Saturday, January 22, 2011

Telangana 75: Will Telangana become another Jharkhand?

Will Telangana become another Jharkhand, where corruption is rampant, political institutions are weak, and democracy has taken a back seat to pave way for oligarchy?

To answer this question, we need to learn a bit about Indian Independence Movement, because that’s the closest ideal we have in this subcontinent to measure ourselves against, and also because Telangana Movement derives its inspiration from it.  What happened on 15 August 1947 was not just toppling of British regime to be replaced by self-rule, but it was a major overhaul of the political, social and cultural map of this country, transforming itself from a eclectic mosaic of monarchies into a vibrant republic, overthrowing feudalism to be replaced by a socialist society, transforming a heavily male chauvinist society to give women their freedom, converting a upper caste dominated society to an emancipated society where lower castes are treated as equals.

All this happened because of what preceded before 15 August 1947, during the long course of Indian Independence Movement.  The focus of the movement was not just against the British but was directed at toppling our masters within [1][2][3][4].  For that, we had created organizations, forums, committees, parties, and groups enrolling people at grass root level.  These organizations and groups were the key to instilling a strong case for democracy in this country.  These peoples’ organizations competed and collaborated with each other, allowed debate, let reason prevail, giving voice to many suppressed sections of the society.  The fact that we had created hundreds of people’s organizations and democratic political bodies during our freedom struggle is a key reason why India remained a vibrant democracy after Independence while most third-world countries that attained freedom from their colonial masters quickly became dictatorships or autocracies.  

Friday, January 21, 2011

Telangana 74: Why are Andhras frustrated?

When Kalvakuntla Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) came onto the scene in Andhra Pradesh with a small political outfit called Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) in 2000, Andhras were not extremely disturbed.  Instead they were quite amused.  That’s because KCR spoke in Telangana accent and that was always a funny spectacle for most Andhras.  You see, in 100% of the Telugu movies, the guy who speaks Telangana accent is either a buffoon or a goon.  He is never the main hero or the main villain.  Of course, he is not even the side-hero or the main comedian, because they are also important actors, though second in rank.

In Telugu movies, the Telangana-accent guy gets kicked around all the time, literally.  By the time the movie approaches its end all the Telangana-accent actors are eliminated from the plot.  Only the hero and the villain remain – neither of them will be from Telangana.  Naturally, most Andhras thought that KCR was one of those small time actors; not the main villain and definitely not the hero.  They expected him to get out by the time big boys from Seemandhra come onto the scene.

So, when Telangana agitations got into full swing in 2009-10, and kept on rising, Andhras just could not fathom how this could be happening.  Is the sidekick turning out to be a hero (for Telanganas) and villain (for Seemandhras)? Nah! Not possible.  This is not an acceptable formula for successful movies.  This movie would never work.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Telangana 73: Are we condemned to repeat history?

The current generation in India looks at history as a list of milestones without knowing the details behind achieving those milestones, running the risk of repeating the mistakes of their forefathers. Are there lessons to be learnt from our histories?  Are we missing out on the most important lessons by not paying enough attention to our past? 

Indian history is replete with precedents which can guide us in making mature decisions.  It is unfortunate that Srikrishna Committee spent nearly eleven months in this region but did not make efforts to understand the underlying theme of this mass movement. It is also sad that this committee did not look at the precedents from Indian history to address the issues of this region.

Unlike what many Andhras would like us to believe, there was indeed a precedent where a region having the capital city wanted to become a separate state and eventually won the statehood with the capital city.   The conditions of those times are so uncannily similar that it is surprising that this Committee given such a huge responsibility on deciding the fate of thirty-five million people did not look into the historical documents to check on these precedents.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Key to Telangana: Article 3

The authors of Indian constitution, unlike the current generation of Indians, did not believe that the states, districts and mandals within India are static, unchanging, and permanent.  They had the maturity to accept that states would evolve and change, and hence made provisions for creation of new states in Indian Union.

Indian Constitution

Article 3 of Indian Constitution addresses the topic of ‘Formation of new States and alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing States’.  It says:

Parliament may by law
(a) form a new State by separation of territory from any State or by uniting two or more States or parts of States or by uniting any territory to a part of any State;
(b) increase the area of any State;
(c) diminish the area of any State;
(d) alter the boundaries of any State;
(e) alter the name of any State; Provided that no Bill for the purpose shall be introduced in either House of Parliament except on the recommendation of the President and unless, where the proposal contained in the Bill affects the area, boundaries or name of any of the States, the Bill has been referred by the President to the Legislature of that State for expressing its views thereon within such period as may be specified in the reference or within such further period as the President may allow and the period so specified or allowed has expired Explanation I In this article, in clauses (a) to (e), State includes a Union territory, but in the proviso, State does not include a Union territory Explanation II The power conferred on Parliament by clause (a) includes the power to form a new State or Union territory by uniting a part of any State or Union territory to any other State or Union territory

Sunday, January 09, 2011

A note to commenters

Some of your comments have been deleted.  Some of you got upset.  

