Telangana chakkilalu and Kakinada kajalu...
I am a half-Telangana by birth (father from Warangal, mother from Bangalore), and I should rejoice at the formation of India's 29th State. But, I have terribly mixed feelings about this. On the one hand I think of the hope I saw on the faces of a weaver from Warangal and a farmer from Bibinagar, both of whom told me they were sure their life would be better after the new state is formed. I am very happy for them.
On the other hand, there is great sadness inside me. I have led a fairly comfortable life as an urban professional without any interference from my Andhra brethren. So this division makes me feel as though a wall is being built in my home to make two portions from it, and I am being told it is a good thing.
I loved the largeness and the variety of landscape of my home state, from the sedimentary rocks of Kurnool to the green fields of Godavari, the massive granites of Hanamkonda to the golden beaches of Bhimli. I love Telangana chakkilalu as much as I do Kakinada kajalu. I love Pochampally weaves as much I love Uppada. I am married to a Hyderabadi whose ancestors are from Andhra. I can speak both Telangana and Andhra accents, and despite the several mock fights we have had about this issue, ours has been a happy marriage.
Much as I try to ignore this separation as a politically motivated division, it bothers me greatly. I am conscious of the injustice meted out to Telangana people over the last 50 years, and that it is a battle that deserved to be won. Yet I grieve inside.
It is a partition I am witnessing. And I can feel the birth pangs.
Hyderabad has been decorated with pink flags and huge pink balloons. Streets have been lit up with fairy lights. There will be fireworks on People's Plaza.
I will try to feel happy too...not for the politicians, but for that farmer I spoke to, and I will believe that he knows something I don't, and that what he knows turns out to be right.
I will also hope and pray for Telangana to be governed with care and efficiency by Chandrasekhar Rao's TRS, and for Andhra to develop and thrive under the Chief Ministership of Chandrababu Naidu's TDP.
But...next time someone asks me the judgemental question I was seldom asked before and am frequently being asked now, "Are you a Telangana or Andhra?", I will say, "I am a Telugu-speaking Indian".