Thursday, March 10, 2011

TELANGANA 21: 'Million March' reflected Telangana's indomitable spirit

The day of March has arrived and started on a sad note. Shaken by the oppressive police, a graduate student in Khammam committed suicide. Another attempted the same at Basheerbagh press club. The arrests continued unabated, mainly in the outskirts and in the districts. Within the city, the police strategised more on barricading and cordoning off areas around Tank Bund, Secretariat and Assembly. All roads in these areas were blocked, ending up disconnecting Hyderabad and Secunderabad.


I failed to find a route through the Masab Tank road, the Taj Banjara road or the Khairatabad's track area towards Tank Bund. Police were on guard everywhere. I have never in my life seen such a deserted Hyderabad. See the Khairatabad junction here. I ended up on Necklace road through the by lanes and then drove around the lake to lower tank bund road. At the Mosque there, the Muslim youth helped us park and trek up the tank bund. 


It was around 2.00 PM and by then thousands made their way. By then the barricades were broken and the main entrance to lower tank bund road from Liberty was wide open. So people from liberty took the road. While others on NTR Gardens, Necklace road side canoed over Hussain Sagar! Well, if the state government took up foiling this March on a war-footing by randomly arresting or harassing people from participating, it clearly lost the war.

The importance of today's Million March for Telangana movement:

It was clear the politicians were trying to distance themselves from the Million March. They tried to even 'postpone' it. But the pressure of the non-political civil society groups within the TJAC made this March inevitable. Today's turnout at tank bund is a eye-opener for all political parties. Without any mobilization from the parties, like for Telangana garjana in Warangal, around 1 lakh gathered at Tank Bund. This is despite the unofficial curfew, the traffic blockades, the arrests and the detentions of TJAC leadership. For anyone who has doubts about the depth of the movement, todays' turnout and the uncompromising will behind it should provide the answer. The unwilling politicians too attended, to save their face. People's will prevailed.


The creative expressions at the March:
As the telangana movement has time and again shown, there is no dearth of creativity in expressing the ideas and aspirations of the movement.

Firstly, there were the masks. Scores of people turned out in Masks of Gandhi, Ambedkar and even Professor Kodandram. When news flew that the professor may be arrested in the morning, the masks of his face were prepared and worn to mock at the police about the impending arrest. Of course, when the real arrest happened, the agitators found no fun in it and flew into a rage and even dismantled some statues on the bund, dragged them across the road and threw them into Hussain Sagar.

Secondly, the dhoom-dhaam and the songs raised the pitch as they usually do. Accompanied by a stereo in a four wheeler which managed to squeeze in, the songs, especially Gaddar's raised the tempo. The youth danced to the beats and a festive atmosphere ensued.


Meanwhile, women played bathukamma and sung. Some carried bonalu. Kids came in with attires of Gandhi, Nehru, Patel etc and played short skits encouraging the movement. Youth rallied around, some with their hands chained, some with their mouths covered symbolically. My friend Madhav carried a huge Indian flag around getting an odd compliment from one of the policemen! All organizations and groups which came with their banners rallied to and fro, sloganeering about Telangana, between the two ends of lower tank bund. The 2 ends were guarded by police and paramilitary forces. As was the adjoining Telugu Thalli flyover. 

The Armed forces:
The paramilitary forces stood and watched as thousands poured in overcoming barricades in different parts of city. And I was told they gave up only at 1 PM before which they tried stopping by arresting people. But very soon they must have realised they can not arrest 100,000 people. However, they were the guys who saved the 2 MPs present, Madhu Yashki and K Keshava Rao, from being manhandled by the irate mob for not doing enough for Telangana movement. Even the media faced the ire of the public for all their recent dramas about NBA guidelines and the biased reporting. Some of their cameras were snatched and thrown into Hussain Sagar.

The agitators were prepared for the scorching sun too. Some came in with caps and most of them arranged for their water packets. Somewhere between 3.00 PM and 4.00 PM Mr. KCR came in and settled at Pothana's statue with his followers. Gaddar made his exit. Emotions were running high by then and one law student attempted suicide too. May be, it is this mood of the agitators that made the politicians cautious today. None who came there tried to address, appeal or instruct the public at large. Maybe, the Professor could have been different if he were allowed to attend the March. At last, the pledge for Telangana was taken. A pledge that, in its essence, says we would put up an uncompromising fight for Telangana's demerger. Come what may.

While the dusk set in, we stepped down the tank bund. Discussed the day's events among us friends over some cool drinks while the neighbourhood residents cheered the agitators on the Bund from their balconies and terraces. If not for the political leadership within the movement, Tank Bund would have been Tahrir Square within an indefinite sit-in. The cheering neighbours would have joined, the folks who were arrested would have joined too and the numbers would have swelled into millions. The Govt. must be feeling lucky that the dusk has set in and rescued them. They must be feeling lucky that the agitators didn't head towards the secretariat or Assembly. But then as I walked the half mile back to the Mosque recollecting the day's frenzy, I felt the March has now only begun and it is now unstoppable.

