Thursday, November 21, 2013

చరిత్ర ఆయుష్షు పోస్తుంది

Published at: 22-11-2013 07:52 AM





తెలుగు చారిత్రక నవలా సౌధానికి నాలుగో స్తంభం లాంటి వాడు డాక్టర్ ముదిగొండ శివప్రసాద్. విశ్వనాథ సత్యనారాయణ, నోరి నరసింహ శాస్త్రి, అడవి బాపిరాజు తర్వాత ఆ ప్రక్రియలో అంతటి కృషి చేసిన వారు మరొకరు లేరు. శివప్రసాద్ ఇప్పటిదాకా రాసిన 83 పుస్తకాల్లో 20 చారిత్రక నవలలే. శ్రీపదార్చన, ఆవాహన, పట్టాభి, రెసిడెన్సీ, శ్రీలేఖ, శ్రావణి వంటి ఎన్నో చారిత్రక నవలలు సాంఘిక నవలలకు సరిసమానంగా పాఠకుల్ని అలరించి.. ఆయనకు ఎనలేని కీర్తి ప్రతిష్టలు తెచ్చిపెట్టాయి. రావూరి భరద్వాజకు అంకితంగా త్వరలో విడుదలకు సిద్ధమవుతున్న 'వంశధార' అనే ఆయన నవలను పాకుడురాళ్లు-2 అనుకోవచ్చు. 'చారిత్రక నవలా చ క్రవర్తి'గా ప్రసిద్దులైన ప్రొఫెసర్ ముదిగొండ శివప్రసాద్ సాహితీ జీవన ప్రస్థానంలోని కొన్ని సంఘటనలే ఈ వారం 'అనుభవం'

"సముద్రానికీ సాహిత్యానికీ ఏమైనా సంబంధం ఉందా? అంటే ఉందనే చెబుతాను. నేను జన్మించింది ప్రకాశం జిల్లాలోని సముద్ర తీర ప్రాంతంలో ఉన్న ఆకులల్లూరు గ్రామంలో. మానవ సంబంధ, బాంధవ్యాల గురించి ఏమీ తెలియని ఆ వయసులో నాకు తెలిసిందల్లా మనసుతో సముద్రానికి ఉన్న అనుబంధమే. ఆ తరువాత నేను పెరిగింది మా తండ్రి గారి ఊరు తాడికొండలో. జ్ఞానపీఠ పురస్కార గ్రహీత రావూరు భరద్వాజ గారి ఊరు కూడా అదే. నాకంటే ఆయన 15 ఏళ్లు పెద్దవాడే అయినా ఆయనతో నాకు బాగా సాన్నిహిత్యం ఉండేది. ఆ తరువాత్తరువాత నేనూ, ఆయనా హైదరాబాద్‌కే రావడం వల్ల మా బంధం ఆయన జీవితకాలమంతా కొనసాగుతూనే వచ్చింది. అది నన్ను ఆయన రాసిన 'పాకుడు రాళ్లు' నవలకు మరో భాగం అనిపించే 'వంశధార' నవల రాసే దాకా నడిపించింది.

పాకుడు రాళ్లు-2
అది 1960ల ప్రాంతం. కృష్ణాపత్రికలో రావూరి భరద్వాజ నవల 'పాకుడు రాళ్లు' సీరియల్‌గా వస్తున్నప్పుడు నేను ఆ పత్రికలోనే పనిచేస్తున్నాను. సుబ్రహ్మణ్య శర్మగారు దానికి ఎడిటర్‌గా ఉంటే డెస్క్ వర్క్ అంతా నేనే చూసేవాణ్ని. ఆ నవలకు గాను ఆయనకు మేము ఇచ్చిన పారితోషికం వారానికి 10 రూపాయలే. న్యాయానికి 'వంశధార' అన్న నవలను భరద్వాజ గారే రాయాలి. ఆ విషయమే ఆయనతో అంటే "ఇప్పుడది నాతో కాని పని, నువ్వే రాయి'' అన్నారు. 'వంశధార' కూడా పాకుడు రాళ్లు నవలలాగే సినిమా రంగానికి సంబం«ధించిన జీవితాల్నే చిత్రిస్తుంది. ఇదీ పాకుడు రాళ్లు నవల చెప్పే జీవిత సత్యానికి సారూప్యమైనదే కానీ మరో రకంగా చూస్తే పూర్తిగా భిన్నమైనది. భరద్వాజ 'పాకుడు రాళ్లు' ఒక సినీ కథానాయిక ఉత్థాన పతనాల గురించి చెబితే, 'వంశధార' ఒక సినీరచయిత ఉత్థాన పతనాల గురించి చెబుతుంది.

