better engineers than snake charmers?

an online poll conducted by newsweek (international edition) has thrown up some interesting results (until now)..33% of readers, asked 'which country will have the best engineers in ten years?', voted for india ! other countries on the list, ranking second, third and so on.. were - china, u.s.a., germany..

what's happening? has india finally managed to lose its no.1 position as the nation with the best snake charmers?


srt said...

Maybe, but that trope is being replaced quickly, and nibly, by Yoga instructors and students who are convinced that they'll trip over a meditating Sadhu as soon as they step off the plane.

kuffir said...


glad you've come visiting mr.thandra. and i see that you've been visiting other addas too.. globalisation studies?

talking of the new trope.. wasn't it always there.. in popular movies, anyway? not yoga instructors perhaps, but sadhus definitely.

srt said...

The trope has certainly been in play for quite a while, but a new wave of new agers seems to coming to the fore; perhaps just my own recent encounters that have caused heightened sensitivity. There is actually a wonderfully atrocious documentary from the late 60s that performs this brand of Orientalising; it's called Phantom India, I think. Worth seeing, if only to gag over.

My other visits, additions to my blogroll and such are in great part thanks to your visit to my site. I've begun to explore your extensive collection of authors. Thank you.

Ramadoss Magesh said...

Hi Kuffir,

Off topic-- Saw your post on telengana issue(that response letter and further discussions on that.). Could you present a concise summary kind of post on that issue.

Give the way you look at things and the kind of local knowledge you posses, it would offer a lot of insight and understanding for people like me, who are a bit ignorant of the real issue.

Would really appreciate if you could do that.

Best regards,

kuffir said...


welcome back..the issue is complicated - and there are, as i see it, too many aspects to it.. politicians, as always, have been trying to oversimplify the issue..to make it a black and white, easily digestible emotion-charged tool .

i'll try to follow up on your suggestion.

Cosmic Voices said...

Whoever voted are probably not aware of a band of engineers like me who have neither a job nor a gf nor dowry :-(

Well, quantitatively we might have the most number of engineers, but qualitatively, no.

Ramadoss Magesh said...

Thanks Kuffir..am not coming back after a long time..i visit often..but has not commented..but this mroning reading the Telenganaga issue on paper(this fasting drama..) reminded that i should chk with u..

srt said...


Perhaps you could point us to information sources that will help shed light on the Telengana issue. Although I am skeptical about how many are available in English, any leads will be greatly appreciated.


kuffir said...


you're right in assuming that there might not be many souces of info on the telangana issue in english. there aren't many telugu either although you'll find the topic being very hotly debated in english, among other languages such as telugu and pure invective, on the telugu portals. i suggest the blogs 'sodi news' and'telugutanam' for links to these sites...

but i guess..you would be interested in more restrained inputs (i am too)..so for starters, i suggest the following articles, papers..:

mohan guruswamy

'telangana movement - the demand for a separate state, a historical perspective' by k.jayashankar

the first link is an article that i found.. presents a short,very readable picture of hyderabad state as at the time of 'police action'. the author is an honorary telangani..and an ex-advisor to the pm vajpayee..

the second paper presents an argument by professor jayashankar, former vice-chancellor (i guess that'd be president in the u.s.,) of kakatiya university, for separating telangana from andhra pradesh.. he currently holds the honour of being the 'siddhanta-karta', or ideologue of the telangana rashtra samithi..

these links/papers may provide a rough backgrounder on the recent history of andhra pradesh..


HREF="http://www.aponline.gov.in/quick%20links/hist-cult/history_post.html" REL="nofollow">primer on history-the state's version

Crisis States research Workshop

“State Politics in India: Political Mobilization and Political Competition in the 1990s”

Andhra Pradesh: The Reform State and its Dilemmas .

by Rama.S. Melkote

'Democratic Process and Electoral Politics in Andhra Pradesh

by K.C. Suri
Nagarjuna University'

you'll have to google for the papers - i'm a non-geek..and not very smart at links and..stuff.

as i said, these papers could provide you with a rough backgrounder on recent political history..but wouldn't provide you with much insight into the specifics of the ..say, the stages of the evolution of this conflict, the trigger points, the resolutions etc.,

let me take the liberty of identifying for you certain key issues involved :

1)the conflict between telanganis and non-locals predates independence..mohan guruswamy outlines a little of that..the key word here is 'mulki rules' - a policy of the nizam govt which tried to protect the interests of locals in recruitment in govt,.. this was also adopted by the state govt later with changes..

