Certainly he is a Telangana Ideologue as popularly known, or TRS ideologue as derisively described, but really much more as an unforgettable son of Telangana. Prof. Kotthapalli Jayashankar (1934-2011) is indeed a blend of a rare human being, a brilliant academic, an efficient administrator, a powerful public intellectual and an inspiring thinker-activist. His association with the demand for Telangana state spans sixty years in his life of 76 years. Beginning with the Mulki Agitation of 1952 in which he participated as a college student, Jai Telangana movement of 1969 when he was part of Telangana Graduates Association the provided intellectual inputs to the movement to the present phase of movement, all along Jayashankar did not lose the dream of Telangana. That’s why it’s very apt to call him the mentor of not only Telangana Rashtra Samiti but also all the political and non political formations that demand Telangana.
But as a person he was very friendly, emotional, gentle, caring and concerned. As an academic he was a brilliant researcher, teacher and incisive analyst. As an administrator his record as leader of lecturers associations, principal of CKM College, registrar of Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages and as registrar and vice chancellor of Kakatiya University is impeccable.
Born into a middle class goldsmith family in Hanumakonda, in his childhood he witnessed the people’s upsurge against the autocratic Nizam’s rule and confidence in people’s power against misrule was etched on his mind. He himself took part in students’ agitation against non-Muliks in 1952 and part of a student delegation that met Syed Fazl Ali (States Reorganisation Commission) and submitted a memorandum for separate Hyderabad state. The spark that was lit in the early 1950s continued to blaze for the next sixty years. Working as a teacher of economics and researcher on Telangana issues in particular and regional inequalities in general he produced a number of papers and addressed hundreds of meetings to attract more and more people towards the cause of Telangana. He was behind a remarkable seminar on Telangana discrimination in May 1969 that resulted in a wonderful documentation of the problem.
When the movement suffered a setback and treachery he started analyisng the failure and building up the movement silently. His efforts bore fruit by mid 1990s when there was a considerable intellectual opinion in favour of Telangana and by 1996 dozens of organizations sprouted fighting for Telangana. Whether the organizations accept or not his influence on each of them is unmistakable. By 2001 his efforts led to the formation of the first mainstream political formation after the debacle of Telangana Praja Samithi of 1971, Telangana Rashtra Samiti and he seems to be content that his dream was coming true. Of course there were moments of disappointment he shared with close friends and admirers, but that did not deter him from keeping close to the new political formation. He used say, “knowing fully well one’s inadequacies, there is no choice other than supporting them, if we want to achieve Telangana.”
Quite often he used to say that the achievement of Telangana state hinges on three main lines of activity: i. political process through which a bill in parliament, according to the Article 3 of the Constitution has to be passed, ii. mass movement through which popular support has to be secured on the one hand and the political process has to be monitored on the other, and iii. intellectual activity and spread of awareness through which each and every person in Telangana have to be educated on the need of separate Telangana.
He was personally involved in the intellectual activity for six decades. He took part in mass movement whenever there was one. He tried to influence the political process also for the last ten years. That way he lived to his word both in letter and spirit.