31/03/10

'they're asking for a separate state, not a separate country'

despite having a 'distinct' culture, as you're told in almost all the op-ed columns you'd read on the subject? why?

have been reading another article, by kalpana kannabiran and others ('On the Telangana Trail'), which tries to produce a sickeningly sweet account of how homogeneous telangana is, across social and religious divides, and how unitedly every telangani heart beats for telangana. yes, you'll also find lots of references to telangana's 'distinct' and 'composite' culture in the article. how can a culture remain 'distinct' and 'composite' at the same time? and what is it 'distinct' from? from other cultures in the neighbourhood? like the kannadiga, marathi cultures or only from rayalaseema and andhra cultures? or from the one 'national' culture the rest of india is supposed to harbour?

one of the telangana theorists, uppunoothala purushottam reddy of the congress, proposes this formulation: 'localisation is a cure for globalization'.

now, too many supporters of the telangana agitation, like ms.kannabiran, support it on the grounds that it is a 'democratic' movement, that it challenges the onslaught of liberalization and globalization etc. it's another matter that most of the political forces, the agitating students and intellectuals now spearheading the movement had long ago abandoned a demand for a 'democratic' telangana. all they want is a geographic telangana, which would yield not an inch of adivasi land to the adivasis, or upper caste benami landholdings to the dalits. nor concede any extra legislative representation to the obcs or the muslims.

is 'localisation is a cure for globalization'? globalization is a policy-philosophy of the ruling classes of india, cutting across political party lines. a telangani state can't change federal policy. don't these theorists know that? they do, of course.

from a certain perspective, it seems very clear to me that the problem is indianization or hinduization, not globalization. liberals like kalpana kannabiran and the sangh parivar, both supporters of telangana, share a vision of india that is upper caste hindu. for them, india is a readymade nation. for people like dr.ambedkar, it was a nation that had to be made.

how is hinduization a problem? this latest article by kancha ilaiah offers some clues:
I was shocked when one activist quoted a United Nations report stating that the average lifespan of tribals who live in those areas is just 40 years while the lifespan of people who live in the plains is 60 years. Their education levels are the lowest in the state and employment rate is also abysmally low. Their food consumption levels are worse than that of any dalit or other backward class (OBC) community of the state.

The Gond, Koya and Konda Reddy tribes were also finding it difficult to compete for their quota with the Lamabadas, who are plain tribes. They made all of us feel that 60 years of Samaikhya Andhra and democratic governance had done nothing for them. Hence, a separate statehood for them was presented as the best solution.

They are now planning to place their demand before the Srikrishna Committee and were asking our moral support.

Most of the upper caste Telangana leaders were of the view that those who live in the region should support Telangana and no other issue of caste, tribe, gender or exploitation should figure in the debate in any form. They are actually bent upon killing all other form of consciousness that exists in Telangana region and once the separate state is formed they would assume power and suppress other struggles for equality and improvement of life.

Many OBCs, Scheduled Castes and some Scheduled Tribes have been drawn into their fold because regional movements allow such space. But this has killed other modes of human consciousness.
for the congressi nationalists, and their marxist cousins, and the sangh parivar, linguistic identities are problems ('fissiparous tendencies' as they're often referred to in the mainstream media), that have to be 'solved'. so are caste and religion based identities. those are 'consciousnesses' which challenge the class based worldview of the liberals and the manuvaad of the parivar.

the movement for a separate telangana is neither a movement, as in a movement towards social progress, nor an agitation, a shaking up of a stratified society, but a bargaining ploy of the upper caste elites of the region. they wish to gain entry into the central elite of 'indians', or hindus. those who represent the essence of indianness, transcending language and caste (because most of them are from the upper castes, and hence above caste, and because they speak english or a sanskritised hindi, or both or a combination of both power languages) which has grown to the size of nearly half the population of urban india since independence. why do these elites, who have great contempt for lower class maharashtrians or kannadigas participating in sons-of-soil movements in mumbai or bengaluru, look upon the telangana separatists, using much more objectionable methods of harassing 'outsiders', with great respect and even affection? because all the separatists in telangana, i mean the most articulate and powerful among them, are asking for is an adjustment, an accommodation, and not anything resembling comprehensive structural change. they have neither the desire nor the courage to ask for real autonomy.

29/03/10

congress mp accuses congressmen of stoking riots in hyderabad



madhu yaskhi, congress mp from nizamabad, says congressmen from andhra-rayalaseema are behind the communal disturbances, which started last saturday, in the old city of hyderabad. why? the instigators, according to yaskhi, wish to displace the congress chief minister, and to portray the separatist agitation in a bad light. how did the riots start?

they started on saturday when some sections from a huge procession of hindu 'devotees' tried to 'replace green flags with saffron ones' while passing through muslim neighbourhoods. the sangh parivar was very obviously a part of whatever happened on saturday. that incident, and whatever other organized, as the police say, incidents of violence it has triggered since saturday: who, apart from the usual suspects like the parivar, thought up all the muky stratagems, and orchestrated the unfolding of all those incidents? are congressmen among the plotters and instigators?

since the late 70s, congressmen, of one faction or the other, have always needed riots in hyderabad to help them catch their 'high command's' attention. to displace this leader or that, and promote this dissident or that. this happened between 1978-82, when the city was rocked by long periods of riots and chief ministers had to be replaced every 18 months or so, and most notably in 1990 when y.s.rajashekhar reddy, a kind of permanent dissident then, reportedly played a big part in stoking riots so that chenna reddy, the chief minister, could be dislodged.

so both the hindu parties, the congress and the parivar could be involved. and as madhu yaskhi says, it could be congressmen from rayalaseema-andhra who are involved. and it could also be congressmen from telangana. muslims were attacked and their homes burnt down in a village in nizamabad a few weeks ago for refusing to join a separatists' rally. that village falls in yaskhi's own constituency: he doesn't seem to have too many ideas about who beat up the villagers and burnt their homes in his own constituency, but seems quite sure about what's happening in hyderabad.

the majlis, the most popular party in the old city of hyderabad, hasn't been too keen on the idea of a separate telangana. and muslims and the rest of the population in hyderabad haven't been half as enthusiastic as people in a few select districts in north telangana.

so, are the riots tied to the ongoing agitation for telangana? or to internal power struggles in the congress? if the choice is limited to those two options, i'd go for the second option, but i wouldn't rule out the first option totally. nobody knows for sure how the congress functions, or how congressmen function. madhu yaskhi himself is a very good illustration of how impossible it is to understand how the congress functions. a lawyer who worked with indian immigrants in the u.s., for nearly two decades, he suddenly landed the congress ticket for the nizamabad lok sabha constituency in the 2004 general elections, scoring over several very senior aspirants. how? well, he had money to spend, his detractors in the congress say.

the congress can't explain now why it took up the 'cause' of telangana in 1969, or why it dumped it in 1970. or why it took it up again 1999 and why it dumped it again in 2009. but madhu yaskhi jumps to definite conclusions, and makes definite accusations against his own partymen, barely two days after the disturbances started: could someone in the congress please explain what's happening, at least now? or ask its members to control their irresponsible urge to score points on every kind of occasion?

28/03/10

politics, divorced from logic

one of the many conflicting arguments of the separatists is that a separate telangana is a 'purely administrative issue' ('paripaalana paramaina ansham'), and its opponents shouldn't make such a fuss about it. another imaginary conversation between a separatist, 'q', and ordinary citizen 'a' (read the first here):

