Don’t lose heart; don’t commit suicides
Some of the young people of Telangana, the future of Telangana, have been fighting for this cause for a long time now. Some of them have become completely active for the last 50 days, dedicating themselves to this cause of ours. Now, I find that some of them are dejected, and lost. They don’t know what’s happening. Why did India go back on its word? Why are our political parties breaking up from JAC? Why is there no unanimity amongst our political parties? They are disillusioned. They don’t get honest answers from their politicians. Will this agitation turn into another 1969? Will Telangana ever get freedom? Will Telanganas see the light what others in this country saw, of which we had a glimpse for only 8 eight years during 1948-56?
I want to convey this message to all those who are on the ground fighting for a separate state. We are with you. We will not relent; we will not back out this time; we will keep the pressure on till we get the state. It may take a bit longer; it may take a while, but Telangana will happen.
Yes, India has failed us consistently; its democracy is a sham; it’s not a perfect system; but it’s still better than many other nations and countries out there. We should keep our faith in it and its system. We should fight towards improving it. We should work with the system, within the system. Don’t turn away from the system. Let’s not create another Naxal Movement. All is not lost. It’s only the beginning. It took more than 30 years for Mahatma Gandhi et al to realize our freedoms. And that was from British. I am hoping that India will take care of its people better than British did.
Some of you fear the clout of Andhras, the power and money that they have, their clout at the Center, and their clout in the State. None of it will stand in our way if we are united. Here are few things you should do:
1. Say NO to consensus
2. Say NO to political parties
3. Say YES to referendum
Say NO to consensus
On December 23, in a flagrant display of Home Ministry doing volte face, P Chidambaram has asked people of Andhra Pradesh to use consultations and talks to reach a consensus; it was reported in the media that the opinion amongst the eight major political parties of AP is divided; and therefore no decision took place. Andhra leaders rejoiced. It was their victory. They stalled Telangana Movement once again. Andhra leaders and Samaikya Andhra supporters expressed their delight in telling us that Telangana issue is now kept in ‘cold storage’.
And once again Andhras are now dictating terms to us. They use Chidambaram’s remarks to push us for more talks, more discussions, more debates, more consultations, more arguments, so that they can dilute this agitation once again. They have come up with numbers and statistics that show Telangana is in fact more developed than Andhra. If Andhras are given a chance, they would prove that Blacks in US are in fact more developed, and that they are the ones who discriminated the Whites, not the other way around. They will use skullduggery to manipulate the numbers to prove anything. If you doubt that, just take a look at Satyam scandal. They have creating 13,000 fictitious employees, bank accounts with provident funds accounts. Proving Telangana is more developed is a mere cake walk for them.
Andhra politicians, backed by Andhras who don’t want to give up Telangana or Hyderabad, are buying time, stalling the proceedings, while they continue to besmirch and malign the movement, calling it a movement of Naxals, a movement of extremists who will kill the settlers, and so on. They are giving themselves time, using well-developed and well-rehearsed political machinations, so that Telangana cause gets buried for another forty years.
What use are the talks?
We held talks to draft Gentlemen’s Agreement; that was broken. Then we held talks to come up with five-point and eight-point program; those were broken. Then it turned out to be six-point formula which was a diluted paper to protect Telanganas; and even that was broken. GO 610 was discussed in Assembly so many times in the last twenty years and yet nothing happened. So, why should we even talk further?
What kind of consensus can we reach when the state is clearly divided along regional lines? When those who clearly endorsed Telangana are now going back on their words? Why should we trust Andhra politicians even a bit? Why should we think they will act in good faith now when 53 years have shown exact opposite? Why should even trust our own politicians who may bury our cause in return for a cushy position or few suitcases filled with cash?
Say NO to political parties
Indian Constitution does not recognize political party as a constituent. It recognizes either the people or the representatives of the people, but not political parties. P Chidambaram who graduated from Harvard suddenly seemed to have created his own version of Indian democracy for a while. Why is he pushing for unanimity within the political parties when they are clearly divided along regional lines? Doesn’t this divide show something? That the people’s representatives are clearly endorsing their regional aspirations cutting across the political parties? Isn’t that an indication of how starkly this state is divided? In US, such a support is celebrated as bipartisanship, something that is indicative of true aspirations of the people, and not that of political parties. Elected representatives supporting a cause cutting across party lines is a triumph of democracy not a weakness of democracy. We should have celebrated it not bury it.
