Wednesday, December 29, 2010

SriKrishna Committee Report Leaked

Hurrah! SriKrishna Committee Report has been leaked.  Here are some of the salient points:

For Separate Telangana State:
Overwhelming majority in Telangana seeks a separate state; the current ten districts of Telangana could be carved into a separate state with Hyderabad as its capital;
Pros: Enough indications suggest that this region was neglected and its people discriminated against; a separate state would address many of the concerns ailing this region.  For example, a new state of Telangana would definitely get more water and therefore bring prosperity to the region.  Could also lead to elimination of Naxal Movement because people will get a political voice in Indian democracy.
Cons: Seemandhra people may get disappointed and may burn some buses in Seemandhra region. 

For United State:
Majority in Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema would like to keep the state united; the status quo could be maintained with introduction of regional board for each region – Telangana, Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema, and special packages could be given for neglected and backward districts.
Pros: no change required to current administration setup; will make people of Seemandhra extremely happy; Telangana people will be under superior rulers of Seemandhra region.
Cons: will make people of Telangana extremely unhappy; could lead to massive agitations and uprising in Telangana, but our outstanding Indian Army and Air Force can easily suppressing it with less than 5 lakh people dead; could lead to escalation of Naxal Movement like it happened in the aftermath of 1969.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Telangana 69: Get off your ass and fight

I wouldn’t trade this for anything else.  I am witnessing history unfold right before my eyes.  I am happy that I am not living in another country like I was few years ago, then I would be so far away from the action.  Of course I wish I was living in Telangana, instead of living in Bangalore.  Every day I get up and feel bad that I am not living in Telangana. I wish I could be here all the time, right here, right now. But then I use every opportunity I get to visit Telangana to take part in the events unfolding in Telangana. 

How could I miss this historic movement?  It is like participating in our India’s freedom struggle against British.  Imagine you were a young man during British India and you see people marching in protests.  But imagine you were too lazy, or confused, or too ignorant, or gave some stupid reason not to participate in the freedom struggle.  Would you not regret it now? I would.

I am thrilled to be part of the current agitation of Telangana.  According to me, it’s once in a lifetime opportunity.  Missing out is not an option for me.  As an American would you not be thrilled to be part of your freedom struggle against British? Would you not give everything to be part of the struggle, participate in the raids of George Washington?  As an African-American would you not be thrilled to be part of the crowd listening to Martin Luther King Jr’s I have a dream’ speech?  [I am not African-American, but I would give everything to be part of that crowd on that historic day when he delivered that speech in Washington DC and I am quite sure I would be in tears]

Thursday, December 23, 2010

New Age Corruption

In the last two years alone, we have seen ten or more major scams in India, each one outdoing the other.  The recent 2G scam is pegged at 176,000 Crores.  That’s 1,760,000,000,000 Rupees amounting to nearly 3% of our GDP.  Satyam scam was around 14,000 Crores while Common Wealth Games scam is at 70,000 Crores.   I was talking to some young people the other day and was telling them that in the early 1990s PV Narasimha Rao was embroiled in a 2 Crore scam.  They could not believe that a tiny amount of 2 Crore could actually result in a scam.    Even the much touted Bofors scam, because of which Rajiv Gandhi lost power in 1980s, was only 64 Crores.  So what happened to us as a nation in the last twenty years?  How did we go from mere 2 Crores to 176,000 Crores? 

I believe that we are witnessing a completely new set of rules being played out in the corrupt India (BTW, India proudly ranks 87th in the world on the corruption index).  And unlike what many people think, I believe it is the younger generation, not the older generation, which is setting these new rules.  It is New Age corruption, which is vastly different from the old school.  The old school’s appetite was small, and therefore was content with small money and stored it as cash stuffed in pillows or deposited it as gold in some foreign accounts.  The new age is rapacious, they want to become the world’s richest, get hold of all vital natural resources of the country, and they route the money through legal methods like IPOs, mergers and acquisitions, to convert their black money into white money.

I discuss this New Age corruption through the following three trends. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Telangana 68: Democracy in Crisis?

It took hundreds of years of human struggle and strife to bring in a type of government where a common man got his freedoms, became a citizen, and actually had a say in the politics.   Democracy is a fragile institution, which can easily slip into autocracy in times of insecurity or weakness.   It takes lot of strength to keep it going, not succumbing to easy methods of imposing military or police rule at the first sign of trouble.   Countries like China suppress people’s voices and freedom with use of force, armies and tanks, like in Tiananmen Square, killing innocents who protest.  They jail everyone who speaks of freedom on the charges of sedition. 

