why the bjp loves telangana

one commenter warns another commenter (who responded to this news report):
Abhe oye nizam ke bhadwe chup kar. Pakistan bhag chal. Telagana se pehle andhra walloh ko bhagayenge phir landiyo ke baari hai. Yaad rak ye baat
the bjp and the parivar, of course, have been the oldest supporters of telangana. that's one major reason why the majlis hasn't responded to the overtures of the separatists until now. overtures is actually a very mild description of the open, but democratic, intimidatory tactics adopted by the various groups, affiliated to a wide spectrum of parties, organizations, other outfits springing up by the dozens in almost every block and district every day, supporting telangana. all these groups have come together as joint action committees (the acronym jac doesn't need elaboration in any news reports these days) at the level of the whole region. and then there are jacs at the district level, mandal level, village level. and then there are jacs of journalists, lawyers, doctors, artists, babus, workers, students and a hundred other kinds of groups. then there are the caste/community jacs. and women's jacs. and jacs of the disabled. of various religious groups. of various ethnic/linguistic groups living in the region. i don't know how many thousand jacs have sprouted over the last few weeks, across telangana.

they are everywhere, so you can either shut up or become a member of a jac. of course, if you shut up, it automatically means you support telangana. because, you see, all the people of telangana support separation. look at the dhobis of that village, they refused to wash the clothes of the local political leaders who refused to resign from their panchayat posts in support of telangana! look at the kaati kaaparis (caste assigned occupation: burning the dead), they're refusing to burn the dead from those families! look at the barbers, they refuse to attend to people from those leaders' families!

the ancient code of caste is now being deployed to excommunicate those who usually enjoyed the prerogative of deciding who's pure. have the dalit and obc activists who have joined this movement really examined closely what this strategy indicates?

it upholds caste, gives the dalitbahujans a false sense of empowerment for that brief moment of being equal. the weapon that was used against them for ages: how can they wield it? don't they understand their acceptance of that weapon for that brief moment gives it new life for several more generations?

i'd talked about this majoritarianism earlier, how it's using the dalitbahujans to dig their own future graves. now, those exhilarating moments of gheraoing politicians, officials, businessmen, film stars in hyderabad and all other cities, questioning them, pestering them to speak up in support of telangana, or chant slogans, or badgering them at public places, airports, railway stations, official functions: those exhilarating moments haven't been so very exhilarating for those who were gheraoed, pestered, badgered. for some, those moments must have been their very first experience of how being the target of majoritarianism, of caste, feels like. when people you see every day on television can be treated like they're impure, when the city becomes the village, one can only shudder at the thought of what could be happening in the villages, those 'cesspools of degradation, corruption and worse'. judging from what's happening on the net, what could be the fate of the rare dissenter from a dalit or adivasi community, the statistical aberration who speaks up against telangana in some village?

but there were others who were not merely gheroaed, pestered, badgered. they were physically attacked. and the many who weren't attacked could sense quite clearly they should count themselves lucky. for that unexhilarating moment.

the abvp, the students' wing of the parivar, has been quite at the forefront of many campaigns to canvass support for telangana from public figures. especially those who demurred and seemed to entertain thoughts of disagreeing. film shootings were raided, politicians' homes were attacked, various andhra leaders regularly threatened to leave hyderabad, through the media. the parivar must be enjoying itself.

update: after i posted this, a fresh commenter on my previous post made me aware of a new campaign launched by some pure telanganis. this time, they've decided to purify the ipl. purge it of all untelangani elements.


colonization 101

Q: Most of us in US came from India for better lives. We may be taking away some of the jobs that might have gone to local people in US. Is it not the same in Telangana? How can we protest Andhra migrants taking away our jobs and resources?
A: When people move from poor regions/countries to rich regions/countries it is called immigration in search of livelihood. But when people from richer regions/countries go to poorer regions/countries, it is called colonization. For example British came to India for colonizing. Telangana movement is not against poor Andhra people coming in search of livelihood. But it is against elites of Andhra who come to Telangana to rob the resources and divert them to Andhra region. When people come to US for jobs and education, they follow rules and laws set by the local people. But when Andhra colonizers come to Telangana they violated every law and agreement on the books. They could do it because of they control the power structure. That is not the case here in US.
from the faq page of telangana development forum. tried to imagine a possible conversation between a curious visitor to the site (say 'a') and one of the tdf members (say 'q'):

a: how does one measure a poorer region/country?
q: when the region is rich in resources like telangana. the colonisers from andhra wanted to rob the resources.
a: so, indians migrating to the united states are colonisers? because the united states has larger reserves of oil, coal, natural gas, and fresh water resources etc than india?
q: the u.s., is a richer region/country because it has a higher gdp.
a: but you said, elsewhere, hyderabad was a rich city, and telangana had surplus revenues before merger?
q: yes, but taking jobs away from the locals even in a rich city is colonization.
a: so, indians taking away jobs from the locals in a rich u.s. city are colonisers?
q: no, you can't call them colonisers because they are not flouting any laws.
a: there have been regular complaints of flouting of laws. for instance, check this news report.
q: well, that's only a few jobs. besides, we're only doing the work the lazy americans can't.
a: the migrants in telangana used to wave the same excuse.
q: see? that's their colonising mentality.
a: but you said you had nothing against people who came looking for livelihood?
q: no, we have nothing against them.
a: it's only those who bring industrial investments to telangana you don't like?
q: yes, they're colonisers who rob our resources.
a: but they create jobs.
q: we don't want their jobs.
a: yes, obviously. you've jobs in the u.s. what about those young people who live in telangana?
q: they should fight for a separate telangana. that's a full time job too.
a: yes, but how will they live without jobs?
q: they could invite industrial investments from outsiders.
a: you mean colonisers?
q: no, investors from everywhere.
a: even from richer regions/countries?
q: yes.
a: but you said when people from richer regions/countries go to poorer regions/countries, it is called colonization.
q: ok. they should invite investors from only poorer regions.
a: like north coastal andhra, rayalaseema?
q: or sudan, nepal.
a: what if no one from those countries shows any interest in investing?
q: they should go to even poorer countries.
a: how about you guys making some investments?
q: coming from a rich country like the u.s., to invest here? that'd be colonization.


not all black and white

had started on this post a few weeks ago, in the last week of december, more than a little surprised by many of the separatist politicians trying to paint the agitation as a battle between 'andhra capitalists' and their starving telangani victims....

he is the first minister from telangana to have sent in his resignation to the cabinet and to the assembly. he and his brother have grown very big as contractors in recent years, thanks to ysr's mindlessly huge and ill conceived (or maybe well conceived, if looked at from another angle) irrigation spending spree. learn more about him here and his growing business interests here. he sent in his resignations in order to avoid being upstaged by a fellow reddy mla and former home minister ( whose tenure was marked by the encounter killings of so many top naxal leaders that the cadres were driven away to the borders of the state and to chhattisgarh, orissa and even west bengal) in the politics of nalgonda, one of the most backward districts in the region. the latter's sons have interests in power projects. another champion of telangana from the same region, and another reddy, has interests in solar photovoltaics and solar thermal systems. this emerging industry depends almost totally on government buying for survival. and yes, it's good to have a congress government in the centre and at home. another mla and minister from neighbouring khammam, and yet another reddy, hadn't sent in his resignations yet (as on 24th december). but his brother, an mla from nalgonda, has. don't know as yet about the brothers' business interests but they do have expensive hobbies, as pointed out in this post. did they dabble in irrigation contracts? i don't know but the business-friendly environment created by the ysr government encouraged many of his enterprising colleagues to take a shot at it.

