Amaravati
Proposed plan for Amaravati city | Photo from Andhra Pradesh government
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Message Sent, notifies my email as I forward the same mail for the 100th time. Message is sent, I know that for a fact, but is it received? Understood? Or considered? I can’t say for sure.

Such is also the case, not only of the message I sent, but also the content in it. The Amaravati protest in Andhra Pradesh have been going on for a year and 159 days now, with 58 deaths and numerous arrests along with government abuse of power.

It was when I entered Class 9 that I first came across the strong passionate men and women coming on their YouTube channels and Instagram feeds, talking about various issues of public interest, which the common man had in his heart but no place to display. I later learnt these were called intellectuals and influencers.

I looked up to them and believed that any problem that I would face, would be addressed by these influencers — if not Left-leaning then the Right-leaning would come to my aid, if not both, some Centrist would. They aren’t like politicians, they do genuinely look for stories that effect people and undermine democracy, I felt.

All this, until I saw the Amaravati protests in 2019. I am not just disappointed by how the state and central governments handled this issue but how every sect of the political spectrum just didn’t want to talk about it, as if nothing had happened.

The Left’s take

A couple of days ago I read an article and watched a couple of videos on some YouTube channels and content platforms, who we can safely categorise as the progressives. They talked passionately about how the ‘fascists’ were taking over Lakshadweep and destroying everything there.

Good job, but what about the Amaravati farmers who have been protesting for more than a year now? And have been subjected to regular government misuse of power, lathi charges, and arrests? Why are they quiet about them?

Is it because you once supported the formation of Telangana which in turn led to the division of Andhra Pradesh, leading to demands of a new capital for AP, which today led to these protests?

Or, is it because as progressives, you couldn’t stand against a fellow Centre-Left part like the YSRCP, who right from their name support the workers and farmer rights? Or is it because there is no way in hell that you would support the same cause which a libertarian leader like Chandrababu would?

Is it also because, the majority of the people stuck on both sides of these protests belong to the forward castes?

I feel these reasons are not enough for you to ignore the issues in Amaravati. Left and the particularly progressives have never been scared of looking hypocritical when talking about social issues in the past, why start now?

The Right’s take

When Telugu director Rajamouli made a famed tribal leader wear an Islamic skull cap, for the teaser of the movie RRR, the Right-wing mouth pieces, irrespective of the state they belonged to, ranted on and on for days about how Telugu cinema was using Muslim appeasement strategies.

It’s not like they ignore south India then. In fact, they brought every possible big leader for a small municipal election in Hyderabad, then why ignore Amaravati farmers?

Is it because both sides on this issue belong to the Hindu community? Or is it because all affected members are farmers, and thus supporting their cause might make you look hypocritical with what you do back in Delhi with farmers of Punjab and Haryana?

Is it because PM Modi, who inaugurated the construction of their capital, fails to speak a word about it? Or again is it because no temple is broken down yet and it’s just common farmers and not gods who are being violated here?

I am tired, of writing long paragraphs, requesting these content creators with immense reach to look at the issue of my capital. I won’t ask the politicians because if they had a vested interest in the issue, the issue would’ve been long dead. I won’t ask big media houses because they would not show anything that doesn’t add on to their TRP rating.

I am a man who belongs to a state with no capital. A vindictive government. An abusive police force. An incompetent bureaucracy. And a country who would not bother to look.
And yet, I have no complaints, but just a question. Why?

Abhishek Kadiyala is a student of St Joseph’s College, Bangalore.

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