Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Telangana 83: Political Movement has failed

Know thy adversary

For a long time now, we in Telangana believed that the sole reason why Telangana is not formed is because of the opposition from Seemandhra leaders supported by Samaikhyandhra movement. Therefore, we expressed our ire and anger at these bodies and institutions.   We continue to do so even now.  However, there is a gradual realization that the most important reason why Telangana is not formed is because of the apathetic and obdurate Central Government in New Delhi. 

It is the UPA political leadership which is the main reason why Telangana is not formed.  The notion that Seemandhra leaders and Samaikhyandhra agitators are throwing the spanner in the works is being meticulously exaggerated and used as a pretext to drive something what UPA political leadership wants – to keep the issue in the storage, if not cold, but in lukewarm status, till a time arrives when a massive political mileage can be obtained from resolving the issue (or from non-resolving the issue). UPA political leadership has no sincere interest to resolve the issue now.

If UPA political leadership wants it, they can grant statehood right away irrespective of Seemandhra opposition.  We are led to believe, falsely, that Seemandhras are mounting an insurmountable political campaign against formation of Telangana.  The UPA political leadership encourages this perception amongst Telangana people thereby escaping their wrath.  You will see that most Telangana leaders coming from Congress (and even TRS) swear that Sonia Gandhi is still sympathetic to the cause of Telangana though no such sympathy was ever evident in the last two years.  Even during the height of people’s agitations no major leader, Manmohan Singh or Sonia Gandhi, has visited Telangana to address the people here or understand the situation on the ground, even after an unprecedented 600+ suicides have taken place in this region.  

Like never before, it has become important for people of Telangana to focus on combating their arch adversary, which happens to be New Delhi, and not waste too much energies or resources to fight the dramas staged by Seemandhra leaders or Samaikhyandhra agitators.   They should limit their fight against Seemandhra opposition and stop responding to their antics.

Small agitations within Telangana can be stopped

The hundreds of bandhs and rasta rokos carried out inside Telangana were not being recognized by the UPA political leadership at any point of time.  They did not serve the purpose of combating our arch adversary.  And definitely they were not hurting the Seemandhra leaders or Samaikhyandhra agitators.  For a very long time I convinced myself, a little justifiably, that we conducted many agitations in our villages, towns and cities, imposing restrictions on ourselves, because it was all geared to wake up our political leadership to take up the cause wholeheartedly and sincerely.  I reasoned they were necessary to coerce our political class to stand up for the people’s cause, setting aside their political or selfish aspirations.  Other than that reason, it did not make any sense why we should have bandhs or rasta rokos inside Telangana putting our own people to discomfort. 

Now that the political leadership of Telangana, barring few, stand for the cause of Telangana, now that they have resigned en masse, can we expect some tangible results from their political actions?  According to me, it is clear that New Delhi is unmoved.  It has not ruffled any feathers, in New Delhi or in State Assembly.  It has not created the political instability which was expected.  It has not achieved any purpose vis-à-vis our arch adversary, who remains nonchalant. 

Telangana is in an unique situation, which is both funny and sad at the same time, a situation that even the architects of our Constitution could not anticipate.  Telangana happens be the largest minority in this country with no political, financial or cultural power to influence a decision in its favor.  Far smaller groups like Nagas could do a better job.  With 119 MLAs and 17 MPs, with a geographical size bigger than that of Bihar or South Korea, with nearly 40 million people supporting a cause, they could not get even a single pawn move in its favor. Clearly, framers of our Constitution underestimated the wile of our political leadership.

It has become apparent by now that no Telangana is about to come because of these resignations.   No decision will be made.  No concrete step will be taken.  It is clear that UPA political leadership is already trying out new delaying tactics waiting for the movement to subside.

Political Movement has failed to deliver

Long ago, I wrote on this blog how India ridicules a responsible driver who stops at a road junction, taking his time, entering the major road only when there is no traffic.  Instead of being admired or respected for his responsible actions, he is taunted and derided as a weak and incompetent driver. Meanwhile, an aggressive and reckless driver who juts in, not caring for the traffic, causing many other vehicles on the major road to screech and brake, is lauded and praised. He gets away with everything.

That’s the current fate of Telangana Movement.  Its responsible agitations, sincere attempts  and constitutional methods are not seen as actions of a responsible citizenry, but that of weak and wretched people, only to be laughed at and ridiculed.  TV shows, news articles, columns, across the nation continue to deride and make a mockery of its responsible agitations while highlighting only the small and exceptional irresponsible incidents. 
The statement of December 9th came when the UPA political leadership thought that the movement will go out of control; but after seeing the passive agitations of Telangana people, they realized that this movement can be contained for another forty years.   Each time the Chief Minister or Governor of Andhra Pradesh visit New Delhi they are asked if they can contain this movement, and New Delhi gets the assurance that indeed they can.   In return they seek more paramilitary forces to showcase how this movement can be contained. 

