There was an interview last night on Telugu TV news channel of some girls of a college who were fasting and fighting for Samaikya Andhra. The reporter asked a series of questions to the girls and their teacher. He asked, ‘what are you fighting for?’ A girl answered, ‘for Samaikya Andhra’. He asked why. She replied, because kalasi unte kaladu sukham (which means ‘if we stay together then we are happy’).
When the reporter asked the other girl, she said, ‘we want Samaikya Andhra, we don’t want Telangana’. (What she meant was she doesn’t want separate Telangana.) The reporter said, ‘but people of Telangana are asking for a separate state, so that means you are anti-Telangana?’ to which said, ‘we want to live together under Samaikya Andhra’.
All the girls repeated the same sentences. When probed further they could not answer his questions. One girl even suggested she will fast till death. [You have to understand that this brainwashing of students by leaders and teachers is not unique to Andhra. Even Telangana regularly resorts to this and it is unfortunate.]
After this the teacher was asked the questions. She responded, ‘Varu Swarthaparulu, Memu Niswarthaparulam’. Meaning they are selfish people, we are unselfish people. She went on to add, ‘They are behaving like British who used Divide and Rule’. ‘They’ refer to Telangana people.
Divide and Rule
Many Andhra protestors who are fasting now are standing or sitting next to a statue of Potti Sriramulu while people around them chant Samaikya Andhra. When asked, they say they are against separation, against divide and rule. They tell you with a haughty attitude that they stand for integration, for united Andhra.
But the irony cannot be missed.
Potti Sriramulu is the epitome of division. He divided Madras State to carve out Andhra State. His death spurred the First SRC which divided the nation along linguistic lines. In fact, he can be credited with biggest ‘break up’ of this country. If ever, he should be a hero for ‘division of the country’ not for integration of the country.
United we stand Divided we Fall
Lack of historical knowledge can result in naïve people coming out onto streets blurting out clichés like United we Stand, Divided we Fall. If someone is fasting you would expect little stronger reasons than those clichés.
Someone should tell the Andhra protestors that their Andhra leaders have asked for a separate state whenever they wanted to. Their biggest icon, Potti Sriramulu, stands for division of states, not unification of states, and their chant that we should ‘stay united and not divide’ standing next to his status doesn’t make sense.
In 1973, guided only by one selfish motive, to overturn the guarantees given to Telangana people, Andhra leaders have demanded for a separate state under the slogan ‘Jai Andhra’ holding the center for ransom. They succeeded in overturning the Supreme Court ruling that protected interests of Telangana people. Today, when they chant ‘United we Stand, Divided we fall’ we can’t help but only admire their Machiavellian strategies.
So the slogan should change to:
United when Andhra wants to, Divided when Andhra wants to, and Damn Telangana!
Corollary: Because of this issue, Telangana politicians are more united than ever before. So are Andhra and Rayalaseema politicians. Their unity is cutting across political parties. We should celebrate that we are uniting our politicians under one common cause, may be, two commons causes. That should still count as unity ;-)