The Congress at the national level, after examining the problems involved in the creation of Telangana with 10 districts, seems to have come to the conclusion that unless Kurnool and Anantapur are added, none of the major problems that had cropped up before the Group of Ministers can be resolved.
Obviously it was after a series of meetings that the GoM seemed to have arrived at the opinion that if Andhra Pradesh needs to be bifurcated, this is the only way it can be done. Once this proposal was mooted, the reaction of the so-called pro-Telangana upper caste intellectuals, even of some reputation, has been shocking.
They are now arguing that this proposal, if executed, will harm the interests of the weaker sections of Telangana, who were expecting to empower themselves only in a 10-district state. They say that the Reddys of the two districts of Rayalaseema will jeopardise the empowerment of weaker sections of Telangana state.
No less an intellectual than C.H. Hanumatha Rao, the Chancellor of Hyderabad Central University, writes in an English daily on December 3: “In the process of the movement for separate statehood for Telangana over the last decade, a powerful alliance of hitherto neglected social groups has emerged.
This consists largely of backward, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and minorities. They are represented by the Joint Action Committees of innumerable professions. In the separate state of Telangana their political clout is going be decisive, relegating the privileged social groups to the secondary position."
He further argues that with the creation of a 12-district state, this possibility would alter. Not only him, other upper caste writers have put forth the same argument in Telugu newspapers. This is a very hypocritical argument, to say the least.
More than anybody, Dr Rao knows pretty well the caste that formed the party with the onepoint Telangana agenda (the Telangana Rashtra Samiti) is a pocket borough of one privileged social order of Uttara Telangana and it mobilised the political clout in the region because to fulfil demand. He also knows that the so-called political joint action committee is virtually controlled by the Telangana Reddys.
Even other intellectuals who are opposing the proposal of Rayala Telangana, by pretending to support the weaker sections’ cause, know that it was the Velamas and Reddys of Telangana who benefited from the forcefully extracted money during the so-called movement.
The task force that was sent by the Union home ministry collected data about such forceful collection and the report is before the GoM. The report said that these forces invested in several businesses — particularly in the agri business — from that hugely extracted money. Will such immoral forces allow the lower castes and the poor to benefit from a separate state?
Can these intellectuals show a single leader of the stature of Dr S. Shailajanath (SC) and Raghuveera Reddy (OBC) — both from Anantapur — from the weaker sections of Karimnagar, where Velamas rule the roost and from Nalgonda where the Reddys virtually control everything?
The civil service representation from weaker sections — from Anantapur and Kurnool — is far better than the VelamaReddy dominated districts of Telangana.
In fact, the first Dalit chief minister of India, Damodaram Sanjeevaiah, emerged from Kurnool. The Telangana Reddy-Velamas never allowed such a Dalit leader to emerge. From among OBCs, the K.E. Krishnamurthy family emerged from Kurnool itself.
Not only for the last 10 years, but since 1969, the Reddy-Velama forces of Telangana have used the youth from the weaker sections as cannon fodder for this distractive cause, presenting it as a sentimental issue. They were pushing them into agitations leaving aside their studies. They now want one more round of agitations so that the semi-Shiva Sena kind of TRS can benefit from this issue politically and financially.
The demand for Rayala Telangana, in the eventuality of the state’s division, was strongly advocated by Asaduddin Owaisi. This, he and his party, the Majlis Itehadul Muslimeen, thought, would protect the Muslims from the emerging danger of the Bharatiya Janata Party growing in this region once it becomes a state.
Do these upper caste intellectuals know better about Muslim interests than the representatives of the community? Is it not a fear-stricken situation that all the feudal forces and the intellectuals that emerged in Telangana are fully convinced that Telangana would be ruled by SC/ST/OBCs and they want it to be so now? But these same forces were saying all these years: “Do not raise the caste issue during the course of the Telanana movement”.
There is a diabolical talk about cultural differences between Telangana and the Rayalaseema districts. What is common between the Karimnagar Dalits who eat beef and Velama landlords who hate them? What is uncommon between the Anantapur Dalits or Muslims and the Telangana Dalits or Muslims? There is no holistic Telangana culture which is different from that of Rayalaseema or Andhra.
This is a country of caste cultures but not of region-specific cultures. No Indian state should be carved out based on false claims of cultural identity. States can be formed only for administrative convenience or on the basis of language. We have witnessed how Telangana identity-based politics served the interests of upper caste feudal forces and how it destroyed the educational agenda of upcoming castes and communities.
Let this vexed issue of Telangana be solved by adding two more districts, if it allows that. Or let the bifurcation issue be buried forever. No sane intellectual should obstruct this issue.
Enough is enough.
The writer is director, Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad
Deccan Chronicle English News Paper Dated : 04/12/2013