finding soodrahood in telingana

It has also been noticed that in speaking the Teloogoo, the Soodras use very few Sanskrit words; among the superior classes of Vysyus, and pretenders to the Rajah cast, Sanskrit terms are used only in proportion to their greater intimacy with the Bramins, and their books; and when we find even such Sanskrit words as these classes do adopt, pronounced by them in so improper and rude a manner as to be a common jest to the Bramins, who, at the same time, never question their pronounciation of pure Teloogoo words, I think we may fairly infer to be probable at least that these Sanskrit terms were originally foreign to the great body of people. 
from  the 'Introduction' section of the 'A Grammar of the Teloogoo Language, Commonly termed the Gentoo...' by A.D.Campbell. published in 1816, around the same age as when the nizams of hyderabad were either gifting away or being made to 'cede' the coastal andhra and rayalaseema regions to their colonial overlords.

two centuries later, if campbell were still around, he'd probably notice again that the 'Soodras' still can't get a hold on any sanskrit word without taking little conscious preparatory pauses. and their pronunciation still causes much jest among both the 'bramins' and those 'pretender' classes who have developed a much 'greater intimacy' with the bramins.  

when the the srikrishna committee submits its report to the central government today, and when delhi acts on it: both actions should be seen as the 'bramins' exercising their suzerainty over the 'soodras' of 'Telingana' (as campbell calls the whole of telugu speaking lands, including what are now referred to as 'coastal andhra' and 'rayalaseema' and other regions which are now a part of other states) yet again. as implied in the short paragraph, forces 'foreign to the great body of people' have always played a great role in the life of the 'gentoos'. brahminism and sanskrit, holding sway for several centuries couldn't destroy the ethos of the soodras even until the nineteenth century. it remained 'pure teloogoo'. but that project is still on, because soodrahood, innate to such pre-hindu cultures as the telugu culture, still poses the greatest challenge to the brahminical idea of india. and will, always. but how long should the soodras remain tethered to the trenches, fending off one assault after another, never attempting to subdue the enemy? they have to realize that soodrahood can also be a weapon, not just a shield to ward off the bramin's attacks. 

i remember an excellent post by dr.p.keshava kumar, teacher of philosophy and occasional blogger, on how the dalit movement is trying to deal with brahminism in tamil nadu-- let me quote a passage from the post in which he tries to explain the political philosophy of thol thirumavalavan of the viduthalai chiruthaigal katchi:
Let me elobarate further, tamil identity is not just a linguistic identity. As an eminent philosopher Wittegenstein said language is the form of life. Life has to be understood as social life. Social life exists in our social relationships. The social relationships are much rooted in our cultural life. For Thirumavalavan, tamil identity means it is all. He believed that tamil society is much more democratic society. There is no trace of caste system and is different from Brahminism, Hinduism and Aryanism. This distinct identity is maintained for so many centuries. On contrary to this our existing relationships hierarchy prevails there exists one over the other. The caste system is responsible for this. The hindu religion had the sole responsibility for strengthening it. It is the characteristic of brahminism/Hinduism which is internalized into Indian nationalism. In the course of time even it influencing the tamilians. Again to revive tamil identity one has to necessarily annihilate this caste system.
the democratic roots of soodrahood in telingana (i mean campbell's telingana, of course) have to be found again. one needs to dig a little, but not very deep because an outsider like campbell could spot them quite easily a couple of centuries ago.


terrorists in telangana

everyone says india is a land of a billion hindus. but why do we see such a massively scaled down version of hindu india in this list of hindutva terrorists?

there are nearly 80 million hindus in andhra pradesh-- but why is none of the prominent conspirators in the mecca masjid bomb blast case from hyderabad or andhra pradesh? the cbi has just filed a chargesheet against them, against lokesh sharma, devendra gupta, sandeep dange, swami asimanand etc why is there no lokesh goud or devendra mudiraj or sandeep madiga among them?

it's not like the gouds, or the mudirajs or the madigas are not willing to die for any larger 'ideal'.. hundreds of them, some only bare schoolkids, have committed suicide for telangana. much older people reportedly drank poison when rajasekhar reddy died, and even when jaganmohan reddy resigned from the congress a few days ago. no, it's not that the other 'hindus' do not have the 'courage', or the passion. so why aren't they in the list? 

because the head, heart and soul of hindutva has always been the top three varnas. the shudras have always been useful only as the muscle, the lathi arm. which means, nearly 70 years after savarkar, over 70% of so-called hindus remain hardly hindu. and the dalits were never used as even lathi arms. rather, they bore the brunt of the dance of the swords and lathis mostly.

telangana in the last few years has been the battleground for two different kinds of hindutva politics:  while one frustrated faction of the hindutvavaadis planted bombs, the other aligned with the dominant upper castes and a few ambitious obc groups to demand a separate state. while the first kind of politics claimed a few muslim lives and led to the illegal detention and harassment of hundreds of young muslims, the second kind is steadily proving to be more dangerous. it not only targets muslims who oppose the creation of a separate state but it also bullies other dissenting groups from among the dalits and adivasis. i've always maintained that telangana is a majoritarian cause, and the parivar, one of its oldest supporters, has much to gain from it.  

while swami asimanand's gang of terrorists was planting bombs in the mecca masjid, his other pals from the parivar, bjp leaders in the region, were touring all the districts of telangana with the leaders of the trs and assorted other political groups, including many ex-ultra left radicals, promoting the cause of telangana.

it's sad that many bahujans are still willing to be used as the lathi arms of the hindutva gangs. it makes me very angry that the people from the parivar that planted the bombs in the mecca masjid are now lionised as one of the staunchest supporters of telangana.


the hindu non-sense of equality

suhag shukla of the hindu american forum writes in the huffington post:
But the single most important point to take home from this pivotal report, I believe, is that even though caste-based discrimination may have arisen in Hindu society, it is not intrinsic to Hinduism. Contrary to the wide academic and media conflation of caste and Hinduism, the practice of caste-based discrimination is in direct contradiction to the quintessential Hindu teaching that each individual is equally divine and has the potential to realize God based on his or her own effort.
caste is not intrinsic to hinduism? you only have to check the comments on the same article to see that that's pure cow shit. the gist of the top comment runs like this: 
Caste system is etched in our sriptures & hence is here to stay for ever....(sic)
and it never gets better as you go down. ms.shukla's drivel is all the more disappointing because she doesn't seem to be a fresh-off-the-boat desi, as they say in america, i think. she was probably even born there. and the people commenting? wherever they were born, and whenever (though i suspect most of them are quite young), they seem to be enjoying caste a lot. which reminds you of what dr.ambedkar said: that caste is about 'graded inequality'. meaning there will always be people enjoying caste, because they stand to gain from it. therefore caste is not simply about 'discrimination', the thrust of ms.shukla's argument. 'x', the mere discriminator, might kick 'y' off a bus because he's 'inferior' in his view. 'x', the brahminized individual, will kick 'y' off the bus because it is 'superior'.

hinduism, according to shukla, sees the divine in everyone. well, the atma in everyone might be equally divine, but the brahmin body is 'superior' and the dalit body is 'untouchable' and every body between the two is also ranked. to be hindu, in practice, is to be a human measuring scale, primarily. each individual might have 'the potential to realize God based on his or her own effort', but, as ilaiah pointed out, there is 'superior' work and 'inferior' work. which effectively means some have to work more than others, to realize god or mammon.


wholesome drought

there's a flood of angst against the uid here. you'd think they've a lot to say, but look at this:
The Unique Identification (UID) project is presented as a sunny solution to the nightmare of access to the Indian social benefit system. Though the Bill states that it does not relate to benefits and services, the spin, symbolised by the wholesome image of Nandan Nilenkani, is that it will end the deprivation of the poor.
hasn't all spin in india, over 'socialism' 'secularism' or 'development' or 'rights' always been symbolised by such 'wholesome' brahminical images as nehru, indira gandhi, aruna roy or p.sainath etc? yes, brahminized india does face a drought of more marketable images but the articles featured at the site also seem to reflect a drought of ideas. all the fury seems to be focused on only one theme: invasion of privacy. privation isn't as big a concern.

the private concerns of the brahminized classes have always been the biggest problem for indian democracy. from land reforms to public schools, which wholesome idea did they not sabotage? a member of an online group opposing uid says:
I am horrified just thinking of the potential of a Mayawati or a Lalu to abuse this scheme for political ends (for example)!!
as i said, the privations of the majority have always been less important than the private 'purity' of these folks.


until delhi dies

one after another stooge gets out of the a.p.congress legislators meeting, beams at the cameras and tells you that they've unanimously decided that sonia gandhi should make the decision. any stray reporter making hesitant comments (hesitant because most reporters too seem to have come to accept this farce as natural and 'democratic'; some 'working' journalists' leaders have often been waxing eloquently on the wisdom of the 'high command' on talk shows) about discussions and debates and elections is brushed off with: we've discussed and passed a resolution, unanimously, that we shall abide by sonia gandhi's decision-- why isn't that democracy?'

