Thursday, January 24, 2008

Telangana Movement and Telugu Politics of Greed

History:

Known history of an integrated Telugu state rule was evident during the period of Shatavahanas, Kakatiyas and Nizam including a brief rule of post Kakatiyan Nayaka rule. Considering more recent history from Kakatiyas ever since 11th century when Telugu as a language formed its predominant identity, Andhra Pradesh was ruled by a single ruler until 18th century when Nizam who was ruling the entire region of Andhra Pradesh has given the coastal region to Colonial British as Circar region. Eventually the region emerged as Coastal Andhra region. Later Nizam ceded the five territories to British which emerged as Rayala Seema region. In almost 1000 years of history Telangana, Rayala Seema and Coastal Andhra have emerged 200 years back just due to the fact that the ruler Nizam failed to protect his territories together.

Sadly all the regions in Andhra Pradesh were equally impoverished post Mughal invasions until, Dhawaleshwaram barriage and canal system was built by Sir Arthur Cotton in 1852 which developed the Godavari region in Northern Coastal Andhra. Coastal districts of Guntur and Krishna only started flourishing after Nagarjuna Sagar dam and canal systems were built in 1967. On the other hand, majority of the budgetary allocations in last 50 years of AP history were spent to develop Hyderabad. The only industrially developed place apart from Hyderabad is Vishakhapatnam which is solely due to the vision of central governments rather than state governments. It looks like only Rayala Seema has been taken for granted though Telangana and Coastal Andhra have developed despite of having good representation of chief minsters from Rayala Seema. Perhaps they left it to Tirupati Balaji and Puttaparthi Sai Baba to give drinking water to Rayalaseema.


Caste Wars:

Caste wars have contributed significantly to the disintegration of the state at different times. As per the recorded history since 12th century, Kakatiyas seems to have been responsible for creating differences between Telaga, Balija, Yadava, Kamma, Reddy and other Nayakas with Velamas by significantly favoring Velamas during Pratapa Rudra’s rule. This led to significant differences among castes and contributed to the fall of a mighty kingdom of Kakatiyas and ultimately the integrity of Telugu land. Apparently it was an easy victory for Kakatiyas but Reddys were unhappy about the favouritism of Pratapa Rudra to velamas. There is even a recorded history that states that “Bhoji Reddy decided to show the King who exactly were the valorous fighters. He decided to wait till the Velama contingent got mauled by the Muslim army and then jump in to save the Velamas as well as the King. Unfortunately his timing was not good and both got beaten leading to the downfall of Kakatiya Empire. Ever since, the Velamas blamed the Reddys for the historical blunder and continuously waged battles against Reddy kings.” It didn’t just stop there, the subsequent alliances between Velamas with Bahamani sultans to fight with Musunuri Nayaks and Vijayanagar Empire resulted in de-fragmentation of Andhra from single Telugu region into multiple pieces. The caste wars continued till today only to be seen in terms of Congress (Reddy), TDP (Kamma and BC) and more recent TRS (Velama).


Post Colonial History and Movements:

The roots of the agitation lie in a bitter power struggle in the Congress(I). After the 1967 general elections, Kasu Brahmananda Reddi became Chief Minister for a second time, while Dr. Marri Channa Reddy joined Indira Gandhi's Cabinet as Minister for Steel. Channa Reddy's election was set aside by a court on a petition filed by an Arya Samaj contestant, Vandemataram Ramachandra Rao, on the grounds that the Minister had appealed to religious sentiments at a meeting held in a mosque. Channa Reddy went in appeal to a Division Bench of the High Court and later the Supreme Court but lost the case. He was disqualified for six years from holding office. Channa Reddy returned to Hyderabad a bitter man. Those were the days when an agitation for a separate Telengana State was taking shape as government servants who hailed from Telengana felt that they were being deprived of promotions by their colleagues from the Andhra region, who were integrated into the common cadre.

In 1970, Telangana Praja Smiti led by M Chenna reddy won 10 out of 15 Lok Sabha Seats. Despite of this victory, Channa Reddy dissolved TPS soon after exit of Kasu Brhamananda Reddy as CM for acting more powerful than Indira Gandhi in state. Kasu Brahmananda Reddy seemed to have betrayed Indira Gandhi and Chenna Reddy betrayed the people of Telangana. By 1971, PV Narasimha Rao comes into picture and gets support from Telangana forces to create a land mark victory in AP Assembly without any support from the forward castes in Telangana. Indira Gandhi proposes a six point formula to make the situation worse for meritorious students in Andhra who canot aspire for any medical seats out side Andhra resulting in Separate Andhra movement by 1972. Then came the president’s rule as Indira Gandhi herself was uncomfortable about the whole situation.

