Today is a very sad day...for me and prolly for 5 crore others from AP. The other 5 must be jubiliant with joy. Facebook was filled with heated messages and even more provocative comments that could never end...that could never hope to lead to any meaningful conclusion. Twitter was a-twitter with excited emotions...anger, sadness, nostalgia, sarcasm, malice..
Even in Maharashtra, office canteens were abuzz with discussions and almost everywhere one heard "Telangana, KCR, Chandrababu Naidu" as they passed groups of students and techies on furiously venting out their emotions on street corners.
In all this chaos, my sentamentality has to make place for itself.
I have been hearing about the Telangana issue vaguely for about 5 to 6 yrs...but never really being one to care much about anything outside of my immediate circle, i hardly paid any attention. The extent of the matter was my loyalty to my 'hometown', Vizag being pitched against the superiority of a metropolitan Hyderabad in friendly banter with friends. I'm sure that if the state had split at that time, I wouldn't have minded as much. But then...it happened...I moved to Hyderabad...went to this amazing place to get an education (which will now be foreign, somehow) and the issue of Telangana hit closer home. I couldnt understand the language very well...which, in name is the same as my mother tongue. I had pretty much the same language problems as most of my northern friends...and worse, I was expected to help THEM out! As for the city itself, I resisted...I balked at the people...I might have scoffed at their customs...and even at the weather and terrain. But it grew on me, seduced me and completely won me over. I began to LOVE the language and its colour and its texture...preferred that over the 'properness' of my mother tongue. The people too became less strange and sometimes very dear...occasionally frustrating, of course! But I had loads of help falling in love with the city and with its unique blend of cultures...from my University and from my friends, who made it a home for me.
And now, of course, I've been pining for that home while the first got lost in time and memories. And to learn of this beloved city being pulled asunder in a tug-of-power war by NOSEY meddlesome individuals, it just breaks my heart.
To give the issue its due consideration, the agitation has been going on ever since Andhra itself was formed. The relatively ill-irrigated and resourceless area was neglected. The issue of caste also seems to creep in...somehow the region becomes a symbol of the downtrodden. Only, Telangana is also known for its Reddys. Even if/once the region becomes independent, the powerful Reddys of Telangana are not going to change and needless to say, not going to disappear. As for the proper allocation of resources, the moment-to-moment party-shifting antics of the Telangana hero from a few months ago dont inspire much confidence. Worse, the original fear of the 'Andhrites' regarding the Krishna and Godavari waters being held up might come true. And yes, that is exactly what we need right now...a role-reversal. That is going to help calm down the raging fires byutifully. And naturally, none of the benefits of the new statehood will trickle down to the self-immolating farmers anytimes soon, if at all. The only probable change would be even higher taxes until the resourceless state finds ways to generate revenue. I'm pretty sure the average farmer doesnt care if his postal address reads 'ANDHRA' or 'TELANGANA' coz he cant read anyway...he just wishes his son could read the alphabet.
As for the avg. andhrite...(i donno if i fall into the category), but I care! I care coz I dont want what happened with India and Pakistan to repeat and a bloody fued of hate to sear the borders. And even more important, since I must identify myself with 'Andhra', I hope that if/when Telangana crystallizes, the actual purpose of it is fulfilled and the benefits do trickle down to those who matter. If it MUST happen, let it be not to create yet another seat of power for morons to misuse, but for the layman's life to be less of a burden to him. I know this is an overly optimistic hope, but if all this pain of half a million people goes in vain, there would be no bigger tragedy. And my city...I will have to make an extra effort to not let it become too alien even as it changes, holding on to the memories that have made it my own....oh yea, and having hyderabadi biryani as much as possible...(even more so now!)