representing neighbouring khammam, he is india's richest mp with strong business interests, and he has also recently joined the telangana bandwagon. another mp , and yet another smart businessman-politician, has inherited his passion for telangana from his father, a former union minister. from the same district, karimnagar, a former mp and union minister has been a very vocal supporter of telangana for very long. is he a smart businessman? there are too many smart businessmen in the family. and too many politicians too. and to think these strong supporters of telangana should have gifted vizag the tallest building in the city!

have covered only a couple of districts (don't have the stomach to do more) but i hope you get the picture, realize it's not all black and white.

p.s. if anyone can add more colour to this picture, please comment.


new cities, new human costs

part wild speculation induced by more wilder speculation elsewhere on the net, part outpouring of disgust:

chandigarh was built over 26,000 acres and hosts around 8 lakh people now, or around 1.6 lakh families. even if a slightly smaller city, for around 5 lakh people, was planned for andhra-rayalaseema, purely to host the administrative paraphernalia of a new state, what'd it cost the new state? in the last ten years, prices of real estate in random districts (with or without empty lots of the size indicated) from vizag to tirupati, depending on which place the bookies chose to bet on, shot up every time the debate on telangana got warm. the numbers quoted have always been over one crore an acre (people who have more authentic information, please correct me). so the land required for the new city itself could cost the new state anything between 5,000 to 20,000 crores or much more. if the new city is planned as an extension of an existing city, the costs would be much more.

how much more would the building of the city actually cost? the offices, homes, roads, parks and the rest? and the water, sewerage, electric supply systems? and how many villages or other human settlements would've to make way for the new city? and how long would the process of acquisition go on? and how could factors like litigation, unwilling sellers, environmental concerns etc affect the costs and time involved in building the new city? and so on.

and who will pay for all those costs? there has been very loose speculation about packages. who will pay for the package? the central government hasn't paid a single paisa as a package, by way of some kind of compensation, to any new state that has been formed until now. and packages on other occasions have not been handouts, purely. and why would the government of india, or all the people of india to be precise, pay for any package to clean up a purely telugu mess?

kishen reddy of the bjp says that the special package be funded through some form of cess on the city of Hyderabad for a limited period rather than running to large financial institutions for loans. the kishen reddies of the world have all the bright ideas to solve any critical problem, but most of the time, they spend a lot more time on turning all the bright ideas their constituents build into critical problems. by the time the bjp and other parties are done with it, i doubt if hyderabad would be capable of paying for its own sanitation needs.

one other kind of people who have proved themselves immensely capable of bright ideas, or at least fantasizing endlessly about bright ideas have been telugu techies across the world. to save telugukind, i propose that techie foeticide is something we all have to seriously start thinking about. you can't spot a techie in the womb? i'm sure the existing techies would solve that problem.


the 25,000 crores or 50,000 crores or 1,00,000 crores or more that would be used to build the new city (or the two new cities) over the next 5 or 10 or twenty years, has already started propelling flight of capital from many existing cities. it's already taking away many jobs in the informal sector, and by the time it's finished, many villages, districts, regions across the two new or three new states would have to be starved more and more of much needed government funds (and private funds, as they'd start flowing to the new city) to build the new city. by the time it's finished it could cost four times as much as originally planned, like ysr's infamous jalayagnam programme. and a few more separatist movements.

wouldn't it be simpler and more useful if we stopped speculating or fantasizing about grand new worlds and started improving whatever we have now? i remember the 1,000 small towns plan dr.jayaprakash narayan had talked about during the last election. here's the gist.

a thousand small towns could be improved and strengthened to provide urban services, create employment and build new avenues for trade and industry centered around agricultural products with the same amount of money as would be needed (but wouldn't be enough) to build the new city. those small towns would help millions of landless labourers, marginal farmers and artisans move out of occupations that are dying in the villages. the new city would be built to house about 50,000 to 1,00,000 new babus and their families who would be a bigger, longer drain on the new states than the unbuilt city. you don't need to be a techie to do that kind of math.


more the voice of the prosperous and the articulate

found this interesting article on the current telangana movement by a participant in the 'hypocritical' 1969 movement. his characterization of the current separatist movement as a voice of the prosperous and the articulate is something that i agree with to a large extent:
But this time it is not a voice of the backward and the cheated. It is more the voice of the prosperous and the articulate. It is more the demand for a share in power first and then for power exclusively by a new coterie of self-centred elite of Telangana basking in the relative development of the region over these 2-3 decades since the earlier agitation. However, to hide the reality this new class is inventing and singing the songs of backwardness and betrayal to hoodwink the masses who otherwise may not join their bandwagon. It is not as if the entire saga is a mere figment of imagination - we cannot say that there has not been or there is not any backwardness at all in the region, that there has not been or there is no cheating at all of the people of the region, etc. But it is a case of clear exaggeration of the actuality, a blowing-out-of-proportion, of making mountain of a molehill, of the alleged exploitation, oppression, humiliation and suppression of the Telangana region, its people and its leaders. On the contrary the real facts of the situation are that over the decades, especially keeping in view the very low base, the very backward state under the Nizam Rule with which Telangana had started and with which alone any real comparison of development indices can be made, Telangana has progressed more rapidly than other regions of the State. This has created a very powerful and articulate middle class, which is now espousing the cause of separation in which alone it sees its salvation if it were to ascend to the portals of exclusive power. In a sense this is a problem of affluence and not of poverty - of course relative affluence of a powerful middle class.[emphasis mine]
that's an extract from a post by mallikarjuna sharma, who as a student had participated in the 1969 separate telangana movement. the post is long, but carries a crisp summary of the history of the telugus, the telangana peasants' struggle, separation movements in the state after 1956 and so on. the author also clearly points out the 'dishonesty' of the current lot of separatists, in quoting selective history and facts and figures, and tries to present a more realistic picture of development in the three regions.

those who'd like to get an objective overview of all the issues involved, please go read the article. though it seems to have been originally written and published a few years ago, most of his arguments still remain valid. but i warn you, it's very long, and the author i suspect, is not very familiar with formatting, for online audiences, all the large quantity of information he puts together into appropriately short sections (to fit the short attention spans of the internet age).

