Here I address some more concerns raised by detractors of Telangana Movement. This follows Telangana XV: Concerns.
Isn’t Telangana Movement a purely selfish interest of politicians in their attempt to secure power?
Most detractors dismiss the current Telangana movement as an outcome of pure political and selfish play of some petty politicians of Telangana. They see KCR/TRS as bunch of manipulators who have only one agenda- to usurp power and fill their pockets. They see the entire Telangana movement as a charade that has been designed by these cunning politicians of Telangana. In 1930s and 1940s, Winston Churchill dismissed the entire Indian Independence movement as an artificial construct imposed by Hindu Brahmin Congress leaders onto innocent Indians with only one intention - to grab the power, rule and become rich.
The detractors of Telangana Movement show unsolicited sympathy for gullible people of Telangana who according them were successfully brainwashed by wily politicians of Telangana. They also extend a false pity for Telangana people who, according to them, are not able to see how these cunning politicians are conveniently using the Telangana people for their selfish political and material gains.
In fact, Andhra people are more obsessed with KCR/TRS than Telangana people. Every time we talk of Telangana movement, they launch into a tirade and criticism of KCR/TRS. They confidently believe that the current agitation is completely manufactured by KCR/TRS. If you remove KCR/TRS from the picture, they believe, there won’t be any Telangana Movement whatsoever. That idle people of Telangana would happily go back to being in United Andhra without any protest.
Andhra people actually think that the reports of discrimination, backwardness, and the feeling of being betrayed amongst Telangana people was all constructed by TRS/KCR. They find all our evidences of blatant discrimination, marginalization and suppression of minority by majority to be hoax and dismiss them without even taking a look at them. They pooh-pooh all our efforts in making a case for why Telangana feels neglected and suppressed.
They have already made up their mind even before we start speaking. We are not sure anymore who is brainwashed, them or us?
The more they do not listen to our arguments the more it becomes clear to Telangana people that people of Andhra do not care for us at all. We start doubting the very motives behind these ‘United Andhra’ slogans. Is it because they genuinely want to stay with us? Or is it just because they do not want to lose Hyderabad?
Whenever Telangana people talk of their Movement, Andhra people equate it to KCT/TRS. And this really irritating to Telangana people. It’s like Winston Churchill always referring to ulterior motives of Congress leaders whenever Indians wanted to discuss independence.
They don’t realize that Telangana is not TRS. Telangana Movement spans a time period of sixty years and is beyond political parties. KCR has only come now to capitalize on it. But he is definitely not the leader in control. The people of Telangana are in control. They know exactly what they want. They want a separate state.
Contrary to what most observers believe, it’s not KCR/TRS who is using the people. In reality, it is the people of Telangana who are using KCR/TRS to attain their dream. If KCR/TRS is going to deliver Telangana, they are going to rally behind him. If they see that he is not going to get them a separate state they are going to abandon him instantly.
What most observers don’t realize is that this movement has been going on in Telangana for nearly sixty years now. The torch has passed from generation to generation but the fire has not extinguished. If ever the fire has only become intense with more awareness. More people are now aware of the exploitation Telangana faced and they have more facts and figures and are armed with reason and rationale compared to their forefathers. This movement has reached all corners of Telangana, into Medak, into Mahbubnagar and even Adibalad. At no time was the Telangana Movement so widespread. And this happened in spite of politicians.
Didn’t TRS lose elections in 2009 clearly indicating there is no support for separate Telangana?
Andhra people and Telangana people have diametrically opposite views on how to interpret the verdict of the elections results.
In 2004, TRS contested elections on single point agenda – to secure separate Telangana. They didn’t talk about development, they didn’t talk about caste, they didn’t talk about religion, or any other incentives. So, if someone voted for TRS in Telangana, he did so because he wanted a separate Telangana. Congress formed an alliance with TRS promising Telangana if they come to power in the center. So, it was clear. If you were voting for TRS or Congress in Telangana, you wanted Telangana.
In those elections, TRS-Congress won a clear mandate from the people thereby establishing clearly the mood of Telangana people. They want a separate state.
