post-reforms, telangana developed more than coastal andhra and other regions

from a study conducted by laveesh bhandari and aarti khare in 2002:
The State is composed of four regions, covering 23 districts, making Andhra Pradesh the fifth largest State geographically. In the post reforms period, regions other than the coastal region have also grown. That is coastal AP's position relative to other regions has deteriorated. The most dynamic has been the Inland Northern region. This region (also referred to as Telangana) contains Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh's capital and also most dynamic city. Inland Southern is next, followed by South Western region. (Also sometimes referred to as Rayalaseema) The latter three regions have improved their position while coastal Andhra has not managed to do the same.
you'll find the above observation in (page 10) of the report ('The Geography of Post 1991 Indian Economy') of the researchers. the study is different from other studies done by laveesh bhandari and bibek debroy on how different states are performing in the post-reforms period. it is the only study, perhaps, that looks at how 78 different regions in the country have been doing after 1991.

in the beginning of the report (page 4), the authors tell us how the study is different from other studies. one key feature:
* This study covers all of India. All the 78 regions in 35 States and Union Territories (UTs) are covered. For instance, we are also able to investigate the economic performance of the northeastern states, UTs such as Chandigarh and Delhi, and smaller states such as Goa and Himachal. The picture that we present therefore is of the whole country.
the study covered the period of nineties (1991-92 and 1998-99, specifically), the first decade of reforms, and its focus appears to be to assess economic change happening across regions in india, and not why such economic change (positive or negative) is happening.

the study used five variables (consumption of petrol, diesel, availability of bank credit, quantum of deposits, and production of cereals) to gauge the performance of the economy, (page 5) as 'each of them capture a small part of the economy' and 'when taken together, they closely reflect the level of economic activity' of each region. change in the usage, availability or production of the variables in the two time periods (1991-92 and 1998-99) was used to measure (page 6):
Whether a region's share of the overall Indian economy has increased or decreased?
on page 22 you find the indices of how the economies of the 78 regions changed, or how their 'share of the overall Indian economy has increased or decreased.' and how did different regions of andhra pradesh perform, or increase or decrease their share of the overall indian economy?

* the index of the economy of coastal andhra pradesh changed from 0.45 in 1991-92 to 0.35. which means its share of the overall indian economy decreased (-0.09).
* the index of the economy of northern inland andhra pradesh (telangana) changed from 0.40 in 1991-92 to 0.51 which mean its share of the overall indian economy increased (+0.11).
* the indices of the economies of south western andhra pradesh (part of rayalaseema; maps accompanying the data, in other pages, indicate kurnool and ananthapur) and inland southern andhra pradesh (kadapa and chittoor, i think) changed from -0.50 and -0.52 in 1991-92 to -0.49 and -0.51 in 1998-99 respectively, which means their shares in the overall indian economy increased marginally.

to most unbiased observers who have a keen interest in these issues, the results of the study aren't news. but the lessons many political, social actors/activists in andhra pradesh, across regions, have drawn from the economic changes happening in the state in the last twenty years tell us that their worldview hasn't really moved out of the 70s, to say the least.

more on this subject later.


why small states make better sense to politicians

srivatsa krishna, an indian administrative service officer, writes:
It is assumed ex ante, without any causal evidence, by several political leaders that smaller states make for better governance and superior economic performance. But does a Telangana being carved out of Andhra Pradesh (AP) automatically mean lesser transmission and distribution losses, and therefore, better electricity availability? Would a smaller state automatically improve attendance of school teachers and doctors in the villages? Would it automatically rein in the burgeoning fiscal deficit of state governments? We often tend to confuse a smaller state with greater local participation and thus greater accountability in the delivery of services, which may or may not be the case.

Also, a smaller state does not always mean a smaller government. In fact, at least in the short and medium term, the cost of administration will increase, for one would be duplicating a lot of the existing systems and resources in the new state. Thus, instead of “administrative convenience”, what one should be looking at is “administrative necessity”. What is the smallest and most effective size of government to deliver growth and development? Interestingly, there is no evidence in economic literature which consistently proves that government failure is costlier than market failure to the economic performance of a state. As such, it is facile to conclude a priori that a smaller or a bigger government is necessarily superior or inferior to the market, or vice versa. What has been seen to consistently matter is the quality of government intervention, and it is debatable whether this improves with the size of government or with the quality of leadership, as such evidence is still nascent and mixed. [emphasis mine].

the author asks: But does a Telangana being carved out of Andhra Pradesh (AP) automatically mean lesser transmission and distribution losses, and therefore, better electricity availability?

has anyone of the thinking heads among the separatists asked those kind of questions? the government of andhra pradesh says 100% of the villages have access to electricity, but in practice only around 50% of rural homes across the state have electricity.

Would a smaller state automatically improve attendance of school teachers and doctors in the villages? the truth is, the education system in no state in the country is capable of taking in all the children into schools and retain them for the nominal eight years that the rulers think is enough to call them literate. less than half of children enrolled in primary schools (check the number of children enrolled in primary schools in andhra pradesh here, and the total number of children in primary+ upper primary+ high schools here, note the discrepancy) ever go beyond middle school. and there aren't enough high schools to take in more children anyway. so the 'system' is designed to kick children out of school, it'd seem, progressively through all the primary school years and dramatically after middle school.

the number of primary health centres in andhra pradesh, according to the government, is 1570 for a rural population (assuming all those phcs operate in rural areas) of 5.5 crores. that means one doctor for around 35,000 population. but it usually works out to one doctor for 1 lakh population at best, taking into account unfilled posts and absenteeism. now, if half the telangani doctors in the united states and elsewhere now expressing support for a separate state returned and chose to work in villages in telangana, the doctor-patient ratio in the region would probably reach the level of such advanced nations as tanzania, mozambique or even uganda!

i don't think krishna's common sensical skepticism would dampen the separatists' belief in the magical powers of the small-is-beautiful-under-all-circumstances mantra. but krishna also naively questions the strength of this belief, and the motives of the most articulate believers :
The other aside, given the rapid deterioration of India in the Transparency International rankings, is whether the demand for smaller states is a guise for grabbing a larger share of a smaller kitty (as against a smaller share of a larger kitty) when it comes to rapacious rent-seeking by politicians—justified in the name of the “sentiments” of the people. There can be no end to primordial passions and one can justify on the ground of sentiment carving out of ever smaller states till such time that it becomes completely meaningless. All those giving the example of the US’ number of states should not forget that the states which are the economic dynamo of America are the larger ones such as California, New York, Texas, Illinois, and not Montana or Wyoming. Stellar research by Michael Porter at Harvard Business School indicates that within each country there are clusters—the US has at least 400—which are the engines propelling growth, and these are spread all across the US, not correlated to a big or small state.
please go read the article, if you haven't already. i agree with most of what he says, and he says it much better.


ch.hanumantha rao's hurried case for telangana

the problem is ministers tend to be from certain constituencies, and people tend to be from mostly other constituencies. and over the years, ministers in delhi have shrunk to the size of their constituencies.

now mamata banerjee has acted as i had predicted. some observers in the press have rightly called it the 'great eastern railway budget'. they're doing politics, she says. and what were they expected to do? she was doing politics too.
Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday denied that the budget proposals for 2010-11 was West Bengal-centric and said that questions to that effect amounted to humiliating the State and “me.”

Addressing journalists after presenting the Railway budget, Ms. Banerjee charged that their repeated questions that she was doling out everything only to her native State in view of the coming elections were “politically motivated.”

“Leave that to the MPs. They are doing politics. But how can I satisfy 800 people (MPs)? I have not curtailed the rights of any State. Most of these are for other States.”

i am reminded of a portion of one of the oft-quoted (by telangani separatists) articles by ch.hanumantha rao, agricultural economist of much repute:

Post-liberalisation, the impact of state policies on the economy may turn out to be greater than before. The role of government in awarding contracts, sanctions for location of private sector projects and technical institutions, decisions about the number, type and location of special economic zones, land acquisition and compensation policies, various kinds of patronage extended to different enterprises and activities, etc could together make a greater impact on the economy than in the pre-liberalisation period. [emphasis mine]
i agree. i'd written about it earlier: the role of the state in the economy hasn't changed in the post-reforms period. in fact, in many ways it is stronger than during the 'socialist' age. so, shouldn't we be thinking about this over-sized role, about this growing centralization of economic power, urgently? shouldn't we worry more about the massive amounts of funds and favours now being handled by union ministers, from select geographic/cultural constituencies, 'doing politics'? especially in the light of all the gory scandals and scams that have featured ministers handling, or mishandling to be more precise, various 'economic' ministries in the last 19 years (sukhram, in the earliest post-reform period to mamata banerjee now)?

and what does ch.hanumantha rao offer as a solution to this problem of centralization of power? he ignores the centre, or the fount of the problem, and focusses on the states.
In general, the effect of such decisions would increase inequalities between different regions and income groups. This is because official patronage in bigger states tends to favour the regions and income groups already endowed with adequate resources, skills, power and influence. Clearly, backward regions run the risk of losing the race in bigger states in the post-liberalisation era.
how does the first para lead to the second? shouldn't there be something in the middle, something very crucial? like rethinking on the increasingly large role of official patronage, exercised by politicians 'doing politics', at the centre in favouring more developed states in the country over backward states? shouldn't he be thinking, first, of interstate disparities and the role of the centre in fostering and reinforcing them, before moving onto sub-regional differences within states?