why indeed. it's what they do at khap panchayats: let the elders decide. but the elders at khap panchayats are not elected, voted into wisdom. they just grow old and collect a lot of ignorance, hate and malice in their souls and ultimately qualify for wise panch-hood. but to become 'high command' in the congress, you don't even need to grow old.

that was a few days ago. now, nearly half the congress legislators in the state are in delhi, lobbying for posts in the new cabinet. like sons in a traditional hindu family, these folks will never grow into adults until their father, or delhi, dies.



listen to a lobbyist talk casually, protectively about how 'She has to follow what she’s father says, no' (sic). that's how close she's to 'kani'. listen to a journalist promise a lobbyist that 'they promised me that Azad will speak to her'.

thanks harini, for posting all those transcripts and tapes.that's how power is done in delhi, that's how the all-knowing, most wise, all powerful 'high command' congressmen in a.p., keep talking about like they were talking of god's baap listens to the troubles of the aam aadmi through its network of naradas in the media and 'civil society' and niras in business and industry. and that's how kcr and other separatist politicians have to reach delhi. grovel before the right narada or nira. so they in turn would have 'long chats' with 'ghulams' or 'patels' and implore the 'high command' to listen to the 'democratic' demands of the people of telangana.

listen to them dishing out high offices now, listen to them carving up or not carving up the people tomorrow, as casually.


the union is a coalition of estates

a. raja is being thrown out, but not the dmk. that's an important lesson for the dalitbahujans of telangana, andhra pradesh and india: geographic boundaries don't divide the social/economic elite politically. if anything, they succeed in dividing the dalitbahujans more.

mostly thinking aloud:

it's quite possible that a. raja's crimes are far less grave than his predecessors' ( arun shourie, pramod mahajan and dayanidhi maran ) misdeeds. or far more, as most other news stories seem to say. it's definitely possible that raja was not acting alone, that his masters in the dmk, and the congress, are equally involved. but in the eyes of the elite-- political, economic and social elite-- only raja is dispensable.

political democracy, as dr. ambedkar pointed out, does not ensure social or economic freedom. nominal recognition of the right to representation of the dalits through reserved constituencies has not produced a class of politicians who embody politics wedded to the ideals of dalit freedom, socially and economically. the political class (across parties) representing the brahminized classes, on the other hand, functions quite smoothly in concert with the social and economic elite of the country. from industry to big media to the intellectual classes in universities and elsewhere: the brahminized classes are overrepresented in all those areas. so, it'd have been tough to remove shourie or mahajan or even maran, because sizeable sections among the media, 'civil' society etc would have risen in support.

with the dalitbahujan presence in industry, or the media or the academia etc., being insignificant, what kind of support can dalit politicians expect from them if they devoted themselves to a broad dalit vision of transforming society? none, of course. so it is easier for politicians like a. raja, devoted to someone else's politics, to cling to power than for some more sincere dalit politicians.

so, how is it possible for a party like the dmk, representing regional elite, to hold such power in the 'national' elite as to claim exclusive rights over certain chosen portfolios such as telecom? because the 'national' elite is nothing but a collection of regional elites. so x reddy, a prominent minister in the central cabinet, could have a problem with y mudaliar, another prominent minister, but that'd never become a reddy vs mudaliar conflict. because they have common economic and social interests. and they're both an accepted part of the broad national --political, social, economic-- elite because they both are regional-- political, economic, social-- elites.

the reddies, kammas and velamas etc, are joint title-holders to the jagir, or estate, of andhra pradesh, and are thus a part of the 'national' elite. you can't divide them politically by dividing the state, as some over-optimistic dalitbahujan activists have been theorizing, because they have common economic and social interests, broadly, and those interests shall always be protected at the national and regional level by the national elite. if the dalitbahujans of andhra pradesh, or any other state in india, wish to challenge the hegemony of the regional elite, they have to avoid thinking up elaborate strategies on how to divide the existing elite, and start focussing on how to unite the divided dalitbahujans. first and foremost.


whose interest does telangana serve?

and who is paying, and will pay, the costs of this movement? gaddar's vision of telangana, or andhra pradesh or india or the world, for instance, is radically different from kcr's. he doesn't expect much from a 'bhougOlika telangana' (or 'geographic telangana'). he is fighting for a 'praja telangana' ('people's telangana') or andhra pradesh or india. he's been involved in the movement for nearly 15 years, much longer than kcr, but the people he works with count only as numbers to be loaded into trucks by the 'mainstream' upper caste leaders like kcr. or as suicides.

but who counts more in the 'mainstream' media and 'civil society'? gaddar or kcr? i've pointed out many times earlier that the separatist movement primarily serves upper caste interests: this article (it's a popular pro-separation site) and the comments following it, especially the comments, clearly illustrate the points i've been trying to make. please read to figure out what the position of the dalitbahujans will be in the vision of a separate telangana nurtured by the brahminized classes.


the empty politics of labels

shouldn't you consider nehru a neo-liberal for refusing to foot the bill for universal primary education? or a reactionary conservative for building iits for the brahminized classes (who'd already reached literacy levels of nearly 50-60% in some states by 1947) while he had no money for good schools for kids from the 'impure castes'? wasn't indira gandhi creating an oligarchy when she nationalized private banks which until now haven't been able to service more than 15% of all indians? in relative terms, their lending to such 'priority' sectors as agriculture and the poor hasn't expanded by more than 2-3% since 1969-70. in 40 years. was india socialist or neo-liberal in the 'socialist' era?

one grows sick of the hypocrisy of the brahminized classes who use empty labels, borrowed from other societies and other peoples' politics, to describe projects such as the uid as neo-liberal. it points to a very deep indifference on the part of indian universities, media and research institutions to take the pains to study the large, 'impure' sections of indian society firsthand.

if that's too much to ask: why don't they just check how many banks are making plans to expand their client base by millions in the near future because of the uid opening up new opportunities to do business directly with the 'impure', instead of directing them to microfinance companies and possible death? they might not be more touchable now, but they're definitely very good 'customers'. over 90% of them repay their debts promptly, and the figure could go up because the banks could charge much less interest than the microfinance companies. more credit to everyone: why don't we call it socialism?


reddy charitra

from here:
 One Karunakar Reddy from Anantapur district filed the petition in the SHRC, demanding that the commission order film director Ram Gopal Varma to remove certain scenes from the film which allegedly project the Reddy community of Anantapur district in a poor manner.

Accepting the petition, the interim Chairman Justice K Peda Peri Reddy adjourned hearing on the petition for Monday.
reminds me of the rajput indignation over 'jodhaa akbar' that i'd talked about in this post. and of some recent reddy charitra i'd discussed in this post. would mr.reddy have been satisfied if all the reddies in the film were portrayed just as the madigas, boyas, erukulas and others in the film were? as nameless, mindless, amoral killing hordes? i don't think so.


patronage for autonomy

 from the hindu:
The potential of the project to unleash a security frenzy is the reason why privacy concerns have to be taken seriously. The government and the UIDAI have made it appear as if the purported, and unsubstantiated, benefits of “good governance” from the project eclipse the concerns regarding privacy and civil liberties. This is where the problem lies. A foundational understanding in the study of individual freedoms, pioneered by scholars like Amartya Sen, is that consequence-independent absolute rights are rather hard to defend. Hence, the demand to trade-off one freedom for another (here, the “invasive loss” of privacy for “development”) is an untenable demand.
yes, the disenfranchised should learn to trade-off their 'right to live' for your 'right to privacy'.

over an year ago, i'd written about this article on the uid, here. has the theme of the 'liberal' press opposing the uid changed since then?

is the “invasive loss” of privacy really the core concern of those who oppose uid? this strident breast-beating over privacy across the media, arising mostly from fanciful speculation: why isn't there ever as much concern over the very public problems of the great majority of dalits in india? let's return to a recent news story: the dalit woman who was harassed for sharing a roti with an 'upper caste' dog. no, i'm not questioning the injustice of imposing a fine, publicly, on her for sharing a roti, privately, with a dog. that's how hindu public reacts, routinely. but how did the public institutions of the state react? she went to the local police station first, who refused to react, and was directed to an sc/st atrocities police station, who didn't act either, where she was reprimanded for feeding the dog.

at this point, most of the smart opponents of the uid would probably ask: how would uid have helped her? that's actually a not-so-smart question. because the women helped herself. she finally went to the district collector with her complaint (which action probably led to the news story). it was probably the sc/st (prevention of atrocities) act which gave her the necessary hope and courage to keep knocking at the state, repeatedly, to impel it into action. it was probably her own need to live, exist.

sunita jatav had to make her 'private' troubles public, repeatedly, to get a hearing, finally. the state needs to acknowledge her existence more readily in the future. for her, the trade-off would not be between the “invasive loss” of privacy for “development”. she'd have to trade-off patronage for autonomy.


