By: Sujai K
Imagine this for a little while, because this is what I have always predicted to myself for a long time now – Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi will fly down into Hyderabad, amidst one of the great gatherings of Telangana people, assembled specifically for special purpose, and upon the descent from a helicopter, this leader will announce the formation of Telangana. People of Telangana go ecstatic. Those glued to television come out onto streets, in celebration, chanting the names of ‘Sonia Gandhi’ and ‘Rahul Gandhi’. In the subsequent weeks, the Congress leaders of Telangana, the very same leaders who were unwelcome in their own constituencies till now, will parade into the villages and towns of Telangana, with fanfare and loudspeakers, eagerly welcomed by the people of Telangana, with chants of Sonia and Rahul. The credit for attaining Telangana is now bestowed on these followers of Sonia and Rahul Gandhi. They will recount the pain and suffering they have undergone while struggling for Telangana. People of Telangana will lap it all up, and swoon in euphoria.
And the history books of Telangana will be written describing how these leaders of Congress fought for Telangana, and explain how Sonia and Rahul were always keen on granting Telangana from day one. As a footnote, they will also mention that there were two other institutions which also participated in the movement – they were called TRS and TJAC.
For some this may look like fiction, but this could very well be the reality – so let’s not get surprised. And like any person of Telangana I will be happy that we attained Telangana, but will be also sad because we lost the movement. Attaining Telangana this way is a Pyrrhic victory, a slap on the face of all the people who struggled, who stood in rain and sun in rallies and agitations, and those intellectuals who dreamt of a prosperous Telangana.
As much as it is important to attain Telangana, it is equally important that we convert this movement into a political force for the future of Telangana. TRS and TJAC are the institutions which have ingrained in them the struggles, the pains, the suffering, the dreams, the visions, the leaders, the activists, the intellectuals of this movement.
TRS and TJAC, in spite of some weaknesses, are the institutions which embody the aspirations of Telangana activists; they carry with them the message, the sentiment, and the passion of the people who fought for Telangana. And how could it be that we squander this away. TJAC with all its affiliate JACs – which run into few hundred organizations, is the greatest expression of a grass root democracy this country has ever witnessed. How could it be that these institutions, which sprang from the pent up frustrations of a sixty year old struggle, are reduced to a footnote in the history books?
As much as we all want Telangana, we also want to make sure that our aspirations, our dreams, our wishes, our sufferings are all preserved, respected and ingrained in the future of Telangana.
Yes, TRS needs people of Telangana for its existence. But it is also true that people of Telangana need these institutions to be relevant and important in future of Telangana.
We want them to relevant, not just because we want them to take credit for the attainment of Telangana, but also because we want to hold them accountable for fulfilling the aspirations of these battered and suppressed people. Otherwise, who will we question in future Telangana? Who will we berate? Who will we criticize when things go wrong? Who will we hold accountable when our dreams are not realized? Who will we blame tomorrow for unfulfilled promises?
We did not bequeath those expectations onto Congress leaders, some of who were in fact the ministers in charge responsible for sending our leaders, activists and students to jail. We did not expect the Congress leaders to fulfill our promises, and desires. They were not there standing in sun and rain when we stood chanting slogans of Telangana till our throats went sore and dry.
Yes, agreed TRS and TJAC are not the perfect institutions. But they are our institutions. It is like saying we are proud of our identity, however crooked our language seems to be to the outsiders. One of the hallmarks of this movement is how we attained self-respect as people of Telangana, how we defined ourselves, and how we brought back our identity. And that is currently imbibed into these organizations.
The people of Telangana became part of these institutions to express our desires and wishes. We stood hand in hand and sang songs of a future and prosperous Telangana. We shared our sorrows, we did dhoom dhaam, we did vanta varpu, we took our massive rallies and we created a renaissance. It was a cultural revolution that ingrained and incorporated Telanganam and defined what Telangana is.
Yes, we understand that it is time to go through the required political maneuvers to attain Telangana. You may have to walk the politics and talk the politics. But this may also be the right time to remind our leaders something far more important: You are answerable to aspirations of 3.5 crore people who believed in you. By virtue of being in the position of leadership today, you became architects of our history, and therefore you are something more than what you have aspired to be. You have to rise to the occasion, and set aside your petty quibbles, myopic greed, your narrow ambitions, for a cause that is so big, that you cannot see it through your personal agendas anymore. And you carry these great obligations because there are great expectations. You cannot dither, you cannot falter, you cannot succumb at this critical hour to the pragmatic political pressures. You have no right to dilute yourself, no right to erase your existence. Because whether you like it or not, you have become something greater than you have imagined yourself to be. You are bequeathed with our expectations, and history will not be kind to you, ever. The path for you forward is not going to be an easy path, but it has never been easy for those great leaders who were foisted to the positions that carry burdens of carrying out the wishes of so many millions of people. There is no escape for you. There are no short cuts for you.
We all dream of a Telangana, a vibrant Telangana, in which the institutions that we created, the institutions which belong to us, are still relevant and important. TRS will be the regional party that will continuously wager with the national parties, harangue the center, and badger New Delhi, to get proper representation to our wishes and our demands. It will make Telangana stronger and prouder. TJAC will be the pillar of grass roots democratic expression, carrying out protests, and coming onto streets whenever the political parties fail to deliver on their promises, keeping them in constant check providing the necessary balance.
Telangana Movement is not just about attaining Telangana. It is about bringing a positive transformation in the lives of people of Telangana. Attainment of statehood is nothing but a first step. It is not an end. Therefore, the institutions of TRS and TJAC will continue to remain and relevant and important for the future of Telangana – and only when they play their designated role in future, this movement will continue, and only then they will deliver on the promises made to the people of Telangana.