lastly, would like to quote another interesting paragraph from the post which i think loudmouthed shashi tharoors of the maoist movement like kishenji, and left-oriented students at osmania and kakatiya universities need to read:
In this context I think I should also say something about my personal experience during the Separate Telangana movement. I was not only a keen observer of but also a sort of participant too in this hypocritical movement. I was an engineering student in Warangal at that time and an activist in the just split away Marxist-Leninist group (called Charu Mazumdar group) mainly in the student front. I was even arrested once in connection with that movement but somehow managed to escape from police custody. Along with another student comrade I represented our student wing at the Kavali Conference of the Student Federation of India, which at that time was almost exclusively in our i.e. revolutionary students' hands. It was I who proposed the resolution that the Conference adopt a resolution for "People's State in Separate Telangana" and persuaded it to do so. Of course I did all that under the dictates of Comrades K.G. Satyamurthy and K. Seetharamaiah who were our party leaders at that time. I was quite ignorant about the Andhra Mahasabha movement in the 1930-48 period or the Vishalandhra movement of the later days. I did not know even about the developments which led to the communist party espousing the cause of "Vishalandhralo Praja Rajyam" (People's State in Greater Andhra) which was parodied in the above slogan given by our leaders with regard to the Separate Telangana movement. But soon the naxalite movement broke out in Telangana and I was one of the first amongst the student activists to go underground and plunge into the 'armed struggle' and that naturally 'separated' me from the Separate Telangana movement, which we considered not so important as compared to our liberation struggle for seizure of power though we did support it. However, the communist revolutionary group led by Tarimela Nagi Reddy and Chandra Pulla Reddy had strongly and efficiently opposed the Separate Telangana movement at that time and we were fuming and fretting about it criticizing them left and right (just as the People's War group comrades would now do with other 'revolutionaries' opposing the present Separate Telangana movement) and asking what business 'revolutionaries' had to oppose an anti-Government mass upsurge, etc. But later my study of the history of Andhra and Telangana, especially of the vicissitudes of the communist movement in our state in the background of the history of the international and national communist movements as well as the betrayal of the Separate Telangana movement by Channa Reddy and the like other feudal, bourgeois leaders convinced me about the correctness of the stand taken by Nagi Reddy and Pulla Reddy at that time.


manufacturing bogus history

too many people, especially the young, have swallowed without questioning the entirely fictitious stories manufactured by the separate telangana activists about how progressive pre-1948 telangana actually was. the most ridiculous of those stories is definitely the incredibly naive fantasy about hyderabad being a kind of beehive of vibrant industrial activity. some valiant souls have tried to compile a list of major industries in hyderabad state before 1947 on this wikipedia page, but the list you can see, is very, very short.

let's look at what P.Sundarayya had to say about the only industry that hyderabad could truly brag about, exploitation, in feudal telangana in (the very first chapter) Telangana's People's Struggle and its Lessons:
The basic feature that dominated the socio-economic life of the people of Hyderabad and especially in Telangana was the unbridled feudal exploitation that persisted well-nigh till the beginning of the Telangana armed peasant struggle.

Out of the 53,000,000 acres in the whole of Hyderabad State, about 30,000,000 acres, i.e., about 60 per cent, were under governmental land revenue system, (called diwani or khalsa area) ; about 15,000,000 acres, i.e., about 30 per cent, under the jagirdari system, and about 10 per cent as the Nizam's own direct estate, i.e., sart khas system. It was only after the police action that the sarf khas and jagirdari systems were abolished, and these lands were merged in diwani (brought under governmental land revenue system).

The income or loot from the peasantry, from the sarf khas area, amounting to Rs. 20,000,000 annually was entirely used to meet the expenditure of the Nizam's family and its retinue. The whole area was treated as his private estate. He was not bound to spend any amount for economic and social benefit or development of people's livelihood in that area. If anything was spent, it used to be from other general revenues of the state. In addition, the Nizam Nawab used to be given Rs. 7,000,000 per annum from the state treasury.

After the police action when the sarf khas area was merged in the diwani area, the Nizam and his family offspring were to be paid Rs. 5,000,000 per annum as compensation, apart from another Rs. 5,000,000 as privy purse. The peasants in these areas were nothing but bond-slaves, or total serfs under the Nizam. Even whatever little rights existed in the diwani area were denied
to them.

The jagir areas constituted 30 per cent of the total state. In these areas, paigas, samsthanam, jagirdars, ijardars, banjardars, maktedars, inamdars, or agraharams, were the various kinds of feudal oppressors. Some of these used to have their own revenue officers to collect the taxes they used to impose. Some of them used to pay a small portion to the state while some others were not required to pay anything. In these areas, various kinds of illegal exactions and forced labour were the normal feature. Some of these jagirs, paigas and samsthanams, especially the biggest ones, had their own separate police, revenue, civil and criminal systems ; they were sub-feudatory states, under the Nizam's state of Hyderabad which was itself a stooge native state under the British autocracy in India. In jagir areas the land taxes on irrigated lands used to be 10 times more than those collected in diwani (government) areas, amounting to Rs. 150 per acre or 20-30 mounds of paddy per acre.
and so on. hyderabad was built with such loot from the countryside. a history of exploitation, written in sweat and blood, forms the foundation of the claim of the people of telangana on the city of hyderabad. is the claim of the people from andhra-rayalaseema on hyderabad any different, 53 years after merger? i don't think so. only the methods used, and the exploiters, are different. i think the claim of the ordinary people of andhra-rayalaseema should also be measured in the same light. but more on that later.

let me repeat, despite the tall claims of kcr and other votaries of a separate telangana, there was very little that resembled modern industry or economy in hyderabad or telangana in pre-1947 days. a sugar factory here, or a bidi factory there, a spinning mill here or a timber mill there: when compared with industry in calcutta, bombay or madras or even surat or ahmedabad, hyderabad was a city that belonged in the middle ages. all the loot went to build a city meant for the leisure class, for pleasure. and for the administrative classes who kept the machinery of exploitation running. hence, it had an airport, hospitals and a university. but it imported doctors, pilots, engineers and teachers from across the country. because until the last couple of decades of the feudal rule, the rulers, despite their unquestionably immense wealth, never really woke up out of their feudal stupor to build a society that could produce its own doctors, pilots, engineers and teachers. if one runs through the long list of scions of ex-jagirdars and big landlords like kcr who are now legislators and mps, one can't help but wonder: how many of them had grandfathers who had ever entertained thoughts of being economic agents of change like some of the privileged landowning classes elsewhere in the country? like those who started banks in karnataka, textile mills in mumbai, engineering industries and film studios in madras, for instance? run through the whole of telangana with a fine comb and i'm sure you'd come back with nothing more than crumbling fortresses as the only material evidence of those rural tyrants ever having existed.

could the nizam alone be blamed?

whatever infrastructure that existed in hyderabad city before accession owes its origin to some progressive thinking on the part of the last nizam and his father. they did try to make some sincere efforts to bring modernity to the state: the university and the hospitals they built, some public buildings like the secretariat and the assembly, other infrastructure like the airport, roads and the water supply and sewerage system. the last nizam also tried hard to persuade the local rich landowners as well as industrialists and businessmen from across the country to invest in the city, offered them land and incentives to set up manufacturing units in industrial parks that he had developed. very few businessmen from outside hyderabad state actually took up the offer. and there were fewer takers among the local telangani landowners. weren't they wealthy enough? going back to sundarayya's book again:
Some of these notorious feudal deshmukhs who owned tens of thousands of acres, against whom bitter battles were fought, during 1940, are listed below :-—
1. Visunur Deshmukh—40,000 acres, landlord over 40 villages in Jangaon taluka, Nalgonda district.
2. Suryapet Deshmukh—20,000 acres.
3. Babasahebpet Deshmukh—10,000 acres, Miryalagudem taluka.
4. Kalluru Deshmukh—100,000 acres, Madhira taluka, Khammam district.
5. Jannareddy Pratap Reddy—150,000 acres, Suryapeta taluka.