Back in 1969, during Telangana agitation, the government imposed a media blackout, brought troops into the region, jailed nearly 70,000 people, injured nearly 15,000 people, and killed 370 people.   Not very different from how China treats its people.  Clearly, a democracy has tendencies to become autocratic when it has to face tough questions that come out of democratic aspirations of its people.   Those are the times when the nation suffers from insecurities, of egos, of prejudices, and weaknesses. 

Andhra Pradesh government is now imposing additional 50 companies of paramilitary forces in the state, most of them in the region of Telangana, getting ready to forcibly control the people’s agitations that may arise after contents of SriKrishna Committee report are disclosed. 

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Freedom from persecution

A constitutional right can be loosely defined as a freedom guaranteed by the state allowing an individual to do certain things without fear of persecution, without getting harassed or obstructed, either from the state, a group or another individuals.  One commenter on my blog writes:

…while it is right for Ms Roy to question the status of J&K in Indian union, the court is also right in allowing FIR to be lodged…it is correct to have a court hearing on it and matter be decided in a non-emotive atmosphere.

In the case of MF Husain’s episode, the High Court ruling clearly exonerated MF Husain of any wrongdoing and let him go free.  However, that did not stop various groups to continuously lodge complaints against the artists, or stop many police stations from issuing warrants for his arrest.  Basically, Indians kicked out MF Husain by hounding him with thousands of cases, generating hundreds of arrest warrants against him, depriving him of his freedoms.    He could have fought each case meticulously one after another, but then he would have wasted lot of his time and money, and ended up not doing what he wants to do – which is to paint. 

A freedom sanctioned by the state of India also includes freedom from such frivolous and unnecessary prosecution, from such arrest warrants in each and every Indian city, and from related court summons.   So that we don’t have to negotiate each freedom in a court of law, the Indian Constitution makes certain freedoms non-negotiable and gives them as rights to its citizens, in order to protect these citizens from harassment of the state or other groups or other individuals, so that these citizens can go ahead and live a free life without getting hindered and obstructed by other people. 

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Are you a ‘Secularist’?

There is a mail floating around which includes a presentation called ‘Pseudosecularism’ with the following questions.  Usually I avoid countering such propaganda but when sometimes you see a recurring theme in most people’s arguments it becomes necessary to address it.  This presentation has the following questions which one is supposed to answer for oneself.  I am going to answer them here. 

Are you a Secularist?

I am not sure what that means.  But if it means I believe in the principles of secularism and believe that our country, India, should adhere to the secular principles, yes, I am a secularist.  But it does not mean I am going to demonize other’s religion while praising my own, or denounce my religion while praising others.   I believe that state should be separated from religion – irrespective of whose religion it is. 

There are nearly 52 Muslim countries.  Show one Muslim country which provides Haj subsidy.

I don’t know if other Muslim countries provide Haj subsidy, but as a ‘secularist’ I oppose India giving Haj subsidy.   As a secularist, I do not agree to state providing Haj subsidy.  But it is also true that no country in the world gives government funds for construction and renovation of private Hindu temples.   Karnataka Government in India has donated crores of money to Hindu temples. 

As a secularist, I oppose Haj subsidies, and also oppose state sponsorship of Hindu Temples. As a secularist, I also oppose state sponsored cow veneration, state sponsored celebration of Hindu and Muslim festivals, state sponsored Hindu ceremonies for government offices, etc.

So, India happens to be a ‘secular’ country in theory which doesn’t necessarily practice secularism, and does all kinds of funny things to promote various religions, including Haj subsidies, and donations to temples.  So, to highlight only Haj subsidies does not do justice to the argument that India somehow treats Indian Muslims preferentially, because it treats Indian Hindus even more preferentially.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

'You hate me, I arrest you'

A young girl of 18 shouts at her mother, ‘I hate you’, and leaves for college.  During the lunch time, the police visit the girl’s college and arrest her on charges of sedition.  The fact that the mother was a government employee was good enough for the mother to file a case of sedition against her daughter.  Because IPC 124 A reads:

Whoever by words spoken brings hatred towards the Government established by law in India shall be punished with imprisonment for life.

A jilted lover who shouts, ‘I hate you’ at a woman is now booked under sedition laws of India just because that woman is a government employee.  It’s not hard to imagine such a situation now that Arundhati Roy is being slapped with various cases across India just because she has been found to harbor ‘hatred’ for this country.  We are on the verge of creating another MF Husain episode, hounding the person we do not like so much so that they would have to eventually flee the country.   Soon we will get rid of all artists and authors from this country who do not conform to the opinions of the majority.  

