“To be born an Andhra and to be able to speak Telugu is a boon that cannot be achieved without much penance” that’s what Appaiah Dikshitar the Tamil philosopher felt about his neighboring people, and that was in the 16th Century. But then, Andhras had long abandoned their spiritual moorings and embraced the murky leanings of the mundane world that eventually led them to the Telangana imbroglio. Leave aside their reneging on the Gentlemen’s Agreement, the Mulki rules et al; it was Andhra politicians’ unabashed acquisitions in and around Bhagyanagar that became an eyesore to their less enterprising counterparts in Telangana.
At the dawn of the new millennium, egged on by jealousy, these lost-outs began to resurrect the ghost of the Telangana sentiment in the vulnerable sections such as students and employees, but the complacent Andhras took things for granted to their eventual hurt. Nevertheless, had not Andhras lost their fondness for their Telugu, the Italian of the East (we will come to the irony of it later) maybe, they could have developed the bond of language with the people of Telangana, and that would have kept all their self-serving politicians at bay. But it was not to be. The frustrated politicians of Telangana began to feed their folks with concoctions of half-truths and half-lies, sugared with make-believe pictures of the post-bifurcation heaven, and it was only time before the separate Telangana movement picked up an inexorable momentum. When the moment of reckoning arrived for the creation of Telangana, the hapless Andhras were agonized, and therein lies the poetic justice as we would see.
Besides bestowing upon Andhra-Telangana its bounty in plenty, Mother India had favored her fifth biggest child with Chandrababu Naidu, its first progressive leader of our time, who strived for the betterment of all Telugus for over nine years. Ironically, it is the prospective loss, post-bifurcation, of Hyderabad, which he had helped turn into Bhagyanagar that has become the heartburn of all Andhras. Maybe, their ‘fate of ruin’ might have induced the then election commission not to accede to Naidu’s request for the assembly poll in the immediate wake of that Naxal bid on his life at Alipiri, thereby denying him the chance to piggyback to power on the sympathy votes. Whatever, the ungrateful Andhras, bribed by the notorious Rajasekhar Reddy, had ditched him at the hustings, and what was worse, helped the Italian Sonia, who had earlier kicked out Sitaram Kesari, to become the de facto Prime Minister of India. By the same token, they had deprived Mother India the unstinted services of Vajpayee’s National Democratic Alliance.
However, instead of atoning for this double sin at the next turn, the mind-less melee of Andhras took the lead in making the alien Sonia even more powerful as if to shame Mother India once more. So the unscrupulous woman, emboldened by the mandate, started her reign of loot and plunder that bled the nation to its hurt; and now compounding their follies, as Andhras started clamoring for a character like Jaganmohan Reddy, the prodigal son of the ruinous Rajasekhar Reddy, she made up with him, the past master of quid pro quo, and bailed him out of his legal tangles to proxy fight her political battle in Andhra. Moreover, not wanting Rahul’s dynastic dreams ending up as electoral nightmares, she has set out to sever the very hands that fed her political hegemony for a decade. Now it might pay for the ungrateful Andhras to remember that that’s what they did to Chandrababu Naidu their political man Friday. But it is one poetic justice that would still leave Naidu unhappy as he knows that Mother India’s curse has visited Andhra, and it is not yet over as the politically naive Andhras are likely to opt for Jagan as their King.