Hyderabad. 14 September 2009.
With each passing-day, and with every new poignant story coming to light from far-flung villages of Andhra Pradesh almost two weeks after YSR’s death, the scale of the calamity is dawning steadily on the state officials. “Our village has no electricity, no other form of communication…we had no idea YSR was dead”, says a devastated Nagaraju from a remote village in West Godavari district of the state. “It was a golden chance….”, he trails-off with a far-away look, before adding a feverish cry – “Our government sucks!”
Nagaraju is not alone. Statewide officials are recording at least 200 new such cases daily where the villagers, even town-folk staying in areas which ‘get’ 20-hour load-shedding (‘light-cut’ for dummies), are complaining of a lack of communication at the time of YSR’s death, hence robbing them off a chance to commit suicide.”There were, are, so many people who would have loved to die at such a mass-media event, and we understand their anger”, said a source within AP administration on the condition of anonymity.
Traditionally, Andhra Pradesh, much like any other Indian state, is used to no electricity, water or modes of communication but it’s events like these that bring forth the utter failure of state machinery in providing the people with the basest of necessities, like a right to kill themselves. “Part of the blame goes to the news channels too”, says K. Seshadri, District Collector of Cuddapah, “The way they were shrieking “200 suicides!” just 48-hours after-YSR, we didn’t realize that it was just an overstatement. Else we would have tried on our part to get more people involved. YSR, after-all, was the leader of the masses.”
Though there have been some stray cases where the standard farmer-suicide has been mistaken as a YSR-related suicide, officials say it’s all “a media-hype.” “Why would they kill themselves for rain or crop, when they could die for YSR?”, asks an angry Nellore official logically.
As one more villager appears on the horizon, carrying the angst of a missed-opportunity, if not one-in-a-lifetime chance, there is no denying that Andhra Pradesh is a failed state today. And very sad.