Caste politics in Telangana, the 29th state మార్చి 17, 2014Posted by M Bharath Bhushan in BCs, Congress, Culture, Hyderabad, Identity, Kamma, Mulki, Reddy, SC, Settler, ST, suicide, TDP, Telangana, TRS, Velama.
Tags: 2014 elections
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Social re-engineering blues haunt Telangana!
Syed Amin Jafri, Times of India, 17 March 2014
Soon after delivering Telangana state, the Congress high command has taken up ‘social re-engineering’ in the ensuing Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in the newly-formed state. A similar experiment is on cards in the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh. Though Telangana will come into being formally on June 2, the Congress has completed the formality of bifurcating the Pradesh Congress Committee by naming PCC presidents for Telangana and residuary AP. Both the appointees, who are former ministers with long legislative careers, hail from the backward classes. If Sonia Gandhi was the moving spirit behind the formation of Telangana state, the architect of social re-engineering experiment in the PCCs is Rahul Gandhi. (మరింత…)
Two Telugu states, one poll issue – Telangana ఫిబ్రవరి 25, 2014Posted by M Bharath Bhushan in Andhrapreneurship, BJP, Congress, corruption, elections, Hyderabad, Kamma, Kapu, MIM, Polavaram, Reddy, Settler, TDP, Telangana, TRS, Y S Jagan.
Tags: 29th state
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LS elections: Telangana is the only poll issue in both states
D P Satish, IBNLive.com, February 24, 2014
There are two clear winners and many losers in the run up to the battle for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The creation of Telangana is likely to boost the political prospects of two political parties – Telangana Rashra Samithi (TRS) in Telangana and YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) in Andhra Pradesh. The Congress, which is staring at decimation is likely to retain its hold over Telangana. The TDP led by N Chandrababu Naidu may end up as the biggest loser on both sides in the whole exercise.
YS Jagan Mohan Reddy of the YSRCP has been the most vocal critic of bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh and he is likely to reap the benefits in Andhra Pradesh. His main rival the TDP may lose because of its ambiguous stand on the division of AP. The TDP’s proximity to the BJP leadership may also go against the party.
In AP (Seemandhra), people are angry with both the Congress and the BJP for joining hands to divide their state. According to TDP sources Chandrababu Naidu, who was earlier planning to go with the BJP, is now rethinking. (మరింత…)
Land of many discontents, united AP rationale squandered అక్టోబర్ 9, 2011Posted by M Bharath Bhushan in 1969, agitation, Andhra, Andhrapreneurship, Articles, BJP, Congress, CPI, CPI-M, Culture, fast, Guntur, Hyderabad, Identity, Kamma, KCR, Mulki, Nizam, politics, Reddy, regionalism, Settler, TDP, Telugu, TRS, Velama, Y S Jagan, YSR.
Tags: Gorkhaland, Greater Rayalaseema, poll alliances, Seema Chishti
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Land of many discontents
Seema Chishti, The Indian Express, Oct 07 2011
Among most English-speaking sections of southern India, when a concept finds itself abbreviated or turned into an acronym, it is considered evidence of its acceptance. To that extent, the usage of “T” for Telangana in newspapers and periodicals there, as opposed to AP for Andhra Pradesh, could signal that “Telangana” is around the corner.
But if you discount the hype, there is a different story unfolding in the region. The absence of real stalwarts in Andhra Pradesh who can lend heft to the debate, and the Congress’s classic act of not knowing which side to weigh in on, after muddling things up very competently two years ago, does not help. A short biography of the idea of Telangana and the “movements” there is in order.
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. (మరింత…)
Telangana and Reddy – Kamma battles : Gautam Pingle సెప్టెంబర్ 6, 2011Posted by M Bharath Bhushan in Andhra, Andhrapreneurship, Congress, elections, Greater Rayalaseema, Hyderabad, Identity, Jai Andhra, Kamma, Kapu, Mulki, Parliament, politics, Reddy, regionalism, SC, ST, TDP, Telangana, Telugu, TRS, Velama.
Tags: Gayatri Construction, jalayagnam, LANCO, NTR, OBCs, SKC, Srikrishna, Transstroy, upper castes
Reddys, Kammas and Telangana
Economic & Political Weekly EPW September 3, 2011 vol xlvi no 36 p 19 – 21
Reddy-Kamma rivalry has defined politics in Andhra Pradesh in both the Congress Party and the Telugu Desam Party. The two communities used a pliant Telangana vote bank in their battles, but this option is now no longer available to them. Should that come in the way of the formation of a state of Telangana?
Take Andhra: there are only two major communities spread over the linguistic area. They are either Reddis or the Kammas. They hold all the land, all the offices, and all the business.
– Ambedkar 1955
Caste is an important factor in the political history of Andhra Pradesh and remains critical for political mobilisation. Most scholars have pointed out the hegemony of the Reddy and Kamma castes.