Here are a few more examples of the big landlords, who owned more than 5,000 acres, in a few talukas to which the movement spread : Mallapuram Rangareddi, Chandampalli Doralu, Mosongi Doralu of Koppulu, of Devarakonda taluka ; Cherukupolli Narasimhareddi of Miryalagudem taluka ; Betavolu zamindar, Kapugallu Muttavarapu family, Penubadu Seetaram Rao of Huzurnagar taluka ; Chandupatla Sudarshana Rao, Dupalli Venkatarama Reddy of Bhuvanagiri taluka ; Musakuri family of Tangadapalli, Alwala family of Polapalli of Ibrahimpatnam taluka ; Mandameri Madhava Rao (10.000); Pusukuri family (10-20,000 acres); Narsapur Samsthanam (50-100 thousand acres) of Lakkisattibeta taluka, Adilabad district.

The land concentration in Hyderabad state and the Telangana region was tremendous. The administrative report of 1950-51 gave figures to show that in the three districts of Nalgonda, Mahbubnagar and Warangal, the number of pattadars (landlords) owning more than 500 acres were about 550, owning 60 to 70 per cent of the total cultivable land. The extent of exploitation indulged in by these jagirdars, paigas and samsthanams can be imagined from the fact that 110 of them used to collect Rs. 100,000,000 every year in various taxes or exactions from the peasantry. Out of this amount, Rs. 55,000,000 used to be appropriated by 19 of them, while the whole revenue income of the Hyderabad state before 1940 was no more than Rs. 80,000,000. This was only the legally admitted collections. But it was a well-known fact that total collections, legal and illegal, amounted to thrice this amount. When the Nizam issued his firmana banning illegal exactions, it mentioned 82 varieties of illegal exactions !

But this firmana remained a mere paper proclamation. The jagirdars, deshmukhs, the big landlords continued their illegal forcible forages with the active connivance of the corrupt officialdom of the Nizam state. To give one example :

Visunur Ramachandra Reddy, the notorious deshmukh in Janagaon tehsil of Nalgonda district, used to forcibly seize the the lands from the tenants and the peasants. He used to force the peasants in his area, of about 40 villages, to do forced labour in his fields, all through the year ; pay nazarana (presents in kind or cash) at the birth of a child in the family, marriage or death ; (every handicraftsman, artisan, merchant had to pay a certain portion of his products or fixed amounts in cash. The cobblers—shoes and ; shepherds—blankets and supply of sheep and goats for the feast and free milk ; and peasants—grain, vegetables, etc.) He built a house costing Rs. 200,000 in the thirties and forties, out of which nearly half the cost was collected in cash from the forced labour for various construction jobs. A young mother who had delivered a child only three days earlier, was made to do forced labour in his fields, leaving the infant at home, with nobody to look after it and the child died of lack of milk and care. He was so notorious that peasants hesitated to give their daughters in marriage to persons living in those villages. It was against such forced labour and illegal exactions and evictions that the Andhra Mahasabha, the cultural organisation of Telugu-speaking Andhra people of the Telangana region of Hyderabad State, waged innumerable struggles. The beginnings of the Telangana armed struggle were against the atrocities of this very same Visunur deshmukh in 1946, when his goondas attacked and murdered Doddi Komarayya, the local Andhra Mahasabha worker, in Kadivendi village on July 4.
the nizam did try, but his hindu, upper caste jagirdars were quite content with things as they were. they were very rich without ever having to work, or even having to think about work. while their control over people's lives was, to put it very mildly, almost godly in many places, the nizam's control over his jagirdars, it'd seem in hindsight, was very weak. historians have been very harsh on the last nizam, and very kind towards his hindu jagirdars, one has to admit.


the fluid boundaries of internal colonialism

as sanjaya baru says, hyderabad's limited growth is impressive because it was not established business houses, large groups that represented mature industrial capital even before 1947 or 1956, which drove the growth in the city. when you think of hyderabad, you don't think of any of these large business families:

1) Tatas 2) Birlas 3) Martin Burn 4) Bangur 5) Thapar 6) Sahu Jain 7) Shriram 8) Bill Heilgers 9) JK Singhania 10) Sarabhai 11) Walchand 12) Surajmul Nagarmul 13) Goenka 14) Mafatlal 15) Andrew Yule 16) Amalgamations 17) Jardine Henderson 18) Bajaj 19) BIC 20) MacNeil Barry 21) Lalbhai 22) Binny 23) Killick 24) Rallis 25) Kilachand 26) Swedish Match 27) TVS 28) Balmer Lawrie 29) GD Kothari 30) Kirloskar 31) A&F Harvey 32) Mahindra 33) Modi 34) Scindia 35) Vissanji 36) BN Elias 37) Turner Morrison 38) Jai Dayal Dalmia 39) Parry 40) Wadia 41) Thiagaraja 42) Jaipuria 43) Ruia 44) Bhagirath Kanoria 45) GV Naidu 46) Thackersey 47) Khatau 48) Mangaldas Parekh 49)Amin 50) Seshasayee.

found that interesting list of top 50 indian business families from around 45 years ago (1964, to be exact) in this interesting article by gita piramal on the fluctuating fortunes of big business in india. you'll notice, hyderabad had no major role to play in the fortunes of those big business houses at any point of time in the last 60 years. none of them started or grew in the city, had/have corporate offices in the city. none of them had/have any major manufacturing plants in the city, apart from a stray plant or two.

moving ahead by 45 years, we come to this list of top 100 'most trusted' brands in the country, according to this survey by the economic times:

1) Nokia 2) Colgate 3) Lux 4) Lifebuoy 5) Dettol 6) Horlicks 7) Tata salt 8) Pepsodent 9) Brittania 10) Reliance mobile 11) Close-Up 12) Airtel 13) State Bank of India 14) Glucon D 15) Clinic Plus 16) Pond's 17) LIC 18) Fair & Lovely 19) BSNL 20) LG 21) Good Knight 22) Parle Products 23) Bisleri 24) Tata Tea 25) Vicks 26) Pepsi 27) Ariel 28) Dabur 29) Frooti
30) Vodafone 31) Mirinda 32) Coca-Cola 33) Hero Honda 34) Bournvita 35) Maggi 36) Bata 37) Tata Indicom 38) Sony 39) Thums Up 40) Titan 41) Surf 42) Philips 43) RIN 44) Godrej 45) Videocon 46) Maaza 47) Amul 48) Samsung 49) Johnson & Johnson 50) Head & Shoulders 51) Complan 52) Sunsilk 53) Samsung Mobile Phones 54) Fevicol 55) Iodex 56) All Out 57) LG Mobile Phones 58) Limca 59) Cadbury 60) Fanta 61) Rasna 62) Zandu Balm 63) Dabur Amla 64) Onida 65) Asian Paints 66) Cinthol 67) Moov 68) Sony Ericssion 69) 7 Up 70) Hajmola 71) Amrutanjan Balm 72) Tide 73) Pantene 74) Vim 75) Wheel 76) Parachute 77) Boroplus 78) Boost 79) Vaseline 80) Mortein 81) Motorola 82) Maruti 83) Rexona 84) Dove 85) Sonata Watches 86) Sunfeast 87) Nirma 88) Crocin 89) Medimix 90) Ujala 91) VIP Luggage 92) Bank of India 93) HMT 94) Sprite 95) Pears 96) Boroline 97) Big Bazaar 98) ICICI Bank 99) Nestle 100) Bajaj Motorcycles.