a: if it was only an administrative issue, why did you have to make such a fuss about it in the first place (asking andhraites to 'bhaago')?
q: because the andhraites have been blocking it for the last forty years or sixty years or 2,000 years.
a: why have the andhraites been blocking it for so many years?
q: because they want to continue to steal telangani jobs, resources, funds.
a: but why are you calling this a purely administrative issue then?
q: because the andhraites refuse to accept the fact that they've been stealing anything.
a: it isn't a purely administrative issue, then?
q: it is a purely administrative issue but the andhraites are making a big fuss about it.
a: again, why are the andhraites making a big fuss about it?
q: because they want to protect their properties, investments here.
a: the separatists will harm their properties, interests?
q: of course not. in fact, they will be welcomed with a red carpet in the new telangana state.
a: then why are they blocking the formation of the new state?
q: because they want to continue to steal telangani jobs, resources, funds.
a: not because they're scared about their interests, properties?
q: no, this is a purely administrative issue.
a: it's not about exploitation, then?
q: it is about exploitation because they've been stealing telangani jobs, resources, funds.
a: that doesn't seem to make it a purely administrative issue.
q: it is. telanganis want an administration free of exploitation by andhraites.
a: well, exploitation has to be proven with facts, figures.
q: the andhraites are cooking up all kinds of wrong figures.
a: that has to be proven too.
q: why? this is a purely administrative issue.
a: it isn't about exploitation?
q: it is about self-respect. we want the andhraites to respect our presentation of facts and figures which prove that they're thieves.
a: how can they admit that they're thieves?
q: that's the problem with them. no respect for our culture.
a: so, this is a cultural issue?
q: no, it is about self-rule, about administrative convenience.
a: why aren't the andhraites accepting the fact that it is about administrative convenience?
q: because they're scared about their share of waters from the krishna, godavari.
a: should they be scared?
q: absolutely not. there are tribunals for that, we don't want a drop from their share.
a: why aren't they accepting that?
q: it's only a few among them who are raising all these doubts, fears.
a: who are they?
q: big capitalists. they've interests, properties in hyderabad.
a: should they be scared about their interests, properties?
q: no. our laws offer them all protection.
a: why don't they believe you?
q: it is a cultural issue. they've no respect for our word. not even our language.
a: they don't speak your language?
q: our language is different.
a: you're demanding a separate state on linguistic grounds?
q: no, we're demanding a separate state on administrative grounds.
a: so, what were all the agitations, the rallies, the social boycotts, the dharnas, raids and gheraos about? where was the need to ask the andhraites to 'bhaago'?
q: because they exploit us.
a: why don't you prove it with facts, figures?
q: where is the need to prove it? the centre should realize that this is a political issue.
a: you mean political decisions should not be taken on the basis of facts, figures? on the basis of ground realities?
q: we've proven that the andhraites have been stealing telangani jobs, resources, funds.
a: they're disputing those facts, figures.
q: don't see why they are making such a big fuss about it. this is like a marriage, see? can't a wife get out of one if she feels she is being exploited?
a: yes, sure.
q: so, why can't we part like brothers?
a: you were talking about a marriage. exploitation has to be proved when asking for a divorce.
q: this isn't exactly like a marriage.. it's like a family, you know? don't brothers go their separate ways in a joint family?
a: yes, they do. they don't even need to file for a divorce.
q: that's what i mean.
a: so, this is not a marital issue but an issue between brothers?
q: yeah. like brothers splitting.
a: then why did you need to make a big issue about discrimination, colonization, loot etc?
q: well, we want to split because we've been exploited.
a: that makes it a racial issue. of one race exploiting another. why don't you go to the u.n.,?
q: we didn't talk of all andhraites, only a few among them. it's not a racial conflict, jaati yuddham.
a: let me get this right. it's not a conflict between all telangani brothers and all andhra brothers?
q: no. it's a conflict between all telangani brothers and a few andhra brothers.
a: why did you say: 'andhra waley bhaago' then? why didn't you name the few exploiting andhra brothers instead of asking them all to run?
q: look, this is a purely administrative issue. you're trying to make it racial issue.
a: like creating a new district?
q: yeah.
a: you could've made representations to the central government then.
q: haha.. governments don't respond to simple petitions.
a: you said it's a purely administrative issue, so you've to wait for the administration to react.
q: we waited for nearly 10 years until december 9th, 2009. the central government responded positively but the andhraites lobbied hard and the centre went back on its word.
a: why did the andhraites object if it's only an administrative issue?
q: for the last time: because they want to continue to steal telangani jobs, resources, funds.
a: is that why you had to wait for ten long years? because you had to drive home the point that the andhraites were stealing telangani jobs, resources, funds?
q: yes.
a: that means the central government will have to look into all those issues, right?
q: why? this is a political issue.
a: because you raised concerns about exploitation?
q: yeah.
a: because you explained how the exploitation happened: how telangani jobs, resources, funds were stolen?
q: exactly.
a: and you pointed out how all this amounted to 'discrimination'?
q: and colonization.
a: you've expressed serious cultural, racial, economic, social concerns.
q: and our democratic aspirations.
a: but now you want everyone, including the andhraites, to forget all your efforts to raise those issues, and not probe them or dispute your claims.
q: and help the central government to take a 'political' decision to create a new administrative unit.
a: so, why did you raise all those concerns in the first place?
q: because we wanted to make sure people understood that this is a purely administrative issue.
a: what..or which people?
q: the andhraites.
a: but you've been talking about discrimination, exploitation, neglect etc?
q: that was for telanganis, and other indians. so that pressure on the central government would keep increasing. we didn't want the andhraites to listen in, that wasn't for their consumption.
a: but you asked the andhraites to 'bhaago'. also called them 'colonizers', 'thieves' and lots of other names.
q: would the media listen to us, give us any space if we couldn't raise temperatures everywhere?
a: i keep forgetting what this issue is all about.
q: it is a purely administrative issue.
a: you mean you wish to grab the administration?
q: this is a people's movement, the politicians do not control it.
a: but you depend on the politicians at the centre for a solution.
q: yes, politicians should listen to the people.
a: are the andhra politicians listening to their people?
q: they're misleading their people.
a: about what?
q: the people are being told how separation is not a purely administrative issue.
a: but do the people in telangana believe it's a purely administrative issue?
q: we don't mislead our people. we tell them it's a 'brathuku poraTam', a struggle for survival.
a: for the andhraites, it's a purely administrative issue because they'll lose nothing, and for the telanganis it's not a purely administrative issue. why?
q: because they'll gain a lot from it.
a: like what?
q: jobs, resources, funds for development.
a: jobs, resources, funds which are being stolen by the andhraites now?
q: yes.
a: if the andhraites will lose nothing, neither any jobs nor any resources and funds from separation, then how will the telanganis gain anything from it?

this conversation could go on forever, and the contradictions would keep on piling up. had accidentally posted an unedited version yesterday, but i don't think this updated version will help you understand the separatists' logic, as seen from my point of view, any better.

27/03/10

the history of all hitherto unexciting society...

nice to be around when history is being made:
One is witnessing the process of ‘Telangana’ itself acquiring a history, identity and cultural integrity. Dalits, a strong presence in several forums, are contending that Telangana’s culture is a ‘Sabbanda culture’ that is predominantly non-Sanskritic or un-Hindu.
or made up:
Telangana region was mentioned in the Mahabharata as the Telinga Kingdom which said to be inhabited by the tribe known as Telavana and said to have fought on the Pandava side in the great war of Mahabharata. It is also evident from the fact that there is Pandavula Guhalu in warangal district (wherein Pandavas spent their life in exile (Lakkha Gruham))

And, in Treta yuga, it is believed that Lord Sri Rama along with his consort Sita Devi and brother Lakshmana, spent their life in exile at Parnashala on the banks of Godavari river which is about 25 km from Bhadrachalam in Khammam District of Telangana.
or being designed: discover how un-hindu or non-sanskritic telangana thalli ('mother telangana') is, in the words of her creator, here. if you can't read telugu, don't worry. you can feast your eyes on the telangani diamond 'koh-i-noor' in the goddess' crown.

26/03/10

dr.ambedkar on official language, linguistic states, surpluses, resources and 'exploitation'

a few points in the statement 'Maharashtra as a Linguistic Province' submitted by dr.ambedkar to the 'Linguistic Provinces Commission' or Dar Commission in 1948 that caught my eye:
The solution of the difficulties

9. If the problem must be dealt with immediately what is to be the solution ? As has already been pointed out, the solution must satisfy two conditions. While accepting the principle of Linguistic Provinces it must provide against the break-up of India's unity. My solution of the problem therefore is that, while accepting the demand for the re-constitution of Provinces on linguistic basis, the constitution should provide that the official language of every Province shall be the same as the official language of the Central Government. It is only on that footing that I am prepared to accept the demand for Linguistic Provinces.

10. l am aware of the fact that my suggestion runs counter to the conception of Linguistic Provinces which is in vogue. It is that the language of the Province shall be its official language. I have no objection to Linguistic Provinces. But I have the strongest objection to the language of the Province being made its official language where it happens to be different from the official language of the Centre. My objection is based on the following considerations:

(1) The idea of having a Linguistic Province has nothing to do with the question of what should be its official language. By a Linguistic Province, I mean a Province which by the social composition of its population is homogeneous and therefore more suited for the realisation of those social ends which a democratic Government must fulfil. In my view, a Linguistic Province has nothing to do with the language of the Province. In the scheme of Linguistic Provinces, language has necessarily to play its part. But its part can be limited to the creation of the Province, i.e., for demarcation of the boundaries of the Province. There is no categorical imperative in the scheme of Linguistic Provinces which compels us to make the language of the Province its official language. Nor is it necessary, for sustaining the cultural unity of the Province, to make the language of the Province its official language. For, the cultural unity of the Province, which already exists, is capable of being sustained by factors other than language such as common historic tradition, community of social customs, etc. To sustain Provincial cultural unity which already exists it does not require the use of the Provincial language for official purposes. Fortunately for the Provincialists there is no fear of a Maharashtrian not remaining a Maharashtrian because he spoke any other language. So also there is no fear of a Tamilian or an Andhra or a Bengali ceasing to be a Tamilian, Andhra or Bengali if he spoke any other language than his own mother-tongue. [emphasis mine].
later, in 1955, in his 'Thoughts on Linguistic States' dr.ambedkar had recommended that Hindi be made the official language of all states. but what he said in 1948, that the official language of a state should be different from the provincial language, should that principle have been applied to hindi speaking states too? dr.ambedkar didn't miss the provincialism or chauvinism of the hindi speaking states, and i feel he'd have talked more about it later, after the drive to impose hindi on the south in the 1960s by the central government. unfortunately, he passed away soon after the publication of his 'Thoughts on Linguistic States'. would he have stressed on the need to impose a language different from hindi as the official language of the hindi speaking states if he had lived into the sixties?

again, from his statement to the Linguistic Provinces Commission:
SHOULD THE MAHARASHTRA PROVINCE BE FEDERAL OR UNITARY?

