Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Letter to Obama on Devyani Khobragade

Dear Obama:
We Indians are completely upset with what you did to Devyani Khobragade.
How can you insult Indians like this?
We Indians are the oldest civilization – while we were chanting sophisticated Vedas in the world’s most computer-friendly language called Sanskrit sitting under banyan trees, your people were nomads and cave-dwellers.
May be you don’t realize this but Indians do not subscribe to the alien philosophy of ‘rule of law’, which is nothing but a western and artificial construct imposed onto us coercively by your British brothers.
We Indians follow an ancient concept called, ‘rule of the selected few’. And those selected few could be the privileged, the majority, and sometimes just freaking beautiful.
Why else do you think Deepika Padukone and Katrina Kaif are top actresses in India though they cannot act shit? Why else do you think Rekha is a Member of Parliament though she is thoroughly bored and disinterested?

Can’t you see? Are you blind?
Devyani Khobragade is cute. You cannot deny this.
Please release her immediately. And Apologize - in the accepted Indian obsequious ways – fold your hands, prostrate on the ground, and roll over.
Otherwise we will wage war on US. BTW, our new Aircraft Carrier is being built – it should be ready by 2170.

Thank you.
The Great Indian.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Hyderabad as Common Capital: Under what proviso?

[Coauthored with B. Vinod Kumar. Published in Deccan Chronicle on 29th November 2013, and Andhra Jyothi on 22nd November 2013.]

On 30th July 2013, CWC made the much-awaited and historic announcement to create Telangana with ten districts that includes Hyderabad district.   But then there was also another announcement that the city of Hyderabad will be the common-capital for the two successor states of Telangana and Seemandhra for a period of ten years.  It looks like New Delhi has not thought through the implication of this statement.  It is easier said than done.  

It is not the prerogative of the Parliament to decide the capital city for a state.  It is for each State to decide its capital city within its territory.  According to Telangana people, Hyderabad can at the best serve as ‘transit’ capital for Seemandhra for a brief period during which Seemandhras start moving out to their new capital city.   However, the Union Government coming under the pressure from Samaikyandhra agitations and Seemandhra leaders is considering various options to dilute the powers of Telangana to accommodate sharing of Hyderabad on a long term basis to assuage the imaginary fears of Seemandhra people.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Seemandhra’s opposition to separation of Telangana undermines Indian democracy

In reference, to the article, ‘A challenge to Indian federalism’, published in the THE HINDU on 28th October 2013.

Jayaprakash Narayan of Lok Satta Party has made a controversial assertion that the decision of Union Government to ‘divide Andhra Pradesh’ without the consent of State Legislature ‘poses a grave danger to federalism and unity’.  Here we establish the counterview that the current opposition by Seemandhra leaders to the separation of Telangana, through their convenient political maneuvers manifested in agitations by Seemandhra people, actually undermines Indian democracy.  And contrary to the author’s claims, the current bifurcation is being done as per the prescribed methods in our Indian Constitution without any deviations.

The Constitution of India deals with various facets of a modern democracy, sometimes balancing the opposing goals. It tries to maintain the integrity of the country while allowing quasi-federalism.  Indian Union was never intended to be an absolute federal country as JP Narayan likes us to believe.  If it were, then any state in India, including those like Jammu & Kashmir or Nagaland, would have the right to secede from that union. 

Sunday, November 03, 2013

No more ‘creative’ experiments with Telangana

In the history of mankind, many kings and government officials have made some mega blunders while carving out nations and states.  They resorted to ‘creative’ experiments, guided sometimes by greed, sometimes by pride, sometimes by ignorance, and sometimes by a naïve desire to satisfy all stakeholders.  While creativity in experimentation is usually considered an essential attribute in science or arts, it has never yielded good results when it came to the serious and grave matters of geopolitical solutions.  Invariably most such ‘creative’ experiments resulted in huge upheavals for the people, and led to conflicts, violent revolutions, mass movements, assassinations, coups, instability and warfare.  The issues that originated during redrawing of boundaries festered on for decades and some for centuries.   Almost always, the key decision makers who carved out nations and states were obsessed with some unrealistic idea which they refused to let go even when prevailing wisdom suggested otherwise. 

Going against all conventional wisdom, the British tried to manage two nations for Palestine and Jews in the same land in 1948 and thereby ended up creating one of the most troubled places on the planet.  In another episode, Pakistan was created out of two disjoint regions, with different languages and cultures, separated by thousands kilometers of India in between.  The experiment never stood a chance.  Eventually, the eastern region of Bengali-speaking Bangladesh got separated, but only after genocide of half a million people and exodus of nearly ten million people, followed by full-blown war of 1971 between West Pakistan and India. 