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Scrap sedition laws

When I was a young boy, I assumed, very naturally, that I was extremely patriotic.   Singing the national song and national anthem gave me goose bumps (it does even now), and the very idea of dying for one’s country was a heroic and romantic notion, something I thought I would do without hesitating for a moment.   But then I ‘grew up’.  

The unfortunate consequence of ‘growing up’ is that you are no longer innocent.  You know more than what normally appears.  [I put 'growing up' in quotes because not everyone who lives longer actually grows up.  Most people, I realize, stop growing at around 16 or 17.  They carry their prejudices from then on defending them for the rest of their lives.]

Now, I realize that there are two versions of patriotism.  The first is the love of one’s homeland, which is natural to most people.  We are nostalgic and have an attachment towards one’s origins; either it is a place of birth, or the times when we were young.  We reminisce the moments of the past with longing and feel attached to them.   

Almost every human being will try to protect one’s home against onslaught of the invaders.  One’s home could be just one’s house, one’s street, one’s village, one’s district, one’s region, one’s state, one’s country, or one’s planet.   The definition of home itself changes depending on who the invader is.  If the neighbor tried to encroach upon what rightfully belongs to you, your home is just your house and you fight for it.   But when aliens invade us, then our home is our planet and we fight for the planet. 

If the definition of patriotism is love of one’s home and feeling to defend it from the invaders, then it is completely natural to most human beings to be patriotic.  I think I am a patriot from this definition.  I take pride in fighting for my people as long as I think it is a fight for justice.  I also feel that I should express solidarity with those who fight for their people as long as I think it is a fight for justice.

However, if patriotism is the feeling that my country is the greatest and that it can never do anything wrong, then it is based in sheer arrogance coming out of absolute ignorance.   It is this arrogance based in ignorance that makes me think that my nation, my religion, my race is the greatest just because I am born into it.  I am NOT this kind of a patriot.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Pale Blue Dot

This is the picture of our planet Earth.  There is a ‘pale blue dot’ that you can see on the right side of the picture somewhere in the middle from top to bottom. - that's our planet Earth.   The picture was taken by Voyager 1 spacecraft that was launched in 1977.   It left Solar System in 1990.  Carl Sagan made a special request to NASA to turn the camera around and take this picture of Earth.  The band of light is result of play of sunlight off the spacecraft onto the camera, an accident.

When this picture was taken, the spacecraft was 6 Billion kilometers away from us.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Telangana 67: AP Formation Day

Why Telanganas refuse to celebrate AP Formation day?

Telanganas reject the farcical experiment called Andhra Pradesh.  The conditional merger that was brought in on 1st November 1956 has not lived up to the promises made on the eve of formation of Andhra Pradesh and therefore it is now paving the way for an unconditional demerger.  People of Telangana have filed for divorce citing breach of trust, lack of faith, incessant and consistent betrayals, broken promises, outright discrimination and marginalization, suppression and oppression as the reasons for breakup of this marriage which was imposed onto people of Telangana 54 years ago. 

Therefore, today it is clear to all people of Telangana that we cannot celebrate this day.  It is not a day to be proud of.  It is not a day to be happy about.  In fact, it is a sad day.  It is the day when Telangana was tossed from pan into the fire.  Getting out of Nizam rule was a relief, but immediately, it got into subjugation by Andhras that lasted 54 years now.

Many Andhras ask why we have celebrated AP formation day all these years?  And why do we reject it now? Pre-Independent Indians celebrated the events of British Empire and sang their songs.   They didn’t know better.  Those who did, they did not have the power nor the voice.  But when the movement was in full swing, people of India got enlightened and could muster enough support to boycott such celebrations.  That is what you are witnessing in Telangana now.  Some of us did not celebrate this day for quite many years now, but you failed to notice it because we were a miniscule people.  But now, entire Telangana stands enlightened of the past deeds, and they are part of the movement.  And therefore you see such huge outcry of rejection only now.

Telangana 66: Notes

On People’s Revolution

There’s a definition for ‘revolution’. 