It was left to Jalagam Vengala Rao, who became Chief Minister in December 1973, to restore order in the State. Vengala Rao cemented the bonds among the Telugu-speaking people by holding the World Telugu Conference in Hyderabad in 1975.

The underlying concerns behind Telangana Sentiments:

The early concerns about Telangana were many. The region had a less developed economy than Andhra, but a larger revenue base (mostly because it taxed rather than prohibited alcoholic beverages), which Telanganas feared might be diverted for use in Andhra. They also feared that planned dam projects on the Krishna and Godavari rivers would not benefit Telangana proportionately even though Telanganas controlled the headwaters of the rivers. Telanganas feared too that the people of Andhra would have the advantage in jobs, particularly in government and education.

The central government decided to ignore the recommendation to establish a separate Telangana state as per SRC and, instead, merged the two regions into a unified Andhra Pradesh. However, a "gentlemen's agreement" provided reassurances to the Telangana people. In the following years, however, the Telangana people had a number of complaints about how the agreements and guarantees were implemented. The deputy chief minister position was never filled. Education institutions in the region were greatly expanded, but Telanganas felt that their enrollment was not proportionate to their numbers. The selection of the city of Hyderabad as the state capital led to massive migration of people from Andhra into Telangana. Telanganas felt discriminated against in education, employment but were told by the state government that most non-Telanganas had been hired on the grounds that qualified local people were unavailable.

What future holds for Andhra Pradesh:

If we look at the history of chief ministers since formation of Andhra Pradesh after 1952, there were 5 CMs from Telangana, 6 CMs from Kosta and 5 CMs from Rayala Seema. AP had best CMs from Telangana (Jalagam Vengalarao, PV Narasimha Rao) region in the entire list of 16 CMs.

Channa Reddy wanted Telangana when his personal interests were lost in Congress. Despite of winning majority for Telangana movement, he ditched Talangana people for the sake of his obedience to his madam in Delhi. Chandrashekara Rao comes out of TDP and wants a separate Telangana when party didn’t fulfil his personal interests. He was polishing another madam in Delhi neglecting the ultimate goal and development in his area so long as he had his ministry in Delhi. What was he doing all the years before while he was a deputy speaker in TDP? After enjoying all personal gains from the party and when they are about to retire, Venkataswamy, M Satyanarayana, Govardhana Reddy want a separate Telangana. What have they done to Telangana through out their careers and why they didn’t raise the voice earlier? If they haven’t done any thing better when they had power in their careers, how can they promise a better Telangana state tomorrow for the people of Telangana?

People from other areas will continue to come into Telangana and Hyderabad even after a separate state is formed much like what is happening in any other developed city like Mumbai/Bangalore. Locals would naturally feel disadvantaged as the people who migrate in would be coming with certain skills what keeps them ahead, otherwise they wouldn’t have come out of their own villages. The people who are back in their villages still struggle with the same problems that the disadvanted lot are facing in the cities. Then the frustration of common man is encashed by Netas in the form of Shiv Sena, Kannada Chaluvala Samithi, TRS or some other form of party raising hatred amongst Integrated Indians. What are these separatist parties or individuals trying to achieve that the past 5 CMs from Telangana haven’t achieved for development of Telangana?

Looking back at caste politics, it is a big mistake to think that Velamas and Reddys will get their power back in Telangana if a separate state is formed. Enough number of Gouds and Yadavs with many other BCs/SCs and STs have prospered from the development of Hyderabad. They are next in line to rule as soon as a separate state is formed. Kammas canot even dream about coming into power with predominant Kapu and BC communities in coastal Andhra and Rayala Seema as they are not in villages any more. If Rayala Seema is separated, at the most Reddys will survive in power due to a significantly larger population and muscle power. But not for very long as they are migrating out of their villages as well to cities. The castes that have played with the integrity of Andhra Pradesh will soon pay the price as soon as state is divided.

