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Chisti and Misinformation: Subhash Chandra అక్టోబర్ 12, 2011

Posted by M Bharath Bhushan in 1969, Andhra, Andhrapreneurship, Articles, corruption, CPI, CPI-M, Culture, Deccan, English, Hyderabad, Identity, MIM, Mulki, Nizam, politics, regionalism, Review, struggle, Telangana.
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Land of Much Disinformation
Masquerading as Journalism

Dear journalist Ms. Seema Chisti,

Greetings from the State of Telangana!

I have addressed you as a journalist since you identified yourself as one in one of your public tweets. Specifically though, I am writing this letter to you with reference to your October 7, 2011 online article titled “Land of many discontents” published by Indian Express. I have also read many of your posts on Telangana as well as on various other issues and subjects. (http://www.indianexpress.com/columnist/seemachishti)

I am not a journalist (exclusively) myself but, I do have high regard for true journalism and true journalists of unquestionable integrity. I hope, you subscribe to such values, too.

After reading your column “Land of many discontents” though I have serious concerns. Just to be sure, I then read your other articles on Telangana and my suspicions were confirmed. Perhaps, it is unfair on my part to expect such high standards from you. Still, considering the facts that you have worked at BBC and Indian Express as a senior journalist, I expect you to at least check your facts for accuracy even if your opinions are biased. Alas, you have seriously disappointed me and, I am sure, many other serious readers of news and opinions both in India and abroad. What shocks me is that even senior journalists like you and many others like Vijay Simha @ Tehelka, and even Rajdeep Sardesai of Editors Guild take your professional responsibility rather lightly and commit grave errors both in substance and accuracy. I just wonder what the reasons could be. Is it because you consider yourself above the fray or too important to concern yourself with the mundane task of verifying facts and the veracity of your statements, or just plain carelessness and recklessness? After all, you have represented the Editor’s Guild along with Sardesai to the EC regarding how badly prevalent is Paid Journalism in Indian Press. Why then do you perpetuate the same things (paid-journalism) you complain to EC?

I am going to treat every word and every sentence in your article with utmost care and seriousness to show how far removed your writing is from facts, truth, and objectivity. I shall also provide you references to verify the facts.

It is galling to observe how much (self) importance you attach to your ability to speak and write in English in the lead paragraph of your article. English-speaking sections (whatever they are!), whether in southern India or northern India are a minority, even in the media, and hence what acronyms they coin and use in their own little world in India is of no significance to the world at large, much less to a concept.

TELANGANA is NOT a Concept, Ms. Chisti, and neither the letter T is. Since you have such pride about the English-speaking sections, you obviously consider yourself an able member of that group, you must at least understand the meaning of the words you use, such as “Concept”. May I take the liberty to assist you in that task? A “Concept” is defined as a broad abstract idea or a guiding general principle. How then did you find it appropriate and sensible to equate Telangana to a Concept. The word Telangana refers to a large geographical area on the Deccan Plateau, right? Is a large land mass an abstract idea? Besides, how imaginative could it be to use “T” to denote Telangana? Using the first letter of the word, “T”, to denote Telangana, instead of spelling out the word completely, is a sign of utter laziness on the part of the user, especially a journalist. In literate circles, such usage is classified as slang and not as evidence of acceptance of a concept. Would you regard the usage of “I” to denote India as a concept?

It is the ultimate display of arrogance to claim that the use of the first letter of a word is evidence of acceptance of a concept and that too, admittedly, among just the English-speaking sections of southern India. I doubt seriously if anybody outside of your circle would recognize the letter T as a concept of Telangana.

And how delusional would it be to assert that the use of letter “T” for Telangana (as opposed to AP for Andhra Pradesh, as you said it) could signal that “Telangana” is around the corner? I don’t comprehend why you would use quotation marks around the word Telangana. Telangana has always been here, not around the corner, Ms. Chisti. Perhaps, you meant Telangana State?

For your information, FYI, AP stands for Associated Press for much of the world (including India). Anyway, AP may not even mean Andhra Pradesh, even within the Telugu world, for too long. After the inauguration of Telangana State in near future, AP state does not exist as the remaining regions together were officially called Andhra State before and shall be called so after! Also, do you think AP is legitimate and Telangana is illegitimate?