looks like mr.hanumantha rao started with his recommendation (the case for a separate telangana) first, and added all the jumpy logic, or justification, later.


the child 'martyrs' of telangana

this report in the times of india raises some disturbing questions:
Some 35 km onwards on the road is the mandal headquarters of Dubbaka and meandering another six kms on the country road (which seems to be remarkably good) we reach Chellapur village. It is here that a 16-year-old, class X student of the local school, Ramoji Swamy committed suicide for the sake of Telangana on Monday. Many locals surround us. “Why did this small boy take his life,” we ask. “For T-state,” say most of them. “The T-sentiment is very strong here. Every evening meetings are being held in Dubbaka to express these sentiments.” We ask: “Did Ramoji Swamy play an active role in these meetings?” The answer is that he used to go for the meetings, but was generally silent. But he was a supporter of the cause. “What happened on Monday that he took his life?” we ask. There is hushed silence. A boy standing there in an aside tells us: “Yes, everybody is saying that Ramoji committed suicide because of Telangana.” His manner convinces us that he wants to say something. But the dialogue cannot continue, because the boy’s mother standing at a distance shouts at him: “Go home. Go home.” The crowds collected are holding forth about the backwardness of Telangana in general and the village in particular.

“There are no jobs. I have passed Intermediate science group, but I don’t know what to do next. There are so many boys who have done B Ed but are jobless,” says Kondal Reddy, a youth. “There is no water here. Water has to be dug from borewells that have to be sunk at least 200 feet,” says another youth Durvasa Raju. “What do you talk about water for irrigation. There is no water for cleaning clothes and even for drinking,” says a wizened old man. He says his name is Poshetti and he is a washerman. Finding that everybody is assuming that Telangana will be the panacea, the medicine for all ills, we ask what if their assumptions turn out to be false. “We will ensure that this does not happen. The funds will be with our people. The Andhra people won’t be able to take it away,” say all of them in unison.
the journalists talk about panacea too. the report continues:
Our next stop is the Zilla Parishad High School of which Ramoji Swamy was a student. The boy had attended classes till recess on Monday and then returned home. After partaking his lunch, the boy consumed pesticide. “He left a note behind that he was taking his life for the sake of Telangana,” everybody we met told us. Head master of the school Bendram Ram Reddy withdraws in a shell the moment we start asking him questions.

Fear is written visibly on his face. On his side is sitting a senior bio-science teacher of the school Mohammed Farooq. On our insistence, he answers on behalf of the head master. “Yes we were very surprised to hear that this boy had committed suicide. He used to go for meetings and rallies but nothing more. He was a normal boy, average in all respects,” says Farooq. “But why did he take his life?” we persist in our questioning. “Well, it is all due to these TV channels you know. They go on beaming the T-issue and the same visuals all the time. In 1969 also there was an agitation. I was a school student then. But we were hardly affected because news never reached us. But now things are different,” Farooq asserts. Somebody pipes in that this is the second death in the village due to the T-tangle. Earlier this month (Feb 4) a class 8 student Akula Mounika suffered a heart attack after watching a T-related visual on TV, we are told. Numbed by shock, classmates Dubbaka Shweta and Kankanala Srikanth say, “Suicide is no solution. We will carry our fight through rallies and protest marches.”

We decide to meet Ramoji’s family members. On the way in this large village that lies sprawled what with a population of 5,000, we are beckoned by a man. “Sirs, you are coming all the way, but let me tell you this boy did not die because of Telangana. The T-sentiment is very very strong here. But he did not give up his life for this reason,” says the man bluntly but requests us to keep his identity secret.

The story he narrates bamboozles us completely. “He was a nice boy, but a few months ago he stole the stereo set that was attached to somebody else’s tractor. He was caught and warned by village elders. But last week he committed the crime again and was found out. This time, the village elders took an undertaking from his father and uncle that if any tractor stereo were found to be stolen they would have to pay up. The father gave an undertaking,” our source reveals. He adds: “But at the same time the village elders chastened the boy and so did his uncle and father. This was a day before the suicide. Shamed or whatever, he took his life. As far as the suicide note is concerned, it was put in his hand after he died,” our source concludes.

We now go to Ramoji’s house. Everybody is waiting for his body that has been taken for post-mortem. We find his father Pentachari and uncle Balarathnam. Both are sozzled. “Why did Ramoji commit suicide?” we ask. A man sitting closeby (also dead drunk) asks us sharply: “Don’t you know he died for Telangana?” The father and uncle begin weeping.

On the way back we decide to drop in at the police station in Dubbaka, the mandal headquarters. Outside the police station, there is a pandal. A few people are sitting, wearing garlands. They are on relay hunger strike for T-state. The policeman is quite frank: “What story did you hear - that the boy committed suicide for T? Well the actual story is.... (and he repeats the same story that our source told us).” The police official adds: “If you ask me on the record, I’ll say he died for T. Why should I contradict it? Everybody wants Telangana. So do I. If I contradict the story, I will have to face the wrath of the people. If Telangana comes, what’s the harm? We shall benefit.” He ventures more on his own: “That girl Mounika had a heart problem for long. Her death has nothing to do with Telangana.”

On the way we are thinking. By faking suicide cases, aren’t these local T-activists harming their own cause? After all this faking will be found out sooner or later. Then like the boy who cried wolf, people would start disbelieving the genuine cases of suicide for the T-cause like that of Siripuram Yadaiah who immolated himself in Osmania University last week.
both the suicides, in the journalists' view, were not for any grand cause. so, why do they think yadaiah was a genuine case? shaik ahmed ali isn't so sure (hat tip: kiran):
It happened once again.

On 20th February, a student Yadaiah attempted suicide by setting himself ablaze in the Osmania University campus in full public view. Minutes after he was shifted to the hospital, the Telangana agitators started waving his life-size photographs. Even copies of his 'suicide note' reached the scores of reporters covering the violence in the OU campus. While Yadaiah's love for Telangana is undisputable, I suspect whether he willingly attempted suicide.

At least I don't want to believe that Yadaiah's suicide bid was a spontaneous reaction. The authorities need to find answers for: who were all aware that he would attempt suicide; who were possessing the suicide note and why; when, how and who brought his life-size photographs in the campus and how the media representatives got access to his suicide note even before the police got it and why did he choose the place where the media cameras were present. The suicide bid was perfectly planned and timed in order to get maximum publicity. But who planned it?

So far, over a dozen students committed suicide 'demanding Telangana', but circumstantial evidences tell a different story. Almost all of them wrote similar text in their 'suicide notes' complaining of delay in formation of Telangana state. In all cases, media got access to the suicide note before the police got them. The authorities should find out if somebody was trying to exploit the sentiments of Telangana students by abetting them to commit suicide.

suicide, is among the top three leading causes of death among 15-24 year olds, in many countries. the recent spurt in telangana must be pulling it up to the top spot as the single leading cause of death among young people in the region. is someone trying to pull it up? the same people who don't find anything wrong in schoolkids committing suicide in large numbers? and for a grand political cause? like some kind of vultures, they seem too eager, and quick, to swoop down on these barely adolescent 'martyrs'.

on child soldiers, amnesty international says:

Worldwide, hundreds of thousands of children under 18 have been affected by armed conflict.

They are recruited into government armed forces, paramilitaries, civil militia and a variety of other armed groups. Often they are abducted at school, on the streets or at home. Others enlist “voluntarily”, usually because they see few alternatives. Yet international law prohibits the participation in armed conflict of children aged under 18.

It means that in reality girls and boys illegally and under force, participate in combat where frequently they are injured or killed. Others are used as spies, messengers, porters, servants or to lay or clear landmines. Girls are at particular risk of rape and other sexual abuse.

