'Telangana will help improve our lives'

India's ruling Congress party has announced its support for the formation of the new state of Telangana, to be carved out of the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. Local residents give their reaction to Gayathri Sreedharan.

Lakshmi Devi, 35, shopkeeper

Laskhmi Devi

I can't say I understand everything about this matter. But even so, why is there a need to break up Andhra Pradesh?

People from Telangana and the rest of the state have been living happily together. I wouldn't be happy at all if they broke the state up.

I and my husband moved here 15 years ago from Guntur [in Andhra Pradesh].

Earlier my husband worked with a local company, but now we run a shop. We've never felt scared or unhappy here.

I have two children, who are currently in a primary school nearby. If they don't get admission in local schools and companies in the coming years, we'll have to move back to Guntur or Vijaywada areas [which fall in Andhra Pradesh].

It's not going to be difficult, we have family there - we'll cross that bridge when it comes. I just don't understand why any of this is necessary.

Surabh Pandey, 31, infotech consultant

Saurabh Pandey

I moved to Hyderabad three years ago, from the western Indian city of Nagpur.

I have invested in some property here, which is relatively cheap here. I think when the bifurcation of the state happens, property prices are going to rise.

There may be new demands for affirmative action in favour of residents of Telengana in public and private sector companies.

The formation of a new state may also prompt some local companies to move to other parts of Andhra Pradesh.

[What is significant is] that the people who actually invested in and built Hyderabad - and the real battle is for the city, not Telangana state - are all from outside.

Satheesh Reddy, 29, banker

Satheesh Reddy

I'm from Telangana region. I was born and brought up in Hyderabad.

My family's been here for 30-odd years. Naturally, the Telangana issue matters to me and my family.

For us, it's a fight for self-rule, for self-respect, and most importantly, a fight against the exploitation of resources which belong to us.

Today, if you have an HR manager in a company which is from Andhra, he will definitely not hire a candidate from Telangana.

Besides which, there are differences in our [Telengana and Andhra Pradesh] cultures, dialect and festivals.

Some people of Andhra Pradesh ridicule our culture and our accent. Even in the Telugu film industry, the dialect preferred is the Andhra one.

Irshad Nawaz, 50, businessman

Irshad

I am from the Telangana region. But it's impossible to tell who will really benefit from this proposed bifurcation.

Of course some bureaucrats might - a Telangana bureaucrat posted in Andhra will return to his 'state', possibly with a promotion. An Andhra candidate may be sent to other parts.

But it's foolhardy to think that the people of Telangana at large will benefit from the division of the state.

It was money from Andhra Pradesh that was invested in building up the Telangana region.

Left alone, Telangana doesn't have enough resources to sustain itself. Look at its geography. It's too rocky, doesn't have enough flat, fertile soil. There is no benefit.

Our nation is a roof, under which different communities co-exist. If the roof is breaking it is our responsibility to fix it, not further chip away at it.

Venkateshwaramma, 30, tea seller

VENKATESHWARAMMA

I am from Mehboobnagar in Telangana, and I feel the creation of a new state is extremely important.

I moved to Hyderabad in search of work, with my husband, 12 years ago.

We have three children and they all go to school, and they all face problems. Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have to be separated, for our children's sake.

If Telangana is created, more jobs will be available to us.

More water will be available too. In my village near Mehboobnagar you don't get enough drinking water. It is so close to Hyderabad, and yet, we have to create our own bore-wells to draw water. All the drinking water goes to Andhra people who are living here.

The current administration doesn't do anything for us.

Jamila Nishat, 57, poet and activist

Jamila Nishat

I am originally from Telangana. I think the new state will help improve our lives.

There will be more resources - water, land - more jobs and more opportunities, especially for our children. Perhaps there won't be marginalisation of local dialects either.

I don't find it strange that most of the political leaders fighting for Telangana are from Andhra.

They have their own interests at heart. This movement is not like the movement for Telangana when it first gained momentum in 1960s and 1970s.

Every young boy and girl was involved in the movement back then. It was a collective effort, an agitation for all backward and struggling communities.

Neither was there any religious polarisation in the movement. Back then a lot of members of the Muslim community were involved actively. Now most of them - the cream of Muslim society in Hyderabad - choose to stay away.

Of course Telangana's people will benefit, but nobody will demand that those Andhra people who settled here should move.

They will continue to work and live here, there should be no conflict.

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