20. I will now turn to what are known to be points on which there is controversy. There is no controversy regarding the unification of Maharashtra into one Province. The controversy relates to the way it should he brought about. One view is that the new Maharashtra Province should be a unitary Province, with a single legislature and a single executive. The other view is that Maharashtra should be a Federation of two sub-provinces, one sub-province to consist of the Marathi-speaking districts of the Bombay Presidency and the other of the Marathi-speaking districts of the present Province of the Central Provinces and Berar. The idea of creating sub-Provinces has originated from the spokesmen of the Marathi-speaking districts of Central Provinces and Berar. I am satisfied that it is only the wish of a few high-caste politicians who feel that in a unified Maharashtra their political careers will come to an end. It has no backing from the people of e fact that it gives me an opportunity to enunciate what I regard as a very vital principal. When it is decided to create a Linguistic Province, I am definitely of opinion that all areas which are contiguous and which speak the same language should be forced to come into it. There should be no room for choice nor for self-determination. Every attempt must be made to create larger provincial units. Smaller provincial units will be a perpetual burden in normal times and a source of weakness in an emergency. Such a situation must be avoided. That is why I insist that all parts of Maharashtra should be merged together in a single province. [emphasis mine].
that's quite clear. in 1948, dr.ambedkar was clearly in favour of 'all areas which are contiguous and which speak the same language should be forced' into a single province. which means he wouldn't have supported the idea of a separate telangana in 1948.

would he have supported telangana in 1955, when he wrote his 'Thoughts on Linguistic States'? he was more concerned with the smaller size of the southern states on an average, in terms of population, in relation to northern states.

more from his statement to the Linguistic Provinces Commission:
44. Secondly, the surplus from Bombay is not consumed by Maharashtra alone but is consumed by the whole of India. The proceeds of the Income-tax, Super-tax, etc. which Bombay pays to the Central Government are all spent by the Central Government for all-India purposes and is shared by all other Provinces. To Prof. Vakil it does not matter if the surplus of Bombay is eaten up by United Provinces, Bihar, Assam, Orissa, West Bengal, East Punjab and Madras. What he objects to is Maharashtra getting any part of it. This is not an argument. It is only an exhibition of his hatred for Maharashtrians. [emphasis mine].

45. Granting that, Bombay was made into a separate Province, what I don't understand is how Prof. Vakil is going to prevent Maharashtra from getting share of Bombay surplus revenue. Even if Bombay is made separate Province, Bombay will have to pay income-tax, super-tax, etc. and surely Maharashtra will get a part of the revenue paid by Bombay to the Centre either directly or indirectly. As I have said the argument has in it more malice than substance.
how about the revenue surpluses from hyderabad which the telangani separatists claim are being used to fund development in other regions? following dr.ambedkar's common sensical logic, one could say: the surplus from hyderabad is not consumed by andhra pradesh alone but is consumed by the whole of India. and: granting that, hyderabad goes with a new telangana state, what i don't understand is how the separatists are going to prevent andhra-rayalaseema from getting a share of hyderabad's surplus revenue?

finally, one last point from the statement:
59. To reconstitute Provinces on economic basis—which is what is meant by rational basis—appears more scientific than reconstituting them on linguistic basis. However, unscientific linguistic reorganization of Provinces I cannot see how they can come in the way of rational utilization of economic resources of India. Provincial boundaries are only administrative boundaries. They do not raise economic barriers for the proper utilization of economic resources. If the position was that the resources contained within a Linguistic Province must only be explained by the people of the Province and no other than it could no doubt be said that the scheme of Linguistic Provinces was mischievous. But such is not the case. So long as Linguistic Provinces are not allowed to put a ban on the exploitation of the resources of the people by any body capably of wishing to exploit them a Linguistic Province will yield all the advantages of a rationally planned Province. [emphasis mine].
so, what would dr. ambedkar have said about all the noise being made by the separatists that telangani resources, like coal from singareni, are being 'exploited' by people from andhra-rayalaseema? as you can see, dr. ambedkar would have approved of the 'rational exploitation' of resources. if the rest of india can exploit resources from bombay high, or jharkhand or assam, why should there be any objection to resources from telangana being used to meet power needs in andhra-rayalaseema? they're not being 'stolen', they're being sold. just as they're being sold to power plants in karnataka, maharashtra and other parts of the country.

how i wish the separatists would read dr. ambedkar's views with open eyes, and minds, before putting words into his mouth!!

25/03/10

join the 'mainstream'?

maya mirchandani, of ndtv, was born in 'Niloufer Hospital in Lakdi ka Pul, bed fee Rs 2/', around forty years ago. very thought-provoking :
Why am I wasting precious time saying all this? Because here lies the root of my total confusion over what should happen to Hyderabad, the city of my birth. Like me, Hyderabad too has multiple identities, cultural, religious, linguistic and ethnic. And for much of its 420-year-old history, it's an idea that has been coveted and fought over by each one of its communities. While its more recent, post independence history is chequered with communal riots, and pro-Telangana protests, its early history is inextricably tied to the Qutb Shahi dynasty. Until some years ago, driving to Gachi Bowli from Mehdipatnam on the old Bangalore road, you could still see their tombs rise above the landscape. They are now being restored with funds from Iran- the spiritual and cultural fount for the city's Shia Muslims, many of whom are more or less confined to the old city, divided from the new by the natural boundary of the Musi River. A friend once said to me Hyderabad's communal cartography is evident, the lines between Hindu and Muslim neighbourhoods absolute dividers, sometimes even referred to as "sarhad" or border. The same friend, a Hyderabadi Shia, a Left leaning management professor and itinerant poet, asked me last week what the creation of the state of Telangana would do to his identity.

The Hindus in Hyderabad are an equally motley lot. Conservative, Andhras who dominate the political landscape, and much of the big industry - Film, Pharmaceuticals, Real Estate, for example. And not to forget the Marwaris- who came in to trade in gems and jewels for the Nizams, and like the Sindhis have an entrepreneurial spirit that allows them to call anyplace home. Culturally completely different from each other, and I am not even going to get into the caste and class break ups within the different communities.

Add to this mix now, a third, even newer Hyderabad. HITEC city. Chandrababu Naidu's dream, of making it the Dubai of South India, this part of the city, spreading outwards even beyond Jubilee Hills (once the far end of town), has over the last decade become the city's showcase, with several visiting foreign dignitaries ensuring they make a pit stop at one of the symbols of India's emerging economy.

But this has only complicated Hyderabad's identity further. The massive influx of dollars during the IT, BPO boom has brought in a new transitory white collar population of foreigners, ex-pats, westernized outsiders with their swank cars, boutiques and fancy mansions right beside the old Irani hotels and crumbling bungalows of my grandparents era. They too are now an integral, inextricable part of Hyderabad's social fabric.

As the center's decision to create a new state of Telangana now focuses on the future of Hyderabad, since the city comes bang in the middle of its districts, the debate ranges from identity to economics. Hyderabad is Telangana's cash cow. The creation of a new state will ensure the wealth it generates is distributed among what are today Andhra Pradesh's poorest districts. But Hyderabad is also organically linked with the rest of Andhra Pradesh, as Andhras from Coastal Districts (like my mother's family) and Rayalseema made the inland capital their home generations ago. Are they now being told they don't belong?

Similarly, for the non-Telugu communities of Hyderabad- are they now being told they don't belong either?
one of the vilest remarks i've read recently, at one of the many separatist sites, was that muslims of hyderabad have stayed 'aloof' from the 'mainstream' (with the obvious hint that that's probably the reason why they aren't supporting separation). what is the 'mainstream'? another post from the google group which is 'tracking telangana' would give you an idea about what or who the 'mainstream' is:
Last Thursday (5th March), when Kaneez and I took an auto to go to Moghalpura near Charminar from Anveshi office, I got my first ‘class’ on Telangana from an auto-driver. In his late 20s he spoke in chaste Dakhani.

