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Separation: The Story 40 Years Ago

Many of us who are hard-core Telanganites find it hard to believe that the demand for statehood has re-surfaced without any reason, says The True Mulki
The True Mulki / fullhyd.com
Hyderabad | 10th December 2009
In 1969, some of you might not have been born. The idea of a separate Telangana floated by Dr. Chenna Reddy, which was taken forward by the Telangana Praja Samithi, was the cause for huge destruction of lives and property.

What were the issues at that time, and what are they now?

I would say that the issues are no different but luckily the treatment by the protesters is slightly different and better. I still remember that, as a 11-year-old living in the same area as I do now (about a km from Mehdipatnam and about 2 km from Shaikpet), I was shocked to hear that the protesters burnt down Dr. Kakarla Subba Rao Garu's property that was a landmark in Shaikpet.

In 1969, they also burnt down buses, and a curfew was imposed, and the people who were to bear the brunt were the true sons of the soil (the poorest of poor and, mostly, labourers from our own region of Telangana).

Later, the movement dissipated, and also the same Dr. Reddy got governorship and was "rewarded" with the CM's seat of the undivided AP. Many pundits talked about the lack of attention given to "Our Poor Telangana".

A few questions:

1. There have been hundreds of MPs and MLAs from our region. What is it that they have done for their constituencies? Have they identified a development plan, and if so, has that been rejected by the state government? Or is it that a few factories were planned but the state government opposed it? One is really unable to comprehend as to why the area that KCR represents is still backward.

2. Will these opportunities be given only to the sons of the soil? If yes, will the demand not be the same as the MNS in Maharastra? What about our people who are in other states? Should they also be sent back?

3. Who would you define as a local, and on what basis - is it by birth only, or is it by the number of years that you have been here? This will give rise to a number of issues that need a lot of analysis and sorting out of, before being implemented.

4. How are the poorest of poor going to benefit from a Statehood? I am not talking about corruption, but am referring to the basic necessities of life. Is the state going to be able to provide a better standard of living for the poorest of the poor? If yes, how?

5. The most important question is - why was the issue on a backburner all these years (KCR formed the party several years ago, and also tried unsuccessfully to contest the elections on a "separate statehood" plank). Is there something more to it than meets the eye (please refer to the front page of TOI, Dec 7, 2009)?

Many of us who are hard-core Telanganites find it hard to believe that the demand for statehood has re-surfaced without any reason, and that there is so much of support for a cause that was almost routed in the assembly elections.

I think that we all need to remember that THIS IS A POLITICAL DECISION AND THAT THE COMMON MAN AND HIS LIFE/WORK/PROPERTY SHOULD NOT BE AFFECTED.

When our political leaders agreed to the demand for separate statehood, they have, hopefully, thought through the repercussions and then taken the final decisions. It is indeed good to talk about the pride of Telanganites, and also to keep stating that our pride has been trampled for several centuries by the "others" (read, "Andhraites"), but finally, remember that partition needs to be carefully designed and thought of before being successful.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer, and do not reflect the views of fullhyd.com
filed in:  1969, Chenna Reddy, KCR, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana Praja Samithi, Telangana
COMMENTS
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2power10 on 15th Dec 2009, 9:33am | Permalink
@ Raj G:
If the police have not followed Sabitha Indra Reddy's orders, then it speaks of her competency, not her domicile. Has she ever ever asserted herself - ever? What about during YSR's death - did she look like a person who has the ability to take charge of that crisis? She never looked like politician material, and it has nothing to do with where people are from. If politicians from Telangana can't behave like leaders, then why should they take cover under demands of separate statehood?
Raj G on 15th Dec 2009, 8:09am | Permalink
@CBN
This happened before and everyone lived happily ever after (even with Mulki rules violated). So I don't think Hyderabadi's will assert ownership or MNS kind of theatrics. It will just not fly in current Hyderabad. We have families friends from Andhra so 'assertion' may be non issue. There will always be ignorant fringes - that should not keep us from looking for a win-win solution. All this chest thumping in Andhra/Seema hopefully fizzles out for cooler heads to chart new course.
Raj G on 15th Dec 2009, 7:58am | Permalink
Great leaders are born out of empowered savvy populace. Take a look at around and tell me if you consider your self empowered? It is all about Mining/contractin/Industrial lobbies that have perfected the art - and Telangana MLAs/MPs will always play second fiddle. Even Sabitha Reddy had to ask Rosaih to step in because Police were not following her orders.
chandrababu naidu on 12th Dec 2009, 2:41pm | Permalink
good point, 2power10.

