Can Telangana reassert itself with statehood? జూన్ 2, 2014Posted by M Bharath Bhushan in Essays.
Tags: Deccan, Hindu, Hyderabad, miniature, Muslim, Regionalism, Telangana, Urdu
Sajjad Shahid, TNN, June 1, 2014
Telangana is poised to regain its status as a distinct regional entity after a lapse of five centuries. The last time that the region asserted itself successfully under this identity was when Sultan Quli Qutub-ul Mulk, the Bahmani governor of Telangana, assumed de-facto control of his province at the close of the 15th century. Ruling from the citadel of Golconda, Sultan Quli and his successors held sway over the region for almost two centuries. The markers of regional identity nurtured during Qutub Shahi rule formed a cohesive corpus which has efficaciously faced challenges and survives despite repeated attempts to dilute its essence.
Telangana has a long history of fervent regional assertions and in the past these have been translated into affirmative action time and again when attempts have been made to either deconstruct or reconstruct the concept of a distinct identity for the area. Very often during the recent turbulent phase leading to emancipation, detractors have claimed that the regional identity in the case of Telangana was not real but constructed; forged primarily to cater to a political exigency. A perusal of history and literature of the region dispels such bizarre claims by providing frequent instances of passionate expressions bordering at times on adulation. Mulla Wajhi, the poet laureate of Golconda who lived through the reigns of four sultans; Ibrahim, Mohammed Quli, Sultan Mohammed and Abdulla Qutub Shah, lauds Telangana like no other poet in history. In his magnum opus Qutub-Mushtari, Wajhi idolizes the Deccan but concludes that within it Telangana is supreme.
Dakhan mulk ko dhan ajab saj hai, / Ke sab mulk sar hawr Dakhan taj hai.
Dakhan mulk bhautij khasa hai, / Telangana us ka khulasa hai.
(The Deccan is embellished with a unique renown / All other lands the head and Deccan their crown. // The Deccan, incomparable for sure / Telangana, its essence pure.)
The mandate for the first elected government of Telangana should therefore essentially focus on ensuring renewed patronage for the region’s culture. A productive step in that direction entails comprehensive assessment of the state and condition of heritages which have been subject to gross neglect, and in quite a few cases abuse, for long. Only such an exercise will ensure that the seeds, in which the essence of Telangana lies dormant, sprout and bloom once again.
The city is abuzz with speculative debates on certain actions initiated by the administration since the end of the election code. It is said that the widespread consternation at the prospect that even after a clear mandate, there remains a serious threat of ‘a slip between the cup and the lip’ is not totally unfounded. Recent media reports indicate acceleration in the pace of works for the Golf Course within the Naya Qila precinct of the Golconda Fort. The impunity with which orders of the Hon’ble High Court are being violated at the protected site post declaration of election results is itself a matter of grave concern. With Chandra Babu Naidu repeatedly bellowing his intentions of reclaiming Hyderabad as a personal fiefdom, and with his old cronies returning to power at the center, the golfers are understandably upbeat. This very political combination was responsible for endorsing the detrimental project when it was first mooted more than a decade ago.
It appears that the government in waiting has failed to comprehend the gravity of the situation. The lackadaisical approach of the Telangana leadership towards the protection of heritages in the past may be condoned due to their preoccupation with political dimensions of the movement. However, tardiness in reacting to current developments will be viewed as tantamount to failure on their fundamental assurance; that of reviving the glory of Telangana.
Hyderabad will be the acid test for the Chief Minister and his ability to govern effectively will largely be determined by the dexterity shown in handling disasters that threaten the city. With his tough posturing on the Metro Rail alignment being scornfully ignored, as is evident from the unchecked pace of work on the Assembly stretch, the first orders upon assumption of office will establish how serious Mr. Rao is in his avowed intentions.
Apart from a moratorium on works of Metro Rail and the Golf Course pending a comprehensive review, constitution of the Heritage Conservation Committee for Hyderabad and an Urban Arts Commission for the State require immediate action. Any delay will result in a conclusion that under the TRS, the long awaited sunrise over Telangana has ushered in no better than a ‘pock marked dawn’.
Jis ko yaad karta nai apna watan,
Wo murda hai pairan hai us ka kafan.
(The one who forgets his motherland
Is a corpse; a shroud his dress.)
— Tibbi—mid-17th century poet of Golconda.