After the elections, Congress came into power in center and in the state. Naturally, people of Telangana expected Congress to fulfill the promise. It did not. That left TRS was in a lurch. They didn’t have enough muscle power to pull it off on their own. They floundered and did all kinds of gimmicks. Telangana people got disillusioned with TRS/KCR who didn’t deliver on his promises.
In 2009 elections, every political party promised Telangana. TDP, Congress, Communists, Prajarajyam, and host others, along with TRS. That means if you wanted Telangana, you could vote any party this time. TRS lost its vote bank to other parties who promised the same dream.
Now, Andhra people read this as a clear rejection of Telangana sentiment because TRS lost, whereas Telangana people see it as a clear affirmation of Telangana sentiment because every party which won had endorsed a new state. According to Telangana people, Telangana sentiment is now endorsed by every party making it universal and stronger, whereas Andhra people think of it as dilution.
Why didn’t the politicians of Telangana fast for development instead of fast for separation?
I can easily make an equally silly counter argument: Why didn’t the politicians of Andhra fast for passing the resolutions that were promised to Telangana whereby Telangana would never have risen up to ask for a statehood instead of fasting for Samaikya Andhra now?
OK, let’s not be silly.
It is true that Telangana people are disillusioned by their own leaders. They have been betrayed by their own leaders many a times. Starting with those leaders who signed the Gentlemen’s Agreement on behalf of Telangana people to various Chief Ministers from Telangana, many politicians of Telangana betrayed their own people.
We had an opportunist and spineless Chenna Reddy who sold off Telangana agitation on a silver platter by taking his TPS and converting it into Congress. We had a weak PV Narsimha Rao who just sang the tune of his party bosses without fighting for his electorate. Time and again, Telangana politicians sold off their promises to secure morsels from their political masters.
Nevertheless, it is not entirely true that they never fought for their people. It is just that those who tried to fight got subdued by the onslaught of majority and savvy Andhra politicians.
How much ever corrupt and wile our politicians were, they came under pressure many a times in the last fifty years and did try to work for their constituents. But the political framework of India was such that they could not manage anything. When they raised objections as Communist and Opposition parties in 1960s, they were granted agreements which were later revoked by our flawed democratic process. When in 1970s, they voted themselves as TPS to get a separate state they were cowed down by Indira Gandhi with a grant of another agreement.
When this agreement was once again nullified in an assembly which was dominated by Andhra-Rayalaseema region, our leaders took the recourse of law. Supreme Court upheld the agreement, but it was later revoked by an act of Parliament when the Andhra-Rayalaseema held the Center for ransom by demanding a separate state for Andhras. In the last twenty years, the implementation of GO 610 was held back by the majority of Andhra-Rayalaseema though it was raised by Telangana politicians many a times.
In 2004, when Telangana voted TRS-Congress alliance to power because they guaranteed a separate Telangana, the Congress went back on their word eventually leaving the leaders of TRS in a limbo.
In the last sixty years, nothing worked for leaders of Telangana. All the recourses- electoral, democratic and legal institutes- failed to safeguard interest of Telangana thereby proving that things will never work out for them within a single state.
The current fiasco of December 2009 only elicits this further where all the MLAs of Andhra-Rayalaseema resigned en masse to adjourn the Assembly to ensure the current resolution on Telangana is not taken up. This is the third time they have done it to counter Telangana Movement in the last 40 years. This only proves further how partisan our assembly works.
In the current setup, a majority can always suppress the minority continuously, and forever, without having to face the consequences. A minority region will never be able to sum up the numbers to counter a concerted onslaught from the majority. A minority will continuously lose thereby further strengthening the argument why Telangana needs to be become a separate state.
[The related posts are at: Case for Telangana, Telangana - A New State, Telangana II, Telangana III, Telangana IV, Telangana V: Political angle, Telangana VI: Hyderabad State?, Telangana VII: Political Drama, Telangana VIII: You need to make a case, History of Telangana I, Telangana IX: Riots turn ugly, Telangana X: Congratulations!, Vision for Telangana I, History of Telangana II, Telangana XI: Why so much opposition?, Telangana XII: Ignorance, Bad Faith and Low Opinion. Telangana XIII: Let’s stay United!, Telangana XIV: Letter to Andhra Brothers]