you'd notice the same feature again: you'd not associate the city of hyderabad with any of those brands (like you'd think of bajaj-pune, godrej-mumbai, titan-bangalore etc). none of them have corporate offices in the city, or major manufacturing facilities (except for hmt). some of the consumer non-durable brands are partly produced in local plants, but many of them depend on contract manufacturers now. most of the producers of the service brands have only operational/sales and service facilities in the city. (please let me know if you have better information).

as you can see, hyderabad's growth has been very limited, and the separatists need to seriously think about who they should thank for even that little industrial progress. also, a large number of wise men supporting separation have been talking about internal colonialism. perhaps, they need to rethink on what they mean by that because, for all those large indian business houses in the first list, and for the producers of the brands in the second list, hyderabad (and andhra pradesh) had/has been primarily a market. perhaps, they should get out of their very insulated perches in the elite universities that every subject and coloniser in india helped build, and get some fresh air. perhaps, they should stop being small people talking big.


separating hyderabad

sanjaya baru says hyderabad and other major indian cities like mumbai, kolkata, chennai and bangalore should be made union territories:

There is the story of Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiao Bao’s visit to Mumbai in 2005. He had been told that Mumbai was “India’s Shanghai”. Looking out of his window as the plane landed, a bewildered Mr Wen asked an aide whether this was in fact Mumbai and wondered aloud, “Why do they call it India’s Shanghai?”

The sorry state of our best cities is a commentary on many aspects of India’s political economy and fiscal priorities. However, in recent years, there is recognition that we must reverse this, that cities are important and that there are huge positive externalities in urban development for employment generation and economic development.

Yet, the interests of a city rarely figure in the political calculations of most of India’s political parties. Kolkata and Mumbai stand testimony to the decline of two great cities as a consequence of the misplaced priorities of successive governments in these states. New Delhi has been relatively spared because it is the national Capital and a large part of its administration has been delinked from state-level political pressures and priorities.

It is against this background that one must appreciate the rise of cities like Bangalore and Hyderabad, howsoever limited their rise may seem against the even more impressive rise of south-east Asian cities. [italics mine].

howsoever limited. that's the part of the article that should make us pause and think a little. if sanjaya baru, who says that 'four decades ago, I also walked the streets of Hyderabad declaring, like many teenage students, Pachchi pulusoo khayengey, Telangana leyengey (We will subsist on soup, but secure Telangana)', believes hyderabad must be protected by converting it into a union territory, one needs to think a lot.

if things in the city remain as they are, when any politician could impose a bandh on its citizens on any given day...or forget politicians, any random teacher or professor who hasn't been to a classroom in long years or even any random student leader who hasn't finished his first year in college can call for a bandh and depend on politicians and their henchmen, for whatever reasons, to enforce it, i'm sure many more people would start agreeing with mr.baru before long.


development sutra

some more economics: a few weeks old report in the telegraph says that Telangana would require the crown jewel of Hyderabad for economic survival. why?

A source in the Federation of Andhra Pradesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry said Telangana, including Hyderabad, provides nearly 60 per cent of the revenues of the state. “But without Hyderabad, the rest of Telangana accounts for around 22 per cent,” said a bureaucrat.
actually, i think all three regions would require the crown jewel of hyderabad for their survival. even if andhra and rayalaseema stay together or form two new states. why? because the revenue surpluses from hyderabad are financing part of the development plans of those two regions too and if the tap is switched off, they'd face serious financial challenges.

the separatists would object to sharing of any kind, of course. the problem is that many of them think like kcr:
A: See, why should Telangana suffer? And Hyderabad city? We had an airport even in the early days. Even the railway stations in Hyderabad today were constructed by the Nizam - as were the hospitals and educational institutions like Osmania University. Andhra people say we have invested in Hyderabad, and we are the reason behind its growth. I say Hyderabad has been India's 5th largest city for 50 years now; it has never come to the rank of number 2 or 3. So, if anyone believes demographic expansion of a city is growth, it is foolishness.
in economic terms, hyderabad could as well have slipped, to sixth or eighth position (because i guess even ranchi and rajahmundry had airports and railway stations). like kolkata. but unlike kolkata, there could have been no flight of capital from hyderabad, because there was not much industrial capital in the city to begin with.

so, staying in the same place is also progress. and mere public buildings like an airport, railway stations, hospitals etc couldn't have generated enough revenues to even pay for the city's upkeep. people like kcr might like to reduce the most complex things to simple, folksy sound bytes, but if the invaders from andhra and rayalaseema did not build the city's economy, and revenue generating capacity, who did?

thanks to the efforts of the separatists and others, the cii partnership summit, to be held this week, has moved from hyderabad to chennai, because telangana doesn't need that kind of development...er..demographic expansion. which is kind of ironic since it's the separation of andhra from the madras state which slowed down the flow of capital and enterprise from middle class homes in coastal andhra and rayalaseema to chennai, over the last few decades.


a new opiate

one student commits suicide to prevent lakhs from returning to exams.. there's something seriously wrong with indian teachers who make geography a religion.

i blame all of these people: prof. jayashankar, retired vice chancellor of the kakatiya university who thinks in urdu, speaks telugu and writes in english but doesn't seemed to have gained any significant help from his knowledge of any of those languages in expanding the very narrow horizons of his mind. prof. m. kodandram, osmania university, who proudly says his students, like arjun of the mahabharata, can only see the bird's eye (telangana) now and nothing else. or prof.haragopal, now retired, of hcu who will have to explain now how 'deep-rooted' the demand for a separate state is when those committing suicides are mostly students who were born nearly four decades after telangana was merged into the state of andhra pradesh. and dozens of other professors, hundreds of teachers. some of them have been singing in classrooms: ' my food's telangana, my battle's telangana, my home's telangana, my play's telangana, my work's telangana, my war's telangana, my way's telangana, my destination is telangana'.

what we're seeing now are only the very early results of a concerted effort to purge a whole generation of students of all other defining characteristics (of identity) except shared geography. an obviously bewildered kancha ilaiah had observed a few days ago that suicides aren't a part of telangana's protest culture. what will this lead to in the future? i hope the teachers have a cure for the epidemic they've unleashed, but i doubt it. many of them have alluded to the glorious struggle of students taking over cuba. others have recalled assam. and whose blood shall pay for their dreams?

over 350 of the 369 students who were killed during the telangana agitation of 1969 were obcs, dalits and adivasis. the numbers haven't changed the slightest now. and one of the major grievances of the agitators in 1969 and now has been that government jobs were unfairly distributed along sub-regional lines. but the truth is that nearly 70% of all government jobs in andhra pradesh, like elsewhere in india, had actually gone to a few upper castes (like the brahmins, reddies, velamas, vaishyas, rajus and sections of the kapus ) from all regions. who stole the jobs?

ilaiah says:
In this society, regional agitations are most suited for stopping social transformation as these agitations create mass hysteria. In Telangana, Andhra and Rayalaseema enough mass hysteria has been generated in recent times.
what social transformation? most of the teachers i had named earlier seem to have devised a new opiate for the young dalit, obc masses.


the north, before you think of the south

why did dr.ambedkar favour linguistic states?
" One State, one language " is a universal feature of almost every State. Examine the constitution of Germany, examine the constitution of France, examine the constitution of Italy, examine the constitution of England, and examine the constitution of the U.S.A. " One State, one language " is the rule.

