Now, what’s to be done, comrades!
Like many young nascent communists, that too of CPI-M, in the early 60s, I used to have a strong emotional appeal towards Telangana. The very mention...
No doubt, a linguistic province is welcome since it is more convenient as an administrative geographical entity for the people
No sooner had I completed my graduation at Guntur Medical College, did I opt for Warangal district for my stint with government service. I wanted posting at a primary health centre (PHC), Bachannapet, Jangaon division, during which period my adoration for Telangana grew much more, since I could still smell the sweet revolution fervor of 1946-51.
During the separate Telangana struggle, as budding CPM leader, I opposed it along with the party cadre tooth and nail. The speech of late Bhimireddy Narasimhareddy (BN) in the State Assembly is still echoing in my ears where he thundered, “Mr Chenna Reddy, you be busy with driving out rickshaw pullers, petty clerks or employees from Hyderabad. We will drive away the parasitic land lords and their henchmen from the villages, mind it.” Of course, the CPI which was branded as revisionist by the CPM claiming itself revolutionary was no less determined in the cause of the united state of AP.
Again, when I thought of starting my own private practice, I chose Suryapet of Nalgonda district, the then hotbed of the heroic Telangana struggle of 1946-51, and started my Praja Vaidyasala in 1971 and left my practice in May 1983 at the suggestion of Comrade Puchalapalli Sundarayya. I must say those 12 years was the best part of my life since the Telangana leadership of CPM and the people in general owned me and my hospital which is still there with my brother running it. The revolutionary tradition of the leaders and people of Nalgonda really boosted my morale to its highest.
But I could perceive a feeling of being exploited and looked down among the intelligentsia and some informed sections of the region by Andhra politicians and Andhra rich. This feeling, I must say, was also of a few of communists. They used to ask, “Why none of the leaders of Telangana was made Secretary of CPM so far?” I used to smile and question, “Whether our party, too, should have “Gentlemen’s Agreement?” I underestimated the feeling of alienation among the people. I left CPM in 1990 for some reason and Comrade BN, too, had to leave the CPM for reasons of his own and floated a party CPM (BN).
The State Committee of CPM (BN) decided not to oppose the movement for separate Telangana in 1995-96, since most of the committee members felt that there was some justice and truth in that demand. Comrade BN died when he was a leader in the MCP, floated by late Comrade Omkar. All this is to show that the general influence of Communists in Telangana region splitting into several groups and this decline is more apparent especially among the mainstream Communist parties CPI and CPM.
It is now agreed that it has been shrinking gradually in Telangana region and it has become almost marginal now. Of course, much water has flown in Krishna and Godavari during this period. With the advent of KCR’s TRS, the separate Telangana movement was not only rekindled but also became a serious fire. But for the continuous agitation for Telangana cause both in our state and the country and but for the movement of all sections of the people of Telangana led by TRS, the announcement of the separate Telangana state by the Congress Working Committee could not have been a reality.
At the same time, the organizations apart from TRS, the influence of Left ideology, the middle class intellectuals, the writers, poets of Telangana region, Gaddar in particular, and Rasamayi, Vimalakka etc., have their honourable place in this struggle. Not only the influence of Marxism and its offshoots, the influence of the ideology of Ambedkar, Phoole, etc, among the agitators has also its due role in the present struggle of Telangana people.
Now the formation of Telangana is certain. Even at this moment the mainstream Communist parties, the CPI and CPM, are unable to see eye to eye with the former supporting separate Telangana and the later opposing it in favour of linguistic AP State. I want to remind my Marxist friends in all the Communist parties, who cherish the memory of Comrade Sundarayya and his booklet on behalf of the Communist Party of the State unit “Visalandhralo Praja Rajyam”, some may have more than sentimental attachment to that Visalandhra! But the State AP that is being dismantled now in favour of two states is not the ‘Visalandhra’ of Comrade Sundarayya.
Sundarayya and the CPI then envisaged India as a loose confederation for the administrative purpose of National States having the right and freedom to formulate the constitutional laws for their respective regions. National State cannot be equated with the present linguistic state. That National State means having real State power, not just a political geographical entity like the present AP. To be frank enough that Visalandhra is not in existence so far.
Bereft of Praja Rajyam, Visalandhra as the present geographical entity was never the aim of ‘Visalandhralo Praja Rajyam’. It is Praja Visalandhra (People’s Visalandhra). No doubt, a linguistic province is welcome since it is more convenient as an administrative geographical entity for the people. If a linguistic state is divided and a small state is formed it would be more convenient for the administration and it would be more within the reach of the people. Not only so, if a separate Telangana state is formed, the consigned influence of all the Communist parties (numbers 12 now in AP) will be definitely more than what it is now.
If only the Communist parties of various hues come together on a common platform, at least to take up united actions on the immediate issues of the people, the influence of such a struggle will have considerable effect in general. The ruling classes are threatening the people that Maoist influence would be serious in small states, so Telangana should not be conceded. No Communist worth so can say that Maoists are class enemies of the toiling people and more dangerous than the ruling classes. The differences between Communists and Marxists are not insurmountable. After all, they all own Marxism as their philosophy.
The people of Telangana are in high spirits now. Let communists not take a negative attitude at their jubilation. After all, the sentiments of people are repeated, though not followed, every time. Communists do know that the Praja Telangana (People’s Telangana) is yet to be achieved. This victory of Telangana people after a sustained struggle with sacrifices of many young people gives them self-confidence. That is the ground from which the foundations of Praja Telangana to be laid. So is the case with the rest of the AP. Let us call it Seemandhra for the present.
There are also the masses and the socially downtrodden that are not going to gain anything than exploitation and social oppression. So there also a struggle for Praja Seemandhra has to be continued. The task of the Communists on both sides at present is to achieve the unity of the working class and the oppressed downtrodden castes, by first closing the ranks among themselves. The united struggle of the communist parties is the only path before all the communist parties.
(The writer is Marxist ideologue)