Yesterday’s Osmania University convocation witnessed an unprecedented incident, when a candidate refused to take the Ph.D. certificate to protest the inordinate delay in Statehood for Telangana.
L. Pandu Ranga Reddy, who submitted his doctoral degree in states reorganization with a particular reference to Telangana, went to the dias and refused to take the degree when presented by the chief guest Goverdhan Mehta, National Research Professor and Lilly Jubilant Chair, University of Hyderabad. He politely informed the chief guest that he cannot take the Ph.D. degree when students were committing suicide for a separate State, and the government was insensitive to the issue.
Many people who saw Capt L Panduranga Reddy for the first time, were surprised to see this old gentleman as a Ph.D. student. But individuals who are active in the Telangana movement knew the zeal with which he was participating in the ongoing statehood movement. Panduranga Reddy was a witness to all the main events in Telangana history like Police Action and 1969 statehood movement.
In fact, he has brought to light many unknown facets of Telangana & Andhra history. For example, the Indian government deliberately called the attack on Hyderabad as “Police Action,” even though Indian Military led it. This was to prevent international condemnation for using the military and also to hide the fact that India was attacking another sovereign nation.
Panduranga Reddy is a walking talking encyclopedia of Telangana history and has several astonishing bits of information that even seasoned Telangana activists are not aware of.
In 2001, when Dr. Y S Rajasekhar Reddy led a contingent of Telangana MLAs to Sonia Gandhi, it was Capt Panduranga Reddy who wrote a passionate appeal to Congress leadership to take the Telangana issue ahead.
Even today, Dr. Panduranga Reddy writes thought-provoking letters to Congress high command on a regular basis exhorting them to announce Telangana formation without further delay.