1/3rd truth

This Court is of the view that place of birth that is Ram Janm Bhumi is a juristic person. The deity also attained the divinity like Agni, Vayu, Kedarnath. Asthan is personified as the spirit of divine worshipped as the birth place of Ram Lala or Lord Ram as a child . 
from page 18 of the summary of the judgement.

a one-third truth is definitely worse than a half truth or a whole lie. the indian judiciary, which would only recognize the backward castes as 'classes', seems to have no problems in endorsing pure, irrational belief as a 'juristic' person. if ram lalla is a juristic person, because there are no gods in 'secular' india, that doesn't make three-fourths of indians who figure as impure non-persons in brahminical scriptures 'hindus' just because the court needs the ballast of their numbers to emphasize the strength of 'faith' and keep the hindutva project afloat. i'm beginning to see 'juristic' persons everywhere now.


the itch to score points

google 'dalit' and pick news. i did, and found: dalit funds misused, dalit girl dumped, justice for dalits aborted, dalit students seeking security, naicker girl burnt alive for eloping with dalit...

and: dalits face boycott..girl forced to drink poison for living with a dalit.. and so on. that was the first page of results. if anyone wanted to understand what the term 'dalit' means, that one page would have served as a very good primer. such a holocaust packed into that one page!

i moved a couple of pages, searching for some less depressing news. on page 4, i found rahul gandhi. the tone of the article was actually more depressing..you would think rahul gandhi was being held up as the solution for all the misery represented by the preceding pages. savour this line:
“When Rahul Gandhi goes to the home of a Dalit to share a meal, Mayawati’s stomach starts itching!” shouted one speaker at a rally.
does rahul gandhi google, i wonder. if he did , i think he'd be deeply ashamed of scoring points, especially through the family's chamchas in the press. and would also learn the difference between poverty and dalitness.


powerless garlic

if four-fifths of indians live on less than rs.20 a day, how many would be able to afford meat every day? or every week? or..

the promotion of veganism in india isn't a joke, it's an expression of deep-seated hatred, i'm beginning to think. how this person must despise those who don't eat 'pure' vegetarian food!
"I am following in the footsteps of great people like Mahaveera and Mahatma Gandhi. It is also scientifically proven that vegetarian food is best for human beings. Many people from different political and religious backgrounds are supporting my campaign. I am not going to back off because of a few threats," Munnoth said.

Munnoth has put up about 700 banners across the city and distributed 30,000 books on vegetarianism among school students. Munnoth's banners read, "Be kind to animals, go veg", with a cow saying, "Don't kill me." The banners are in English, Hindi and Kannada.

Munnoth, who also produced a Kannada film 'Auto' last year, says his concern for animals and cows in particular is not a publicity gimmick. "My cause is genuine. I have been promoting vegetarianism for quite sometime now. Thanks to the on-going ruckus surrounding cow slaughter, I have become a convenient scapegoat," says Munnoth, who has invested a significant amount of money into his campaign. Munnoth received the threat calls earlier this week.
be kind to animals, go veg. is that really why some indians promote vegetarianism? to promote compassion? how much compassion goes into food produced in places where children have to eat dirt sometimes? there's this stall that sells 'home-made' pickles at the supermarket i visit. most times, i've to buy pickles without garlic. i can only admire the power of those who eat pickles without garlic. it is godly.


how food security feeds on hunger

sainath says:
The only PDS that will work is a universal one. It is only in those States that have the closest thing to a universal system — Kerala and Tamil Nadu — where the PDS has functioned best.
food security is a goal. a universal pds is an approach. please note: an approach. calling it the only approach that will work is like saying power flows through the barrel of a gun. that reflects an autocratic vision, the approach of those who have always wielded power and guns through history. the approach of those who always knew better, as compared with the mass of lesser humanity who could only wield labour and sweat.

i'm all for a universal pds if it improves even by 5% the access of the labouring masses to food. but will it? a few questions that i asked myself, and the answers i could come up with:

* does universalizing the pds decrease food insecurity?
a. the pds in punjab is barely patronized and yet the 'level of food insecurity' is the same as in kerala, which has a universal system.
* is it the level of foodgrains production which determines the level of food insecurity?
a. punjab produces 6-8 times more wheat and rice than its 2.4 crore population (2001) needs, but kerala produces only 30% as much rice as it needs. but both states suffer from the same levels of food insecurity.
* is it the amount of subsidy per unit (of rations) that helps?
a. tamil nadu is supplying rice at rs.1 to the poor, whereas kerala doesn't have any such schemes. the level of food insecurity in tamil nadu is higher than in kerala.
* do per capita incomes determine the levels of food insecurity in different states?
a. maharashtra has a better per capita income than tamil nadu but its 'level of food insecurity' is higher. and both those states have better per capita incomes than kerala which of course has a lower level of food insecurity.
* so what helps food security?
a. hard to say. you could even say, fewer hindus in the state's population would help, and you would be right. punjab, jammu & kashmir and kerala, which have large non-hindu populations have the best levels of food security. the absence of hindus, or fewer hindus, helps those states create more egalitarian social environments, perhaps?
* and?
a. fewer castes would also help, i think. improves social cohesion. andhra pradesh, karnataka and maharashtra etc have larger number of castes than punjab, kerala or jammu & kashmir.
* tamil nadu also has a large number of castes but it's better than a.p., karnataka in food security. why?

..and so on. a writer who advocates 'the only' approaches is the closest thing to a suicide bomber in the intellectual world, in my view. or the george bush of the world of media: you're either with him, or against him. or, you're either okay with his approach, or against food security. food security depends on many factors, and i'm not even sure food security is the only approach to solving hunger. because the issue is hunger and starvation, and not food security. not to those who are hungry.

food security is a goal for those who nurse nationalist ideals: those who subscribe to a certain set of cultural values and for whom the promotion of those values means a great deal. a great deal more than the issue of hunger itself. but it means nothing to an individual whose family is hungry. why should his need serve someone else's goal?


the sordid mutiny

a few weeks ago, a private school in bengaluru sent out a circular to parents warning them of the vile things the lower classes could inflict on their kids if the right to education bill was passed. the circular warned the parents:
Kindly do not ignore this circular as it affects your child's future directly

Any child will have to be allowed into school and share the classroom with your child. Eminent psychologists have said that this will be detrimental to the psyche of all the children.

Once this Act is enforced, another child could beat up your child, smoke on the campus, misbehave with a girl or a teacher and the school will have to watch helplessly.
a few days later, i came to know about another rebellion brewing in urban india: meter jam. what are they about?
A bunch of eager-minded folks who think a lot and do as much as they can.
Sitting idle, commenting on internet forums or complaining forever are THINGS WE DON'T DO.
So, we're doing right now what we feel needs to be done, hoping for your complete support!
finally, the marginalized middle classes seem to be standing up against the lower class oppressors. what will they plot next? a campaign against exploiting domestic workers and malingering child labourers? one hasn't seen such revolutionary fervour among the young since the youth for equality movement.


the abc of food security and sustained hunger

a and b produce food. a, b, and c consume food. a owns land so he is more secure than b who works on a's land. so to help b, primarily, the government buys food from a, and supplies that food to a, b and c at subsidized rates. the government has a hundred rupee budget to perform both services: buy food from a at prices that'd leave him with a certain margin of profit or return, and subsidize the food to such an extent that a, b and c can buy it.

if the government tries to pay a more, say seventy five of the 100 rupee budget, it'd have less money for the subsidies, so the prices would remain high, out of reach of b, who'd have to buy less food. and if it buys food at lower prices, it'd have more money for the subsidies, but now both b and a would not be able to buy the food because the lower prices for farmers would mean less returns for a and much lower wages for b.

food security isn't as simple as jean dreze or aruna roy or p.sainath would like you to believe. because they're neither a nor b. they're c, people who merely consume food, and are not involved in the production of food, like the wretched a and b.

if the government has a total budget of a 1,000 rupees, if you look beyond the food budget of rs.100, more than half of the rest goes towards keeping c happy and secure. so, if the government pays more to the farmers to buy food, thereby spending less on subsidies, or spends more on the subsidies, and thereby paying less to the farmers, it doesn't really matter to c, because he doesn't depend on agriculture for his livelihood. for c, food and talk would always be cheap.

jean dreze or aruna roy or p.sainath would always tell you how important 'food security' (or their version of it) is. they'd also tell you how indians are consuming less, per capita, than in 80s and 70s. it's quite possible that indians were consuming more, per capita, in the 80s, 70s and even 50s because the public distribution system expanded slowly through those decades, catering only to urban india mostly in the first 3-4 decades after 1942 when it was started, and achieved its current breadth and reach only after the 70s and 80s. so, people were eating more when there was no food-security ensuring public distribution system around. that significant fact should make sainath etc., pause a little and think, don't you think?

is food security as simple as education is for some urban parents? stop the cable connection and the kids would get an education?

