Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Let us All Demand an End to "This Hunt" On The Soil Of India

"Green Hunt" has started. The program of elimination of adivasis on the name of Maoists that Home Minister Chidambaram has initiated. Given the low reliability of reports emanating from Chhattisgarh, the numbers published by the press as to how many Cobra Soldiers have entered Dantewada district, how many battalions of paramilitary units have been sent by the Center, what kind of fatalities have been caused by the shootings on both sides, etc. might not be completely true.


With a little effort it might not be impossible to ascertain the number of soldiers involved in Green Hunt, but the same cannot be said of the number of deaths in this operation. The presence of a dead body proves death. But the authorities in Chhattisgarh take possession of the dead bodies of only their men, perform Panchnama and postmortem and hand over the bodies to the families of the dead. The bodies of Maoists and their sympathizers are often left in the forests as fodder for wild animals. This was standard practice until about a year ago; only recently and on certain occasions, it appears that some of these bodies are also being brought and Panchnama performed.


If those that have died are not armed naxalites but are in fact rural villagers, then leaving their bodies behind in the forest is the smart thing to do from the governments point of view. Even if the bodies are those of armed naxalites, the opinion in Chhattisgarhs ruling officialdom seems to be that the corpses of traitors deserve neither the usual dignities accorded to the dead, nor their labor for the performance of such dignities.

In the war against the LTTE in Sri Lanka, when evidence was uncovered through the Panchnamas performed on the bodies of dead Tamils that they had been killed by torture, the government of that country ordered that bodies of Tamils could henceforth be buried without the performance of Panchnamas. While the constitution might impede the passing of similar orders by our own governments, the Chhattisgarh government is implementing the same through unwritten orders.

Newspapers are reporting that that the government of Chhattisgarh has passed orders banning media personnel from even approaching the areas of operation. Raman Singhs government seems to believe that such a restriction is necessary to obscure whether it is armed naxalites or their Adivasi followers that are hunted through Green hunt. If the media has the courage to defy this restriction, they can win.

This is because the Supreme court has declared, in the very early days of the drafting of the constitution, that freedom of the press is part of an individuals freedom of expression. This right can only be regulated within the bounds allowed by the constitution, and that too through specific enactments, but the government does not have the right to ban the media by Government Orders, without showing any reasons for the same. Not that it is possible to emerge alive after arguing about the Constitution with armed Cobras that are blocking the way, but at the very least we must know that it is illegal to place such restrictions on the media. If not, and if governments, one after the other, start placing restrictions and ban the media, then its a great loss for Democracy.

What was begun by the Left government in Lalgarh is being continued by the government in Chhattisgarh. It appears that Sri Lanka has provided inspiration in this matter as well. In the last three months of the battle against the LTTE, the Sri Lankan govt. did not let the media enter the northern part of the country. The intentions of the Sri Lankan rulers become clear when we see in the internal correspondence of United Nations officials that about 20 thousand Tamil civilians were killed during the period of this ban on the media. Sri Lanka has now been mentioned twice, but the story cant be complete without a third mention of it.
The rulers of India have gained a new courage after the fall of LTTEs army. Our rulers have also begun to believe that Peace Talks and Political Solutions are not necessary in militant political struggles, and that with firm resolve, such groups can be physically eliminated. The resolve to eliminate the Maoists, who have already been declared to be the pre-eminent threat against the countrys internal security, has thus been strengthened. Ordinary people might indeed wonder if the immorality of the ruling parties, their unfair governance, and economic systems that are perversely feeding the growth of inequalities, are in fact not greater dangers to the internal security of the country.

But what the current home minister Chidambaram, who is also the ex-finance minister and one of the architects of the countrys development policy, knows is that leaving aside the issue of internal security, Maoist presence can inhibit the attempts to extract the enormous mineral resources in the forests of Central India, and use them for development. While Maoists have not necessarily obstructed on all occasions the presence and expansion of capitalists in the areas under their dominance, the anxiety is that the fear that the Maoists might do so will inhibit capitalists from coming forward to invest in the area.

These, all together have led to the process of Maoists elimination. Chidambarams challenge (delivered without ruffling his toothpaste smile in the least), that Paramilitary units and Cobras trained in guerilla warfare will be launched in a massive fashion to physically annihilate the Maoists, is now being implemented. News trickling in about the recent Dantewada shootings reveals that the decimation of Adivasis might be the meaning behind this elimination. And the Maoists are speaking the same language as well; they are issuing a counter-challenge to the government about their own prowess.

Only the second day after Chidambarams proclamation that paramilitary units would be launched in Aabujmadh, they have killed police in large numbers in Rajnandgaon. Those that have chosen the path of armed struggle can hardly avoid fighting when warfare arrives at their door, but they must not do anything to invite a battle whilst living amidst the people. They should do whatever they can in order to prevent it. What must in fact be done can be debated extensively, but the real question is about ones attitude on the matter. Maoist leaders do not like such questions. Whose side are you on? they ask.

If you were to recognize not just political partisanship but also a partisanship of values, we could reply that we are on the side of Justice. Justice mostly lies on the side of those that are fighting for the people, but when they start prioritizing their political objectives over the welfare of the people, one cannot but call it injustice. And then there are also those that ask How long can the government remain a silent spectator? It is one thing to fight militantly for the sake of peoples needs, and it is another to launch an armed challenge to the sovereignty of the state.

Even those rulers that can tolerate the first cannot tolerate the second. They ask whether even the Maoists can be expected to behave differently should they come to power tomorrow. This is a fair question, but the only answer that can be given by advocates of democracy is that any challenge must be faced in a democratic fashion. When the 11th planning commission, seeking a solution to this, appointed a committee of experts, they concluded that the only way to face the Maoists democratically is for the state itself to create through the use of state sovereignty whatever rights, freedoms and opportunities that people had gained through the Maoists.

There is no evidence that either Manmohan Singh or Chidambaram have read those submissions. Finally, as always, the conflicts of Dantewada district have begun to echo in Bhadrachalam district. From Chintoor to Vajod, the police are forcing the Adivasis to come to police stations, and are imprisoning them illegally, and are torturing them severely in order to commit them to the legal process.

It was only when Komuram Narasimha Rao, a resident of R.Kothagudem colony, committed suicide on the 7th of this month, out of fear of what else the police would subject him to, that the world came to know that the Police of Charla had hung him on a hook and beat him to a pulp, after they had tied up his hands and feet. One can imagine what the situation is like in Dantewada when it is like this in Kothagudem. That is why it is important that we raise our voices to demand that the government stop this hunt, just as it is necessary to ask that the Maoists behave in a manner that would put pressure on such a direction.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

తెలంగాణకు విలన్ నెం.1 రోశయ్యే..!!