‘Madam, do you think Telangana will be given?’, he started the conversation.

‘We don’t know. What do you think?’, we asked him in turn.
chaste dakhani? there used to be a time when upper caste hindus would speak only chaste urdu with the lower classes, and also sometimes with their own womenfolk, knowing fully well that they couldn't respond in the same language, just to show them their place. dakhani, or 'unchaste' urdu if you like, evolved out of the collaborative efforts of the lower classes, hindu and muslim, to live upto their masters' standards of purity. but their masters only saw it as another illustration of their impurity. is dakhani mainstream now? you might find an answer at the end of the interrupted conversation:
“What do you think of MIM’s stand on Telangana?” (both of us assuming he is a Muslim, as he was speaking pure Dakhani, wearing surma and referred to Hindus as Telugus)

“They say, if we support Telangana, what will happen to Muslims in Andhra area? They should learn the problems of the people, talk to them, and then take a stand. Why do they go on taking the same old stand? May be they will say - give us the city and go!”

“But that will mean that they will lose power, isn’t it? If the city becomes Union territory, they won’t get anything!”

“I don’t know why they are taking that stand, madam. Probably they also don’t speak to the people, like all political parties..I talked too much. I never spoke to any passenger like this”.

Before getting off, we couldn’t resist asking his name. “Rajesh” he replied shyly.
who's 'mainstream'? the people 'tracking telangana', or the poor muslim driver who turned into an obviously 'impure' hindu? people of the second kind seem to be in a majority, broken up into many minorities like maya mirchandani. but they should join the 'mainstream', if they wish to be paid, i guess. such a foul term.

24/03/10

the language of hate

the separatists, led by prof. kodandaram reddy of osmania university don't want telangani students' exam papers to be evaluated by andhra professors:
HYDERABAD: The Telangana Lecturers’ Forum along with the Telangana Joint Action Committee staged a protest at the Board of Intermediate Education office at Nampally here today demanding answer sheets be evaluated regionwise.

With the BIE officials making it clear that there is no question of evaluating the answer sheets on regional basis unless the State Government issues orders, protestors under the aegis of Prof Kodandaram said that it is against the interests of the students from Telangana region.

Speaking to reporters outside the BIE office, Kodandaram said that they are not questioning the integrity of the evaluators or the transparency system of the BIE but are demanding region-wise evaluation in the interest of the students. ``It is just a matter of adjustment for the BIE officials. Even as they are repeatedly assuring that the identity of the students would not be revealed, students are a worried lot,’’ he said and informed that they are getting enquiries every day from the students regarding the method of evaluation. [emphasis mine]
the students are a worried lot? then the professors should reason with them and tell them not to worry about the 'integrity of the evaluators or the transparency system of the BIE'.

When asked whether it is right to press for region-wise evaluation at a time when the Centre mooted a common curriculum, Kodandaram replied that this is not the time for a debate on the issue.``The BIE must heed to the demand. Otherwise the students would not be able to appear for the exam with the right mindset,’’ he remarked.

Telangana Lecturers’ Forum (TLF) members said that it is very easy to identify Telangana students by the language they write in the answer sheets.
i wonder if it is very easy to identify dalit, obc and adivasi students by the language they write in their answer sheets. is that the reason why they keep proving themselves to be less 'meritorious'? because upper caste professors like kodandaram reddy and his fellow conscientious protesters can spot them by the language they use?

reminds me of a petition (filed in the andhra pradesh state human rights' commission) i'd read in a mailing list a few days ago:
Petition filed under section 12 of the Human Rights Protection Act 1995

Respected sir

We the applicants of the petition are students of Potti Sri Ramulu Telugu University, Nampally, and residing in Triveni Hostel here by submitting this petition on behalf of all the SC ST Students of Triveni Hostel, Located in Osmania University, Hyderabad,

It is respectfully submitted to you that we want to bring to your kind notice about the caste based discrimination and harassment that we are facing in Triveni Hostel, On January 7th 2010 at 11am the above mentioned four students gathered at our hostel mess hall and caught hold of the Applicants and threatened by saying “SC ST – Mala, Madiga, Erukala Lanja kodukulu evaru maa prakkana kurchovaddu meeru pandulu, aavulanu thintaru evadaina kurchunnatlaithe Champutham” (You SC ST Mala, Madiga, Erukala Bastard should not come and sit in the same bench where we sit in the mess hall, as you are Beef and Pork eaters, if anybody dares to sit beside us we will kill them)

We opposed the words of the four upper caste students and asked them why they are using filthy language and abusing in the name of caste, then they again scolded us in the name of caste and threatened that they will do it again and again, they also said “Is it not true that you SC STs are beef eaters and pork eaters? And further said you bastards should approach the Hostel authorities to arrange separate mess hall for you, don’t come to this mess hall

We informed this incident to the university SC ST cell on 7th January 2010 and they brought it to the notice of the Vice Chancellor, but nothing has happened; as the registrar of the university and the Vice chancellor are also belong to upper castes and are supporting the upper caste students. This silence of the authorities is further encouraging them to harass the SC ST students in the name of caste. The Vice chancellor had tried to implicate SC ST students in the false cases alleging that the students insulted him and with the intervention of some elders he withdrawn the cases, so it is crystal clear that the vice chancellor is biased and supporting to the upper caste students to harass SC ST Students in the hostel

The registrar too in support of the upper caste students and is instigating the upper caste students that he will take care of them, in case if SC ST students files any cases, through the help of high rank police officers known to him and some of them are his relatives also. ,With the help of the both registrar and vice chancellor the upper caste students continued to behave in the same fashion

We feel that including the Vice chancellor, registrar and the upper caste students are not in a position to recognize and accept the SC ST students as equals with the other upper caste students. Hence they are not allowing the SC/ST students to sit in the same benches where upper caste students are also sitting. That’s why they are encouraging upper caste students to harass SC ST students. With this background the above named upper caste students are regularly harassing us and other SC ST students in the name of caste and insulting our food habits

In addition to the above on 7th march 2010 again the four above named upper caste students came to the mess hall and shouted loudly that “we have told you SC ST Bastards should not sit in the mess hall but why you are sitting, and threatened us by saying that if we sit on the same benches in the mess hall they will bring their people from outside and they will thrash us

It became a regular phenomenon that the above named four students are harassing each and every SC ST student whenever they found them single. Also if they see any SC ST student on the way they are loudly shouting that “see! See Beef eater is ..…” it is a humiliation to every SC ST student on the campus and in the hostel.

So we request your kind self to protect our human rights, dignity and self respect and relieve us from this mental trauma by directing concerned authorities to take action against the above said respondent Students, Vice Chancellor and registrar

And we pray this honorable authority to direct the police concerned to register a case against the above said students, Vice chancellor and registrar according to the provisions of the SC ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989

Applicants

SC ST Students of Triveni Hostel, Osmania University Campus, Hyderabad -7
the hostel is located in the osmania university campus where prof. kodandaram reddy holds court now, like a jagirdar or paigah of the good old days. how can this happen in his jagir? i guess he'd probably say: this is not the time for a debate on the issue.

he doesn't like andhra capitalists, and doesn't trust andhra bureaucrats. he has asked telanganis to boycott 'products' made or sold by andhra businessmen. he has called for a 'social boycott' of andhraites, big businessmen or politicians or anyone, who oppose separation. now he finds andhra professors and teachers untouchable.

what's happening in triveni hostel, is also happening right now in hostels across campuses in telangana and andhra pradesh and india, in less or more heinous forms, but you can rest assured that it's happening. and it'll keep happening as long as professors like kodandaram reddy find more and more reasons to distrust, hate and ostracize their fellow human beings. in less complicated societies they call it racism. here, they call it 'democratic' protest.

23/03/10

bloodthirsty media

Perhaps History has cursed Telangana. Its two flourishing empires—of Kakatiyas and Kutub Shahis—were destroyed by Tughlaq and Aurangazeb respectively. It would have been better if the British Empire had made Telangana its province. Good or bad, Mecaulay’s heirs would have thrived here too. Telangana people would have learnt a bit of strategy, a bit of administration and a bit of politicking. Unfortunately, it is their proclivity to struggle that was always dominant here. It is in this place, swords were drawn for the first war of Indian independence. Ramji Gond was hanged here. While mobilizing Adivasis, Komaram Bhim lost his life here. When the entire country was scoring victories through ‘refomative’ nationalism, even satyagraha was banned here. Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation, prohibited Satyagraha only in Hyderabad. When entire villages armed themselves to fight against the feudal order, the world eulogized Telangana saying “you are second to none in shedding blood.” The sacrifice of five thousand martyrs and the struggle of ten thousand villages—got lost in time. Here, every battle ends with either a sacrifice or a betrayal. The snake in ‘Snakes and Ladder’ game keeps biting. But the Vikramarka hauls Bhetala onto his shoulder yet again. You experience a 1969 and a 1978. For the next three decades, it is the dead bodies of Telangana that would be hung from the threshold of the fort. Still these people don’t learn or won’t accept defeat. Even as experience tells them that nothing can be achieved, they don’t give up. To get something, one keeps raising one’s voice. To live here, one has to die.