It looks like I shall have to dedicate considerable time and effort to correct your usage of English language because, your second paragraph’s lead sentence “But if you discount the hype…” misuses the word “hype”. Hype, as a noun, (you used so) is defined as “exaggerated publicity, hoopla, or a questionable claim”. I pray thee to explain how Telangana is hype.

That was on a lighter vein. Seriously though, you were exhibiting an extremely venomous intolerance through your writing. All this only for the reason you are married to an avowed Andhra partisan, Yechuri? Because, otherwise you ought not be so wrapped up against Telangana. You can’t even take the usage of word Telangana, I wonder why.

So, you assert “.there is a different story unfolding in the region.” and what exactly is that? Then again, you don’t narrate that story; maybe because no such different story is unfolding? You also woe that there are no real stalwarts in AP to lend heft to the debate (of what?) First of all, Telangana State Demerger Demand IS NOT a debate. Secondly, you are insulting Lagadapati, Kavuri, Rayapati, T. Subbarami Reddy, et al by not regarding them as stalwarts of AP. OK, what about your own husband, Yechury? He is not up to being a stalwart to lend heft to the debate? That would be dangerous as well as seriously insulting to your husband. As an intellectual, you must have already realized that Telangana has never been a debate and even if it was in your mind at one time, the time is well past for a debate especially after the SKC Report and its rejection by the High Court as well as the Congress High Command.

There is no end to your misuse, nay abuse, of English language: “A short biography of the idea of Telangana and the “movements” there is in order.” Isn’t “biography” an account of another person’s life? Perhaps you meant a historical chronology? Well, let us move on to the utter nonsense of your narrative on Telangana.

Let me post your article by paragraph and prove to you how little you know of what you wrote and how you have lied again and again by making untrue and inaccurate statements. Here is the whole paragraph in italics and after each sentence, in normal type (font) is my rebuttal.

The Telangana movement, as was understood when India was being created out of hundreds of princely states, was of a completely different kind. A deep peasant revolt against the landlords was brewing, headed by the then-united CPI. The Telangana movement, between 1946 and 1951, meant bringing about a virtual “people’s republic” in those parts. Facing brutal attack from local landlords and the Nizam, comrades like P. Sundarayya, Basavapunaiah, B. Narasimha Reddy and a thousand others led a prolonged struggle for establishing “true” freedom, before they withdrew the struggle (for a variety of reasons) and participated in the 1952 elections. The communists, then a force to be reckoned with in AP, secured more than 33 per cent of the votes and were more than a handful for a wary Congress. However, despite a pre-poll alliance that got them more than the Congress, it was the Congress that was called in to form the government. Communist accounts describe how the backbone of the comrades was crushed with a brutal police-led witch-hunt, as the Telangana “movement” wound down.

It is obvious that you have no knowledge of Telangana or its history or geography. You seem to have been “briefed” about “Telangana Movement between 1946-1951” haphazardly and inaccurately. Since you mentioned P. Sundarayya, read at least his book “Telangana Peoples Armed Struggle, 1946-1951” which will provide pertinent information even though it is also an agenda driven account. Although its title indicates the years 1946-51, it does cover history from a much earlier period.

But let me address your attempt to eliminate Telangana Leaders from history – you asserted P Sundarayya and Basavapunnaih prominently and ignored the real Telangana leaders who actually organized and lead the Telangana Armed Struggle like Suravaram Pratapa Reddy, Arutla Ramachandra Reddy, Arutla Kamaladevi, Maqdoom Moinuddin, Raj Bahadur Gour, Ramanatham, Dharma Biksham and many others. That is nothing short of arrogance and colonialism. FYI, Telangana Movement started much earlier than in 1946. Andhra Maha Sabha was started in Telangana area in 1928 along with Maratha Parishad and Kannada Parishad in the Marathwada and Kannada regions of Hyderabad Deccan dominion as a reformist organization. In 1930, Suravaram Pratapa Reddy chaired its first conference in 1930 at Jogipeta. Later Ravi Narayan Reddy and Baddam Yella Reddy were elected to leadership positions. FYI, P. Sundarayya was barely 17 years old in 1930 and certainly he was not even a participant in the early Telangana struggles. Much of what you wrote about the Telangana Armed Struggle is propaganda for the Communists and I can understand your sympathies for your husband’s political affiliation.

