On People’s Revolution
There’s a definition for ‘revolution’.
Revolution means that an exploited population must take desperate measures against great odds to overthrow its oppressors.
- Marvin Harris
Let’s understand this in Telanganas context. The ‘exploited people’ are Telanganas. The ‘oppressors’ are Seemandhras, more specifically Andhras. The ‘great odds’ are stacked against Telanganas, as we can see from the recent political maneuvers that creation of Telangana was initially impossible, and even now not a distinct possibility. Back in 1990s when I talked about separate Telangana, most friends, from the state of Andhra Pradesh or other parts of India called it a pipe dream - impossibility. Even now it is not assured that state of Telangana will be created, and therefore the exploited people continue to fight. The people of Telangana resort to ‘desperate measures’, which invariably include denouncing and defying the authority, which happens to be the Government of Andhra Pradesh, under the control of the ‘oppressors’. People of Telangana go about protesting, destroying or attacking the symbols of authority, the symbols of oppressors, and defying the rules and laws imposed onto them.
Gaddar, a ballad singer, who inspired millions of Telanganas with his songs, a strong supporter of creation of Telangana, has recently announced the creation of a new front called, Telangana Praja Front (TPF). Whether they should contest elections or not is still a matter of debate within the members of the party, but it is clear that this front is another addition to a number of organizations and outfits created to accelerate the formation of Telangana.
Some people from Telangana felt that this new entrant will dilute the absolute majority that TRS, Telangana Praja Samiti, has enjoyed in the recent elections. They believe that the vote will be distributed between the two outfits and hence the cause of Telangana will be diluted in the eyes of its opponents.
There is always this dilemma in all people’s revolutions. Should we put up a united front under one banner or shall we have multiple banners representing the same cause? We can easily see why there is a debate and why there is no single answer to this question. Putting up a single united front has its obvious advantages. It will mobilize the entire population under one banner and therefore will sound effective. It will create a powerful group and hence will be in a strong position to negotiate with the power brokers and opponents to win the cause.
But then there is a danger to the future if there is only one legitimate liberator because that could lead to suppression of all dissenting voices once the revolution has succeeded. There is a danger that not all peoples and groups are well-represented in that single outfit. What will happen to their future once the revolution succeeds?
Here, we need to understand that a grand people’s revolution, like India’s Independence Movement or Telangana Movement, is not always against one single master. Indians went about toppling many masters in addition to the British in their struggle for Independence. They had to fight the Indian monarchs and autocrats, the feudal lords, the caste oppression, the male dominated family structure, and many others, in addition to fighting the British. They created a revolution that brought social and political change beyond what would have been achieved if it was just kicking British out.
Telangana also needs a revolution like that. And for that to happen, we need to take care of many fights, topple many masters, many of them are internal, and to do that, one single outfit may not be enough. Therefore, we need to welcome Gaddar and his political outfit for what it represents.
AP formation Day on Nov 1
On 1st November, 1956, the State of Andhra Pradesh was formed my merging two regions, that of Telangana and Andhra State. This day is now declared as the day of betrayal. Telangana joined the state reluctantly only after certain conditions were agreed upon in ‘Gentlemen’s Agreement’. Now, that most of those promises stand broken, now that people of Telangana have filed for divorce which is being examined by Srikrishna Committee, people of Telangana have decided not to celebrate this day. Instead they would like to oppose the celebrations which are being mandated by the government of Andhra Pradesh which is ruled by the majority Seemandhras.