For Telangana, its ‘present’ is another curse. One who grows into a leader turns out to be a landlord. Youth become Naxalites. And there is so much concern (from others) for the people of leaderless Telangana!

What a wonderful people! But what a disgraceful leadership! Stubborn or strong or na├»ve or foolish they may be, and yet what a great people! Telangana took pride—when Telugus and the rest of the world lauded them for its tremendous courage and struggle. When such a people are begging the leaders to assume their role of guiding people, pleading them to occupy the throne of Telangana government, isn’t it a pity that the leaders, in self-deception, choose to land at the gates of the high command and feel secure? What a great tragedy to openly admit that they are not qualified to become leaders, and that they are happy to remain in the second rung and get whatever the higher ups dole out to them?!

Siripuram Yadaiah is an orphan, just like Telangana. Telangana is without a leader. No leader to give a little assurance to its people. No one to at least pledge that he will not compromise, if not resign, from his position. There is no leader to dispel the thick clouds of despair fast engulfing the hearts of these orphans.

Perhaps Telangana requires a new leadership, not merely for a separate state, but for the future. It needs a leadership that doesn’t abandon its people midway, but shows them the path ahead. The disturbed and the orphaned people should lead themselves. They should be led by wisdom and rationality and not by illusions and wordiness. They should stop getting disheartened when betrayed by the leaders who lack integrity. They must not waste their valuable lives by dying.
found that at this google group. one of the members seems to have translated it from telugu. the author is k.srinivas, the editor of andhra jyothy.

the world can't take it if telanganis live in peace. srinivas spent a couple of days in jail recently, for hinting in a front page story that dalitbahujan activists of andhra pradesh can be bought. now he can barely control himself from urging the same dalitbahujans to shed some more blood, to follow ramji gond, komuram bheem, chakali ailamma, doddi komuraiah, kishta goud.. siripuram yadaiah. and thousands of others. so that telangana doesn't lose its reputation as a war cry among the well-fed upper caste revolutionaries of jnu?

suddenly learnt the other day, that a couple of 'leader-less orphans' who had climbed up a cellphone tower a few days ago (minor news on television) in the village my folks came from, were my second cousins. one of their grandparents had been beaten up very badly by the razakars around sixty years ago, because their uncles (barely in their teens then) were carrying supplies and messages to the communists. if someone like srinivas had been around, i don't think they'd have climbed down. i strongly suspect it was someone like srinivas who sent them up there, to join their grandfather, in the first place. look at what anant maringanti is talking about here.

20/03/10

the stronger-than-iron fence

dalit poet gorati venkanna asks in a song:

will the earth split open if we separate?
shall an iron fence divide us like india and pakistan?

the questions are addressed to the andhraites who oppose separation. does gorati venkanna know what the separatists' chief ideologue prof.jayashankar has in his mind? look at what jayashankar thinks about the proposal to make hyderabad a union territory:
The proposal is not feasible as it is fraught with serious negative consequences, said Telangana ideologue K Jaishankar. “Union Territory status for Hyderabad is neither feasible nor advisable. The very survival of a Union Territory in the heart of Telangana is a problem. If it is created against the wishes of the Telangana people, will they allow the city to be supplied with water and power from Telangana?” Jaishankar asked.
india and pakistan were separated in 1947 but it never occurred to the rulers of india, whatever their many despicable faults, that they should cut off water supply from the indus river system to pakistan. india fought for nearly a decade over how the water should be shared, but never disputed or even thought of disputing pakistan's right to a share in the water. look at how easily that thought occurred to prof.jayashankar.

'indian genius is to divide'

the divide in prof. jayashankar's mind is much wider than the one between india and pakistan, much stronger than a mere iron fence. the fluid casualness with which he can talk about cutting off water to nearly a crore people, is only something we can gape at and admire. contrast his reaction with what a learned man, who played a bigger role than anyone else in bringing together india, had to say over five decades ago when discussing a similar issue:
When Gujarath and Maharashtra are separated—and they must be— Gujarath will claim the revenue derived from electricity produced and consumed within Gujarath. Maharashtra will claim the revenue derived from electricity produced and consumed within Maharashtra. Bombay City as a State will do the same. Can Bombay be allowed to do so and appropriate the revenue to itself ? Is it just ? Bombay City does not produce electricity. It is produced outside Bombay City in Maharashtra. Therefore the new Bombay City State has no right to appropriate to itself the whole revenue derived from electricity. The proper thing to do is to apply the principle of the segregation of the sources and division of the yield well known to all students of State Finance.

To put it in concrete shape let the Centre take over the taxation of Electricity and divide the yield among the four States of Maharashtra— (1) Bombay, (2) Western Maharashtra, (3) Central Maharashtra, (4) Eastern Maharashtra according to their needs. It will also ease the financial strain that the three Maharashtras are likely to suffer on account of the separation of Bombay.
do you notice even the slightest hint in those two paras that maharashtra should cut off electric supply to bombay because it doesn't produce any electricity on its own? because it shall be separated from the rest of maharashtra?

is there anything more shocking, more utterly sickening than the fact that prof. jayashankar, the glib proposer of cutting off of water supplies to a city of nearly 1 crore people, uses dr.ambedkar's views on division of states, very selectively and very repeatedly, to push his agenda of hate?

the separate telangana movement is 60 years old?

the wikipedia page on dr.jayashankar says that he, 'as a young student of intermediate walked out of his class as a protest for state reorganization in 1952'. when he was 17-18 years old. he had decided before the state of andhra pradesh was formed that it was wrong. when he was 17-18 years old or younger (because the idea could have been formed much earlier because the other idea, of visalandhra, had been around even before he was born). a 75 year old man who has nurtured the incoherent passions of his teenage years, not questioned or subjected them to any rational tests as most people do, so that they grew so big, consumed all his life and became fossilized as a monomania--- he is an ideologue of the 'democratic' separatist movement?

in 1948, when it joined the indian union, the literacy rate in telangana was barely 6%. much lower than in all other provinces, regions of india (the all india literacy rate was 17%). so someone who reached the stage of pre-university education in telangana in 1952 must have belonged to the most fortunate 1-2% of the region's population. right at the top of the region's social order. if one minuscule section of this tiny 1% of the region's elite (the elite of the region who wanted a quota for themselves in government, in the name of the poor masses of the region) comprising people like jayashankar, opposed the merger of telangana with coastal andhra and rayalaseema in 1956, that makes the separatist movement a 60 years old 'people's movement'?

the separate telangana movement is 40 years old?

the 1969 agitation, totally dominated by the upper castes, started as a movement for securing an extension of the special protections offered to people of the region (read: elite of the region) and ended when some protections were extended, in a different form. you could call it a movement of the new elite which had now expanded from 1% of the region's population to 5%. you can clearly see that it was not a people's movement because it failed to respond to a similar call for the division of the state, led by the 'jai andhra' movement, a couple of years later.
they showed no inclination to join hands with the 'jai andhra' separatists and build a bigger movement to divide the state. the elite of telangana had got what they wanted, so they had called off their own 'people's movement' to divide the state to meet the 'people's democratic aspirations'.

the current separate telangana movement, in the most objective sense, is neither 60 years old, nor 40 years old. but the reactionary interests, and logic of hate, fuelling the movement are as old as prof.jayashankar or channa reddy or konda venkat ranga reddy. or as old as caste. because it's only caste which speaks so very casually of cutting off water to those who are 'outsiders'. it's only caste which sees the most basic human rights as privileges that can be doled out or withheld by a few to the rest.

hyderabad forum for telangana?

how many of these people were actually born in hyderabad? in a very mulki mood today, and i can see that a major chunk of them were either not born in hyderabad, or don't work in hyderabad, or have been in hyderabad for less than fifteen years, or are not willing to chuck their association with their 'native places' (as the original very murky mulki rules demanded), have lived major portions of their lives outside hyderabad....

the problem with this so-called movement is that everyone, except i, has the right to speak for me.

was reminded again today by a non-hyderabadi with designs on hyderabad that the telangana movement is over 60 years old. hope they can all come together on at least this one issue of how old the movement is- 4 months old or 10, 30, 15, 40, 50, 53, 56 or 100 years old. i can tell them with more certainty that the ayyappa movement in hyderabad is around 30 years old, the ram janmabhoomi movement is around 150 years old, the tirupati venkateshwara movement in south india is less than 100 years old. and all these old movements are equally regressive and motivated more by magic and mumbo jumbo than reason.

i hope some of them have woken up at least now to condemn the recent attack on a hyderabadi who has done more work to stir telangana's and hyderabad's egalitarian impulses than.... all the shrill chants of 'telangana' in the last 4 months or 10, 30, 15, 40, 50, 53, 56, 100 years.