[this piece of jnu gyan got me started on this post. please read, it might help some hungry indians starve more.]


a pledge to stop suicides or a promise to keep dying for telangana?

students across telangana took a pledge against committing suicide, recently. as you can see in the video, they were very ably guided by their teachers and professors, people actually leading the separatist movement.

psychologists will tell you: suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

none of those leaders have ever given the impression that telangana is a temporary problem. in all their writing, speeches and other mobilizing efforts, they've always made it very clear that telangana is definitely not a temporary problem. should those teachers be leading a campaign to stop student suicides? please read what the news report says:
As part of this campaign, JAC chairman M Kodandaram on Wednesday administered a pledge to the students of Osmania University that they will not resort to suicides but would continue to take active part in the fight for separate Telangana state. [emphasis mine].
were the professors trying to seek a pledge to stop suicides or extract a promise to keep dying?

i have several issues with the way this campaign has been taken up: it's first and foremost a publicity exercise, a political ploy to keep the students in a sustained state of unrest and tension. because it's the students who can keep the fires burning, even by literally burning themselves.

a change of environment is what health professionals would suggest to people living in stressful environments. should the professors and activists have even been around when the students were taking the pledge?

and the media, in its own bumbling ways, has been adding more fuel to the fire by being very judgmental. suicide is cowardice, they tell the students. and the professors extend that argument by saying: you should live and fight for your cause. have been checking several websites offering advice on how to help people with suicidal tendencies and all of them agree: never be judgmental.


yet another savanur

now, outside the vidhan soudha in bengaluru. a more plush, yet much more appropriate setting to stage such a protest.

brahminized india might think the stink will die down as more and more protesters adopt such means (notice how the newspaper very coyly refers to shit as 'faecal matter' now, unlike the tone of shock seeping through the reports of the earlier incident), and the media would stop noticing, one day. allowing you to reclaim your caste-earned privilege of forgetting.

imagine such a protest outside an office building, outside a favourite cinema, club or mcdonalds. or at the most crowded traffic junction during rush hour. or anypublicwhere. if one of the most imposing buildings in the so-called silicon valley of india could almost always trigger the memory of a bucket of shit in your mind from now (at least for a few, or many), just as jallianwala bagh will always remind one of the massacre, imagine what associations all those other places could excrete in the future.

the manual scavenger is never allowed to forget shit, unlike everyone else on earth. you might think he's trying to take away your liberty to do so now. but no. he's questioning your right to inequality: go ahead, live off my inequality.


telangana development forum? or reddy-velama development forum?

from amitabh bachchan to pratap bhanu mehta, we've seen how strongly the brahminized classes hate the idea of a caste census. now, here's a telangani intellectual (a label anyone who has spent a few months abroad might be anointed with in telugu land) who's been at the very forefront of the 'people's struggle' for telangana (mostly, from the strategic position of his home in the united states) speaking his mind on how a caste census will turn india into afghanistan:
India has a large population with limited resources and it is important to elect the brightest leaders. Sixty-three years after Independence we have no dearth of leaders in all segments of our society. Just look at the NRIs who have come to America from many backgrounds. We all will suffer if we elect leaders with no integrity and vision. India needs lots of reform to bring accountability. We have to demand the legislator family must reside in the constituency, and their children attend the local schools, treated in local hospitals. This will bring a dramatic change in rural development. We should also introduce Primary elections to select the party candidate to chop off the Political Boss power. We need many more reforms like this. But if we follow Prof. Kancha Illaiah’s approach, our country will become like Afghanistan where instead of war-lords, we will be ruled by caste-lords. [emphasis mine]
that was part of a comment by madhu k. reddy, long time president and leader of the telangana development forum, on an article written by kancha ilaiah (Who's afraid of caste census') on the caste census, saying: 'Let all castes — not just OBCs — be counted for strengthening our democratic system.' there are more comments, and much more of mr.reddy's wisdom on how a caste census would divide india on display there (also check another reader's comment: 'If Madhu is a Non-Reddy, was there any scope he would have become president of the organisation?').

most separatists have often found kancha ilaiah's articles annoying (one commenter on one of my previous posts had remarked on, something like, how eccentric or unstable ilaiah had become). but why doesn't madhu k.reddy tell the dalitbahujan supporters of separation what he actually thinks about the caste census, the caste system etc? and especially his views on who should be considered the 'brightest leaders'? a little honesty on his part would help a lot of obc and dalit youngsters committing suicide in droves to stop and think a little before they take the extreme step.

not just madhu k.reddy, but i think it'd be a great idea if another reddy, prof.kodandaram reddy of the telangana political joint action committee, and the most visible face of separatist politicians and foremost velama leader in telangana today, k.chandrashekhar rao of the telangana rashtra samiti, explained to the countless dalitbahujan groups involved in the movement their real views on such issues as the caste census, the women's reservations bill etc etc..

lastly, here's a video in which mr.reddy exhorts young telanganis to participate in the separatist movement by joining the tdf-india units in every district, mandal etc:

mr.reddy had, according to an nri friend, inspired many youngsters to join the tdf movement. but sadly, my friend didn't think mr.reddy's own children were inspired enough.

p.s. i'd written a mail expressing my views on the separatist movement to mr.reddy nearly four years ago. he didn't respond, but you can read more about it here.


63 years of savanurs

wipe some savanur with the flag. because the brahminical narrative that links 'modern' india to an ancient 'civilization' is good enough for only that.

in karnataka now, or in telangana or andhra pradesh (now gripped with a stronger love for mother india than any time in the past, despite other differences across regions) later, or across india, expect many more savanurs in the future.


yet another reason why india needs manual scavengers

the united nations general assembly declared water and sanitation a human right just a couple of weeks ago.

most of the humane world had already come to recognize drinking water and basic sanitation as 'human rights obligations related to water and sanitation' long before the u.n. had endorsed it. if the u.n. says 'an estimated 884 million people lack access to safe drinking water and a total of more than 2.6 billion people do not have access to basic sanitation' it must mean a large part of the world (of nearly 7 billion people) is already fulfilling its 'human rights obligations related to water and sanitation'. as for the rest of the hardly human world, nearly half of those '884 million people who lack access to safe drinking water' and nearly a third of the 'more than 2.6 billion people' who 'do not have access to basic sanitation' in the world must be living in india.

on the count of violating 'human rights obligations related to water and sanitation', india is the world's biggest offender. it isn't that india's ruling classes steal all the water meant for drinking and sanitation needs of over three-fourths of its population. it's just that they don't think much about people who, in their view, are less than human. they need to be taught how to be human before they're granted any rights.


several reasons why india needs manual scavengers

aruna roy had trashed sanitation for the poor in the article i'd discussed in my previous post. but check her views in this 3 year old tehelka report on manual scavenging:
INDIA HAS the world’s fastest growing mobile phone market, a stock market that has grown 25 percent in five months, and, for a few days in November, the world’s richest man. Aruna Roy, veteran social activist, is unimpressed: “India can forget its boasts, forget its 9.5 percent growth. This country employs 12 to 13 lakh Dalits to clean up human waste. If we can’t eradicate this, all other achievements are meaningless.” [emphasis mine]
now scroll further down the report:
MOSES ACKNOWLEDGES there are obstacles to navigate: “We need economic alternatives and rehabilitation for the scavengers. In March 2006, the Supreme Court ordered that the Ministry of Urban Employment and Poverty Alleviation establish schemes for the economic rehabilitation of safai karamcharis, and announce the funds allocated. So far this has not been done.” The technological problem poses another obstacle. 82 percent of the population has no access to sanitation facilities; in rural areas dry latrines are seen as the only alternative to sewers. [emphasis mine].
you could say there are more than 820 million reasons why india needs manual scavengers. starting with the need to achieve 9.5% growth to the need to produce more and more ramon magsaysay award winning 'grassroots' activists.


one more reason why india needs manual scavengers

no food, no shit. so, food is always a bigger problem than shit, or how it shall be disposed of. that's another reason why india needs manual scavengers: so that the rulers can take care of bigger problems. and not just the rulers, but also those who check how the rulers are doing, can go on looking at the bigger problem of how the rulers are doing. check how aruna roy dismisses all the developmentarian nonsense about basic sanitation for the poor as pure shit:
The greatest apprehension was about the small but vital details of day-to-day living. Inevitably there was the fear of the toilet. Thoughts of bowel movements dominated the day like the hum of a bee. Perhaps, as my friend Dunu Roy said, our major pre- occupation became a development priority. It was not until I was toilet trained and understood my own fallacy that I empathised with the irate Naurti, who said the toilet was the least of her priorities. What she wanted was a minimum wage and employment.
have you ever met anyone on a street who requested you to lend/donate a couple of rupees so that she can go take a crap at the nearest sulabh shauchalaya?