భరద్వాజ ఈ పుస్తకానికి ముందుమాట కూడా రాశారు. పుస్తకాన్ని ఆయన చేతుల మీదుగానే విడుదల చేయాలనుకున్నాను. ఒక ఫంక్షన్ హాల్ కూడా బుక్ చేశాను. కానీ, ఈ లోగానే ఆయన వెళ్లిపోయారు. ప్రత్యక్షంగా ఆయన బాధలు నా బాధలు కాకపోయినా, పరోక్షంగా ఆయన బాధ లు నన్నూ కలచివేసేవి. ఆకలితో అలమటించిన రోజులు ఆయన జీవితంలో లెక్కలేనన్ని. భరద్వాజ గారి అర్థాంగి కాంతమ్మ గారు ఎంతో కాలం దాకా ఏ పేరంటానికీ రాలేదు. దానికి కారణం ఆమెకు మరో జత బట్టలు లేకపోవడమే. అంతటి గర్భదరిద్రం అనుభవించాడాయన. అయినా పేదరికం గురించి, దారిద్య్రం గురించి భరద్వాజ వ్యాఖ్యలు భిన్నంగా ఉండేవి. "దరిద్రం అంటే తిండి, బట్ట, గూడూ లేకపోవడ ం కాదు. దరిద్రం అంటే సమాజంలో తాను ప్రేమించే వారెవరూ లేకపోవడం, తనను ప్రేమించే వారు లేకపోవడం' అనేవారు. ఇవే మాటల్ని పాకుడు రాళ్లు నవలలోని చివరి సన్నివేశంలో మంజరి చేత అనిపిస్తాడు. జీవితాన్ని కాచి వడబోసిన మహానుభావుడాయన. అలాంటి అనుభవజ్ఞుల సాన్నిహిత్యం లభించడానికి మించిన సంపద జీవితంలో మరొకటి లేదన్నది నా ప్రగాఢ విశ్వాసం. ఆ సాంగత్యమే పాకుడు రాళ్లు-2 అనిపించే వంశధార నవల రాయడానికి తోడ్పడింది. అందుకే మన పిల్లా పాపలకు ఏం దక్కినా దక్కకపోయినా ఎక్కడో ఒక చోట, ఏదో ఒక దశలో పెద్దవాళ్ల సాంగత్యమైతే దక్కాలని నాకనిపిస్తుంది.

మలిచే వాడు మందలించడా?
1959లో కొంతకాలం సికింద్రాబాద్‌లోని వెస్లీ హైస్కూలో ్లటీచర్‌గా పనిచేశాను. ఆ సమయంలో ఒక ధనవంతుల అబ్బాయి మా స్కూల్లో 8 వ తరగతి చదివేవాడు. ఆ అబ్బాయి బొత్తిగా చదవడం లేదని ఒకసారి వాళ్ల క్లాస్ టీచర్ గట్టిగా మందలించాడు. ఆ విషయం తెలియగానే ఆ అబ్బాయి తండ్రి ఆగమేఘాల మీద మా స్కూలుకు వచ్చి ఆ టీచర్ మీద ప్రిన్సిపాల్‌కు ఫిర్యాదు చేశాడు. అందరి ముందు ఆ టీచర్ తమ పిల్లాడికి క్షమాపణ చెప్పాలన్నాడు. మా ప్రిన్సిపాల్ మరేమీ మాట్లాడకుండా, అతడు చెప్పిన ట్టే స్కూల్లోని మొత్తం విద్యార్థులను, మొత్తం టీచర్లందరినీ ఒక చోట చేర్చి వాళ్లందరి ముందు ఆ టీచర్‌తో ఆ కుర్రాడికి క్షమాపణ చెప్పించాడు. ఆ వెంటనే ఆ టీచర్ తన రూమ్‌లోకి వెళ్లి వెక్కి వెక్కి ఏడ్వడం నేను చూశాను. ఆ సంఘటన నన్ను తీవ్రంగా కలచివేసింది. జీవితాల్ని మలిచే వాడికి మందలించే హక్కు ఉండదా? ఆ పిల్లాడు ధనవంతుల బిడ్డ అయినంత మాత్రాన వాళ్ల కొమ్ము కాయాలా? మా టీచర్ చేసిన తప్పేమిటని మేనేజ్‌మెంట్ మాట వరసకైనా ఒక మాట అడగలేదు. విద్యా వ్యవస్థలు పూర్తిగా వ్యాపారాత్మకం అయిపోతే ఏమవుతుందో నాకా సంఘటన బలంగా చెప్పింది. ఆ స్కూలును వదిలేశాక లెక్చరర్‌గా, రీడర్‌గా, ప్రొఫెసర్‌గా 35 ఏళ్లు అధ్యాపక వృత్తిలోనే కొనసాగినా ఆ చేదు అనుభవం నన్ను వెంటాడుతూనే వ చ్చింది. ఇప్పటికి 50 ఏళ్లు గడి చినా ఆ సంఘటన నా కళ్లల్లో మెదులుతూనే ఉంది.

