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Archive for May, 2015

What Does Telangana Mean To Me?

Posted by Vish Mangalapalli on May 26, 2015


Telangana State with 10 districts and its new emblems – Resuscitating a lost identity

Come June 02, the 29th baby of Mother India – The State of Telangana – will complete an year. Looking back, there is a disquieting sense of wonder in me as to when, how and why I have developed this deep passion and anxiety for the well being of this fledgling. For till about 2009, I was indifferent to the issue of the statehood of Telangana and somewhere in 2010 without my own knowing my interest turned towards it and since then it has just been building in me to have reached a state where it has become an integral part of my thought process. Not a day goes by when I do not think about Telangana, its progress, future prospects and possibilities. At a personal level this obsession with Telangana is puzzling and I have been seeking answers to understand this state of mind of mine

I am not sure if I have all the answers to this puzzle but one convincingly satisfying answer that I have arrived at is that in itself Telangana is simply a powerfully fascinating idea – an idea which stands to represent three fundamental aspects viz.

  • A distinctive identity that was almost lost and miraculously regained by the collective efforts of its people

  • The possibilities for accommodative justice in our federal polity

  • A renewed hope in the strength of constitutional provisions and democratic processes of India

The region of Telangana has had a rich culture and long chequered history spanning over 1300 years leading to a distinctive identity. The place and its people have demonstrated originality in every facet of their existence with a wonderful temperament for accommodation. However, for over six decades since its merger with Andhra, it is this identity and this sense of accommodation that was subject to progressive belittling, sustained emasculation and forcible subservience with a conscious purpose of usurping the resources of the region and extending a permanent hegemony in every sphere of life. This hegemony was nothing short of internal imperialism in a democratic milieu. It is this threatened identity that was regained through the collective efforts of people of Telangana against many powerful odds. At one level this awakening to the existence of a collective identity was also deeply personal and liberating. That I have a unique identity which is also part of larger collective identity and that it can be asserted and liberated from hegemony is extremely reassuring and soul satisfying in its nature. Without sounding exaggerating, the struggle for the statehood of Telangana in my view is one of the greatest people struggles of 21st century for reclaiming a losing identity. And that it can be achieved with collective human endeavour, sacrifice and commitment is hope inducing

Secondly, the formation of the state of Telangana also points to the vast spaces for justice in our federal polity. The run-up to the formation of the state preceded destabilizing protests, raucous debates, wicked machinations, political maneuvering of the ugliest order, gambled political fortunes, horrifying glimpses of individual and collective integrities of political leaders and the parties they represented, intellectual treason (Oh! there was tonnes of it !!), wicked and malicious intents to distort political processes. Despite all of this, justice prevailed to a large extent giving immense hope and faith in our federal system and its overall logic. Had this been otherwise the consequences would have been hard to imagine

Thirdly, this prevalence of justice would not have been possible without the inherent strength of our constitutional provisions and processes. That I live in a country which has a constitution with deep capabilities to protect the legitimate interests of its people enhances my faith in the system and in turn enhances my commitment to the system itself. There are many who feel the way I do which at a certain level is wholesome for a maturing democracy like ours

Having said all of the above, the new born baby is not without its share of threatening challenges and alluring possibilities. In rising above these challenges and realizing the potential of these possibilities lies the real duty of all who are committed to Telangana and who have made this powerful idea a possibility in the first place

Happy Birthday !!!!

(An article written for the magazine Singidi )

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