Change is inevitable. Socio-economic changes are expected. But then who would welcome the change and who would not? Obviously, those who benefit from a particular moment of time would not want the change. They would resist the change. Or, people who are afraid that they may be at a loss would resist change.
Formation of Telangana State is a desire and aspiration of many sections of people – across religion, caste and class. Yet, there are sections who want the status-quo – no change. History is replete with examples where resistance to change beyond a point is not possible. For this reason, people who resist change would want ‘static change’. Static change is a change, which ensures the continuation of the benefits, yet allows for change. Some may view this as middle ground, negotiated position, consensus, win-win situation, etc. It might happen as well. But a static change is questioned, if not now, but later. This later can be anytime, depending on the growth of socio-political consciousness.
Congress, with regard to Telangana, in the backdrop of economic reforms, is in a situation where they do not want change, which can add another hurdle in their progress towards ‘wealth accumulation’ through PPP and inclusive growth. They do not want to lose power. They want change – but on their own terms. But, Telangana movement is forcing them to take a decision towards change. Naturally, mid-way course is to enable static change.
TDP wants change. They want to come back to power. But, in a State of status-quo. However, it may not be possible, without political factors that can derail Congress bandwagon. Hence, the two-eye and two-hand theory. While the ‘big boss’ has fixed, two-eye, stern gaze, TDP hands would work for and against Telangana demand, with perfect aplomb, without batting any eye-lid. They would be happy with status-quo with change – that is static change.
All other parties would like to help themselves with the change, in terms of money and power. They would maintain a ‘fixed’ distance with the positions of main political parties. It would equi-distant, even if there is a ‘swing’ in the positions of the main political parties. For this reason, wherein their positions are determined on a comparative basis, they would also want static change. The spoilsports in this game of change are two parties – TRS and YSRC. Both are strong and vulnerable. One is brash and the other is young. Both have cobwebs in their cupboards. Anyday, these ‘vulnerabilities’ can be used to enable static change.
Amidst all these, media is shamelessly discussing who gains and who loses, politically. To my knowledge, at no time, before, political gains have been declared so openly. This brings us to the earlier discussion, in this TSR blog, by Mr. Prasad Rao, ‘politicisation of voter’. Discussion on political options before political parties ‘sanctifies’ the greed, misuse of power and encouragement of evil. If the government of India is discussing Telangana issue in terms of what are the gains and losses for Congress party and we accept this as the ‘legitimate’ agenda, easily the change desired by the Telangana people would be in the danger becoming a “static change”.
Struggles of the people, in Telangana, and in other places by farmers, handloom weavers, tribals and dalits, is about a change, which helps them in participating in the decisions of the democratic institutions. They want participation in the decisions which impact them. Power to the people was enshrined in the Constitution, but have been side-stepped in various ways. Gram-swaraj, local governments, 73rd and 74th amendments were some of the initiatives, which offered sustainable participatory mechanisms. Formation of State followed a logic, immediately after Independence. But this logic is questioned because the other additional mechanisms have been successfully rooted out. Unfortunately, only two fundamental units of power are State and Central governments. Eventually, with Direct Tax Code, CENVAT, BRAI, Seed, Mining, Land acquisition and many other legislations are going to take away the autonomy of the State governments, if not done already. Intensification of federal structure is happening.
Status-quoists in various forms, at various levels, in various places, are resisting the struggles of the people, using the very same democratic institutions and principles, which helped them in continuing discrimination and exploitation. Multitudes of young people, who are also beneficiaries of this system of exploitation, are carried away by attractions and one-line logics. Resistance to real change is likely to lead to confrontation, contestation and violence. Younger generation status-quoists are fed on the nation-state philosophy. One would wonder how formation of a new State affects national integration. But, then status quo and the logic to maintain status-quo would come up with more stranger logics, in the days to come. Not that they are new – old wine in a new bottle. We all know the illogical rationality of the colonial British.
Violence on the advocates of ‘real’ change is under-exposed and not understood easily, while the struggle for change itself gets projected as violence and disturbance to the existing fabric. Political parties, neo-liberal government leaders and the ‘wealth accumulators’ work in tandem to dilute the conditions for real change. We need to be cautious about this.
Obviously, in the ultimate sense, one may see a decision, which can be termed as win-win (to benefit every ‘power’ voice), but then one needs to see whether such an outcome would change relations of power between haves and have-nots. If not, the struggle would continue, until the ‘real change’ happens.