19/03/10

be warned

less than half a dozen google pages yielded so many dire threats from assorted newspapers, ezines, portals, video sites, blogs etc., ignore the typos and heed the warnings:

Professor Kodandaram warns Jayaprada

TPJAC warns recalcitrant legislators of social boycott

Prof Jayshankar warns of civil war on Hyderabad

Harish rao warns Chandrababu & Erraballi

T Harish Rao warns Telugu Desam Party over Rajya Sabha seat

Harish Rao warns Chiranjeevi and Lagadapati

KCR warns Political Parties

KCR warns Cong against backtracking on Telangana

KCR warns Central Government

KCR warns Chandrababu

KCR warns to Centre high command

Don't provoke Telangana: KCR warns Centre

KCR warns of catastrophe if Centre goes back on Telangana

KCR warns Centre against going back on Telangana

kcr warns about militant action

Don't dilly dally on creating Telangana, warns KCR

KCR warns of catastrophe

KCR warns of emotional flare-up

KCR warns Police & CM

Kavitha KCR Daughter Warns Adurs release in Telangana

for those who haven't heard about the other leading players in this popular, telangani social drama: kodandaram reddy and jayashankar are both professors and 'ideologues' of the movement, while harish rao is kcr's nephew and trs mla and kavitha is kcr's daughter. ktr, kcr's son, has also indulged in a lot of dialogue-baazi, but google seems to have not paid much attention. as i had tried to warn you earlier, this is a very democratic struggle and everyone gets to warn everyone else (including other telanganis).

17/03/10

why didn't the centre stick to its 'dharma'?

adithya krishna chintapanti, a lawyer, says:
When the Constituent Assembly was deliberating in November 1948 on the scope and content of Article 3, there was a proposal by Prof. KT Shah that the legislation constituting a new State from any region of a State should originate from the legislature of the State concerned. Had this procedure been approved, the power to decide the statehood of a region seeking separation would have been vested with the State legislature dominated by the elite of developed regions.

Opposing the same and using the then demand for an Andhra Province as an example, Shri K Santhanam stated as under: “I wonder whether Professor Shah fully realises the implications of his amendment. If his amendment is adopted, it would mean that no minority in any State can ask for separation of territory, either for forming a new province or for joining an adjacent State unless it can get a majority in that State legislature. I cannot understand what he means by “Originating”. Take the case of Madras Province for instance. The Andhras want separation. They bring up a resolution in the Madras Legislature.

It is defeated by a majority. There ends the matter. The way of the Andhras is blocked altogether. They cannot take any further step to constitute an Andhra province... (Pg.440, Vol. No. VII, CAD) Thus Article 3 emerged in its current form. It is the Constitutional intent that the will of the people of a region to form a separate State be the sole criterion for the Centre to initiate the process of State formation. This is the Constitutional benchmark for creating a new State for a region, as amply demonstrated in the deliberations of the Constituent Assembly and as reflected in the current phraseology of Article 3 of the Constitution of India.

There seems from the evidence of the general election (wherein the manifestos of all the political parties (except CPM) promised a separate State), the current united stand of the legislators from the Telangana region and the ongoing civil society agitation for a separate state in the Telangana region, that the constitutional prerequisite for the creation of a separate State has been satisfied in a manner far superior to anything the Justice Srikrishna Committee can do.

It is, however, alarming to read the Terms of Reference of the Committee, as announced on the 12th of February 2010. The very first point is “To examine the situation in the State of Andhra Pradesh with reference to the demand for a separate State of Telangana as well as the demand for maintaining the present status of a united Andhra Pradesh.” In fact, asking the committee to examine both the issues of the State of Telangana alongside maintaining the present status of united Andhra Pradesh would amount to subjecting the minority belonging to the Telangana region to the majoritarian vested interests, which is precisely what the founding fathers of the Constitution intended to avoid.

Had the Centre abided by the constitutional mandate, the said reference would have been: “Do the people of Telangana want a separate State?” and the ensuing consultative process, as foreseen in the subsequent terms of reference, would have been restricted to stakeholders and actors from Telangana alone.

The committee is but a smoke screen deployed by the Centre to duck its Constitutional Dharma, that is, to recognise the legitimate interests of the people of Telangana region seeking statehood and facilitate the State - formation process, by acting as a Constitutional guardian of the region in course of the said transition. [emphasis mine].
so, why did the centre duck its constitutional 'dharma'? it is all clearly laid out: the whole ground rules for creating a new state, so why did the centre not follow its mandate? i am genuinely curious, don't have any major dispute with this legal interpretation. why didn't everything fall into place as neatly as the lawyer says they should have?

16/03/10

why was kancha ilaiah attacked?

don't know until now how ilaiah views the encounter. i am sure ilaiah wouldn't have filed any complaint with the police, or other authorities because the interlopers were students. but is there any other way in which you could see this incident but as an attack on dr. ilaiah's rights, his family's basic rights? there has been very little in the media on what actually happened, apart from this news story, and there haven't been any other follow-up reports, as far as i could see. but why was kancha ilaiah attacked? what he wrote around a few days before the incident gives us some clues:
Finally it has resulted in the setting up of a committee. I only hope that this committee headed by a very reputed former Supreme Court judge and comprising other eminent people from different disciplines would do a worthy job of finding a solution to this vexed problem.

In an age of digital democracy the pro-Telanagana forces must provide enough evidence to the committee to persuade it to establish a separate state.

No agitating political force can say, “We will boycott the committee,” in a democratic process. The people who do that would only play with lives of Telangana people, as that would amount to saying “We would like to keep the question alive for making money and for seeking votes.”

But do they know the price the people of Telangana have been paying for the last 50 years? The issue has to be resolved once and for all.

Those who have been claiming to have taken part in Telangana agitations all their lives should also understand that the region has given permanent employment to some old types of agitators.

While Telangana has proved that it has the nerve to keep on fighting, it has also proved that constant agitations keep a region underdeveloped. The world has not changed so much through street fights as it did through deployment of brainpower in labs and libraries and changing the contours of production in the fields.

Of course, political struggles are important and engendered democracy and socialism but the Telangana struggle has no such transformative agenda.

Our students and youth should not be street fighters and self-immolators. Quite tragically, this agitation run by shortsighted people and underhand dealers made it the biggest “suicide” movement ever.

Yes, we should blame the Centre, the skillful Andhra operators, but we should blame more those who are counting those bodies to collect money.

and so on. wouldn't the separatists, so steeped in 'democracy' that they speak for 'everyone' in telangana even when they burp, consider those harsh words an attack on their 'democratic struggle'?

15/03/10

kancha ilaiah: why he is a telangani

students force kancha ilaiah to say 'jai telangana':
Nearly 20 students stormed into the apartment of Ilaiah and demanded that he withdraw the `Manya Seema’ demand which he voiced at a time when the agitation for Telangana State was at its peak. The students demanded that the professor support separate Telangana and raise the slogan of `Jai Telangana.’ Taken aback, Ilaiah reportedly chanted `Jai Samajika Telangana’ but that too did not go down well with the students who said that the same slogan was taken up by Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) but was later dumped by the party. Ilaiah then reportedly raised the slogan of `Jai BC Telangana’ too which did not pacify the students and they forced the professor to raise `Jai Telangana’ slogan in the end.

The professor, however, insisted that a at least separate district be created for tribals if separate Telangana is carved out, to which the students agreed.

``We don’t mind Ilaiah leading the ongoing Telangana movement. But we are against the Manya Seema or any other slogan,’’ OU Students Joint Action Committee (JAC) leader Manavatha Ray said.

