On Thursday February 20, 2014, the Rajyasabha approved the Telangana formation bill. With this, the long struggle for formation of Telangana state reached the only logical conclusion possible. This historic moment will remain etched in the history of both Telangana and India for ever.
The Telangana movement is unrivalled in modern history for several reasons. Telangana lacks money power & the capacity to lobby. The political strategy to achieve Telangana was sketchy at the best times and non-existent at others. Yet the hardy people of Telangana made up for such deficiencies through sheer people power.
Loknayak Jayaprakash Narayan wrote about his concept of Total Revolution: "The question is even larger. It is how to bring about a systemic change in society; i.e. how to bring about what I have called a total revolution: revolution in every sphere and aspect of society. The question becomes harder to answer when it is added that the total revolution has to be peacefully brought about without impairing the democratic structure of society and affecting the democratic way of life of the people. Put in this way, even the most legalistic and constitutionalist democrat would agree that all this could never be accomplished if the functioning of democracy were restricted to elections, legislation, planning and administrative execution. There must also be people's direct action. This action would almost certainly comprise, among other forms, civil disobedience, peaceful resistance, non-cooperation- in short, satyagraha in its widest sense. One of the unstated implications of such a satyagraha would be self-change: that is to say, those wanting to change must also change themselves before launching any kind of action". Telangana is the only case in independent India that deserves to be treated as Total Revolution.
KN Govindacharya once said "in a long battle, stamina is as important as strength". Telangana demonstrated both extraordinary stamina & unrivalled strength. The movement refused to go away, give up in despair or succumb. Self proclaimed pundits wrote off Telangana time and again but the people exhibited noteworthy resilience.
Allama Iqbal wrote "खुदा ने आजतक उस क़ौम कि हालत बदली, नहो जिसको ख़याल आप अपनी हालत के बदलने का" (Khuda ne aaj tak us qaum ki haalat naheen badlee, na ho jisko khyal aap apni haalat ke badalne ka, loose translation: "Allah does not change the condition of a people unless they themselves want the condition to be changed". Telangana fits the requirement like no other movement does.
No activism in recent times was showered with as much abuse & ridicule as Telangana. Every foul word & deed under the sun was thrown at us. Yet the movement responded with great restraint and remained firm.
This is a milestone, not the destination by itself. The revolution is far from complete. The triumph is mixed. We need to do more to realize the legitimate aspirations of our people. As Robert Frost wrote, there are miles to go before we sleep. However let us savor the historic moment taking a brief respite from the long struggle. Let us acknowledge our debts and pay our respects.
Hundreds of men & women lost their lives for the cause of Telangana. We can never forget their ultimate sacrifice. Let us pay homage to the martyrs. May their souls rest in peace.
Our students, especially from my alma mater Osmania University, were at the forefront of the movement. They deserve a place in our hearts.
Our elders including Prajakavi Kaloji Narayana Rao, Justice Konda Madhava Reddy, Prof. K. Jayashankar and Konda Lakshman Bapuji guided the struggle through the years. Let us seek their blessings in our future endeavors.
Every section of Telangana society contributed to the victory. People cutting across gender, religion, caste, language & nativity barriers participated in the epic struggle. Intellectuals, employees, farmers, advocates, teachers, workers, doctors, professionals, writers, singers, artists, bloggers are just a few examples of the movement's bandwidth. Each one of them needs to be thanked for their contribution.
The people of this great nation provided a constant source of inspiration. India, we salute you.
This victory as well as those to come belong to the people of Telangana. Let us be justifiably proud to be a part of their greatness!
Jai Telangana, Jai Hind!