చూడటానికి పెద్దమనిషిలా.. గౌరవంగా కనిపించే మాజీ సీఎం రోశయ్య నంగనాచిలా తెలంగాణకు వ్యతిరేకంగా చేయాల్సిందిల్లా చేశాడు. డిసెంబర్ 9 ప్రకటనను నిలిపివేస్తూ డిసెంబర్ 23 ప్రకటన రావడానికి ప్రధాన కారకుడు రోశయ్యే. తెలంగాణ రాష్ట్ర ఏర్పాటు ఆలస్యం కావడానికి ఈ నంగనాచి రోశయ్య పంపిన దొంగ నివేదికనే కారణం. దారిన పోయే దానయ్యనంటూనే తెరవెనక కథంతా నడిపించాడు. సీమాంధ్రలో పరిస్థితి అల్లకల్లోలంగా ఉందంటూ 2009 డిసెంబర్ 19, 20 తేదీల్లో కేంద్రానికి పచ్చి అబద్దపు నివేదికలను పంపాడు. అందులో ప్రతీ లైనులో అబద్దపు మాటలే. 86 వేల మంది సీమాంధ్రులు ఆందోళనలో పాల్గొన్నారని, తెలంగాణ ఏర్పాటు చేస్తే సీమాంధ్ర మొత్తం తగలబడి పోతుందని అతి దారుణంగా, మోసపూరితమైన నివేదికను కేంద్రానికి చేరవేశాడు. నివేదికను ఇవ్వడానికి స్వయంగా తానే ఢిల్లీకి వెళ్లాడు. ఢిల్లీ విమానాశ్రయంలో పెద్ద డ్రామానే నడిపాడు. ఇక అంతా అయిపోయిందని, సీమాంధ్రలో పరిస్థితి అదుపుతప్పిందని, వెంటనే డిసెంబర్ 9 ప్రకటనను వెనక్కి తీసుకోకపోతే రాష్ట్రం అగ్నిగుండమవుతుందని సినిమాల్లో విలన్ కన్నా అత్యంత దారుణంగా నటించి, నర్తించాడు. ఇన్నాళ్లూ చంద్రబాబు కుట్ర అని అందరూ అనుకున్నారు. కానీ రోశయ్య కుట్రలో చంద్రబాబు భాగస్వామి అని ఆలస్యంగా తెలిసింది. రోశయ్య రాసిన నివేదికలను ఆర్‌టీఐ యాక్టు ద్వారా టిన్యూస్ సంపాదించింది. లగడపాటి రాజగోపాల్, కావూరి సాంబశివరావులు కూడా ఈ కుట్రలో ప్రధాన భూమిక పోషించారు. రోశయ్య పంపిన నివేదికలో లగడపాటి దీక్షను కూడా పెద్ద బూచిలా చూపించారు. ఎన్టీఆర్ ట్రస్ట్‌భవన్ నుంచి ప్రారంభమైన రాజీనామాల పర్వం ఈ ముసలి, మాజీ సిఎం పన్నిన పన్నాగమని ఇప్పుడే బయట పడింది. డిసెంబర్ 23 ప్రకటనకు ప్రధాన కారకుడనే పచ్చి నిజం నిగ్గుతేలింది. ఇంత పెద్ద డ్రామాను ఎంతో చాకచక్యంగా నడిపిన రోశయ్యకు సీమాంధ్ర పెత్తందార్లు కేంద్రం చేత ఇప్పించిన నజరానానే తమిళనాడు గవర్నర్‌గిరి.

ఆపదర్మ ముఖ్యమంత్రి అయ్యినవాడు 10 కోట్ల ప్రజలకు న్యాయం చేయాలి అల కాకుండా సీమ ఆంద్ర నీచ బుడ్డి తో తెలంగాణ ప్రజలకు ద్రోహం చేసిండు ఇచిన తెలంగాణాను వెనకకు పోవడానికి కారణం ఈ ముసలోడే ఇంతకముందు మాట ఇచి మోసం చేసినోళ్ళు ఎలా చాచారో చూసాం వీడు కూడా అంతే 600 మంది అమరుల ఆత్మలకు శాంతి లేకుండా చేసాడు వీడు సామాన్యుడు కాదు టీ న్యూస్ పుణ్యమా అని అందరికి ఈ సీమ ఆంద్ర రాజకేయ నాయకుల గురించి తెలిసింది ఇప్పటికిన అర్ధమయిందా మన చానెల్ మన పేపర్ మనకోసమే మన ఆత్మ గౌరవం నీలబదాలంటే మనం వాటిని అదరిన్చలుఇ దన్యవాదములు టీ న్యూస్ మరియు నమస్తే తెలంగాణ.

Rise of Factionist YSR: Setback to the Telangana Movement

In the period of five years, Y.S. Rajsekhar Reddy- a product and a propeller of Rayalaseema factional politics- knew too well the mechanics and machinations of power and knew how to hit his adversaries at vulnerable points. He literally stifled all the opposition to his power, managed to distance the Delhi High Command from all the leaders particularly senior Telangana leaders who were left with no choice except repeating and reiterating their loyalty to the high command without any reciprocation from the other side. He nurtured sizable young goons and political lumpens who were personally loyal to him. YSR fortified his position to an extent that he became indispensable for the congress party both at the national and the state level.

The man is anything but a vendor of humane visages. His rise in politics has been accompanied by more bloodshed than that of any other politician in this state. Not bloodshed for some avowed ‘higher cause’, but bloodshed for the narrowest possible cause: the rise of one individual to political power and prominence. The recent elections may very well have meant many things in terms of popular aspirations, and one has no desire to be cynical on that score. But in the matter of the change of helmsmen, it has merely replaced a man who would find nothing too crooked if it is in his political interest, with one who would find nothing too brutal. And for both, the goal is the same: Power. Such precisely are the men neo-liberalism wishes to find in power in countries such as ours which it wants to subordinate to its logic and interests. It would be imprudent to regard this as an irrelevant consideration on the ground of the Congress Party’s avowal of a ‘human face’, for firstly that expression has no precise meaning, secondly Congressmen are known to be capable of changing course mid-stream, and thirdly India’s rulers irrespective of party have knowingly put themselves in a position where they have little leeway in matters of policy.

YSR (as he is known in short) belongs to Cuddapah district of the Rayalaseema region of the state. His constituency, Pulivendula, exhibits a most distressing topography: endless stretches of nude soil studded with gravel and relieved by rocks that are even more bare. It is watered, using the expression figuratively, by the Chitravati, a tributary of the Penna (called Pennair in most maps), itself hardly a river worth the name. Today YSR wishes to be seen as a politician who has responded to the needs of farmers and is determined to do well by them, but in the nearly three decades of his political life, he has not been instrumental in adding one acre of assured irrigation to the parched lands of the constituency that has again and again returned him or his brother (when YSR chose to go to parliament instead) to the state assembly.

Y.S.R saw to it that the peace talks, which he promised in the elections, collapse and ‘hounded’ the Maoists with such ruthlessness. The only difference between Babu and Y.S.R. styles is that the later tilted the economic reforms slightly in favour of rural economy in terms of building irrigation infrastructure writing off of the agricultural debt, free power supply to farmers and a few pro-rural poor measures. This shift from the high metropolis-centric IT dominated thrust to agrarian concerns turned Y.S.R. into almost a welfare symbol and his sudden death evoked popular sentiments and the media made him an icon out of the context.

YSR’s death was followed by a big drama in Andhra politics; the lumpen forces that were solidly rooted in politics and intensely engaged in amassing wealth by all means felt orphaned and were looking for an alternative in wilderness. There was no single congress man respectable and reputed to take over the mantle. It was in this utter despair they propped up his son Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy whose political career was less than a hundred days at that time. Many congress men of all hues loudly claimed and openly argued that he was the only proper successor to YSR.

The young Jaganmohan Reddy triggered by ambition let loose the money and musclemen and created law and order problem in the state. Any name of a Telangana leader mentioned for the post of C.M. invited immediate protest and burning of the effigy of those leaders in their respective districts. The media which is also largely lumpenised lent wide publicity to every incident magnifying the protest that passed for public support to the young man. It created terrible fear all around and no congress man dared to even comment on what was happening around. Balagopal in his last address to Human Rights Forum just before he passed away, expressed his deep concern about this fear that gripped the state. This only suggests that Y.S.R. or his supporters built such an anti-social force that this drama would have been enacted if high-command had ever touched Y.S.R for any reason. It took this sequence to happen for the high command to realize that it enjoyed no support in this state and all the rhetoric used in praise of the high command was hollow. The seasoned congress politicians in Delhi wanted to do as much of damage control as possible and send a message to Y.S.R’s followers and to the Congress Party in the state that the power of High Command matters.

