From Telangana to Tunisia and Egypt

By Sujai K

Watching the ecstatic Egyptians waving their national flags while walking on a million-man march can make almost every human being on the planet go ecstatic. It is the greatest struggle of mankind – the struggle for freedom. Witnessing one such freedom struggle unfold before you, one cannot help but sympathize with these Egyptians. Every man who loves freedom for himself and for his fellowman cannot help but support these Egyptians in their struggle. Following what happened recently in Tunisia where angry and irate Tunisians came onto streets to kick out their autocratic President, now the Egyptians have come out onto streets in an attempt to overthrow Hosni Mubarak, the dictator for nearly 30 years. And the whole world is watching this grand spectacle on their TV sets. Almost all international media units are in Cairo to cover this march of humanity which is celebrating their struggle for freedom. Even Indian news media have sent their cameras and journalists to cover this event to bring it live into the homes of millions of Indians.

Telanganas feel happy for Tunisians and Egyptians, and congratulate them, but then they look at themselves and their plight, and that happiness slowly turns into sadness. The despondency is palpable in the hearts and faces of Telangana people, at their helplessness. Less than two months ago, nearly 2.5 million Telanganas marched to Warangal to convey only one message to India, “Give us Telangana”, and yet, nobody paid attention. NONE of the Indian national media covered it on TV. For these Indian media houses, million-people march of Egyptians is important and significant to be covered live, but not the million-people march of fellow Indians.

For nearly ten years now, Telanganas are in a continuous struggle seeking freedom, only as a state within Indian Union, and yet, it goes unnoticed by national and international media. Looks like only a freedom struggle under dictators in the international arena gets the attention, but not those struggles in autocracies like India which pose themselves as democracies.

Egyptian Army declared they will not fire upon their fellowmen. So humane, one admires. But when it comes to India it is quite different. India routinely fires upon its own people to crush all freedom struggles even if that struggle is for such an innocuous and legitimate thing as creating a state, something which is prescribed as a method in Indian Constitution to fulfill aspirations of its people. What happened to the greatest champion of people’s struggles for freedom in the last sixty years? Why did India turn from a champion of freedom to suppressor of freedoms?

It is the arrogance that the freedom that is attained by us is absolute and perfect and hence any future freedom movements within have to be illegitimate. If India admits there is a genuine people’s movement within, then that means it has not given its people the absolute freedom it thought it gave.

India touts itself as the greatest democracy in the world but does not hesitate to kill its own people that seek self-rule by forming new states. It discredits all freedom movements within, even when they are legal and legitimate movements that follow the prescribed steps of Indian Constitution, because its arrogance does not allow it to admit it has been imperfect all along. Only immature and insecure democracies can suffer from that blind arrogance. It is sad that this nation which inspired so many freedom movements the world over has degenerated to become an autocracy.

It is sad that a ‘democratic nation’ like India uses its armies to fire upon its own people whereas the Egyptian Army under a dictator developed humane conscience to refrain from killing its own people. What will it take for Indian forces to turn as humane as Egyptian Army? When will it sympathize with its own people and disobey the autocratic diktats of the rulers?

British in India used India’s diversity to their advantage. They treated India as a collection of nations and therefore created army for each region; and whenever necessary, they used one region’s army against another to rule this subcontinent. When India became independent, the Indian leaders saw strength in this concept which deserved merit. Since the armies are created along regional lines, it became apparent that it would be extremely difficult for converting this country into a military dictatorship. But that strength is now misused; and Indians have become worse than British when it comes to treating Indians.

Nowadays, India conveniently uses the armed forces from one region to quell freedom seeking agitations of another region. In 1969, India used forces from Malabar region to kill nearly 370 Telangana protestors, more than those dead in Tunisia or Egypt, arrested more than 70,000, and injured and maimed more than 15,000 to completely suppress a movement which sought a state within legal confines of Indian Constitution. In the current agitation, it brought in battalions from other regions to suppress the movement much to the elation of Samaikhyandhra activists.

Right now, as the events unfold in Tunisia and Egypt, the Telangana person wonders, what a sham is Indian democracy? The autocrats are within but we cannot do anything about it. What is our recourse to overthrow the autocratic regime of Seemandhras? Would a 2.5 million-people march help? Not really. Would 400 suicides help? Not really. Would hundreds of agitations and thousands of hunger strikes help? Not really.

That’s because we are sham democracy which pretends that we keep our people free, but in reality lets a privileged group to enslave the underprivileged group. Indian democracy is a farce, which blatantly protects the master clan by supplying armed forces, guns and lathis, to coerce and suppress the slave clan. As long as the master clan is big enough to supply the required number of elected leaders to keep the ruling party in power, it can almost do anything to the slave clan, ridicule it, enslave it, maim it, and discriminate it without any repercussions.

Democracy in India is no longer about fulfilling the democratic aspirations of its people. It is all about keeping the ruling party in power at any cost, even if it means killing, brutalizing, maiming and injuring one section of people to satisfy the greed and rapacious appetite of another.

It is a shame that Indian democracy has become this.

While the world celebrates as Tunisia and Egypt take on the path of freedom overthrowing the oppressors, the so-called greatest democracy in the world suppresses its own people when they try to overthrow the oppressors within.

On which side is India? On the side of Hosni Mubarak or the million people who marched for freedom? Innocent Indians may be on the side of the million people, but the Indian Government is clearly on the side of Hosni Mubarak when they support Seemandhra rulers in quelling the movement for self-rule of Telanganas.

For India to become a truly democratic country, it has to make amends right away. One of them is to immediately create Telangana and live up to the ideals it promised its people when this nation was formed sixty years ago.

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