The students left the place after painting the walls of the entire apartment with slogans of `Jai Telangana’ and `Manya Seema vaddura (We don’t want Manya Seema).
i'd pointed out in many posts (
please read this), that the separatist movement has a majoritarian agenda because its core philosophy is essentially of upper caste hindu origin and telangani-ness now (like hindutva), and in the future (if a new state is formed) shall be defined according to upper caste norms. so why would the telangani separatists like the idea of adivasis in andhra pradesh demanding a state of their own? as i had warned in this post, the separatists own the adivasis now, their history and their homeland. i had also said in this post:
slowly, but surely, i see all kinds of diverse minorities bowing down to the hectoring of this new, unexpected majoritarianism: from various obc caste groups to the madiga rights' activists to muslims in the villages. will they really have any say in shaping a new telangana?
ilaiah had said, when he received the lisa book award in london:
This award has come at a time when I was going through a crisis of confidence. I have begun to think, of late, whether the Dalitbahujan people, for the sake of whose transformation I have been writing and fighting, would ever use the material I and others write and are writing, to change their status and position in India and in the world. As a person who constantly keeps working towards, what I call, Thought Reform, in a country where the thought process of the people I write for and work for, has never been recognized, I began to become rather nervous.
and:
For a people who had no identity of their own for centuries, the struggle for identity becomes central in the realms of both thought and action. This is a historical process that remained invisible for centuries. Their actions for identity were met with violence and counter violence. Blood was spilt but most of it was of Dalitbahujan. Brahminic ideological forces deployed several mechanisms of violence—spiritual, social and political—to keep the Dalitbahujan under control or under their hegemony. Brahminic hegemony was so encompassing that the Dalitbahujan had no historical agencies to liberate them for a long time.
now, at home, the people '
for the sake of whose transformation' he'd been 'writing and fighting' seem to be rejecting the historical agencies he offered them.

not an inch more ethical than an election campaign

In a strange and unique development, the Warangal Zilla Parishad adopted a resolution on Sunday repatriating all the Seemandhra employees working in the district back to their respective areas.

Except Zilla Parishad chairperson, all the other ZP members supported the resolution unanimously. ZP chairperson E Swarna did not participate in the voting stating that such a move would create unrest in the region.

The resolution followed an attempt by the Kakatiya University students Joint Action Committee to storm the meeting demanding that the public representatives resign from their posts. There was a tense atmosphere at the ZP hall, where the students clashed with the police. It was only after that the ZP adopted a resolution in favour of deporting the Seemandhra employees.

Though nothing would come out of such resolutions, iIt is for the first time that it was adopted anywhere in Telangana after the revival of the movement. Even when there was a huge demand for the implementation of GO 610, there was no such attempt by any zilla parishad or mandal parishad. [emphasis mine].

that 'strange and unique development' happened yesterday. a day earlier, at a public meeting at korutla in karimnagar district, kcr repeated his promise that a new state would bring the youth of telangana loads of jobs. 1 lakh jobs in the government within the first four months of formation of telangana state.

it's not very difficult to move from the promise in karimnagar to the students' 'direct action' and the politicians' response in neighbouring warangal.

the first incident illustrates the nature of this so-called democratic, people's movement: it is founded on the same principles, or lack of principles, as any election campaign by the most irresponsible representatives of our political classes. just like any election manifesto, it dangles sops, freebies and everything under the sun to lure 'voters'. the second incident tells us that politicians and lured voters can touch even lower depths than those illustrated by the first incident.

elsewhere, other job-seekers made a desperate plea to the state government to remove the chairman of the andhra pradesh public service commission because he 'had adopted ‘anti-BC/SC/ST stand'which affected the career prospects of many candidates'. an rti application by a candidate who had appeared in a job selection test and interview conducted by the commission had revealed information that fuelled suspicions that prof. y.venkatarami reddy, chairman, had managed to award unusually high scores to reddy applicants who had appeared for the interviews.

i have asked this question earlier too, are the political and 'intellectual' leaders of this separatist movement truly interested in the lives of the millions of students and unemployed youth in telangana? their total lack of interest in the third event that was unfolding slowly over the last one week is quite revealing. do they really understand what 'discrimination' is actually about?

14/03/10

more trust in delhi than in your own people?

t.g.venkatesh, of the rayalaseema hakkula aikya vedika (roughly, united rayalaseema forum for rights) and a congress mla in the andhra pradesh assembly, writes:
The panel is not meant for just examining the demand of Telangana State but the issue of Samaikhyandhra too. But the Telangana Rashtra Samithi leaders and votaries of Telangana are hellbent on forming Telangana in the format of their choice, notwithstanding any amount of damage caused to other most backward areas like Rayalaseema and North Andhra.

The blind support by K Chandrasekhar Rao for Telangana reminds one of the proverbial evil intention of a cunning man over sharing a milch animal with his brother. The cunning man wanted the portion of the animal that gives milk and manure while offering the head portion that required continuous feeding to his innocent brother.

Mr Chandrasekhar Rao is well aware that 50 percent of the State income comes from Hyderabad, 20 percent from the rest of Telangana and 30 per cent from Andhra-Rayalaseema. Since Hyderabad is the commonwealth of Telugus, the income is utilised to take care of the needs of all 22 districts.

Chandrasekhar Rao wants to grab the creamy part and dump Rayalaseema and North Andhra to their fate. The people of the two most backward regions are frightened at the developments.

Their per capita income, employment potential, industrialisation, irrigation facilities, health and road infrastrucutre indices are among the lowest.The Telangana debate should begin with the fate of two orphans.

Even Mr Chandrasekhar Rao and his troupe should find a solution to the orphan areas before staking a claim to Telangana.
it's quite clear that neither the congress chief sonia gandhi, nor her cabal of shady advisors, had thought about the people of rayalaseema and north andhra on december 9th, 2009, when they announced that the process of formation of telangana state 'will be initiated'. it's also more clear that the political leaders of rayalaseema and north andhra had bothered even less about the people of those two regions.

even though the 'aikya vedika' was formed nearly half a decade ago, its leaders had mostly focussed on engaging in scoring points in televised 'which-region-is-more-backward' debates with the telangana separatists than in meaningful engagement with the people of the region to make them aware about the issue of the division of andhra pradesh and its implications for rayalaseema. they remained mostly a congress managed puppet outfit, whose sole purpose was to ensure that the trs didn't steal all the television time.

now, mr.venkatesh makes a poignant case for rayalaseema, and also north andhra. as he says, in many aspects, both regions are actually more backward than telangana. but what were you thinking mr.venkatesh,
all through the last 5-6 years until december, 9, 2009, when you put so much more trust in delhi than in your own people?

12/03/10

band-aid

first, you drive a truck over people:

Hyderabad, March 10: Most students are jumping into the T-agitation bandwagon with the hope of getting government jobs.

Ironically, this is mentioned even in the suicide notes of those who took their lives for the cause.

“People like me will get jobs if Telangana state is formed,” read the suicide note left behind by S. Yadaiah from Ranga Reddy district who immolated himself in broad daylight in the Osmania University campus last month. “Please don’t stop this movement till Telangana is achieved.”

Many students blindly believe that their lives would become secure once the new state is formed because they will all get government jobs.

“People from other walks of life aren’t affected like students as they all hope to get jobs,” said Mr G. Niranjan, general secretary of the Pradesh Congress Committee. “But politicians are making contradictory statements leaving students in distress.” The number of students who prepare for government jobs is very high in OU campus. With the T-agitation getting fresh energy, many told their friends that they would be working in government offices in Telangana state within a year. But their hopes were dashed by the uncertainty that followed. [emphasis mine].

then you offer them band-aid.

11/03/10

go, junk your hypocrisy

jaithirth rao asks:
The Congress, the BJP and the Left are all supporters, although the enthusiasm of all their members is suspect. The SP, the RJD and the BSP are opponents and are very vociferous and obstructive about it. The mystery remains: are the supporters pro-women and are the opponents anti-feminist? Does this simplistic analysis say it all? [emphasis mine].
the bill, in its present form, is unfair. but i doubt that matters to the hindu parties (the congress, the bjp and the communists). their twisted idea of gender justice ignores caste and creed altogether. or should i say: conveniently ignores caste and creed? if this bill is enforced, in its current form, it'd increase the already bloated upper caste over-representation in houses of legislature by a huge margin, at the costs of the lower castes and the muslims, primarily. the obcs, muslims, other religious minorities and hundreds of small castes among the dalits and adivasis are already under-represented in the state assemblies and parliament. this bill would not only take away a large portion of the current obc and muslim shares in elected houses, but also close the door on any growth in their numbers for a very long time. the ruling classes seemed to have had enough of all the insubordination from the impure since mandal and mayawati. they seem to say: enough! this shall remain a hindu nation.

and how will this hindu bill affect the fortunes of those from the impure castes who joined the telangana movement?

the separatists in telangana have a lot in common with the crusaders fighting for a hinduised form of gender justice in delhi. they have also been able to fashion a story of injustice that revolves around one single, overarching reality: geography. their sense of geographic justice too looks at caste, creed and also gender issues as reflecting only minor injustices. but a lot of aspiring district level politicians from a few obc castes had joined the separatist movement in the hope that the formation of a new state would increase their chances of getting into the state assembly. how? that's a difficult question to answer, but they seem to think that a new state would change existing political formations and pave the way for the growth of new parties. one can't imagine how that'd happen, considering the two major parties haven't suffered any change in their support bases in recent times. and the only other party which had made some progress, in spurts, in the region was the trs.

what does the trs think of those from the impure castes? not much, it'd seem. one incident, from a few months ago, which involved the brutal assault on a former party mp, an adivasi, for daring to speak up against kcr, illustrates what the doras at the helm of the party think of insubordination from those from the lower castes. this news story has more details:

A prominent rebel leader of TRS, who is among a dozen leaders who have raised the banner of revolt against party president K. Chandrasekhar Rao, after the recent election debacle, Mr. Naik, a Lambada, lodged a complaint against the TRS leadership invoking provisions of SCs and STs (Prevention of Atrocities Act) in the Banjara Hills police station. In retaliation, TRS leaders filed a separate complaint accusing him of abusing them by caste name. Trouble broke out in the party headquarters shortly after the emergency meeting began around noon when Mr. Naik walked in to participate in the proceedings without an invitation from the party. Though he was stopped at the gate, Mr. Naik managed to go near the meeting hall where he was cornered by a group.