Wherever there has been a departure from this rule there has been a danger to the State. The illustration of the mixed States are to be found in the old Austrian Empire and the old Turkish Empire. They were blown up because they were multi-lingual States with all that a multi-lingual State means. India cannot escape this fate if it continues to be a congery of mixed States.

The reasons why a unilingual State is stable and a multi-lingual State unstable are quite obvious. A State is built on fellow feeling. What is this fellow-feeling ? To state briefly it is a feeling of a corporate sentiment of oneness which makes those who are charged with it feel that they are kith and kin. This feeling is a double-edged feeling. It is at once a feeling of fellowship for ones own kith and kin and anti-fellowship for those who are not one's own kith and kin. It is a feeling of " consciousness of kind " which on the one hand, binds together those who have it so strongly that it over-rides all differences arising out of economic conflicts or social gradations and, on the other, severs them from those who are not of their kind. It is a longing not to belong to any other group.

The existence of this fellow-feeling is the foundation of a stable and democratic State.
that last line brings me to andhra pradesh. could anyone say andhra pradesh hasn't been 'stable and democratic' in the last 53 years? except for two short periods of unrest in late 60s and the early 70s, one could say democracy has functioned fairly smoothly, going by indian standards, in the state. especially in the last 25 years since 1984 (when the congress monopoly over power ended) when every election produced a decisive result and no party in power failed to complete its full term in office. does that prove an existence of fellow-feeling? yes, it does. elections and popular governments are until now the only reliable yardstick to measure stability (and hence, fellow feeling) in indian democracy.

the sudden emergence of the telangana movement in the national headlines might question that assumption about the existence of fellow feeling. but i understand it basically as a movement which has appropriated the angst of several long festering discontents in the region and cleverly fashioned one strong narrative out of them. those who will gain from the movement are not those who represent the stories of the victims. there are new social forces which have emerged in the last thirty years, like a small educated middle class of obcs (from 3-4 large communities) in telangana, which find old power sharing arrangements in existing parties exclusionary. despite their numbers, their political clout has been limited by their ranking in the social/caste hierarchy in the villages, and their inadequate economic presence in the cities. the old feudal upper castes (now fairly urbanized), the reddies and the velamas, who've never really been out of power, now find an alliance with this new class of aspirants useful in strengthening their own interests. it's difficult to say how long this partyless political alliance will last, given the fact that the none of the obc castes in the state can match either, say, the kurubas in karnataka or the vanniyars in tamil nadu, forget the vokkaligas or the mudaliars, in terms of political strength. in economic and social terms, the obcs in telangana must be among the most backward in the whole south.

but would dr.ambedkar have advocated the division of andhra pradesh, on the basis of other principles like the size of the population etc? dr.ambedkar was not against the division of linguistic states, but in his notes he primarily focusses on the consolidation of the north (against the balkanisation of the south) and the need to divide the northern states into new states. he says:
The solution lies obviously in adopting some standard for determining the size of a State. It is not easy to fix such a standard. If two crores of population be adopted as a standard measure most of the Southern States will become mixed States. The enlargement of the Southern States to meet the menace of the Northern States is therefore impossible. The only remedy is to break up the Northern States of U.P., Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.

How did this solution not strike the Congress Working Committee I am unable to understand. It is so obvious.

Division of the Northern States

As I have said the Commission in designing linguistic States has created a consolidation of the North and balkanisation of the South. The Commission has not I am sure done this intentionally. But intentionally or unintentionally the fact is there. Its evil consequences are also clear.

It is therefore necessary that this situation must be rectified. The only way to do this is to divide the three States of (1) Uttar Pradesh, (2) Bihar and (3) Madhya Pradesh into smaller units. In this behalf I make bold to offer certain tentative proposals.

This division does not conflict with the underlying principles of a linguistic State. For, if these States are divided in the way suggested, each resulting State will be a linguistic State.

I am happy to find Mr. Pant saying in the recent debate in Parliament on the subject that he has no objection to the cutting up of the U.P. What he said for U.P. may well be taken as applicable to Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.

Division of Ultar Pradesh.—My proposal with regard to the Uttar Pradesh is to divide it into three States (See Map 2). Each of these three States should have a population of approximately two crores which should be regarded as the standard size of population for a State to administer effectively. [italics mine].
again, would dr.ambedkar have advocated the division of andhra pradesh? a stable, democratic state in the south? given the fact that the consolidation of the north is still a strong reality, would dr.ambedkar have suggested further balkanisation of the south?

even after the creation of certain small states like haryana, uttarakhand, jharkhand etc in the north, the relative strengths of the northern states hasn't changed at all. the project of the division of the north that dr.ambedkar strongly promoted hasn't begun until now, in a manner of speaking. if 2 crores, as he suggested, is to be the standard size of population for a new state, uttar pradesh still needs to be divided into eight new states, madhya pradesh into three new states, bihar into four new states and rajasthan into three new states.

in his notes, dr.ambedkar did ponder over the question of division of the northern states, and even the central states (as he categorized states like maharashtra), but didn't move to the south. in principle, i repeat, he wasn't against the division of linguistic states, but the division of the southern states was far from his mind, it'd seem. like always, he looked at the question of division and creation of new states very rationally, and seemed to have decided that the north presented a problem more than the south. perhaps, he wouldn't have approached the south at all, in my view, if one looks closely at his principles for the creation of new states.

dr.ambedkar on the reorganization of states

dr.ambedkar had some interesting things to say on the consolidation of the north and the balkanisation of the south:
What the Commission has created is not a mere disparity between the States by leaving U.P. and Bihar as they are, by adding to them a new and a bigger Madhya Pradesh with Rajasthan it creates a new problem of North versus South.

The North is Hindi speaking. The South is non-Hindi speaking. Most people do not know what is the size of the Hindi-speaking population. It is as much as 48 per cent of the total population of India. Fixing one's eye on this fact one cannot fail to say that the Commission's effort will result in the consolidation of the North and the balkanisation of the South.

Can the South tolerate the dominance of the North?

