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Tasks for Kishore Chandra Deo, Tribal Minister జూలై 16, 2011

Posted by M Bharath Bhushan in Bhadrachalam, conflict resolution, Culture, displacement, Godavari, heritage, Hyderabad, Koya, livelihoods, Polavaram, Vishakapatnam.
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Among the projects taken up in post-Independent India, Polavaram is perhaps the largest single project that has disrupted the lives of the tribals most. The environment clearance given for Polavaram is not valid as it stands today, as there have been fundamental changes in the design of the project. The Ministry of Tribal Affairs should take the initiative in correcting these statutory violations, if necessary, by approaching the Supreme Court, even at this belated stage. The proposal of Andhra Pradesh to seek ‘national’ status for the current project proposal is merely a ploy to cover up its illegalities. In its current design, the project benefits a few chosen politician-cum-contractors, certainly not the public.

OPINION, Tehelka 16 July 2011

Tasks for the new tribal minister
EAS Sarma

Kishore Chandra Deo has had a long career in Parliament. Here’s a doable and basic manifesto for him as the new minister of tribal affairs

THE RECENT union cabinet reshuffle has its plus points as well as minus ones. One important introduction to the cabinet is that of Kishore Chandra Deo, a senior member of parliament representing the tribal legislators and a person who has been in close touch with the ground reality of the tribal constituency in the Visakhapatnam area he represents. Deo has been at the forefront of cautioning his party on the hasty manner in which industrial projects are being grounded in tribal areas without adequate consultation with the tribals. Now that he has occupied the position of a minister, there are high expectations that he will translate his statements into tangible policy initiatives. What are the challenges that lie before him?

Of course, in general terms, as the Minister incharge of both tribal affairs and panchayati raj, he should take initiatives that will further the interests of the tribals in terms of their constitutional entitlements and, simultaneously, empower the grassroots- level constitutional bodies like gram sabhas, panchayats and tribal advisory councils, especially in terms of enforcement of the PESA (Panchayats Extension to Scheduled Areas). (మరింత…)

Fasting, Mining, Politicking? Telangana & the Burdens of History – D Parthasarathy మే 21, 2010

Posted by Telangana Utsav in agitation, Andhra, Andhrapreneurship, BCs, Congress, Culture, Economy, fast, Hyderabad, JAC, Jai Andhra, Kamma, KCR, MRPS, Naxalite, Polavaram, politics, Rayalaseema, Reddy, regionalism, Settler, ST, suicide, TDP, Telangana, TRS, Urdu, Velama, violence, Y S Jagan, YSR.
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Fasting, Mining, Politicking? Telangana and the Burdens of History

D.Parthasarathy

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…)