Telugu Identity and Telugu States మార్చి 17, 2014Posted by M Bharath Bhushan in 1969, Andhra, Culture, Deccan, Hyderabad, Identity, Mulki, Polavaram, Rayalaseema, regionalism, Telangana, Telugu.
Mere paas talli hai
Priyanka Kotamraju, Business Line, March 10, 2014
The bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh will do little for Telugu identity
Games for a slice of the re-organised Andhra Pradesh pie have begun. But the battle of sub-regional identities has come to a dead end. The separation of Andhra Pradesh is not a triumph of the Telangana identity over the Telugu one; it is a case of one having an unambiguous definition, the other escaping it altogether. The construction of the Telugu identity has largely been neglected, shaped most recognisably by the Maa Telugu Talli (Our Telugu mother) anthem that has found resonance more often in school assemblies than in defining Telugu pride. Arguably, the Telugu Desam Party’s origin and rise in the eighties and nineties was the last public assertion of Telugu pride. On the other hand, Gadar’s rousing ballads, to name just one cultural strand, have invoked powerful sentiments to build a Telangana identity.
Telangana’s argument for statehood was hinged on this sense of identity. The people united behind it. This rhetoric of oppression, exploitation and injustice — built on facts, bits of hype and myth — have brought about sharp divisions between the regions and given rise to an ‘us versus ‘them’ situation. The larger Telugu identity never emerged as an effective counter to a well-defined Telangana sentiment. The idea of Samaikhya Andhra took wing too late and achieved little traction. Even Seemandhra, which is Rayalaseema and Coastal Andhra, could never carve out an identity distinct from being a region of moneybags.
In Telangana, meanwhile, a new talli (mother) has turned up — Telangana talli — designed by a Seemandhra artist and sponsored by the Congress. “The TRS will exist. It is not an agitation party anymore; it is now a pucca political party,” said Kalvakuntla Chandrasekhara Rao after a party meeting in Hyderabad. The Telangana Rasthra Samiti, under KCR’s stewardship, has spearheaded the Telangana movement for 13 of its 60-year existence. As Andhra Pradesh gears up for elections, both the regions will have to reflect on what their identities will be, if not Telugu. But one thing seems clear. Regional identity is as nebulous a basis as language for demands of statehood.