By Lakshmi Parvati
I was shell-shocked when I heard the news that the statues on Tank Bund had been vandalized. N T Rama Rao had wanted to eternally keep alive the inspiring and eminent personalities of Telugu history, literature and arts. He wanted the glory of the 3000 years of Telugu history to be known and recognized by the world. That was his vision.
The greatness of literary giants like Nannaya, Tikkana and Yerrana, modern adhunika yuga vayithalikudu Gurazada Appa Rao, revolutionary poet Sri Sri, the great literary critic Cattamanchi Ramalinga Reddy, dalit poet Joshua, people’s poet Vemana, music genius Annamacharya, Kuchipudi natya expert Siddhendra Yogi, are all these gems not figures we revere and are all proud of as Telugus? Don’t they symbolize the best of Telugu history? Was there are barrier of language and region when Annamacharya sang his music? Sir Arthur Cotton was from neither this part of Andhra Pradesh nor that. His crime was only that he built a dam across the Godavari that brought food and prosperity to our people.
Even foreign tourists who visit Hyderabad make it a point to come here and know about each of these great men and women, and their contributions to Telugu culture and civilization. And yet these narrow-minded people, who know neither history, nor understand culture and literature, have indulged in the worst form of vandalism. Who
have they insulted but themselves and their forefathers?
The Britishers may have tried to dominate Indian culture, the Muslim invaders may have broken our temples and architecture. Is there any example in history of people destroying their own culture? Who have they insulted but themselves and their forefathers? They have humiliated the mother who gave birth to them.
I blame politicians like K Chandrasekhar Rao’s son K T Rama Rao for what happened. He had instigated the people that Telangana personalities were given a raw deal and demanded that the statue of Komaram Bheem should also be put up. We all agreed and the government also conceded the demand to erect Komaram Bheem’s statue.
The statues may be re-erected but it is not merely statues that were broken but hearts and confidence. People would now feel that if statues could not be protected by the government, can people really be safe here? After all Hyderabad is a cosmopolitan city. There are people here from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, from just about everywhere. People came from the coastal districts giving up everything they had there. But today they feel there is no guarantee for life here.
I blame the Central government for the chaos here that has resulted in loss of investment and revenue. Even if there is a separate Telangana today, with leaders like this, there is little hope that life will get better for the people here.
(Lakshmi Parvati is N T Rama Rao’s wife, who was chief minister of Andhra Pradesh and a legendary Telugu film actor. The statues were put up on Tank Bund in Hyderabad when NTR was chief minister)