2)'the gentlemen's agreement' reached between the leaders of telangana and andhra on the eve of the formation of the state and after the submission of the states reorganisation committee report ..which paved the way for the formation of the state of andhra pradesh..

3)the 1969 telangana movement and the 1972 'jai andhra' movement..and various formulas suggested to resolve these - the eight point formula, the the five point formula..and finally the six-point formula..

4) the appointment of the 'girglani commission' by the ntr govt in the eighties to look into the presence of non-locals in govt jobs in various zones created as a result of the six-point formula..

prof.jaishankar covers all the areas of disenchantment..jobs, irrigation..etc., which are the primary irritants..

i suggest you may also visit the telangana developmemt forum (tdf.org)site..to get a clear picture of what the separatists want..

i am not entirely satisfied with the quality of some of the background papers..they seem to present opinion more than research..but i hope they'll provide you some place to start with..

the communist parties have compiled a more comprehensive record of 20th century history..but most of it is in telugu..but it provides a good understanding of what the polity..economy was like at the turn of the last century..but about that later..

kuffir said...


oops..i seem to have messed up one of the links.. but you can decipher the address, i guess..that is an account of the recent history of ap as viewed by the state..put it in for the comic value..

i wanted to guide you to some interesting links ,generally, that are not on my blogroll..but as you are on telangana now..some articles by p.sainath on the agrarian crisis (the recent one)can be found at..indiatogether.org..you may find them intersting perhaps..the articles on ap would tell you why the telangana issue has cropped up again ..in a way..

kuffir said...


and it's telangana.org..not tdf.org.

srt said...


Thanks for all the leads; I'll get to them within the next few days and hopefully post something about them. At the least, I'll come back here to say/ ask things.

Mridula said...

Even in my teaching I come across articles that try to deal with India's business culture with increasing frequency. Earlier it was difficult to find such things. The outsourcing effect, I guess.

On the flip side I have a heavy teaching lead this sem, so blog visits have gone down a lot everywhere.

Anonymous said...