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Letter to the President of India

His Excellency the President of India,

Respected Sir,

Aruna Kumar Vundavalli, Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha, has sent a letter to you on 28th October 2013, which was subsequently released to the media.  In that letter, he makes a claim that ‘consent’ is required from Andhra Pradesh State Legislature for separation of Telangana.  And he poses the question ‘whether the province affected should have the power or the Indian parliament should have the power’ to divide any state or province.

We believe that it is our duty to counter the claims made by Mr. Vundavalli by bringing the real facts to your notice and thereby to the common man in this country.

During Constituent Assembly Debates of 1948-49, while Indian Union was being forged by Sardar Vallabhai Patel, a distinction was made between Provinces as Part I of the First Schedule and Princely States as Part III of the First Schedule.   Honorable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar had proposed that only the ‘views’ of the Legislature of the State are required in the case of Provinces, while ‘consent’ needs to be obtained in the case of Princely States.   

Friday, October 25, 2013

ABC of capital cities in India

What is a state’s capital?

A state could have administrative, legislative and judicial capitals.  ‘Legislative’ capital houses the state assembly, while the ‘administrative’ capital houses the state’s government offices.  Judicial capital houses the state high court.  When we refer to the capital city of a state, it is usually a city that hosts both administrative and legislative capitals.   A state could operate its high court from another city – for example, Uttar Pradesh has its high court in Allahabad while the state capital is Lucknow.

Who decides the capital city for a state in India?

Contrary to the prevailing opinion in Andhra Pradesh, the Union Government does not decide where a state’s capita should be, nor does it mention the state’s capital in the state reorganization bill.  The responsibility of choosing a state capital resides with each state.  It can decide to host its administrative and legislative capitals out of any city, town or village within its territory.   And the territory of a state is defined clearly in the state reorganization bill, listing all its districts and constituencies.  Though it is not the common practice, a state could choose more than one state capital.  For example, Maharashtra has Mumbai and Nagpur as its capital cities.  And the state could change its capital city any time – Gujarat moved its capital city from Ahmedabad to Gandhinagar.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Article 371-D does not stop formation of Telangana

[Appeared in Asian Age and Deccan Chronicle on 21 Oct 2013, and in Andhra Jyothi on 22 Oct 2013; coauthored with Vinod Kumar]

The state of Andhra Pradesh was forged out of two culturally and historically disparate regions in 1956 under the premise of creating a single state for all Telugu speaking people.   Even before the formation of this state, it was articulated by the Fazal Ali Commission, and voiced explicitly through the fears of Telangana people, that a common language was not the only criterion for creating states.  There was a sane recognition, though in minority, that there existed other differences which warranted a region like Telangana to exist as a separate state overriding the emotive binding factor like language. 

To protect the interests of Telangana people against possible onslaught of more politically empowered, economically emancipated, and Telugu-English-educated people from Coastal Andhra, the Gentlemen’s Agreement of 1956 was created to facilitate the conditional merger of Telangana region with Andhra State.  The original Article 371 constituted Telangana Regional Committee along with protective Mulki Rules.

Should President’s Rule be imposed to create Telangana?

[Appeared in Indian Express on 8th October, 2013; coauthored with Vinod Kumar]

Contrary to the prevailing opinion, in this country, new state formation has never been smooth. Nor were the procedures exactly similar. Each state formation was unique and had followed a different sequence of steps.  The only thing common to all the state formations so far in Independent India has been the rigid applicability of Article 3 in its truest sense, where Parliament is given the supreme authority to carve out states irrespective of the opinion of the involved State Assemblies.

While the NDA followed a convenient procedure in the creation of Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand in 2000, where the state assemblies initiated the demand for separation, such a procedure is neither legally mandated nor is constitutionally prescribed and deviates from most other prior state formations. 

Even the original reason for carving out states is different for each state. While some states in India were formed on the basis of recommendations by the States Reorganization Commission (SRC), most others have not been dealt with by the SRC. And in certain cases, states were formed though SRC made explicit negative recommendations, like in case of Maharashtra and Gujarat. Even the formation of Andhra Pradesh in 1956 did not follow the recommendations of SRC.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Irreconcilable impasse in Andhra Pradesh

The entire Seemandhra political objection to the current decision on Telangana has been that ‘the concerns and demands of Seemandhras have not been addressed’.   However, till today, there has been no clear announcement from any section of Seemandhra on what those concerns and demands are.

For example, today on NTV, when the APNGOs were asked the question, ‘what are you demands and concerns?’ they all responded, that they may have some concerns, but they are not going to spell it out, because they have only demand – that is United Andhra Pradesh. 

When asked if they would express their concerns and demands to GoM that is constituted by the Union Government, they emphatically said they would not.  Because they believe GoM is not empowered to address their concerns and demands.  One of them said that there is no use talking to GoM because none of them are from Andhra region.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Formation of Telangana: Who to blame for the current crisis in Seemandhra?