ఫలితానికి పలుముఖాలు
రాఘవేంద్రరావుగారు అన్నమయ్య తీయడానికి పదేళ్ల ముందే జంధ్యాల గారు సినిమా తీస్తానంటే అన్నమాచార్య మీద స్క్రిప్ట్ తయారు చేశాను. దానికి సంబంధించిన పాటలన్నీ రికార్డు అయ్యాయి. కానీ, ఆర్థిక పరిస్థితులేవీ అనుకూలించకపోవడంతో నిర్మాత ఆ ప్రయత్నం నుంచి విరమించుకున్నారు. నా మనసులో ఒక మహా స్వప్నంగా ఆవరించిన ఆ సినిమా ఊహ ఒక్కసారిగా గాజుమేడలా కూలిపోయింది. చాలాకాలం దాకా నేను ఆ దిగులు నుంచి బయటపడలేదు. పదేళ్ల పాటు ఎంతో కష్టపడి తయారు చేసుకున్న ఆ స్క్రిప్టు నిరుపయోగంగా ఉండిపోవడం ఎందుకని భావించి చివరికి ఆ సినిమా స్క్రిప్టును 'శ్రీ పదార్చన' నవలగా మలిచాను. దాన్ని తెలుగు విశ్వ విద్యాలయం వారు ఆ ఏటి ఉత్తమ నవలగా ఎంపిక చే శారు. సినిమా తీయలేనప్పుడు ఆ స్క్రిప్టు ఎందుకులే అనుకుని ఉంటే అది చెత్త బుట్ట పాలయ్యేది. దాన్ని నవలగా మలిచిన ఫలితంగా అది ఒక పురస్కారానికి పాత్రమయ్యింది. ఏ వస్తువుకైనా, ఏ కళా సృజనకైనా ఒకే ఒక్క ప్రయోజనం అంటూ ఉండదు. దాని మిగతా ప్రయోజనాలేమిటో తెలుసుకుంటే మరో రూపంలో దాన్ని ఉపయోగంలోకి తీసుకురావచ్చు. దానికోసం పడ్డ శ్రమను సార్ధకం చేసుకోవచ్చు అనిపించింది.

పునాదులు పదిలంగా
'భువన విజయం' పద్యనాటక ప్రదర్శనకోసం మా గురువు ఆచార్య దివాక ర్ల వెంకటావధానితో కలిసి ఎన్నో దేశాలు తిరిగాను. లాస్ ఏంజిల్స్, న్యూయార్క్, వాషింగ్టన్ ఇలా దాదాపు 20 చోట్ల భువన విజయం పద్యనాటక ప్రదర్శనలిచ్చాం. అందులో నాది తిమ్మరుసు పాత్ర. మన దేశంలో మాత్రం 'వీళ్లకు ఇదో పిచ్చి- ఈ చాదస్తం జీవితాంతం వీళ్లను వదలదేమో' అంటూ వెటకారంగా మాట్లాడిన వాళ్లే ఎక్కువ. అయినా మేమెప్పుడూ వెనుకడుగు వేయలేదు. ఒకరోజు శాన్‌ఫ్రాన్సిస్కోలో ఇచ్చిన నాటక ప్రదర్శనకు తెలుగు వారే కాదు, అమెరికన్లు కూడా పెద్దసంఖ్యలో వచ్చారు. పద్యం ఎత్తుకున్న ప్రతిసారీ వారు ఊగిపోవడం మమ్మల్ని తన్మయానికి గురిచేసింది. ప్రదర్శన అయిపోగానే తమ హర్షాతిరేకాన్ని 45 నిమిషాల స్టాండింగ్ ఒవేషన్... అంటే సీట్లలోంచి లేచి నిలబడి చప్పట్లు కొట్టడం ద్వారా వ్యక్తం చేశారు. ఇది ఆ దేశంలో వాళ్లు తెలిపే అతి పెద్ద అభినందనకు చిహ్నం. పుట్టిన చోట పునాదులు కదిలిపోతున్న ప్రక్రియకు మరో చోట ఎక్కడో నీరాజనాలు లభించడం చూస్తే ఆశ్చర్యం వేసింది.. మనసు ఆ్రర్దమైపోయింది. స్వదేశంలో పద్యం అనగానే పెదవి విరిచే పరిస్థితుల్లో ఉంటే దేశం కాని దేశంలో పద్యానికి అంత స్పందన రావడం నాకెంతో ఆనందాన్నిచ్చింది. ఎక్కడో ఏ దేశంలోనో మన పద్యానికి ఆదరణ ఉందని తెలిస్తే గానీ, మనమేమిటో మనకు తెలిసిరాదా? ఆలోచిస్తే ఒక్కోసారి మనల్ని మనం ఎక్కడో జారవిడుచుకుంటున్నామేమో అనిపిస్తూ ఉంటుంది. మన పునాదుల్ని మనమే పాతాళంలోకి వదిలేసి ఆ తర్వాతెప్పుడో నెత్తీ నోరు కొట్టుకుంటే ఒరిగేదేమీ ఉండదని నేననుకుంటాను.

