Fear and Loathing in Hy­der­abad

India Today - - FRONT PAGE - By T.S. Sud­hir

Who am I?” It is a strange ques­tion for the chief min­is­ter of a state to ask but this is in­deed N. Ki­ran Ku­mar Reddy speak­ing. The Andhra Pradesh Chief Min­is­ter, who re­signed on Fe­bru­ary 19, points out that he was born in Hy­der­abad, stud­ied at the Hy­der­abad Pub­lic School in Begum­pet and played cricket for the Hy­der­abad un­der-22 team. Yet be­cause his con­stituency is in Chit­toor district in the Ray­alaseema re­gion, and his an­ces­tral fam­ily hails from there, he is pil­lo­ried as an ‘out­sider’ in Te­lan­gana.

P. Bheema­iah, 70, orig­i­nally from Karim­na­gar but set­tled in Hy­der­abad for decades, flares up with in­dig­na­tion. “We are not ask­ing them to go away from Hy­der­abad. But why are they de­mand­ing a stake in our city? Be­cause they’ve vested in­ter­ests,” he says.

‘Us’ ver­sus ‘Them’, in a nut­shell, is the story of the ac­ri­mony em­a­nat­ing from the bi­fur­ca­tion of Andhra Pra- desh. The de­mand for a sep­a­rate Te­lan­gana state has its roots in the feel­ing of dis­crim­i­na­tion since 1956 (when Andhra Pradesh was formed) by See­mandhra rulers, dom­i­na­tion by coastal Andhra in­dus­tri­al­ists and lam­poon­ing by coastal Andhra film­mak­ers. And be­cause it is a Tel­ugu vs Tel­ugu ad­ver­sar­ial po­si­tion, Hy­der­abad is on edge. Nearly 35 per cent of the cap­i­tal’s 8.7 mil­lion pop­u­la­tion is from See­mandhra (Ray­alaseema and coastal Andhra) re­gion, and is de­ri­sively re­ferred to by those from Te­lan-



The bat­tle for a sep­a­rate Te­lan­gana state, at its core, is a tus­sle for Hy­der­abad. It ex­pos­es­the bit­ter di­vi­sions among the city’s 8.7 mil­lion in­habit

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