By: Sujai K
Most Andhra people try to tell Telangana people that their movement was not always active. And to prove that our demand was not a permanent and continuous one, they try to find some lacunae in our long struggle. One of the usual questions posed by them is ‘why didn’t Telangana people agitate for a separate state when people from Seemandhras were demanding separation during Jai Andhra Movement?’
The accusation that Telangana people did not use that opportunity to fight for separation has to be answered through historical context. The answer comes in three parts.
First. It is not true that Telangana was completely silent during Jai Andhra Movement. In fact a rare consensus was reached between the leaders of both the regions. The noted editor of Andhra Bhoomi, Sri Gora Saastri, wrote on 23rd January 1973 as follows:
“The merger of Andhra – Telangana, instead of yielding good results, has resulted in misunderstanding. Today, both the regions are demanding separation with one voice. And why is the central government objecting?”
Second. Yes, the Telangana Movement was not as vociferous and strident as it was during 1969-70, because there was a sense of dejection, a sense of disillusionment that has already set in most of Telangana people and its activists following the ruthless suppression of 1969 agitation, and most importantly following the overwhelming betrayal caused by the political leadership which merged Telangana Praja Samiti with the Congress to throwaway the separation agenda settling for some sops.
Third. Jai Andhra Movement was not exactly aiming for separation of Andhra but had the motive to deprive people of Telangana of their Mulki Rules, the safeguards that were promised in Gentlemen’s Agreement of 1956, guaranteed by the Constitution of India, and later upheld by Supreme Court verdict in 1972. Therefore, Jai Andhra Movement was seen as a farcical movement, an attempt to blackmail New Delhi into removing the protection mechanisms for Telangana. Naturally, many Telangana leaders and activists were not ready to see the Jai Andhra Movement as a genuine movement for separation but only as a movement to harm the interests of Telangana people. And that is why there was not much support for Jai Andhra Movement from people of Telangana. The fears and apprehensions of Telangana people about the actual motives of Jai Andhra Movement came out to be true. Indira Gandhi succumbed to the blackmail movement of Andhras. To appease them, she repealed the Mulki Rules overturning the decision of Supreme Court.