Yesterday KCR said that everyone born and raised in Telangana is a Telangana.
The Telangana Rashtra Samiti president, Mr K. Chandrasekhar Rao, turned the T-line upside down, stating that everyone born in Telangana would have all rights to government jobs when the region gets statehood.
The new diktat means that a child of a person belonging to either Andhra or Rayalaseema will be considered a Telanganite if he is born in the region.
I welcome this stand coming from KCR. I am actually happy that he made such a sensible statement. However, some Telanganas have objections to this.
Telangana lawyers and different joint action committees were not amused by this sudden deviation by the TRS chief.
Some statehood units have threatened to stage protests to force Mr Rao to abandon his stand.
I think it is time we educate our own Telangana people on what future Telangana means to all of us. We have been partially successful in telling our people why we want Telangana. [And I have failed miserably in trying to reach out to Andhra brothers].
Telangana is not going to be a panacea for all our problems. It is only a first step towards solving the problems, but its creation will not solve all the problems right away. There is so much work to do. Let’s not give an impression that something magical is going to happen once Telangana is created. I am glad that this topic came out now before we set too much of wrong expectations to our own Telangana people.
It goes without debating that a person born and raised in Telangana will have the rights of any other Telangana. To even argue or contest that argument does not make sense. Yes, I agree that some Andhras have taken up positions illegally in Telangana, but that does not make a person born and raised in Telangana any different from other Telanganas. There are provisions already to deal with illegal jobs like GO 610, we don’t need new provisions. We just have to implement those which already exist. Even during the Andhra Pradesh state formation, we agreed that a person who has lived in the region for 15 years belongs to this region. We have been holding Andhras accountable to the agreement they signed. When we create Telangana will we start becoming like them and ignore the agreements we signed? A person who has migrated from Andhra and set up his business in Telangana and has lived for more than 15 years has an equal right over opportunities, jobs, and resources as any Telangana.
How else will you decide who is Telangana? Will you test their accent? That doesn’t make sense. Will we check if his ancestors lived here? Then what about so many migrants coming to the state, from Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat? Let’s not get into such silly arguments. Let’s abide by the rules. Our fight for new Telangana state is based in principles. We believe we were right because we showed it to Andhras the agreements they flouted, the rules they broke, the promises they did not keep. Of course it is a different matter that they refused to see them. The question we have before is, shall we become the masters we topple to become the new Andhras when we get our Telangana? We cannot act like them. We have to be better than them. If not, why this fight for justice?
Let’s not go overboard here in our anger against Andhras. Nobody should expect miracles. Andhras living in Telangana who have made Telangana their home have legal right for all jobs, employment, and opportunities as any other person living in Telangana. So, if we are not going to deny opportunities to Andhras, why we fought for Telangana, some may ask. To them, we should tell the bad news. Telangana will not be formed to kick out legal residents of Telangana, but to pave a better future for people of Telangana which includes the people who have made Telangana their home. Without the Seemandhra majority in the State Assembly, Telanganas will be able to assert themselves in their own region over a period of time, bring water to their regions, and allocate their funds to their projects. Without the protection cover from the top, Andhras will be like any migrant, from Karnataka or Maharastra, who have made Telangana their home having access to all the jobs, seats in colleges, opportunities, etc.
Many Andhras will continue to live in Telangana the way many Tamils, Malayalee, Telugus live in Karnataka, and those who have lived long enough will have their kids born and raised in Karnataka availing the local opportunities like any other Kannadiga. Let’s make this clear to ourselves. The fight is not with the ordinary people of Seemandhra. The fight was always against their domination which had political power backing them. Once the state is formed that political power will not exist. Our fight with Andhras stops right there.
Suppressed internal differences
We have always had many differences within various groups of Telangana on the future roadmap of Telangana. We have suppressed these debates long enough. Recently, we had to confront the issue of September 17th. And now, I am glad that one more debate has come out in the open. Telangana leaders have been going through a dual mind on these conflicts – should we suppress all debates within so that we put up a united front. Because sometimes these internal confrontations may dilute our cause, and create friction within our groups? Would that not be seen as vulnerability by our detractors who will pounce on our internal differences to weaken us further?
Or shall we sort out the issues before we even realize our goal? Should we discuss various issues in open forum so that it strengthens our democratic institutions? Should we encourage debate, encourage internal conflicts, knowing very well that it may apparently weaken our united stand, but only because it will create a better future for Telangana?
Sometimes we hush-hush our differences whenever they pop up because we believe it is not the right time to discuss those especially when our detractors are looking for a reason to find flaws in our case. We want to postpone such delicate discussions hoping that we will somehow sort them out when we achieve our goal.
I think that delaying these debates on crucial issues is a bad idea. I encourage people and leaders of Telangana to confront real issues right now instead of waiting for Telangana to form. If there are fissures within our thinking, let them be there. We should be able to handle those internal conflicts with maturity. If we are lacking that maturity, there is no better time than this current movement to instill it within us. We should put up a united front only on one cause – that of Telangana, but we will continue to have differences in opinion on how the new Telangana is going to be. The debate on how the future Telangana is going to be is as important as the struggle for creating a new state. Unfortunately, that debate was missing.
Let’s use the available time to chalk and sketch the vision for future Telangana. How are we going to treat our own people? Will there be place for Andhras who have made Telangana their home? How will we treat the marginalized sections like Muslims? Will Urdu have a place in new Telangana? Will the backward sections get their equal opportunities in the new state of Telangana? How will we treat our backward regions within the new Telangana? Will we have Mulki rules to protect certain weaker districts from powerful districts? How will we ensure we don’t make way for Naxalism? Let there be debate, even before formation of Telangana.