As time passes by with many demographic changes, the reasons for the movements seem to have less meaning. Today the education and job opportunities in AP are predominantly private much like in rest of south India. Many more people are grabbing the opportunities in Hyderabad from out side AP than people from Andhra or Telangana. There are more Punjabis, Rajasthanis and Gujaratis in Hyderabad’s profitable business than Andhrites. When we think of injustice in water sharing for irrigation projects on Godavari and Krishna rivers, it was scientifically justified to build dams in low lying areas when they were built. Today before we built a dam or irrigation project in higher areas like Telangana, our neighbouring states have already built them and we will only have dry pieces of concrete without water even if we build projects now (ex: Babli in Maharashtra, Krishna and Tunga projects in Karnataka). We can at the most think of only drinking water. When it comes to development, there are equal number of under developed districts in Andhra and Telangana.

Today Andhra Pradesh is 5th biggest state in India and commands equal proportion in terms of power to demand and fulfil their needs from Center. Some of the best examples are the development projects that happened in the time of erstwhile NDA government where Naidu arm twisted NDA to get the projects to AP being a key member with significant number of MP seats. Though Rajashekar Reddy’s government is criticised for not utilising the power of number of MPs transformed into development work, enough has been done in the form of rural employment program and Indiramma housing programs. As soon as we break down into smaller states, we would be 20th important state in terms of representations in Indian parliament and will have only 20th priority to demand for any local development. Just see the fun in Goa, Chhattisgarh and any smaller states in North East where the state assemblies themselves are not stable for long. Except for their natural resources, they are not getting any helping hand from central government.

At the height of the Telengana agitation in 1969, poet Sri Sri and eminent freedom fighter Vavilala Gopalakrishniah addressed an "integrationist" rally at Khammam even as agitators tried to disrupt it. Today, however, there is no one tall leader to speak up for the unity of the Telugu-speaking people. Can Chiranjeevi speak for it with his stature and mass appeal?

As BJP says if small states are better for easy governance, then why don’t they divide all large states in the country to an equally small level? Until then we shouldn’t lose the advantage of being a large integrated state. Don’t lose the edge of staying united just for the benefit of some under employed selfish Netas! Question your Netas when you face them next on what have they done in the past for your area, which makes you believe that a separate state can bring better future! Of all most important thing is exercising your next vote. Despite being an IT professional travelling around places, I have exercised my vote in all the past elections. Let us make a difference and make a rational judgement of our candidate unbiased by caste, creed or region. Just look forward to a developed Andhra Pradesh and India.

Jai Hind!!

16 comments:

Chandra said...

The Jai Telangana Movement (JTM) has once again attracted the national headlines. The movement that evoked popular response in the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh in 1969 is back to square one. It reminds one of those momentous events which happened in the wake of the ‘Paris commune’, a century ago! Incidentally, such youth movements were being organised at home and abroad during that period. The rise of the Naxalite movement in various parts of India is a case in point. At the international level, anti-American movements in the backdrop of the American fiasco in Vietnam and elsewhere were also popular. More than anything else, it was the students and youth who raised the banner of revolt against their systems and political regimes. Obviously, those movements shook the established regimes and their political leaderships. Like the Jaya Prakash Narayan (JP) Movement of the mid- seventies, the Jai Telangana Movement was a democratic movement.

Historically speaking, the Constitution of India has a provision, under Article 3, which facilitated the creation of at least one dozen new States in the last 50 years, and that too without the recommenda-tion of any so-called SRC. Irrespective of the opinion of the concerned parent State, the provision empowers Parliament to alter the boundaries of any State, if such a demand is found to be democratic and popular. The only one-point demand party, the Telangana Praja Samiti (TPS), became popular throughout the region and thereby secured electoral support in the Lok Sabha elections held in 1971 itself. For, this movement-turned-party, TPS secured the popular mandate in terms of winning 11 Lok Sabha seats (out of 14 seats), swimming against all the currents entrenched in the Congress and the electoral Communists, from the Telangana region. The TPS’ victory was preceded by the unparallelled sacrifice of students and youths of Telangana in terms of year-long agitations throughout the Telangana region.

Incidentally, it was Indira Gandhi who faced the challenges of both these movements, but failed to manipulate them successfully. Although she ensured the coercive suppression of the Jai Telangana Movement in 1969-70, she could not contain the democratic aspirations of the people electorally. Failing to respond to such democratic upheavals in a peaceful manner, she had to resort to anti-democratic and unethical means, only to bring out the democratic spirit of that movement. Of course, the leaders and followers of the JTM failed to withstand the pressure tactics of the Indira Gandhi Government and thus yielded disgracefully. Thus, the Channa Reddy leadership had to yield to the pressures and favours of the Prime Minister, in terms of surrendering all the TPS MPs to Indira Gandhi for a few crumbs and thereby sabotaged the movement once and for all. Although the JTM has always been a democratic movement, as the popular mandate was recorded whenever there was one, the Central leadership played a dubious role. It offered an undemocratic agreement. The so-called gentleman’s agreement was offered as a condition for Telangana’s merger to dilute the popular aspirations of the people.

