Three major differences
I see three major differences between the attitudes of Andhras and Telanganas when it comes to state of Andhra Pradesh and the current agitations.
- While Telanganas looked at Andhra Pradesh as a conditional merger based on safeguards, guarantees, and protection of its regions, its funds, its jobs and its waters based on contracts that were signed, Andhras saw the merger as an opportunity to expand, opportunity for new jobs, new resources, and new funds.
- While Telanganas have had a different socio-politico-economic history for few centuries whereby they became open to influences from other regions, religions and languages, creating cosmopolitan cities like Hyderabad, coming up with cross-cultural festivals, talking a mixed language, etc, Andhras saw Andhra Pradesh as a means to homogenize the state under the Telugu and Hindu identities, treating everyone who didn’t fit their image as unworthy of being enlisted for superior culture called Telugu Pride.
I have already discussed the above two in prior posts [Telangana 36, Telangana 37]. The third difference is discussed below.
What do Telangana people fight for?
- While the fight for Telangana is a movement of people, to emancipate the lower sections of the societies, to free the peasant, to bring empowerment to the backward, to create opportunity for the common man, the fight for United State is a movement of the elite, the upper caste, the privileged, the business-focused, real-estate focused, that is primarily interested in perpetuating the hegemony of the Andhras over Telangana.
The current agitation is extremely lopsided in many ways and there are no similarities except the fact that Andhras seem to ape everything that Telanganas do – we have JAC with a professor heading it, they have a JAC with professor heading it. We do padayatra, they do padayatra, and so on.
Though Andhras do not want to believe this, and most of India is unaware of this, Telangana agitation is a people’s movement unlike any we have seen in the contemporary history. It is a movement that has thrived for more than forty years though there was no leader to it. It is not based in imagined or perceived fears, but actual experiences of people who have faced the injustices on an unabated pace. The people of Telangana don’t need TRS, Congress, BJP, or Naxals, to carry out this movement. This movement is led by the people, the common man of Telangana, not the elite, not the industrialist, not the business man, but the peasant, the farmer, and the worker.
When I support this movement, I support it because I am fighting for my people, not the elite of my people, but the most backward of my people. I am fighting for their water, for their livelihood, for their jobs and opportunities. I consider myself privileged and I don’t even live in Telangana now. But there is a higher sense of purpose for all of us which gives us strength to fight against all odds, because we know and we believe we are fighting for justice. Not personal justice, but justice for our people.
What do Andhra people fight for?
They fight for lost opportunities in Hyderabad, the real estate investments they made in Hyderabad, the and malls they built in Hyderabad. They fight for the water they have to give up which rightfully belongs to Telanganas, the funds they have to let go which rightfully belongs to Telangana, and the jobs they have to let go which rightfully belongs to Telanganas. They fight for safety of few lakh Andhras settled ONLY in Hyderabad, completely ignoring the Andhras who settled in other parts of Telangana, on an artificial and imaginary set of fears. They assume they have the support from Muslims of Hyderabad with whom they have nothing in common, while they continue to insult Telanganas for mixing with Muslims and using Urdu.
What do Andhras fight for? They fight for lachrymose ideas like ‘happy and united family’ as if it is a noon-time soap opera. What good is unity when there is no water for our fields? What good is your preaching of being ‘happy and united family’ when happiness is reserved for you while we have to endure the pain of being united?
They also fight for Telugu pride, while continuously ridiculing Telangana people’s language. They fight for a united state but that doesn’t even include will of Telanganas. They want us to stay united while they keep calling us rowdies, goondas and hooligans.
How do they expect us to continue to stay united when they continuously berate us? Don’t they realize that such insulting, belittling, such ridiculing and admonishing only enhances our wish and will to separate?
Fight for Telangana is based in principle, which is higher than selfish interests, it is fight for the common man, the peasant, the worker, the farmer. It is fight for bringing water to our dried up villages, to bring education to our illiterate, to bring opportunities to our backward communities. It is fight for our self-respect so that we don’t have to keep begging and pleading in this farcical experiment called Andhra Pradesh.
Key differences between the two movements
Here I summarize the differences between Telangana Movement and the charade called Samaikyandhra movement.