“Which part of Andhra do you come from?”, enquired my friend with genuine curiosity and interest. “I come from Andhra”, was my reply. “Yeah, but which part of Andhra?”, she asked with even more intensity. It then struck me that the whole concept of regionalization of our state is alien to many people who have made its cosmopolitan capital- Hyderabad, their home. Although, Hyderabad is the state’s capital, its growing metropolitan status is because of the numerous cultures that have been accepted benevolently by the city and its citizens. To many outsiders, Andhra is one state, which it is but the recent turn of events has complicated that view. I had to elaborate and explain to my friend how the state basically consists of three major regions – Telangana, Andhra (or coastal Andhra) and Rayalseema. There are few cultural and linguistic differences among the people of these regions and that’s why the classification in the first place. Even to me, a resident of the state for almost 11 years now and also a native, this distinction in regions became clear when I wrote the EAMCET exams and was made aware of ‘regional reservations’ – a concept which is as rare as any. I always failed to comprehend the need for region-wise reservation when all of the people belonged to one state. But, systems like this are beyond the understanding of mortals like me.
During the course of the past few days, many people new to these facts have ended up referring to KCR as TRS. Funnily, a friend of mine from another state enquired “Has TRS broken his fast”. An amusing observation amidst, the gloom of all the incidents that have occurred as a result of the agitations for a new state. I am a neutral on this topic and believe that, all the time, resources and energy spent on this cause could have been used for making the government stand up and take notice of the projects that were promised for this region and have not been completed. People who are vociferously demanding a separate state of Telangana should have demanded changes in policies for their region with the same fervor with which they are shouting slogans. We are a democracy and we are the checks on the government’s actions. We have immense freedom to voice our opinions and bring changes. It’s a great power and with that power, comes great responsibility. Yes, all the vandalism and “raasta-rokos” and protests have brought immense focus on the issue and made both the state and national government take notice, but is this attention going to solve the grass root problems like lack of water supply and drought like conditions that have rendered the lands barren? The question I am asking is – is carving out a new state going to solve these problems or is the problem something else.
Another burning issue is the fate of Hyderabad. Geographically, it falls in the Telangana region but it is not about lines and kilometers and positions anymore. I do not think the majority of the state’s population thinks of Hyderabad as falling in a certain region. Hyderabad is home to people from various districts and even states. The amount of money that will be spent in completing the formalities required to bring in a new state is huge. That money can instead be used for the uplifting of the region in discussion here.
As a Hyderabadi and a native of Andhra Pradesh, I personally find it sad to see so many people get hurt and so much property being destroyed. All our moral compasses need checking and we have to acknowledge the situation with sensitivity. Yes, the people of Telangana have problems that need to be attended and yes, to some extent they have a right to be angry because that ‘yet’ is taking forever. But, the focus should be those problems. I hope for a united Andhra Pradesh which is incomplete without any region and backward even if one district is suffering from abject poverty. I am no politician, but this issue should not be about politics in the first place. If it is, then it is a pity.