It is pertinent here to recall the violation of this undemocratic agreement by the first ever Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy, ridiculing the post of Deputy Chief Ministership as the sixth finger and thus useless! While he served as Deputy Chief Minister in the B. Gopal Reddy’s regime till October 31, 1956, the post became ridiculous to him by November 1, 1956! It was one of the six points of the six-point formula that was violated on the very first day of formation of Andhra Pradesh. Leave aside its sanctity and popular support, the six-point alone was the basis of the State formation. There was no referendum of our people, nor was there any recommendation of the SRC (which recommended against the merger of Telangana with the Andhra State indeed!) to that effect. Even the Hyderabad State Assembly was divided on the hasty decision. Surprisingly, Prime Minister Nehru’s views on the need for continua-tion of Telangana reflected the feeling of the then Central Government.

Then, what precipitated the illegal action of hasty merger was the imposition of the Andhra Congress leaders’ viewpoint in the form of a ‘gentleman’s agreement’, a historical blunder that was never respected either in letter or in spirit. Who were these gentlemen? Which party did they belong to, by and large? It is those Congress leaders who were under the control of the Congress coterie that played a dubious role so as to bulldoze the Telangana leaders. Since the Congress party members largely represented the ‘gentleman’s agreement’, that party alone has to own the responsibility. Incidentally, the formation of the State was contractual and conditional (as it was subject to the six-point formula/gentleman’s agreement), and its violation on the very first day can be interpreted as negating the State formation itself! How can the contract be continued if one of its conditions was violated? Does it not tantamount to a one-sided contract? It is regrettable to note that such a one-sided contract has been imposed on Telangana for that past five decades, thanks to its leaders’ stony silence. Thus, the JTM will continue to agitate the minds of those undemocratic Central leaders who offer undemocratic solutions, as usual!

Obviously, the JTM raised the banner of revolt against the Congress governments both in Hyderabad and Delhi only to seek separate Statehood for its region, as was the case before. Unlike the case of smaller States’ movement in India, the JTM was not about ‘administrative convenience’ through ‘reducing the size of Andhra Pradesh’. It is ridiculous to treat the Telangana issue as an issue of ‘size’ or ‘administration’ of the region, as is diplomatically raised by parties and groups like the BJP and RSS. As a matter of fact, once the demand is conceded, Telangana would be a State bigger than 16 of the existing States in India today! With a population that is more than one-and-a-half times that of Nepal, the Telangana State would be of 3.5 crore size. Unlike other three States which were created by the BJP in the year 2000, the State of Telangana does not require any special money for the construction of its State capital city, as the centuries-old Hyderabad is located in the heart of Telangana itself!

Nor is it about ‘regional development’ of ‘backward Telangana’. But it is about the state response to the most democratic demand of creation of a new State. In any case, it is ridiculous to view the Telangana State demand as a demand for either ‘welfare’ or ‘development’, be it regionally or economically, as is propagated by the present Chief Minister. Because, once such argument is promoted, then there are electoral Communists ready to join the chorus of raising the question of ‘backward regions’ and demand to treat Telangana on par with those backward regions of the State, namely, Rayalaseema, Uttarandhra etc. Then they would be generously seeking ‘packages’, ‘development funds’ from the Central Government and thereby confusing the genuine demand of Telangana State once and for all. In other words, Telangana is a very distinct and unique case. In case of comparison, it could be compared with either Kashmir or Junagarh; both were once princely states in India. Prior to these being made part of India, these states were given the promise of holding ‘plebiscite’, indeed!