Monday, 29 August 2011

శ్రీశైలం ఎవరిది ? -- ఆర్. విద్యాసాగర్‌రావు

ఈ మధ్య మంత్రి టి.జి. వెంక తెలంగాణ ప్రత్యేక రాష్ట్రమవుతే శ్రీశైలం ప్రాజెక్టు రాయలసీమకు చెందుతుంది-ఎందుకంటే శ్రీశైలం మా ప్రాంతంలో కట్టబడింది. పైపెచ్చు ఆ డ్యాం మూలంగా రాయలసీమ వాళ్లు చాలా మంది నిరాక్షిశయులయ్యారు అని అన్నారు. ఇది ఎంతవరకు నిజం?

neelu-lijalu-telangana News talangana patrika telangana culture telangana politics telangana cinemaహైదరాబాద్ నగరం తెలంగాణలో అంతర్భాగం కనుక హైదరాబాద్ లేకుండా తెలంగాణ అంగీకరించే ప్రసక్తే లేదు అని తెలంగాణ వాదులు కరా ఖండిగా కేంద్రానికి చెప్పిన సందర్భంగా కౌంటర్‌గా మంత్రి వెంక హైదరాబాద్ తెలంగాణకు ఇస్తే మాకు శ్రీశైలం ఇవ్వవలసి ఉంటుందన్న వాదన తెరమీదకు తెచ్చినట్టుగా స్పష్టంగా కనిపిస్తోంది. ఇది కేవలం వాదనకోసమే అలా మాట్లాడి ఉండొచ్చు. లేదా మంత్రి గారికి ఆ కోరిక ఉండొచ్చు. ఏదేమైనా శ్రీశైలం ప్రాజెక్టు ఆంధ్రవూపదేశ్ రాష్ట్ర ప్రాజెక్టు-భారతదేశపు ప్రాజెక్టు- దానిపైన ఎవరికీ పేటెంట్ హక్కు లేదు. అది జాతిసొత్తు ప్రజల సొత్తు ఆ ప్రాజెక్టును కృష్ణా నదిపైన నిర్మించారు. డ్యాంకు కుడిపక్క కర్నూలు జిల్లా ఎడమ పక్క మహబూబ్‌నగర్ జిల్లా ఉన్నాయి.

ఈ ప్రాజెక్టు మూలంగా మహబూబ్‌నగర్ జిల్లాలోని కొల్లాపూర్ పరిధిలో 27, అలంపూర్ పరిధిలో 29 గ్రామాలు, వనపర్తి పరిధిలో 11 గ్రామాలు, మొత్తం 67 గ్రామాలు, కర్నూలు జిల్లాలోని నందికొట్కూరు పరిధిలో 32 గ్రామాలు, ఆత్మకూరు పరిధిలో 14 గ్రామాలు, కర్నూలు పరిధిలో 4 గ్రామాలు, మొత్తం 50 గ్రామాలు ముంపుకు గురయ్యాయి. ఇక ముంపుకు గురయిన భూమి విషయానికి వస్తే మహబూబ్‌నగ ర్ జిల్లాలోని 1546 ఎకరాల మాగాణి, 429 29 ఎకరాల మెట్ట, 7952 ఎకరాల బంజరు పోరంబోకు భూమి ఇలా మొత్తం 54 807 ఎకరాల భూమి కాగా కర్నూలు జిల్లాలోని 2028 ఎకరాల మాగాణి, 47029 ఎకరాల మెట్ట, 5294 ఎకరాల బంజరు పోరంబోకు భూమి వగైరా మొత్తం 52541 ఎకరాలు, నీట మునగడం జరిగింది.ఈ వివరాలను బట్టి ఏం తెలుస్తోంది.

Srisailam-telangana News talangana patrika telangana culture telangana politics telangana cinema
ఒకటి- మహబూబ్‌నగర్, కర్నూలు, జిల్లాలు శ్రీశైలంకు ఇరు పక్కలా ఉన్నాయని, రెండు -కర్నూలు జిల్లా కన్న మహబూబ్‌నగర్ జిల్లాలోనే అటు గ్రామాలు కానీ భూములు కానీ ఎక్కువగా ముంపునకు గురయ్యాయని. ఈ నేపథ్యంలో శ్రీశైలం రాయలసీమకే చెందుతుందనడంలో ఏ మాత్రం ఔచిత్యం ఉందో పాఠకులే అర్థం చేసుకోవచ్చు. శ్రీశైలం ప్రాజెక్టులో రెండు విద్యుత్ కేంద్రాలున్నాయి. ఎడమ గట్టు విద్యుత్ కేంద్రం 900 మెగావాట్ల సామర్థ్యం కలిగి ఉంది. కుడిగట్టు విద్యుత్ కేంద్రం 700 మెగావాట్ల సామర్థ్యం కలిగి ఉంది. మొత్తం విద్యుత్ సామర్థ్యం 1670 మెగావాట్లు- ఇక నీటి వినియోగానికి వస్తే కొన్ని విచివూతమైన విషయాలు బయటపడతాయి.

శ్రీశైలం ప్రాజెక్టు ప్రధాన ఉద్దేశ్యం విద్యుదుత్పాదన. విద్యుత్తు ఉత్పత్తి చేసి నీటిని దిగువ ఉన్న నాగార్జునసాగర్‌కు విడుదల చేయడం. అంటే నాగార్జునసాగర్‌కు ఇది బ్యాలెన్సింగ్ రిజర్వాయర్‌గా ఉపయోగపడుతుందన్న మాట. ఈ ప్రాజెక్టు నుండి నేరుగా సాగు కోసం నీటిని తరలించ కూడదని, కృష్ణానదీ జలాలను మూడు రాష్ట్రాలకు అంటే మహారాష్ట్ర, కర్ణాటక, ఆంధ్రవూపదేశ్‌కు పంచిన బచావత్ ట్రిబ్యునల్ తమ నివేదికలో స్పష్టంగా పేర్కొంది. శ్రీశైలంలో నిలువ చేసిన నీరు శ్రీశైలంలో విద్యుత్తు ఉత్పత్తి చేసాక నాగార్జునసాగర్‌లో విద్యుత్తు ఉత్పత్తి చేసిన అనంతరం అంతిమంగా సాగర్ ఆయకట్టు కృష్ణాడెల్టా ఆయకట్టుకు ఉపయోగపడుతుంది. కాబట్టి శ్రీశైలంలో ఆవిరి నష్టానికి 33 టి.ఎం.సి ల నీటిని ట్రిబ్యునల్ ప్రత్యేకంగా కేటాయించింది. శ్రీశైలం మాదిరిగానే మేము కూడా ‘ కోయినా ప్రాజెక్టు’ను విద్యుత్తు ఉత్పాదన కోసమే కట్టుకున్నాం.

Full Article @ Namasthe Telangana

ఆర్. విద్యాసాగర్‌రావు
కేంద్ర జలవనరుల సంఘం మాజీ చీఫ్ ఇంజనీర్ 

Rise of Telugu Desam Party: The Fall Of Telangana Identity

In terms of economic changes in 1970s there was considerable central government investment in Hyderabad and there was overall expansion of industrial and infrastructural base. The Andhra political elite felt more encouraged, empowered and reassured of their investment after the Jai Andhra agitation. As the Telangana leadership could not protect the mulki-rules, nor could protect the Chief Minister office for Telanganite, the Andhra elite came to believe that once for all the demand for a separate Telangana State was over. This has enthused them to invest more freely in industry and infrastructure in the city of Hyderabad. The agrarian surplus and leakages of public funds through contracts made the class more prosperous almost suggesting an arrival of some brand of regional bourgeoisie. The rich farmers, powerful peasant community and regional industrial class coupled with the restless masses laid a new base for the rise of alternative political force. There was realignment of political forces at the state and national levels. In a multi-class society, alignment and realignment of political forces is an unending process. The lumpen mafia class became a political force to reckon with. It is in the wake of these developments, the TDP – a regional party under the leadership of NTR – was born.