SKC Report: Intellectual Dishonesty

The chronic neglect in imparting scientific temperament into our people is now affecting this country, its social life, and its politics.  India is suffering from a massive bout of intellectual deficit.  This is coming out in various sections of our life.  Either it is 2G Scam or Satyam Scandal, it is clear that numbers are being fudged, scientific and dispassionate scrutiny is missing, manipulation and misinterpretation of data is rampant.  Now, it has affected the cause of Telangana as well. 

We are now facing a new menace in this country, the intellectual dishonesty, where certain eminent people given paramount responsibility of deciding fate of millions of people are misinterpreting data to promote vested interest groups.   Justice Srikrishna, a retired judge of Supreme Court, was given the task of making recommendations on the issue of separate Telangana or united AP.  The report is out and it is becoming apparent that Srikrishna is subject to the same malaise that has affected Ramalinga Raju of Satyam scandal or Raja of 2G scam.  It is also unfortunate that the media houses, some of them respectable ones, like THE HINDU, have also resorted to the same intellectual dishonesty.   Instead of making a scientific scrutiny, they are just playing pawns to the same vested interests that have been dominating Telangana for the last 54 years. 

Statistics like per capita have never been used by India to form new states or reorganize states.  The basis for forming a state has always been to satisfy aspirations of people of certain region.  Uttarakhand had a higher per capita than Uttar Pradesh and yet formed a new state.  Andhra State, Gujarat, Karnataka were formed on a regional identity irrespective of any study into per capita comparisons.  In fact, no such statistics were used when merging Telangana with Andhra State to form united Andhra Pradesh back in 1956. 

Friday, January 07, 2011

Guest Article: Justice Srikrishna’s Magic Report

This is the first time I am posting an article written by someone else on this blog.  Sometimes you come across an article so well written that it makes to just publish it instead of attempting to write one yourself. 

Telangana and Justice Srikrishna’s Magic Report
Author: Nitin Harkara

The Srikrishna committee has now submitted its much-anticipated report on the “situation in the state of Andhra Pradesh”. The mere fact that the committee met the proposed deadline for submission of this document to the Government of India must be a signal achievement in the annals of government-appointed bodies. In the prevailing milieu where meandering activity takes precedence over timely delivery of results, Telangana’s people had probably resigned themselves to the inevitable request for an extension of the committee’s submission deadline. That such a request was not made, is evidence of apprehension on the part of an otherwise-uncaring Central government that even the normally-gullible masses would see through so blatant a delaying tactic.

There may be a tendency on the part of some in Telangana to view this committee’s report as a significant milestone in the region’s tortuous path to re-establishment as a free entity, as a state finally rid of its neo-colonial Andhra rulers. A word of caution is in order here: This document should not be seen as anything other than what it is, merely a clever ploy employed by Mr. Chidambaram and Co. to gain time. Time, they hoped, which would help them roll back the tide of Telangana’s resolve to achieve statehood and to realize dreams suppressed since the colonial takeover of their land and lives by coastal Andhra in 1956. 

SKC Report: Bloopers or Lies?

Let it be known that states in India were not formed based on statistics.   States were formed to satisfy aspirations of people of a certain region.
Let it be known that data is unreliable.  Data can be cooked and misinterpreted.  That’s why we had Satyam in Andhra Pradesh.
Let it known that even though Government of AP denied certain information to RTI activists of Telangana, the same information was provided to Srikrishna Committee.  If it is a fair trial, the information should have been available to everyone contesting the case.
Let it be known that Government of AP pulled down certain webpages and documents from their websites after Srikrishna Committee was announced.  

SKC Report is a joke.  It lists six options, some of them downright ridiculous and laughable.  And yet, this report is being used by detractors to Telangana Movement to discredit our cause. 

Here is a collection of all the lies from Srikrishna Committee Report.  This will tell you that information cited and deductions made in the report are false, fabricated and serving few vested interests.  [Please send your bloopers across.  I will list them here].

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Telangana 72: Unite or Perish

Our fathers fought in 1969.  It was like an uncoordinated guerilla fight, spontaneous and violent, a sudden outburst which got extinguished as quickly as it got started.  It was students and young people who came onto streets and believed that the state would bow down and give them a separate state.  To their surprise the state dealt with them with an iron hand.  Using media blackout, they violently crushed the movement with hundreds killed, thousands injured, and most of the agitators jailed.  The state then blackmailed, threatened or bought the political leaders to give up all aspirations for statehood. 