Such children are robbed of their childhood and exposed to terrible dangers and to psychological and physical suffering.

they might not have been recruited into any armed group or militia, but they're child soldiers in many ways. how can they not be considered soldiers if they can be enthusiastically feted as martyrs, later? whether directly, or through other means, the separatists have been taking their campaign into schoolyards-- shouldn't they be accused of robbing the childhood of these soldiers, especially in many of the villages in the few districts in which the movement appears to be strong? and especially of obc, dalit, adivasi and muslim kids in government schools? the private schools where the children of the separatist leaders and ideologues go aren't touched, of course. ironically, many among these recruiters, i mean people like prof. kodandaram, haragopal etc., have worked as human rights' activists earlier. many lives ago, it seems like now.


use less onion

HYDERABAD: Telangana JAC convener M Kodandaram on Tuesday said the services and products of the companies owned by “anti-Telangana” businessmen would be boycotted. The list of products would be announced soon after holding meeting with Telangana organisations and the JAC partners.
from here. and from here:
"We will boycott the services, goods and commodities produced by the affluent classes from non-Telangana regions who are opposing separate Telangana. We have no issues with the common people whatever their views are on the Telangana demand," JAC convener C Kodandaram told reporters.
do life saving drugs count? anti-retroviral drugs for the treatment of hiv? drugs to treat cardiovascular ailments?

why bother about particular products and services or businessmen? ban them all. why go around polluted industrial estates to discover how many of the andhra pharma manufacturers in hyderabad have spoken out against telangana, for instance? ban them all. hit them where it hurts. but also make sure that telangani consumers don't get hurt. teach them how to overcome any problems. it doesn't matter if a large number of telangani suppliers, traders, retailers and workers also get hurt. you think there won't be any telangani consumers left after all those people foolish enough to be associated with andhraites are hurt? not to worry. we'll build a brave new telangana where no one has to depend on anyone else: no one does any business with anyone else, produces products for anyone else or consumes products sold by anyone else. there'd be no exploitation, because there'd be no workers, or work.

but how can telangani consumers be protected? let's look at a couple of products produced by andhraites and explore how we can avoid using them without hurting ourselves.

patients from telangana should seriously think of changing the diseases that plague them if they want any treatment in the near future, 30-40% of all bulk drugs manufactured in india are produced by mostly andhra producers in hyderabad, so there is very little chance that most of the pills you buy for battling with very serious ailments haven't any andhra or hyderabad connection. so, change your disease and also switch to less serious ailments like, say, the common cold.

also start learning to live with a lot less electricity, because most of the surplus power produced in andhra-rayalaseema is used in telangana. use fancy stuff like tube-lights and other lamps every other day, never use luxury appliances like fans. save all the power you can because there'd be very little left after ensuring free power for all the agricultural pump-sets in telangana. sell your fridges, televisions etc as scrap and send the proceeds to the telangana jac so that they can buy flowers from the netherlands and belgium etc to organize bathukamma celebrations across telangana and the world to raise awareness about telangani culture and the need for a separate state.

use less onion. maybe a slice a week. you don't want any businessman or farmer in kurnool to benefit from trade in your tears. you'll need them for cnn ibn or hmtv etc.

[ there might be exaggerations in this post, but how does one deal with this hugely irrational idea?]


telangana: a movement without a social agenda 4

kancha ilaiah asks an important question:
Feb.13 : The movement for Telangana has now touched a peak. It has also become a movement with unique characteristics. Masses belonging to all walks of life have come out to the streets with their cultural symbols. We can see dalit-Bahujans beating drums and dholaks, the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) with their ploughshares and bullock carts, shepherds with their flock, toddy tappers with their moku (rope assembly use to climb the trees) and muttadu (is the belt they wear to keep their hatchet) and stone-breakers with their own iron artifacts.

The festive game of Bathukamma (a women’s festival celebrated mainly during Dussehra, pro-Telangana activists are performing the Bathukamma on the highways as a form of protest and to highlight their Telangana identity) was also enacted. It was being projected as a cultural symbol.

During the age of Nizam, Bathukamma used to be enacted by the Shudras — mostly OBCs. Dalits were not allowed to participate as they were seen as pollutants even by the OBCs of lower order. And the upper caste women — particularly Brahmins, Komatis, Reddys and Velamas — would not participate as it was seen as Shudra festive game. They thought it was below their dignity. Now suddenly some Dorasanlu (women of dominant castes) went to this play as a symbol of the agitation. Is it for Telangana or for power? [emphasis mine]
i don't see why ilaiah views telangana and power as two contradictory goals. telangana is power. it might not mean much change in the power equations at the village and district levels, but in hyderabad, where most power is concentrated, a new state would require a full-fledged ministry of its own, among other things. now, who gets the power is the critical question.

the involvement of certain articulate sections from a few obc, dalit communities and some adivasis like the lambadas has helped the separatists aggressively publicize the dubious claim that it is a broad-based social movement. that it is not a political movement, or a movement led by politicians, but a movement for 'self-respect', 'self-rule' etc. will this movement help the obcs, dalits and adivasis gain 'self-respect'? the answer to that question depends on the answers to a few other questions.

how many of the top leaders of the political joint action committee spearheading the agitation are obcs and dalits? very few. ilaiah himself points out their role in the current agitation:
The most interesting thing is that while the lower castes are using their cultural symbols to achieve a separate Telangana, the members of former feudal families are playing the politics of agitation. We also see a surprising unity between some Reddy and Velama political lords. The whole attempt by these two caste forces is to control the political joint action committee (JAC) that is driving the Telangana agitation. Some academicians have also been drawn in to mediate between those two otherwise politically warring castes.

It is as if the stereotype of future Telangana is being played out — “We will play politics and you should play Dhoom Dham, Bathukamma and drums”. [emphasis mine]
so, whose 'self-respect' are the agitators talking about? there are very little chances of a new state ushering in any significant improvement in the political representation of the obcs, dalits and adivasis in the institutions of power, thereby radically enhancing their social standing or 'respect'. they're not going to get any new power. a few more members from 4-5 large obc castes (out of a hundred odd obc communities in andhra pradesh) might get elected to the state legislature, but that would only mean a slight improvement on the current low base of obc representation which stands at around 15% of all legislators.

anant maringanti makes a significant observation in a recent article in the economic and political weekly ('Telangana: Righting Historical Wrongs or Getting the Future Right?', jan23, 2010 issue; thanks, anandaswarup):
The creation of electoral democracy and revenue administration at the mandal level opened up a unique space for the backward castes in Telangana who comprised small and medium farmers with little access to irrigation facilities. The first generation of the leaders benefiting from this strategy are now important leaders in the TDP and have been, by and large, the most ambivalent about the separate state demand. However, over the last 15 years, a number of new social groups have emerged at this scale whose efforts at upward mobility have not been very successful. It is those social groups, who have hit various road blocks to social mobility, that are the ones who are the most vocal in demanding a separate state.
the obc leaders who have achieved a certain degree of power in the tdp since the party's inception in 1983, mostly come from the few, large obc communities i'd talked about earlier. now, a new generation of aspirants from the same communities are trying desperately to find their way into institutions of power in general, and the state legislature in particular. their success can only happen through the displacement of the older generation of obcs, mostly in tdp and a few in the congress, because the reddies and velamas have a strong entrenched presence in all political parties, especially in the congress. therefore, a new state would obtain very few net gains for the obcs in hyderabad, and their political presence in the countryside wouldn't change much.

both the major political parties, the congress and the tdp, made tall promises about including more obcs among their candidates' lists in the long run up to the 2009 elections, mostly to neutralize any major shift among obc voters toward chiranjeevi's praja rajyam party which had talked about fighting for 'social justice', or more representation for the obcs. but eventually, neither party stood by its promise and chiranjeevi himself fielded obc candidates in constituencies where his party had little chances of winning.

neither chiranjeevi, whose party tried to project itself as a party of the backward classes mostly, nor the current telangana agitators have evolved any theoretically sound anti-caste agenda, or a programme of 'social justice'.

the few dalit and obc leaders among the separatists who tried to raise the issue of caste at public meetings, and in other fora like the jac conferences, have been shouted down, silenced and even attacked. and even a dominant section of the students, who have supposedly made this agitation a 'people's movement' according to its propaganda artists, have aggressively opposed any discussion of the caste question by saying: 'Kulalu vaddu, mataalu vaddu, Telangana muddu' ('no castes, no religions, we want telangana', roughly) and 'all for Telangana'. doesn't that sound like the 'youth for equality' agenda?

so, who's going to get the power? the movement does not even challenge entrenched social groups
on the question of political representation for the obcs or muslims. the share of the dalits and adivasis in the new state assembly shall not increase. like space bar says here, it might seem like the politicians have no control over the 'movement' now, but we also have to look at the question of who gains 'power' from this movement, whose ends does it meet, to understand who is trying hard to make it look like a 'people's movement'.


the only solution

those who study these things call suicide a permanent solution to a temporary problem. but, do those committing suicide see it as a temporary problem? yadagiri probably viewed it as his contribution to a cause that will bring in a permanent solution to all his and other telanganis' problems, temporary and permanent.

is telangana a permanent solution? ask prof.kodandaram, leader of the political joint action committee (constituted by all political parties and activists in telangana). ask the leaders of the various parties who are part of the jac. ask the hordes of professors, teachers, researchers, retired babus, lawyers etc who are part of the other jacs formed in the last two months. do they think it's a permanent solution to all the problems facing the people of telangana?
“Telangana now comes as a solution to all these problems. It says, okay, we can redistribute the existing water in Krishna and Godavari and with Telangana’s due share from canal waters and using that to fill up all the tanks, we can make agriculture profitable even in Telangana,” says Kodandaram.
from here. there are thousands and thousands of other occasions when prof.kodandaram, and scores of others like him, have presented telangana as 'a solution to all these problems'.

they've, over the years, emphatically made the point that a separate state is the only solution to a lot of problems that the people of telangana face. and over the years, in mostly rural, young, impressionable minds, the message of the activists that a separate state is the only solution to a lot of problems has slowly transformed itself into the conviction, through repeated dinning of the message into their heads, that a separate state is the only solution to all the problems that the people of the region face. and the leaders of the movement have done nothing to modify or change this perception. in fact, one suspects, they are proud of the job of indoctrination that they've performed. they seem too ready to quote, in front of any random camera or microphone, the rising numbers as proof of deep-rooted aspirations.