Revolution means that an exploited population must take desperate measures against great odds to overthrow its oppressors. 
-          Marvin Harris

Let’s understand this in Telanganas context. The ‘exploited people’ are Telanganas.  The ‘oppressors’ are Seemandhras, more specifically Andhras.  The ‘great odds’ are stacked against Telanganas, as we can see from the recent political maneuvers that creation of Telangana was initially impossible, and even now not a distinct possibility.  Back in 1990s when I talked about separate Telangana, most friends, from the state of Andhra Pradesh or other parts of India called it a pipe dream - impossibility.  Even now it is not assured that state of Telangana will be created, and therefore the exploited people continue to fight.   The people of Telangana resort to ‘desperate measures’, which invariably include denouncing and defying the authority, which happens to be the Government of Andhra Pradesh, under the control of the ‘oppressors’.  People of Telangana go about protesting, destroying or attacking the symbols of authority, the symbols of oppressors, and defying the rules and laws imposed onto them. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Telangana 65: Born in Telangana?

Yesterday KCR said that everyone born and raised in Telangana is a Telangana. 

The Telangana Rashtra Samiti president, Mr K. Chandrasekhar Rao, turned the T-line upside down, stating that everyone born in Telangana would have all rights to government jobs when the region gets statehood.
The new diktat means that a child of a person belonging to either Andhra or Rayalaseema will be considered a Telanganite if he is born in the region.

I welcome this stand coming from KCR.  I am actually happy that he made such a sensible statement.  However, some Telanganas have objections to this. 

Telangana lawyers and different joint action committees were not amused by this sudden deviation by the TRS chief.
Some statehood units have threatened to stage protests to force Mr Rao to abandon his stand.

I think it is time we educate our own Telangana people on what future Telangana means to all of us.  We have been partially successful in telling our people why we want Telangana.  [And I have failed miserably in trying to reach out to Andhra brothers]. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Telangana 64: Love Thy Rapist

One commenter writes on my blog:

The very basis of Telangana movement is hatred towards Andhra and Seema people. This is sadly true. If that were not the case Telangana would have formed long ago.

That is so sad that some Andhras have to blackmail us this way.   It is like British saying to Indians, ‘as long as you hate us, we will not give you freedom’.  I understand that many Andhras got tired of my examples from Indian Independence movement.  Therefore, I will give you other analogies.  It is like White Americans telling Black Americans, ‘as long as you hate us, we will keep you as slaves’.  And for those who think our relationship is not that of Whites and Blacks, here is another analogy.  It is like a rapist telling the victim, ‘as long as you hate me, I will continue to rape you’. 

Is it not the time for Andhras to introspect instead of asking Telanganas to stop hating them? Ideally, it should have been that Andhras ask themselves, ‘why do Telanganas hate Andhras? Is there a reason why Telanganas may be very angry with us?’  Why there are no Andhras who admit their guilt, apologize, and make amends?  Why doesn’t a single Andhra leader or commenter suggest implementing GO610 right away to win the hearts of Telanganas?  Why do they continue to coerce us, blackmail us, and ridicule us, our agitations and our leaders instead of making attempts for reconciliation?

Telangana 63: Is the movement nonviolent?

Andhras keep insisting that the current Telangana Movement is violent.  So I ask myself, is it a nonviolent or violent movement?  I am of the opinion that it is a nonviolent movement.  So, how do you characterize stone pelting and bus burning? I still consider them to be nonviolent, not legal, but still nonviolent. [Purists may not agree with me here].  While the policeman has the legal right to arrest that protestor, that protestor has the inalienable right to fight for freedom defying the authority that has been suppressing him. 

A struggle for freedom first tries to explore the available tools – democratic, legal, and electoral.  When all such tools fail to deliver, it will turn into a mass movement.  A mass movement will invariably use expressions of defiance.  The defiance is directed against the authority and the tools of authority which is oppressing or suppressing the protesting people denying their freedoms.  People of Telangana express their ire against the state by the defying the first tool of authority that they encounter – the armed forces.  The other objects of authority are usually public property, because they are also the symbols of the oppressing authority.  Some of the acts of defiance used by Telangana against their authorities are stone pelting and bus burning.   As long as you do not hurt a person and cause bodily injury, as long as you do not damage private property, I would consider it to be nonviolent movement (may not be legal, but still nonviolent).  

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Telangana 62: Shall we become violent?

The youth in Telangana are frustrated.  They are frustrated because they have been protesting and agitating for nearly ten months now, but there is no sign of Telangana or of a positive indication that Telangana will be formed.  Many doubts remain.  The detractors from Seemandhra seem to be winning over Telanganas once again.

Our peaceful agitations and protests don’t seem to yield results.  They are seen as a sign of weakness by our detractors.  Andhras taunt us saying Telanganas are not capable of achieving statehood.  One director of a movie provoked Telanganas saying, ‘you cannot even stop my movie from screening, how will you achieve Telangana?’  Recently, some Andhras celebrated when the APPSC examinations were held with the help of armed forces in spite of major opposition from Telanganas.  They rejoiced that Telanganas were crushed while they prevailed.  In such an atmosphere there is a tendency amongst Telangana youth to take the route of violence to achieve faster results.  