of course naurti would prefer a minimum wage and employment. posited in that fashion, the always current need to eat against the always future need to take a crap, who'd vote for a clean, private toilet over a minimum wage?

but why would anyone who has had access to such privileges as clean, private toilets accept such crap as working for wages lower than minimum? once you taste that kind of privileges, you start thinking of them as your rights. the indian ruling classes understand that clearly: no basic sanitation means lower wages, always.

another reason why india needs manual scavengers

from ysr to kcr, most leaders' discourse in andhra pradesh has remained focussed on irrigation in the last 6 years. all the top leaders have promised, during elections, that not an acre of agricultural land in the state would run dry if they were voted to power. why? the state already produces surpluses, much more rice (the staple foodgrain) than it requires. why doesn't any political leader make the promise that no toilet in any home (or future toilet, hopefully, because a majority of homes in the state don't have toilets) in the state would run dry?

those leaders (and most of their voters) would laugh at the comparison. the brahminical rule is: among problems, like among all animate/inanimate/abstract things, there are those which are more pure.


one reason why india needs manual scavengers

if every home in india has a wet latrine or toilet, it'd also mean that every home has access to piped water. if every home has piped water, it could also mean that there is less water for agriculture (from accessible surface water sources). less water for agriculture would mean less emphasis on such water-guzzling crops as rice. if there is less emphasis on such crops as rice and wheat, it'd also mean that such food- security enthusiasts as p.sainath and m.s.swaminathan would have to pack their bags and go home to obscure radio shows in america.

that could be one reason why the poor indian state can't ensure that every home in india has a wet latrine. it wants to follow the ancient prescription that the ruler/s should not harass poor brahmins.

more reasons later. meanwhile, please read this interesting post and discussion on manual scavenging.


on superior ignorance

i was foolish enough to join a facebook page which said 'telugu'... the administrator started a discussion and made the following comments, among others:

'People say their Dialect is being made fun of, YES your are speaking one of the Ancient and respected language in the world, which has its own grammar, and every sound and every word has a distinct meaning , and you are mixing it with Urdu... AND HINDI ,and call it a new language ? is there a grammar to this language? If yes please prove it and get yourself a new language, States in india were formed on the basis of language not dialects, do you know how many states should we break india into if we start dividing states on the basis of dialects? Please understand that because of 800 year old muslim rule , your language got influenced and corrupted, instead of correcting it now, they are suppoting it, it is almost supporting NIZAM period as golden era'


'i agree with you on one topic which is evolution of language from different phases, but here the case is you were forced to speak in hindi in tyrant Nizam rule, so it wasnt influenced but it was forced change and for a long time, ...now what im saying is, that rule is over , that phase is gone so time to correct certain words which arent part of telugu at all, meeru ee dialect ayina teesukondi, Srikakulam, vijayanagaram, godavari, raaylaseema, still you can prove the existence of grammar in those dialects,telugu basha goppadaname adi, telugu basha evovle ayina mana base grammar epudu maaraledu, apudu, epudu , ade base, ade rule, kaani ikkada complete different language took over more than 90% of the language , if we are to take that into telugu language than, im sorry .. i give up.'
that is telugu thandri, if you haven't recognized him by now. he owns the language, of course. i've heard similar lectures all through my life, but less so in the last two decades. but this particular lecturer went beyond the usual spiel and tried to find a solution for the language of the telanganis: purify it!

the racist belief that people of a certain region need to be 'corrected'-- you don't need to ponder much over how those kind of prejudices take shape in indian minds. is there any other society in the world which has so relentlessly pursued 'purity' in everything?

now here's a telangani who spouts some other kinds of biases mixed with very liberal generalizations:

Many people of my background grew up feeling defensive about the "crudities" of our dialect because of the manner in which they were run down or derided in the "popular culture" of Andhra Pradesh, defined by the more influential people from coastal districts.

Telugu cinema reflected this bias most blatantly as its heroes and heroines invariably and unmistakably spoke the coastal dialect. If the Telangana dialect made it to those films at all, it was heard from the mouths of villains or comedians.

Maa Bhoomi was, therefore, a liberating and cathartic experience for me, even if there was nothing "heroic" about the protagonist, a lowly peasant, who joins the underground armed struggle because he could anyway do nothing when the local zamindar forced his girlfriend into sex.

I could relate to the smallest of the Telangana peculiarities woven into its narrative: the manner in which the peasantry, for instance, was shown addressing their social superiors with the egalitarian nuvvu (equivalent to the Hindi tu), rather than with the honorific meeru (like aap) apt to be used in coastal Andhra.
let me see: i should feel great relief that the actor mehmood who caricatured the hyderabadi or telangani in dozens of movies is now dead. don't need to feel inferior anymore!

the first authority on telugu, and language in general, didn't think these words/phrases were telugu: 'samajayitalle? hau ra, gedaklilli vachinav? KOnaaki,podugaala..' it's quite evident to me that his knowledge of telangani dialects doesn't go beyond the borders of hyderabad. he isn't even aware that there are more than one dialect in telangana. his imagination is severely constricted by his own limted interaction with telanganis (which is a fair conjecture, i think, given his prejudices) and depends heavily on the even more severely constricted interpretation of dialect/s, culture/s of telangana by telugu film makers. and you'll notice that manoj mitta, the second authority on telugu too shares many of those traits: a limited understanding of dialects, regions, cultures, popular cinema. and a stunted sense of history. and the line '..when the local zamindar forced his girlfriend into sex'.. a casual, throwaway line. no reflection at all on how oppressive society of that age was. he reduces the general environment into a particular, 'local' incident.

and both experts assume the role of speaking for whole regions so very casually!

more later..

do-it-yourself history kit

lingams, vaishnavaite figures, a half parsvanatha. and there are probably also some buddhist influences in the temple complex, battlefield of ancient politics, where these nearly thousand year old reminders of telangana/telugu history (and also kannada history) were so callously stacked up.

one set of believers obviously built the structure first. and then another set of believers invaded the place, and selectively destroyed and rebuilt the place to celebrate their beliefs. and then another set of invaders emerged. and then another. and these battles happened long before the muslim rulers ever set foot in telangana. the disagreements, and the battles, as one can see, were quite fierce. now, trace the history of that mongrel shrine. who were the good guys and who were the bad guys?

the easy way out is to follow the path of the telangana separatists: pick up one figure and break the rest into shards with it. follow the example of the ancient invaders.


the method of telangana: some stalinism, some hindutva

it was said, when stalin stopped talking at any public event, you were not supposed to stop clapping. you're not supposed to stop clapping, ever. not until the guy beside you has stopped, who of course will only stop when the guy on his other side has stopped, and so on. we seem to be slowly but steadily moving towards the emergence of a similar oppressive environment in telangana.

nallamotu chakravarthy's crime was to write that it was okay not to clap, to argue that there are enough reasons not to clap, even.

we've the hindutva gangs-- rss, vhp, bajrang dal, ram sene etc-- on one side. and you think- and this is what the so-called 'liberal' mainstream media tries to project-- the maoists and random movements based around 'cultural sentiments' or 'aspirations' like the telangana separatist movement on the other side. that their methods and goals are different. are they really on the other side? both of them use sheer muscle, many times, to put forth their points of view. and to throttle dissenting voices. in the recent by-elections in telangana, everyone of the main contestants, in every constituency, were assigned a posse of nine gunmen each in the north telangana constituencies by the election commission. everyone, except the trs and bjp candidates needed them. why? because the maoists support separation and consider the trs an ally. and an ally's ally is also a friend, of course. so the bjp is now one of the maoists' closest friends in telangana, i suppose. there's no other side.

so it wasn't really surprising watching on television some of the most famous 'civil rights' activists in andhra pradesh trying hard to find excuses for the separatists' intolerance on monday. if they'd tied themselves up in a few more knots, they could have produced an excellent defense for the rss' attacks on some television channels' offices a few days ago. maybe they'd someday.

as i said, there's no other side. not in the stalinist worldview of the hindutva gangs or the maoists and the numerous groupie elements clinging to them, like the shiv sena and the trs.

the goondaism of the telangana separatists at fellow blogger nallamotu chakravarthy's book launch function needs to be condemned.


the s$#t in our minds

can't get this horrifying story out of my mind. can anyone suggest any ways of contacting those protesters? comment here or write to any insight member.


the business of telangana

kancha ilaiah offers some advice to 'hyderabad capitalists':
“We will not allow your business in Hyderabad”, they say. “We will not allow your cinema industry to run; we will not allow even your cricket match to take place”.