That was 42 years ago. 

Surprisingly, the flame though small, was protected and carried by few of those broken fighters of 1969, till it got the necessary fuel to become a conflagration now.   This time around we are prepared for a long battle. This time we are not uncoordinated.  This time we are a polished machine.    This time around the state will not be able to crush us.  We had nearly 15 years to prepare for this.  We prepared songs, thousands of them.   We wrote books, hundreds of them.  We made slogans, we made flags; we made t-shirts and stickers, and wore them proudly.   We created hundreds of JACs, we mobilized millions of people. 

Telangana 71B: Tughlaqs of Modern India


Option 3: Bifurcation of State into Rayala-Telangana and coastal Andhra regions with Hyderabad being an integral part of Rayala-Telangana

It looks like the committee wanted to come up with various permutations and combinations to make it look like they have explored many options.  This is a silly option, suggested by extremely few.  During the protests of 1956, and then during agitations of 1969, and then during the last ten years of Telangana Movement, Rayalaseema was on the side of Coastal Andhra to deny people of Telangana its statehood.  So, how is it possible for Telangana to merge with Rayalaseema to form a new state? When Telangana people say, we want separate Telangana, it is clear that they don’t want to be in the same state with Coastal Andhra or Rayalaseema.  No more experiments for people of Telangana.  We owe this to the future of Telangana.

Telangana 71: Tughlaqs of Modern India

When I was growing up there was a term used to insult someone.  The word ‘Tughlaq’ was used to call someone a dumb idiot and a fool.  Later on I got to know why the word ‘tughlaq’ became synonymous with a dumb idiot.   Long ago in 14th century, a king named Muhammad bin Tughlaq ruled over Delhi and he came up with a ridiculous idea to move his capital city from Delhi to Daulatabad (Devagiri) nearly 1500 km south into Deccan.  He forcibly moved his entire city population including cattle, from Delhi to Daulatabad. It was a major disaster.  Thousands died, millions became homeless and economy was in shambles.  Two years later, he moved the capital back to Delhi.  To the current generation, that episode in history sounds utterly foolish and comes as surprise.  One cannot believe that Tughlaq took such extremely nonsensical and unrealistic idea so seriously.   However, back in those times, kings and nobles went with such decisions and ordinary people paid price with their lives.

Many such foolish ideas came about in the past.  And we look back at them with wonder – not able to really grasp how people and leaders of that time could be so foolish.

One such event which we will recall later, fifty years from now, are the suggestions given by SriKrishna Committee.  We will wonder how they could think of such extremely ridiculous propositions.  Barring from suggesting that Hyderabad State should be made a part of Pakistan, they touched upon every other ridiculous idea.  Here I discuss two of them:

SriKrishna Committee Report Summary

[Typed version of scanned PDF document]


1.      Shri Justice B. N. Srikrishna report was submitted to the Government on 30.12.2010.  The Terms of Reference of the Committee are enclosed.

2.      In its 461 pages Report (along with Volume II containing Appendices), the Committee has examined in great detail the following issues:

(i)                 Developments in Andhra Pradesh – A Historical Background
(ii)               Regional Economic and Equity Analysis
(iii)             Education and Health
(iv)              Water Resources, irrigation and Power Development
(v)                Public Employment Issues
(vi)              Issues Relating to Hyderabad Metropolis
(vii)            Sociological and Cultural Issues

3.      Based on the analysis of the above parameters the Committee has examined in detail the issues pertaining to current demand for a separate State of Telangana as well as the demand for maintaining the present status of keeping the State united.  After going into all aspects of the situation as well as keeping in view the local, regional and the national perspectives, the Committee has put forward the following solutions/possible options as the best way forward:

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Telangana 70: Solution is in politics, not in statistics

When SriKrishna committee was constituted, I wrote the following on 15 Feb 2010:

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

The solution to Telangana problem lies in political decisions, not in committees, studies or research.  We have had 53 years of overwhelming evidence of false promises and broken agreements.   That is good enough to demerge this state which was formed on a conditional merger based on set of safeguards and protections which were all flouted or revoked.  

On 25 Feb 2010, I wrote:

There are lies, damned lies and then there are statistics. One look at the fields of Telangana and Andhra would tell you the state of affairs.   Facts can be interpreted the way you want to.   India did not fight for independence from Britain on a statistic.  Andhra State was not formed from Madras State on a statistic. What we need is a political decision, not a statistical report.