NTR hailing from powerful Kamma peasant community was a very popular movie hero who played several mythological and social roles in Telugu cinema. He was equally popular in both the regions; his popularity coupled with his rhetoric on welfare programmes, which Mrs. Gandhi was abandoning, made him a great ballot box-office hit. It was a record that a political party came to power in less than a year’s time after it was formed. This resounding success of NTR and his unquestioned leadership in the TDP further pushed the Telangana political leaders to margins of politics and political power. Their political survival depended on the vagaries of capricious NTR. Identical to Mrs. Gandhi’s style was the despotic or monarchic style of NTR. There was no single cabinet minister or political leader from the Telangana region who could have talked to him as a colleague in the cabinet. This style of NTR not only marginalized the political leaders but politics itself. It reduced cabinet system of government into a caricature of parliamentary democracy.

The Telugu regional identity was so articulated that the Telangana identity got submerged in the larger Telugu identity. The self respect of Telugus which TDP raised as an important issue obviated the Telangana identity for the time being. It is not that what happened through the rhetoric of Telugu identity was integration of the regions but subjugation. It is always the case with such identity politics that instead of negotiating with the sub-identities, it leaves the space and scope for the aggressive reemergence of the identities. The rise of Telangana identity in late 90s was a part of this social and political dynamic of societal change.

The style of NTR and his arbitrary impulsive decision making left all the political elite of the state desperate but it was more so in the case of the helpless Telangana representatives. Their entire mass base was lost. It was this political void in Telangana region that was gradually occupied by militant politics of CPI (ML) movement which questioned the political relevance of parliamentary democracy. The political leadership lacked moral and mass base to confront a militant movement. This made the weak Telangana political elite insecure and they came to depend on police force to such an extent that the Superintendent of Police or even a subordinate police officer would decide whether a MLA or a Minister would attend a meeting or not, visit a village or not.

During this phase amassing of wealth and grabbing of land around the city of Hyderabad was one major “political” activity of the mafia class. NTR either allowed this activity or was indifferent to it. This led to fattening of the lumpen mafia class. They saw that sale of liquor or Arak liberalized, private capital allowed in education particularly professional education and opens more and more corporate hospitals. A neat nexus between the contractors, land mafia, liquor mafia, cinema industry, corporate hospitals and corporate educational institutions has been struck. The media provided the necessary support and propaganda for these classes. In fact the media became a part of this nexus: the role of one news paper baron during this period is something that all the Telugu people are fully aware of. He was called Raja Guru by the political circles. The Telangana political elite on the margins of this economic activity were contented with a few sub-contracts, land deals, liquor licenses and land grabbing. The power of this nexus has become so formidable that there was no countervailing democratic force.

The monarchic style narrowed the scope to carry on the other powerful community- Kapus who aspired for greater share in power when they aligned with the TDP. The killing of one of the Kapu leaders in Vijayawada led to serious hostilities and there was a violent backlash on the Kamma community. There was also the rupture with the Dalit community with the Karamchedu massacre which led to a vibrant dalit movement not only in the Andhra region but whole of the state. There was opposition because of reckless liquor sales from women, thus the antagonism from women, kapus and dalit hit the social base of the TDP resulting in its setback in 1988-89 elections. The rhetoric of Telugu identity proved to be too inadequate to hold the people together and so called unity of Telugus cracked and left scope and space for the revival of the sub-identity. The law of identity politics seems to be that either it has to transcend the identity to strike linkages with similar or larger identities to pursue larger interests or they get struck in the identity which has a propensity for internal fragmentation. This seems to be true of linguistic politics, caste politics and regional politics. Rise of sub-regionalism is a part of this political phenomenon.

The Telugu Identity: Ups and Downs
The congress party in its five year term (1989-1994) under the faulty model of development triggered by LPG misruled and mismanaged the governance to such a point that it scripted its own defeat in the 1994 elections. The two major causes for its defeat were that it tampered with the two rupees rice scheme and also further encouraged and patronized liquor sales. This withdrawal from peoples’ welfare programme was under the pressure of global market forces. Congress had no imaginative policy framework. The lumpen mafia class that has fattened during the Telugu Desam period was in a position to dictate the policy choices to the government. With the result the distinction between the Congress Party and TDP in reality was largely blurred. In a situation of this kind where the social base is common and policy choices are externally forced upon, the changes in political leadership through electoral politics carried no meaning whatsoever. This could be seen nowhere more strikingly than in the agricultural sector. The neglect of agriculture has been so phenomenal that it lost its voice in the policy process and its significant place in the economy giving rise to electoral jolts. Taking advantage of the Congress Party’s misdirected development, NTR promised total prohibition and also restoration of two rupees rice scheme which proved to be electorally gainful and got TDP and its leader NTR back to the power.

Given NTR’s disposition and style he was adamant on implementation of these two programmes. As they were enforced it dented into State revenues and was adversely hitting the dominant economic interests particularly of the lumpen class. This approach was also not to the liking of global economic interests. The power of this class was so decisive that when NTR went ahead with these two schemes, they got him overthrown. It is ironical that those MLAs and MPs who won with the help of NTR’s charisma and populist promises turned against him overnight and humiliated him when he personally went (Vice-Roy hotel was the place where the conspiracy was hatched) to appeal to the party MLAs not to let him down. It is in this shady palace politics, Chandra Babu Naidu –his son-in-law –manipulative and cunning became the obvious choice of these classes. This formidable power of the lumpen class along with the other interests remains unquestioned till to-day and it is they who are calling the shots.

The power in the state is so structured and manipulated that the linkages at the national level are so worked out that within no time the image of Chandra Babu Naidu was built. A large section of Indian middle classes believed that he was a potential Prime Ministerial candidate. His assuming of power may not be illegal but certainly it was immoral. His governance was ruthless, it was during his regime two civil liberties leaders were hacked to death and the president of A.P. civil liberties committee was kidnapped by a vigilante group which was fully patronized by the state police and backed by the Chief Minister. He projected himself as a CEO and not CM. Politics have come to be seen through the techno-managerial prism. This was greatly useful to the classes in amassing the wealth in whatever form that was possible. Politics have come to be reduced to wealth chasing power and power chasing the wealth. This approach facilitated the easy entry of the global capital which treated the Andhra State as guinea pig for its experiment.

It is paradoxical that while identity politics were gaining momentum all over India, there was the super imposition of globalization on a backward, iniquitous and unevenly developed economy. This model was sold to the Indian people under the guise of serious balance of payment crisis. The people were told that there was no alternative except to borrow from the International Agencies and open up the Indian market to foreign capital. The state which is expected to be a protector of the sovereign power of the people and resources has turned into a facilitator of the movement of the global capital- a shift in the very role and character of the Nation-State. This model of development is intrinsically undemocratic and against the core values of Indian Constitution. Since there was no viable opposition the process led to widening of inequalities across the castes, classes, gender, rural, urban, and forward and the backward regions. It is these widening inequalities between the agriculture and service sector, between metropolitan Hyderabad and rest of the State, between the backward regions and relatively advanced regions that unleashed new political forces. The TDP was not opposed to global capital. This means their identity politics were more cultural in their approach than opposing the swamping of Telugu identity in economic terrain. The revival of the Telangana movement is a direct fallout of this path of development-the process on which rulers have had no control.

The determination with which Naidu ‘encountered’ the problems and wielded ruthless power is unbelievable. The TDP had 29 Members of Parliament, which was critical for the survival of NDA government at the national level. He very cleverly used this number and the BJP had not many options except to concede whatever Chandra Babu demanded. The NDA government had no moral qualms about the globalization as BJP’s nexus, notwithstanding all the RSS postures and claims about nationalism and patriotism, with imperialism was smooth and strong. In the normal course it would have been problematic for a state government to deal directly and enter international agreements without much of intervention from the national government. The ruthless suppression of all the democratic voices was possible with the backing of the bank and sangh parivar.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

The Green Revolution and its Impact on Regional Inequalities In Andhra Pradesh

Green Revolution refers to a series of research, development, and technology transfer initiatives, occurring between the 1940s and the late 1970s, that increased agriculture production around the world, beginning most markedly in the late 1960s. The initiatives involved the development of high-yileding varieties of cereal grains, expansion of irrigation infrastructure, modernization of management techniques, distribution of hybridized seeds, synthetic fertilizers, and pesticides to farmers.

