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An Eye-opener on Telangana : Madabhushi Sridhar ఏప్రిల్ 23, 2011

Posted by M Bharath Bhushan in 1969, agitation, Art, cinema, Congress, Culture, Deccan, Economy, elections, Fazal Ali Commission, Hyderabad, Identity, Kakatiya, Karimnagar, movement, Mulki, Polavaram, politics, Rayalaseema, regionalism, Review, Settler, Six Point Formula, Sonia, TDP, Telangana, Telugu, TRS, universities, violence, YSR.
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Book Review
An Eye-opener On Telangana
Madabhushi Sridhar
Power Politics, April 2011

The major defect that Telangana suffers from is lack of data and documentation to advocate against discrimination and disparities perpetuated by leaders coming from other regions. This problem is now being addressed effectively. Telangana: The State of Affairs, edited by M Bharath Bhushan and N Venugopal is a bold attempt to provide a framework to understand the rationale for the demand of Telangana

Telangana is victim of its own leaders who permitted others to exploit it. These leaders are culpable for two reasons : either they are guilty of not knowing the diversion of water, funds and other resources; or they knew it but allowed the injustice to continue without any resistance. For the sin of leaders, people are suffering. It can also be said other way round too : people should have been more conscious to question these leaders and not allowed the leaders to exploit them.

TELANGANA : THE STATE OF AFFAIRS, M Bharath Bhushan, N. Venugopal, AdEd Value Ventures, 2009, Rs 250, pp. 210

Andhra Pradesh unfortunately did not have a leader of state level nature so far. Almost all chief ministers conducted themselves as the leaders of their native district or region and none ruled like a leader of the entire state. Some of the leaders did not do anything for their district or region. People’s representatives who occupied crucial positions in New Delhi were more obedient to Prime Ministers and thus never cared for their state. Some MPs and bureaucrats from Coastal Andhra were over smart and diverted the resources from out of Telangana. This led to serious disparities among the region’s leading to the present state of hostilities and turbulence.

Another major defect that Telangana suffers from is lack of data and documentation to advocate against discrimination and disparities perpetuated by leaders coming from other regions. This problem is now being addressed effectively. Telangana: The State of Affairs, edited by M Bharath Bhushan and N Venugopal is a bold attempt to provide a a framework to understand the rationale for the demand of Telangana.

In first paper by Duncan B Forrester, a specialist writer of 20 books on Indian society, associated with Madras Christian College, presents an objective analysis of the case. This article, written in 1970, presents an analytical explanation of the rise of political mobilization for separate state within linguistic states based on shared concerns of inequalities and discrimination perpetuated by one region against the other. He substantiates the rise of the sub-regionalism with facts of discrimination and inequalities to explain the agitation for separate state. Data on growth of primary schools between 1956 and 1967, with 24.7 per cent in Rayalaseema and Delta against 25.8 per cent in Telangana reflects relatively higher growth in primary education in Telangana but the reality of growth is revealed in the actual number of pupils (24.88 lakhs in Rayalaseema and Delta, 6.29 lakh in Telangana) that is many times low in the region demanding for separate state. Similarly the area irrigated by government canals (10.7 lakh hectares in Circars and Rayalaseema constituting 88.4 % of total AP against 1.4 lakh hectares in Telangana which is 11.6%) forms the ground for regional imbalances.

Venugopal’s paper on understanding the core issues of separate Telangana presents detailed account on how the region was discriminated. It also exposed that no attempt was made to correct these regional disparities despite continuous protest from the day it was merged with Andhra. He presents historical analysis of the rise of subregionalism as a direct result of discrimination perpetuated by those who led the state since its inception. The leaders, irrespective of their region, i.e., whether from Telangana, Rayalaseema or Coastal Andhra, never rose to state level and preferred to remain loyal to their districts or to some extent to their region. Describing how the TRS played it cards, Venugopal says TRS had several successes along with failures, handicaps and faults. The author explains political philosophy of a sub-regional party and steps of the TRS and blames it for being lured by sharing power in 2004 instead of pursuing the demand of Telangana. He argued that TRS should have understood cunning conspiracies of Congress to dodge and delay its expected goal. He emphasizes that contributions and mistakes of TRS to the cause of separate state need to be examined critically.