Comic: Them Trolls

This is from a website called  This is not my creation.  I am simply copying it from that website using the link given at that website.

indian comics, webcomic, free comics, online indian comics, jokes
Fly You Fools - Indian Comics about Life.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Kashmir wants freedom

On a daily basis, people are dying in Kashmir.  These are ordinary people, civilians, young men, students, and boys.  These are not dreaded terrorists or militants.  These are not Pakistani infiltrators.  They are Kashmiri people living Kashmir.  And they are being shot dead by Indian armed forces, whose guns are bullets are paid for by my taxes. 

Yesterday, more than 15 Kashmiris were killed by Indian security forces taking the toll to 85 since June 2010.  The people came out defying curfew in almost all parts of Kashmir Valley, in Srinagar, Baramulla, Sopore, Anantnag, Pampore, Charar-e-Sharif, Budgam, Pulwama.  The message is clear.  Kashmiris seek freedom.  Freedom from Indians.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Telangana 61: Survival of the Fittest

One Andhra Commenter writes:

Tell me if you know of a genuinely hard-working guy who is unemployed? Opportunities are for everyone. The fittest always survives. Others make excuses...
Many people who have absolutely no clue what Evolution is or what Darwin’s Theory is often swear by ‘Survival of the Fittest’ argument.  First, Darwin and evolution scientists prefer terms like natural selection, sexual selection, etc, to explain the drivers for evolution instead of ‘survival of the fittest’.  Second, Survival of the Fittest amongst humans stands as a discredited notion that spawned fascist movement of the early 20th century resulting in more than 50 million people dead.  Right now only Aryan supremacists believe in this.  The concept was used by White Europeans to legitimize their slavery of the ‘inferior’ races, spawning discriminations based on race, ethnicity and sex, and colonization of ‘uncivilized’ countries.

To swear by ‘survival of the fittest’ is no longer proud thing to be, the way swearing by Nazism is no longer proud thing to be.   But India continues to be an exception.  Here in India you will find a great fan following for Adolf Hitler, and the educated and the elite swearing by flawed and misconceived notions of ‘survival of the fittest’.

Humans fight ‘survival of the fittest’

Contrary to what most Indians believe, humans consistently fight natural selection, the natural order that drives evolution.   Humans fight the order of nature and that’s what makes them humane.  We don’t let our weak die, even if they happen to be beggars or homeless, or even our enemies.   We take care of our weak; we hospitalize them, we use medicines, we use inoculation, we use vaccines, we use artificial organs, and we do surgery. Even the weakest of humans gets a chance to reproduce and thereby contribute to the gene pool.   The weak doesn’t get eliminated as is done in natural selection.  Instead, even the weak humans continue to add their gene content to future generations with equal vigor.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Telangana: Kodandaram at IISc Bangalore on 9th Sept

Reorganization of States in India: Issues & Concerns with Telangana

Speaker:              Prof. Kodandram Reddy

Venue:  Physics Lecture Hall, IISc, Bangalore
Date:     9th September -2010 Thursday
Time:     6:00 pm,
Tea:       5:45pm

About the Speaker: Prof. Kodandaram is a professor in Political Science at Osmania University, Hyderabad, completely his MA and PhD from Osmania University and M.Phil from JNU.  He is a famous social activist also serving as the president of Telangana Vidhyavanthula Vedhika (TVV) and presently he is the convener of Telangana-Joint Action Committee (TG-JAC).  He has vast experience in educating people and a national human activist.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Telangana 60: Divorce has happened in our hearts

The current agitation over APPSC (Andhra Pradesh Public Service Commission) exams has once again pitted Telanganas against Seemandhra dominated Government of Andhra Pradesh.  Telangana students, and many leaders, including those from ruling Congress Party wanted to delay these exams so that they consider the demand from Telanganas to include 42% reservation in these posts.  Telanganas allege discrimination towards them in final selection of the candidates. There are stories of a Telangana candidate getting 655 marks in the written exam but only 21 in the interview while a Seemandhra candidate getting 590 in the written exam gets 88 marks in interview.  The Seemandhra person gets in while Telangana person doesn’t.   Can a person with very high score in written exams get very low score in interviews?  Yes it can happen.  Can we deduce discrimination from such isolated incident?  Not really.  But when it happens consistently, which the Telanganas allege, there is a need to look into the matter.  Telangana people believe there is discrimination in APPSC exams and seek 42% quota to represent their population in the state citing Gentlemen’s Agreement. 