కల్పన-సత్యం కలగలిస్తే....
ఆంధ్రభూమి వారపత్రిక ఎడిటర్ సి. కనకాంబరరాజు గారు ఒకసారి నాతో "గురువు గారూ. ఒక నవల రాసిస్తారా?'' అన్నారు. "తప్పకుండా ఇస్తాను'' అన్నాను. "యండమూరి వీరేంధ్రనాథ్ రాసిన 'తులసీ దళం' న వల త్వరలో ముగియబోతోంది. మళ్లీ ఆ స్థాయిలో సంచలనం సృష్టించే నవల ఏదైనా ఇవ్వండి'' అన్నారు. వెంటనే నేను "చారిత్రక నవల రాసిస్తా'' అన్నాను. దానికి ఆయన "చారిత్రక నవల ఎవ రు చదువుతారండీ, మంచి మంత్ర తంత్రాలతో ఉండే ఒక థ్రిల్లర్ నవల ఏదైనా ఇవ్వండి'' అన్నారు. నేను మొండికేశాను. "నేను చారిత్రక నవలే రాస్తా. ఆ నవల 'తులసీ దళం' కన్నా పది కాపీలు ఎక్కువ అమ్ముడుపోయేదిగా ఉంటుంది'' అన్నాను. చివరికి ఆయన "సరే'' అన్నారు. చేసిన వాగ్దానం మేరకు ఒక సవాలుగా తీసుకుని 'శ్రావణి' అనే నవల రాశాను. ఆ నవలకు ఆశించిన దానికి మించి పాఠకుల ఆదరణ లభించింది. అదే స్పూర్తితో రాసిన 'తంజావూరు విజయం' నవల మూడు లక్షల కాపీలు అమ్ముడు పోయి అది నన్ను అన్ని రకాలుగా నిలబెట్టింది. 'ట్రూత్ యీజ్ మోర్ స్ట్రాంగర్ ద్యాన్ ఫిక్షన్' అనే మాట మనం ఎప్పుడూ వింటున్నదే. ఏ రకంగా చూసినా కల్పన కన్నా వాస్తవికతే ఎక్కువ బలమైనది. అయితే ఈ చారిత్రక నవల అన్నది ట్రూత్‌నే ఫిక్షన్‌గా రాసే ఒక అద్భుతమైన ప్రక్రియ. ఇందులో రెండూ ఉన్నాయి. అందుకే దానికి జనాలను అలరించే శక్తి మిగతా ప్రక్రియలకన్నా ఎక్కువ.. ఇది నా అభిప్రాయం మాత్రమే కాదు. నేను రాసిన పలు నవలలతో ఇది రుజువయ్యింది కూడా.

చారిత్రక నవలలు చదివితే ఏమొస్తుంది? అంటూ కొందరు అడుగుతూ ఉంటారు. చారిత్రక నవలలు చదవడం అంటే వేల సంవత్సరాల నాటి కాలమాన పరిస్థితుల్లోకి మనం పయనించడమే. ఒక రకంగా మన ఆయుష్షు వేల సంవత్సరాలకు విస్తరించడమే. వేల సంవత్సరాల నుంచి ఈ రోజు దాకా జీవించడమే. ''
- బమ్మెర
ఫోటోలు: హరిప్రేమ్

Source: Andhra Jyothi

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

చదువుల 'తల్లులు'!