It may now not be a breach of a secret if I revealed to the public what happened in the Congress Party meeting when the Draft Constitution of India was being considered, on the issue of adopting Hindi as the national language. There was no article which proved more controversial than Article 115 which deals with the question. No article produced more opposition. No article, more heat. After a prolonged discussion when the question was put, the vote was 78 against 78. The tie could not be resolved. After a long time when the question was put to the Party meeting the result was 77 against 78 for Hindi. Hindi won its place as a national language by one vote. I am stating these facts from my personal knowledge. As Chairman of the Drafting Committee I had naturally entry to the Congress Party enclosure.

These facts reveal how much the South dislikes the North. This dislike may grow into hatred if the North remains consolidated and the South becomes disintegrated and if the North continues to exercise a disproportionate influence on the politics of India (See Map 1).

To allow one State to have such preponderating influence in the Centre is a dangerous thing.

Mr. Pannikar has referred to this aspect of the case. In his dissenting minute he says:

"The consequence of the present imbalance, caused by the denial of the federal principal of equality of units, has been to create feelings of distrust and resentment in all the States outside Uttar Pradesh. Not only in the Southern States but also in the Punjab, Bengal and elsewhere the view was generally expressed before the Commission that the present structure of government led to the dominance of Uttar Pradesh in all-India matters. The existence of this feeling will hardly be denied by anyone. That it will be a danger to our unity, if such feelings are allowed to exist and remedies are not sought and found now, will also not be denied."

There is a vast difference between the North and the South. The North is conservative. The South is progressive. The North is superstitious, the South is rational. The South is educationally forward, the North is educationally backward. The culture of the South is modern. The culture of the North is ancient.

Did not Prime Minister Nehru on the 15th of August 1947 sit at the Yajna performed by the Brahmins of Benares to celebrate the event of a Brahmin becoming the first Prime Minister of free and independent India and wear the Raja Danda given to him by these Brahmins and drink the water of the Ganges brought by them ?

How many women have been forced to go Sati in recent days and immolate themselves on the funeral pyre of their dead husbands. Did not the President recently go to Benares and worship the Brahmins, washed their toes and drank the water ?

The North still has its Satis, its Nanga Sadhus. What havoc the Nanga Sadhus made at the last Hardwar Fair! Did anyone in U.P. protest against it ?

How can the rule of the North be tolerated by the South ? Already there signs of the South wanting to break away from the North.

Mr. Rajagopalachari has made a statement on the recommendations of the States Reorganisation Commission which has appeared in the Times of India of the 27th November. 1955. This is what he says :

" If it is impossible to put the States Reorganisation Schemes in cold storage for the next 15 years, the only alternative is for the Centre to govern India as a unitary state and deal with district officers and district boards directly, with regional commissioners' supervision.

" It would be utterly wrong to fritter away national energy in dispute over boundaries and divisions conceived in the drawing room and not on the background of conditions that have resulted historically.

" Apart from the general convictions of mine, I feel that a large southern State is absolutely essential for preserving the political significance of that part of the country. To cut the South up into Tamil, Malayalam and other small States will result only in complete insignificance of everybody and, in the net result, India as a whole will be the poorer."

Mr. Rajagopalachari has not expressed himself fully. He did do so fully and openly to me when he was the Head of the State and I was the Law Minister in charge of drafting the constitution. I went to Mr. Rajagopalachari for my usual interview which was the practice of the day. At one such interview Mr. Rajagopalachari, referring to the sort of constitution which the Constituent Assembly was making, said to me, "You are committing a great mistake. One federation for the whole of India with equal representation for all areas will not work. In such a federation the Prime Minister and President of India will always be from the Hindi speaking area. You should have two Federations, one Federation of the North and one Federation of the South and a Confederation of the North and the South with three subjects for the Confederation to legislate upon and equal representation for both the federations."

These are the real thoughts of Mr. Rajagopalachari. They came to me as a revelation coming as they did from the innermost heart of a Congressman. I now regard Mr. Rajagopalachari as a prophet predicting the break-up of India into the North and the South. We must do everything to falsify Mr. Rajagopalachari's prophecy.

It must not be forgotten that there was a civil war in the U.S.A. between the North and the South. There may also be a civil war between the North and the South in India. Time will supply many grounds for such a conflict. It must not be forgotten that there is a vast cultural difference between the North and the South and cultural differences are very combustible.

In creating this consolidation of the North and balkanisation of the South the Commission did not realise that they were dealing with a political and not a merely linguistic problem.

It would be most unstatesman like not to take steps right now to prevent such a thing happening. What is the remedy ?
in his notes, dr.ambedkar struggled with several problems raised by the reorganization of states, weighed the pros and and cons of linguistic states (which he favoured), and also formulated some principles for the creation of new states. more on that later.


kancha ilaiah on telangana

Speaking at a seminar on ‘Telangana State - social justice’ here on Thursday, Prof. Ilaiah said that the political JAC was dominated by upper caste feudal lords to protect their vested interests and weaker sections might end up more oppressed in such Telangana State than under Andhra capitalists.

Noting that the latest developments in New Delhi did not hold out any possibility for formation of Telangana in the near future, Prof. Ilaiah said even if the State was delayed by 20 years, only leadership of Dalits, BCs and minorities forming majority population alone would pave way for democratic and social Telangana.

can't imagine how so many dalitbahujan activists and thinkers ever came to the view that in the current telangana movement, the obcs and dalits of telangana could play a bigger role than being mere cannon fodder, of sorts. a movement which uses slogans like 'telanganaku aDDostE aDDangA narikestAm', which roughly means 'those who oppose telangana shall be struck down' (as with swords), obviously borrows more than just a leaf or two from other movements which have focussed heavily on so-called 'sentiments'.

the movement now doesn't speak to one of the mass migrations from mahboobnagar, the weavers' suicides in karimnagar or the cotton farmers' suicides in warangal or the fluoride victims in nalgonda or the endless parade of fake encounters across telangani villages in the last forty years. it doesn't sing about deprivation, repression or tragedy anymore. what it thrusts in one's face now is pure, raw, unbridled 'sentiment'.

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? the brahminized political classes of telangana have rewritten the script, or are only now revealing hidden, crucial portions of it. it's quite clear to me that the aspirations of the impure will have to serve the sentiment and not vice versa. i can understand prof. ilaiah's apprehensions and think he deserves to be applauded for displaying the courage to take a second, closer look at the emperor's new clothes.


it's the economy, stupid

in 1999, when the congress chief, out of power and therefore of sound hearing, allowed the local legislators (from telangana) in andhra pradesh to form a separate pradesh congress committee for telangana region, it seemed like the congress was giving some thought to the question of telangana. a year before that, the bjp had passed a resolution at a party meet in kakinada in coastal andhra promising the bifurcation of the state.

now, ten years later, it should be evident to everyone paying some serious thought to the issue in the state that: no one outside the state, least of all in delhi, has been paying any serious thought to the issue. that should tell them a lot about how to go about solving their problems. and help them understand democracy, federalism and politics as practised in india better. and also make them rethink on pretty ideas like: india, citizenship, rights etc.

that rethinking might not cure anyone of suicidal tendencies, it might actually prompt more suicides, but... one could at least attribute more rational motives to those suicides. can't be anything but a cynic now.

but i still hope some serious thought would be paid to some basic economic questions of how viable bifurcation or trifurcation is. like the questions jayaprakash narayan raises in this article:

There are serious economic issues to be examined on the issue of carving out a separate State in Andhra Pradesh. First, the capital city is a serious bone of contention, and once people and investors lose faith in the future, it will decline rapidly.

