There are many opponents to Telangana Movement. Primary opponents are politicians and people of Andhra, Rayalaseema in Andhra Pradesh. Opponents outside Andhra Pradesh include West Bengal and Maharashtra governments who fear their states will be broken up if Telangana is given. Then there are many people in India who foolishly believe that carving up new states is tantamount to breaking up the nation. Then there are some who have apprehensions that Muslims will dominate in a state, that Maoists will rule, or that it will be a national security problem.
The opponents of separate Telangana are intensifying their campaign to demonize Telangana Movement. First, they rubbished Telangana Movement as a pet project of KCR who is doing this only for personal gains. They harangued Telanganas to see through KCR's villainy and urged us not to follow him. When all parties of Telangana started to join hands to support Telangana cause, it was clear that KCR/TRS is not the only party that supports Telangana. They changed their tactics. Next, they started a mass hysteria campaign to inculcate fear amongst settlers in Hyderabad saying that Telanganas will either kick them out or kill them. They equated Telanganas with Kashmiri terrorists and militants and urged rest of India to see how dangerous Telanganas have become. When many Telangana leaders tried to calm the fears of settlers saying nobody is going to harm them, they changed their tactics once again. After the student Garjana of Jan 3 in Osmania University, where many black-shawl clad singers sang Telangana songs, the opponents characterized it as a Naxal movement. They describe the entire region as Naxalana.
People outside Telangana do not take pains to understand that it was Naxals who embraced many of Telangana symbols in their fight and not the other way around. Telangana and its symbols existed even before Naxalism came into this region.
Many visitors to India may look at our swastikas on temples and food products and think that Hindus are all Nazis. Though it is a wrong characterization it could happen. Most people do not take time to understand how these symbols originate. Many non-Telanganas equate a black-shawl draped singer to a Naxalite because of the few movie clips they have seen. It is up to people of Telangana to fight this characterization and tell the world that it is a genuine people movement. Just because Naxals have endorsed Telangana cause, it will not become a Naxal Movement. Right now, BJP overwhelmingly endorses Telangana state, does that make our cause a Hindutva Movement? Tomorrow if MIM endorses Telangana, will it become an Islamic Movement?
In my previous article, 32: Don’t give in. Don’t give up., I urged people of Telangana, and in particular, TS-JAC, to intensify the agitation. Here I would like to suggest few ways of bringing more people into the fold.
1. Longest hand holding in India:
Organize a huge hand holding event where people from all over Telangana will participate to connect various towns and cities. Create India Record or if possible World Record. It will draw attention of media countrywide and it can be used to showcase our massive support of Telangana.
2. Mahila Garjana
Recently, when you had organized student Garjana, Andhras and Central Government said it was supported by Naxalites. Now, organize a Garjana for women of Telangana. Let the world know that even women of Telangana support our cause.
3. Largest people singing one song
Set India record or World record for largest gathering of people singing one song. Choose one Telangana song and popularize it through distributing CDs, cassettes, pamphlets, and play it in villages and towns on autos and rickshaws so that everyone has listened to it. Use media for help. Set the gathering in a town of Telangana (not Hyderabad).
4. Use national media to spread the message
Dispel the myths. Create spokesmen for Telangana cause who can articulate its position to the world. Let the world understand that it is a genuine people’s movement, a very old movement, and that it is a movement based in all the right reasons.