My only class today, Indian Society, was cancelled due to a protest, known as a bandh. During a bandh the whole city of Hyderabad shuts down for a day. Here is a brief description on what is happening in the Telangana movement:

When the state of Andra Pradesh was formed in 1956, the people of Telangana did not want to be a part of it, fearing that they would be displaced by the more enterprising and better-educated migrants from the Andhra region. In 1969, massive agitations for a separate state of Telangana left 400 people dead. With the creation of other new states in 2000, the battle for Telangana began once again. Over the last decade Telangana has come to occupy center stage in the state’s politics. In 2009, the Central government announced that Telangana would be a separate state, but is now dilly-dallying, worried about backlash from the Andhra region. At the heart of the problem is Hyderabad, which lies right in the middle of Telangana but is being claimed by both sides. It is basically a battle over whether or not to divide into two separate states. People from the Andhra region think that they should remain one, especially now that gas was found in the Krishna/Godavari regions. But the Telanganites feel that the Andhra people are taking jobs. Statistically, those from Telangana are not as educated as those from Andhra therefore their job opportunities are limited. Which brings up a whole other issue: culture. The Telanganites claim that they are simple people that are not like the commercial, market-minded Andhras. The Andhras stress that both regions speak Telugu and together they have the potential to be an economic powerhouse.

Recently, the movement is gaining strength. This is the second bandh that has happened since I have been here. Today, student protesters filled the hallways, chanting Jai Telangana and beating drums (Jai means victory). They refused to leave until professors gave up and cancelled classes. It was so interesting to see such civil disobedience. No one was violent. When they came around to my classroom, the protestors politely asked me to grab my bag because they were locking the doors of the building. I never see anything like this at home. When you think of protests at home, your mind almost immediately goes to violence or rioting. Don’t get me wrong, there has been lots of violence associated with this agitation. However, on campus they were peaceful but yet very passionate.

On a similar note, I hope everything in London clears up before anything else happens. To all those who insisted that I study abroad in a “safe” place like Europe, I don’t want to say it, buttttt I told you so.

Advertisements