How green was my Telangana!

By: Vijayshree

Bibinagar, was our first stop, in the journey, to our summerhouse, near Mulug in Warangal. We stopped there, to have our food. Lush green paddy fields, abounded, alongside the road and we stopped near a motor pump supplying water to the fields, under the shade of a Neem tree. After we finished having our food, lulled by a cool breeze, Bapu slept underneath the trees. But we, the children were enticed, by the numerous small canals criss- crossing the paddy fields.

After Bapu had his nap, we started again, as the journey was long, given that the old cars which Bapu drove broke down regularly, every one hour or so.

How green was my Telangana, in my journeys, so green, that it all seems like a dream now. The moment we crossed Hyderabad, the roads, were lined with Neem trees forming a canopy of shade, even in sweltering heat. The onset of summer saw, the Flame of Forest in full bloom and everything was red, as if Telangana was painted in the colour of Ochre. There were fields, mostly Corn, swaying to the lilt of the ever changing winds.

It was like a painted canvas, when we visited during the Dasara Holidays as, the fields were dotted with Marigold flowers and red chillies. But what gave everything the look of other worldly beauty was its, background. Hills of all shapes and heights looked on, asking us, if we can ever hope to climb and reach their top. The hills were broken in by lakes, and ponds. Streams flowed close to the road, prompting us to stop and run to them. If ever there is, one moment in my life that, I can picture myself, captured in, forever in my memory, then, it is, of me wading into a cool stream, trying to catch the little fish, which swam, in its crystal clear water.

There were forests everywhere, which spelt of every imaginable adventure. When the car moved without stopping, everything was a blur of greenery passing by. Sal trees, Banyan trees were the common ones which dotted the landscape apart from the tall Palm trees. There was something ethereal about the journey I think, which makes it stamped forever in my mind, as really my remembrance and love for Telangana.

In the evenings just as we reached our village, herds of cows, with their tinkling bells, herds of sheep, and goats, buffaloes, would be returning homewards after a long day of grazing out. And in the sky, a V shaped formation of flock of birds; each in a colour of its own would be flying in a hurry, homewards too. The sight of white Cranes, then black coloured Cranes, green coloured Parrots against the backdrop of a setting sun breaking into different shades of golden light was simply breath taking.

I was home, and in the backyard, there was wilderness along with peanut and corn fields. The yellow blossom of Thangedu and pinkish ones of Gunugu greeted me from that harmony of fields and wilderness. Telangana was the colours of Bathukamma, and that is why, both of them are indistinguishable.


Now if anyone will try to follow the path that we once took, one only looks at barren rocks, fields turned into plots, hills mined for stone, lakes and ponds dried out and Bibinagar is, a barren, non descript stretch of land, where nothing seems to grow; a far cry, from the days, of our dreamy childhood.

All the trees have been cut down to lay fly over’s and ring roads to nowhere, and there is no canopy to shade you against the wrath of the beating sun. I remember the outskirts of the city were also famous for their grape farms. One always found farmers’ selling bunches of grapes, on the road ways. We would lust for the grapes’ hanging in bunches, tantalizingly and elusively from the vineyards. The grape vineyards have vanished, to feed the ever growing real estate mafia which swallowed everything that was green surrounding, Hyderabad and has been eyeing, whatever was remaining of it, in the rest of Telangana.

The reason, I am trying to redraw as vivid as, is possible, portrayal of how green Telangana was: is for the simple reason that, innumerable Andhra friends are shedding copious tears for the inevitable destruction of their green fields, for building their capital city. Some of them are literally beating their breasts, as if someone is going to die, to make way for their city, and they are blaming it all on the bifurcation of the state and parting of Hyderabad from them.

What I am saying is – how about us? Have they given a thought to what we lost, and how was it like, for me, to have lived and seen that dream and having grown to see it turn into a nightmare, right in front of my eyes, with everything devastated and destroyed? You might be shedding your tears for the rich paddy fields, but I’ve spent sleepless nights thinking about the entire wilderness lost, besides those fields.

You’ve given your love to everything that can be turned into money, which are those rich paddy fields, but I’ve given my love to the nature, to the hills, streams, shrubs and trees. For without nature, where are your rains and where is the water for the fields. Where is the reason for living, if you cannot see greenery around you? We are being punished with a scorching Sun shining unrelentingly on us, angrily, for all the destruction bestowed upon by your rulers on our share of nature, which was a bountiful one, before you came along with your greedy ideas of destructive development.

Why is it that our fields never counted for you? Because for you, stuck in your well of ignorance, Telangana was never green, it never had water and if we tried to explain, it was otherwise, you only dismissed our language as being uncouth and that way, shut our mouths. Our words died, before they came forth and our tears swallowed, before they flowed and the reality reduced to an oasis in our minds, to be turned into reality again in the school holidays.

Why do your tears not flow, for a sure and inevitable destruction of forests and fields, and valleys in Khammam for the building of the Polvaram Project? I spoke about it with the same friends, and they say the project has many benefits and the sacrifice being made, is small in comparison. Yes, after all, why will the poor tribals count for them, they might be, just another figment of imagination, of their Telangana friend.

That, is the whole problem with our Andhra friends, what is not theirs, what is not close to their home, is simply non-existent, so when the time for the rich paddy fields to go, comes, all hell breaks loose. The innumerable and real benefits coming from the building of capital city are all not counted; it is only their green fields, which are remembered.

I asked them, then, why don’t you build your capital in Vizag, and the answer which came from not one, but quite a few friends makes me want to, double up in laughter. They are actually saying, ‘You should not have a capital close to the sea, where will the city expand, with the sea, so close by?’, even if I try to control my laughter, out comes my answer, ‘And, how about Chennai and Mumbai?’ and they look at me as if I am demented, for having, compared, those cities with Vizag. The sea over there and here is quite different and behaves differently, in Vizag, according to them.

I was really going mad with this conversation, so I decided to make them Mad instead and out came my question, ‘So when will your capital city be ready?’ That’s enough to make them Mad at me for a long, long time.

I decided then that these kinds of people will never understand, not even in their dreams, how green Telangana was and what we had to give up, for feeding, the ever expanding innards of Hyderabad. For them Telangana was only a series of blanks, which they had filled up with their grotesque buildings and all the greenery that I will never describe to them, is something impossible to even imagine, and therefore, must’ve been invented by KCR and put in my mind in a series of hallucinations that he had concocted upon us- dumb people of Telangana.

The really funny part is all of them believe, CBN, is going to be the next CM of Telangana, and that he will reunite both the sides and thus we fools, will never be parted from them. After all, we cannot live for one day, without them. We do not know how to cook, how to administer, how to live, how to help ourselves and are in terrible need of them, of which we are dangerously, unaware of. So they have decided they will never leave foolish us, especially since we all seem to be in need of a cure from a spell cast by KCR, which their dear CBN will do it, according to them, goodness knows how. Probably, by engineering, fake encounters, of a lot of people, like us.

Laugh or cry, this is what they all say, for the sake of their rich paddy fields. Our fields and our forests be damned. If anything has gone missing, they feel, it must be my own brains, hijacked by KCR’s talk.

I live in a dream, that, what was once green will turn green again, with the project for revival of ponds and lakes and planting of trees on a massive scale. At least our children’s children should be able to see how green our Telangana was, in their journeys into its hinterlands.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *