Monday, October 10, 2011

Telangana 25: Why Delhi cannot wish away Telangana anymore

No power on earth can stop an idea whose time has come - Victor Hugo

No one knows this better than PM Manmohan Singh, who very often quotes this line. After failing to suppress the Telangana movement with the SriKrishna committee and its Chapter 8 recommendations, the central government now is embattled by the ‘Sakala Janula Samme’ (SJS) launched by the people of Telangana. A million employees of Government, right from state secretariat to Singareni colleries have been on an indefinite strike for 26 days now. They have foregone their salaries too and signaled they are not going to budge till the central government implements its December 9, 2009 decision to demerge Telangana from Andhra Pradesh.

An otherwise bustling Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station (MGBS) wears a deserted look as the RTC employees are on Strike. MGBS is among the 4 largest bus stations in Asia.

So what will Delhi do now? Unlike in the past, there is an ongoing strike which overthrew governance in Telangana and is pushing the state and regions around it into darkness, literally. Cities, towns and villages in Andhra Pradesh are facing electricity power cuts (some up to 10 hours a day) as are cities like Bangalore, Pune and Thiruvanathapuram. There are mounting revenue losses with each passing day and more importantly increasing frustration with these democratic and peaceful methods of agitation. With the SKC episode, the Congress and its central and state governments lost all credibility. As did the mainstream print and electronic media, which played an active role in Chapter 8.  The game is up for Delhi which has no option to dilly-dally now lest the agitation will spiral out of control of its leadership. The NH-9 blockade 4 days ago is a precursor of things to come, in such scenario. Already, the TJAC is under tremendous pressure to ‘harden up’ from its vanta-varpu kind of programs which have made enough of the point about peaceful & brotherly co-existence in Telangana.

In Hyderabad, Seemandhra secretariat employees were taken to their offices with police escort.

What should worry supporters of Telangana is the steady loss of faith of the agitators in our institutions of democracy. The executive, the judiciary, the press all have been corrupted and rights to these institutions have been denied to the movement. The despondence this sparked contributed to 600 odd suicides. How long will it take for this despondence to turn from hurting self to avenging the oppressive rulers? Unmindful of this volatility, those opposing the demerger, like the Chief Minister himself, poke fun at the strike everyday by reminding that the strike would ‘only hurt Telangana’. So what do these guys want?

At least, did someone in Delhi wake up to the reality that this strike is not just going to ‘hurt Telangana alone’. And that, besides hurting the democratic and social fabric of this region and country, this strike could also create a real, day-to-day crisis. Did someone realize that Telangana is no Manipur. Bang in the middle, if the agitators turn restless, the north and south of this country gets disconnected. What if the Rail-Rokos get indefinite? What if the national highways get blocked indefinitely? Are they then going to bring the army in!? The media owned by Andhra plutocrats definitely want us to believe so. They have been on a propaganda spree for last few days that center is geared up for President’s rule in the state to ‘control’ the spiraling unrest. Wishful thinking, I would say or just another trick to demoralize the striking citizens into believing that their efforts are futile and the strike needs to be withdrawn. The media also created a controversy out of Pranab Mukherjee’s comments on Telangana agitation.

In fact, the very fact that this media, after a prolonged silence on Telangana, as per SKC’s Chapter 8 instructions, now started talking about possible Centre’s action shows the success of the strike. The strike has successfully untied the Chapter 8 blockade on Telangana debate. And it is poised to push all the Andhra plutocrats into a corner, despite their media empires.