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Managing States in India

[This follows the post titled ‘When will these state divisions stop?’ Here I discuss some recommendations and other observations.  You have to read the previous post before you read this.]

There are two initial conditions for the current set of problems we are facing where many regions are clamoring for new states.

Problem 1: The center was averse, reluctant and sometimes downright opposed to formation of new states in India equating it to balkanization of the country.
Problem 2: India being a weak-federal strong-central country, the incumbent states like to remain big so that their bigger strength in the Parliament gives them better negotiating terms.

These two problems form the premise for most of the problems that we are facing with various neglected regions in India.   There are two ground realities that emanate from the diversity of this country.

Reality 1: Though there are many states in India, we do not recognize various kinds of identities in India.  While some identities got statehoods, others did not.   Many states have one majority identity clubbed with few or many minority identities. 
Reality 2: All individuals and all identities work with self-interest.  If unchecked, a majority and privileged group could inadvertently dominate and marginalize the minority and underprivileged group within a state, even when no preset agenda or a plan exists.

Over a prolonged period of time, the above two problems combined with above two ground realities could result in the following situation.


Imagine a state where region A forms the majority and the privileged while region B forms the minority and the underprivileged.  Reality 1 and Reality 2 suggests that there should be safeguards, protections, guarantees and reservations to protect people of region B.  In most states of India those safeguards and protections do not exist because of shortsightedness and reluctance of India to recognize those identities as valid constituents. 

And where those safeguards and protections exist, like in Andhra Pradesh, the region A could still flout them with impunity using the clout of majority; and there is nothing the region B could do other than complain, protest, agitate, and in the worst case scenario ask for separate statehood. 

When the region B clamors for separate statehood, the incumbent state will be unwilling to let go of this region no matter what, because of Problem 2 – they don’t want to become smaller.  All efforts by region B to get attention from the Center will be snubbed, because of Problem 1 – center doesn’t want to create more states.  

So how do we get out of such situations? Here I propose some of the possible methods.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Telangana 59: Why do we accept Telugu movies?

Why do Telangana people accept Telugu movies if almost all the movies show Telangana people in negative light? 

One Andhra commenter asked:

Tell us what is the primary, if not the only, motive of a movie-producer? Making money or not? If a producer is dumb enough to make a movie showing discrimination, wouldn't his Nizam area collections tell him to correct his ways in the next movies?

Andhras reason this quite simplistically.  They reason that a movie producer is interested in making money and nothing else.  The producer is not sitting there to insinuate a message that Telanganas are inferior.  There is no benefit for the producer doing that negative characterization because he will tend to lose certain portion of the audience.  

Andhras ask if indeed there is a negative characterization of Telanganas in the movies, why do Telangana people go and watch these movies? They could have easily exercised their right not to watch these movies, right?

Since the collection from Telangana is quite substantial, isn’t it clear that people of Telangana gladly welcome these movies?  Since they welcome these movies, isn’t it clear that there is absolutely no negative characterization of Telangana people in these movies?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Telangana 58: Impact of Movies

Most Indians do not realize the impact of media caricatures on the minds of the masses and how these depictions may perpetuate some of our prejudices leading to large scale discrimination.   Our movies, ads, TV serials are laden with negative characterizations of certain people being unconscionably lapped up by biased Indians without an iota of squeamishness that most civilized world would normally experience.   There are many references to caste, color of the skin, weakness of a woman, etc, that continue to fuel our prejudices perpetuating large scale discrimination of certain sections of people on a daily basis.  

For example, in many Telugu movies, there is consistent negative characterization of dark people.  They are looked down upon, laughed upon and are easily dismissed with a slap on the face or kick in the butt.  And this portrayal perpetuates our low opinions towards dark people in many families, leading to massive inferiority complex for dark skinned girls and boys who get taunted by many family members.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Telangana 57: Presentation to SKC

These are the three slides from my part of the presentation to SriKrishna Committee in May 2010.  I will add the actual text and speech at a later time.  For now, I am presenting those slides.  [There is a mistake I made in the slides.  It should say "More than 10,000 movies..." instead of "More than 25,000 movies..."].

Telangana 56: Article on Rediff

A commenter (Kiran) forwarded an article published on Rediff, titled ‘We don't know who represents the Telangana movement’ by Jyotirmaya Sharma and asked few questions.   Here is my response:

"The problem is that between those who are asking for a separate state and those who oppose it, there is no debate, there is no serious conversation. Every difference of opinion on both sides is sought to be resolved either by violence or by an extra dose of rhetoric."

