Thursday, February 25, 2010

Telangana 50: Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics

What happens when you give a fire extinguisher to bunch of monkeys? They use it to kill other small animals.  Though a fire extinguisher is designed to save lives, it can become dangerous if the user doesn't know how to use it.  The same holds true with statistics.  If the user doesn't know how to use them and when to use them, they can become lethal.

There are fools and then there are educated fools.  I have not studied Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan of Lok Satta, but was happy to know that he has chosen to fight corruption.  That's laudable.  But in the context of Telangana, I chose to describe Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan as one such educated fool who doesn't know how and where to use these statistics.   This is an excerpt from a chat with him:

There are some more facts. Literacy growth: Telangana : 1143% Rest of AP: 448%.

Some facts: Agricultural implents: Telengana-67% Rest of AP-33% Food grains-Rice growth(1955 to 2006): Telengana-708% Rest of AP-191%. Gross irrigation growth: Telengana-140% Rest of AP-38%.   
Because the growth rate in Telangana was high he quickly concludes that Telangana is doing much better than rest of AP.  Detractors of Telangana are using his observations to say that Telangana has never been discriminated - and in fact it developed more and better than rest of AP.

Here are three different countries with GDP growth rates for year 2007.

Country A: 11.1%

Country B: 5.9%

Country C: 2.0%

If you ask Jayaprakash of Lok Satta (JP) which country is doing the best, he and his followers will tell you that Country A is doing the best, followed by Country B, followed by Country C.  If JP was asked which country is far ahead of others, he would say that Country A is far ahead of Country C by many counts.  JP may even tell you that it is much better to live in Country A followed by Country B and the least desirable place would be Country C by all standards.  So, what are these countries?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Telangana 49: Naxals

Naxalism in Telangana

Many detractors of Telangana movement are trying to blemish our genuine people's movement by calling it a Maoist-led movement, and that the student protestors are none but 'Naxals'.

Unlike what most other people think outside Telangana, calling someone a Naxal is not derogatory to most people of Telangana.   He is not seen as a terrorist as most people think.  Naxalism, according to us, is a socio-economic problem, something that needs to be addressed as a collective responsibility, the way we would address suicides of farmers.  Our current government in New Delhi got the whole thing wrong.  They are on the brink of creating another Frankenstein monster approaching this problem as a menace rather than a socio-economic problem.  Like Indira Gandhi who goofed up on Telangana, Punjab and Northeast, the current administration is about to goof up on this problem which has its origins in poverty, injustice and lack of land reforms that continue to exist since pre-Independence.   Unlike most others outside our region, we think that Naxals need to be embraced and rehabilitated so that they become a part of the mainstream. 

In fact, the very thinking that Naxalism can be crushed with violent methods is foolish thinking.  About ten years ago, when I asked a man who was entrusted with combating Naxalism, a DIG in Andhra Pradesh at a dinner, ‘So, Sir, when do you think we will get rid of Naxal problem?’ he smiled and told me, ‘that’s a naïve question.  As long as there is a huge disparity between the haves and have-nots in this region, as long as most of the people are denied justice and opportunity, there will always be Naxalism’.  

Naxalism came about in Telangana region after the ruthless crushing of 1969 Telangana Agitation followed by Machiavellian political maneuvers that completely hijacked a genuine people’s movement.  That’s when the youth of Telangana got disenchanted with legal and electoral institutions of flawed Indian democracy.  

Let’s revisit the events. 

Monday, February 22, 2010

Telangana 48: Idiotic journalism

What happens when journalists become idiots?

Here is an example of a journalist who allows his prejudice cloud his judgment and reasoning.  His name is Shaik Ahmed Ali and he writes on IBN Live.

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 he would attempt suicide; who were was 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?

Most newspaper reports and media reports already provide answers to many of these questions.  There was no need for Shaik Ahmed Ali to ask the same irrelevant questions.  In fact, it was his duty to answer those questions to his readers to allay their misinformed suspicions.   Instead, Ali is just playing to prejudices of his audience. 

