'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 Open Terrace said...

Katti Padma Rao too might be thinking that separate state solves the SC sub-categorization problem and thus helps all Dalits to stay united acorss? - Just a guess! (I once saw it on TV Harsha Kumar stating that he is supporting the Telangana movement for this reason).

The Open Terrace said...

Yes! This is one of the reasons...
Here is an excerpt from KPR's interview and this is his statement:
"If Telangana becomes a reality, this problem would disappear. Here, in
Telangana, Maadigas are in the majority, while in Coastal Andhra Malas
are numerically dominant. The problem won’t arise"

One can read the entire interview here:

kuffir said...


you don't seem to have noticed- i've linked the interview in this post. perhaps, you should check your other views too: are you always too eager to jump to conclusions before looking at evidence?

nayeem said...

"Katti Padma Rao too might be thinking that separate state solves the SC sub-categorization problem and thus helps all Dalits to stay united acorss? - Just a guess! (I once saw it on TV Harsha Kumar stating that he is supporting the Telangana movement for this reason)."
Bingo! Perfect guess from TOT! Atleast KPR has a method in his madness vs Pseudo-Telangana leaders whose only motive is riding in a convoy of 100 cars with a Red light and nothing else!

The Open Terrace said...

oops! Kufir, I did miss to check out that same link you included. Was I jumping to conclusions? Nope! Not exactly, I sincerely tried to extend your discussion by trying to answer few of your questions. Even I too thought for a moment, why KPR too is indirectly supporting Telangana movement. then I remembered Harsha Kumar's reason towards Telangana sepration and thought KPR too might be thinking in the same lines. That's why I used the word "might", which is not an affirmative! That was just a first cut opinion, not a conclusion. Then tried to find out 'how much my opinion is correct' and found the same interview through some other means, read it and commented here again saying it as "One of the reasons", please note, I didn't say it "IS" the entire reason for KPR's stand towards 'Jai Andhra movement'. And this time, I did present an evidence too.

"are you always too eager to jump to conclusions before looking at evidence?"
I am unable to understand how you jumped to this conclusion while this is just the frst time I am involved in a discussion at your blog, though I have been following it for many days. But it's ok. Everyone has a right to frame opinions :).

kuffir said...


this is not the first time you left comments on this blog. i am quite aware of your opinions.. i was asking you: do you usually form them before you see any evidence?

well, it doesn't really matter.. i withdraw my question: i don't think you know the answer either.

The Open Terrace said...

I am just around two months old following your blog. The reason for following your blog is not to know your opinions on Telangana issue, but to understand and know about the Dalit movement (about which I know very less) and a Dalit's perspective about the happenings around. Here is the first post where I asked you about great Dalit leaders in your blog, http://kufr.blogspot.com/2010/03/bloodthirsty-media.html
Then here is my next comment in this post,
where I addressed a couple of fellow T supporters about the double standards of few samaikyavadi's towards Telangana. Let me know how many of those questions need evidence.
Here is my third comment about Madhu Yashki's statement: http://kufr.blogspot.com/2010/03/congress-mp-accuses-congressmen-of.html
I clearly provided evidence how the Andhra TDP and Congress leaders stood united against Yashki's comments.
Even in the current post, I quickly tried to provide an evidence to my comment. (Upon second thoughts now I feel, you have conviniently ignored that answer from KPR and tried to wonder why KPR is for 'Jai Andhra').
I guess I am now understanding the basis of your biased stance towards my comments.
No problem, thanks for the knowledge shared with me on Dalit movement. Though I still have lot to learn about it, I don't think it's appropriate for me to continue with you any more. I am unfollowing!


Telangana Veerudu said...

Katti & other SC/ST leaders in andhra support division of the state on various reasons, including the Ambedkarite support for small states. BJP & CPI are openly supporting the dvision. Many north Andhra leaders are in favor of division.

Only the real estate & mining mafia (glorified contractors) are supporting the artificial concept of "samaikhyandhra".

The thoughts of the people of Telangana can be best expressed by paraphrasing the old slogan: "we don't want to marry your sister, we want you off our back"

deccani said...

Please read this blog post..

RealFan said...


I know you have talked on 'caste based census' before, but it would be great if you write a post on the topic now as a national debate is going on. Thanks.

George said...

Kufr, the dalit support to small states is based on two interlinked factors: decentralization and "breaking the ranks of the enemy".

The first is easy to follow even if some may find it contentious. The theory that the oppressed are more likely to be empowered in a smaller administrative entity does sound attractive (even though it also empowers the oppressors who were deprived of their "rightful share of plunder" in the bigger state).

The second argument is that once a big state splits, the doras of the two new states can no longer band together. This is a good argument in my view (apart from the doras losing the clothes stolen from high moral rhetoric like "Telugu sentiment"). The zamindas of the old Madras state (the backbone of the Justice Party) are no longer collobarating with each other. The formation of united AP bought together the Reddys of ~ 15 districts.

Why is KPR associating with the types of Vasantha & Jogayya, even if it is indirect? a). Because he believes in the above. b). Because the other side (Lagadapati, Daggubati, Anam etc.) is the greater devil. c). KPR would be lost in the samaikya crowd but he can make a dent in the jai andhra group (being the giant among the motley crowd.

Look at the way Manda Krishna (and, to a lesser extent, Gaddar) are using the Telangana movement to achieve multiple objectives.

ABCD is possiby a "practical" reason for many but not the main one.

George said...

Kufr,any comments on the latest news that Katti & DMS invited KCR to VJA? Katti is seizing the moment and emerging as the main champion of "jai andhra" movement.

Anonymous said...

Actually, it is very beneficial for andhra to have a separate state.HYD is developed because of andhra people.I'm sure is andhra is a separate state then definitely andhra people will have a capital where a lot of job opportunities will be there and may be all the andhra investors of HYD will shift to Vizag or Vijayawada and our andhra cities will grow at a very high rate.Though all the people because of whom HYD is so developed are from andhra districts they never care to develop their own region.Even telugu film industry is planningf to shift to vizag.

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