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.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 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.
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.