14 comments:

Seetharam Rallabandi (Cheetu) said...

Hey Amar... buddy... I have always been an admirer of your writing and the passion with which you try to project the struggle of Telangana region. But I was really disappointed with this blog of yours :( I didn't think that you would find demolition of statues and destruction of public property to be creative. Are you really convinced that violence can be termed creative? I am DEFINITELY not. I don't think acts like these would help sustain the TG politicians' cliche "Separate as a region but stay united as people". As a matter of fact, they do more harm than good. I may be missing a point but would be glad if you can help me understand.

PS: You know these are not words of a "Telangana drohi" (Telangana traitor); They are those of a "Shanthi premi" (Peace lover) :-) I also truly believe that you know there's nothing personal about this comment of mine ;)

Naga said...

Lal Salaam!
Nice to know the facts about the incident and your participation.

Bad part in this whole thing is "Only demolition of statues" is visible to every one who does not understand Telangana issue including the Media who are supposed to give news to people "Unbiased".

What did it take to people in our democratic government to reach Tankbund.Personally I don't support destruction(may be idols or properties of Andhrites in Hyd) but if you are suppressed by Govt/Media in this way, I think those things(destruction) would not count much.I always welcome unbiased suggestions. Thank you.

chakri said...

Unacceptable situation in Hyderabad. I can't agree on every blog. Is it pieceful rally? dont you know the struggle of public? You just simply sitting in A/c rooms and writing all these blogs with out understanding the public struggle while coming to offices. They didnt bother about students future. Is it right spirit of telangana netas to demolition of all the statues? what ellapragada or other did wrong to telengana?

Such kind of incidents we cant support.

Anonymous said...

People like Amar are not holistic and realistic. They always present only one side of the coin which is favorable to them and not the real facts. These people are on cloud nine and they do not understand the repercussions of their actions.

Right from the beginning of the movement, These people are never holistic. Consider below situations.
1. When students of Osmania commented that they wont allow Andhra students who went for Sankranthi holidays, was there any blog? No why? they are biased.
2. When the students burned buses, Was there any blog?
3. Was there any blog when JAC head Prof Kodaram said that Andhra goods needs to be boycotted? Why? They are biased
4. When one MLA who gave frankly his views on the movement, he was beaten up at the same place in the state assembly, Was there any blog at that time? KTR even encouraged people to hit more and all other telangana MLA are watching the show and did not bother to stop? A Black day was there a blog at that time? No why? They are biased.
5. There is blog when CM not could speak properly on Mother Tongues day?
6. No blog when KCR said Andhra Biryani is shit,
7. Even today when people broke Idols no word about them, Why? They are baised. Great work by these guys. i wonder why they did appreciate or reward their hard work, They came from distant place to break idols they should be properly acknowledged

Continued…

Japes said...

the March has now only begun and it will only end with Telangana

adiya said...

Dude I started to Tankband from DSNR at 3.45 reached there in 15 mins, parked in a nice spot and Suprisingly the Police Just Gave up stopping protestors i was almost Taunting them taking their Pics on Their face and others were taunting them with slogans to join protests.

Some local Muslims were Providing water to the Protestors, the Songs were Ultimate dude, Just when i went in they were taking down the statues what i found was that the JAC Co-convenor was just sitting 50 feet away from where the statues were getting Demolished, it was a pretty sight dude.

What was suprising was that I always thought the Statues where some expensive Granite , to my astonishment they were all HOLLOW, like cheap POP ones. SO much for Telugu sorry Andhra pride.

sangisetti srinivas said...

thank you amar for bringing the light to the actual situation in hyderabad on thursday. the seemandhra media since yesterday mudslinging on the telangana movement and insulting the telangaites. yesterday i too was on the tankbund. the people who dared to come out in scorching sun were jubiliant after seeing the people like him are coming and joining them. after the hearing of the suicide attempt fo the ou student some of the telanganaites agitated and took the extreme step of demolishing the statues. while these people demolishing the statues, the media started fishing in troubled water, and tried to air it live these incident. the telangaites got angry and chased them. In this guise seemandhra media attacked the "telangana agitation". the media particularly tv9 spread hatred among the people. and shown the agiataors as drunkards, monkeys, and used the harsh words like sannsulu in airing their views. Cant we go to the NBA for breaking the basics of the rule. The media especially seemandhra attacking on the telangana agitation and telangana peole. If this continues the nex "March" should be organised at the seemandhra media offices.