Now that the Cabinet Note on Telangana is prepared, the people of Seemandhra are in open revolt.  They launched violent agitations against bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.  For the first time in four years of agitations in the state, curfew has been imposed in Vizianagaram.   

Many Seemandhra leaders, the media channels, the activists, and the people, are blaming UPA for the current crisis in Andhra Pradesh.  They have been openly accusing UPA government for the method and process it followed.  They accuse it of acting in haste.  They accuse UPA of announcing this decision only for political gains.  They believe that the bifurcation is an insult to Telugu Jaati (Pride).  They also believe that the process followed in announcing formation of Telangana is anti-democratic and anti-federal.

In reality, there is no merit in any of these accusations.   Formation of Telangana has been a thirteen-year long process.  There have been many promises, manifestos, meetings, decisions, committees, and consultations on Telangana, and each of those steps inched Andhra Pradesh closer to the bifurcation.  In fact, there was an inordinate delay caused by activism of Seemandhras who tried to obstruct the formation of Telangana all these years.  Now that the decision is made, Seemandhras find themselves in a state of self-created crisis.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Video: Seemandhras admit they have colonized Telangana

For many years now, Telanganas have been trying to showcase to the whole world how Seemandhras have colonized Telangana.  To establish this we used facts, statistics, data, and many examples.  We have cited many issues where Telanganas were neglected, discriminated or marginalized.  If Seemandhras were keen on keeping the state united, they would have used the last four years to address at least some of our issues - like implementing GO 610.  Instead they used threatening language - CM Kiran Kumar Reddy warned our MLA Harish Rao that Telangana will not even get one rupee.  Undavalli promised to use the tyranny of majority to obstruct formation of Telangana forever.  Parakala Prabkhar and his ilk have rubbished all our demands as lies.  There was never an attempt to understand what our problems were. 

Today, in the last sixty days, Seemandhras try to establish a case for united State.  How do they do it?  While we talk of our lost water, lost opportunities and lost jobs, they respond with slogans like 'kalasi unte kaladu sukham', 'Oka Baasha, Oka Rashtram'.   If Seemandhras were really sincere in keeping the state united, wouldn't they take a look at our issues and respond to them?  
Seemandhras, instead of addressing the issues raised by Telanganas, have gone on an aggressive path – like how colonizers do.  They are raising fears and tempers within their region through artificial apprehensions and imaginary fears.  CM Kiran Kumar Reddy warns of ‘water wars’.  Other leaders have said that Seemandhras will have to eat grass to survive.  Some of them declared war on Telangana – some warned of creating an army, some said they will burst the pipes which provide water to Hyderabad, and some said they will demolish Telangana Bhavan.

To understand better how Seemandhras admit they have colonized Telangana, here is a video propagated by them.  They clearly establish that Seemandhra cannot produce anything of its own and that it is completely dependent on Telangana for everything – for food, water, revenues, employment and education – isn’t that what colonial masters do?  Use the colonies for appropriating all their resources, opportunities and monopolizing the trade and commerce? 

In the end, they ask: "Should we give up Telangana?", exactly echoing how a colonial master thinks of his colonies - only as a provider of resources.  

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Seemandhras admit they have colonized Telangana

What Potti Sriramulu fought for in 1952

There is a big problem we Telanganas find when faced with sheer ignorance of Seemandhras.  We find them extremely ignorant on topics related to history, geography, constitutional and legal issues - so much so that it is like a discussing Newtonian Physics with a dog.  

Why are Seemandhras so ignorant on these extremely important topics?  That's because they are indoctrinated with false information.  Yesterday (Oct 1st) was 60th anniversary of formation of Andhra State.  But the map shown on NTV was that of Andhra Pradesh.  So most naturally many people in Andhra Pradesh believe that Andhra State is same as Andhra Pradesh.  

So, let's educate them the proper way.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Formation of Telangana: No need for consent from AP State Assembly

Many elected leaders hailing from Seemandhra are under the false impression that they can scuttle the process of formation of Telangana by passing a negative resolution or delaying their consent when the draft bill for State Reorganization Act is sent to the Andhra Pradesh State Assembly for their consent.   Since Seemandhras form a majority in the State Assembly they believe they can stall the formation of Telangana.   Their belief is misguided and not based in ground realities.

Sensing this kind of danger, wherein the majority region in the state could thwart any attempt by the minority region from aspiring to form a separate state, the Indian Constitution has provisioned Article 3 in the current form, whereby the State Assembly is allowed to ‘express its views’ without any binding nature within a certain specified period of time.  The Indian Parliament is entitled to reorganize the state with or without the consent of the State Assembly, with or without considering the suggestions made by the State Assembly, and also without waiting for the State Assembly to respond beyond the specified expiration date.  If for some reason, the State Assembly is not in session or is dissolved, like in President’s Rule, the Parliament could still go ahead and reorganize the states. 