Will a democracy take a vote from its people or from political parties? Do you give one vote to each political party and say, ‘OK, 3 political parties out of 4 don’t want Telangana. Therefore, there is no Telangana?’ When did a political party become recognized constituent in Indian constitution? What sham! What idiocy!
If the region in question is Telangana that is making a case for a statehood citing the reason that it is being bullied into submission by the majority Andhra, how can any rational person ask for a mandate from the State Assembly dominated by majority Andhras? Do you expect the bully to vote on behalf of the victim? Isn’t it obvious that the aggrieved party will never get justice?
Is that constitutional democracy? What a farce!
Foreseeing this, our forefathers who drafted our Constitution eliminated such stupid scenarios by allowing the Parliament to vote on creation of new states without having to get an endorsement from the state assembly. So why are we shying away from following the actual procedure? Let’s take this up in the Parliament. Why even refer it to State Assembly? What happened to you that day, Mr P Chidambaram? Did you forget your Indian Constitution?
Article 3: Formation of new States and alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing States
Parliament may by law:
1. Form a new State by separation of territory from any State or by uniting two or more States or parts of States or by uniting any territory to a part of any State
2. Increase the area of any State
3. Diminish the area of any State
4. Alter the boundaries of any State
5. Alter the name of any State
All this dillydallying, all this maligning the movement, is done with an exact goal in mind – to bury this cause for another forty years. Therefore, I urge Telanganas, Say NO to consensus. Say NO to political parties. And say it with firmness.
Say YES to referendum
Let’s go the democratic way, the true democracy, away from all this farce, this sham that we have created in this country which doesn’t allow mechanisms to voice one’s aspirations. Let’s go with Referendum.
When you think the opinion is divided, when you don’t know who supports what, when you can’t figure out if the people voted for Telangana or not, if the people’s representatives are being sincere or not, if the political parties have unanimity or not, why don’t you take the decision to the people of Telangana?
Let’s use the real tool of democracy; let the people of Telangana decide; let’s have a referendum in Telangana whether the people of Telangana want a separate state. Most modern democracies continue to use this tool to settle various issues. So why not India?
I urge all supporters of Telangana Movement to push for referendum. We don’t want to be hijacked by our political parties or our representatives. We don’t want to talk to our Andhra brothers who are not ready to recognize and admit our plight. We don’t want to fight their campaigns of maligning our movement calling it ‘extremist’ or ‘naxalite-driven’. We are tired of fighting such Machiavellian tactics, talking on TV shows to prove our point. We don’t want to hold conferences, consultations, debates and discussions. Enough of arguments; now is the time for action. We want referendum in Telangana to decide if people of Telangana want Telangana.
[The related posts are at: Case for Telangana, 6: Hyderabad State?, 8: You need to make a case, History of Telangana I, 10: Congratulations!, History of Telangana II, 11: Why so much opposition?, 12: Ignorance, Bad Faith and Low Opinion. 13: Let’s stay United!, 14: Letter to Andhra Brothers, 15: Concerns, 16: Samaikya Andhra, 17: More Concerns, 18: Betrayal, 19: Hyderabad a Union Territory?, 20: Welcome the Change, 21: Status of Hyderabad, 22: Cheat the Cheated, 23: Tidbits, 24: United we Stand, 25: Congratulations Andhra, 26: Untoward Incidents and Unity, 27: Violence mars Telangana Agitation, 28: Stickers, 29: Reporting from Hyderabad, 30: How Telangana Movement Spread, 31: Free 1948. Surrender 1956. Free 2010. 32: Don’t give in. Don’t give up.33: Notes on ‘My Telugu Roots’, 34: Self-rule and Self-respect, 35: Intensify the agitation, 36: Did Andhras marginalize Telanganas?, 37: Let’s Andhraize Telangana]