In fact, the case of Telangana is more a revival of an old State, than a creation of a new State! Telangana, as part of erstwhile state of Hyderabad, existed as an independent State during the period 1952-56. The state was trifurcated in the name of ‘linguistic reorganisation of States’, only to please those Andhra Congress lobbyists who were divided on a common capital for the Andhra State. The Telugu-speaking Telangana State was merged with the Andhra State, against the feelings of the Telangana people, their representatives and also against the recommendations of Justice Fazal Ali, who chaired the first and last ‘States Reorganisation Committee’, popularly known as SRC. As usual, the electoral Communists played the dubious role of ‘class collaboration in the name of linguistic unity’. Thus, the saga of the Telangana struggle continues unabated, and there is no end in sight! It is immaterial if the JTM is led by KCR of the TRS today or any other leader tomorrow, for that matter. Ultimately, the democratic component of the Telangana demand will keep the JTM alive in the days to come.

Chandra said...

Telangana is today a hot issue and something no party can ignore to address. It has become imperative for every political party worth the name in Andhra Pradesh to acknowledge the issue of separate Telangana. That the Congress-I and Telangana Rashtra Samiti had a political alliance and ‘controversial’ understanding on the demand of a separate State during the last elections that dethroned Telugu Desam does not require any additional emphasis to bring out the importance of the demand for a separate State. Today the Congress-I at Delhi and Hyderabad and some senior leaders in the State speak regularly of the issue and also claim to be the sole force that could give Statehood to Telangana. What the politicos are harping on boils down to the “appropriate time” and the art of its interpretation. The Bharatiya Janata Party also speaks of being the only party that could get separate Telangana. Both parties ask for the price of giving them the gaddi to get Telangana Statehood. Today even the TDP talks of Devender Goud as the Chief Minister if there is Telangana. It is necessary to accept these facts to acknowledge that the demand for the separate State has a history and people’s support and cannot be wished away by the changing equations of political parties.

Sreedhar’s paper titled “Separate Telangana: Beginning of the End” published in Mainstream (September 29-October 5, 2006 ) requires some attention as it compiles a list of reasons that the Congress-I may have to deny separate Statehood for Telangana. The author argues emphatically that a Telangana State is not going to be a reality. It is very prophetic and based on the author’s strong conviction about the attitude of the Congress-I that seems to have led him to such a conclusion. Sreedhar is more categorical than Pranab Mukherjee or Sonia Gandhi that the issue of separate Statehood is now non-negotiable. The paper may have been more serious and could have had more credence if the author was the spokesperson of the Congress-I.

Sreedhar’s paper requires attention because of its questionable approach, rationale and interes-ting addition of new forces against the demand for separate Telangana. The approach is Congress-centric and personalised. Further, it draws attention to the question of national security and interesting forces coming into play like the choice of NRIs and lastly the futility or incompatibility of the inter-linking of rivers with the demand for a separate State.

He takes the view that there is no scope of another opinion on the matter of a movement that is more than four decades old. We make an attempt to briefly lay bare the facts and the limitations of the argument put forth by Sreedhar.

His enumeration of forces opposing separate Telangana include the ten lakh Andhra NRIs who don’t like the State to split but curiously he fails to comment on what the thirtyfive million Telangana people want. Sreedhar is all praise for Sonia’s deft handling of the issue but does not comment on what was the basis of the electoral alliance and coalition affair it had with the TRS that not only broke down but in the process exposed all political parties as shameless power brokers who make promises only to get into power. The paper states four major factors that have been decisively conclusive of the denial of the demand for separate Telangana. The movement lost its chance apparently, firstly, because it was not initiated by one of the Congress leaders, especially one who has the weight to throw around or disturb the peace of the Delhiwallahs. TRS leaders like KCR and Narendra failed to get the attention as they were from the TDP and BJP respectively. Secondly, the Congress started doubting the credibility and ability of the TRS to govern the State because of its links with Naxalites. Thirdly, the State has turned into a knowledge-based industry during the TDP regime which the YSR Government is vigorously seeking to strengthen by creating employment opportunities in a big way thus making the demand for Telangana irrelevant. Fourthly, more than one million Andhras who have gone to Europe and North America in the 1980s and are willing to come back to industrialise the State don’t like the State to be split.

It further adds that the State of Telangana is out of question because the Central Government is wedded, more than the in the past, to combating terrorism, both internal and external. The ‘economic development’ close to the heart of the Delhi elite finds separate Statehood incompatible. Besides, the entire developmental strategy of the AP Government, which is tied to the inter-linking of rivers, will go astray with a separate Telangana. The list of why-nots is not over if one cannot ignore the smaller ones. The TRS did not show any concern for the State’s development in the past three months when the Delhi elite was worried about the floods. Further, the stature of the TRS leadership (KCR and Narendra) is poor, the “Telangana political elite are a divided lot”, the TRS leadership is alienated from the people and is no more than “a bunch of local leaders”. That is the long and short of the arguments, predictions and rationale.

