The youth in Telangana are frustrated. They are frustrated because they have been protesting and agitating for nearly ten months now, but there is no sign of Telangana or of a positive indication that Telangana will be formed. Many doubts remain. The detractors from Seemandhra seem to be winning over Telanganas once again.
Our peaceful agitations and protests don’t seem to yield results. They are seen as a sign of weakness by our detractors. Andhras taunt us saying Telanganas are not capable of achieving statehood. One director of a movie provoked Telanganas saying, ‘you cannot even stop my movie from screening, how will you achieve Telangana?’ Recently, some Andhras celebrated when the APPSC examinations were held with the help of armed forces in spite of major opposition from Telanganas. They rejoiced that Telanganas were crushed while they prevailed. In such an atmosphere there is a tendency amongst Telangana youth to take the route of violence to achieve faster results.
So what should we do?
No matter what, we cannot take the violent path in our current agitation. I understand that the youth is frustrated because the results are not coming. Also, Seemandhra leadership is not helping the situation. They are unnecessarily provoking Telangana people.
Many a times the agitating youth like to take the easy path but thankfully the grass root level leaders in Telangana are still strongly promoting nonviolent methods. And I am glad that this agitation has not gone the violent route. We may not have a Gandhi leading us, but we are still banking on Gandhian principles. Let’s keep it that way. It’s a healthy way. We should not get provoked. We should remain composed all through our struggle, even when we are agitated the most.
Taking up violence is the easy path whereas embracing nonviolence is a tough path. Though violence may look like an easy path, we don’t want to become violent because of various reasons. Violent movement will go out of control. And once it goes out of control, there is no way political institutions will work in that violent atmosphere. That is not good for Telangana in the long run. Once people get used to getting things done through violence, they will continue to resort to violence to get things done even after creation of new Telangana. Violence is not like a tap that you can turn it off anytime. There are many lessons from our histories. Take a look at Pakistan. They created violent groups to fight India but now those groups are causing havoc in their own country.
Revolutions which have taken violent path have had hard time conforming to democratic institutions. Much touted French Revolution descended into Reign of Terror where revolutionists fought amongst themselves. It took nearly hundred years to actually achieve a democracy in that country. Bolshevik Revolution in Russia eventually paved the way for Stalinist autocratic rule where more than 10 million fellow countrymen were killed. Afghanistan which got liberated from Soviet Union’s influence by the Mujahideen descended into a civil war with fierce infighting between various warlords. There are very few examples where armed revolutions have successfully transitioned into democratic countries.
On the other hand, nonviolence builds character. Resorting to violence should be seen as a sign of weakness not strength. To remain nonviolent even in the most frustrating situations shows strength of character. It’s good to create such leaders in Telangana. It will be of long term benefit to the region. If Andhras call us weak for our nonviolent methods, let them call us weak. We know that in our hearts we are strong, so why to prove it to anyone? We are on a path of justice. We will prevail. So, why to hurry up things?
We should be extremely careful of the kind of future we will be creating. Achieving statehood is only the first step. What follows after that is equally important. We should be paying attention to that. Indian Independence Movement allowed debate on how India is going to be. Many of our leaders traveled around the world, made friends with many nations, learnt from their successes and their mistakes. That allowed the new leaders of India to create a secular democracy based in modern values. If they had not formed the ideas before Independence we could have bungled up. There was a chance we would have gone onto become a Hindu fundamentalist or a Communist nation.
We have to live with Andhras
There are many negatives to a violent movement. Violent methods will aggravate our relationship with Andhras. Keep in mind that they are not our permanent enemies. Understand the difference between anger and hate. We are currently expressing our anger towards Andhras, but that should not translate to hate. Currently, we fight them on moral grounds, but once new state of Telangana is formed, we will continue to live with them as neighbors. I describe the details of what happened in our state to make Andhras understand why we are angry with Andhras, and also to educate fellow Telanganas how to avoid becoming the very masters we are toppling. But the intention is not to incite hate.
Also, there are lakhs of Andhras living in Telangana. What kind of state will we create if Andhras in Telangana live in fear? It’s better to have Telangana at a later date than create a state where certain people are targeted or persecuted. Let’s not go overboard with our anger towards Andhras. Restrain yourselves.
Another important point that should not be missed out is that some detractors would like to see us become violent because that will serve their purpose than ours. For that we have to understand our history. 1969 agitation was a violent one compared to the current agitations. That gave the State a pretext to completely suppress it with ruthless force. Some Andhra leaders opine that if the current agitation becomes violent, the State will be forced to call in the armed forces to quell the agitation. That’s why you see Seemandhra politicians describing our movement as 'anti-national' in their presentation to SriKrishna Committee. The hope is that state will intervene, call our movement anti-national, arrest our leaders, arrest all protestors, impose armies and control Telangana once again.
Also, like in 1970s, if people get disenchanted after such ruthless suppression, there is a chance that people of Telangana will once again take refuge in Naxal movement, which is a good thing for Andhra leadership, because once again they can suppress us for another forty years with armed presence.
Let’s not get into their taunts or provocations. Keep cool. If we don’t get Telangana now, it’s OK, but getting it through violence is far more dangerous for the future of Telangana than getting it later.