M Bharath Bhushan explained the dora and ‘gadi’ dimension of ‘Telangana imbroglio’ and likened TRS with gadi wherein the aspirations of the people for a separate state are used by a section of elite for furthering their own agenda than taking forward the people’s movement which is present in the region in different forms and intensity from fifties to the current times. He described the TRS character with expressions like monopoly over movement, unpredictability and rhetoric of revolution without action. He highlights absence of an ideology as a serious problem of this party. Dean E McHenry Jr. raised a very serious question ‘do elections foster separatism’ in the backdrop of current agitation of Telangana. Analyzing elections held in 2004 and 2006 in Andhra Pradesh he concludes that ‘the contention that elections always foster separatism is not borne out by this study’. This detailed brilliant analysis of the elections having a ‘significant positive impact’ (Karimnagar Lok Sabha by –elections in 2006), ‘a moderate positive impact’ (Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha election in 2004) or a ‘negative impact’ (2005 municipal elections and 2006 Panchayat Raj elections) are not important as the final result of ‘obtaining a majority vote in Lok Sabha depend on ‘the party alignment, commitment of top leaders of parties, the impact on the stability of the coalition and a myriad of other factors.. whether or not a new state is to be created.’ The byelections after 2010 resignations of TRS members and thumping win therein are not covered in this article. The reader has an opportunity to apply the conclusive principles of this article with the results of latest elections.

K Naresh Kumar’s article focuses on film stars entering the foray of politics and aiming at power. It’s a comparison between NTR and Chiranjeevi. He has also analysed the impact of starcaste by other political parties and explained the results in the light of this star-war. It’s a detailed paper on the use of cinema for political agenda and the space enjoyed by ‘stars’ changing political landscape in south India. He explains how the screen of Praja Rajyam Party is narrowed by reducing it to a story that is ‘for the people and by the family’. It is an exhaustive chronicle of the Party that is projected to be mega factor in changing political alignments in the state. Perhaps it is the first and last detailed account of the party that is dissolved sooner than expected.

While five articles present highly professional and critical analysis of political frame of the Telangana during recent years, other articles deal with topics such as cinema and art reflecting the contending forces of regional identity in Andhra Pradesh. S V Srinivas wherein the business the cinema made was explained, nativity and narrative themes in Telangana art (Radhika Rajamani) present the regions culture of art.

Two short stories originally written in Telugu – “Golla Ramavva” by PV Narasimha Rao, former Prime Minister and “Bhoomi” by Allam Rajayya translated by Bharath Bhushan and Reynolds Joshua respectively- reflect the poverty, culture and sufferings of Telangana under unscrupulous political regimes that continued to intensify regional discrimination in Telangana.

In all Telangana- The State of Affairs is a very interesting book which gives a dispassionate and honest analysis of sub-regionalism focused on identity politics, regional discrimination, politics, film stars in regional politics, art, cinema and business. The plain reading of the book leaves an everlasting impression in the minds about politics of discrimination, demand for separate state and their dynamic interplay with art, life and culture. This book helps immensely in explaining rationale of the separate Telangana movement, first of its kind in English, in particular and also help understand roots of similar demands elsewhere in the country in general.

The wide canvas chosen for the examination of sub-regionalism, care to maintain objectivism in a subject of such nature, inclusion of key documents pertaining to the major phase in the agitation for separate state and the agreements to correct the injustices from time to time and list of material for further reading are highly useful for any student in current Indian politics. Those who flatly deny the demand of Telangana for separate state or see similar demands in other parts of the country as mere efforts of handful unemployed politicians should read this book.

Source: http://powerpolitics.in/Issues/april2011/page_64.php



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