Nothing short of demerger and inaugurating the state of Telangana is going to stop this movement. The agitators have risked their lives and livelihood, Delhi has to succumb. While the Andhra Pradesh government seems to have released nearly 80 crores to Police to ‘control’ the Telangana stir and marked the same GOs as confidential, it would be fallacy to assume this agitation can be contained anymore through police and paramilitary forces. The SJS is the inflection point and Delhi cannot wish away Telangana anymore. The time for the idea of Telangana has come.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Telangana 24: Sakala Janula Samme and our Gandhian CM Kiran Kumar Reddy

I should say I am ‘moved’ by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister’s singing paeans for Gandhism in the Vijayawada meeting today on the occassion of Gandhi Jayanthi. This tribute to Gandhian principles ‘Vandhe Gandhiyam’ is choreographed and produced by our prime gandhian and honorable MP Lagadapati Rajagopal, whose latest gandhian act has been to trigger a police attack on the genitals of a Government employee, a leader of the NGO union. Nonetheless, off late Kiran Kumar Reddy has been showing outstanding gandhism and deserves to be understood for his spirited speech today. Here is something that illustrates how ardent a follower he is of Gandhi. 

When Govt. employees gave a hartal notice, an instrument advocated by mahatma himself, this gandhian’s government made no efforts on their demands and now after 20 days of strike, it is not paying the 7 lakh employees on strike. What is particularly notable is that this is the festive season, with bathukamma and Dussera, the two most important festivals in Telangana. While the employees go without the festive joy, our Gandhian CM is busy pouring his heart about peaceful protests and Gandhi’s methods – like hartal and satyagraha!
With the ongoing Sakala Janula Samme (SJS), the CM took a very gandhian approach of ‘divide and rule’ and violent police oppression. When the drivers and employees of the state road transport corp (APSRTC) went on strike, he made no attempts to have a dialogue and instead pushed unlicensed and inexperienced home guards to drive the city buses in Hyderabad. His gandhian actions killed 3 people and injured scores of pedestrians when the rookie drivers created mayhem on the road in few separate accidents like this.

The most gandhian action is how he is tearing down the livelihood of millions of farmers in Telangana at this moment. While the water reservoirs in the state are full and can generate 65 million units of electricity, this gandhian Government chose to generate only 30 million, thereby creating an artificial electricity deficit and cutting off power in Telangana. The Gandhian CM tells the farmers in Telangana, in this busy season when they are expecting to harvest their crop, that the daily power cut is due to the strike of his Telangana brethren in Singareni colleries. By robbing the Telangana farmer their hard-earned crop, this gandhian proved how to commit genocide without raising a knife! Can anything get more gandhian than this - destroying the livelihood of millions of farmers? Think about their families, the debts they got to pay, the marriages they have to do,..

Of course, I won’t even attempt to start discussing the many other gandhian acts of police repression on peacefully agitating MLAs, MPs – no less. Only the other day, a group of MLAs who resigned months ago in protest against the delay in forming Telangana, shut themselves in the premises of the state legislature to get their resignations accepted. The Governments and the speaker who threw the spirit and procedures of the constitution to the wind won’t accept the resignations, because accepting them would open another front for people of Telangana, through the by-election, to reiterate their right for statehood. This must be the only instance of its kind in the world where supposedly democratic governments won’t accept a resignation of a public representative but instead would kick them around and arrest them!

Even as you read this, soon after the meeting, the chief minister must have gone into a huddle with the esteemed guest Gulam Nabi Azad, the numero uno gandhian Lagadapati and other prominent gandhians like KVP Ramachandra Rao, Botsa Satyanarayana, Devineni Nehru etc to discuss the status of Delhi parleys on Telangana and the more advanced gandhian means and methods to suppress the Telangana movement while deciding on a date and time to reenact the Samaikyandra drama.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Mumbai attacks and the lessons we refuse to learn

There they come again. Just like millions of Indians, I feel deja vu. The same feeling now haunts me as it did 31 months ago. The same apathy of the political elite, the same outrage of civilians, the same candle lights and then the same 'Mumbai spirit', resilience, blah blah blah..Every problem India faces today is reduced to a news story, consumed for a day and disposed the next, even the 17 dead and 131 injured on this black Wednesday. Perhaps, the story of the Minister, in-charge of Mumbai's security, best illustrates this point.

Raosaheb Ramrao Patil, as the home minister of Mumbai, infamously opined after 2008 Mumbai attacks " "They (the terrorists) came to kill 5,000 people but we ensured minimal damage". In a further proof of the callous stuff he is made of, he said after a few days "It is not like that. In big cities like this, small incidents do happen. It's is not a total failure." Just as it does, the government succumbed to public outrage over his comments and removed him from office then. When the heat is out, he was bought back in after 10 months. And here he is presiding over, as Mumbai is attacked again! And add to that this visual news 10 months ago that the honorable home minister was at a social gathering hobnobbing with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim's aides. I am not implying having this guy as home minister made the attacks possible. What I am pointing at is the callousness and a lack of logical centre in playing around with such a vital portfolio. Why was he moved out and back in? Are there any lessons learnt for him from his previous experience? If so, it did not show. What did Indians do to deserve this? And what are the lessons terror in Mumbai and elsewhere in India teaching us which we are failing to learn?

The first lesson is that nothing now happens in India unless the government is forced to. The Lokpal bill is a case in point. Things seem to happen only when people come on to streets. We need the civil society to pressurize the state and central governments into coming up with any lessons they possibly could have learnt and the remedial measures planned. Let them come up with clear decisions on enforcing the measures and let the follow up to these measures be in public domain. The union home minister said "There were no prior intelligence inputs for the attacks”  and yet he adds it is not an intelligence failure! It is clear that projects like National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) and the National Counter-Terrorism Center (NCTC) aimed at bettering our intelligence gathering did not take off, even after 31 months. And that is despite a mammoth budget. It is a shame that the union home minister says the same 31 months passed without an attack because the authorities did well. That is like saying, on scales of efficiency, a next attack after 32 months is okay! In hindsight, I feel we were plain lucky for all these months.

The governments' lethargy and ill intentions in not acting on the existent laws of the land should be questioned. The government should be forced to answer on why Afzal Gurus and Ajmal Kasabs are not given the punishment the courts have condemned them to, after exhaustive trials. Why are the clemencies pending with the President for years altogether (In fact, it was reported Afzal Guru's clemency petition was not at President's office, despite news to the contrary).

The way he said there are 'inherent difficulties' in avoiding these acts of terror in Mumbai, because of its density, is appalling. Why does he think cities more dense than Mumbai have not become victims of terror? It does not a Harvard brain to answer that. The appalling attitude of Indian political elite shows just how irrelevant Indian politics has now become to the basic need in this country - security and the right to live. 

As long as Indians think their duty starts and ends with voting for one of the devils in election, these attacks wont stop, just as the corruption, nepotism and misgoverning in governments wont stop.The lesson Mumbai attacks teach us is that we can no more leave our welfare and security solely in the hands of these rogue politicians. We have to take a role. Any debate now should be on what and how that role should be, not on how the media stooped low in reporting, or how resilient Mumbai is, or which minister has to be booted out, which anyway would not avoid the next attack on us that is probably being planned somewhere at this very moment.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Manmohan Singh - The Manchurian Candidate

4 months after his disastrous meeting with electronic media editors, which I blogged about, Mr. Manmohan Singh decided to speak again, this time only with print media editors.  After all we are a democracy, unlike North Korea (where Kim Jong II is seen once in few years), so Mr. Singh decided to give darshan and speak to his subjects once in 4 months. And how!

The robotic, stoical Manmohan Singh reminds me of the character Raymond Shaw in Hollywood flick ‘The Manchurian Candidate’. Shaw, a soldier of the US army, also hailing from an affluent political family, is ‘programmed’ with an implanted chip in his body to campaign and become the president of the US. Shaw’s mother, a senator and a multinational company masterminds this operation. We all know how Mr. Singh is planted in as PM to do his Madam’s bidding. For all practical reasons, he is an ‘acting PM’ who did well not to apply his acclaimed mind over the affairs of this country. As in the movie, Mr. Singh is remote-controlled to work and deliver for someone else. But then in the movie, at least towards the end, the remote-controlled candidate realizes the trap he is in and applies his mind for once, bringing to an end the whole operation of a few powerful guys to control US. Unfortunately for us, Mr. Singh seems to be losing more of his mind with each passing once-in-four-months public appearance.

In his last appearance with news editors, Mr.Singh compared the 2G scam losses with ‘losses’ due to food subsidies. This time, Mr. Singh gave use few more gems. This post has his latest opinions, marked in blue. My comments follow. The full Transcript of the meeting is here.

Considering newspaper reports about scams and investigating them would ‘greatly weaken the (entrepreneurial) forces that we have unleashed’ and ‘install a police raj’.
So the 2G scam is unleashed by ‘entrepreneurial forces’! And investigating them would make this country a ‘police state’? Is there no need in this country to at least pretend being honest anymore? Such a blatant stance by the supposedly ‘clean PM’.

He tells us he trusted his cabinet colleague after he assured ‘utmost transparency, fairness and objectivity’ in 2G allocation. Even after this scam, he conveniently forgets there is something called ‘collective responsibility’.

Bringing prime minister within ambit of Lokpal will make the country ‘instable’.
Earlier, talking about TRAI, he said ‘Quite frankly, I felt TRAI exists to advise the government, it is an expert body. And therefore, I left it at that.’ As frankly, why can’t he just trust the Lokpal? His faith in institutions set up by constitution and legislation seems literally blinding. He can use some of that faith for Lokpal. At least 1.2 lakh crores is not at stake here.

Besides, his ‘concern’ that foreign powers would take ‘control’ over Lokpal and destabilize the country is laughable, excuses which even his grandkids won’t buy.

The Prime Minister of India ‘is equally covered by the anti-corruption act’ and that he can be ‘dismissed most easily’.
Oh really! How many corrupt ministers ended up in jail? CBI, the investigative agency is under PMO’s control and Mr.Singh wants us to believe the Prime Minister himself would sanction CBI to investigate against him and his cabinet colleagues! And the CBI is retrained under Section 6A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, which requires it to get Central Government’s prior approval before it can start any investigation against Joint Secretary or higher level bureaucrats. Obviously, all scams like 2G are executed with active connivance of these babus – (who Mr.Singh considers experts in policy making). CBI cannot investigate them without PMO’s approval and without access to these executives, Mr. Singh says ‘we have mechanisms, much more effective mechanisms, in place’ than Lokpal to tackle corruption. Who is Mr.Singh kidding?

CAG should not hold press conferences on the reports they tabled and should not comment on policy decisions (even when crores are being swindled as in case of KG gas)
It is this ‘selective amnesia’ we are trying to fight against with Jan Lokpal bill. Madras High Court  in 2005, in the P.G. Narayanan vs. CAG case (W.P.No.23408 of 2004 [2005] RD-TN 714), said salient features of an Audit Report can be explained to the Press by the auditor to make the public know about the same after the Audit Report is placed before the law-making bodies – parliament or assemblies. So Mr. Singh lied when he said CAG is overstepping its mandate. And yes, the CAG must have commented on policy issues because Mr.Singh admits, quite pathetically, at every step that he is not an expert.  In his latest briefing, he said he is neither an expert in law nor ‘telecom matters’. He even said ‘As Prime Minister, it is not that I am very knowledgeable about these matters. Or that I can spend so much of my time, to look after each and every ministry.’ So why complain about a helping hand from CAG!?

How will the Supreme Court pronounce on complex issues, if it is subject to restrictions of the Lokpal? I am not a legal expert.
If ‘pronouncing on complex issues’ means what retired chief justice KG Balakrishnan did, these restrictions are just what we need. According to advocate Prashanth Bhushan, half out of the last 16 to 17 Chief Justices of India had been corrupt and he produced documentary, oral and circumstantial evidence, material and information to back his claims. So why stonewall bringing the judiciary within the ambit of Lokpal?