This will hurt both Andhra Pradesh and India, because large cities are now important clusters of growth, and if a Mumbai or Delhi faces economic hardship, the whole nation will be impacted by the fallout.

Second, parts of the coastal region are agriculturally well-developed and have resources and surpluses. For instance, the coastal region generates surplus revenues in the power sector, and is subsidising power for farmers in Telangana and Rayalaseema. A separate State will be burdened by an unviable power sector.

Costal regions are always engines of growth all over the world. Telangana is land-locked, and losing the costal region would retard growth and opportunities. Again, this is the first time a land-locked region is seeking to separate from the coastal belt. When passions subside, the pain and deprivation will be felt.

Water resources are always a bone of contention in a monsoon-fed country. Even in a relatively well-managed city of Mumbai, enjoying abundant rainfall on the West coast, water riots took a life recently. In a water-starved region, river water disputes will escalate, and sharing of Krishna and Godavari waters will be a nightmare.

In the K-G basin off the Andhra coast, abundant natural gas reserves have recently been found, and are being tapped. Already, there is the challenge of sharing natural resources between the home State and the rest of India, and now Telangana will be further depleted.

Large, unviable lift irrigation projects — at a capital cost of Rs 3-4 lakh per acre and Rs 40,000 per year per acre maintenance cost — have been unwisely proposed in Telangana. They will be a permanent drain on the economy of the region, undermining it without ensuring benefits.

while agreeing with most of what he says on telangana, i'd like to add that coastal andhra and rayalaseema would also face serious problems if they choose to stay together or split further into two more states.

among indian states, one'd notice two approaches to the issue of development: one revolves around wanton exploitation of whatever natural resources are available and badly mismanaging their distribution in the name of building agricultural wealth and surpluses on the one hand , and using those surpluses in trying to build 'industrial clusters' or one or two urban engines of growth on the other. apart from the majority of indian states, the indian government itself practises that approach. the second approach is the one that had been followed in kerala for a long time, what i'd call the people-oriented approach. an approach that focuses on building people's capabilities, as amartya sen would say. the second approach is of course more democratic, needs and wastes less natural resources, and creates fewer socio-economic divisions.

given the fact that the debate on division still seems to be conducted mostly along a perspective born out of the first approach to development, one can confidently predict that all three regions of the state, divided or together, would always find problems in the management of the two key, in their view, resources: power and water. will try to look at the problems as i understand them, very briefly, in the rest of the post.

telangana, as dr.jayaprakash narayan points out, would face problems in the short to medium term in the area of power. building new capacities in thermal power (through coal, of questionable quality, from singareni in which the separatists seem to put much faith) would require time, and the shortfall could have a fatal effect on both the city of hyderabad and the progress of industrialisation in the new state and on agriculture. in the area of water, there is very little the new state could do to improve availability in the krishna basin region, comprising primarily the two very backward districts of nalgonda and mahboobnagar. the question of how much can be tapped from the godavari hasn't been fully answered by the separatists, but again as dr.jayaprakash narayan points out, the costs involved could be too high.

rayalaseema could face the worst water and power problems: its hopes hinge on more water from the krishna, which isn't there, and from the godavari which runs entirely through the telangana and coastal andhra region. the proposed polavaram project on the godavari is supposed to divert some water to the krishna basin region in coastal andhra so that rayalaseema could use more water from the krishna. in the event of division, the completion of polavaram, and of the implementation of the original allocation plans seems very... problematic.

the north coastal region in the state (including the growing city of visakhapatnam, a potential capital for the new state) another very backward region in the state, also depends on the completion of the polavaram project for its current and future water needs. any change in plans could impact negatively vizag's potential. two other districts in the south coastal andhra, prakasam and nellore, also have water-starved regions.

and there's also the question of not having a city like hyderabad to act as an engine or driver of industrial growth, which could severely affect overall economic development in both the regions. and building one new capital city, or two new capital cities, would cost much more than what most people seem to think.


telangana: already behind bars

“The 30 lakh people, who visit their native places in Andhra for Sankranti, will not be allowed to return. The Andhra lobby should not lobby against our genuine agitation and against the aspirations of the people of Telangana,’’ speakers at the Telangana Vidyarthi Garjana said.
one particular student leader repeated that threat, a day after the meeting.
there were many more such dire warnings issued at the meeting. the threats were addressed to ordinary office-goers, factory and white collar workers, small and big businessmen (and their families) from andhra and rayalaseema living and working in the city of hyderabad.

liberals sitting several flying hours away from hyderabad might see in the telangana movement the democratic aspirations of the people of the region. if they were ever made to suffer for a few hours the claustrophobic atmosphere, progressively built by the votaries of the movement in the last ten years, in universities, news rooms, courts, government offices, panchayats and even schools across the region that leaves no space for debate (leave alone disagreement) outside the subject of telangana, they'd realize that a day or two at the rss headquarters in nagpur or any of the several jungle hide-outs of the maoist party would be much more democratic. i hope that'd also make them pause and think: why are the most hardened supporters of telangana from either the sangh parivar or the maoist family?

today, somewhere on the net, i found this line:
If you can not express yourself you are already behind bars.
there are around 3.5 crore or more people in telangana (including hyderabad). even in the most sweeping landslides in any general elections in the region or elsewhere in the country, winners haven't been able to garner more than 50% of the polled vote (not all the votes, mind). that means 100% of the people voting 'yes' on any issue is a practical impossibility. then why does it seem like an impossible idea for anyone to hold a public meeting of even 10 people supporting a 'united andhra pradesh' in any place outside hyderabad in telangana? and since the last one month, even in hyderabad? assuming 100% of all telanganis support the idea of a separate state, given the fact that at least 30 lakh people of andhra origin live in hyderabad and neighbouring districts, is it stupid to think a few of those 30 lakh people would like the city to be a part of a united state? so, why don't we hear a single one of those voices, clearly, at a public forum? the threat of violence is very real. it hasn't spared politicians, film stars, businessmen: what chance do ordinary voices have of publicly airing their honest views?

most of the agitating students at the meeting at osmania university are from obc, dalit backgrounds. on other occasions, when they were fighting equally passionately for other causes like scholarships etc, or unfilled reserved jobs, there wasn't 1/10th as much support from the political classes (now, since the agitation started, mps and mlas from all parties visit them almost every day) or the media or the huge contingent of lawyers willing to rush to the high court or the state human rights commission or the top officials in the government to protect their right to assembly etc.

is it the democratic aspirations of the people, of the lower castes of telangana, that are shaping the current agitation or is it the ambitions of a new class of businessmen-contractor-politicians who see endless rent-seeking possibilities in a new state that's driving the effort to cleanse the region of all dissent and democracy?

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