In the mid-1960s, India under the influence of the international non-governmental organisation, the Ford Foundation encouraged the farmers to use new agrarian technologies, in particular – high yielding varieties of seeds, fertilisers, pesticides, mechanisation and so on. This led to a breakthrough in agricultural production but the darker side of the choice was the abandoning of hundreds of years of time-tested local technologies and cumulative wisdom of the local peasantry. This led to dependency of agriculture on market forces. Apart from agriculture losing its autonomy, the process was also made too much water-centric. In an iniquitous economy where natural endowments are unevenly distributed, democracy requires technology be used to correct the imbalances. The choice of technology entailed in the green revolution obviously accentuated the inequalities; the fallout was widening gap between the coastal region which had the advantage of assured irrigation and the rain-dependent dry land cultivation of the other regions – Telangana, Rayalaseema and North Andhra. These regional imbalances over a period of time went on increasing. This is not only the experience of this state but is exemplified all over India. This is one cause for a spate of demands for separate statehood from different backward regions in India. The compulsions of the times seem to be leading to the demand for another SRC.

The green revolution did create surplus in the coastal region which could not be ploughed back into agriculture as capital absorption by agriculture, unlike industry, is inelastic. The coastal capital in search of greener pastures started moving to those areas of Telangana region wherever there were sources of irrigation, particularly tanks or river water. This process that started much earlier got accentuated with the green revolution. The Telangana farming community was finding it increasingly difficult to compete with enterprising farmers of the Andhra region. The surplus also started moving to Hyderabad city into industries as the city had the necessary infrastructure and the requisite industrial environment. The extant class of capitalists consisting mainly of Punjabis, Gujaratis and Marvaris felt threatened by the new set of capitalists, arriving from the Andhra region. Added to this was the expanding educated middle class competing for the limited opportunities in public employment. The “subordinated” political elite of Telangana were in no position to represent these growing interests and fears of the region. This led to the “Separate Telangana” agitation in 1969.

The 1969 agitation was started by the students and later was followed by the entry of government employees into the movement. These two sections were in the forefront and the political elite of the region was compelled to fall in line. The political leadership lacked the capacity to carry the movement to its logical end. What all the Telangana political leadership could manage to do was to hijack the movement and surrender it to the dictates of Congress leader and then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi who was personally opposed to the division of the state. She was willing to concede anything short of the bifurcation of the state. As a part of the concessions and compromises the important leaders of the movement including Chenna Reddy – supposed to be the key leader of the movement – were accommodated in the power structure. Another move she made was to shift the Chief Minister Brahmananda Reddy – a most powerful politician at that point – and make P V Narasimha Rao – a person from Telangana not hailing from the powerful peasant communities – as the new chief minister in 1971.

This was also the phase that saw the birth of the Naxalite movement which took up the agenda of radical agrarian changes. This movement was partly to complete the unfinished agenda of the Telangana armed struggle in the 1940s. It first arose in North Andhra and spread to those places of Telangana where the earlier armed struggle had reached its pinnacle. This was also a result of failures of the Congress in the 1950s to carry out its promise of land reforms peacefully through state measures. The movement challenged the political elite of the state and more specifically the Telangana elite. A section of the youth disillusioned with the leadership of the separate Telangana movement and its outcome were attracted to radical politics which held promise for the creation of an alternative society. This movement brought back the question of land reforms onto the political agenda.

Narasimha Rao, a reliable member of the Indira Gandhi-led Congress went ahead with the idea of land reforms. This was a part of Indira Gandhi’s strategy to tame the powerful agrarian communities all over India. Enraged by the shift of leadership and threat of land reforms, the Andhra political elite brought about the Jai Andhra agitation in 1971-72 demanding bifurcation of the state. The leaders of the Jai Andhra agitation, who could not directly question the land reforms, took up the validity of Mulki rules in the city of Hyderabad, the state capital. To start with, some people from Andhra Pradesh belonging to employees’ federations filed cases in the high court questioning the legality and legal validity of the Mulki rules. The high court in its verdict declared Mulki rules ultra vires but Supreme Court upheld the Mulki rules. The leadership of the Andhra region was so influential that they made the Parliament amend the law and declare that the Mulki rules were not valid anymore. The Telangana political leadership remained mere spectators during the whole episode.

The Andhra elite also attempted to hit at the social base of the Indira Gandhi-led Congress, which had swelled because of the appeal of land reforms promised by the Congress government. The Jai Andhra movement helped the Andhra elite in doing so, and it was the exceptional solidarity among the elites who also managed to mobilise the masses effectively, that Indira Gandhi had to relent and Chief Minister Narasimha Rao was asked to step down by the Congress high command. Yet, despite the challenge posed by the political leadership of the Andhra region, the overall sway of Indira Gandhi’s popularity in the region remained intact. The welfare-centric/target-group oriented government programme launched at the central level of governance by Indira Gandhi helped wean away the masses from the sway of the local leadership. Indira Gandhi emerged as the lead patron replacing all local-level patrons, in the imagination of the people of Andhra Pradesh. This position of Indira Gandhi resulted in the leadership of both the Andhra and Telangana regions, in particular the latter, to be heavily dependent on the Congress high command. This shift in the nature of power relations marginalised the influence of local leadership of both the regions. They were never able to regain their autonomy in inner-Congress politics. The Telangana political leadership became much more subservient than ever before, and their survival depended more on the grace of Delhi leadership than the mass base. This uprooting of the local leadership changed the nature and character of Congress Party in a substantial way.

Indira Gandhi’s policies were also a product of the widespread rural unrest that the nation witnessed during the late 1960s. The unrest coupled with increasing claims and counterclaims of the dominant classes in a slowly growing economy, made governance difficult for her. She resorted to authoritarian and coercive methods by imposing the Emergency in 1975 by suspending the fundamental rights. During the dark days of the Emergency the state machinery, particularly the police and other law-enforcing agencies, became arbitrary in the exercise of their power. This led to massive erosion of her support structure all over India that reflected in the 1977 general election when her party lost power and the Janata Party – a non-Congress coalition – rose to power for the first time after Independence. While the Congress lost power all over India, the party returned to power in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. For the first time there was a situation in Andhra Pradesh when two different governments were at the centre and the state: the Janata Party at the centre and the Congress Party in the state. The Janata Party which was an amalgamation of contending interests was subjected to endemic pulls and counter pulls and the stress on the system was so high that the Janata coalition experiment collapsed in less than three years after its inception. The failure of the Janata Party coalition to remain in power is a tragic indictment of Indian pluralistic parliamentary democracy.

Indira Gandhi was back in power in less than three years. Her rhetoric, following re-election in 1981 shifted from Garibi Hatao to unity and integrity of India. This shift of rhetoric is suggestive of the shift in the balance of political forces. While giving a clear signal that she was abandoning her earlier rhetoric, she was attempting to find a workable formula for unifying multi-class interests. The poorer sections of Andhra Pradesh particularly of the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) who stood by her throughout and till the 1970s started getting away from her support fold.

Another striking development in the political economy of the state of Andhra Pradesh was the rise of a lumpen or mafia class, helped by leakages of huge resources that the state invested in irrigation, roads, public enterprises, mining and other infrastructural development. This pattern of public expenditure through contractors gave rise to a neo-rich class and a wide range of middlemen as they were the direct beneficiaries of the leakages of public funds. This class of people was neither organically linked to agricultural activities nor were they engaged in the industrial or manufacturing sector: a class which made money without risking labour or capital turned into a class of lumpens or mafia who lacked a basic framework of values in public affairs. Thus a set of opportunistic, money-hunting power elite had been let loose by a faulty developmental model. This class became an important component of the political processes of the state.

