenna Reddy. However, he betrayed the people who trusted him and actively participated in the movement under his leadership. The Congress party suppressed the movement by terrorising people on the one hand and manipulating the leaders of the Telangana movement on the other. The movement disturbed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people one way or the other. It was a big blow to the generation of the times, which forgot all about the movement following its failure. People realised that politicians would take them for a ride and benefit from their movement for a separate state.
Despite the country becoming independent in 1947, Telangana continues to be under the rule of outsiders in some form or other. The Nizams were ruling the region at the time of independence. The newly formed Indian government toppled the Nizam’s government by force and handed it over to Andhra Pradesh (AP), another new state carved out of the then Madras state. Thus, Telangana became a part of AP. A few conditions were laid down to ensure that AP treated Telangana well, which were observed more in the breach by the Andhra leaders.
The merger of Telangana with AP was a historical blunder committed by the then national-level leaders. They might have misguided the national leadership by arguing that the people of both the regions are one and the same since they speak Telugu. It was a huge trickery played by the AP politicians who wanted to rule over a bigger state by merging Telangana with AP.
The people of Telangana realised the fraud in the 1960s. But the movement was mercilessly trampled by the AP government, with the help of the central government as well as a few selfish politicians from Telangana. The blow to the movement was so severe that until two generations later, one could not even think of uttering the word Telangana, leave alone demand a separate Telangana state. The concept was stigmatised by the media, which was controlled by the AP government. They were intoxicated with their victory over the people of Telangana and treated the Telanganites as second-class citizens.
The discrimination is everywhere and in every aspect. Telanganites are a minority in government as well as in private sectors, which are largely in the hands of Andhraites. They never consider Telanganites for higher positions in government or private corporations or anywhere else. Andhraites ridicule the Telanganites.
Historically, people’s urge for independence could never be suppressed permanently. Though it may look like an individual’s or some selfish politician’s demand, the struggle for independence continues for years, decades or even centuries. The stigma surrounding the concept of a separate Telangana state continued until K Chandrashekhar Rao took up the cudgels and re-launched the battle for a separate state in 2001. The movement re-emerged strongly and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) could garner support from various quarters, including the youth and the hi-tech, global generation of the day. Sensing the seriousness of the issue, the Congress party struck an alliance with TRS in the 2004 elections and captured power both at the state and the centre.
Once again, the Congress betrayed the people of Telangana. It is the Congress Party that has been betraying the people of Telangana right from the day Telangana merged with AP in the 1950s and this time the betrayal has been more blatant. The Congress President Sonia Gandhi and even the then Chief Ministerial candidate YS Rajashekhar Reddy wore the pink flag during the 2004 election campaign, conveying they were all for Telangana’s statehood and would facilitate the separation of Telangana if they came to power. Once in power, they showed their true colours, with the party, at the national and state level, making all efforts to defuse the issue. It’s time now for the Congress leaders from Telangana to wake up and teach the party a fitting lesson. They should either come out of the party and join the final struggle for Telangana state or remain with the party and proclaim their support for the separation of Telangana clearly and loudly. This is a lifetime opportunity for the politicians to do some ‘service’ to the people. They will become heroes in the eyes of the generations to come or else they will be politically crucified for their treachery.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) is unabashedly supporting those suppressing the movement, forgetting the fact that the concept of Communism is based on the independence of the ‘people’. Can the CPI (M) explain what harm arises from forming a separate Telangana state? Can’t they learn lessons from the history that witnessed fierce struggles for independence by people of different cultures? Whatever support this party has been enjoying in Andhra Pradesh is just because of the backwardness of the Telangana districts, where people are naturally inclined towards some form of protest. Now that the people realise that all the backwardness of the region has resulted from the blatant discrimination practised against the region by the AP governments over decades, they will consign the CPI (M) to dustbin once for all. The party will become part of history very soon if it doesn’t open its eyes to the reality.
Today’s demand for a separate Telangana state is being raised by all the 4 crore people of Telangana in unison. No single individual born in Telangana is opposed to the formation of a separate Telangana state. This is a historical necessity. This is not a rebellion. This will in no way affect the integrity of the nation. It will only pacify the feelings of the people and improve relations between the peoples of both the states. The fact that hardly any marriage takes place between the peoples of Andhra and Telangana is a glaring example of the differences obtaining between the regions. Both the cultures are different. The socio-economic conditions are different.
When Chandrashekhar Rao launched TRS with the sole agenda of achieving a separate Telangana state, most of the supporters of the cause were not sure about his commitment. Prior to the launch of TRS, a few parties came and vanished into thin air. Except for one outfit launched by a former minister and Telugu Desam Party leader P Indra Reddy, who died prematurely in an accident, the people of Telangana took no other movement seriously. The launch of TRS was a historical necessity, although it looked like an issue concerned with a single individual’s political survival. History creates leaders who through their leadership impart momentum to the movement. Situations are created by a divine plan. It’s no individual’s plan; it’s the collective decision of a people.
The situation has changed so drastically that even those opposed to a separate Telangana state cannot dare to do so publicly now, whereas in the pre-TRS days, even strong supporters could not air their thoughts. A seasoned politician, KCR (K Chandrashekhar Rao) lent legitimacy and dignity to the issue by adopting a series of inimitable tactics. A history making issue such as the creation of a state, especially at a time when people are too preoccupied with their own problems warrants strategy and political acumen, which KCR has in him abundantly.
The March 6 deadline set by KCR for the formation of Telangana state is creating ripples across the country. If the TRS fails to achieve any result by this date and compromises on the deadline, it will have sounded the death knell for the movement. But now the deadline has sounded the death knell for Congress leaders from Telangana. Everyone, including the people of Andhra region, will win if the state is formed now and only now.
For those who would like to know why a separate Telangana state is required, the answers follow:
* A set of people with a set of cultural ethos is entitled to its own government. Any violation of this natural law amounts to denial of sovereignty. For example, marrying one’s sister’s daughter is a common practice in Andhra while a sister’s daughter is treated as a daughter in Telangana. This is a glaring example of the cultural differences, which obtain between the peoples of Andhra and Telangana.
* Though the language spoken by both the Andhraites and Telanganites is called Telugu and is mostly similar, the two Telugus are different. The way it is spoken is different. In fact, most of the language is not understood by each other, unless one is used to it for sometime.
* Smaller states are better for people as well as governments in terms of accessibility and distribution of resources.
* Three States, viz, Uttaranchal, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, were created recently on the basis of the foregoing criteria and they are doing very well.
* The demand for Telangana state is the oldest of such demands throughout the country. Similar demands obtain in respect of Vidarbha, Bundelkhand and Ghorkhaland. The Congress Party is in favour of a separate Bundelkhand state.
* Andhraites need not masquerade themselves as Telanganites while they are in Telangana. They can proudly live as Andhraites, follow their culture, language and lifestyle, which are different from that of Telangana.