This 'clean' weak PM worse than a corrupt PM

Mr. Manmohan Singh should instead realize to pronounce his real self rather than singing the lines his political masters are imbibing into him. Notwithstanding his personal integrity, he is doing more damage to the nation than any other PM ever did, by serving as a Trojan horse for the real perpetrators of financial crime and public treachery. We hope Mr.Singh removes the political chip on his back and regain his conscience, just like the presidential hopeful Raymond Shaw did in ‘The Manchurian Candidate’.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

TELANGANA 23: Andhra politicians - Politics part-time, Businesses full-time!

India Today carried a report “Andhra Industrialists turning to politics to protect their interests” and reported on the myriad businesses sitting Andhra MPs/MLAs are engaged in, that directly benefit from their positions of power. Besides the well known businesses of YS Jaganmohan Reddy, N Chandrababu Naidu and Lagadapati Rajagopal, the magazine named others mentioned below.
MPs in businesses
T. Subbarami Reddy - heads multi-crore industrial group, Gayatri Group of Industries
Eluru MP Kavuri Sambasiva Rao - owns Progressive Constructions, which is involved in large- scale infrastructure projects across the country.
Guntur MP Rayapati Sambasiva Rao - heads Transtroy Constructions, which is involved in similar multi- crore road projects.
Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy, Congress MP from Ongole, is associated with United Breweries Group and is also chairman of Balaji Hotels, headquartered at Chennai.
Khammam MP N. N. Rao, TDP's parliamentary party leader, owns Madhucon Group of companies - involved in irrigation projects, highways and granite units near Bellary in Karnataka.
Nellore MP Mekapati Rajamohan Reddy and his MLA- brother Mekapati Chandrasekhara Reddy are also big- time contractors in the name of KMC Constructions.
Narasaraopet MP Modugula Venugopal Reddy is associated with Ramky Group, an infrastructure company.
State ministers in businesses
T. G. Venkatesh of Kurnool is a big industrialist who runs Rayalaseema Paper Mills and Rayalaseema Alkalis
Galla Aruna Kumari is the wife of Ramachandra N. Galla, chairman of Amararaja Group of Industries.
MLAs in businesses
Former minister P. Ramachandra Reddy - owns PVR Constructions
Adala Prabhakar Reddy - heads APR Constructions
Balineni Srinivasa Reddy - granite business
Adinarayana Reddy, G. Srikanth Reddy and Gurunath Reddy  - various contracts and sub- contracts in irrigation and road works.
Uninterrupted power to this elite, especially for the MPs who have been around for decades in politics, have emboldened them to bend and break laws, especially in real-estate and government sponsored irrigation and infrastructure projects. They amassed the riches, the very base of which now threatens to be eroded by ‘losing political control’ over the golden goose – Hyderabad. Few days ago, Swaminathan S A Aiyar wrote in The Economic Times:
“Vast amounts of land around Hyderabad have been grabbed in questionable ways. In a new Telengana, many existing landowners — including major industrialists — may lose enormous tracts of land worth thousands of crores. Illegal land grabbing has till now been very lucrative, but may become the kiss of death after Telengana’s creation. All Indians love land, but in Andhra Pradesh it is a veritable passion . Coastal Andhras have engaged in an orgy of land speculation in the last decade. This passion for land ultimately caused the fall of Ramalinga Raju of Satyam: He lost his company because of his forays into real estate, through Maytas and other channels.
Only yesterday, TEHELKA carried an article saying  "The Congress core committee is caught between the melodrama of the Telangana faction and the hardened business interests of the united Andhra faction that is staunchly opposing dividing the state. One of them is Kavuri Samba Siva Rao who heads a construction company with major investments in Hyderabad."
About ‘Inefficient’ Telangana leadership and ‘Efficient’ Andhra leadership
Again, I heard the same argument that the ‘backwardness’ of Telangana is because of the ‘inefficiency’ of its political leadership. So, conversely the argument says that the Andhra leadership is ‘efficient’.  While this is a very superficial and silly argument at best and a purely chauvinistic statement at the worst, now that it is so oft repeated, I ponder it over. Below are some questions, some of the ‘efficient’ leaders (read ‘those who oppose Telangana’) put up in Loksabha. 
Conflict of interest of Andhra MPs:
According to India Today's article 'Business of the Day', here are some of the questions the Andhra MPs posed in Lok Sabha and how the queries are intended to directly benefit their private businesses.
Sambasiva Rayapati Rao MP from Guntur asks “Whether the NHAI has recently sought comments of various stakeholders on hybrid models to implement highway projects. If so, the details thereof along with the views of the various parties involved.
Mr. Rao owns the Jayalakshmi Group of companies which deals in tobacco, yarn, export of spices, production of electricity and construction of roads.
Kavuri Sambasiva Rao MP from Eluru asks “Whether the Government proposes to empower the NHAI to extend working capital loans to road developers to help them tie over credit crunch and maintain speedy implementation of road projects.
Mr Kavuri as a builder is engaged in construction of major projects on irrigation, road, power and multi-storied urban housing complexes.
Rajagopal Lagadapati MP from Vijayawada asks “Whether the Central Government proposes to give some concessions to small power units generating 25 MW of power. If so, the details thereof; and if not, the reasons for not giving concessions.
Mr Rajagopal  is the founder chairman of the Lanco Group which has interests in construction, power and property business. Member of CoPU, his Group's client list includes the NHAI.
Naama Nageswara Rao MP from Khammam asks “Whether the Government proposes to start eight-lane access control express highways. If so, the details thereof along with the locations where the expressways are proposed, state-wise and national highway-wise.
Mr Rao is Non-executive chairman of Madhucon, his Group has the NHAI and Indian Oil Corporation on its client list. He is also a member of the Committee on Public Undertakings.
Well, if this and the skill showed by YSRs and Chandrababus in building business empires is ‘efficiency’, neither Telangana nor anyone in the rest of India would seek it. They are better off being ‘inefficient’.
How a larger state benefited the plutocrats
The real conflict of interest for these MLAs/MPs come not just when they ask questions that directly benefit their businesses but when they sit on the parliament’s standing committees related to finance, business and industry. As per the parliament’s website, these committees are supposed to be a path-breaking endeavour of the Parliamentary surveillance over administration. With the emphasis of their functioning to concentrate on long-term plans, policies and the philosophies guiding the working of the Executive, these Committees will be in a very privileged position to provide necessary direction, guidance and inputs for broad policy formulations and in achievement of the long-term national perspective by the Executive. So here are the businessmen sitting on the same committees that frame ‘policies and philosophies’ that guide their businesses. This is worse than stock market insider trading!