prof.kodandaram blames the government for the suicides. and also the politicians of the region for not doing enough to further the cause by resigning from their elected posts and creating a constitutional crisis in the region so that the centre would bend and create a new state without any committees or further delays.

does prof.kodandaram's argument in any way dilute the belief that a separate telangana is the only solution to all the problems that the people of the region face? no, it doesn't. it only reinforces the strong conviction i'd talked about earlier because it doesn't even talk about any other alternative solutions, anything beyond telangana. it only talks about the delays and difficulties in achieving the only solution. so, how can he blame the government or the opponents of separation for the suicides?

even if we believe in his logic, we can only conclude that the actions of the government or the opponents of separation only served as triggers for the suicides, not as the main cause. the main cause, of course, is the victims' shared belief that a separate state is the only solution to all the problems of the region. they've pushed the young, especially the most impressionable among them, to the edge of a cliff, in a manner of speaking, so how can they blame the cliff's edge for caving in and sending the victims to death?

the students committing suicide don't seem to stop to think: if a separate state is the only solution, then why aren't the leaders committing suicide? why aren't the activists, the professors committing suicide because the only solution doesn't seem achievable, the obstacles seem insurmountable? and the teachers don't seem to stop and think: if we repeatedly tell them, a separate state is the only solution, why would the students not believe it's the only solution? so, the students don't think suicide is irrational, because the professors don't seem to think panaceas are irrational.

shouldn't the professors/teachers be blamed for spreading the belief, the disease among the young? they're turning their victims into heroes, and this might push more young students towards suicide and martyrdom. i blame them for these suicides: prof.kodandaram for rationalizing the suicides as heroic protests, prof.haragopal for likening this movement to the 'french revolution' etc and driving up the hysteria among the young several notches higher, and scores of others like them.


learning from the senas

i'd talked about it earlier, more than a couple of times. and had explained why the ideologues and the small army of eggheads, teachers, professors and activists leading the movement have to be blamed:
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?
now, the future is almost here. the young supporters of the movement have moved beyond suicides:
When Speaker N Kiran Kumar Reddy disallowed the notice given by the MIM for moving an adjournment motion on the attack on minorities in Potangal Kotagiri mandal in Nizamabad district yesterday in the name of Telangana, the MIM members rushed into the well forcing the Speaker to adjourn the House for ten minutes.When the House reassembled, Akbaruddin Owaisi condemned the attack on minorities and demanded stern action against the attackers. He wanted the State Government to shift the injured to a hospital in Hyderabad.“You cannot force anybody to join any movement.We are not against Telangana or united Andhra Pradesh. You cannot continue your agitation at the cost of Muslims,’’ he said. [emphasis mine].
the separatists' intolerance towards dissent has been growing over the years, and dramatically in the past couple of months. their methods of 'canvassing' support for their cause have also become more aggressive. as i'd warned earlier, this movement shows all the signs of becoming another majoritarian project. and i hate to say this, but these attacks seem like they were planned at sena bhavan:
Medak district police in Andhra Pradesh arrested six persons in connection with some local people beating up 'outsiders', including some Tamil youth who had come for job interviews at the Bharat Heavy Electrical Ltd at Ramachandrapuram near Hyderabad.

Medak district superintendent of police VC Sajjanar told the rediff.com that the incident had flared up as the local people, including some existing BHEL employees and members of BHEL workers' union, were angry that the final list for interview call did not include the names of the local candidates and the list was full of outsiders.

In view of the tension and the controversy, the BHEL management cancelled the interviews. But trouble broke out when the candidates were returning from BHEL. "There was a clash in which many outsiders, not just Tamilians, were beaten up," Sajjanar said.

"We have already arrested six people," he said.

Police officials agreed that apart from the local versus non-local issue, the ongoing agitation for Telangana incident was also a factor in the incident as the people of Telangana have a long-standing grouse that they do not get their share in the jobs in organisations such as BHEL and most of the jobs always go to the non-locals.
would the professors still call this a democratic movement?


the village wit

It flashed in my mind this morning!!

The Perspective is very simple. This will be clear to the people who serve or served on the Boards of Companies or Corporations. Let me explain. In a company there are shareholders. Any group that owns or controls more than 50% shares is a majority shareholder. The rest are the minority shareholders. The majority group selects the Board, Chairman, President etc. They make the policies and objectives and they select the projects. They manage the available resources including finances as they see fit.

Any government including the AP government is similar to a typical company. The Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) in the State Assembly constitute Power. The Telangana region has 107 seats and the Andhra region has 187 seats. In any democracy the majority will rule. With the majority, the Andhra MLAs will definitely control every thing!! Any rule by the minority is an aberration and cannot last long.

Also, any party that came to power had more MLAs from the Andhra region than from the Telangana. It is very unlikely that most of the MLAs of the winning party will ever come from the Telangana region. Telangana loses again and again! Under the present setup, this is very natural and there is no escape.

The fact that Telangana is a minority is the ROOT CAUSE for lack of the desired and expected development in Telangana. We cannot develop Telangana unless we fix this root cause.
there are no classes or castes or creeds or gender. geography is the only objective reality, according to b.venkateshwara rao.

how should women who hold only 16% or so of all jobs in the state government feel about that? how should the obcs, who constitute, according to various estimates, anything between 46 to 52 per cent of the state's population feel about never having got more than 15%, on an average, of representation in the state assembly? how should the muslims, who make up 9-11% of the population in the state, feel about not getting half as many jobs or one quarter as many seats in the assembly as their share in the state's population?

hope it would also flash in the minds of all women, obcs, muslims, and dalits of telangana one morning that they should move to coastal andhra or rayalaseema if they wish to improve their lives. that should fix the root cause, without any suicides, bandhs, resignations and lot else.

[thanks, telangana development forum, for helping me tide through these very depressing times with much welcome wit and wisdom, many times].


keys to the world

Ourtelangana.com exists for the sole purpose of facilitating a Telangana state .Though we encourage all users including those who have questions about "why we need Telangana”, we absolutely will not tolerate any demeaning statements about our culture, our leaders, our students, our people nor our demand for a seperate state.

By "clicking" on "Jai Telanagna" below you can enter the site else you are not welcome!

have you ever come across such a website? they open a window to the world, through the internet, just to tell it that it's not welcome. elsewhere on the site, they say:

3. Globalization: We don't want to miss the fruits of the globalization. Even though Hyderabad city has many IT and Pharma , most of our young people don't have adequate education to take up the jobs. Our education system has been discriminated for the last 5 decades and we can only improve our children lives with our own rule.

they don't want to miss the fruits of globalization, but would rather meet the world through closed doors. a question: do you think they've decided whether they want the shamshabad international airport or not? or would visitors be waved through only if they say 'jai telangana'?

kalpana kannabiran says:

The history of the Telangana region is a history of political radicalism and resistance to forces of conservatism across the board – ranging from fundamentalism and feudalism to authoritarian “democracy” to dogmatic and patriarchal communism. It is this history of Telangana that will set the new state apart. At a time when global capitalism has eaten into our economies and our lives, Telangana having paid a particularly heavy price, we need to draw on our history of political radicalism and set out the non- negotiables – resistance to virulent capitalism and discrimination being an important part of state policy.
that seems a clear 'no' to globalisation. like all globalized protectors/activists of the grassroots, ms.kannabiran would like to see that the grassroots stay rooted. another class of globalized telanganis, also very protective of the vulnerable grassroots stupid enough to stay rooted, say:
Q: Globalization & Telangana.
A: It is a mistake to construe Telangana question as a part of Anti-Globalisation movement and sentiment. In fact many people who are supporting Telangana statehood are supporters of Globalisation of economy. Both the positions are not contradictory. Telangana movement is against colonization not Globalisation. There is a big difference between them.
In fact many people who are supporting Telangana statehood are supporters of Globalisation of economy. are they? are many people sure about what they want from telangana, forget whether they want globalisation or not?

is kura rajanna, of the cpi (ml), janashakti group, a staunch supporter of telangana also a supporter of globalisation?
Will you put a halt to (LPG) -- liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation in separate Telangana? Are you going to impose your own version of Vision-2020? Will the State violence continue in case you succeed? Will all the landless get land in such a separate State? Will it have Sixth Schedule so that tribal autonomous councils could be formed?
do the politicians agree with rajanna?
Mr. Rao assured them that the people of Telangana would not like to lose the industry when their State was formed. They would roll out a red carpet welcome to the industry in the separate State. He recalled that Hyderabad had a rich history of accommodating all sections of people.
but there are other politicians, some from kcr's own family, who want to impose visa-like restrictions on people who want to work in hyderabad. a learned person i had met a couple of days said, something like: isn't the telangana movement a response to globalization? i feel it is too many responses to globalisation, and no coherent answers.

and among the responses, you can see undercurrents of thackerayism, ludditism, rentier capitalism, maoist adventurism, definite tendencies toward fascism, autarkic fundamentalism and lots of other not so rational ideas and ambitions.

again, do they know what they want? the world thinks it can do business with hyderabad, and that means trade in not just goods and services but also ideas, cultures, and people. all the people referred to earlier in this post have benefitted, personally, from such global flows. there is no unanimity among them on the question of globalization, but they all want keys to the gates to the world.