He took the party workers by surprise by raising pro-Telangana and pro-KCR slogans. One of them even chaired him on his shoulder. The workers tried to persuade him to return stating that his resignation had been accepted. Mr. Naik had, in an open letter, challenged KCR to reply to questions raised by the former or else treat it as his resignation letter.

As Mr. Naik insisted on attending the meeting on the ground that it was convened as a follow-up to his letter, the workers pushed him up to the gate where he took his car to proceed to the house of a former TRS Minister A. Chandrasekhar who was expelled from the party only Sunday night. Emerging from Mr. Chandrasekhar’s house with a torn shirt, Mr. Naik rubbed his nose on the floor seeking forgiveness from the people of Telangana for committing “the sin of being a part of TRS”. He threw sand in the air as he cursed Mr. Rao and his family. Accompanied by Mr. Chandrasekhar and another expelled leader J. Balakrishna Reddy, Mr. Naik drove to the police station.
but mr.naik hasn't given up on telangana, and is now trying to garner support from the bjp and its most rabid hindutvavaadi, narendra modi. as i said, there are too many wanna-be legislators, especially from a few obc communities, in telangana, and their support for the movement is fuelled by expectations of future growth in opportunities. but this bill will definitely greatly reduce opportunities for obcs among them. until now, obc representation in the andhra pradesh assembly has hovered around 15%, on an average, through the decades. now, it'd seem like even 15% would be an unachievable goal in the next assembly. after having consistently played along with their upper caste patrons in propagating vigorously a loose, insubstantial but colourful narrative of regional discrimination, and downplaying and ignoring caste and gender based injustice in the past few years in pursuit of their own narrow ambitions, what do these impure aspirants think of this new turn of events, i wonder.

a state within a state

p.s. krishnan, an ex-bureaucrat who had worked in andhra pradesh for long, and had also served on the mandal commision, in v.p.singh's team and as adivsor to arjun singh a few years ago on the obc reservations issue, suggests an innovative solution to the telangana issue:
The widespread demand for the establishment of Telangana State has met with opposition in the Andhra area on two grounds: (a) The general sentiment against division of the linguistic State of Andhra Pradesh and against the division of the Telugu-speaking people; (b) Apprehension about protection of Andhra interests in Telangana, especially in and around Hyderabad city, and particularly the protection of the large number of people of Andhra origin who came to Hyderabad because it is the capital of their State and made it their home. Leaving aside a handful of big industrialists and realtors, they belong to the middle class, the lower middle class and even unorganized labour who have invested a lifetime’s savings in Hyderabad and Greater Hyderabad over two or three generations. Most of these properties are no more than a house or a residential plot or investments in some small trade or profession.

It is possible to reconcile the sentiments and fulfil the aspirations of both Telangana and Andhra people by adopting the following measures for which a Constitutional framework exists, and to which suitable modifications / adaptations can be made:
(i) Establishment of an Autonomous State of Telangana within the State of Andhra Pradesh.
(ii) The Autonomous State of Telangana should have its own Legislature and its own Council of Ministers.
(iii) The Legislature of the Autonomous State should have power to make laws for Telangana in respect of matters enumerated in the State List or in the Concurrent List. Power to make laws includes power to repeal or amend existing laws with prospective effect in the interest of the people.

Whether every item in the State List and Concurrent List should be brought within the purview of the Legislature of the Autonomous State of Telangana or whether a few items of common interest, e.g., law and order in Hyderabad/ Greater Hyderabad, should be kept out is a matter to be settled by detailed negotiations.

In the case of the latter, if it is agreed to by all sides in detailed negotiations, it could be brought into the concurrent list or a new category of concurrent list involving the Autonomous State of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and the Indian Government.

iv) This will also mesh with the larger concern over terrorists targeting major cities of India, including Hyderabad, for which mega policing, aerial surveillance, etc., are being thought of but will be possible only with Central participation.In that case, what is done for Hyderabad in the present context will become a model in respect of other metropolises of India in the larger context also.

v) A mechanism can be created, maybe an expert commission or some other, for equitable sharing of water resources between the Autonomous State of Telangana and the Andhra area of Andhra Pradesh. In addition to this, there can be, on the basis of negotiations, a permanent expert commission to pursue matters on a continuing basis taking off from the award that will be issued by the commission set up under statute.

vi) Formula for sharing of taxes, especially taxes generated in Hyderabad city, can be evolved on the basis of correct financial principles and available statistics by an expert body and through negotiations. There is the experience of what was done in this regard about 40 years back as part of the budgetary exercise.

vii) Hyderabad, which is embedded within Telangana, should continue to be part of Telangana and capital of the Autonomous State. The futility of any effort to alter this should be evident from the aborted move in the late 50s of the last century to separate Bombay (now Mumbai) from Maharashtra as a Union Territory and the delay this caused in the formation of the linguistic States of Maharashtra and Gujarat and the bitterness that this delay gave rise to and the agitations that it set off for a few years and other events of that period ending with the bifurcation of the bilingual State into Maharashtra (including Mumbai) and Gujarat.

At the same time, since formation of the Autonomous State of Telangana does not require the division of Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad can also continue to be the capital of Andhra Pradesh. Thus, the dispute and problem relating to Hyderabad can be avoided.

viii) Andhra interests that have grown in Telangana, especially in Hyderabad city and its surroundings in the last half-century, should have all lawful protection in the Autonomous State. In particular, a system should be created under the proposed Constitutional route to ensure law and order, and security and sense of security, for the people in Greater Hyderabad.

The advantages of the above route are that a) Telangana will get autonomous statehood while preserving the existing Andhra Pradesh State and b) the unfortunate bitterness that has grown between the people of the two regions may also disappear with the emergence of an agreed solution as is possible on the above basis.

This opportunity can also be utilised to provide Constitutional systems for the protection of the people of the Scheduled Tribes (STs) and their lands and other interests and also to provide proper Constitutional, legal, institutional and organizational systems for securing the economic, educational and social advancement of SCs, STs and Socially and Educationally Backward Classes, including BCs of Muslim and Christian communities.

The autonomous State concept was earlier applied in the case of Meghalaya which, of course, later became the State of Meghalaya. But, the situation in Andhra Pradesh is more propitious than it was in the case of Assam. The “ethnic” difference between the Assamese (Ahomiya) plains people of Assam, and the Khasi and Jaintia and Garo tribes of the erstwhile Assam / Meghalaya Autonomous State / Meghalaya State does not exist between the people of Telangana and Andhra. The disturbing external factors experienced in Assam do not exist in Andhra Pradesh. Further, the political experience and maturity of the people of Andhra Pradesh promise longevity for this Constitutional arrangement of autonomous State within a State in the case of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

If it comes about and succeeds it will not only help resolve the present impasse in Andhra Pradesh in a positive way and put the people of the autonomous State of Telangana and of Andhra Pradesh on the path of development, welfare and equality, it will also set up a model for resolving similar aspiration-based movements in regions of other States. This issue cannot be wished away or brushed under the carpet.

Realizing the strong sentiments in favour of linguistic States (which also had a democratic justification), the Constitution- makers provided in Article 3 for formation of new States. This was utilized on several occasions. Also, the Indian leadership showed resilience in the matter of Article 343 and the Eighth Schedule and its expansion from time to time. All these helped meet powerful regional/linguistic sentiments (which also had a democratic content) and simultaneously strengthened India’s federalism and unity.

i think a division would be disastrous, for many reasons, for both the telugus and india. the current level of 'sentiments' in favour of telangana don't reflect a permanent divide, in my view. and these kinds of 'sentiments', history tells me, have a way of changing shape and even location and may reincarnate as new upheavals in coastal andhra or rayalaseema in the near future. this is not a 'problem' that the ruling classes of india can 'manage' and 'deal' with over a couple of years and go back to being the same ruling classes of india, later. because the telugus seem to have been around even before there was any india, and political schisms over centuries haven't been able to cause any serious damage to their ability to separate and regroup. and separate and regroup.

so i find some of krishnan's suggestions interesting, because they seem to take a saner, more mature approach to dealing with this 'problem', not because i agree with them totally.
 
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