Jaishankar Sir – The Unforgettable Father of Telangana

By: Vijayshree Kurumilla

December 1st week of 2009, KCR was continuing with his fast, I was spending some tense moments at home; the television was never switched off during those eleven days. It was a cold wintry night and I had drawn my shawl close to myself and was trying to read a book to divert my mind. From my bedroom, I heard a voice, gentle and compelling at the same time. I was drawn, and wondered who it was, talking in such a simple yet persuasive manner about the Telangana cause.

I came to watch the television and to my surprise, I found it had drawn all the members of my family to it. I came to know for the first time in my life as to, who Jaishanker Sir was and I also came to understand the agony that Telangana has gone through, from the time of being forcefully merged with Andhra.

Jaishanker Sir took me on a journey which appeared not just to be his personal one, but that of mine and that of every Telangana person.

How many times we had been cheated, and how many insults we had encountered, all through his own account, of what it had been like, right from when their family had to take shelter in Guntur to escape razakars to the present time, when all kinds of suppression of Telangana was taking place.
‘In 1952, when protests erupted in City College, I was supposed to be part of those protests, but the bus carrying me got stuck at Bhongir and I could not make it. Six or seven of the students died, I wish that I had been there and died too, I would not have lived to see Telangana going through so much of misery.’

My eyes welled with tears, I felt like I was there too, waiting for the bus at Bhongir, to restart even as my friends were getting shot and killed at the city college, somewhere in 1952.

Jaishanker sir, had that power in his words, he could draw empathy towards whatever he was explaining. You felt as if you had undergone that experience, not just him. It made us cry, just reliving the world which he was so painstakingly recreating for us, to see and then decide for ourselves, where we are, who we are and what should we be doing, to end the repeat of those incidents.

After that, I heard him many times, taking part in HMTV discussions on the issue of Telangana. When he began to speak, everyone would listen in pin drop silence and no one could say that he was not convinced by his arguments in favour of Telangana.

I find it very difficult to explain anything to my mother, as she comes back with a lot of questions which in my impatience borne out of my own continual ill health, I find them to be repetitive. But, when she hears Jaishanker sir, she is awe stuck; she can understand everything and does not ask me anything about it, again. I used to thank him silently, for that.

December, 2010, public meeting at Warangal, before the release of Srikrishna report, Jaishankar sir addressed the ruling party members, ‘Stop acting like beggars, and start acting like rulers’. How true, even now, in January, 2013, when Congress betrayed us for the nth time and we are appealing to the T Congress leaders, yet again, not to forsake Telangana.

When he died, I broke down into tears and so did, all of Telangana, ‘Where are you Sir, we still need you, sometimes we feel lost, we miss you at that time. Like a father, you had been to all of us, who will speak to us again the way you used to speak. Truth and honesty found their voice in you, that is why they came out so clearly and touched us all. You had joined the stars that light the night in the dark skies, please guide us with your starlight and speak to us, from there, just as you had spoken to us, when you were amongst us. Your soul would be wandering here in Telangana, seeing whether we are all fighting for Telangana, the way you would have wanted us to.

Yes we are, with your life as an inspiration. Thank you, for whatever times you had spent with us, it had been invaluable and; unforgettable is how you will stay, with us, forever.’

In these dark times, when some Andhra vipers are spewing venom on the father of Telangana, I thought that I must write this to remind ourselves, as to how far we had come and whether we are walking the path that jaishankersir had made for us and whether the sapling which he had planted in our hearts had grown to a big tree, whose roots will overthrow these kind of poisonous creatures which are lashing out, at us, from all sides and in every manner.

I think, it is time, for everyone of us to ponder over the answer to it.

Jai Telangana!

(Vijayshree responded to Vishandhra Mahasabha’s poisonous attack on Jaishankar Sir )

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