This was also the period during which ideological politics was more or less abandoned and was replaced by identity politics. The target group approach of Indira Gandhi’s Congress in public policy was one of the causes and also the consequence of identity politics. Such politics built around the issue of caste, an institution which Bhimrao Ambedkar had sought to be annihilated, started fortifying endemic divisions in society.

Note: This is a section of the lecture delivered by Prof. Haragoapl at "Prof. B. Janardhan Rao Memorial Lecture", Kakatiya University, Warangal, 3rd May, 2010.

About the Author

Demand Of Telangana State: Brief Overview

Background of the Telangana movement


A dying feudalism is only a part of the problem. After all, feudalism has been a national problem. But in Telangana, it received hammer blows at the hands of the Socialist and Communist struggles of the 1940s. It received a fillip at the hands of biased Andhra rulers in the 1950s and 1960s who pushed the Hyderabad Tenancy and Agriculture Land Act under the carpet (in the absence of militant peasant movement, the tenancy legislation in Andhra area had only a negative impact on tenants as the landowners resorted to large-scale evictions).  The Hyderabad Tenancy Act, one of the most progressive acts in the history of modern India and also across the world, was passed by the state govt. of Hyderabad and partly implemented between 1952 to 1956, which resulted in the conferment of protection to nearly 6 lakh tenants with over 75 lakh acres in their possession. The same period can be described as the happiest period for the people of Telangana for a long time.

The Telangana region could have continued its happy existence, but the merger of Telangana region with the Andhra state has taken place on the basis of linguistic states, by ignoring the wishes of Telangana people, against a categorical recommendation of the 1st State Re-organization Commission (SRC) and contrary to the views of the tallest leader of the time, Jawaharlal Nehru. However, the merger was facilitated by number of solemn promises and constitutional safeguards given to the Telangana region and these promises were made umpteen times and were also broken umpteen times by the central govt. Gentle men treaty, Telangana regional committee, Mulki Rules, 610 GO etc. this list has no end to enlist the broken promises.

Above two points are provided to convey the emotional outburst behind the continuous Telangana movement of 55 years i.e. right since the formation of Andhra Pradesh (A.P.).

Development versus "Demand" for Telangana

By attributing the demand for separate Telangana to the „sentiment‟ (for Telangana), some sections of the political leadership are only evading the real issue. The Telangana movement grew out of a sense of regional identity as such, rather than out of a sense of ethnic identity, language, religion, or caste [Amercian Congress, 1995]. The movement demanded redress for economic grievances, the writing of a separate history, and establishment of a sense of cultural distinctness. Therefore, what is at issue is not whether development has been taking place. Indeed, in a democratic polity like ours some development has to take place in different parts of the country including even the remotest areas. The issue really is about the rate and quality or pattern of development. Apart from equity, such as due share in investment allocations, quality also refers to the cost, risks, and sustainability of development.

There is a long-standing feeling that Telangana has not received its due share in investment allocations, and that the „surpluses‟ from Telangana, i.e., the difference between what ought to have been spent and what has actually been spent, have been diverted to the other regions [Rao, 1969]. But there is no way of ascertaining exactly how public expenditures, as a whole, are distributed between different regions in Andhra Pradesh. The relevant information is not being disseminated ever since the abolition of the “Nigrani” Telangana Regional Committee in 1973, under the wrong notion that sharing of such information would breed regionalism. But experience has shown that withholding the relevant information would produce the opposite result of intensifying the feeling of injustice.

The growth that has been taking place in Telangana may be characterized as high cost growth. For example, the irrigation map of the region has changed completely. Tank irrigation occupied an important place a few decades ago. But now, over 70 per cent of irrigation is through ground water and deep tube wells in large parts of Telangana [Subrahmanyam, 2003]. This means for a unit output growth there has to be much greater investment now. If catchment area is taken as the principal criterion for allocation of waters between different regions of the state, Telangana should get 68.5% of the 811 TMC ft of Krishna river and all most similar share with the 1480 TMC ft of Godavari river. We do not have any information on such vital aspects as the quantity of water to be supplied for Telangana on account of the proposed irrigation projects including from „assured‟ sources. Land left fallow in Telangana has increased from 25 percent of cultivable land in the early 1970s to as much as 40 percent by 1999-2000 [Subrahmanyam, 2003]. Pollution from industrial projects in certain areas has aggravated the crisis and also resulted in severe problem of fluorosis in the Nalgonda district.

The feeling of injustice is greater among the educated classes, i.e., students, teachers, NGOs, employees and professionals in general. This stems from the fact that increasing awareness leading to greater sensitivity to „discrimination‟ among such classes in respect of employment, funds allocation to the universities and promotions or career prospects, especially because of the rising importance of the services sector at higher levels of development. It is not surprising; therefore, that the separatist movement has gathered momentum in the post-reform period when the opportunities for such classes have proliferated in the services sector and the role of the state in influencing development and regional equity has vastly increased (recent movement in 2009 Nov. is best example for this). For the same reasons, it should not also come as a surprise that the separatist sentiments are stronger in the relatively developed areas like North Telangana.

Therefore, it can be concluded that far from „development‟ programmes – more precisely welfare measures currently being implemented – countering separatist sentiments, the movement for separation would become stronger with the spread of development as long as the perception of injustices due to „discrimination‟ in development within the integrated state persists.

Social (Samajik) Telangana

This is coined by few politicians to provoke low castes from Telangana region for vote bank politics, that these low castes will be suppressed by particular high-castes within Telangana region, if state is formed. However, one can firmly notice that this argument is entirely paradoxical. Statehood for Telangana is a national issue and not just a regional one. This is because it represents the on-going social change in the country for the empowerment of people through decentralized governance by broadening and deepening the working of our democratic system. Such empowerment and governance would enable articulation of the real problems of the people and their solution. This would inevitably result in „Samajik‟ or "socially inclusive" Telangana.

According to 2001 Census, Scheduled Tribes population constitutes around 9 percent in Telangana as against 5% in the rest of the state. Thus, as much as 60 percent of the ST population of A.P. state is concentrated in Telangana. Their voice can be expected to be more effective in separate Telangana, not the least because their representation in the state legislature and other elected bodies at different levels would be proportionately greater. Similarly, the population of Muslims is as high as 12.5 percent in Telangana when compared to 6.9 percent in the rest of A.P. state. As many as 61 percent of Muslims of A.P. live in Telangana, of whom 60 percent are spread over in different districts other than Hyderabad. They too can be expected to have greater political clout in separate Telangana in determining their fortunes as they can more easily relate themselves with the rest of the disadvantaged sections of the society in the struggle for a better and more secure livelihood. SCs account for about 16 percent of population in Telangana as well as in the rest of A.P. Census does not give the figures of BCs. But many BC organizations convey that socially and economically disadvantaged sections including SCs, STs and BCs constitute not less than 85 percent of population in Telangana. The Dalit and tribal movements in the state were the first in the country in demanding reservation within reservation among Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs).

Telangana has been primarily a territory of adivasis and nomads, pastoral and service castes, artisans and leather workers. It was because of their composition Telangana has become, in popular perception, a symbol of people‟s rebellion. Telangana movement means the movement of service caste, artisans, nomads, and pastoral communities. Thus the weaker sections constituting a large majority of population in Telangana would be better able to articulate their problems and politically assert themselves in a separate state. Formation of Telangana state would thus strengthen the forces of social inclusion and secularism.

Carving out borders and the Hyderabad issue

According to the home ministry of the Indian government, there are two norms to carve out borders for newly created states. One is to consider the geographical borders existed during the period of British rule (Nizam government rule in the case of Telangana) and the other one is the borders existed when all the independent provinces merged to culminate Indian union. It is well known fact that apart from these two norms, other mythological stories and historical borders won‟t be entertained by neither Indian parliamentary system nor the judiciary system. Hence, it is crystal clear that there need not be any ambiguities about the borders of Telangana state.