one tamarind fruit

kalpana kannabiran is worried about the telangana culture i don't share with her:
The second pillar of the demand for a separate Telangana is the fact of cultural hegemon. The Telugu film industry is the worst offender – the criminalizing of Telangana language and the people of Telangana in popular culture reaching levels that undermine the dignity of the people of the region.
the only cultural hegemon i'm worried about right now is the growing majoritarian culture that says: there's one telangani culture, and if you don't agree with that, you should consult some eminent social scientist or shut the f%&k up. there is a simple truth that many hindu upper caste liberals should understand: there isn't one telangana. just as there isn't one mumbai, or one coastal andhra or one bengal.

i learnt that truth or lesson, several lessons actually, at a very young age, and one particular teacher was a young man who looked very middle aged when i met him. he was from the golla, or yadav, community and he, let's call him ramaiah, along with his family had come to work as domestic help for my family. in caste terms, he came from a community that ranked much higher than ours, but the city had changed ranks a little and my father's fortunes a lot.

i have to cut this story very short, because i don't like it: he had run away from his village, around 40-50 kms from hyderabad, because he couldn't work for the dora (or lord, master--term used for big, upper caste landowner, to put it simply) of that village any more. the dora's brother had killed ramaiah's younger brother because he had dared to pluck a fruit from a tamarind tree in the dora's family's vast farm. he had beat him up very badly, worked on him with a tractor tyre, and the young man died some time later from whatever was broken inside him. that happened around 35-40 years ago and this dora happened to be someone my father knew in the city, and i still remember how ramaiah used to shake in fear whenever he came visiting.

other stories, other lessons from other people have also been useful, but because i was very young, that tamarind fruit stayed in my mind. it's a huge library for me. i've learnt from the tamarind fruit that i don't share any culture with kcr, nor does kcr share any culture with gaddar, nor does gaddar share any culture with ramaiah. and that tamarind fruit shall always divide me from prof.haragopal or any other brahmin gopal.

so what do these shared 'culture' and 'socialist vision' of the leaders of the separatist movement ms.kannabiran speaks about have to offer? it's not like they're going to give every dalit rural worker and obc farmer or artisan jobs in the hyderabad central university or osmania university with equal pay and perks as prof.haragopal used to enjoy and prof.kodandaram now refuses to give up, are they?

my appeal to the tamarind fruit owners: please stop talking about 'diverse constituencies' and a 'composite culture' in the same breath.


these learned purveyors of bazaar gossip

the amount of bazaar gossip that has been bandied around as knowledge by the activists and 'researchers' of the separate telangana movement is amazing. what's equally amazing is the quality of the pathetic leadership of the congress party at the centre which all through the last ten years listened to that kind of wild arguments and nodded its head.

would you nod your head at this kind of argument?
According to an estimate, while Rs.1,30,856 crores has been spent on education in Coastal Andhra and Rs.38,247 crores in Rayalaseema, expenditure on Telangana is only Rs.16,338 crores.
found that precious nugget of knowledge in an appeal sent to the prime minister (and sonia gandhi, of course) recently by an organization called 'Hyderabad Forum for Telangana' (you will find the appeal here on facebook, and with some of my comments on it, here).

look at those figures: 1,30,856 crores were spent on the nine districts of coastal andhra since 1956, while 38,247 crores were spent on the four districts of rayalaseema and only 16,338 crores were spent on the ten districts of telangana! while around 14,000 crores were spent on each district of andhra, 9,500 crores on each district of rayalaseema, and only 1600 crores were spent on each district of telangana. or only around 8.5% of the entire education expenditure since 1956 was spent on telangana (which is home to around 40% of the total population of the state)! i ask myself, shouldn't the estimator have asked himself: am i going slightly overboard, maybe?

if you were a plain, garden-variety conspiracy theorist, you'd hesitate a little before manufacturing those kind of estimates. you'd worry about believability. but in the homes of the telangana separatists these days, every ganesha on every wall calendar drinks milk, so all the manufacturers need to worry about is to keep the supply of milk running. and that's the only concern that worries them: the supply shouldn't run dry, we'll think about quality later, much, much later. so like illicit liquor producers across the slums of india, they throw in whatever they can lay their hands on into the brew: the academic equivalents of chemicals, offal, dead rats. because the market needs the fix, and now. more than it needs solutions to hunger, caste or poverty.

so none of the believers ask: whose estimate? what source? when did they compile the data? but until now the immensely creative knowledge of the manufacturers was mostly thrust on domestic users. and for a major part of the fifteen years of their efforts to build a market, there were very few takers for their kind of knowledge, their product, even in the domestic market. until sections of the congress, away from power for nine long years and desperately short of electoral mantras, and a few other mainstream politicians took on the responsibility of marketing this new post-reforms variant of an old, discredited product. it was only then that it attained the kind of visibility in public discourse that sharad pawar and many others in the congress lend to the shiv sena in maharashtra.

did andhra pradesh spend rs.1,30,856 crores plus 38,247 crores plus 16,338 crores on education since 1956?

no. rs.1,30,856 crores plus 38,247 crores plus 16,338 crores is rs.1,85,441 crores, and i don't think the government of andhra pradesh has spent even half as much on education, cumulatively, in all the years since 1956. but you can check for yourself from the andhra pradesh government's own budget estimates that you can find through a little exploration here. let me outline here some of the results i obtained through my own efforts at exploration there:

*2009-10. the budget estimate for expenditure on education for the year 2009-10 is around
10,800 crores in 2009-10, (page 32),
* 2000-01. 3,619 crores was actually incurred in 2000-2001,
* 1990-91.
rs.995 crores in 1990-91,
* 1980-81.
198 crores in 1980-81,
* 1970-71. rs.60 crores in 1970-71
* 1960-61.
rs.15 crores in 1960-61

those are mostly budget estimates (and i've rounded off some of them), culled from various budget speeches by the finance ministers of those times, and there'd be very minor revisions at the end of those years. i've quoted figures from the first year of each decade (1960-61, 1970-71, 1980-81, 1990-91, 2000-2001 and the current year, 2009-10) so that we'd get a very general sense of what could be the average spending on education, each year, during any particular decade (50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s). after going through the figures for many other years which i am not quoting here (because i don't think they're needed to make the point i'm trying to make-- any reader is welcome to check whatever figures are made available on the site, and please correct me), i've come up with some estimates of i) how much was spent, on an average, in each year in every decade since 1956 and ii) also an estimate of what could be the total amount spent by the government of andhra pradesh in all those years on general, higher and technical education. please note that i might be erring on a higher side, because i'm still trying to give the unnamed estimator a huge benefit of doubt:

1956-60: average spending on education in each year was rs.15 crore (i am taking the higher figure of the budget estimate of 1960-61, the first year of the next decade, as the average because i don't think it'd make much of difference to the total). the total spending on education for the four years (1956-57 until 1959-60) of the 50s comes to rs.60 crores.

average spending on education in each year was rs.35 crores (i am still taking a higher figure, i think) and total spending on education in all the years during the 60s comes to rs.350 crores.

average spending on education in each year was rs.150 crores, and total spending on education in all the years during the 70s comes to rs.1500 crores.

1980-90. average spending on education in each year was rs.600 crores, and total spending on education in all the years during the 80s comes to rs.6000 crores.

1990-2000. average spending on education in each year was rs.2,500 crores (i am still taking the higher figures), and total spending on education in all the years during the 90s comes to rs.25000 crores.

2000-2010. average spending on education in each year was rs.5,500 crores (i am still taking the higher figures), and total spending on education in all the years during the 2000s comes to rs.55000 crores.

what do all those figures add upto? rs.60 crores (total spend in the 50s) + 350 crores (total spend in the 60s) + 1,500 crores (total spend in the 70s) + 6,000 crores (total spend in the 80s) + 25,000 crores (total spend in the 90s) + 55,000 crores (total spend in the 2000s) = rs.87,910 crores. is that half of rs.1,85,441 crores, the figure the unnamed estimator had come up with? no.

the government of andhra pradesh hasn't spent half as much as the figure mentioned in the appeal in all the years since 1956. so forget the veracity of all the rest of the figures pertaining to allocations to the different regions. i am still willing to give the estimator a very long rope: was the estimator using present values of those sums spent in the past? it doesn't say so anywhere in the appeal which is addressed to the prime minister, an economist. nor does it seem likely, looking at the total figure the estimator has come up with. my own view is that if the estimator was using present values, not a paisa was spent on education in telangana, going by his estimate, since around the eighties. i don't think i need to say any more about the quality of that estimate.

but i wonder: how could all these learned, public spirited individuals have signed that appeal without checking the quality of the facts and figures mentioned in it?