Published at: 20-11-2013 06:08 AM


ఫొటో: రఫీ, ఆంధ్రజ్యోతి, హైదరాబాద్ సిటీ

చదువుతోపాటూ 'బాధ్యత'నూ చంకనెత్తుకుంది ఈ చిట్టితల్లి. తానే పసిమొగ్గ అయిన శిరీష పసిబిడ్డతోనే ముషీరాబాద్ మండలం మొరంబొంద ప్రాథమిక పాఠశాలకు వెళ్లి చదువుకుంటోంది. శిరీషతోపాటు ఆమె సోదరి, సోదరుడు కూడా ఇక్కడే చదువుతున్నారు. చెత్త ఏరుకుంటూ ఇల్లు నడిపే తల్లిదండ్రులు బయటకు వెళితే చిట్టి చెల్లి ఆలనపాలనను ఈ చిట్టి 'తల్లులే' స్వీకరించారు. స్కూలు బ్యాగుతోపాటే చెల్లినీ బడికి తీసుకొస్తూ అటు బాధ్యతను, ఇటు చదువునూ కొనసాగిస్తున్నారు. ఈ చదువే తమకు కల్పతరువు కాగలదన్న ఈ చిట్టి తల్లుల నమ్మకం వమ్ము కారాదని ఆకాంక్షిద్దాం..!

Source: Andhra Jyothi


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Status quo for Dalits: caste shame for royal state of Rajasthan

Sunita Aron, Hindustan Times  Jaipur, November 20, 2013

Circa 1980: the speaker of the Rajasthan assembly, a Brahmin, hosted a dinner in honour of chief minister Jagannath Pahadia, a Dalit, at his Bharatpur residence, from where both hailed. The family resentfully served him food in an inferior plate, which Pahadia noticed. The incident later found a mention in the Supreme Court order on Appa Babu vs State of Karnataka, 1993 as “the wife of the speaker trembled to serve food to the chief minister thinking to have been polluted”.






Every caste has its own gods and temples and Dalits are kept out of them. Thus while officers use the Dalit leaders to mobilise lucrative postings, they fail to deliver or face political pressure in initiating action under the SC/ST Act.

Nothing has changed in royalty-dominated Rajasthan in the past three decades where the Dalits’ fight for ownership of five bighas of land, where their dream of empowerment is buried, continues unabated.

The neighbouring state of Uttar Pradesh showed them the way where ownership of allotted land gave them the elusive dignity. But here they have yet to find a Mayawati of Rajasthan. The Dalit leader, whose catchphrase of dignity catapulted her to national political heights, has not become a household name in the desert state though her mentor, Kanshi Ram, had built the party’s base of a bureaucratic network.

Ostensibly, there are two reasons – the Jatavs are not a dominant caste and the 17% Dalit population is not only scattered in the state but are also divided into 62 sub-castes. Meghvanshi says: “The political parties also prefer puppets or docile Dalit leaders of a sub-caste who are small in numbers in a constituency. For example, the Bairawas are a dominant caste but the ticket will go to the Mochi caste, which has barely 300 votes in the Shahpura constituency.”

The chairperson of the Centre for Dalit Rights, PL Mimroth, laments, “The fight for land rights is interlinked with social and political empowerment as five bigha zameen gives them dignity as well as economic independence. But we will have to wait for another 50 years to achieve it.”

According to him, the Bhoodan movement could not be implemented in letter and spirit because of the feudal social structure, both in political and social set-ups. “At least 50% of the land allocated to Dalits is either encroached or has gone back to the powerful landowners,” he says.

Thus, the Dalits are fighting a two-pronged battle – for economic independence and political participation.


http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2013/11/20_11_13-metro8.jpg

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The rediscovery of India

Is diversity an excuse for disunity? CNN’s Fareed Zakaria says Indians must embrace their common ambitions if the nation is to fulfill its tremendous potential.


November 2013 | byFareed Zakaria
 
Is India even a country? It’s not an outlandish question. “India is merely a geographical expression,” Winston Churchill said in exasperation. “It is no more a single country than the Equator.” The founder of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, recently echoed that sentiment, arguing that “India is not a real country. Instead it is thirty-two separate nations that happen to be arrayed along the British rail line.”

India gives diversity new meaning. The country contains at least 15 major languages, hundreds of dialects, several major religions, and thousands of tribes, castes, and subcastes. A Tamil-speaking Brahmin from the south shares little with a Sikh from Punjab; each has his own language, religion, ethnicity, tradition, and mode of life. Look at a picture of independent India’s first cabinet and you will see a collection of people, each dressed in regional or religious garb, each with a distinct title that applies only to members of his or her community (Pandit, Sardar, Maulana, Babu, Rajkumari).