– Sri Krishna Committee (SKC) Report: 410
The Reddys and Kammas continue to hold economic and political power and are likely to continue to play an influential role in future decisions regarding the state.
– SKC Report: 310.
Caste and Party Politics
A Reddy-Kamma alliance with the Reddys playing a dominant role has become the leitmotif of the Andhra Pradesh (AP) Congress. This control is based partly on numerical strength, dominant status in villages and economic power. As for numerical strength:
…the regional distribution of upper castes varies with Coastal Andhra having the highest proportion at 32%, followed by Rayalaseema at 24% and Telangana having the smallest proportion at only 11% (SKC Report: 380).
Of the 11 cabinets formed from 1956 to 1980, the Reddy contingent supplied an average of 26% of the total with the brahmins (7%), Kammas (8%) and Kapus and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) (28%). This was in line with the general dominance of the Reddy community in the seven assemblies (with an average strength of 294 seats) during the period 1957 to 1985, when they had an average of 25% of the seats with brahmins getting 9%, Kammas 14% and backward castes 17%. While all this was going on, during the same period there was a total collapse of brahmin presence in the seven assemblies (from 23 to 11 MLAs) as well as in the same 11 cabinets (from 23% to 6%) (Reddy 1989: 305-06).
However, it is an odd but incontestable fact that a Kamma has never been a Congress chief minister. This is significant in that the Kamma community from 1953 until 1983 had almost totally supported the Congress Party with votes, funds and media support. That was to change with the advent of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), which, in its turn, has had only Kamma chief ministers till date! While the Congress has some Kamma support and the TDP Reddy support, they largely reflect the interests of the dominant castes that control their fortunes. However, as Carolyn Elliott (1970) comments, these Reddy-Kamma equations are unstable and tend to fall apart. (మరింత…)
Tags: jalayagnam, mafia, mining
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Fasting, Mining, Politicking? Telangana and the Burdens of History
The burdens of history are many for Telangana as they are for most regions of the world whose people have been historically subjected to domination, oppression and exploitation. These burdens are cumulative and imbricate each other, and result not only in various forms of ‘backwardness’, but also in ways of perceiving a problem and modes of struggle that reify and reflect those burdens rather than enable subject populations to look for meaningful alternatives. Telangana has been witness to a long history of struggles, some initiated by its own populations, others instigated from outside, and yet others forged by radical or bourgeois class alliances across regions. Whether or not the people of Telangana get a separate state, what they are desperately seeking for is agency. What is however worth emphasizing is that, if the current round of protests and agitations are to yield rewards for the region’s long suffering and distressed classes, some at least of the parties involved need to find ways of escaping the past and instead search for new methods of agitation and new vocabularies to articulate an alternate politics that truly reflects the frustrations, grievances, and aspirations of the troubled region.
The formation of Linguistic States, although essential, cannot be decided by any sort of hooliganism. Nor must it be solved in a manner that will serve party interest. It must be solved by cold blooded reasoning.
B. R. Ambedkar
Thoughts on Linguistic States, 1955
The morality of Gandhi’s emotional athyachar through his fast unto death preceding the Poona Pact of 1932 is rarely called into question by his many admirers, followers and scholarly acolytes. While criticism of Gandhi’s tactics by dalits and those who adopt a dalit/ bahujan perspective in their analyses is seen as partial and subjective, the long term consequences of this Gandhian method of protest to get others to toe your line has not been taken seriously despite the frequent use of this method for contentious goals and objectives. The simultaneous use of Gandhian methods of fasting and street violence by groups ostensibly fighting for a separate Telangana state, and similar counter strategies resorted to by pro-United Andhra groups may constitute a “grammar of anarchy” as Ambedkar warned in his closing speech to the Constituent Assembly. Ambedkar also castigated other Gandhian methods such as civil disobedience, non-cooperation and satyagraha, arguing that in a post-independent nation there was no “justification for these, …where constitutional methods are open”. The tendency of diverse groups in India to resort to unconstitutional methods derives in large part from a partisan state that selectively uses force when it fears legitimate protests and demands, and turns a blind eye to violence when it is perpetrated by groups closely allied to those who people the state. The Indian state’s rapid response to Gandhian fasting methods in this case needs to be seen against the backdrop of hundreds of more legitimate demands by diverse groups around the country which are equally rapidly put down with brutal force, even as the demands take decades to be addressed if at all they are taken seriously.