You have pacified them by bribing them. Of course, you have also aided and abetted a united Andhra movement alongside.

What worries me most is the way the leaders growing around such movements have become richer day by day.

Thanks to this, your economic activity has been going on without hurdles. After each such threat, it is the threat giver’s wealth and health that is increasing. But the general health of Telangana — the economic health of its aam aadmi — has been deteriorating.

In the late 60s and early 70s the Telangana movement was conducted mostly on legs and bicycles. The bigger leaders of the movement were moving in jeeps, and even the biggest ones could only boast Ambassador cars.

Yet they conducted agitations that shook the Centre, inspired the youth to brave bullets and also won elections — 11 out of 14 parliamentary seats were in the pocket of Praja Samithi.

Of course, that movement also caused loss of lives and disrupted education. Lot of public property that Telangana people would have used for their advancement was damaged. The agitations also pushed the region backwards in the field of education. And no great moral leader or intellectual emerged from the movement. And most importantly, Telangana did not become a separate state.

But the fact remains that no leader made money out of that movement. Only Mr Chenna Reddy made political capital.

Now look at the present Telangana movement and its drivers. All you see is money, money and more money. Where is it coming from? Obviously much of it is coming from you. You see this movement as an inevitable evil and want to handle it as carefully as possible.

There is a saying that Capitalists like corrupt Communists. Not only can the corrupt Communist be bribed, his presence also gives a bigger moral licence to the capitalist to exploit workers more and more.
apart from politicians, too many other people from other classes seem to have developed an increasing interest in the telangana industry over the last several years. out of work film actors. directors. hardly working government babus and teachers. lawyers looking for prosecutors', magistrates' posts. thousands of aspiring legislators and corporators. you name them. if the road to telangana itself holds such huge business potential, think about the hold of the destination for them.

look at kcr himself. in the beginning, it was only kcr. and then a couple of his nephews joined the 'agitation'. one of them became an mla twice. somewhere along the way, he managed to lose his hawai chappals and managed to buy himself more trendy footwear and much else. and then kcr's son left his job in the information technology industry in the u.s., and decided the telangana business was much more lucrative. he was soon followed by his sister and brother-in-law. and numerous cousins and other relatives are also hanging around..what does all that illustrate?

and then there are more smart people waiting in the wings, like lots of successful telanganis working abroad. like a few in the telangana development forum for instance. it's difficult to say how many of them will be chosen as candidates by mainstream political parties in the next elections for the andhra pradesh or telangana assembly (it doesn't matter which, really) but many of them are saving money to buy tickets, i'm sure.


the normalisation of abuse

Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) leader and MP Vijayashanti was released from jail on bail Saturday evening, a few hours after she was arrested for making inflammatory remarks ahead of the July 27 by-elections in Telangana and sent to judicial custody.

A city court granted bail to the actress-turned-politician, who alleged that police misbehaved with her and said she had decided to take up the issue with the prime minister and Lok Sabha speaker.

After her release from Chanchalguda jail this evening, she told reporters that the way a woman MP was treated by the police was shameful. 'My only crime is that I gave a slogan,' she said referring to the allegedly provocative remark she made a few days ago. [emphasis mine].

and what were the inflammatory remarks (or slogan, as the actress mp says) the news report talks about? 'aDDangaa narikEddAm' (or loosely: cut them, as with a sword, in half). that was her reminder to some women who had recently joined the party. cut who in half? those who oppose a separate telangana state, of course.

'telangANa ku aDDostE aDDangaa narikEddAm' ('we'll cut those who oppose telangana in half')- that was the slogan she was referring to. a slogan so popular now that everyone, from separatist politicians to school kids, chant it quite casually, whenever they're lost for words, almost.

until the election commission took note of it a couple of days ago. did it violate the 'model code of conduct' now in operation due to the by-elections in constituencies vacated by the trs mlas in protest against the delay in the formation of a separate telangana?

HYDERABAD: Chief electoral officer I V Subba Rao said on Saturday that the Election Commission has nothing to do with the arrests of TRS Medak MP Vijayashanti and Sangareddy Congress MLA T Jayaprakash Reddy. Six nominations were filed on the second day of the notification.

The CEO said that the commission took cognizance of the statements of Vijayashanti and Jayaprakash Reddy and informed it to the ECI. The EC has not directed the police to arrest the leaders. There are certain provisions in the law for the police to arrest and they have acted according to that, said Rao. The EC issued notices to Jayaprakash Reddy on Saturday and asked him to reply by July 5.
what do you understand from that news story? forget the 'model' code of conduct imposed by the election commission, the slogan violated the 'normal' code of public conduct expected of ordinary citizens! which means, all those thousands, lakhs, of slogan chanters all through the last ten years could have been charged with the relevant provisions of indian laws!

and such obnoxious slogans and other forms of vituperation etc have been 'normal' currency in all the 'democratic' discourse of the separatists over the last several years. how normal? check the broad smile on the the actor-mp's face (in the videos you'd definitely find somewhere on the net) when she was repeating the slogan during the event which caught the ec's attention.


back to the stone age

back. my apologies to everyone who's commented and looked around here. have been a little tied up and could only focus on the shared mirror, a site that shall feature the creative work of both established and new dalitbahujan writers. please take a look.

a couple of events that caught my eye in the recent past:

* an honour killing. reportedly the first in the south..but where are the separatists? why don't you hear someone shout in pride: jai telangana? more banda* culture than sabbanda culture.

* and some more sabbanda culture was also displayed at mahbubabad where y.s. jaganmohan reddy, y.s. rajasekhar reddy's son, was supposed to visit families of people who'd died of 'shock' etc when ysr died. democracy, in the separatist stone throwers' view, would get vitiated if anyone exercised their freedom of speech against the 'people's view', even indirectly, that a separate state is a holy cause. and jaganmohan reddy, as heir to ysr's fiefdom, apparently believes feudalistic loyalties are the lifeblood of democracy.

talking of feudalistic loyalties: a commenter/s ( i think it's a single individual) has been stalking my earlier posts with some strange comments. one says, something like: kodandaram reddy, leader of the telangana 'joint action committee' had legally dropped the caste-suffix 'reddy' from his name after the karamchedu incident.. my question is: should we be grateful to him for doing that?

a dalit when he adds the name of his caste to his given name, like manda krishna 'madiga', is trying to tell you he is proud of his lineage.. proud of all the heredity of honest sweat and pure toil the name signifies. on the other hand, i've always looked at the flaunting of upper caste surnames as a kind of an assault on the rest of humanity. an open declaration of faith in a racialist ideology. reddies and kammas and rajputs and brahmins etc would do themselves a favour by dropping those crutches and learnt to live without them, in my view. i believe it isn't nice to call yourself rajput. or reddy. or whatever.

like i said earlier, the telangana movement doesn't have any social content. it uses all the emancipatory jargon, airs all the right theories of exploitation, but.. the primary instincts of the separatists are very status-quoist. and their respect for debate and therefore democracy sometimes descends to the level of discourse in the stone age.

* banDa: telugu for rock/stone.


an article in 'danse macabre'

an article i'd written on dalit poetry in telugu had been published here:
A television news report I'd seen a few years ago captured this strange tale of a small clan of people living atop trees less than five hundred miles from my desk. They ate, relaxed, slept and lived on the branches of peepul trees in a farm adjoining a village. They belonged to a community of swineherds, people who normally live inside villages or on their fringe, interact with other villagers every day and have a role to play in village life, not a chunk of pre-history that forgot to erase itself, evolve. How could they become so unsure of all firm ground?

Their story illustrates the ineffable nature of the reaches of marginality in Indian society: the abyss of marginality could be lurking outside your door. A single mis-step, and you could drop off the horizon.

Land and caste are dominant themes in poetry in Telugu, by poets from the Dalit Bahujan (or the ‘lower’ castes) communities, because land, as little as a quarter of an acre, means a firmer hold on rural economic life and caste determines your chances of inheriting or acquiring land.

Narayanaswami laments, as though he is talking to himself:

land's the problem
the problem's only land
a little land for food
or for your death
the problem's wholly land
please read the rest of 'I'll weep like Karamchedu!' at the danse macabre, 'Nevada's first online literary magazine'. thanks, nabina, for all the support.