Right now, yes, if you watch only the TV, then definitely there is no healthy debate.  That’s sad.   However, if you go attend some of the meetings held by various forums on Telangana, you will see an argument for Telangana which is sound, rational and pragmatic.   True, a genuine debate is missing.  The reason the debate is missing is because Telangana supporters and its detractors do not see eye-to-eye on this issue.  While Telanganas believe the root cause for the entire problem is ‘discrimination’, no Andhra person ever accepts it and rubbishes it saying it is a fantastic imagination of few politicians.   It’s like India and Pakistan talking about Kashmir.  There can never be a healthy debate if we don’t agree on basic premise of the argument.

The healthy debate will start only when Andhras concede that discrimination could or might have happened, and then go about asking if and so why it happened.  That would the first point of entering a healthy debate.  Instead of accepting the glaring truths that Telangana is indeed backward, they come up with Satyam like statistics to prove otherwise.   Right now, I don’t see a chance for healthy debate because the detractors are not being honest about topics on discrimination.  Unfortunately, Indians are not mature enough to concede they are capable discriminating others.

Telangana 55: Last refuge of the scoundrels

Recently a group of Ministers from Seemandhra made a presentation to SriKrishna Committee and describe Telangana Movement as ‘anti-national’.  Here are some excerpts from the THE HINDU [emphasis mine]:

…the demand for statehood to Telangana should be treated as a cognizable offence under IPC as it had the potential of disintegrating the country itself.

“The Centre should not give credence to demands for self-rule and self-respect as it will sow seeds for disintegration of the country. Asking for a separate State on these grounds is equivalent to waging a war against Indian Union. It is most reprehensible and dubious ground for formation of a new State under Article 3 of the Constitution”, the delegation of 16 Ministers said in their report.

Besides, the appointment of a committee by the Centre to look into such an anti-national demand was also surprising, they felt.

Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrels, it is said.  Detractors to a movement, a new policy or a brave action resort to introducing the elements of patriotism and national security as a last ditch attempt to slander a genuine aspiration or demand.   That is what is happening in Andhra Pradesh today.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Let go, India

Kashmir is not simmering anymore.  It is boiling and spilling over.  In the last two months 40 people were killed by Indian security forces.  These are young boys of Kashmir, less than 20 years of age, some of them as young as 8 years, and they are challenging the might of Indian armed forces by coming out onto streets violating the curfew orders imposed onto them. Look at the news headlines from THE HINDU in the last 4 days.

The new generation of Kashmiri David takes on the Goliath machinery of India.  These young boys risk their lives to defy all the restrictions imposed on them by Indian security forces.  India is at a loss.  It does not know how to deal with this situation.  There are no AK-47s, there are no hand grenades or rocket launchers so that India can claim these protestors are terrorists.  All these young boys have is bunch of easily available stones to take on the sophisticated Indian armed forces. 

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Telangana 54: By Elections

Telangana Movement became a mainstream agitation in December 2009 when KCR undertook a fast for the cause of Telangana.  The silent movement of nearly thirty years took an upswing and became an active and vocal one all of a sudden with the events of December 2009.  The popular sentiment that has been lurking in the minds of the people of this region took on the national stage affecting the politics of the state and the country. 

Since December 2009, there have been repeated resignations by MLAs of the state in both Telangana and Seemandhra regions of the united state of Andhra Pradesh.  When the MLAs of Seemandhra resigned en masse after P Chidamabaram’s 9 Dec 2009 declaration for a separate Telangana, the speaker of the State Assembly belonging to the ruling Congress Party did not accept any of them citing a petty technical error in resignation letter format.  However, when Telangana MLAs of non-Congress parties resigned, the speaker immediately accepted them.  This was done with a motive of winning at least some of the seats vacated by Telangana proponents highlighting one of the farces of Indian democracy.

Indian democracy does not deal with referendums and therefore elections are forced onto the people again and again as happened in Telangana.  No matter how people of Telangana vote, the elections are interpreted differently by different factions.  When people find themselves unable to express through polls, they take to streets and resort to suicides, while MLAs tend to resign again and again unnecessarily forcing elections onto the people.  Looks like Indian democracy has no means of addressing genuine aspirations of its people.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Another Ramar Pillai?