Or look at Indian politics today. After every parliamentary election over the last two decades, commentators have searched in vain for a national trend or theme. In fact, local issues and personalities dominate from state to state. The majority of India’s states are now governed by regional parties—defined on linguistic or caste lines—that are strong in one state but have little draw in any other. The two national parties, the Indian National Congress and the BJP, are now largely confined in their appeal to about ten states each.

And yet, there are those who passionately believe that there is an essential “oneness” about India. Perhaps the most passionate and articulate of them was Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister. During one of his many stints in jail, fighting for Indian independence, he wrote The Discovery of India, a personal interpretation of Indian history but one with a political agenda. In the book, Nehru details a basic continuity in India’s history, starting with the Indus Valley civilization of 4500 BCE, running through Ashoka’s kingdom in the third century BCE, through the Mughal era, and all the way to modern India. He describes an India that was always diverse and enriched by its varied influences, from Buddhism to Islam to Christianity.

Nehru well understood India’s immense diversity—and its disunity. He had to deal with it every day in trying to create a national political movement. The country’s chief divide, between Hindus and Muslims, was to create havoc with his and Mahatma Gandhi’s dreams for a united India. But he was making the intellectual case for India as a nation as the essential background for its national independence. And he had a good case to make. India has existed as a coherent geographical and political entity, comprising large parts of what is modern India, for thousands of years. Despite its dizzying diversity, the country has its own distinct culture. Perhaps that’s why, for all its troubles, India has endured.

Where Nehru and Churchill were both wrong was in their political conception of the nation-state itself. India could not follow the example of the European single-ethnic, single-religion nations that sprouted up in the 19th century. The British unified India using technology—the railroad—and arms. That nationalizing trend produced, in turn, a unified national opposition to British rule in the Indian National Congress, bringing together all India’s communities against foreign rule. But all this was a historical aberration. India had existed as a loose confederation for much of its history. Even when there had been a ruler in the national capital, he had exercised power by co-opting vassals, allowing regions autonomy, letting local traditions flourish. It was a laissez-faire nation in every sense. Despite the rise and fall of dynasties, the entry and exit of empires, village life in India was remarkably continuous—and unaffected by national politics. “India has historically been a strong society with a weak state,” says Gurcharan Das, the CEO turned author and philosopher.

Modern India went down a different path. Nehru and many of his contemporaries were deeply influenced by 19th-century European nationalism and 20th-century European socialism. They could not conceive of modern India without a powerful national government. The centralizing impulses were more forceful in the economic than in the political sphere, where local leaders were often strong and autonomous. Even so, by the late 1960s, the Congress started losing ground to regional parties, first in the south on linguistic grounds and then later to caste-based parties in the north. The harder the Congress tried to fight this tendency, the greater the local backlash. This opposition to New Delhi reached its zenith under Nehru’s daughter, Indira Gandhi, who as prime minister attempted an extreme form of centralized rule in the 1970s, dismissing dozens of local governments, hoping to crush or co-opt regional parties. The result was half a dozen violent secessionist movements in the north, south, east, and west, one of which claimed her life in 1984.

Over the last 20 years, India has been moving toward a different model of nationhood. The power of regions and regional parties is now undisputed. Starting in the early 1990s, New Delhi has been overturning the license-permit-quota raj and opening up the economy. The result is an India that is quite different from the one its founders might have imagined—a motley collection of communities, languages, and ethnicities living together in an open political and economic space. Some older nationalists find this new India too marketized, decentralized, noisy, vulgar, and messy, but it reflects India’s realities and, for that reason, it has tremendous resilience.

Now, without central plan or direction, there are forces pushing India toward a greater sense of nationalism than before. Economic liberalization has created a national economy, and technology is creating a national culture. While there has been a proliferation of regional television channels for news and entertainment, there is also a growing set of national programs and media events. From cricket to Bollywood, a common popular culture pervades every Indian’s life. As India grows, its people will discover that there is much that distinguishes them from other Asian countries—and that binds them together.

Economic growth has created one more common element in the country—an urban middle class whose interests transcend region, caste, and religion.

This is already having political consequences. Between 2011 and 2013, millions of Indians took to the streets to protest, first against corruption and then against the brutal gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman in Delhi. The people marching came from cities and towns. In the past, mass agitations in India often originated in the countryside, with farmers petitioning for government largesse or some groups—defined by caste or religion—asking for special rights. The recent protests have a different quality: They ask the government to fulfill its basic duties. They seek an end to the corruption that is rife throughout the Indian political and bureaucratic system. They ask not for special government programs for women but rather simply that the police and courts function efficiently so that rape victims actually get the justice they deserve.