As of now, Kavuri Sambasiva Rao, Rayapati Sambasiva Rao, Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy, KVP Ramachandra Rao, Nama Nageshwara Rao named above are all on the parliamentary standing committees on Finance, Estimates, Public undertakings, Industry etc and at the same time they are 'on record' running businesses related to same areas/sectors. The conflict of interest in case of these members is so glaring that, in the past, chairman of one such committee seem to have  asked them why they should not be asked to withdraw from certain meetings, as the issue on the agenda was directly related to their business.

Every time there is a cabinet expansion, there is a hue and cry in media about how Andhra Pradesh is ‘discriminated’ against in its share of ministries. The point is that the MPs in question are enjoying it better on these committees milking them for their own businesses. And looking at the membership in these committees, AP got more than its share. In fact these politicians are leveraging the power of coming from a state that is producing 42 MPs purely to amass riches for themselves. They fear a demerger would end that clout and they would be left without any bargaining power to sit on these committees.
And folks who argue how ‘efficient’ Andhra political leadership is should wonder why none of them bothered to be on board of 21 member Lok Sabha standing committee or the 10 member Rajya Sabha committee on Agriculture, especially when a huge percentage of Andhras are employed in Agriculture.
Will the Andhra plutocrats let go of Telangana?
Highly unlikely. it is clear they are trying every trick in the book. They have previously successfully blackmailed the top leadership of BJP and now are doing the same with Congress, with their money bags. Only an uncompromising fight on part of Telangana advocates will force the central leadership of Congress to yield to the demand. It would happen only if the power of masses gets more threatening than the moneybags.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lessons Professor Jayashankar taught

The dreaded end came yesterday. Professor Jayashankar passed away after battling cancer for several months.  It is hard to fight the news of this departure without shedding tears and taking solace in the spirit he left behind.

