I write every day. But, today is different because I write it from a new state. Till yesterday evening, I was writing from Andhra Pradesh, a state I made home seven years ago. From this day onwards, the place where I am sitting and writing this piece is part of Telangana, a new state formed after years of demands from the region are finally met. I have no comments regarding the formation of a new state. I only have concerns. As an outsider, I know that I should stay away from making any remarks on the issue.
A lot of my friends are part of the Telangana agitation demanding a new state. They felt oppressed in Andhra Pradesh where they thought the people from Andhra region of the state were enjoying a majority and elevated statuses in jobs and other things. They say that Telangana had always been ignored when it came to developmental projects and other stuff. They argue that they speak a different dialect of Telugu and their culture is different than that of the Telugu culture from the Andhra and Rayalaseema regions of the state. People of Telangana have told me why they want Telangana. I agree with them. People from the rest of Andhra Pradesh have told me why they don’t want Telangana. I agree with them, too. Reasons are something that you can find easily in this world; something that no one is ever short of. I have travelled to most parts of the state and the people were all the same; sweet, hospitable and innocently curious. As a foodie, I never turned back from anything they offered me. Of course, caste is an issue everywhere. It is an issue I started dealing with the moment I stepped out from the largely unbiased caste condition of my state, Kerala. Being an upper caste Hindu, although the government does not allow me any special treatment, I can’t say that I went unnoticed in the rural parts of India where caste forms part of your identity. They are always interested in knowing your caste and they have methods of making you say it without even you realizing it.
The protest to make a new state had been in existence since the division of states (after gaining independence in 1947) based on linguistic features. It had raised many concerns among certain regions of India but most issues were dealt with by the years that passed. My own state has at least three dialects of Malayalam spoken. My best friend is from the other end of the state and speaks a dialect, if in its true form, I would have problem in understanding. Though I make fun of him about the issue, we both accept the fact that we are no longer speaking a Malayalam that we used to 7-8 years ago. Over the years, we have conditioned our Malayalam to a form that is mutually acceptable. Sometimes I think we Malayalees do not love our language enough. When I look around and see a Tamilian getting pissed off if one makes fun of his language, or a Maharashtrian frowning at a casual remark on Marathi, I am forced to think that a Malayalee has no love for his language.
Anyway, the UPA government has finally decided to carve out Telangana from Andhra Pradesh and Hyderabad (my city) is to be elevated to the status of Union Territory (as of now, it is only a proposed plan!) and retained as a joint capital for both states. I do not mind being in a Union Territory. I don’t know if that is supposed to make me feel better. Will the taste of Biryani in a Union Territory achieve divine levels? I do not know. Will the roads become suddenly better and the driving capabilities of Hyderabadis improve? I do not know. Will the price of essential commodities like liquor and petrol decrease? I do not know. Will a new law prohibits policemen from taking bribes? I do not know. Will the Kebabs and Haleems be cheaper? I do not know… Will the intelligence level of an average skilled labourer improve? I do not know. Will people stop saying ‘fyan’ instead of ‘fan’ and ‘Hech’ instead of ‘h’ and ‘vo’ instead of ‘o’? I do not know. All I know is that nothing is going to change except the statuses and names. I will remain an outsider here and I am afraid I will go back someday to my state and find myself an outsider.
P.S: I can’t say I’m not interested in watching what is going to happen. In fact, I have theories. That’d make another post, probably later when the state is formed officially. For the love of Gods’ I hope the U.P.A does not go back on their word in forming Telangana. I have seen more than enough public property damaged in the name of agitation.
- Hope Hyderabad will be Telangana capital: Andhra Pradesh deputy CM (dnaindia.com)
- Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi pitched for Telangana (dnaindia.com)
- In open letter Narendra Modi questions Congress’s motives for creating Telangana state (ndtv.com)
- Telangana will be 29th state, Hyderabad a shared capital for 10 years (ndtv.com)
- Telangana state endorsed by Congress Working Committee (ndtv.com)
- UPA meet endorses Telangana (thehindu.com)
- Telangana issue: Sonia meets Manmohan (thehindu.com)
- Telangana to be India’s 29th state, Hyderabad the joint capital (dnaindia.com)
- Telangana live: UPA coordination committee starts, PM confides in Sushma – Firstpost (firstpost.com)
- Home Ministry worried about fallout (thehindu.com)