It is well known now that Yadaiah brought with him a bag in which he had few bottles of kerosene, a set of photographs of himself standing next to few prominent leaders – this can be explained because he was working at video/photo studio and participating in Telangana agitation, a set of his school certificates, and a suicide note.  When he ran towards the police after setting himself on fire, it is natural for anyone to look around, find a bag, open, and show it to the nearest media person.  That’s how the media got access to his suicide note before the police got hold of his belongings.  Media was inside the cordon closer to where Yadiah was standing while the police was outside the cordon. 

One doesn’t need a hand of CIA or Mossad to explain something that is obvious, and yet Shaik Ahmed Ali wants us to believe that there is a conspiracy behind self-immolation of this leaderless, rudderless and clueless young orphan kid of Telangana.  It is duty of a journalist to see the events in the right perspective.  If he thinks there is a conspiracy, it is his duty to uncover it, not just succumb to his prejudices or pander to the detractors that form his audience.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Telangana burns

Yesterday a kid named Yadaiah immolated himself near OU campus.  Last night he died due to severe burns.  Yadaiah was a class XI student living in Rangareddi district.  He was an orphan. 

Dileep Konatham wrote this yesterday:

I write this email with a burning heart and tears rolling down my eyes. I went to Osmania University today morning to cover the Chalo Assembly protest called by students. The situation was tense as thousands of students and police pushed and shoved each other for over 3 hours. A batch of students broke the police cordon and ran towards Vidyanagar. I followed them with my camera. Some of these students were intercepted at Vidyanagar, while a few managed to escape from here too.   The next batch was intercepted at Narayanguda. This is where students scattered into small groups.  I then came home. 

I switched on the television only to see the most ghastly visuals of my life. A youngster named Yadaiah immolated himself at OU gates. The visuals of Yadaiah running like a ball of fire will remain etched in my mind for eternity. It was exactly the place where I was standing barely 30 minutes ago. Yadaiah suffered over 80% injuries and was shifted to Apollo DRDO hospital.

It is shame that while youngsters are sacrificing their lives like this our leaders have shamelessly decided to cheat us yet again.

Each passing day the agony is becoming unbearable.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Telangana 47: On People’s Movements

I believe that a people’s movement should have three set of activities- those that appeal to Insiders, those that appeal to Outsiders, and those that compel the authorities.

Appeal to Insiders: 

Every people’s movement has a set of ideologues, a set of leaders, a set of organizers, a set of agitators (foot soldiers) and a huge set of sympathizers.   To create a large support base of new leaders, organizers and supporters, the movement should involve educating the people, winning over them, telling them why they need to come out and fight.  Most Indians naively think that if a movement is really genuine then there should be no need for such education.

Even the great Indian Independence Movement did not come about in a day.  It had to win many sections of its people to come and fight.  To start with, most Indians did not know what freedom meant.  To change their attitude from being a ‘subject of a king’ to a ‘citizen with rights’ took lot of education and time.  That movement involved books, pamphlets, speeches, and many participatory activities that rallied people into its fold.  Gandhi’s Dandi March, Khilafat Movement et al were all those activities that were launched to win the local support for the people’s cause.  It involved embracing all sections of society, lower castes, Muslims, Sikhs, women, North Indians, South Indians, etc.  Even the French Revolution and Russian Revolution had to appeal to the local people for their support.  Martin Luther King Jr. and his predecessors had to go educate their people on why they should not live like slaves or second-class citizens anymore.

Telangana 46: Shame!

Shame! What a shame!

We got the greatest of the people’s movements in contemporary history headed by the lousiest of the leaders.  When the Dec 9th announcement was made, 123 MLAs from Andhra-Rayalaseema resigned within two days.   Now, though JAC has announced for resignation of all Telangana MLAs only 12 have resigned so far.  What a shame!

We have been saying this.  What we need is a political decision.  What we need now is a political fight.  What we need now is our political leaders to actually become more responsible towards their people and little less subservient to their Babus and Madams. 

No wonder the world laughs at us. We can’t even unite our political leaders to act together. 