That significant decisions that decide the fate of millions are still taken as a response to unconstitutional methods, to hooliganism, and in ways that “serve (specific) party interests”, rather than by recourse to “cold blooded reasoning”, and institutionalized debates, is as much a sign of the evolution of our political society, as it is a symptom of the deep gulf between the two broad streams of Gandhian and Ambedkarite political norms that we have inherited. Such methods of protest constitute only one of several burdens from the past that we carry and that affect how we govern ourselves, how democracy works for different sections of our population. For, as Ambedkar perhaps would have been the first to acknowledge, street violence by supporters of a Telangana state are but a direct reaction to deep levels of frustration resulting from political misrule, the absence of meaningful development and empowerment, and the failure of diverse political and social groups to understand, articulate or express their genuine grievances. But more importantly, street violence and hooliganism that target both coastal Andhra elites and middle class and poor migrants from the Andhra region settled in Hyderabad and other urban centres in Telangana are also a response to mindless police brutality. Police brutality and administrative violence in Telangana cannot be understood in simplistic terms as the action of the state apparatus supporting the interests of the ruling class, though this may in large part be true. We need to recognize that the state has interests of its own, that the state apparatus behaves in habitual ways, is disposed to react by virtue of a certain habitus, and that the agents of the state also constitute a class by virtue of their social status, property ownership position, and surplus extraction function. That diverse groups fighting for a Telangana state – be it the TRS or the JAC – have simply failed to understand, far less address the grievances and frustrations of the youth of the region can also be seen in the way in which personal troubles are linked to public issues1 – reflected in the scores of suicides and suicide bids that are currently taking place. In many ways the street violence and suicides are expressions of the fact that vast sections of Telangana’s population have been among the politically ‘uncounted2’ despite the long history of the Telangana movement. One might even argue that the politics surrounding the Telangana state, the hijacking of the demand by parties which do not truly represent or comprehend the aspirations of those they pretend to represent, the street violence and suicides – all of these in fact are reflective of a politics involving the “inscription of a part of those who have no part”3, in other words the attempts by those who have hitherto not been represented adequately to make their voices heard. (మరింత…)
Telangana botched up డిసెంబర్ 19, 2009Posted by Telangana Utsav in agitation, Andhra, BCs, Congress, Economy, elections, GHMC, Identity, Kamma, Kapu, KCR, Mulki, politics, PRP, Rayalaseema, Reddy, Sonia, TDP, Telangana, Telugu, TRS, Velama, violence, Y S Jagan, YSR.
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Telangana botched up
Express News Service: 15 Dec 2009 12:45:17 AM IST
The genesis of the T-trouble that has suddenly erupted in the face of the Congress lies in the vacuum left by the death of Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, and the intense power struggle that has ensued in the Congress. The struggle for a separate state of Telangana is not a recent phenomenon. It first surfaced as a peasants movement against landlords in the late Forties and early Fifties. Later it acquired the shape of a demand for a separate state and got new impetus only in the last 10 years.
During this period the Congress graduated from a position of proposing a Second States Reorganisation Commission which the Pranab Mukherjee Committee had made to L K Advani — and which was turned down by the then Union home minister — to a commitment to create a separate state of Telangana.
These promises were contained in the Common Minimum Programme in 2004, in the Congress manifesto and election campaign in 2009. Sonia Gandhi’s words in Secunderabad are cited repeatedly, accepting ‘in principle’ the idea of a separate Telangana. However, YSR, who had resisted a separate state assured the party high command that he would manage the situation at his end. YSR managed to keep Telangana from boiling over through a policy of carrot and stick. He set up a committee on the Telangana issue that was headed by K Rosaiah. He also deliberately picked up ministers from the Telangana region who he felt would be pliant.
As luck would have it — or he managed it — the Telangana Rashtra Samithi did poorly in election after election which pushed the issue off the radar. Frustrated with the non-action by the Congress, with which it had forged an alliance in 2004, the TRS parted ways in 2006 but fared poorly in the bypolls which followed the resignation of his MPs and MLAs two years later.
The TRS came a cropper again in the 2009 general elections winning only two out of the 17 Lok Sabha seats and 10 out of the 119 Assembly seats in the Telangana region. This is not to say that there has not been an under-the-surface feeling in favour of a separate Telangana, given its continuing backwardness compared to coastal Andhra, and the domination of the Reddys and Kammas in the state’s politics since its formation which the OBC leaders chafe against — the Telangana region comprises 60 per cent OBCs. The point is that the ‘T’ sentiment was not dominant enough to become an election issue influencing their outcome in successive polls. Till KCR decided to go on a fast. After his 2009 poll debacle, he had reportedly quipped to friends whether he should shut shop. He had not even mustered up courage to contest the elections last month for the municipal council of Greater Hyderabad.
The timing of the fast was curious and coincided with two other events, though ostensibly unconnected. One was the confirmation of Rosaiah as a full-fledged CM. The second was a CBI enquiry initiated by the Centre against the Reddy brothers for illegal mining operations. The Bellary brothers were closely associated with YSR and with Jagan Mohan Reddy, and it is possible that Jagan began to feel the heat. (మరింత…)