Prof. Rama S. Melkote, Rtd. Professor, Osmania University
Prof. E. Revathi, Professor, Kakatiya University
Dr. K. Lalita, Director, Yugantar
Ms. K. Sajaya, Caring Citizens’ Collective
Dr. A. Suneetha, Coordinator, Anveshi Research Centre for Women’s Studies
Ms. Kaneez Fathima, Muslim Forum for Telangana
Ms. Sandhya, President, Progressive Organization of Women
Ms. Vasudha Nagaraj, Advocate
Ms. Mandakini Mallaram, Advocate
Dr. K. Satyalakshmi, Associate Professor, Gandhi Naturopathic Medical College
Mr. Burgula Narsing Rao, Freedom Fighter
Prof. Madabhushi Sridhar, Professor, NALSAR Law University
Mr. Lateef Mohammad Khan, Gen.Secretary, Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee
Mr. K. T. Rama Rao, Member, Andhra Pradesh Assembly
Mr. Vidyasagar Rao, Rtd.Chief Engineer, Andhra Pradesh
Mr. M. Lakshmaiah, Senior Journalist
Mr. Chukka Ramaiah, Eminent Educationist
Mr. Sridhar Reddy, Indian National Congress
Dr. G. Vinod Kumar, Faculty, Law College, Osmania University
Dr. P. Harinath, Professor, Vivek Vardhini College
Mr. S. Jeevan Kumar, President, Human Rights Forum
Mr. Madan Mohan Rao, Senior Journalist
Mr. Sashi Kumar, Development Consultant
Dr. Ananth Maringanti, Journalist
Prof. M. Kodandram, Professor, Osmania University
Mr. D. Sitaram, Senior Journalist
Dr. Vithal Rajan, Member, World Future Council
Dr. R.V. Ramana Murthy, Associate Professor, Hyderabad Central University
Mr. Burgula Vijay, Telangana Development Forum
Ms. Seethalakshmi (Usha), Freelance Researcher and Consultant
Ms. Uma Bhrugubanda, Assistant Professor, English and Foreign Languages University
Dr. Rekha Pappu, Independent Researcher, Hyderabad
Dr. M. M. Vinodini, Dalit Writer
Mr. P.Kishan Rao, Farmer and Engineer, Khammam
Ms. Ravi Kumar, Development Consultant
Prof. D.Vasanta, Professor, Osmania University
Dr. R.Srivatsan, Senior Fellow, Anveshi Research Centre for Women’s Studies
Dr. Mohammad Khaza, Poet and Writer
Mr. Kondala Reddy, Social Activist
Ms. V. Usha Rani, Director, Sannihita Resource Centre for Women
Mr. B. Rameshwarayya, Social Activist
Ms. Gogu Shyamala, Dalit writer
Ms. Joopaka Subadra, Dalit writer
Dr. Surepally Sujatha, Assistant Professor, Satavahana University, Karimnagar
Ms. G. Uma Devi, Rtd. Non-gazetted officer, Hyderabad
Ms. R. Lakshmi, Social Activist
Mr. Rajiv Velicheti, Associate Professor, Hyderabad Central University
Dr. Suguna Rammohan, Professor in Pathology, Kamineni Medical College
Dr. Manguta, Paediatrician
Ms. Burgula Suguna, MPTC, Burgula village, Mahboobnagar district
Dr. Peddi Rama Rao, Associate Professor, Telugu University
Dr. K. Madhavi, Associate Professor, Begumpet,
Mr. Jasraman Singh Grewal, Poet and Film maker
Mr. Diia Rajan, Researcher, Yugantar
Dr. Satish Poduval, Associate Professor, English and Foreign Languages University
Dr. Sarath Davala, Independent Researcher
Ms. Saraswati Kavula, Documentary Film Maker
Mr. Burgula Sudheer, Rtd. SBH officer
Mr. Burgula Dileep, Agriculturalist
Mr. Vommi Ramesh Babu, Journalist and writer
Mr. Burgula Pradeep, Trade Unionist
Mr. Pasham Yadagiri , Senior journalist
Ms. J. Subhadra, Dalit writer
Ms. G Uma Devi , Rtd. Non-gazzetted officer
Dr. Surapally Sujatha, Asst. Professor
Ms. Soumitri, Development Consultant.
Mr. Raghavan, Development Consultant
Mr. Errabelli Siddarth Rao, Advocate
Mr. Sri Harsha Rao, Advocate
Ms. Rohini Rao, Advocate

the hindu, upper caste liberal (which is what most of those signatories are) is a very anxious animal: the race to seem liberal is such an intensely competitive struggle, i guess, that you can't blame them for not bothering to check what they're liberal about.

no, i am not going to blame them for not checking the rest of the very argumentative, many times offensively sectarian, appeal either. i can only admire their blind faith in the cause: who said education is about learning to reason?


the spell would break?

The committee appointed by the Centre to examine the Telangana issue has also been asked to examine the option of a united Andhra Pradesh, prompting those demanding a separate statehood to denounce the panel.

In Hyderabad, Telangana Rashtra Samiti chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao, who has been spearheading the agitation, said, “The Centre has betrayed us once again.” He directed all his party MPs, MLAs and MLCs to resign immediately.

they don't want the hysteria to cool down, the hatred to be diluted, reason and debate to prevail. because debate might break the spell and make people think. like i had hinted earlier, they don't want to talk:

i don't think they'd like to talk now, considering most of their talk until now has been mostly gossip, innuendo and rumour. now, they might have to talk facts, because the committee may rather listen to facts. perhaps, that's what they've been avoiding until now. a discussion of facts which might rip apart most of their claim. and all that they might be left with is the clever logic that it's their culture to talk around facts.
so they've called for a bandh again. what could be more dangerous than letting in some fresh air into so tightly shut minds?


cutting off one's nose

an excellent analysis (in telugu), by sam gundimeda, of why some dalit activists/leaders in telangana and andhra-rayalaseema seem to think that separation would solve the problem of categorisation. and the author's view? he thinks it won't solve the problem, and i concur with him completely.

in another post, he wonders why dalits of andhra are supporting the movement for a united state when the movement is led by upper caste businessmen who wish to protect their businesses and properties in hyderabad, especially when those big businessmen don't even employ dalits, except in the lower rungs.

will those who have businesses and properties in hyderabad be affected by the creation of a new state? the answer is a clear 'no'. the indian constitution offers enough protection to those who own businesses and properties anywhere in the country.

the creation of a new state shall not stop either lagadipati rajagopal of lanco or kavuri sambasiva rao of progressive constructions or a few others like them from doing business or acquiring more property in hyderabad, or telangana. in fact, the creation of two or three or four new states (telangana, coastal andhra, greater rayalaseema and kalinga-andhra) would help them much more than other sections of society, in general, and businessmen in particular. because, as businessmen with special interest and experience in the field of construction and infrastructure, in the event/s of the creation of one or two or three new capitals each requiring 50,000 crores or 1,00,000 crores or much more of investments in infrastructure in the next ten years or twenty years or more, wouldn't business opportunities for them go up several times?

both lanco and progressive constructions have operations across the country now. please check those websites: lanco, for instance, has projects in around 11 states. logically speaking, i think companies like lanco would like nothing better than one or two or three new telugu speaking states where the company's top bosses would have strong links with both the political bosses and the top layers of the old/new bureaucracies (including those in telangana).

so, why do businessmen-politicians like l.rajagopal or k.sambasiva rao support the idea of a united state? as businessmen, as i pointed out, they should prefer division. but i think as politicians, they can't afford to ignore the concerns of their constituents, especially the vocal middle classes. and there are hundreds of other elected politicians, apart from those two and a few more, who aren't businessmen and they don't see much sense in division either. those two businessmen-politicians are more important to the separatists in telangana, than to the supporters of a united state, because they are so very easy and visible to point out, to caricaturize by infusing a lot of speculative masala about their deeds or misdeeds in popular discourse, build a not-very-savoury figure of a typical andhra politician. and by logical extension, build a strong stereotype that shall serve to demonize all people from andhra-rayalaseema as not-very-pleasant human beings, progressively, in the eyes of the average telangani. and that stereotype shall embrace everyone, eventually, irrespective of class, caste or creed.

i think it's good to start thinking about what all the classes, starting from the lowest, of andhra pradesh start to lose if the state is bifurcated or trifurcated or cut up into more pieces. one can't support or oppose division depending on what your traditional oppressors are doing because your enemy's enemy isn't always your friend. to use another cliche, to put it more eloquently: one can't cut off one's nose to spite one's face.

a non-antagonistic contradiction

the mala-madiga divide in andhra pradesh in many ways mirrors the andhra-telangana divide: both the divides have been assiduously built over most of the post-independence period by certain very narrow-minded elements to play up the minor differences, rather than focus on the huge commonalities. another common trait among both kinds of divisive elements is their excessive reliance on selective data, in very select areas, to wrangle over some small issue, the whole picture be damned. distribution of jobs in government is one favourite area of contention. should this issue have consumed so much time and passion? s.r.sankaran, an ex-bureaucrat with an impeccable work record (especially among disadvantaged sections) in andhra pradesh raises the same question in an attempt to look at the larger picture in this old epw article (january 31, 1998 issue) on the mala-madiga issue:
Based on the information supplied by different departments of the government, it is understood that the Ramachandra Raju Commission found that the vacancies reserved for the scheduled castes in public employment and the seats in higher educational institutions have been availed of between malas and madigas broadly in the ratio of 64:36. As the population is almost equal between malas and madigas, the madigas would appear to have received less than the proportionate share. There are a large number of historical reasons as a result of which such a situation has emerged. The reasons would perhaps include the comparatively faster growth of coastal Andhra, better educational opportunities, spread effect of education and first generation employment, missionary activities and a host of other factors; but the present position is one of imbalance and needs appropriate correctives. Availment of whatever job opportunities that arise in proportion to the population may not place anyone at a disadvantage and may serve to correct the imbalance.