A few reasons against the separate Statehood are new and reflect the fresh forces and factors. They include the NRIs’ resistance to the splitting of the State and the incompatibility with the current government’s strategy of inter-river linkage for accelerating development with huge investments. And national security, although not all that new, does not permit today separate Telangana because of the threat of terrorism.

Approach

Sreedhar’s paper is handicapped for its over-simplification of the Telangana issue to the likes and dislikes of the Congress. It is true that the demand for a separate State has to negotiate with the political forces including the Congress-I. But the paper fails to see that the Congress has also to negotiate with the forces of the coalition government that was not there in 1969. It is better to view and acknowledge the demand for a separate State independent of the strengths or limitations of the supporters and opponents of the demand in order to understand the roots of the demand. One could take the strengths and limitations or assets and liabilities of the stakeholders while making an analysis of the possibilities of success or failure in achieving one’s demands. That is part of the situational analysis. Sreedhar fails to differentiate this and consequently is biased by the personality and party factors.

Sreedhar’s paper is ill-informed, if not in poor taste, for the prejudiced portrayal of individuals. It narrows down the issue of the Telangana movement to that of the Congress party at one level. And it also reduces the issue to events from 1969 to the TRS’ pull-out from the Delhi sarkar this year. Further, it takes a convenient view of the Congress being the Indira family with just two references to Channa Reddy and YSR. It assumes that everyone agrees about the growth of the Congress in quality or statesmanship from 1969 to 2006 because if Indira Gandhi was forced to be firm for reasons of “national security” Sonia Gandhi is guided by the same interest but also by deftness that was lacking in Indira.

Further, the paper is lopsided: while carefully enumerating every section including the Andhra NRIs who do not favour a new State, it keeps mum on what the population of Telangana (who were opposed to idea of Visaalandhra and the merger in the fifties, and had periodically been protesting against the violations of the promises, those protests intermittently erupting into large scale struggles from 1969 to the present day) want.

Several studies have differentiated to make an objective analysis of the movement by looking at the personality factors distinct from the movement and issues of regional inequalities and conflicting social forces reflected in the movement. Parties and personalities may or may not become the media for articulation of the social demands. Unfortunately Sreedhar’s paper, commenting about a historical process spanning four decades, takes a a-historical approach.

It may not be out place to mention about some studies by scholars on the Telangana movement that kept multiple factors in view to point out that these were independent of each other and yet did not fail to see their interdependence. Therefore, they rise above trivial analyses and biases and also make arguments that are sharper and intellectually demanding as they address issues like regionalism, identity, autonomy, internal colonialism, nationality, social movements and so on and so forth. There are studies that describe and examine—rather than supporting or opposing—the social forces that emerged with challenges to nation-states and started confronting one another within the past few decades.

These studies may evoke agreement or further debate but they stimulate informed debate. Some of these studies include those of K.R. Acharya, C.H. Hanumantha Rao, Dagmar Bernstorff, Duncan B. Forester, Hugh Gray, W.H. Morris Jones, Selig A. Harrison, K. Seshadri, K.C. Suri, D.A. Washbrook among others.

Rationale

That the TRS party is non-Congress-I, that it failed to have any impact because its leaders lack the charisma of the likes of Channa Reddy and that Sonia Gandhi is smarter today than Indira of 1969—these are nothing but stating the obvious. Four decades ago there was little of non-Congress politics in Andhra Pradesh. And that the Congress does not listen to less important forces only because they cannot make a dent speaks of the lack of moral approach to issues. It is only realpolitik that is stressed and this is also the disease of any other party. Similarly, that the ‘Telangana elite is a divided lot’ also lends credibility to the allegation that the Congress-I is run by opportunism rather than by any principle-based statesmanship. Similarly the analysis is affected by love and hate towards the Congress and TRS respectively. On the contrary it gives the impression that the TRS is of low quality mettle because it doesn’t have the right pedigree. The TRS has the roots of the TDP and BJP. The paper indulges in trivialisation and liberally personalises the debate with regard to the movement by reducing it to the likes and dislikes of personalities representing political parties with conflicting positions on the issue of separate Telangana.