Telangana: ‘Those who seek separation should give-in and give-up’

Seemandhras have started to make Telangana people guilty, asking them to be fair, pushing them to making concessions, forcing them to give up something if they want separation.  Their arguments can be captured as follows:  “If separatists want something, then they should give something to the integrationists.  If you are the ones who want to separate, then you can’t have capital city - because you have to lose something to gain something.  If you want to breakup, then you need to satisfy us to get our permission.  You should make compromises if you want your dream fulfilled.” 

The underlying assumption in all this rhetoric is that division is seen as a business transaction or deal, a compromise between two shareholders.  If the division is to be carried out, then the Seemandhras believe it should be ‘win-win’ for all.  They ask- ‘how can Telangana have all their demands fulfilled while Seemandhra demands are not met?’

There is something grossly wrong in looking at a geopolitical situation such as division of a state as a business transaction. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Telangana: How long does it take to create a new capital city?

If one were to listen to the current arguments positioned by Seemandhras, the central government in New Delhi, and some of our Telangana leaders, you may actually start believing that creating a new capital city is indeed a time consuming and complex process that could take many years.  There is a general consensus amongst many stakeholders that it may take as much as ten years for Seemandhras to create a new capital city.   While Seemandhras believe that they may need many decades because they hope to create an exact replica of Hyderabad before they let go Hyderabad, many naïve Telangana concede that it is only ‘fair’ to allow Seemandhras to continue using Hyderabad as temporary capital for a period of ten years.

Does it really take so many years to create a new capital city as we are being led to believe?

Let’s look at some real examples from geopolitical history and see if there is any merit in this common belief shared by most Seemandhras and some Telanganas. 

When the Labor Party came to power in England in 1945 following the World War II, they had an explicit agenda – to grand independence to its biggest colony, the Indian subcontinent.  Lord Mountbatten was chosen as the last Viceroy to oversee the transition of power from the King of England to the people of the subcontinent. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Indian Economy: what is actually wrong

This is my take on what is actually wrong with Indian Economy, mimicking the article published by Mint Magazine.  This is condensed version of my previous article 'India is not producing enough'
Here is the original print from Mint Magazine.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Telangana: Arguments concerning Hyderabad

1. Why Seemandhras invested into Hyderabad?

Investors tend to invest in those places which give rich dividends.  In India, some of the most favored destinations are the large metropolitan cities.  By 1956, Hyderabad was already the 5th largest city in India, was covered by TIME Magazine, and it boasted world class infrastructure with major universities, industries, water bodies and institutions – all this was already in place before formation of Andhra Pradesh – so it had nothing to do with contribution of Seemandhras.

Not all states are blessed with cosmopolitan and metropolitan cities - there are very few cities in India while there are many states.  Therefore, the businessmen and entrepreneurs hailing from states like Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, tend to invest in the major cities outside their states, like in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Hyderabad. 

What helped Hyderabad to become a favored destination for investment in the last six decades consists of two essential reasons.  One, after Independence, Indian government looked for safe destinations that were away from the border and away from the coast to develop its major establishments.  Hyderabad is one of those choices along with Bangalore, lying in the South and away from the coast.  Unlike in British ruled cities, where the city lands were owned by private individuals, most of the land in Hyderabad city was owned by Nizam, which later became property of the Government.  Therefore, Hyderabad presented a much better case with easily available lands for expansion and installation of major institutions.  The Indian Government installed many premier industries in Hyderabad, like ECIL, BHEL, HAL, DRDO, DRDL, etc. – and this has nothing to do with contribution from Seemandhras or Telanganas. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Telangana seeks freedom from Andhra colonial masters

Telangana has an aspiration – it dreams of a day when it will attain freedom from its current colonial masters, the Andhras.  When I call Andhras as colonial masters, I am not referring to just their political leaders or the rich industrialists – I am talking about entire Seemandhra people who are now engaged in Samaikyandhra agitations to scuttle the formation of Telangana.  I am talking about the common men and women of Andhra, the very same people who came on an invasion campaign into the heart of Telangana to hold their ‘anti-Telangana’ Sabha, right in the middle of our cities, and in the process assaulted our people while we stood helpless. 

The last forty five days of their agitations has only confirmed it for all Telangana people that it is not just Seemandhra leaders who are keen on holding onto Telangana.  We understand quite clearly and emphatically without an iota of doubt that the entire population of Seemandhra wants to perpetuate their hegemony and colonial rule over Telangana.