I don’t know how many of you remember Ramar Pillai.  In 1996, Ramar Pillai became one of the most widely recognized Indians when he converted ordinary herbs soaked in water into petrol.  It looked like he solved the problem of energy for India forever.   It was a story too good to be true but Indians lapped it up without scrutiny.  Ramar Pillai created a mega sensation amongst Indians and Non-Resident Indians.  He was hailed as an Indian genius, a product of India without trace of western education or influence, someone who solved a mega problem with tools that were easily available to a village boy in India. 

When I wrote a small note of criticism on Ramar Pillai and his claims, when he was at the zenith of his popularity being feted by the Chief Ministers of India including renowned scientists, many Indian readers berated me for being a party pooper.  I was told to shut up.  ‘Why could you not just celebrate when Indians do well?  Are you only looking for bad things about India? Why can’t you recognize our achievements when they actually happen?’ they asked me.  

After few years, in 2000, it became clear that herbal petrol of Ramar Pillai is a hoax.  He turned out to be a charlatan, a cheap magician who conned an entire nation because it was hungry for hard-to-find achievements.  Ramar Pillai turned out to be a reprieve for a civilization that was bereft of any greatness in the recent past.  Indians were hungry for achievements and Ramar Pillai came into cash in on that popular sentiment.   

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Engineering 101

When I joined B.Tech in Electronics and Communications nearly two decades ago, I was told that whatever I learn in the college will be of little use to me in my life because we will not be using any of the stuff taught in the program.  I took that advice quite seriously.  Instantly I convinced myself that it didn’t really matter if I did not pay any attention to the classes.  I just had to pass and somehow make it through the 4 years.  The campus itself had enough reputation that it will carry me through in my life, so why waste time in studying something which is of no use to me in the long run?

The graduating seniors who had passed out came back a year later to visit us and reaffirmed the same opinion, that not much of what I learn in my B.Tech will be of any use in ‘real’ life.  Because the ‘real’ life is so different that I would end up doing something quite different.  It was true.  Most of my seniors who graduated from the college ended up in MS programs in USA but had already switched to Computer Science, while few others got into IIMs thereby leaving nearly 95% of our subjects behind, and some others got into jobs at Hindustan Lever, Infosys, HCL, etc, securing jobs in marketing or software for health, insurance, banking, never having to bother with B. Tech subjects ever again. 

I guess I was always a 'big' picture person even as a student.  My 'big' thinking suggested that the scores and marks in the B.Tech subjects will not affect my life at all.  I decided not to study more than what was required to pass the exams.  Why unnecessarily waste time on something that is irrelevant in ‘real’ life?  Instead, I spent time on other things which seemed to make sense- like painting, art, debating, and of course, making friends and falling in love.  Since I believed these other things will remain with me for the rest of my life, it made sense to invest in them. 

An engineer uncle told his graduating engineer nephew that he will not use more than 5% of what he studied.   That’s what we have been told and that’s what we believed.  After nearly 16 years since my graduation, I have a completely different story to tell.  I hope this reaches out to some of the passionate engineers in the colleges of India.   I am a part of a technology product company in wireless space and this is our story.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Kashmir: Discussion on TV

I was watching TIMES NOW on TV.  This is some time ago, but relevant even today. 

One guy says, ‘Let us have freedoms. Let us talk about freedoms.  We should have freedoms.  But don’t push it to ridiculous extent.  Like Azadi.  Why Azadi? From whom?  I find this whole Azadi thing ridiculous’.

The other guy says, ‘Think of nation’s sentiments.  Respect India’s sentiments.  Let’s live together.  Think in the right perspective.’

The anchor says, ‘Why are you taking support from Pakistan? Isn’t that country the one which is intolerant?  Pakistan is the one which is intolerant. Not India.  Aren’t Mohajirs discriminated in Pakistan? Why do you want to take refuge in Pakistan’s support?’

And I find something grossly wrong with the whole proceedings though most of my Indian brothers and sisters are OK with these discussions.   Today, once again Kashmir is burning.  More than 20 protestors were shot dead by the Indian forces stationed in Kashmir.   According to TIMES OF INDIA, In Iraq, there is 1 soldier every 166 people, and in Kashmir, there is 1 for every 20, nearly 8 times more.   It’s like living in the Bangalore city with nearly 3 lakh troops, one-fourth of Indian Army. 

In the discussion above, the first guy thinks that we all should have freedoms, but not Azadi (freedom).   Whom are we duping here?  Why is Azadi a ridiculous proposition?  We all want to be free.  Every human being wants to be free.  Who wants to wake up to face the gun on a daily basis?  Who wants armies stationed in their towns and villages on a daily basis? Who wants their sisters raped, brothers killed, uncles gone missing?