Help spread the truth about Telangana region of India. Since 1956, when Andhra and Telangana merged, Telangana has gotten the short end of the stick in terms of natural resources, funding and representation in government. Though two major rivers have their sources in Telangana, irrigation projects divert the precious water to other areas. The feelings have often spilled over into violence, and in 1969, 400 people died in Telangana-related violence.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Exams can wait, Osmania students see future in passing Telangana test

(Courtesy :

For the sixth time in two months Osmania University (OU) postponed its exams this week due to the pro-Telangana student agitation and the volatile situation on the campus. But the students do not seem to be too bothered. The Telangana issue rages on and they are all consumed by passion. The university administration, though grappling to maintain academic schedules, feels it is in keeping with the character of OU that its students are at the forefront of a major issue like the demand for formation of a new state.
The nerve-centre of the ongoing agitation, OU, established in 1918, has always been in the thick of action whether it is the Telangana movement, Left-ideology or politics. In January 1969, when there were general protests against the withdrawal of certain special benefits provided by the Centre to Telangana, OU students took the lead and started a massive agitation that spread across the region like wildfire. The intensity of the agitation was such that it enveloped government employees from Telangana, teachers, lecturers and professors of colleges and universities in the region, elected representatives and political leaders, who en masse joined the students. At least 360 students were killed in police firing and violence that occurred during that agitation.
Founded by the seventh Nizam of Hyderabad, OU happens to be the first modern university of the country with Urdu as the medium of teaching. Famous for its Management, Engineering and Technology faculties, OU has over a dozen faculties.
Since November 29, 2009, the situation on the campus has become explosive. What started off as a protest against the arrest of Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) chief K Chandrasekhara Rao, before he started his fast unto death, has snowballed into a major agitation. Almost every day, demonstrations, police baton charges, stone-pelting occur here and students brave rubber bullets and tear-gas shells. So far, four students have immolated themselves allegedly for the Telangana cause, two have succumbed. More than 120 students have landed in hospital with injuries during police action. In several instances, especially a day or two before exams were scheduled to start, students incited violence by provoking the police and paramilitary forces by pelting them with stones.
On February 14 evening, students tried to attack a CRPF tent which resulted in the police firing teragas shells and rubber bullets. The OU postponed MBA and MCA exams that were to begin on February 15. There was violence again on February 15 evening resulting in postponing of exams that were to be held the next day.
Leading the agitation is a group of students from the Arts stream, supported by hundreds of hostel boarders and students of other faculties. The OU and its affiliated colleges have at least three lakh students. Nagam Kumaraswamy, head of the Students’ Joint Action Committee (JAC) which is spearheading the agitation on the campus, says the agitation will continue till the Telangana goal is achieved. “This agitation cuts across all political, caste and religious lines. It will only intensify because of the delaying tactics of the Centre. But we will not give up. Students are willing to put their careers at stake for the sake of Telangana because it is not only about a separate state but also our identity and pride,” Kumaraswamy, a Political Science student, says. “Students of OU have this time converted the movement, which till now was a movement among the intellectuals and upper class, into a full-blown agitation involving all classes. The students’ involvement has forced all political parties to sit up and take notice and pledge their support.”
Unlike in the past, due to the students the agitation has penetrated into other districts of Telangana region where small JACs have been formed which keep organising dharnas or relay hunger strikes to keep the issue alive.
The unity among students over the agitation is such that even final year students, whose fate hangs in the balance due to the frequent postponement of exams and semesters being behind schedule, also take part, aware that they might lose job opportunities if an academic year is wasted or delayed. Most students feel that if they have a separate state they will get jobs and economic equality. “All of us believe that people from Andhra and Rayalaseema region have taken away our job opportunities. They have cornered all the plum posts, have come to Hyderabad and prospered in business using our resources. It is time we reclaim all that,” says Praveen Reddy, head of the TRS student wing
“The agitation is going on irrespective of the split within political parties. MLAs and MPs of Telangana region of all parties are divided over the issue but it does not affect the students,” adds Praveen Reddy.
With several lecturers and professors sympathetic to the Telangana cause, the OU administration is making all efforts to ease the academic pressure on the students. Prof B S Rao, who heads the newly formed students-teachers coordination committee, says the OU has made arrangements for students to attend classes of the next semester even if exams are not held for the previous semester.
“It is an institutional mechanism to deal with the agitation and its impact on academics. By coordinating with student leaders we are making sure that classes are not affected much and those students who want to attend can do so. As exams are getting postponed frequently we have decided to hold one exam per week. This takes pressure off the students as they don’t have to prepare for all the exams at one go when the situation in the campus is not conducive. It is the students’ wish and OU cannot say whether the students can protest or not on the campus,” Prof Rao says. “On our part, lecturers and professors of the coordination committee meet students and counsel them how the agitation may affect their studies and careers and what they should do. It is an emotional issue for the students; on the one hand they don’t want to give up the agitation on the other, they know it may affect their careers.”

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