Go to a prominent place in Hyderabad.  Tank Bund sounds good.  Place a very big granite slab, something that cannot be moved easily or vandalized easily.  Etch on it the names of MPs, MLAs, MLCs who have not resigned.   And title it as ‘Betrayers’.  Let it be known for our progeny why we had to fight so hard to accomplish such a small thing called ‘creation of state’ in India.  Let it stand as a proof of how our politicians betrayed us when we needed their support the most.

Let those names be there so that we can actively campaign against each of them in the next elections. 

What’s happening in Osmania University?

Most of the TV channels are not showing anything.  I don’t get HMTV.  However, the SMS is being used as a tool to communicate to the world outside.   I kept getting regular updates that night.  Here, I am including some links that I received from Dileep Konatham.

The Police have used Grey Hounds and Rapid Action Force in addition to CRPF, CISF and APSP Armed Battalions, Civil Police and Home Guards in Osmania University


Monday, February 15, 2010

Telangana 45: Stand on Sri Krishna Committee

It is clear that introduction of Srikrishna Committee is a step backwards for Telangana from Dec 9th statement.  Srikrishna Committee is NOT formed to bring in Telangana.  Instead, it is formed to “study” if Telangana is indeed “underdeveloped”, and if so, how and where.   There is no clear indication if the recommendations from this committee will be binding upon the government.  There is no indication if this committee is going to give one clear solution to the current problem or propose a set of measures like Times of India does – present both ‘view’ and ‘counterview’.

What should Telanganas do now?

We should embrace Srikrishna Committee for what it is – a study of Telangana, to understand how it is underdeveloped, where it is underdeveloped.   We should cooperate and extend our support to this committee by supplying various papers, books, research materials and historical evidences.  The report from this committee could be used by Telangana in future, to educate our progeny on our history, to help our administrators to rule better in future, to make a case against Andhras who have discriminated us, and as vindication of why we formed our new state. 

However, we should completely, unanimously and categorically reject Srikrishna Committee as a political solution to the current situation in Telangana, because it doesn’t provide one.  There should no expectation whatsoever that Srikrishna Committee will provide a solution to the current problem in the state.  What is needed is not another ‘study’, not another ‘research’, but an action that demonstrates political expediency, a political and unequivocal decision that solves the problem of Telangana right away – which is creation of Telangana.   All the actions should be towards that direction – the next and immediate steps should be: decision on the fate of Hyderabad, agreements on sharing of resources, repatriation of settlers, compensations to different regions, etc.  Nothing more nothing less.

Let’s make it clear to ourselves now.  We don’t want to be a guinea pig for another social research. 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Telangana 44: A note to my readers

Most readers who have visited this blog for the first time, only because of Telangana agitation, may find my criticism of Andhras extremely harsh.  That’s because they have not read my other posts on this blog, where I am equally critical of many other aspects of India, including being critical of identities that I am a part of.  I am critical of Hindus though I am Hindu, I am critical of Indians though I am an Indian.  In one of the posts, I was critical of Telugus too, though I am Telugu. 

Most new readers, especially those who are not from Telangana, assume that my criticism of Andhras is based in hatred.  They think that I am a bigot inciting hatred towards Andhras to win support of Telanganas.   They don’t realize that I am equally incisive on many other people, not just Andhras. 

Movie: 3 Idiots

I have always admired Raju Hirani’s movies.  Raju Hirani uses his movies to send across pretty serious message to wider audiences embedded with humor to compensate for the seriousness of his message.  During the whole movie whenever you begin to feel that a sentimental drama is going to unfold, he suddenly relaxes you giving it a humorous twist. 

This movie is about three engineers who made it to a top school in India.  One of them, Rancho (Aamir Khan) is not your typical kid.  His idea of engineering is different from most others, including his professors, and his idea of success is different from most students around him.  It’s a tale of what education should be really about.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Telangana 43: Don’t play with us!