It is to be appreciated that those employed in public services are less than 4 per cent of the population, though they may be the most visible particularly in urban areas and more articulate. They are a small if not minuscule minority. With liberalisation and the shrinking public sector, not many job opportunities in the state sector are likely to emerge in future. The categorisation orders issued by the state government, even if they are upheld by the courts do not apply to the posts under the central government or central public undertakings which account for the larger proportion of the jobs in the public domain. It is also to be noted that a large part of the jobs in the state sector will be in clerical or lower categories which do not substantially enhance the social status. While not underrating the importance of public services, its significance in relation to the scheme of reservations seems to be limited in the coming years. Looking to all these factors, the virulent fight about the government jobs does not seem to be worthwhile for either side. In fact the problem itself has arisen as a result of some gains to the scheduled caste community as a whole from the policy of reservations. At a period of time when there was no representation at all or negligible representation in services, there was perhaps nothing to quarrel about or to share; but when there is something gained after a combined struggle for decades, the relative shares have become the subject of dispute. One wishes that such a situation had not arisen at all. These conflicts are bound to arise in a differentiated and segmented society like ours. Whatever course the cases in the courts take, the responsibility for finding a solution will still rest with the society as a whole and more specifically on the scheduled caste community.

Another point needs to be stressed. Other than employment in services and admissions to technical courses like medicine and engineering, generally described as statutory benefits, other facilities and schemes like hostels, scholarships and other educational facilities, provision of housing or drinking water supply are unlimited and universal as far as all the scheduled castes are concerned. They need not become issues of controversy at all. So far as political representation is concerned, that will be decided by the balance of political forces at any point of time and surely no government order can decide such matters.

The most unfortunate development is that the debate is being carried on in antagonistic terms and in an adversorial manner. There have been extreme demands by some sections that malas should be removed from the list of scheduled castes which, to say the least, is ridiculous. Similarly, the statements that the madigas could not avail of the job opportunities because of their caste based occupations or lack of education will be going counter to the spirit behind the principle of reservation which is essentially to assist those who are left behind.

The mala community, particularly those who are articulate and their leadership should realise that the madigas are a few steps behind and they do need and deserve a special support. The madiga community on their part should understand that if they are relatively less developed, it is not the malas who are responsible for it. Both should appreciate that lasting damage will be done to the community of scheduled castes by hostility and acrimony, particularly in the villages where they have to live together and work together. Any diminution in the strength and unity will have economic, social and political consequences. Both the communities should recognise the need for securing equality among themselves and strive for equality with the rest of the society. The equitable sharing of jobs or seats can become a part of the process of strengthening the unity. They should sit together and evolve a consensus. It is imperative that the masses of the labouring classes should stand united. To emphasise the point, the issue is not at all a mala vs madiga issue, but one arising from the differing levels of development of the two communities at a particular historical moment and the efforts needed to reduce the differentials and to bring about equality. There is no doubt a contradiction that has emerged and given rise to conflicts but it is not an antagonistic contradiction but a non- antagonistic contradiction that can be resolved by mutual understanding, recognising the fact that both malas and madigas are bound together by the common suffering and common bond of untouchability and that indeed is their togetherness in history. [emphasis mine].
now, i'd say, all the people from the different regions of andhra pradesh could benefit from following that sane counsel, not just the malas and madigas.


no place for cannon fodder

what happened yesterday at a public meeting organized by students of the kakatiya university gave us a brief glimpse of the inherent strong contradictions, conflicting interests, in the separatist movement:
Madiga Reservation Porata Samithi leader Manda Krishna Madiga has blamed it on Telangana Rashtra Samithi president K Chandrasekhara Rao for the attack on him at the Kakatiya University students meeting in Warangal on Sunday.

Manda Krishna alleged that KCR had masterminded the attack, as he did not want the growth of weaker sections and dalits in the Telangana movement. “Right from the beginning, only two upper castes – Reddys and Velamas, have been hijacking the Telangana movement. They are dominating the Joint Action Committee and are not allowing the voice of Dalits being heard. Since I have been raising my voice, definitely KCR has engineering the attack on me,” he alleged.

what does krishna madiga, and other traditionally landless dalits have in common with kcr and other erstwhile velama and reddy feudal landlords who still own more half the agricultural land, and most of the holdings in the canal irrigated parts, in the region? what do the telangana ngos and officers (sarkari babus) who, in close partnership with their andhra counterparts, were negotiating a hefty pay hike from the state government just a week ago, have in common with landless agricultural workers in mahbubnagar who migrate in lakhs to mumbai and other big cities every year in search of work? what do telangani weavers in bhiwandi and goldsmiths in surat have in common with the software engineers working in new jersey and san jose? what do congressis like former home minister and naxal hunter jana reddy have in common with maoist sympathizers like gaddar and vara vara rao? what do lohiate socialists in the movement like keshav rao jadhav have in common with big businessmen-politicians from the congress and the tdp?

those and several other such contradictions can't be resolved. just as ram janmabhoomi wasn't meant to resolve mandal, only kill it, telangana will only push back krishna madiga's mission. and the aspirations of several others like him. the exhilaration of the moment might delude them into thinking that they're winning because they're being included, for the moment. but, as the last paragraph in the new story tells you, they're losing, and badly:

The fact, however, is that right from the beginning, Manda Krishna has been a nuisance in the movement. There is not a single occasion when he contributed to the movement and all that he has been trying to do is exploit the Telangana movement for his personal growth. KCR, no doubt, is an unscrupulous politician, but it is because of him that the movement has come to this stage. Where was Manda Krishna in the Telangana movement all these years? Let the Telangana activists understand.
the mouthpieces of the brahminized classes regard krishna madiga as a 'nuisance', despite the fact that it is the dalits and obc youth in hundreds and thousands who are fasting, holding dharnas and padayatras, braving lathis and jail, committing suicide in dozens every week. reminds me of what i had said earlier, a few weeks ago:
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.
now that the movement's upper caste leaders seem to have caught new delhi's attention a little, why do they need the cannon fodder any more? aren't they such a nuisance, kcr and other brahminized leaders and 'activists' of the movement seem to think.


telangana: a movement without a social agenda 3

kancha ilaiah in why i am not a hindu:
What further separated a Hindu from us was the nature of the consciousness of the other world, the divine and the spiritual. For children from our castes, Jeja (the concept of God) is introduced in the form of the moon. As children grow up, they also get acquainted with Pochamma, Polimeramma, Kattamaisamma, Kaatamaraju, Potaraju and other deities. Among Dalitbahujans, there is no concept of a temple in a definite place or form. Goddesses and Gods live in all shapes and in different places.
i'd written nearly an year ago:
madigas, and over fifty other dalit castes in andhra pradesh have been agitating over the last fifteen years for dividing the scheduled castes into categories (as it is done in the case of obcs) to ensure that, according to their view, not all the fruits of reservations are cornered by a couple of castes. there have also been barely covered reports of similar movements across the country. now this demand needs to be debated seriously across a wide range of fora because it involves not just madigas and other castes in andhra pradesh, but dalits, primarily, and all other classes of people across the country. from 300 million to one billion people.
no debate happened anywhere outside andhra pradesh, and in andhra pradesh too the debate on categorisation of dalits, which had been allowed to degenerate into an endless internecine war along the mala-madiga divide among the dalits (watched, egged on many times, eagerly by upper caste political bosses and various assorted kind-hearted liberals among the brahminized classes) got drowned in the debate over another synthetic divide, telangana. while the debaters took to the streets and the courts and nothing got resolved, they took the battle into their homes and their hearts. and to their divided neighbourhoods in the villages, outside the villages. the political bosses never took it to parliament, which in the supreme court's opinion is the right forum to debate the issue, and powerful parliamentarians, of course, never notice an issue that happens outside delhi on their own unless....say, a famous cricketer or film star is involved. but what would parliament have done?

it'd have taken an easy way out, like a very frustrated and tired manda krishna madiga, perhaps. he, along with his organization mrps ('madiga reservation porata samiti'), joined the telangana movement formally on the day kcr started his fast, a couple of months ago. as recently as that. does that mean the dalits of telangana actively support a movement that has been almost entirely led by upper caste political leaders for the past nine years? it means they're frustrated and tired running around every kind of constitutional institution looking for just, constitutional solutions to their problems but now have given up and feel geography might help. does it mean the dalits of telangana have suddenly discovered they share a common culture with their erstwhile feudal masters? that they were never separated from the hindus, culturally, as ilaiah says? when krishna madiga shares a platform with assorted reddy, velama, kamma, kapu political leaders from the congress, bjp, various communist and other parties it doesn't mean caste barriers have suddenly crumbled to dust, it only means they've grown so strong that even dalits can't recognize each other as equals.