'jai andhra' movement: does it have a social agenda?

self impression

wherever sound loses
silence wins
after digging for many days
your hands may become sore
but your eyes moisten
soon as you see a little water.

returning from cutting ribbons at all doors
i realized i had not opened the door to my own room
someone's calling me, repeatedly,
i thought i was being called
i realized later that they were calling themselves.
whenever i climbed up
they invited me with applause
but when i started for the next step
i heard someone asking me to step down.

i roamed all over the garden
a jasmine creeper caught my eye
it had its own personality
whatever it clung to was covered
it could look at the world on its own.
i will win the whole world
some victor
would arrive and win me,
it's useless

first, i will
win myself
i'll run the world.

that's my translation of katti padma rao's sweeya mudra ( from his collection of poetry bhoomi bhasha). padma rao is a dalit poet, telugu and sanskrit scholar, and activist-theorist whose hands have grown immensely sore with years and years of digging in and fighting caste from countless trenches across coastal andhra and the rest of the state. so, why is he fighting for a narrow, sub-regional cause now? the 'jai andhra' movement wants a separate state comprising coastal andhra and...? it's not clear whether they want north coastal andhra (3 districts) and rayalaseema (4 districts) to go along with them. or whether people of those regions want to go along with the 'jai andhra' agitators. many political leaders of rayalaseema want andhra pradesh to remain united, and if it's divided, they want a separate rayalaseema too, or even tag along with telangana. and as padma rao himself has admits in this interview, most of the political leadership and public opinion in coastal andhra (including north coastal andhra) and rayalaseema are in favour of 'samaikyandhra' or a united andhra pradesh:
What do the people of Coastal Andhra want?
Many are supporting Samaikyandhra due to several apprehensions. They need clear answers to certain questions - Will the new state be bound by Bachawath award on river waters? Will the Telangana doras let river water to flow towards the people in Coastal Andhra? There are 30 lakh middle class people from Andhra in Hyderabad. Only a hundred among them are exploiters. Every Telangana MP, including KCR has good connections with them. Telangana leaders say that these exploiters will be welcomed whole heartedly to invest here. Selfish people exist on both sides. KCR and Lagadapati are good friends. We want separate Andhra, irrespective of the formation of Telangana state.
does he have to fight for a separate andhra? if telangana is separated from andhra pradesh, what would remain is the old andhra state, comprising coastal andhra, north coastal andhra and rayalaseema. so, why does anyone need a separate agitation to fight for a separate andhra when they could as well join or support the separate telangana movement? one can think of a few reasons:

* because the overwhelming majority of the people in coastal andhra, rayalaseema and north coastal andhra support a united andhra pradesh and hence need to be convinced of the merits of bifurcation, as the jai andhra agitators see them?
* because the 'jai andhra' activists feel coastal andhra ( excluding rayalaseema, which was a part of the old andhra state) would develop faster in a separate state of its own?
* because the 'jai andhra' activists feel a particular region in coastal andhra ( excluding north coastal andhra, and comprising east and west godavari, krishna, guntur, prakasam and nellore districts) would develop faster in a separate state of its own?

the jai andhra movement doesn't seem to have decided on a region, or society, it should fight for. does it have a social agenda? katti padma rao had been one of the main architects of the dalit movement in andhra pradesh, had set its tone and tenor in the 80s, its agenda. but the agenda, if any, of the jai andhra movement hasn't been set by padma rao, but by certain upper caste politicians from the krishna-godavari region in coastal andhra: vasantha nageshwara rao and harirama jogaiah, senior politicians who have moved through so many political parties and factions in the last thirty years that the general public doesn't attribute any particular political agenda to them anymore. nor can they win from any constituencies in their home districts on the strength of their past performance as legislators or ministers. while fighting caste has been katti padma rao's lifelong mission, harirama jogaiah and nageshwara rao believe strongly in fighting for castes, or their own individual castes. harirama jogaiah has only talked about the kapus, for several years now, and had played a pivotal role in persuading chiranjeevi to enter politics and lead the kapu nation, or kapu nadu. the kapus, a large collection of peasant sub-castes, have long nursed the 'grievance' that no politician from their caste has ever occupied the chief minister's chair since the formation of andhra pradesh. there have been chief ministers from the reddies, kammas, and velamas: why should the kapus be denied? so dragging chiranjeevi into politics was part of that project. that's jogaiah's social agenda.

what's vasantha nageshwara rao's social agenda? a revival of kamma fortunes? it's even less inspiring. so, again, what's katti padma rao doing in the jai andhra camp, among people closer to the perpetrators of karamchedu and chunduru than the victims of both tragedies?

it was katti padma rao, and a few others, who'd been the driving force behind the protest movements of karamchedu and chunduru, in bringing together dalit leaders, activists and ordinary people from across andhra pradesh to take the voices of the victims to delhi, and to the rest of the country.

balagopal, in the august 15, 1987 issue of the economic and political weekly writes (in the article 'Karamchedu: Second Anniversary') :
The movement was fortunate in having from the start two leaders who were well known and respected in their own Tight for many years before Karamchedu. They are Katti Padma Rao and Bojja Tarakam, currently general secretary and president of the Mahasabha, respectively. Padma Rao belongs to the tradition of organised rationalism that has long been a signifi- cant movement in South India. Rationa- list and atheist associations-for all their dissensions and splits-have a sizeable membership and a larger audience, especially in the coastal Andhra districts. Padma Rao, who teaches Sanskrit (a peculiarly appropriate vocation for a dalit and a rationalist) in a college in Guntur district, is a leading rationalist, and within the rationalist movement has been a spokesman for the Marxist approach to the criticism of religion. Tarakam was even closer to the Communist movement, and was for some time an activist of Virasam, the Revolutionary Writers' Association of A P. As a lawyer, he was active in the civil liberties movement in the state, until he accepted a government pleader's job in 1983 and quit active association with the democratic movement.

Karamchedu brought these two men into the streets. Tarakam resigned his government pleader's job and Padma Rao more or less suspended teaching to settle down at Chirala and organise the victims of the assault, who have refused to go back to the village and have built a colony for themselves at Chirala. Slowly, the protest against a particular assault built itself into the Dalit Mahasabha, whose formation on September 1, was attended by about three lakh dalits and sympathisers. [emphasis mine].
K.Y.Ratnam also notes at some length, in the paper 'The Dalit Movement and Democratization in Andhra Pradesh' (you'll find the paper here), how katti padma rao had filled a crucial theoretical and leadership gap in the dalit movement in andhra pradesh in the aftermath of karamchedu, when widespread anger combined with despair was spreading across the community in general and the protesters in particular. he had helped the movement gain a new direction and much needed vigour, to put it very mildly.

so, what is he doing in the 'jai andhra movement' now? a movement without any identifiable social agenda? perhaps, you could say, padma rao's presence is the movement's only social agenda. has katti padma rao allowed himself to be 'won' by some passing 'victors'? does he plan to 'win himself' and 'run the world' ever?

more later.


the hindu problem

It is usual to hear all those who feel moved by the deplorable condition of the Untouchables unburden themselves by uttering the cry "We must do something for the Untouchables". One seldom hears any of the persons interested in the problem saying ' Let us do something to change the Touchable Hindu '. It is invariably assumed that the object to be reclaimed is the Untouchables. If there is to be a Mission, it must be to the Untouchables and if the Untouchables can be cured, untouchability will vanish. Nothing requires to be done to the Touchable. He is sound in mind, manners and morals. He is whole, there is nothing wrong with him. Is this assumption correct ? Whether correct or not, the Hindus like to cling to it. The assumption has the supreme merit of satisfying themselves that they are not responsible for the problem of the Untouchables.

How natural is such an attitude is illustrated by the attitude of the Gentile towards the Jews. Like the Hindus the Gentiles also do not admit that the Jewish problem is in essence a Gentile problem.
from here.

time to recognize that the dalit problem or the muslim problem or the adivasi problem or caste problem is essentially the hindu problem. how much has india progressed since dr.ambedkar identified the hindu problem? well, it is more politically correct now: the caste problem is now the problem of 'excellence' and 'merit', the adivasi problem is the 'internal security' or the 'maoist' or the 'development' problem, the dalit problem is the 'poverty' or inequality' problem, and the muslim problem is the 'terrorist' or 'pakistan' problem.

and how does brahminized or hindu india deal with all those problems? tell itself that those problems are smaller than, say, the 'telangana' problem.


democracy is also jantar mantar

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed at the admission stage a writ petition for a direction to the Centre and Andhra Pradesh to implement the provisions of the 1956 Gentlemen's Agreement of Andhra Pradesh.

A Bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice Deepak Verma dismissed the petition filed by one M. Narasimha Swamy of Hyderabad, seeking enforcement of the Agreement contending that it had been violated.

The petitioner submitted that the Gentlemen's Agreement provided safeguards with the purpose of preventing discrimination against Telangana by the Andhra Pradesh government.

