Dear TS-JAC (Telangana Students Joint Action Committee):
Yesterday, P Chidambaram talked of more consultations and more consensus building. Though he had earlier made a strong case for a separate Telangana on 9th December 2009, he has gone back on that statement because of the agitations of Samaikya Andhra. This change in the stance is a direct result of show of strength of our neighbors who don’t want to give up Telangana. They will continue to resort to all kinds of tricks to besmirch Telangana Movement so that Center doesn’t carve a new state of Telangana. This is not the first time they have done this. Even during 1955-56, they have lobbied hard in New Delhi giving many reasons why a separate Telangana should not be formed, including the hypothesis that it would be dominated by Muslims, and that it would be a stronghold for Communist Party. Now, they are doing the same.
The current Telangana Movement is being characterized as a Naxal movement or a militant movement in order to completely eliminate the chances of creation of Telangana. Anti-Telangana forces have metamorphosized their opposition from the fight for a United Andhra, then to fight for Hyderabad, and now it is a portrayed as fight for national security.
What should we do now?
1. Intensify the agitation. There is no turning back now. We can’t wait for another fifty three years to get Telangana. Don’t stop. Don’t give in. Carry on the agitation – more intensely and more fiercely. Use Non-cooperation as the tool.
a. Tell your cadre not to make irresponsible statements. During Garjana, someone talked about kicking out settlers from Hyderabad. When such statements are made, only those statements are highlighted by the media and will be used against the whole Telangana Movement. Even people like me will start getting fears that tomorrow you will also kick me out because I will be first in line to criticize the newly formed Telangana’s government and administration. There is a greater need to keep a tight check on all statements made by all Telangana agitators. For that there needs to a training, a pamphlet on guidelines on how to talk and what to talk.
b. Tell your cadre not to indulge in any kind of violence. Right now, we are being characterized as Taliban, Al Qaeda and Naxalites with only one aim - To showcase that we are a militant movement. That way they can stop Telangana Movement completely as a threat to national security. We shall not give them a chance to characterize us that way. Use the methods prescribe by Gandhi, use non-violence, use non-cooperation. If they think we are militants and naxalites, then let them arrest entire 4 Crore population. Let us all go to jails en masse.
2. Say No to consensus. Say Yes to referendum. When was the last time someone who stole a golden goose from the neighbor gave it up voluntarily? Why will Andhra give up Telangana? Why does anyone think that there will be consensus in Andhra Pradesh on Telangana issue? We just talked and talked for the last sixty years. Nothing came out of those talks. That’s because Andhras are not really keen on giving up Telangana, no matter what. And what we want is a separate Telangana, no matter what. There’s a deadlock. Say no to agreements, say no formulas, say no to supervisory committees, say no to consensus building. None of them have yielded results for Telangana people.
a. Isn’t it funny that P Chidamabaram is asking the opinion of political parties in Andhra Pradesh instead of asking the representatives of each region irrespective of political parties? That would have been truly democratic.
b. Instead say Yes to referendum. Force the center to hold a referendum. If it is not feasible to hold it with people of Telangana, then hold it with elected members of Telangana, MPs, MLAs, MLCs. Ask them if they want Telangana. Why should you ask Andhras if they want to give up Telangana? It’s like taking a referendum in Britain to ask if India should be given Independence.
3. Educate other Indians on Telangana Movement. Spread the word to everyone outside Andhra Pradesh. Use every possible media outlet to make a strong and cogent case for Telangana so that the following myths are shattered.
a. That Telangana is a new movement.
b. That Telanganas are doing this only to get the new city of Hyderabad.
c. That Telangana Movement is creation of few petty politicians to grab power.
d. That Telangana Movement is a product of regional chauvinism.
e. That Telangana Movement will give growth to Maoist Movement.
f. That Telangana Movement is infiltrated by Maoists.
g. That Telanganas will beat up or kill Andhra people once the state is formed.
h. That Telangana people are uncivilized, unreasonable, and violent.
There is no way we can get Telangana unless we sell out story to everyone in India. We have to make every Indian understand our plight. We have to lobby hard starting today.
[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.]