Srikrishna Committee had a hidden agenda – understand how to contain this movement.  That’s what Srikrishna wrote in Chapter 8 – a blueprint to contain a people’s movement by subverting democracy.  And the UPA political leadership is currently implementing the prescribed steps.

The gullible Telangana people thought that this Chapter 8 was the handiwork of few petty Seemandhra politicians.  They should realize by now that all along our adversary was the UPA political leadership.  Our attention was deliberately diverted.  Entire Telangana leadership, JACs, and political outfits should realize this.  Our leaders should not suck up to UPA political leadership anymore; instead they should fight the UPA political leadership to get Telangana.

As I see it, there is nothing more that can be achieved through this political movement.  Though the solution still lies in politics, those political steps can be forced not through political movement but only through mass mobilization. 

Ambedkar at the time of India becoming Republic, said [emphasis mine]:

If we wish to maintain democracy not merely in form, but also in fact, what must we do? The first thing in my judgement we must do is to hold fast to constitutional methods of achieving our social and economic objectives. It means we must abandon the bloody methods of revolution. It means that we must abandon the method of civil disobedience, non-cooperation and satyagraha.

http://sujaiblog.blogspot.com/2011/07/telangana-84-political-parties-are-not.htmlWhen there was no way left for constitutional methods for achieving economic and social objectives, there was a great deal of justification for unconstitutional methods. But where constitutional methods are open, there can be no justification for these unconstitutional methods.

Naively, Ambedkar assumed that the country’s constitutional methods are open and accessible to everyone.  It becomes evident from the experiences of Telanganas that most of the methods of Indian Constitution are closed to them.  A Supreme Court decision in Telangana's favor is overturned in the Parliament. Entire political leadership in the country conveniently distorts Article 3 and makes a mockery of it.  Majority decision is now redefined as absolute concurrence and unanimity - which is impossible in a democracy.   Political parties are being positioned as legitimate representatives of people ignoring the voices of actual representatives.  A Committee set up to find solution to an issue is actually given the mandate to suppress that issue. 

Sadly, the methods available to Telanganas no longer include the legitimate constitutional methods because the institutions that can enforce are hijacked and controlled by our adversaries.   Telanganas are forced into taking measures which every group on the planet takes when fighting for freedom against an illegitimate authority - take to streets.  

The current State Assembly does not have representatives from Telangana.  The Parliament does not have representatives from Telangana.  40% of the State of Andhra Pradesh comprising 40 million people is unrepresented in Parliament and State Assembly and yet no one finds something wrong with this situation. 

Indian political institutions have utterly failed people of Telangana.  Continuing to profess faith in a political movement is unforgivable.  Only a shock and awe treatment which elicits international condemnation will wake up the current UPA political leadership from their apathy and obduracy.   A large scale mobilization of people that is sustained for weeks and months which brings international attention is the only way out to bring statehood to Telangana.   Anything less, we are only fooling ourselves and underestimating how venal our political leadership is in this country.

Future Course of Political Activity in Telangana

It is becoming clear that political leaders of Telangana have no clout with the UPA leadership.  Whatever they do, they can’t bring Telangana.  Their resignations did not help.  When they go to New Delhi, they are treated like untouchables in an 18th century Indian village.  They are talked down to.  They don’t get any respect.  They have been reduced to an impotent political force.   Compare this with the regional forces like DMK/AIADMK of Tamil Nadu, or Trinamool Congress of West Bengal. When their leaders visit New Delhi, they are treated like foreign dignitaries.   Tamil Nadu continues to hold key portfolios in Indian Cabinet though they do not vote for Congress in their state.  Andhra Pradesh with 33 Congress MPs does not hold any major cabinet position.  

Though it has becoming obvious that the political movement has failed, we cannot abandon the political process completely because a strong political leadership is necessary for Telangana even after the formation of the state.  We will get respect as leaders only when we start respecting ourselves.  And in the current mood prevailing in Telangana, sucking up to the UPA political leadership is not going to achieve that.  But rebelling against it will instantly fetch that respect.  The only way out is to create a regional force that is independent of the UPA leadership.

Why shouldn’t the committed leaders of Telangana form a new political front which opposes the current UPA leadership? Why are the Congress leaders of Telangana so afraid to quit Congress and form their own party?  Is it because they don’t have a leader?  Is it because they fear they won’t win?  With people on their side, why should they fear?  In a democracy, if people are your side, you are invincible.   And currently, the leaders of Telangana enjoy the massive support of its people. This is the defining moment for political leadership of Telangana.  They should form a political front independent of Congress and win elections in Telangana.  Being a part of a national party or professing the faith in the same is not helping the cause of the region.