Understanding The Telangana Divide

“Politics”, the word has become a derogatory term off late.  A special thanks to our “noble and able” politicians.  How many times do we come across the word ‘Politics’ in our day to day life?  If someone does not get what he/she was supposed to get at work or any other place for that matter, they attribute it to the word “politics”.  This probably is one of the reasons why I mentioned that politics is being used more as a derogatory term.  The political situation in India is probably at its nadir right now with, so many political mayhems all over the country.  I would like to concentrate more so in particular about the current political situation in Andhra Pradesh, one of the southern states in India.

The ruling government in Andhra Pradesh is facing the heat from one of the opposition parties, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) led by party leader Kalvakuntla Chandrasekhar Rao, popularly known as KCR for the formation of a separate state for Telangana.  The history of the Telangana state formation dates as early as the late 1940’s immediately after India’s independence.  “Telangana” means “land of Telugu people”.  The Telangana region lies on the Deccan plateau and includes the districts of Warangal, Nizamabad, Adilabad, Khammam, Mahbubnagar, Nalgonda, Rangareddy, Karimnagar, Medak and the state capital, Hyderabad.  When India became independent from the British rule, the Nizam of Hyderabad wanted to retain his Independence by being the monarch for the state of Hyderabad but the Government of India, carried out the Operation Polo utilizing the services of the Indian Army and merged Hyderabad with the rest of India thereby dethroning the Nizam of Hyderabad and oppressing his power.  At that time the Telugu speaking people were distributed in around 22 districts; 12 in the Madras Presidency (the current Andhra region), 9 in the Telangana region of the Nizam’s major threshold (Hyderabad) and one district in the French-controlled Yanam.  The Telugu speaking area were carved out of the then Madras state and was formed as a separate Andhra State in 1953.  In December 1953, the Government of India appointed the States Reorganization Commission (SRC) for the creation of the states on the linguistic lines.  Though the SRC was not in favor of immediate merger of the Telangana region with the Andhra state, the Government of India went ahead with the merger of the Telangana region with the state of Andhra following a “Gentlemen’s agreement” which mentioned the sharing of power as well as administrative rules and distribution of expenses amongst various regions.  Though Telangana region was merged with the state of Andhra, the people of Telangana had several complaints about how under-developed Telangana was and how the Gentlemen’s agreement was barely effective.  The demand for separate Telangana thus intensified in the year 1969 and also led to a student agitation which began at the Osmania University and spread to the other parts of the region.  The students also found support from several government employees and also the opposition members from the state legislative.  Thus was born the “Telangana movement”.  However, with several politicians giving up their agitation, the movement lost its intensity.  Between, the period 1990 and 2004, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), one of the leading political parties in India, promised for the creation of a separate Telangana state.  The BJP created Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Uttarkhand states in the year 2000 during its tenure but however, it failed to create a separate Telangana state because of stiff opposition from Telugu Desam Party (TDP), one of its allies.  These false promises poured life into the separate Telangana movement.  It was at this time a new party called the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) was formed under the leadership of KCR whose main agenda was the creation of a separate Telangana state.

Things were being handled smoothly in the state of Andhra Pradesh from 2004 thanks to the able leadership of the former Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy, popularly known as YSR but his untimely death in the year 2009, just few months after congress came to power in Andhra Pradesh for a second term has led to distress in the state.  KCR, who is well known for his flip flop stands, took advantage of this opportunity and intensified the long lost Telangana movement again and this time he found tremendous support all over the state.  The situation went out of control and the current Chief Minister Mr. Rosiah, as weak as he is, took the Central Government’s help to solve the political trauma in Andhra Pradesh.  Eventually, on December 9th 2009, the Central Government agreed for the formation of the separate Telangana state.  However, on December 23rd 2009, the government announced that the formation of a new state will be addressed only after a consensus is reached.  This angered the people who were in favor of the separate Telangana state more particular the students who played a major role during the movement.  The students from the Osmania University played a major part in intensifying the movement.

What is painful and hurting is that even the educated lot, are falling prey to the cheap poli‘tricks’.  A couple of days ago, I had come across a student voicing his opinion in one of the news channels about how the people from Telangana are suffering and how the situation is worst for the students.  He mentioned that the students are not finding employment.  I strongly disagree with his opinion.  Employment is something that comes with the skill set that you possess and not because you are from some particular region or you belong to some particular caste.  Thanks to the growth of the IT sector in the recent two decades or so, the employment has become more so oriented on the skill sets of the individuals rather than the being judgmental on a person’s religion, caste, creed etc.   Had the student strived hard during his college days, excelled in exams he would have definitely got into one of the best jobs in the country.  But, rather he along with his friends chose a different path of cribbing about how much injustice was done to them by not forming a separate Telangana state and how much they lost due to that.

Osmania University, Hyderabad is a renowned University known for its varied courses and contribution to the country by producing some of the most famous intellectuals.  Sadly, that is not the case anymore.  Osmania University as of now is the heart and soul of the ongoing Telangana movement and it’s painful to see how students behave ruthlessly and go about carrying mass destruction of public properties.  Since the last month or so, Osmania University hogged the limelight not because of its educational policies or reforms but because of the student’s active participation in the Telangana agitation.  Neglecting their education, forsaking their precious careers, dreams shattering, the students are taking it to rallies, public property damages.  They fail to realize this is not going to fetch them anything except for hampering their precious careers.  One thing I fail to understand is why even the educated lot is being so ignorant of the fact that a separate state would only make matters worse.  The students from Osmania University decided to boycott their exams for the sake of obtaining a separate statehood for Telangana.  Ridiculous it might sound, but this was in the news a couple of days ago.  What’s even worse is that the Vice Chancellor of Osmania University though has not agreed to postpone the exams for the sake of the students participating in the agitation, has agreed to promote these students to the next year.  Agreed that exams are not true measuring scales of one’s caliber but one would definitely need them to be successfully employed.  It was quite ridiculous on the Vice Chancellor’s part to promote the students without having to give the exams.  As if this were not enough, one of the students of Osmania University went to the extremes of self-immolating himself which he thought that might put onus on the central government to come to a conclusion on Telangana formation without any more of its delaying tactics.  Little did he realize how valuable a life can be?  How much expectations his folks might have had on him?  Emotional as one can get, is really not a solution for anything.  One needs to look carefully look at the pros and cons of the situation and not fall a prey into the hands of these evil politicians.  This Telangana movement is just one of the several other problems the state of Andhra Pradesh is facing.

However, irrespective of all these factors, the people themselves should buckle up their options, think with calmness and make wise decision rather than resorting to such outrageous actions.  It is high time we need a change and this change has to be very effective from the word go.

Balaji Anathanpillai

[Image courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/harshapvss/363390840/]