Most of India’s wealth is generated from its cities and towns. Urban India accounts for almost 70 percent of the country’s GDP. But almost 70 percent of its people still live in rural India. “As a consequence,” writes Ashutosh Varshney of Brown University, “for politicians, the city has primarily become a site of extraction, and the countryside is predominantly a site of legitimacy and power. The countryside is where the vote is; the city is where the money is.”

The United States is a middle-class society. Most of the country considers itself middle class, and politicians cater to that vast group in every speech and policy proposal. In India, politicians have generally pandered to the villager. No party has a serious urban agenda, but all have elaborate rural schemes. Popular culture used to reinforce this divide. Village life in traditional Bollywood movies reflected simplicity and virtue. Cities were centers of crime and conflict, controlled by a small, wealthy, often debauched elite.

This focus on the rural poor has, ironically, been one of the major obstacles to alleviating poverty. For decades the national political parties handed out lavish subsidies for work, food, and energy—among other things—thus distorting all these markets and perpetuating many of India’s basic economic problems. Even after India’s economic reforms started, these patronage schemes continued, and this mentality has often taken precedence over good governance, efficient regulations, and fiscal sanity. Policies that actually alleviate poverty by promoting economic growth are often enacted quietly and are even guiltily called “stealth reform” by their advocates. In a broader sense, too much of the political elite still thinks of India as a poor, third-world country, a victim of larger global forces rather than one of the world’s emerging great powers that could and should be governed by the highest standards.

The middle class itself has played into this narrative, traditionally thinking it was politically irrelevant and so adopting an apolitical stance. Its response to India’s problems was to expect little of government. Rather than demanding better government schools, they sent their kids to expensive private academies. Rather than trusting the police, they hired security guards for their homes and neighborhoods. Rather than running for office themselves, they didn’t bother to vote and pined for the authoritarian efficiency of Singapore or, now, China.

But 20 years of strong economic growth have transformed the country. The Indian middle class now numbers more than 250 million; over 30 percent of the population of 1.2 billion lives in urban areas. And these numbers are growing fast. Indian movies are now often focused on this group, seen as young, aspiring, and filled with idealism and ambition.

Globalization has raised the expectations that this new urban middle class has for itself and its government. The opening of the Indian economy has exposed them to a new world—a world in which other countries like India are growing fast, building modern infrastructure, and establishing efficient government. Whereas they used to assume that to get rich one needed political connections, today they can dare simply to have good ideas and work hard. India is still a parochial country—for good reason, given its size and internal complexity—but this middle class sees no reason why its democracy shouldn’t work for them too.

Technology is giving them the power to make their voices heard, even when outnumbered by other interest groups. India is unusual in combining the growth of an emerging market with the openness of a freewheeling democracy. (China has the former but not the latter.) The result has been an information explosion. The country boasts more than 170 television news channels, in dozens of languages. Three-quarters of the population has mobile phones. Texting and similar methods have now become a routine way to petition government, organize protests, and raise awareness. The Aadhaar program (aadhaar means “foundation” in Hindi), spearheaded by India’s tech pioneer Nandan Nilekani, which will give every Indian a unique biometric identity, could have a much larger impact than imagined. Its stated goal is to make it possible for Indians to get the rights and benefits they deserve, without middlemen, corruption, or inefficiency blocking their path. But it could also make it possible for Indians to think of themselves for the first time as individuals, not merely members of a religion, caste, or tribe.

Many foreign observers, particularly Western businesspeople, look at India today and despair. The country simply cannot reform at the pace necessary to fulfill its ambitions for growth and progress. Everything gets mired in political paralysis, and the governing class remains committed to a politics of patronage and pandering. This is all true and deeply unfortunate. But it is a snapshot of today’s reality, not a moving picture of an evolving society. In states as disparate as Gujarat, Odisha, and Bihar, state governments are aggressively promoting economic growth. And this is not simply a story about Narendra Modi, the controversial chief minister of Gujarat. That state of 60 million people has grown faster than China over the last two decades—with three different chief ministers. India itself, for all its problems, has been one of the fastest-growing large economies in the world over that period.

Can the country live up to its potential? If so, it will happen only because of a bottom-up process of protest and politics that forces change in New Delhi. India will never be a China, a country where the population is homogeneous and where a ruling elite directs the nation’s economic and political development. In China, the great question is whether the new president, Xi Jinping, is a reformer—he will need to order change, top-down, for that country.

In India, the questions are different: Are Indians reformers? Can millions of people mobilize and petition and clamor for change? Can they persist in a way that makes reform inevitable? That is the only way change will come in a big, open, raucous democracy like India. And when that change comes, it is likely to be more integrated into the fabric of the country and thus more durable.