On 3 June 1947, Lord Mountbatten was asked when India would become independent.   For many years Indians were fighting for complete freedom from the British and were looking for a concrete answer, not another vague statement.   Lord Mountbatten was sent to India to transfer the power to local leaders but he was not prepared with a clear deadline.  The first date that came into his mind was the date Japanese surrendered to Allies two years ago on 15 August 1945.   He made up the deadline on the fly for India’s Independence: 15 August 1947.  It took less than 3 months to create a new country out of the crown jewel of British Empire and divide a subcontinent.

We were looking for a deadline

How long will it take to carve up a state within the legal confines of Indian Constitution?  Indians think that forming a state is more complex and complicated than forming a country.  Srikrishna Committee is given 11 months to come up with a report.  The decision to create Telangana is now on hold.  So nobody knows exactly when Telangana will be formed.   A cartoon in Times of India captures this well.  One politician says to the other:  Tell them Telangana will be formed by April – don’t specify the year or the century.

In last few weeks, the entire Telangana was looking forward to announcement of a date when Telangana would be formed.  Instead, what we got was another committee.  Another cartoon in Times of India captures this.  A politician is announcing to the press:  A core group will select experts to elect a panel to form a commission headed by…

Friday, February 12, 2010

Terms of Reference of Srikrishna Committee

The Terms of Reference of the five member Shri Justice B.N. Srikrishna Committee constituted on 3rd February, 2010 will be the following:-

 (1)         To examine the situation in the State of Andhra Pradesh with reference to the demand for a separate State of Telangana as well as the demand for maintaining the present status of a united Andhra Pradesh.

 (2)         To review the developments in the State since its formation and their impact on the progress and development of the different regions of the State.

(3)          To examine the impact of the recent developments in the State on the different sections of the people such as women, children, students, minorities, other backward classes, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.

(4)          To identify the key issues that must be addressed while considering the matters mentioned in items (1), (2) and (3) above.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Telangana 42: Where we differ with Andhras

Three major differences

I see three major differences between the attitudes of Andhras and Telanganas when it comes to state of Andhra Pradesh and the current agitations.

  1. While Telanganas looked at Andhra Pradesh as a conditional merger based on safeguards, guarantees, and protection of its regions, its funds, its jobs and its waters based on contracts that were signed, Andhras saw the merger as an opportunity to expand, opportunity for new jobs, new resources, and new funds. 
  2. While Telanganas have had a different socio-politico-economic history for few centuries whereby they became open to influences from other regions, religions and languages, creating cosmopolitan cities like Hyderabad, coming up with cross-cultural festivals, talking a mixed language, etc, Andhras saw Andhra Pradesh as a means to homogenize the state under the Telugu and Hindu identities, treating everyone who didn’t fit their image as unworthy of being enlisted for superior culture called Telugu Pride.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Telangana 41: ‘Rowdy’ Movement

How does the world look at Telangana Movement?

When my well-wishing neighbors in Bangalore saw ‘Jai Telangana’ sticker on my car they were curious and assumed that someone had put it on my car by force.  And when I mentioned that I was going to Hyderabad to participate in the human chain, they were quite shocked. Their concern was genuine.    They couldn’t understand why a person working in ‘IT’ profession, who according to them is ‘elite’, would participate in a movement of rowdies, hooligans and Naxals. 

Such a reaction is the most common reaction of anyone outside Telangana towards this movement.  Unfortunately for us, this movement got a character of Bodos fighting for a new country, or Kashmiri Muslims fighting against India.  They look at it as a movement of the rowdies, uneducated, unemployed - the movement of the worst and waste of our society.     A good friend from Telangana also expressed his surprise that even ‘educated’ people are supporting Telangana, and asked what use is one’s education?  Some people ask, ‘how come the agitators are always the students of arts, and never science or engineering?’  Implicit in their question is their prejudice against students of arts who, according to them, are unemployable and therefore have lot of time on their hands to fight any useless fight.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Telangana Human Chain: 03 Feb 10

Four organizing teams mobilizing people for tomorrow’s event.

Between 10:30 AM and 12 Noon focusing on Tank Bund Road.  To connect north toward Bowenpally and Medchel.  To connect south towards Nehru Zoological Park.