The grip of the Majlis-e-ittehadul Muslimeen on the community remains strong, despite minor dents.
WITH A Member representing Hyderabad in the Lok Sabha, five members in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly, 40 corporators in Hyderabad and 95-plus members elected to various municipal bodies in Andhra Pradesh, the All-India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen is one of the foremost representatives of the city's Muslims and the most powerful Muslim party in India and one can see the partys strenghth if it goes to Hyderabads Old city everywhere u look u can see MIM written on walls ,lightpoles and buildings leaving aside flags and posters of its Leadership. The Majlis has brought lot of development to the Old part of the city even after it is said it hasnt done anything by its opponents who are mostly Ex Majlis workers.
The Majlis was formed in 1927 "for educational and social uplift of Muslims". But it articulated the position that "the ruler and throne (Nizam) are symbols of the political and cultural rights of the Muslim community... (and) this status must continue forever".
The Majlis pitted itself against the Andhra Mahasabha and the communists who questioned the feudal order that sustained the Nizam's rule. It also bitterly opposed the Arya Samaj, which gave social and cultural expression to the aspirations of the urban Hindu population in the Hyderabad State of those days.
By the mid-1940s, the Majlis had come to represent a remarkably aggressive and violent face of Muslim communal politics as it organised the razakars (volunteers) to defend the "independence" of this "Muslim" State from merger with the Indian Union.
According to historians, over 1,50,000 such `volunteers' were organised by the Majlis for the Nizam State's defence but they are remembered for unleashing unparalleled violence against Hindu populations, the communists and all those who opposed the Nizam's "go it alone" policy. It is estimated that during the height of the razakar `agitation', over 30,000 people had taken shelter in the Secunderabad cantonment alone to protect themselves from these `volunteers'.
But the razakars could do little against the Indian Army and did not even put up a fight. Kasim Rizvi, the Majlis leader, was imprisoned and the organisation banned in 1948. Rizvi was released in 1957 on the undertaking that he would leave for Pakistan in 48 hours. Before he left though, Rizvi met some of the erstwhile activists of the Majlis and passed on the presidentship to Abdul Wahed Owaisi, a famous lawyer and an Islamic scholar who also was jailed for nearly 10 months after he took over the Majlis leadership as the then govt wanted to abolish the Majlis party but Owaisi refused to do so and was seen as a person who had financially supported the party when it was a bankrupt and weak one after the Police Action in Hyderabad State.
Owaisi is credited with having "re-written" the Majlis constitution according to the provisions of the Indian Constitution and "the realities of Muslim minority in independent India", according to a former journalist, Chander Srivastava. For the first decade-and-a-half after this "reinvention", the Majlis remained, at best, a marginal player in Hyderabad politics and even though every election saw a rise in its vote share, it could not win more than one Assembly seat.
The 1970s saw an upswing in Majlis' political fortunes. In 1969, it won back its party headquarters, Dar-us-Salaam — a sprawling 4.5-acre compound in the heart of the New City. It also won compensation which was used to set up an ITI on the premises and a women's degree college in Nizamabad town. In 1976, Salahuddin Owaisi took over the presidentship of the Majlis after his father's demise.
This started an important phase in the history of the Majlis as it continued expanding its educational institutions,Hospitals,Banks, including the first Muslim minority Engineering College and Medical College. Courses in MBA, MCA ,Nursing, Pharmacy and other professional degrees followed and now a daily newspaper known as Etemaad Daily. The 1970s were also a watershed in Majlis' history as after a long period of 31 years, Hyderabad witnessed large-scale communal rioting in 1979. The Majlis came to the forefront in "defending" Muslim life and property Majlis workers could be seen at these moments defending the properties of Muslims in the wake of riots and these workers were very hard even for the police to control them even now it is a known fact that there are nearly about 2500 units of strong members who only act if there is a seirous threat to the Owaisi family and these members are under the direct orders of the Owaisi family which leads the Majlis party leaving aside thousands of workers and informers throughout the State and even outside the country far away till America and the Gulf countries.
Salahuddin Owaisi, also known as "Salar-e-Millat" (commander of the community), has repeatedly alleged in his speeches that the Indian state has "abandoned" the Muslims to their fate. Therefore, "Muslims should stand on their own feet, rather than look to the State for help'', he argues.
This policy has been an unambiguous success in leveraging the Majlis today to its position of being practically the "sole spokesman" of the Muslims in Hyderabad and its environs.
Voting figures show this clearly. From 58,000 votes in the 1962 Lok Sabha elections for the Hyderabad seat, Majlis votes rose to 1,12,000 in 1980. The clear articulation of this "stand on one's feet" policy in education and `protection' during riots doubled its vote-share by 1984. Salahuddin Owaisi won the seat for the first time, polling 2.22 lakh votes. This vote-share doubled in the 1989 Lok Sabha elections to over four lakhs.
The Majlis has since continued its hold on the Hyderabad seat winning about five-and-a-half lakh votes each time.
Despite remarkable economic prosperity and negligible communal violence in the past decade, the hold of the Majlis on the Muslims of Hyderabad remains, despite minor dents. And despite widespread allegations of Majlis leaders having "made money", most ordinary Muslims continue to support them because, as one bank executive put it "they represent our issues clearly and unambiguously''. An old Historian Bakhtiyar khan says the Owaisi family was a rich family even before entering Politics and he says he had seen the late Majlis leader Abdul Wahed Owaisi in an American Buick car at a time when rarely cars were seen on Hyderabad Roads and the family had strong relations with the ersthwhile Nizams of Hyderabad and the Paighs even now the family is considered to be one of the richest familes in Hyderabad.
A university teacher says that the Majlis helped Muslims live with dignity and security at a time when they were under attack and even took the fear out of them after the Police action and adds that he has seen Majlis leaders in the front at times confronting with the Police and the Govt.
Asaduddin Owaisi, the articulate UK educated barrister son of Salahuddin Owaisi and Former leader of the Majlis' Legislature party and now an MP himself who has travelled across the globe meeting world leaders and organizatons and even in war zones compares the Majlis to the Black Power movement of America.
The Majlis that emerged after 1957 is a completely different entity from its pre-independence edition, he says adding that comparisons with that bloody past are "misleading and mischievous". "That Majlis was fighting for state power, while we have no such ambitions or illusions".
He stoutly defends the need for "an independent political voice" for the minorities, which is willing to defend them and project their issues "firmly".
"How can an independent articulation of minority interests and aspirations be termed communal," he asks and contests any definition of democracy which questions the loyalty of minorities if they assert their independent political identity. "We are a threat not only to the BJP and Hindu communalism, but also to Muslim extremism," Asaduddin claims. "By providing a legitimate political vent for Muslims to voice their aspirations and fears, we are preventing the rise of political extremism and religious obscurantism when the community is under unprecedented attack from Hindu communalists and the state''. He can be seen in his speeches speaking against terrorism in the Country and says if the time arises Majlis will stand side by side in defending the Nation

kuffir said...


i am assuming you're the same commenter as on my earlier post..'separate telangana...'

welcome back. i am quite aware of the history of the majlis. i am also aware of other relevant historical issues..but, what's your point?

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing

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