An impression is sought to be created that the development of twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad took has taken place due to funds diversion from Andhra region and hence, they want to claim rights on Hyderabad if Andhra Pradesh is divided. It is a travesty of truth.
In the Greater Hyderabad Muncipal Corporation (GHMC), currently 12,500 employees are working and those “entire” salaries are paid from the income generated in the Telangana region. In addition, salaries of the employees working in the Hyderabad Metro Board, Hyderabad Urban Development Association, Public Health, Engineering, Town Planning, Sanitation, Health, Forest, Urban Pollution Controlling, and Irrigation for Water Supply etc. departments are entirely allocated from the income generated from the Telangana region. In the last 55 years, there were never funds allocated out of the united A.P. budget for the Hyderabad development and always merely taken from the Telangana region [Jayashankar, 2003].

Due to lot of people‟s migration from Andhra region to Hyderabad (capital city) has also resulted in a huge loss to the farmers in the surrounding areas of Hyderabad. This stems from the facts that the water supply to the capital city is forcefully taken from the Usman Sagar lake 25 million gallons per day (MGD), Himayath Sagar lake 20 MGD, Manjeera river 45 MGD, Singur project 65 MGD. All these water resources were earlier used for cultivation in Telangana and they are diverted to the capital city without replacement of appropriate water resources. Industries situated in and around the Hyderabad have polluted the Musi river, which has provided drinking water to Ranga Reddy and Nalgonda districts. All this culminated into huge migration of farmers from Mahaboob Nagar, Nalgonda, Ranga Reddy and Medak districts and forcefully converted them into daily labors. In addition, the daily maintenance costs and all the project costs were again taken from the Telangana region‟s income.

The other development activities took place in Hyderabad are also mostly funded by private parties or debts taken from World Bank etc. It is also very important to note that majority of government buildings (Assembly, 1913 and High Court, 1925), universities (Osmania, 1920 and Nizam, 1884), hospitals (Osmania, 1925 and Niloufer, 1945), infrastructure (Railway station, 1874 and Airport 1937), irrigation facilities (all lakes) etc. were built much before the formation of Andhra Pradesh, with the taxes paid from Hyderabad state people and no significant funds are used from the united A.P. budget for the development of infrastructure, which are useful to common people in Hyderabad. Whatever the funds have been allocated, as mentioned above, mostly taken from the Telangana income. In addition, it is a shameful fact to know that even Hi-Tech city doesn‟t has under ground drainage facility and whatever the drainage system exists in Hyderabad, it is built before 1956. Hence, the arguments/claims of Hyderabad as a common capital is baseless and mostly put forward by smaller, yet rich groups, such as real estate, political persons who have their own vested interests in the city.

Stand of Political Parties and “Consenus”

1st Prime Minister of the biggest democratic countries in the world, Late Shri Nehru, has addressed to thousands of Telanganaites in 1955 (at the inauguration of Nagarjuna Sagar project), that Telangana state formation would be considered positively. Right from there, Late Shri Indira Gandhi‟s promise in 1969, BJP‟s resolution in 1998 at Kakinada, 2004 Manifesto of Congress party and Shri Sonia Gandhi‟s promise in Karimnagar public meeting, UPA‟s 2004 Common Minimum Programme, Shri Manmohan Singh‟s speech in both houses in 2004 and till the Union Home Minister Chidambaram‟s statement on Dec. 9th, 2009. All the statements by tallest leaders of India have had only single point agenda and it is promising Telangana state.

All the political parties at national level, except CPM and Congress, have unequivocally supported Telangana state formation by submitting letters (incl. TDP, the opposition party in A.P.) to the Pranab Mukharjee Committee, which was constituted in 2004 and was supposed to deliver the final report in 3 months. Even within the Congress Party, there is a consensus in its favor among the leaders, legislators, ministers in the state as well as the centre. But then what does one mean by Consensus? It is not fair to insist upon consensus among all the constituent regions, when there is a clear opposition to statehood for Telangana from small group of the power elite belonging to the dominant region of the state. This also the real explanation for the Congress not taking a stand is the „veto power‟ being exercised by a few leaders in power in the state and can manipulate the levers of power in a large and heterogeneous state by dint of the huge resources and power at their command. 

The demand for Telangana state is not opposed by the common people from the rest of the state of Andhra Pradesh, not withstanding hostility from certain sections of business and political elite. This is amply borne out by the stand taken by parties in the 2009 Elections, Late YSR from Congress, Telugu Desam headed by Chandrababu Naidu, C.P.I, BJP, Praja Rajyam Party headed by Chiranjeevi, and others. This is very much evident from the fact that separate Andhra state will also flourish with its rich resources and infrastructure and having a capital city nearby will aid common people in the Andhra region in an efficient manner. Hence, we strongly urge you to carry out a meticulous study on Telangana issue and its 55 years movement history and we strongly believe that you would deliver a report to the central government of India, which will culminate to the initiation of Telangana and Andhra states formation and in our point of view it will enable the articulation of the real problems of the common people in both the regions, i.e. A.P.


India: a country study / Federal Research Division, Library of Congress; edited by James Heitzman and Robert L. Worden (1995). (, Chapter 4: Regionalism, Telangana. 

Rao, C.H.H.(1969) “Budgetary Surpluses of Telangana”, Economic and Political Weekly, October 18, 1969.

Subrahmanyam, S. (2003) „Regional Disparities: Causes and Remedies‟, in C.H.H.Rao and Mahendra Dev (edited), Andhra Pradesh Development-Economic Reforms and Challenges Ahead, Centre for Economic and Social Studies, Hyderabad. 

Jayashankar, K. (2003) Telangana-The Demand for a Separate State, B. Janardhan Rao First Memorial Lecture, Prof. B. Janardhan Rao Memorial Foundation, Warangal.

Dr Nishanth Dongari
Marie Curie Research Fellow
University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Instant democracy with 24×7 feed from the TV screen -- Prabir Purkayastha

The game of one up-man ship, serial hunger fasts rapidly turning to hungerfests, the demand for prime time television – all negotiations must be televise — seems to be overshadowing corruption itself.

Corruption certainly needs to be fought and fought now. The question here is whether continuous 24×7 TV coverage is helping a movement against corruption or becoming a substitute?
A movement against corruption needs to encompass not just a section of the middle class but a much wide ranging alliance. It needs other classes – the peasantry loosing their land to the builder-real estate lobby and mining interests, the working class whose struggles hardly find a mention in the media and of course the middle class. It needs to have a clear political agenda of how to reclaim the state and not dismantle it under the guise of fighting corruption. This demands hard analysis and concrete alternatives, not just woolly demands a laRamdev.
Corruption is not just about greasing the palms of a few dirty politicians for securing access to scarce natural resources. It is about transferring these resources at dirt cheap prices to the capitalist class. This is what marxists call “primitive accumulation of capital,” and as its current manifestation in India shows, is very primitive indeed.
What distinguishes the current phase of “primitive” accumulation is not only its enormously expanded scale but also that business and politics has become virtually indistinguishable. The Sharad Pawar family, the Karunanidhi family today are bigger than major business houses in the country barring a few. From cronies of capital – this is what the bureaucracy and politicians were earlier — they have now become gen-next capitalists.

If we remember, the earlier license-permit raj was claimed to be the cause of corruption. Once we dismantle it –or so the neo-liberal song ran – corruption would also end. Instead, we have seen the frightening growth of corruption accompanying market “reforms”. In country after country that have adopted the neo-liberal mantra, corruption has grown to mammoth proportions, India being no exception. That is why Stiglitz, the former Chief Economist at the World Bank called the neo-liberal prescriptions of privatisation, “free” market, “free” trade, and “free” flow of capital as 4-steps for plundering third world economies and pauperising their people.

