Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lessons Professor Jayashankar taught

The dreaded end came yesterday. Professor Jayashankar passed away after battling cancer for several months.  It is hard to fight the news of this departure without shedding tears and taking solace in the spirit he left behind.

My earliest recollection of seeing and listening to him was around 2002 when he was a guest at a seminar on Telangana statehood  in Arts College, Hanumakonda. I could not comprehend all of what he spoke then but what struck me was his matter-of-fact tone and the mellifluous language he used. Later on, I came to understand his calm demeanor came from a rich mind and its clarity of thought and his language from Telangana’s rich multi-lingual heritage (No wonder he was in love with expressing in all languages – Telugu, Urdu, Hindi and English).

That is, for me, the primary lesson from him. To keep the calm and remain objective about issues, no matter how provoking situations could be. He showed by example that notwithstanding how sensitive and provoking the issue could be, it is important to be dispassionate to find a solution.  While I grew up, that was the lesson I tried to remember as often as possible. In all these years, I have seen no one who spoke as objectively as he did about the reasons for Telangana movement. That did not change till his last breath despite being at the other end of vicious attacks from Andhra plutocrats who labeled him ‘Mullah Omar’ and the students campaigning for Telangana as Taliban. While the economist in him studied the regional disparities in this country, the humanist in him conceptualized the problem and advocated for the state of Telangana.

Another of his traits is his uncompromising spirit. He saw the struggle for 3 generations and did not end up just as another despondent guy. He incessantly fought for the state through all means. Authored literature presenting the many ills Telangana was subjected to due to the lop-sided merger, encouraged many Telangana organizations like TDF across the world to take shape and contribute to the cause and lent support to every political attempt to achieve Telangana statehood, whether it was TRS or NavaTelangana Praja Party.  Not surprisingly, he remained a bachelor as he left too little time for his own self while dedicating his whole life to the cause he believed in.

The genial professor’s ideology shaped today’s Telangana movement so much that you see the most active part in the movement now taken by people from his background- that of academic circles. Professors elucidate the ideas, right from constitutional discussions around article 3 to debates over Bombay city during Gujarat’s inauguration. Taking the lead of the professor, the academics dug so much into the statistics of agriculture, industry and other areas of state administration over the years that the SriKrishna committee now finds it difficult to cover the pit with their concocted theories and cooked up statistics. It is this veracity that is lacking even in the most honest arguments for Samaikyandra. Instead, it has real estate businessmen making their case with ‘ground-breaking’ theories, like how asking for a state is being anti-national.  If the professor made selfless efforts making the case for Telangana for decades, the best thing for Samikyandra on parallel lines is a book authored by an NRI sold on Amazon!  In short, Samaikyandra ‘movement’ does not have a Jayashankar. It can’t.

Professor Jayashankar made invaluable contributions by putting on record the experiences from the Telangana movement of 1952 and 1969. In an age when the state government did everything to wipe out the very being of Telangana (by even putting a communal spin on Hyderabad liberation day), it was Jayashankar’s writings and speeches that carried through generations and are now on the threshold of giving a new lease of life to Telangana identity.  In that sense, the professor shaped the cultural and political renaissance of Telangana. His work also made present Telangana movement to learn from mistakes of the past and reinvent itself over time as situation demands and importantly, sustain.

When I had a chance to interact with him more than a year ago, I asked him what to expect out of the SKC. He said ‘nothing’. I guess his experience taught him enough about these committees/commissions.  There is no point for people today to relearn the same lessons he did for generations – that not to trust the government to ‘give the statehood’.  Telanganas have to seize their right. That is what the professor wanted, to force the union to cede the statehood through an uncompromising fight. His departure only strengthens the resolve of those who know him to pay a fitting tribute to him – by incessantly campaigning for the Telangana state. 


jshanthkumar said...

Telangana misses a great warrior!! He could not see the dream Telangana. At least now, people and politicians shall take the movement to the heights to achieve his lifetime goal!!!

pr said...

Telangana has lost her dearest son and the movement a guiding light in Prof. Jayashankar's departure!

Sad that he could not live longer to see the cause become a reality for which he has worked his whole life even sacrificing his personal life!

Proud to belong to the place he belongs!

As you said, hope his departure only strengtens the people's resolve and make Telangana a reality at the earliest!
That would be the best tribute to the great soul!

satya rapelly said...

nice one eyes filled with tears.. Getting telangana is real tribute to mahathma Jayashankar.

Anonymous said...

Nope. Telangana is just 10% of the journey. The real 90% challenge lies ahead.

Anonymous said...

Coming Telangana state would be built by the intellectual, spiritual, Inspirationl words spoken by Sir Jayashankar...JAI TELANGANA