My earliest recollection of seeing and listening to him was around 2002 when he was a guest at a seminar on Telangana statehood  in Arts College, Hanumakonda. I could not comprehend all of what he spoke then but what struck me was his matter-of-fact tone and the mellifluous language he used. Later on, I came to understand his calm demeanor came from a rich mind and its clarity of thought and his language from Telangana’s rich multi-lingual heritage (No wonder he was in love with expressing in all languages – Telugu, Urdu, Hindi and English).

That is, for me, the primary lesson from him. To keep the calm and remain objective about issues, no matter how provoking situations could be. He showed by example that notwithstanding how sensitive and provoking the issue could be, it is important to be dispassionate to find a solution.  While I grew up, that was the lesson I tried to remember as often as possible. In all these years, I have seen no one who spoke as objectively as he did about the reasons for Telangana movement. That did not change till his last breath despite being at the other end of vicious attacks from Andhra plutocrats who labeled him ‘Mullah Omar’ and the students campaigning for Telangana as Taliban. While the economist in him studied the regional disparities in this country, the humanist in him conceptualized the problem and advocated for the state of Telangana.

Another of his traits is his uncompromising spirit. He saw the struggle for 3 generations and did not end up just as another despondent guy. He incessantly fought for the state through all means. Authored literature presenting the many ills Telangana was subjected to due to the lop-sided merger, encouraged many Telangana organizations like TDF across the world to take shape and contribute to the cause and lent support to every political attempt to achieve Telangana statehood, whether it was TRS or NavaTelangana Praja Party.  Not surprisingly, he remained a bachelor as he left too little time for his own self while dedicating his whole life to the cause he believed in.

The genial professor’s ideology shaped today’s Telangana movement so much that you see the most active part in the movement now taken by people from his background- that of academic circles. Professors elucidate the ideas, right from constitutional discussions around article 3 to debates over Bombay city during Gujarat’s inauguration. Taking the lead of the professor, the academics dug so much into the statistics of agriculture, industry and other areas of state administration over the years that the SriKrishna committee now finds it difficult to cover the pit with their concocted theories and cooked up statistics. It is this veracity that is lacking even in the most honest arguments for Samaikyandra. Instead, it has real estate businessmen making their case with ‘ground-breaking’ theories, like how asking for a state is being anti-national.  If the professor made selfless efforts making the case for Telangana for decades, the best thing for Samikyandra on parallel lines is a book authored by an NRI sold on Amazon!  In short, Samaikyandra ‘movement’ does not have a Jayashankar. It can’t.

Professor Jayashankar made invaluable contributions by putting on record the experiences from the Telangana movement of 1952 and 1969. In an age when the state government did everything to wipe out the very being of Telangana (by even putting a communal spin on Hyderabad liberation day), it was Jayashankar’s writings and speeches that carried through generations and are now on the threshold of giving a new lease of life to Telangana identity.  In that sense, the professor shaped the cultural and political renaissance of Telangana. His work also made present Telangana movement to learn from mistakes of the past and reinvent itself over time as situation demands and importantly, sustain.

When I had a chance to interact with him more than a year ago, I asked him what to expect out of the SKC. He said ‘nothing’. I guess his experience taught him enough about these committees/commissions.  There is no point for people today to relearn the same lessons he did for generations – that not to trust the government to ‘give the statehood’.  Telanganas have to seize their right. That is what the professor wanted, to force the union to cede the statehood through an uncompromising fight. His departure only strengthens the resolve of those who know him to pay a fitting tribute to him – by incessantly campaigning for the Telangana state. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The SKC Scandal 5: How low is too low for Justice SriKrishna?