so, the madigas of telangana think a separated telangana would help them gain better access to reserved seats and jobs because they form the majority (among dalits) in telangana. how about the other smaller castes who would then be elbowed out of the race for reserved seats and jobs by the dominant caste among dalits, the madigas? what'd parliament do to resolve that issue? divide every region, district and village in the country into separate states so that no dalit caste would dominate another?

the telangana movement is not a dalit movement, in fact it's a movement designed to paralyse any concerted efforts by the dalits in andhra pradesh to overcome caste, to fight caste together.


time to talk

by adopting the very legalistic line that the merger in 1956 was conditional and hence could be unilaterally revoked, the separatists have until now managed to avoid talking to other, to use a very chidambaramesque term, 'stakeholders' in the state. but they didn't stop talking across, over, around, everywhere about the so-called 'discrimination' they have had to face all through these years. and they didn't stop talking about how the merger itself was 'undemocratic' (a not very legalistic line to take), that the people of telangana had opposed it. who had opposed it? a few reactionary elements who had enjoyed high privileges in the feudal regime. and their cousins, perhaps. they've called the majority decision of the elected legislature in favour of the merger as 'undemocratic', which of course means 15 illegitimate legislatures and governments, in some of which they were a part, have presided over the state until now. some naive observers would sense hypocrisy there, but not the separatists. not their gang of 'ideologues' and 'intellectuals' who have worked or are working in jobs the illegitimate governments entrusted them with.

now, they'll have to talk. because they don't like talking to their fellow citizens, like in any democracy, but would rather prefer talking to delhi, they should like this idea of a committee appointed by delhi. i've called them inveterate courtiers earlier, because their genius lies in gossip, innuendo and rumour. and they've spread the disease across the land. i don't think they'd like to talk now, considering most of their talk until now has been mostly gossip, innuendo and rumour. now, they might have to talk facts, because the committee may rather listen to facts. perhaps, that's what they've been avoiding until now. a discussion of facts which might rip apart most of their claim. and all that they might be left with is the clever logic that it's their culture to talk around facts.


telangana: a movement without a social agenda 2

if the popular beverage coke is a social movement, so is telangana. a brand is built around selling 'benefits' to individuals: tangible benefits like quenching thirst, and intangible benefits like feelings of being 'cool', 'special' and 'unique'. brand telangana offers tangible benefits like '3 lakh jobs in government' to the students agitating in osmania and other universities, while the competing brand, a united state, does not. and the intangible benefits? martyrdom celebrated on television is one of them.

in a country where thousands of educated applicants line upto apply for a few railway porters' jobs, what could be more alluring to a couple of million students and unemployed ex-students from rural telangana than desk jobs that ensure regular pay (or pensions) and benefits for over 4-5 decades? especially when jobs in the private sector pay far less and require technical skills and english speaking abilities?

how many people would benefit from 3 lakh jobs?

3 lakh or less families, directly. we don't know how many people would benefit indirectly, but it'd be a huge expenditure on the new state to be shouldered by around 80 lakh families (and around 40 lakh more by 2050), every day, month and year for 40-50 or more years. [i'm going by the trs' estimate of the population of telangana, which is 4 crores, or around 80 lakh families].

but why 3 lakh jobs?

but why only 3 lakh jobs? why not 5 lakhs? or 15 lakhs? or 80 lakhs? or sarkari jobs for all 180-190 lakh people of working age in the region/new state? over 3-5 lakh new job aspirants graduate from various colleges every year. the number would perhaps double in another 5 years because several new universities have been established in the past couple of years, and a few more are in the pipeline. 3 lakh new jobs wouldn't satisfy the needs of all the graduates coming out of universities even this year, how about those who graduate next year, and the next, and so on?around 6 lakh new kids are born in the region every year, shouldn't the new state plan for at least 5 lakh jobs in government every year?

3 lakh new jobs would benefit only 0.75% of all individuals, or 3.75% of all families, or 1.35% of the working age population of telangana, shouldn't a new telangana state benefit all the 80 lakh families in the state? or, because 80% of indians, as arjun sengupta report says, live on less than a dollar a day (or, live on less than rs.20 a day per capita expenditure), shouldn't jobs in government be given to at least one member from each of the 64 lakh or more families which live on less than a dollar a day in telangana?

how did the ideologues of the telangana movement arrive at the magic figure of 3 lakhs? there are around 12.5 lakh government (and state owned public enterprises) employees in andhra pradesh and around 5.5 lakhs of them are in telangana. kerala, a state of comparable size (3.1 crore population), has around 5 lakh government employees. doesn't telangana already have enough employees? why does it need 3 lakh more?

why would telangana need 3 lakh more employees?

the separatists' answer is, probably, that the andhraites stole 3 lakh government jobs which rightfully belong to telanganis, so the 3 new lakh jobs are not really new jobs. prof.jayashankar, so-called ideologue of the telangana movement, says:
It should to be noted that the number of employees recruited between 1973 and 1985, violating the statutory requirements, was estimated to be around fifty nine thousand. There could be difference of opinion about the figure. Whatever the number, it was as in December 1985. Since then, neither the G.O. has been implemented nor making illegal appointments stopped. Therefore, the first thing to be done in this regard is to work out the number of these appointments made from 1973 till now, spanning a period of nearly two decades. According to several unofficial, but reliable, surveys the figure has already crossed two Lakhs.
prof.jayashankar seems to have written this article around 2003 (34 years after 1969, is what he indicates in the beginning of the article). between 1985 and 2003, he seems to believe, around 1,40,000 new employees from andhra and rayalaseema had been recruited, violating the statutory requirements.

could 1,40,000 jobs have been 'stolen' between 1985 and 2003?

is it possible that jobseekers from andhra and rayalaseema could have 'stolen' 1,40,000 jobs from telanganis, in addition to their share (around 60%, keeping in view their share in population for most of the period we're looking at ) in all government jobs, between 1985 and 2003? as i don't have the exact figures of how many jobseekers were recruited between 1985 and 2003, i am going to work on the possibilities of job 'theft' in a roundabout fashion by looking at some figures compiled by the government of india on public employment between 1981 and 2003 here.

the first thing you'll notice when you look at the data is that employment in government and public sector undertakings has remained almost static for almost two decades since 1991. the second interesting thing i noticed is that employment in the andhra pradesh govt now is almost one-sixth the total employment in all state governments (12.5 lakhs and 73.67 lakhs respectively). how much has total employment in all state governments grown since 1981 (as we don't have figures for 1985)? by, roughly, 17 lakhs. assuming, employment in andhra pradesh government formed roughly the same proportion of total employment in all state governments as it is now (1/6th), by how much could have employment in andhra pradesh government have grown between 1981 and 2003? 1/6th of 17 lakhs is 2.9 lakhs, say?

now, going back to my original question: could jobseekers from andhra and rayalaseema have 'stolen' 1,40,000 jobs from telanganis in addition to 1.74 lakhs (their 60% share in jobs) between 1981 (not even 1985) and 2003? 1.4 lakhs plus 1.74 lakhs would make 3.14 lakhs (which is more than our guesstimate of total recruitment of 2.9 lakhs). could the jobseekers from andhra and rayalaseema have obtained more jobs than all the jobs actually offered by the andhra pradesh government?

such is the wisdom of prof.jayashankar. look at the figures, play around with them a little. even if you assume employment in andhra pradesh government is 1/5th (3.4 lakh growth in govt jobs between 1981 and 2003) of the total employment in all state governments in india put together, you've again arrived at an impossible number (3.44 lakhs) that says jobseekers from andhra and rayalaseema have obtained more jobs than all the the jobs actually offered by the government of andhra pradesh. if you assume employment in andhra pradesh government is 1/4th (4.25 lakh growth in govt jobs between 1981 and 2003) of the total employment in all state governments in india put together, then you get the figure of 3.95 lakhs. could 3.95 lakh aspirants from andhra and rayalaseema have obtained jobs while only 30,000 aspirants from telangana managed to get through?

right from 1969, restless minds in telangana have exercised too much imagination over this issue of stolen jobs. how many jobs could have been stolen if so many overactive minds, overstimulated after such events as the tragic 1969 agitation (which seemed to have miraculously spared the clever 'ideologues' and 'thinkers' while hundreds of innocent youngsters lost their lives and thousands of others lost their careers and much else), were ever ready to use their magnifying lenses and the courts?

forget 1,40,000 jobs between 1985 and 2003, could 1,40,000 jobs have been stolen between 1981 and 2003, or between 1973 and 2003? the original figure of 25,000 in 1969 had some substance, perhaps. because there wasn't a large enough educated middle class in telangana to absorb all those jobs that were due to them. the figure of 59,000 in 1985 is, as prof.jayashankar himself says, an opinion. the figure of 2,00,000 in 2003, in my honest opinion, is pure fiction. and that fictitious figure has now grown to 3,00, 000 even though recruitment has slowed down, and total employment in government has actually fallen, since 1991.

we did not need an advertising campaign

we needed a social movement that could take all the crores of people who live on less than rs.20 a day to a less oppressive future, not a divisive campaign to instigate millions of innocent students to learn to hate because a few lakh among them would get secure jobs.

[more later].
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