Open letter to KCR
Open Letter to Telangana CM KCR. Greetings! I was one of your well-wishers who wanted the TRS to sweep the elections and form government under your leadership.
Dear Mr Chief Minister
Greetings! I was one of your well-wishers who wanted the TRS to sweep the elections and form government under your leadership. In fact, I was the first to write in my column, Frankly Speaking, that it would be a travesty of justice if you were deprived of power after the elections.
After spearheading the Telangana movement for almost 13 years, you were the rightful choice to head the first government in the new State. More than 1,000 young people committed suicide for the cause of Telangana and their sacrifices did not go waste since you plunged into the agitation and made their dream of achieving a separate state of Telangana a reality. Congratulations!
You are in power for less than two months. But the initial euphoria and enthusiasm are slowly fading. You are being branded as intolerant, unreasonable and parochial. Your anger and hate towards the Andhras are bordering on fanaticism. I know you are under tremendous pressure to fulfil the aspirations of the people of Telangana and you have several promises to keep, but driving out Andhras is not a solution. Your fight should be with the leaders of Andhra Pradesh who had been bleeding Hyderabad for years and not with the settlers of Andhra who have been living in harmony with the people of Telangana for several decades. You cannot uproot millions of families in the name of language and nativity.
Your latest directive on nativity, putting 1956 as the cut-off year, is vindictive, if not Utopian. Imagine the plight of a student who was born, brought up and studied here becoming Stateless overnight. Just because his father or mother came here after 1956, he should not be deprived of statehood and other benefits. Also there are innumerable cases of migrants who have come to Hyderabad even before 1956, but do not have any proof to endorse their nativity like a residential address or a letter of employment. Without these two they would not have even got a ration card those days. So it is difficult to prove one’s nativity going by the 1956 cut-off date. This applies even to people who hail from the different districts in Telangana.
Mr Rao, you are aware that one can migrate to countries like the US and get a Green Card within 10 years. Their children become American citizens by birth and can rise to any position. And within the country you are insisting on 60 years of residence proof for Statehood! The world has become so small and so near and you are trying to create a wedge between two peoples who talk the same language and eat the same food.
I know you have no money for fee reimbursement and playing the nativity card is a clever ploy to deprive lakhs of students from getting any benefit from the State. If I have got the estimates right, the fate of some 14 lakh students are at stake. A good percentage of students may have to even discontinue studies.
I was surprised that at the Cabinet meeting the other day you have discussed some 41 projects and finalised all except three, involving hundreds of thousands of crores. Some of the projects like pension for the aged, widows and physically handicapped are praiseworthy. But some are populist. Providing a 2BHK house for every poor family, free education from KG to PG etc. are impractical, if not quixotic. After all, you don’t grow money in your farm. My advice is to go slow on promises, and promise only what you can deliver.
The two states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are behaving like India and Pakistan after partition. Probably, you would not have been born then. At least you must have read about it in history books – the painful migration of people from both sides, displacement from their homes, loss of property, distancing from near and dear ones, and the mayhem following communal violence. Can’t we avoid repetition of such a scenario between two Telugu speaking peoples?
You have lessons to learn from people living in harmony and as good neighbours after bifurcation. When the Bombay State was divided into Maharashtra and Gujarat after much blood-spilling in 1960, the Maharashtrians did not ask all the Gujaratis to leave Bombay (now Mumbai). In fact, Gujaratis, Marwaris and Parsis have made Mumbai the commercial capital of India. Even at the height of Shiv Sena’s vandalism, only South Indians were targeted but not the Gujaratis.
When Haryana was separated from Punjab in 1966, both States claimed Chandigarh, but it was made a Union Territory housing the capitals of both. Now even after 47 years, Chandigarh continues to be the joint capital and no effort is being made by Haryana to have a capital of its own. And we do not hear of any fight between the two states on this account. Sikhs and Hindus co-exist in the two states without any racial or linguistic flare-ups. Even the people of comparatively new states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttaranchal live as good neighbours with their respective parent States of Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
Mr Rao, I have made my point. My intentions are loud and clear. You know man is not an island. Both states should live in peace and as good neighbours. That will benefit both. After the heat and dust settle down, say Hello to Chandrababu Naidu and resolve all outstanding issues across the table. Spare the innocent people and don’t make them Stateless.
Hope you will spare a moment and read it dispassionately.
P N V Nair
Darkness cannot drive out darkness, light can; Hate cannot drive out hate, love can
– Martin Luther King Jr