Prof K Jayashankar was so convinced of the strength and resilience of the Telangana people’s movement for statehood that he used to say quite confidently: “I am sure I will witness the formation of Telangana during my lifetime”.
He died on June 21, 2011, at the age of 76, when the prospects for a favourable decision by the UPA government were briefly clouded by certain uncertainties. But the veteran fighter, who had overcome trying periods several times over the decades of the unceasing movement, never felt diffident about the ultimate outcome. He used to inculcate confidence among younger comrades-in-arms and inspire them with his new ideas while analyzing various developments. It was so even during his last days when his health started deteriorating.
Now, on the eve of the second anniversary of the great professor’s passing away, the pot of Telangana is being stirred once again energetically by his followers here under watch by decision-makers in Delhi. Whatever may be the outcome of this exercise, the fact remains that the issue continues to occupy the centre-stage for all those who are genuinely concerned about the movement.
In any case, the contribution of Prof Jayashankar ‘Saar’ for this situation can perhaps never be completely told. A man totally dedicated to the cause of his backward and much- exploited region, he gradually shaped into a true intellectual and ideologue over the years in the later part of his life. Witnessing the processes and forces of exploitation under Nizam and also in the post-1956 phase, he concluded that a region like Telangana needed a regime and system which is free of the exploitative character and which can foster development on an egalitarian path. All that he said, wrote, and did, in diverse socio-political sectors, before the current phase of the Telangana movement in over a decade bears testimony to this.
He may not have described the post-1956 condition of the region using doctrinal terms such as ‘structured exploitation’. But his talk of the four-faceted oppression — economic, political, administrative and cultural, was indicative of an evolving concept. He wanted his motherland to break itself out of exploitation that was not simply of a ‘general nature’ but one that had worked itself into a vice-like ‘four-pillared structure’.
In this entire process, the soft-spoken person with hard thinking, whom people loved to call ‘Professor’, emerged as a true ideologue of Telangana. Truly speaking, he could have been a ‘People’s Professor and ideologue’ of any backward region with a history of people’s struggles for emancipation not only in this country but anywhere in the world. When people refer to Prof Jayashankar as ‘Sidhaantakarta’ (ideologue) and ‘Medhavi’ (intellectual), it is not for nothing or just out of reverence towards him.
Precisely speaking, there are certain elements that went to make him such a personality: (a) the thorough understanding he had of the conditions and history of the region and the nature of people and their society; (b) his analyses of those conditions, formulations and the theories he propounded to understand Telangana in a comprehensive manner; (c) the strategic plans as well as regular programmes of action that he kept evolving at every phase of the movement; (d) his own practical involvement with people on the one hand and the leadership on the other, at every stage through all its vicissitudes; and finally (e) his legacy for others to carry on till the twin goals are achieved viz Telangana state and shaping up of a ‘New Telangana’.
‘Who is an intellectual?’ has been an age-old debatable question worldwide. Probably there cannot be any more attributes than the ones mentioned above to make its definition meaningful and comprehensive. That is the reason why he really was an intellectual and ideologue, his people’s fondness and love for him being the ultimate barometer of the same.
Now, in the two years since the death of Prof Jayashankar, if we witness the same unflinching resolve of the people to fight for their cause, the legacy of that ‘Complete ideologue’ (though he used to say he never considered himself to be one) produced by the Telangana society can be witnessed in every aspect of that ongoing fight and its firmly-set long-term social goals.
By: Ashok Tankasala. Courtesy: The Hans India