When few paragraphs of the SKC’s eighth chapter leaked out 3 months ago, I went just plain sad. For once, I found nothing to discuss about that corrupt report.  That leak made me relook at my blog and scores of activists out there, their hope, struggle and tireless efforts.  Some of these thoughts, I would discuss in days ahead. The latest leak made me post this about the incredibly corrupt Srikrishna committee. How low is too low for these guys!?

After scores of songs and a movie, the cultural renaissance of Telangana is now marked by a newpaper. Namaste Telangana, theTelugu daily is launched this week and it started with a bang. It scooped out and published the contents of the ‘secret’ chapter 8. A news portal, Deccan Post, too published the English version now.  The supplementary note of this chapter, as revealed, would put the wildest conspiracy theories to shame for lack of imagination!

Some excerpts are here below:

·        “The Congress High Command must sensitize its own MPS and MLAs and educate them about the wisdom for arriving at an acceptable and workable solution. With the ruling party and also the main opposition party ( the TDP run by Chandra Babu) must be brought on the same page, the support mechanisms have a higher probability of becoming successful. The TDP must be advised not to participate in any further meetings that would be called by the Centre.

This could be an effective stumbling block for any meaningful dialogue on resolving the Telangana demand. The Andhra Congress MPs belonging to Kamma caste must be encouraged to work in tandem with TDP leadership which is now caught in a bad shape.”

So here is a committee set up by central government which suggests in its report to the very government to call for meetings on Telangana but also secretly advice the TDP to boycott the meet to stall any meaningful dialogue on the Telangana issue! I simply have no words to describe my feelings here. Beyond this point, I don’t feel like discussing anymore. But anyway lets go the whole log and get done with these drama company.

·         “Further, on receipt of the Committee’s Report by the Government, a general message should be conveyed amongst the people of the State that Centre will be open for detailed discussions on the recommendations / options of the Report with the concerned leaders /stakeholders either directly or through a Group of Ministers or through important interlocutors and that this process will start at the earliest. But every method must be adopted to avoid giving finality to any discussions to drag on the matter until the agitation is totally brought under control.”

Justice Srikrishna seems to be so cocksure about everything.  Maybe he thinks he controls the ebb and flow of everything around. His grand design, phew.

We already saw the below content in the earlier leak. Revisiting them to remind the times we live in.
·         “ Andhra Pradesh has got about 13 Electronic Channels and 5 major local Newspapers which are in the forefront of molding the public opinion. Except for two Channels (Raj News & HMTV), the rest of them are supporters of a united Andhra Pradesh. The equity holders of the channels except the above two and the entire Print Media are with the Seemandhra people. The main editors/ resident and subeditors, the Film world etc. are dominated by Seemandhra people. A coordinated action on their part has the potential of shaping the perception of the common man. However, the beat journalists in the respective regions are locals and are likely to capture only those events/ news which reflect the regional  sentiments. This can be tackled by the owners of the media houses by systematically replacing the local journalists by those from Seemandhra wherever it is possible.”

Just reflects how wide the grand plan is mapped, right into media, movies, editors. Did Telanganas complain about river waters, govt jobs etc,.Now add the local journos too to the list! Srikrishna’s grand symphony!

·         “Each of the media houses are affiliated to different political parties. In the Print Media all major newspapers are owned by Seemandhra people and the Regional contents published by them play a vital role. Most of the editors except Andhra Jyothi are pro- united A. P. However, similar to the electronic channels, the print media have also got political affiliations. The editorial opinions, the banner headlines, the Regional content, the District editions need to be managed to be realistic and should give only due coverage to the separate Telangana agitations. The print media is hugely dependent on the Government for advertisement revenue and if carefully handled can be an effective tool to achieve this goal.”
“However, the RTI Act may prove to be an impediment for the Government to deny due share of ads to publications supporting the Telangana demand.”

Propaganda, our retired justice thinks overwhelms the principles of law, justice, propriety and uncompromising struggle. The way he and his committee members operated reflect not just the powerful opposition Telangana is facing, but the moral and ethical bankruptcy of those in power, in this age, in India.