The simple fact remains that state will always either own or regulate scarce natural resources – be it spectrum or gas or minerals or land. They are always limited and markets do not operate where resources are limited. If we want to fight this transfer of nation’s resources at throw-away prices, we have to fight how these resources are being allocated and for what purpose. The issue of corruption in the way that is being raised is merely addressing to whom are these resources being transferred, why transfer to A instead of B. While it is an important question, it is a poverty of politics if it ends up being the only one.

It is this inability to address the basic questions facing us today that the middle-class struggle against corruption turns not to substance but to “shows” –sitting in Rajghat or Jantar Mantar, hunger strikes and above all, television as the prime driver of the movement.

The middle class has virtually opted out of electoral democracy today – it does not vote and regards all elected representatives as crooks. For them, the solution does not lie in recovering democracy from the mess it is in and creating structures of accountability and good governance. It is not about reclaiming the state but virtually abandoning it.

The middle class hankers for a quick-fix solution that will solve all the problems of democracy without their having to do too much about it. This is where 24×7 news channels and the middle class interests intersect. TV channels want news that is safe – it should not hurt the sponsors who pay the advertisement bills. Fighting corruption without fighting the business houses that are corrupting the polity, focussing on a few expendable political figures, is ideal. It keeps ratings high and does not hurt either the ad revenue or “paid” news. The middle class does not want go to the trouble organising for the long haul. Instead, a Anna Hazare or a Baba Ramdev should solve their problems with a hunger fast or two. Instant democracy with 24×7 feed from the TV screen.

The revolution in communication – internet and the explosion of mobile telephony – has liberated content from the control of media houses and governments. It is no longer possible to control news as content is generated continuously through blogs, twitter and facebook. But all this has its flip side as well. Instead of a place for communicating to your friends, it has also become a race for eye-balls. What was earlier the characteristic of the electronic media – the hunt for eyeballs — now becomes the obsession of all. From privacy, the concern now is shifting; from why are people watching me to why are people notwatching me.

It is this politics of instant gratification combined with the need to be watched continuously that is changing politics. Narcissism is integral to today’s politics. It is more important to be on TV than build a movement. From mass movements, we are now in the era of mass communications.

While a Lok Pal Bill is important, this should not be a quick-fix substitute for the larger issue of corruption. The focus of “civil society” seems to be that all their demands should be accepted without demur or question by the Parliament. While Anna Hazare and others have accepted that the parliament “could” discuss the Bill, in the next breath they also state that the Bill has to be passed by 15th August, precluding any meaningful discussion there.

The bigger problem of the Bill is that it is creating an all powerful “ombudsman” beyond control of the elected representatives. Here is where middle-class opinions come into play. Somebody – an all-powerful ombudsman – should solve all problems of corruption for them. This is the age-old conundrum – who minds the keeper who keeps the others in order?
If action has to be taken on corruption, the UPA needs to show more than just a token sacrifice of Kalmadi. The UPA/Congress response to corruption has been to stone-wall, try and co-opt and that failing, let loose the dirty tricks department and the police. The scams in oil, gas, minerals, land are as big as the 2G scam and have all been done with the blessings of this Government.
The Congress hope is that with DMK being in the limelight on various telecom scams – both Maran’s and Raja’s – and they having taken some steps against Kalmadi, other scams will be overlooked. Since the Prime Minister is admittedly not corrupt, that he is presiding over the most corrupt administration ever can be conveniently forgotten.
The question before us not only how to fight corruption but how to reclaim the state? How to make governments accountable to the people and build governance structures that are open and transparent? This demands far greater organisation and grass-roots democracy than catering to 24×7 TV cameras. Unlike the middle class belief, there is no quick fix solution to the larger problems facing Indian society today.


Friday, 26 August 2011

Tribute To Mother Teresa -- World Marks Her 101st Birth Anniversary

"Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.  Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat."

 People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

Tribute to Mother Teresa

The world marks Mother Teresa's 101st birth anniversary. Today we join others in celebrating the birthday of Mother Teresa. Many happy returns of the day. She spent her life providing shelter to the needy and a sympathetic word to those suffering shall always be remembered. Had she been alive today she would have been 101 years old, but unfortunately she died at the ripe old age of 81years. The living saint was born on 26th August 1910 in Skopje, Macedonia. She left this world on 5th September,1997. Mother Teresa was much appreciated by the world as she had received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1979.

Mother Teresa was probably one of the greatest women in the history of the world, who dedicated her entire life for serving humanity. An Albanian Catholic, Mother Teresa was not was not an Indian by birth but dedicated her life for the poverty stricken and grieved masses of India. Her selfless work towards the upliftment of the poverty stricken and down trodden is a glowing inspiration for all. Compassion, dignity and sympathy are the words that can describe Mother Teresa best and her every action was marked by these virtues.

Early Life of Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa was born in Skopje, Macedonia (thenYugoslavia) on 26th August, 1910. Her original name was Agnes Goxa Bojaxiu and the youngest of the three siblings. She decided to work for the charity and at the age of 17 joined the catholic missionary as a nun. Later when she joined an Irish order, the Sisters of Loreto, she took the name Teresa.

Teresa came to India in 1929, and on 24th May, 1931 she took her first religious vows as a nun. At that time Teresa taught geography and cathechism at the St. Mary`s School in Calcutta and was appointed the head mistress of the school in 1944. She was sent back to Darjeeling on being diagnosed with tuberculosis. On the way back to Darjeeling in train she received what she called `the call within the call` and dedicated herself for missionary work following her departure from the Sisters of Loreto in 1948.

Mother Teresa`s Social Services
Mother Teresa soon became engaged with her charity work and received training on the basics of medicine from the Holy Family Hospital. She developed a school in the slums for educating the poor children and also aided the poor of their sickness. She was joined in her effort by a group of voluntary helpers who initially rented a house for their selfless work. Later on October 7, 1950 Mother Teresa was granted permission from the Vatican to an order named as the Diocesan Congregation of the Calcutta Diocese which later came to be called as the Missionaries of Charity.

The Missionaries of Charity which was set in motion with just 12 members now has thousands serving the poor. With over 500 centres in more than 100 countries, the missionary runs AIDS hospices, orphanages, charity centres worldwide, and caring for disabled, aged, alcoholics, refugees, the blind, the poor and homeless and victims of floods, epidemics and famine in Asia, Africa, Latin America, North America, Poland, and Australia. In 1952 the Home for the dying was made available by the city of Calcutta. Mother Teresa also opened a hospice Shanti Nagar for the leprosy patients and Nirmala Shishu Bhavan for orphans and homeless children.

In 1966 Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity Brothers. Her missionaries outstretched to the corners of the world and established themselves in countries like Venezuela, Rome, Tanzania, Austria, Asia, Africa, Europe and the United States. Soon homes began to spring-up for drug addicts, prostitutes, battered women, orphanages and schools for poor children around the world. In 1985, Mother Teresa also developed hospice in New York for the AIDS victims. Mother Teresa travelled to far off countries to meet the needs of the destitute. She went to render service to the hungry in Ethiopia, radiation victims at Chernobyl, and earthquake victims in Armenia.

Prizes and Honours
For her selfless and devoted service for the deprived and underprivileged, Mother Teresa won the most coveted and the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize and the Pope Jon XXIII in the year 1979. She also received the Medal of Freedom, the highest US civilian award. She has been also bestowed with honorary US citizenship. For her extraordinary contribution to humanity she was bestowed with the Padma Shree award in 1962 and the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding in 1969. In 1980 she was honoured with India`s highest civilian award by the Indian government, the Bharat Ratna award.

The Mother left the earthly abode on 5th September, 1997. She was given a state funeral by the Indian Government in appreciation of her self-sacrificing service to the nation.