Read your nonsense here: “Sundarayya, Basavapunaiah, B. Narasimha Reddy and a thousand others led a prolonged struggle for establishing “true” freedom, before they withdrew the struggle (for a variety of reasons) and participated in the 1952 elections. The communists, then a force to be reckoned with in AP”. What? AP in 1952? On what planet was AP existing in 1952? Even the Andhra State did not exist in 1952 and where did AP come from? How could you spread such outright lies? This is your level of knowledge about history and geography? Where did you receive such enlightenment? At BBC or a school of journalism in India? And you get to write stories for the English-speaking subsections?

Did you even know that Hyderabad State still existed in 1952 which consisted of Nine districts in Telangana region and four districts each in Marathwada and Kannada regions?

This is another of your completely fabricated account of history of Telangana: “However, the question of Telangana as a separate cultural entity did not really arise then, as the former Nizam’s territory had been already divided between three different states. Also, the political situation in the country was pointing towards a radical structural reorganisation, in order to stay united. The idea of linguistic states within the same nation (a concept that was the opposite of the European idea of nation-states based on different languages) caught on, and Andhra Pradesh was the spur for that movement. The persuasion of a former Congressman, Potti Sriramulu, who died fasting for a Telugu-speaking state to be carved out of Madras province, and P. Sundarayya’s thesis of Visalandhralu Prajarajyam, which argued for language as a basis for state formation (and which, by the way, is the inspiration for Chiranjeevi’s former party) were significant factors.”

Telangana as a separate cultural entity did not arise then (1952)? Really? Where did you get this enlightenment, Ms. Chisti? From Yechury? The cultural identity of Telangana existed long, hundreds of years, before Andhra identity in Madras Presidency ever got started! And the political situation in the country was pointing towards a radical structural reorganization in 1952? Just to stay united? Again, where did you receive such bogus education? And Nizam’s territory has already been divided between three different states? Which states were they? Andhra state has not even been born yet. Neither was Maharashtra nor Karnataka. That happened in 1956, my lady!, after the States Reorganization Committee (SRC) had completed its work. SRC also recommended that Hyderabad state be left as it is and NOT be merged with Andhra as per the strong wishes of the people of Hyderabad state.

Here comes another of your volley of utter lies and utter nonsense: “The late ’60s witnessed the “Jai Telangana” impulse (the original Telangana under the Nizam was split between three new states, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh) erupt once again, largely driven by student leaders, and focusing on cultural differences vis-a-vis the rest of AP. It was however, seen as a shadow of the problems prompted by “under-development” in the context of a rapidly developing coastal Andhra, with political and economic dominance also controlled by one or two castes.”

The 1969 Telangana Movement focused on the irrigation infrastructure, economic and employment disparities and not cultural differences and although students were a main component of the Movement, political, employee, and business sections of the society also fully supported it. Rapidly developing coastal Andhra at the expense of Telangana region? Of course.

This is yet another one of your pure figments of your imagination: “Indira Gandhi was able to get her way. She quelled the unrest through important amendments to the Constitution. and installing Marri Chenna Reddy, a Telangana man, in power.” Really?Marri Chenna Reddy was installed as CM by Indira Gandhi?

I wonder if you were living on the planet earth at that time!. You have no idea of history of AP or India, isn’t it? Please do the minimum fact check before you commit such grave errors. Did you think you could get away with such lies?

Indira Gandhi fired Brahmananda Reddy and installed P.V. Narasimha Rao as the CM of AP (from Sept 30, 1971 to Jan 10, 1973). Marri Chenna Reddy got elected as CM in 1978 (March) when Indira Gandhi was not in power. Kotla Vijaya Bhaskar Reddy served as CM and then President’s Rule was invoked in between. Are you even aware of these historical facts?

Here is another distortion of truth and an outright lie: “The emergence of the TRS in 2003”. TRS, Telangana Rashtra Samithi was founded in 2001. Here is an excerpt from The Hindu (May 19, 2001): “By R.J. Rajendra Prasad , The Hindu, Saturday, May 19, 2001

“The movement for a separate Telangana received a boost with a massive public rally on Thursday. People came in hundreds of vehicles from Hyderabad to Karimnagar, culminating in an impressive public meeting there. The rally was organized by the Telangana Rashtra Samithi, founded by Mr. K. Chandrasekhara Rao, who resigned as Deputy Speaker and MLA. Mr. Rao,”

I have also found other articles you have posted online in the Telangana context that are full of lies, untruths, inaccuracies, and propaganda type material. One such article is this: “Mess Over Telangana” – http://sundaytimes.lk/091220/International/int_10.html. In that article you arrogantly referred to Telangana Movement as: “The sordid Telangana episode that has made a hero of a retiring politician K Chandrasekhar Rao, who took advantage of the leadership crisis in Andhra Pradesh to go on indefinite hunger strike”. Sordid Telangana episode? Do you know the meaning of the word “sordid”? The dictionary defines it as: “Filthy or dirty; foul. 2. Depressingly squalid; wretched”. How arrogant you can be to refer to Telangana Movement as sordid? Are you even a writer? You certainly are not a journalist.

