For Madhusudan Reddy (23) hailing from the remote Indurthi, 25 km from Karimnagar, Hyderabad is the obvious destination to fulfil his dreams. But unlike many others, who shift to the Andhra Pradesh capital soon after Class 12th, Reddy came in 2009 when the Telangana movement had started to gain momentum.
When asked what a demand for a separate state will achieve and why students were staking their lives and careers for Telangana, Reddy says, “It may be nothing, but at least I would have my self-respect. It is better than playing second fiddle to an Andhra person .
Having already faced “discrimination at the hands of settlers (Andhra people) and their dominance in a city that was originally part of Telangana”, it did not take him long to join the movement.
“When coastal people have irrigation water flowing to their feet, we have to dig bore-wells to water our crops,” Reddy, who is from a farming community, says. “While Andhra people are in good positions, I see Telangana people mostly in menial jobs,” he says, while explaining how “settlers” get the best government jobs in his district.
“We’ve had enough of rule by leaders from Seema (Rayalseema) and Andhra, who took funds, jobs and projects to their regions, while we suffered … ,” the management student says.
Coming from Indurthi — hot bed of Naxal activity in 1990s— Reddy says it is lack of development that allowed Naxalism to grow in Telangana. “With no jobs or opportunities where else could all the well-educated go?”
He now spends following news of the protests. But Reddy is not supportive of violence or the suicides for Telangana. “Its no good. I agree there are some elements who are provoking the innocent.”
Reddy recollects an argument he and his friends had with a “Andhra group”. “I agree we are like one family but circumstances have made it impossible for us to live together. Its not just about money or backwardness, its about frustration of suffering at hands of a big brother, who calls all the shots, all the time.”