lucifer, you say:

"Yes, MNS is doing their stuff in Maharashtra but has any non-Maharashtrian actually been forced to flee? Have they succeeded in anything other than creating humbug?"

insecurity, lack of identity and a constant niggling feeling that your neighbours may be thinking that you are stealing their rights are enough issues. plus, you will always be wary of asserting your rights, since a native will get bold since the MNS and his neighbours will stand by him due to factors other than what is right and what is wrong.

"And it is fine if Hyderabad goes to Telangana. As long as it is a part of India, does it really matter under which state boundary it falls?"

millions of people from the rest of AP have made Hyderabad their home under the assumption that it belongs to them as much as to anybody else, and builts homes, businesses and livelihoods here. Hyderabad becoming the capital of Telangana sends the message that they are now outsiders living in this city, and give rise to all the issues above.

the leaders of telangana (and perhaps many people), if hyderabad goes to them, are likely to assert their rule over it like no one did earlier, since the movement has made them conscious that it is "their's". and this will be felt more by the people from Andhra and Seema than the people from other states.
2power10 on 12th Dec 2009, 1:19pm | Permalink
@ Rohit,
Haryana is a fertile land. Telangana is not. I don't know what the sustainable sources of revenue will be.
Rohit Murari on 12th Dec 2009, 10:59am | Permalink
Pucca_Hyderabadi, it is all so easy to say that the people have no sense. In a democracy, it is the people who elect the government. And the brilliance of this system is that we get the government we deserve.

It is fairly simple to go on a rant about corruption, poverty, etc. when we don't even take enough time out to exercise our franchise on election day (GHMC elections voter turnout is a shining example here). And please bear in mind, when I am talking of not exercising franchise I am talking of the general middle class population that vehemently participates in arm-chair politics but refuses to engage itself in the democratic process. The usual excuse given is that no one is good enough. I beg to differ. Most constituencies have first-timers contesting. Why not vote for them and see how they turn out rather than have the same people come back to power by being apathetic towards the election process?

All said and done, we the people have elected our representatives. Like it or not, it means the demand for a separate state is a demand of the people. While in a democracy, we have every right to question any affair we also have it as our duty to accept the mandate of the people. Nothing is more sacred than that. It is the very foundation of democracy.

As for benefit to the aam aadmi, take a look at Haryana (carved out of Punjab on 1 November, 1966). I was there a couple of months ago, driving through Sonipat, Panipat, Karnal, Kurukshetra and Ambala along NH-1. The prosperity had trickled down to every village. Here is an extract of what wikipedia says about Haryana:

Haryana is now a leading contributor to the country's production of foodgrain and milk. Agriculture is the leading occupation for the residents of the state, the flat arable land irrigated by submersible pumps and an extensive canal system. Haryana contributed heavily to the Green Revolution that made India self-sufficient in food production in the 1960s.

Haryana has the 3rd highest per capita income in the country at Rs 49,038 in 2008[2] (Rs 29,887 in 2007[3]) including the largest number of rural Crorepatis in India.[4] It is one of the most industrialized states of India, and is considered to be the current growth engine of India,[5] with the city of Gurgaon rapidly emerging as a major hub for the information technology and automobile industries.

The link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haryana

All this happened only post statehood of the region.
Pucca_Hyderabadi on 12th Dec 2009, 2:47am | Permalink
Lucifer, there seems to be no benefit for us aam admi in breaking up the state. As many others have pointed out, if lack of development is the problem, what the hell were these netas when they were/are in power? Everybody wants to be THE big fish in a small pond.

The problems facing the state are corruption, poverty, lack of education and almost fanatical factionalism/intolerance. Please tell me how these problems will be solved if the same goondas clamoring for a new state are going to run it?

The people have no sense, they will vote for these charlatans and we will have the same "problems".