New Forces standing in the way of a Separate Telangana

It is mentioned that a million Andhra NRIs are against a separate Telangana. What makes the NRIs lose their sleep if the State is small or big? When these one million Andhra NRIs plan to start investing, which parts of Andhra Pradesh they would like to invest in is all mere speculation if not gossip. Has any study indicated that foreign investment flows are proportionate to the size of the State wherein the larger States are attracting larger chunks of foreign capital? Have the NRIs’ investments been affected by one’s affinity or love for a State or business equations? Most of the promised investments to Orissa are by non-Oriya entrepreneurs as much as many significant groups eyeing Andhra Pradesh are non-Telugu. Sreedhar’s theory needs serious examination and if proved correct may recommend the recently carved States to roll back in time and go for a “rewind” or else they would lose the foreign investors. One finds there is more imagination than any fact in this regard.

But it does not fail to point out one interesting factor in connection with the NRIs’ stand on the separate Telangana issue. It is that the NRIs are being projected as anti-Telangana and that they have only regional interests to serve rather than the spirit of a genuine entrepreneur.

Is the Inter-river Project pursued by YSR and Delhi Congress anti-Telangana

Why the inter-river linking project is incompatible with Telangana coming into being is a million dollar question. Does the proposed inter-linking of rivers project with massive money bags and endless controversies and violations going to make Telangana unviable? Does that mean the interests of overall development and equitable development, which is the stated objective of the inter-river linkage, only myths? It is assumed that river management and irrigation projects are guided by ecological and cost effectiveness and political mechanism facilitating a sharing and peaceful ambience going beyond the parochial and myopic interests of regions or States for that matter. Didn’t Andhra Pradesh send water to Chennai where the people are not Telugu but Tamil neighbours? Is it not the job of the Central authorities to look into issues of larger ecological rationale and environmental justice? Sreedhar’s arguments bring into question the credibility of the Central authorities under Congress rule. It’s not out of place to see why neighbouring States like Orissa question the morality of these agencies. Does Sreedhar’s fear suggest that inter-river projects should be opposed tooth and nail by those demanding separate Telangana before the damage is done irreversibly leaving Telangana deprived of water resources once and for all if the Statehood is delayed?

Is Telangana State going to be a Niche for Terrorism?

Although the excuse that Telangana will become a tool of the Naxalites is stale, the paper tries to dish out the same the old story. This argument has no credence as the Naxalite problem is not confined to Telangana alone in the State or in the country. Naxalites are also in the coastal region of Vishakapatnam, Srikakulam, East and West Godavari districts (Andhra Pradesh), Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and almost everywhere. It is also not out of place to mention that Naxalism did not take birth in Telangana and Naxalism of the Telangana region was led and guided by the Andhra comrades for a long time. Naxalism came from West Bengal and is very much part of our contemporary national ethos. It is strange that we find people suddenly becoming shortsighted to associate Naxalism with only Telangana. This is an ill informed alibi if not an irresponsible allegation.

Further, it is not a secret that love for Naxalites is shared by all political parties and not by the TRS alone. The TDP hailed the Naxals as real patriots—nijamayina desa bhaktulu (Naxalites are real patriots), said NTR. The current Congress-I party had promised peace with the Naxals during the elections. What written and unwritten agreements the Congress-I had with the Naxalites before and after the general elections had to be seen before speaking of the TRS’ links with the Naxals. Also it is important to examine the connivance and facilitation of the Congress’ senior leaders in mediating with the Naxals, if all the media reports and the admissions of the Congress leaders were not wrong. Respon-sible comments cannot be blind to these facts.

But what is more important is the ‘possible’ connection of Naxalism with or/and its place in the current threats of terrorism that the Congress-I wants to combat. Does that mean a separate Telangana will be a niche for terrorism and hence the Congress-I’s jihad against terrorism will not allow Telangana? Is Hyderabad and Telangana more prone to the Monica Bedis or Telangana and Andhra Pradesh more predisposed to the violence that marred Gujarat or Maharashtra? Is it fair to subscribe to such communal fears and allegations against Telangana only when there is talk of a separate State or because there is a Muslim population of considerable size? Does it not amount to saying that Visaalandhra is intended to suppress the likely terrorist threat owing to the Muslim population of Hyderabad?

These allegations need substantiation. The Congress plays on anti-communist allegations as the well as the anti-Muslim communal approach according to their suitability at the “appropriate time”. These are very old stories. These stark opportunistic positions of the politicians and prejudiced writings deeply misrepresent the reality.

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