What is clearly evident is that you are deliberately manufacturing facts (lies) and spreading misinformation that suits your (and Andhra vested interests) agenda. This is exactly the kind of “Paid Journalism” you were complaining to EC. I shall report this kind of “yellow journalism” to the Editors Guild and other monitoring agencies including the Election Commission.

Aren’t you concerned with your intellectual dishonesty? You are not a journalist but a planted and paid propagandist. Your kind of unprofessional conduct ought to be reported and punished accordingly. You are too seasoned and experienced to plead ignorance or errors in reporting.


Subhash Chandra, Ph.D.
Baton Rouge, LA 70810



1. jithendra - అక్టోబర్ 13, 2011

How could she (Ms. Seema Chisti) write such utter false stories..?

2. Naresh Kumar - అక్టోబర్ 16, 2011

Ill-informed journalists are the quacks of modern day mass media! In our country like the medical profession, there are more illiterates than professionals who seem to have a solution to every problem! It is surprising that it can happen in an era when the channels of communication are more diversified and can crucify anyone who wants to deliberately misrepresent! It makes one wonder whether the modern species of journalism seem to think they are addressing a whole lot of unwashed illiterate masses who need their daily dose of bunkum on their commodes!

3. shafi Ahmed - డిసెంబర్ 15, 2011

seema is a “murtadh” not a muslim n moreover…her relation with yechuri is “illicit”.islam condemns that…plz keep these facts in mind…a muslim cant have an “illicit”relation.mazAllah..!

4. Aijaz - జనవరి 27, 2013

er, Subhash,
it might have been good, maybe even fair if you had provided a link to Chishti’s piece since your response appeared to be in the nature of a charged diatribe. I raise certain related issues below: we need to put ourselves to discussing the impending scenario seriously. Do our economists and soc scientists have a groundplan for the various needs and interests of different groups and classes? (one formula may not fit all…are there traditional cultural resources we could rely on, that could be applied to our modernity?). If the problem was an economic one, are you satisfied that Telangana indigenes and upper classes would be more fair, equitable or secular (capital holds less of an attraction to local bourgeoisie?) State level development is largely premised on foreign capital and FDIs which local bourgeoisie would need to collude with and kow-tow to (a Telangana in the world economy may not be entirely free to determine its own policies, (ecologically disastrous (at least);which is hardly to say it is all right now (let our own f up the place?) Hopefully we wouldnt be lacking in production and services nor education, but it would be good not to allow sheer enthusiasm to overtake our efforts. The problem of splitting of electoral consituencies is a real one (and disempowers more minority groups than can be ‘adequately’ redressed). Mere recognition (place/persons’ names etc) of diversity may not be entirely helpful when certain attitudes/dispositions prevail. Demographic splitting of STs (at least) into multiple states is truly problematic since it is eerily analogous to the colonial carving up of African territories, groups and identities, and this works to sharpen their perceptions of others in binary fashion (what Mudimbe and poco theorists were sophisticatedly referring to as ‘alterity’/otherness; divide and rule familiarity?) Integrity of scheduled areas and minority constituencies needs to be upheld. While identitarian politics arent the way to go, who (for instance) would argue with hegemonic majoritarian groups, in a post Telangana scenario, especially when hegemony is mediated by capital? 21st C. capitalism seems to be bound by these exigencies.

Regrettably, the unabashed attempt to delegitimate the concerns (articulated by leaders of a numerically significant group (Muslims) has been rampant among Telangana groups. This, I would say, plays in to both local and internationally current propaganda/practice of demeaning and devaluing, whatever a secular polarisation would do to justify it. This could easily be used for particular interests
(i remain in maa Telangana, and for any brickbats; bloody english, we pocos are doomed to, eh?)


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