Bathukamma exposes ground realities

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Telangana’s age-old traditional flower festival, Bathukamma is being celebrated on a grand scale with much pomp and gaiety at every nook and corner of the village, towns and cities. The State government accorded highest importance to this 9-day festival by releasing Rs.10 crore after declaring it as a state festival.

The colourful festival is  being observed by every section of society especially the forward caste communities in Telangana as the festival has off late has assumed political significance in the backdrop of Telangana Jagruthi, an NGO led by the daughter of CM KCR and the sitting MP from Nizamabad, Kalvakuntla Kavitha declared her nine-day programme terming it as Bangaru Bathukamma. On the other, popular Telangana folk singer Vimalakka took up the cause of Bahujan Bathukamma. The duo has been competing each other by touring across the state organising different Bathukammas.

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However, the only difference is the message that both intend to disseminate. Kavitha is trying to create hope among people about the future of Telangana indicating her support to KCR’s ambitious political slogan Bangaru Telangana while Vimalakka through her song and speech has been raising several burning issues of people including the local issues that have been pending for long.

Though both of them have come from different backgrounds,  objectives, ideologies and support systems that they enjoy, but the zeal and the appeal among people is unparalleled. Though each has their strengths and weakness of their own, both have special recognition among people for their unflinching efforts in bringing women folk together which may not yield immediate results but good days are ahead for sure.   

It may not be out of place to mention here that the Nizamabad MP Kavitha chose to revive Bathukamma in order to champion the cause of Telangana during the peak of the movement. Although she belongs to Velama community which is a forward caste in Telangana, she chose to be in the forefront. The history has it that the Bathukamma was not a favourite choice of Velamas, Reddy, Brahmins and Vysyas who were considered forward caste in Telangana. Velamas used to enjoy bathukamma by watching the other women playing it in their ‘ghadis’ while Reddys play it among the closed community of their own and the same with Brahmins who used to play in temples. Whereas rest of the sections observe widely. The reason being that during Nizam period the festival was not accorded any importance besides it was made a mockery by Razakkars. There were umpteen number of incidents wherein lower caste women were made to dance around Bathukamma naked at knifepoint by Razakars. This ignited heart burning among cross sections that led to the historic revolt irrespective of caste and creed against the Nizam ruling. Rest is history.

Learning lessons from the history, Telanganites gave a befitting reply to the erstwhile rulers in united AP by organising Bathukamma on a grand scale. This also helped in mobilising people for the cause and exhibiting  strength of unity among Telangana protagonists during the movement. But now, the objectives behind organising this cultural extravaganza obviously has political connotations. However, what is to be understood here is, things have changed now in post-Telangana and there is a significant change in people’s’ perspective as well. Now the need of the hour is to resolve people’s long pending issues rather than focussing on petty political gains.