“The alleged violations of this Agreement are cited as one of the reasons for the demand for separate statehood for Telangana.”
you've probably heard the argument that the maoists are not involved in the separatist movement. and that's very true, in my view. the maoists are quite busy right now in various other states. but would the maoists agree with the argument that global corporations aren't involved in the war in chhattisgarh or orissa?

the maoist contempt for parliamentary democracy, or 'bourgeois democracy', is well known. don't you notice strong traces of that contempt in the lawyer's petition before the supreme court?

the maoists have gone over to chhattisgarh and places further east, but if you listen closely you can still hear the ringing echoes of their voices in telangana. a telugu saying tells you, roughly: the husband turns into the wife and vice versa after living together for some time. telangana has lived with maoists for over forty years, it's not unreasonable to expect maoist thought to have left its traces. and the maoists are a political party, and they've every right to propagate their views, and not only because they have a lot of reasonable things to say. and i don't find anything wrong with others expressing those views, or the separatists expressing those views.

elections in a parliamentary democracy, as the maoists say, might only produce legislatures which endorse and work for the interests of the ruling classes. but do the lawyers, professors and politicians from mainstream political parties now leading the separatist movement, who want a parliamentary solution to the problem, also believe in what the maoists say? if yes, haven't they chosen the wrong solution to the problem?

from prof.jayashankar to the abvp hoods gheraoing film stars to make them chant 'jai telangana', everyone of the separatists has expressed, at various times, the view that the 15 elections to the state assembly held since 1956 did not reflect popular opinion in telangana. you might think they all believe in a 'new democratic revolution'. but no, they don't all believe in maoist ideology, it's only their political language that seems unable, anymore, to rise above the grammar and idiom set by the maoists. and there are many among them who don't wish to rise above that grammar. and the contagion seems to have spread too: in arundhati roy's 'lovely, 'beautiful' and 'fabulous' chhattisgarh, you hear the same ringing echoes.

in one place, roy asks, something like: should the adivasis have sat in a dharna near jantar mantar?

no, but i expect people like roy to sit in a dharna near jantar mantar. people like vara vara rao and prof.hara gopal to sit in a dharna near jantar mantar. i know, they've tried those things a lot of times, but you can't expect all the 'biggest internal security threats' to take up guns and die all the time. it's okay for the sections of the brahminized classes supporting 'democratic protests' to continue to preach contempt for electoral democracy and jantar mantar because all they need to do is produce evocative prose about how 'lovely', 'beautiful' and 'fabulous' those struggles and deaths were, either in telangana or chhattisgarh, not a hair on their own carefully disturbed heads disturbed. but should they continue to disparage jantar mantar, and jeopardize so many dalitbahujan lives, only because they've a difference of opinion with people from their own baradari like manmohan singh or whoever on who should have a right to loot chhattisgarh or telangana: the government owned companies and babus or private corporations and babus? because the bauxite in chhatisgarh, for instance, shall continue to be prized as 'national' wealth, by a socialist or a liberalized india, no matter what. wouldn't it be nice if they could spare a thought for those 'lovely', 'beautiful', 'fabulous' strugglers, once in a while?

so, why don't they keep trying those dharnas at jantar mantar? because they can always return to india international centre in the evening (and not forget to take their cousins, the maoist bosses and their corporate counterparts, along with them) and continue the debate in cooler climes, over wine and whatever, with montek singh ahluwalia or p.chidambaram. and the impure masses, in telangana or chhattisgarh, can stop expressing their 'democratic aspirations' through their deaths, rather than their votes.


telangani steel

Bangalore: Call it the search for the leadership particle. What was the magic behind Tipu Sultan’s sword? How was it crafted from the earth?

Researchers from Bangalore-based National Institute for Advanced Studies (NIAS) and UK’s Exeter University are tracing the origins of the metal used to make the Sultan’s sword, which was known for its toughness due to high carbon content.

Wootz steel, an exceptional iron ore grade which was first made in South India around 300 BC, is said to have originated in Telangana, between Hyderabad and Nizamabad.

“The high carbon content, which provides extra strength to the metal, was exported to Europe in the 17th century from Telangana. However, the production and technology have died down in the area. Our research is an attempt to revive ancient Indian metallurgy,” says the lead investigator, Sharada Srinivasan, who is also an NIAS faculty member.

The team has already interviewed traditional blacksmiths and the descendants of the last smelters of the region.

Wootz steel is the primary component of Damascan steel which was used to make the popular Damascus swords. Syrian blacksmiths used wootz steel slabs to produce extraordinary steel weaponry during the middle ages.
not just tipu, saladin too probably used a sword made with telangani steel. think of that. why didn't the professors think of it? telangani steel industry collapsed because of the andhraite rule, obviously.


sharad yadav typifies all obcs....?

neerja chowdhury mulling over the hindu women's reservations bill, in the indian express:
It goes without saying that if an OBC male can win from a constituency because of a combination of caste and other alliances at the ground level, the party should be able to get an OBC woman elected for the same reason, if that constituency becomes reserved. There is little chance of a parkati urban woman from Delhi or Mumbai winning from Mainpuri or Madhepura.
can't decide which one among those lines, thoughts, is the least offensive.


politics is so impure

k.g.kannabiran on the demand for a telangana state:
THE Telangana people’s demand for a separate State is a very constitutional one.
true. it is also relevant here to refer to what dr.ambedkar had to say about the insertion of the article 3:
Article 3 of the Constitution gives power to Parliament to create new States. This was done because there was no time to reorganize the States on linguistic basis for which there was a great demand.
back to kannabiran's article:
Very often public disorder is caused by bad governance and the movement for a separate Telangana was the direct consequence of flagrant and culpable indifference to Article 38 (2) which reads: ``The State shall, in particular, strive to minimize inequalities of status, facilities and opportunities, not only amongst individuals, but also amongst groups of people residing in different areas or engaged in different vocations.’’ Failure to perform this obligation for over a period of sixty years gives us the right to ask for a separate State. Telangana has again raised the issue of rethinking a federal structure that would be manageable.
the people of telangana hadn't judged the governance in andhra pradesh through fifteen elections since 1956, correctly.
Article 3 of the Constitution of India provides for the formation of a separate State. The process has to be initiated by public demand. Now that there is a demand that formation of Telangana State be conceded -- and there is enough evidence on the ground that this is necessary -- the rest of the administrative processes can be dealt with by the Committee headed by Justice Srikrishna.
again, the people aren't the right judge of what is 'public demand' in telangana. only the separatists are.
We need to question the terms of reference set out for the committee, as it is not in order for the Government to ask the committee to go into the feasibility of a separate State. The constitution of the committee itself is recognition of the fact that the demand for Telangana is a legitimate one. Had this not been the case, this struggle would have been suppressed and ignored like other mass struggles. Paradoxically, although this struggle has been violently suppressed, it has not been possible for the government to ignore it. And this points to the recognition of legitimacy in the demand for a separate Telangana by the State.
there were around a hundred suicide attempts during the first anti-mandal agitation. a mass struggle?
In anticipation of situations where public demand might force re-examination of governance, the Forty-Second Constitutional Amendment introduced Part IV A, setting out the Fundamental Duties of Citizens, which, like the Directives, while not enforceable in courts, cannot be ignored in governance either.

In assessing the conduct of citizens and in assessing the character of the claims of citizens, the Fundamental Duties set down the permissible limits of governance and citizens’ claims. Such assessments lead to the evolution of constitutional culture.

Article 51 A (e) of the Constitution reads: ``To promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people in India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities.’’ Large States contain large pockets of backward regions, which are largely neglected and do not receive the attention they are entitled to under the equality code of the Constitution.
kannabiran seems to have forgotten that the separatists have mostly shifted gear now: their demand for a separate telangana now harps on the theme of 'self-respect' and not 'backwardness'.
In all these years of the Constitution, we have not developed a constitutional morality or culture that enables us to act effectively on issues of plural societies that confront us from time to time.
The failure to comprehend the reasons for a separate State for Telangana may be attributed to the failure to understand the workings of plural governance.

Although the State of Andhra Pradesh was formed in 1953 on linguistic grounds, one of the principal grounds for a demand for a separate State was the uneven development of the Andhra region in relation to the Tamil region. This was done without the matter being referred to a States Reorganization Commission, which came into being after the Andhra State was formed.

The resistance of the government to conceding the demand for a separate state of Telangana raises for consideration the issue of citizenship and the rights that arise from it. We must remind ourselves that the inauguration of the Constitution represents the transition of Indian people from subjects to citizens who bear rights, vote and voice.

again, it wasn't the citizens of telangana who voiced their opinions in the last 15 elections?

another lawyerly voice, like this one. and in all these lawyerly voices, and in the professorial voices, and in the voices of the many rights' activists, you notice a barely concealed patronizing air, directed towards those among the great unwashed who commit the cardinal sin of voting, on the one hand, and a not so barely concealed contempt for those who get elected. the upper caste, educated middle classes of india grow more and more intolerant towards elections and politicians as yadav after yadav, or mayawati after paswan begin to claim more and more political space. politics is becoming so impure!

sad that kannabiran chooses to make this purely legalistic argument. like so many of the other, but much less credible, supporters of separation.

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