Guest post by A. SUNEETHA, VASUDHA NAGARAJ, R. SRIVATSAN, GOGU SHYAMALA, SARATH DAVALA and R.V. RAMANA MURTHY
[This post was sent to us on the 23rd of September, when the strike, still on-going, entered its tenth day. On the date of posting this, the strike had entered its sixteenth day].
Sakala Janula Samme (extraordinary general strike) in the ten districts of Telangana has entered its tenth day today. Miners in the Singareni Collieries, private college teachers and students, road transport employees unions, school teachers, university staff, lawyers in the lower and high courts, the electricity employees union—in short almost all employees (who usually refuse to see beyond their immediate benefits) and contract workers (who under normal circumstances cannot afford to lose wages) needed by the state to “govern” its people—have gone on strike.
Government in this region, already seriously impaired and facing severe challenges from the movement since 2009 has come to a standstill. In an extraordinary “do or die” battle for the formation of a separate Telangana state, the various joint action committees promise to continue this strike till a separate Telangana state is formed.
It is no exaggeration to say today that Telangana is burning. Nor will we be far off the mark if we suspect that a paralyzing fear has encased its ‘intellectuals”. Everyone is lost in providing testimonies to prove themselves to be pro-Telangana and everybody is a self-accomplished activist. In fact, the intellectuals have lost themselves as spectators. They have become immune to understand what is happening before them.
The demand for statehood for Telangana is undoubtedly a democratic and judicious demand. It has been held back since 1950s and suppressed time and again. No doubt Mr. Kalvakuntla Chandra Sekhar Rao (KCR), the President of Telangana Rastra Samithi (TRS) did maintain the public talk with occasional tactical moves and has been considered an icon of “Telangana vaadam” as last ten years of Telangana politics are referred to. Since 2009 November the movement could attract large mass of diversified sections of people from all walks of life and engage the attention of the people with hopes of achieving the state any day thanks to the enthusiastic role play of the media and political parties – in power or opposition. It is indeed noteworthy that since November 2009 the movement has been able to attract a large number of diverse sections of people from all walks of life in thousands. They have mobilized voluntarily and have conducted meetings in the most democratic way. That there has been considerable restraint among the people who have been dishonored, alienated and humiliated under the Andhra Pradesh rulers is without dispute. These people have mobilized democratically despite the war-like surveillance and suppression of both the para-military and the state police force. Historical injustice – political, economic and cultural of the people of this region is well highlighted.