Ties beyond barriers
D Gopi Pondugula (Guntur): “This river has divided us, but we are living together. Their (parties’) decision is not stronger than...
Pondugula (Guntur): “This river has divided us, but we are living together. Their (parties’) decision is not stronger than this river,” pat came from 50-year-old Baigani Venkateswarlu of this small village, located on the border of Guntur district. The Krishna river divides this village and Vadapalli village of Nalgonda district.
Pondugula is a gram panchayat with 500 houses. About a 100 of the houses are located in Srinivasapuram, some three kilometers away. The village, with 1,546 votes, had voted for the candidate backed by Telugu Desam in the just-concluded panchayat elections, electing Avula Koteswara Rao as sarpanch, but strongly opposes the move for division.
Venkateswarlu, head of the Yadava community (Pedda Golla), is busy making arrangements for the ‘Mutyalamma’ festival, scheduled to be held on Sunday evening. Originally from Vadapalli village, he had come to this village when he was just 12 years old. He has one elder brother and two younger brothers, who, along with his elder son, are living in Vadapalli. He has been living in Pondugula with his younger son, cultivating his two-acre piece of land. He says that the river has divided both Vadapalli and Pondugula, but the people live together, sharing family relationships. “We exchange children in marriage and the relationship continues. We lived together when there was no bridge (across the river),” he said.
He strongly opposes the move to divide the State on any count, saying “we speak the same language and share same resources”. He knows that like him, TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao’s ancestors too had migrated to Telangana and therefore division of the State was not acceptable.
Sitting next to him at the Lord Shiva temple, waiting for Chandrababu Naidu, was Md Rasool, who has two acres of land and works as supervisor with a contractor at Vishnu Cements. His views on division are different, but raise concerns that need to be addressed. “A joint family has to be divided if the brothers want. The fighting brothers cannot live together anymore. But, the elders who pontificate should take care to see that the assets and liabilities are distributed equally,” Rasool pointed out. He says that if Telangana is to be divided, the doubts over Hyderabad should be addressed first. “There are people from Vadapalli living in this village and vice versa. Can we ask them to go now because the State is divided?” he asked echoing the doubts being expressed by the Seemandhra people living in Hyderabad.
Rasool says people of Seemandhra can build five to six Hyderabads from Visakhapatnam to Tirupati, if the State is divided. “It might take some time and till then, we should be allowed to enjoy the resources in Hyderabad,” he argues. “Schools, colleges, hospitals and big companies have to be built here too in the next 10 years,” he points out and wants Chandrababu Naidu to fight for the same.
While mentioning that these were his personal views, Rasool said that a majority of the people in the village stood for unity. Asked how the people who voted for TD-backed candidate in the panchayat elections are opposing division when their party has given in writing for division, Rasool said: “Vote in panchayat elections was not for division. Let them have voting on division. We will show what we want.”