Maybe this is my chance to make a few demands...I want Malkajgiri to be its own state.
Lucifer on 12th Dec 2009, 12:01am | Permalink
chandarababu naidu, please enlighten me.
chandrababu naidu on 11th Dec 2009, 8:13pm | Permalink
Lucifer, you really need to know a lot more about all this.
Lucifer on 11th Dec 2009, 6:01pm | Permalink
And yes, one needs to look at Haryana too while considering the development that can be ushered in when a new state is created. For those who may not be aware, Haryana was carved out of Punjab. The development post the formation of Haryana is there for all to see.
Lucifer on 11th Dec 2009, 5:56pm | Permalink
I don't see any harm in making a new state. Even Article 4 of the constitution says that formation of any new state does not amount to an amendment. This means it is akin to passing a general law.

The state is not seceding from the union. As far as the settlers issue is concerned, there is no ground for TRS to stand on. Article 19 of the constitution guarantees any Indian to settle in any part of the country. Yes, MNS is doing their stuff in Maharashtra but has any non-Maharashtrian actually been forced to flee? Have they succeeded in anything other than creating humbug?

And it is fine if Hyderabad goes to Telangana. As long as it is a part of India, does it really matter under which state boundary it falls?
rani on 11th Dec 2009, 10:08am | Permalink
Well,This event has opened the roads for the Gorkhas in west bengal too.I am really surprised now that how many peices will Mother India break into.I am sure there are lot of things the Government should think over before seperation of the state.
Portuguese Man-Of-War on 11th Dec 2009, 9:25am | Permalink
Many valid points here. Telangana is backward because the people of the region repeatedly elected crooked leaders - MLAs and MPs - who did nothing for them. Telangana was not run by anyone but the 119 MLAs and 17 MPs of that region, who were elected by the people of THAT region, for 55 years now. Is the argument that 119 MLAs and 17 MPs, almost half of AP's representation, cannot get good irrigation for their area for 55 years?

And even when there was a much better party called Lok Satta in 2009, people still stuck to voting for the same old bunch. How justified is it to complain of backwardness?

I believe that affirmative action improves decision-making capabilities as well, but you don't need affirmative action to be able to know to throw a crook out of office when you've been given a chance. What will we get with a separate state, when all we're going to do is have the same leaders rule us all over again? By the separatist logic, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh should have improved dramatically in the last 7 years. They're worse today.

Our problem is not our leaders. Our problem is us, ourselves. A separate Telangana benefits KCR and his clan, no one else. People of Telangana will have much more money available for development (and to combat the looming naxal menace) if they are part of AP, due to the high revenues of the unified state. It's more practical to elect a bunch of 119 MLAs and 17 MPs who are efficient and dedicated enough to channelize a bulk of those resources and use them efficiently and honestly towards development of the region, than to make do with much lesser money from a smaller and poorer state, run by the same old leaders who are the reason Telangana is where it is in the first place.

And from a national perspective, what the Congress did was ridiculous - if you cave in to pressure created over a period of 15 days, you will embolden a hundred others to start agitations. Jayashankar now says there will be civil war for Hyderabad - how emboldened must someone be to make such a statement? Threatening the Indian state with war? It happened because the Congress caved in in 15 days to an earlier violent agitation.

Half the reason that the ordinary, peace-loving people of Telangana (and I think 99.9% of them are that way) get so much negative PR is that their leaders are so vitriolic. Correct me if I am wrong, but not one state was formed in India so far due to a violent agitation. Many people would have had far more sympathy for the Telangana cause if it were led by a leader closer to Gandhi than to KCR, and if they chose to destroy their own property rather than other innocent people's properties, or fast instead of attack.
Pucca_Hyderabadi on 11th Dec 2009, 6:01am | Permalink
Let the fool die. KCR is no Mahathma Gandhi and the state will be better off without idiots like him.

I hope the SC steps in and takes over the law and order. This is simply ridiculous...
Mithu Hiranand Sadarangani on 11th Dec 2009, 1:32am | Permalink
I used to be a student in All Saints High School and the students of that time too joined the agitation. I remember there was police firing and one innocent student was killed during those day in the gunfoundry area. This movement in those days when Bhramananda Reddy was the Chief Minister was firmly suppressed by the police and CSF or those days. In fact later I realised that this was all Political movement without any benefit for the common man. Even today a seperate Telangana State is not that important. The politicians are making in issue of it and now there maybe clashes between them, All the discussions and debates in the Assembly is a sheer waste of time which they are supposed to use for the benefit of people. Shame a lot of time will be consumed in reshaping the state of Andhra Pradesh and maybe this leads to another electoral period and new leaderships. Waste..................waste.
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