telangana: already behind bars

“The 30 lakh people, who visit their native places in Andhra for Sankranti, will not be allowed to return. The Andhra lobby should not lobby against our genuine agitation and against the aspirations of the people of Telangana,’’ speakers at the Telangana Vidyarthi Garjana said.
one particular student leader repeated that threat, a day after the meeting.
there were many more such dire warnings issued at the meeting. the threats were addressed to ordinary office-goers, factory and white collar workers, small and big businessmen (and their families) from andhra and rayalaseema living and working in the city of hyderabad.

liberals sitting several flying hours away from hyderabad might see in the telangana movement the democratic aspirations of the people of the region. if they were ever made to suffer for a few hours the claustrophobic atmosphere, progressively built by the votaries of the movement in the last ten years, in universities, news rooms, courts, government offices, panchayats and even schools across the region that leaves no space for debate (leave alone disagreement) outside the subject of telangana, they'd realize that a day or two at the rss headquarters in nagpur or any of the several jungle hide-outs of the maoist party would be much more democratic. i hope that'd also make them pause and think: why are the most hardened supporters of telangana from either the sangh parivar or the maoist family?

today, somewhere on the net, i found this line:
If you can not express yourself you are already behind bars.
there are around 3.5 crore or more people in telangana (including hyderabad). even in the most sweeping landslides in any general elections in the region or elsewhere in the country, winners haven't been able to garner more than 50% of the polled vote (not all the votes, mind). that means 100% of the people voting 'yes' on any issue is a practical impossibility. then why does it seem like an impossible idea for anyone to hold a public meeting of even 10 people supporting a 'united andhra pradesh' in any place outside hyderabad in telangana? and since the last one month, even in hyderabad? assuming 100% of all telanganis support the idea of a separate state, given the fact that at least 30 lakh people of andhra origin live in hyderabad and neighbouring districts, is it stupid to think a few of those 30 lakh people would like the city to be a part of a united state? so, why don't we hear a single one of those voices, clearly, at a public forum? the threat of violence is very real. it hasn't spared politicians, film stars, businessmen: what chance do ordinary voices have of publicly airing their honest views?

most of the agitating students at the meeting at osmania university are from obc, dalit backgrounds. on other occasions, when they were fighting equally passionately for other causes like scholarships etc, or unfilled reserved jobs, there wasn't 1/10th as much support from the political classes (now, since the agitation started, mps and mlas from all parties visit them almost every day) or the media or the huge contingent of lawyers willing to rush to the high court or the state human rights commission or the top officials in the government to protect their right to assembly etc.

is it the democratic aspirations of the people, of the lower castes of telangana, that are shaping the current agitation or is it the ambitions of a new class of businessmen-contractor-politicians who see endless rent-seeking possibilities in a new state that's driving the effort to cleanse the region of all dissent and democracy?

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