Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Revealed in Chapter 8: Formula on how to subvert democracy in this country

In a landmark judgment that reveals the dangerous trends that Indian democracy is currently taking, a High Court Judge has asked the Home Ministry to disclose the contents of the ‘secret’ chapter of the Report from Srikrishna Committee which was commissioned to prescribe solutions to the Telangana Movement in Andhra Pradesh.   This judgment by L Narasimha Reddy is peppered with the contents from the infamous Chapter 8 -which formed the underlying basis for recommending Option 6 of ‘keeping the state united’ against the wishes of Telangana people.  

The esteemed Judge after reading the contents of Chapter 8 writes “that the Committee travelled beyond the terms of reference in its endeavour to persuade the Union of India, not to accede to the demand for Telangana...”

The Judge observed: “if one has any doubt about the hidden opposition of the Committee for formation of Telangana, that stands removed with this note”.  

The secret note blatantly recommends ‘managing’ the media by influencing it through government sponsored advertisements, ‘softening’ the political parties by giving its members positions in the government, disciplining the ruling party members to toe the line against the wishes of the people, and making pre-emptive arrests of innocent people in the region to curb the movement.   Any sane reader would conclude that this note attempts to subvert democracy and all its cherished institutions in this country. 

Under the title, ‘media management’, the secret note starts off observing that the electronic channels and newspapers could be used for “molding the public opinion”.  It writes: “The equity holders of the channels and the entire Print Media are with the Seemandhra people.  The main editors/resident and sub-editors, the Film world etc. are dominated by Seemandhra people.  A coordinated action on their part has the potential of shaping the perception of the common man.”  It recommends ‘managing’ the editorial opinions, the headlines, and the content. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Guest Article: “Andhra State Is Born in a Womb of Violence”

[Original Author: Dileep Konatham.  Edited and modified by Sujai with author’s permission. The much awaited and well-researched article from Dileep Konatham in its original form is now available at Mission Telangana.]

Andhra State and Andhra Pradesh are two different states though the confusion is deliberately introduced by the Seemandhra history writers.  The struggle for a separate Andhra State picked up momentum as soon as India got independent.  Both Tamils and Telugus were not ready to compromise on the Madras city.  Potti Sriramulu undertook fast-unto-death for Andhra State with Madras as capital, and it has nothing to do with formation of Andhra Pradesh, and yet on 1st November of each year, Andhra Pradesh State government carries out full-page advertisements on that day commemorating Potti Sriramulu’s contributions.  After Potti Sriramulu’s death on the 58th day of his fast, all hell broke loose.  The whole region burned for the next few days.

What Got Andhras their State? Violence or Sacrifice

History books in Andhra Pradesh and elsewhere tell us that Andhra state was formed due to the ‘sacrifice’ of Potti Sriramulu. But, unprejudiced analysis of newspaper reports and published books tells us a completely different story.  Here’s what Time magazine wrote about what happened after Sriramulu’s death:

A wave of hysterical emotion swept Andhra territory. Students, youths and workers, led by Communists, attacked Indian government property, cut telegraph wires, damaged railroads, burned rail cars and stoned fire engines, looted railroad restaurants, hoisted black flags of mourning over government buildings. Police, firing on rioters, killed seven and wounded forty. A 13-year-old boy attempted to halt a moving bus by standing in its path, and was run over and killed.

At week’s end Prime Minister Nehru, responding perhaps as much to the violence as to Sriramulu’s nonviolence, announced that his government had decided to establish Andhra state.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Telangana 82: Crimes against Humanity

An Open Letter to the Future Leaders of Telangana

Once Telangana is formed there is a good chance that we will be so happy and ecstatic that we may be ready to forgive anyone, even those who committed crimes against our people.  I would like to warn us that such forgiveness will not be a sign of magnanimity but a sign of dereliction of our duty.

It is our duty to make sure we set the right precedents by prosecuting those who have used the instrument of power to impose repressive measures against the common man, depriving him of his basic rights, stripping him of human dignity, treating him like a criminal based on hunches and assumptions.   In the last one year, the police and the authorities in our government have resorted to crimes against humanity and they should not be spared just because we got all busy in celebrations upon formation of Telangana.

It is our duty that no such repression happens elsewhere in this country, so that no other region or group have to endure a tyrannical administration just because they have no political or economic power, or because they are a minority in a state.  

It is our duty to ensure that the process of state formation in this country doesn’t have to be so tough, so hard and so challenging.   We in Telangana happen to be one of the most politically aware groups in the country, and even we had to face so many obstacles and hardships in our fight for a genuine and legitimate demand for statehood.  Imagine what it must be like for those people who are not able to garner this kind of political pressure or this kind of mass mobilization.   Their voice must have been suppressed before it is even raised. 

In the last one year, we had to face indiscriminate arrests that were done based on pure whims and fancy of the police officers and administrators at the behest of callous and apathetic Seemandhra government.  Kids are taken into custody and beaten up.   Anyone sympathetic to the cause of Telangana could be in jail today.  Even some of the egregious dictators would not submit their people to such totalitarianism. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Telangana 81: Imposed or embraced?

The key element in understanding why Telanganas proudly demolished the statues on the Tank Bund is in appreciating the difference between what is ‘embraced’ out of free will, and what is ‘imposed’ against one’s will. 

Many intellectuals in Telangana are unable to articulate why they secretly feel happy about what happened on Tank Bund on 10th March though they know that it is a dastardly act of vandalism - which they would usually never approve of in their ordinary life.  And many other Telanganas are getting squeamish and uncomfortable about this ‘violent’ act of their fellow activists.  Some of them are ready to distance themselves from these ‘vandals’.  And some others feel that this incident is a setback to our peaceful movement.

Today we have to seek the answers as to why some of us are happy and why some of us are still uncomfortable and at loss of words while facing this incident head on.

To understand what these statues mean to us, let me construct a hypothetical scenario. 

Imagine we are still under British, and we are fighting against their rule. Against our wishes, they go about installing statues of famous British scientists and writers on Rajpath in New Delhi.  They put statues of well-accomplished and renowned luminaries like Isaac Newton, Bertrand Russell, Alexander Fleming, James Watt, Oscar Wilde, William Shakespeare, etc.  Indians are peeved that none of the Indian scientists or writers is represented in these statues and they file a complaint to the British rulers.   However, the rulers’ sway prevails, and the statues remain on Rajpath much to the chagrin of Indians.  Each passing day, Indians look at these statues which remind them that they still are under subjugation.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Telangana 80: Toppling our Masters and Statues

Every freedom movement involves toppling its masters.  The masters ruling Telangana now are the Seemandhra politicians, leaders and their institutions, supported by Indian Government in New Delhi.  In our revolution, we will also be toppling our masters.  How that toppling will happen, will it be passive and peaceful or active and aggressive, is something that only our masters will decide.  If they let Telangana form without much resistance it will be a passive revolution.  Otherwise, there is a chance it will be an aggressive one.  Borrowing the quote from Dileep:

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
-          John F. Kennedy

When the Government of Andhra Pradesh resorted to autocratic and dictatorial methods of completely suppressing all freedoms in this region by arresting more than 100,000 Telangana people merely on suspicion, arresting most of the political leadership right before the march, and setting up hundreds of barricades in the region, the people of this region, especially some of the fiery youth who were arrested again and again in the last one year on whims and fancies of the dictatorial police force of Hyderabad, took matter into their own hands.   The choice left to these protestors was no longer a passive and peaceful revolution.