Amar said...

@Cheetu,

/I didn't think that you would find demolition of statues and destruction of public property to be creative./

You misread. I was referring to masks as creative and was pointing to the irony how sense of humor before the arrest turned to rage after the arrest

"Separate as a region but stay united as people" may sound cliche but its true on ground if we see how people coexist despite the heat of the movement.

I neither believe nor use words like "Telangana drohi". It is too simplistic.

Amar said...

@chakri

Barking up the wrong tree. Go and ask the government why the public struggled.

@Naga

That is the point. When the Govt. chooses leave no democratic space to express, it ought to own the consequences. 15 months and the word Telangana is still a taboo in Assembly and Parliament.

Cheetu said...

I didn't misread it Amar... I totally got the point u tried to express but the way you downplayed violence and rampage under creativity cover was disheartening. Anyways I am not in here for a debate as to whether the separate state campaign is justified or not. All I want is this sorry state of affairs to end...if that means separation of the state, so be it. I only like to associate myself is with India... I don't care which state I belong to :)

Amar said...

@Anon

I blog conceptually. Not to publish who said what and trigger abuse and counter abuse.

/1. When students of Osmania commented that they wont allow Andhra students who went for Sankranthi holidays, was there any blog? /

First, get the facts right. It was a single student who said that in a meeting. It was a random sentence. The proof is the resolution adapted at the meeting which didn't include any such idiotic threats. If there was a resolution to that effect, I would have blogged and it would have been worth-condemning.

/2. When the students burned buses, Was there any blog?/
How many? And what was the context? How many buses have been burnt in last 10 years? Was it worth a blog?

/3. Was there any blog when JAC head Prof Kodaram said that Andhra goods needs to be boycotted?/

Again a lie. He didn't ask to boycott Andhra goods. He asked to boycott products/services from anti-Telangana businesses. This is market economy. They are within their right to boycott. I support it.

/4. When one MLA who gave frankly his views on the movement, he was beaten up at the same place in the state assembly, Was there any blog at that time? KTR even encouraged people to hit more and all other telangana MLA are watching the show and did not bother to stop? A Black day was there a blog at that time?/
And what are those frank views? That Indians can't rule themselves!? And his speech about democracy, 1 straight question. Where was he when Seemandhra MLAs boycotted assembly and threatened to resign on Dec 10, 2009? With brute majority in Assembly, result of a 60 year struggle was foiled. If there was any black day, that was then. And what is so spl about him anyway, 2 days before that incident, TDP MLA Hanumant Shinde was attacked far worsely. I didn't blog about that either.

/5. There is blog when CM not could speak properly on Mother Tongues day?/
Why not? We want united state for Telugu Jathi but don't care if the CM can not speak Telugu? For whose purpose is this concept of Telugu Jathi? Just to oppose Telangana?

/6. No blog when KCR said Andhra Biryani is shit,/
Sitting and former ministers from Andhra spoke far worse things. That Telanganas didn't knew even how to eat! That they are lazy, drunkards. And what not. I didn't blog about them either. So where should we start and will that ever end? Simply because that would make no sense except to make this blog a platform for abuse and counter abuse.

/7. Even today when people broke Idols no word about them,../
I didn't blog about the hundreds of suicides too. And you want me to blog about broken idols? Emotional issues wont contribute to rational debate. So I don't mix them up in debate.

I hope I made my point clear. I just try to conceptualize the problem to understand it better. And next time you comment put a name.

TG said...

@anon
<<When students of Osmania commented that they wont allow Andhra students who went for Sankranthi holidays, was there any blog?


The student who said that was Pidamarthi Ravi, at the time he made that Statement he had more than 150 Police cases filed by Your Beloved Andhra govt against him, If I was in His position I would have made much harsher statements.

hariesh said...

While the voilence stands to be condemned what's apparent is again the baised nature of critiques of seemandhra media and politicians. They are all united and spewing venom on telangana movement. Is not the telugu jathi's pride assaulted when ysr/jagan supporters went beserk and destroyed reliance outlets and their warehouses worth crores on a speculative tip-off on ysr helicopter crash. Infact the same media houses were the real instigators and chief culprits. I didnt find the same people condemning these acts then, why? It is they who are raising tempos among innocent people with their biased blabber, not telanganites.

Amar, kudos to you again for taking forward the movement on and off the blog...

Jai said...

"First, get the facts right. It was a single student who said that in a meeting. It was a random sentence. The proof is the resolution adapted at the meeting which didn't include any such idiotic threats"

I watched the program live and remember the incident quite well.

There were many speeches calling for a complete rasta roko. The next speaker said: "those andhras who go to their native places will *not be able to* return". He did not threaten them but merely said they can not return due to the blockade.