ON 20 FEBRUARY, as the day grew colder and darkness fell, around forty people huddled around two television sets at 23 Tughlaq Road, the central Delhi residence of Kalvakuntla Chandrasekhar Rao—better known as KCR—a member of parliament and the founder-president of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi party. Most people wore woollens they had bought cheaply in local markets to beat the persistent chill. At 8.05 pm, the deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha appeared on the Telugu news channels they were watching. He announced the passage of the Telangana bill, which paves the way for the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh into two parts: Seemandhra to the south and, to the north, Telangana—a landlocked region bordered by Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Karnataka—and now India’s twenty-ninth state.
A cheer went up, and people ran out into the garden to smear each other with pink gulaal—theTRS party colour. Within a few minutes, the thick smoke of fireworks had engulfed the premises, and charred paper floated everywhere. The euphoric crowd—party workers, activists and other supporters—swelled to a hundred. They lifted TRS leaders on their shoulders and chanted, “Galli mein bolo, Dilli mein bolo, Jai Telangana, Jai Telangana.” Say it in the street, say it in Delhi—hail Telangana.