I remain optimistic. We are watching the birth of a new sense of nationhood in India, drawn from the aspiring middle classes in its cities and towns, who are linked together by commerce and technology. They have common aspirations and ambitions, a common Indian dream—rising standards of living, good government, and a celebration of India’s diversity. That might not be as romantic a basis for nationalism as in days of old, but it is a powerful and durable base for a modern country that seeks to make its mark on the world.
About the author
Fareed Zakaria is host of CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, an editor-at-large for Time magazine, and author of The Post-American World (W. W. Norton & Company, April 2008). This essay is excerpted from Reimagining India: Unlocking the Potential of Asia’s Next Superpower. Copyright © 2013 by McKinsey & Company. Published by Simon & Schuster, Inc. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Reformist’s life to be chronicled

P. Sujatha Varma

Hemalatha Lavanam

 Hemalatha Lavanam

Gurram Joshua’s daughter Hemalatha Lavanam, who fought against Jogini system, will be featured in National Biography Series of NBT

Memoirs of noted social reformer Hemalatha Lavanam will soon find place in the National Biography Series of the National Book Trust of India.

The objective of the National Biography series is to throw light on the lives of Indian women and men who have made outstanding contribution towards the development of Indian society, culture, science, economy, polity as also of modern Indian sensibility. After Durgabai Deshmukh, Ms. Lavanam is the second woman selected for the honour from Andhra Pradesh.

“The news came as a pleasant surprise. I feel very happy because Hemalatha’s life story gives a sense of self-respect to all women. This kind of recognition was long overdue,” said atheist leader and Hemalatha’s husband Lavanam.

Born in 1937 at Vinukonda in Guntur district, Ms. Lavanam was the last child of Padmabhushan, Kalaprapurna Gurram Joshua and Mariyamba. Post her travel in Chambal valley in Vinoba Bhave’s padayatra for Bhudan yagna, her perspective on life changed and she returned home to take up extensive work in the field of criminal reform, abolition of Jogini system, social equality and dispelling superstition.
The two authors selected for writing the biography –Lalita Vakulabharanam and Sundar Kompalli—are editing their work to meet the December 13 deadline for submission of the biography. “We are mainly focussing on her all-encompassing personality, her unique approach to problems in society, exclusive strategies she embraced to bring about a reform and most importantly the methods she adopted to sustain the reforms in such difficult times. As a Dalit woman, she faced stiff resistance but ironically, almost 65 % of her work force comprised those belonging to upper castes. She managed to gain acceptance in a vitiated society,” says one of the two authors Mr. Kompalli.

Even while waging pitched battle against social evils like Jogini system in backward remote villages of Nizamabad district relying heavily on the enormous experience she had gained in the criminal reforms she undertook in the coastal Andhra region with her spouse Lavanam, she never allowed the mainstream Dalit politics to influence her.

It also talks about her early life and people like her father Gurram Joshua, social reformer and her father-in-law Gora, Vinoba Bhave and her husband Lavanam, who influenced it.

“It feels good to know that Hemalatha will go pan-India once the biography is published,” says an elated Lavanam. 

Source: The Hindu

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Saturday, November 16, 2013

'Law says bifurcation needs consent of other states'



VISAKHAPATNAM: In its haste to speed up the process of bifurcation, the government is ignoring constitutional conventions and procedures, feel legal experts, pointing out that the rulings of the Supreme Court with respect to the basic structure of the Constitution are not being followed.

The Constitution provides special status to Andhra Pradesh by virtue of Article 371D and a Presidential order due to which an amendment of the Constitution is required for the formation of a separate state.

According to city advocates, the government is trying to hasten the process of bifurcation before the elections without following the constitutional procedure. If the amendments to Article 371D are to be carried out for the division of the state, as the Centre is planning, Parliamentary procedure mandates not only a two-thirds majority in the Assembly, but the consent of at least 50% of Indian states (that is 15 states) through their respective legislative assemblies is also required for any amendment as per Article 368, they said.

"The government has to follow the procedure laid down in Article 368 of the Constitution to effect amendment to Article 371D. The procedure for the amendment is that the Bill must be moved in House of Parliament and must secure two-thirds majority of the total members of the House and by a majority of two thirds of members of house present and voting," said a legal expert.

"Since the government does not have absolute majority of its own and has to be propped up by coalition partners, it cannot move the Bill on its own. If the government goes ahead without following the constitutional safeguards, the Bill would be challenged in the courts and the Supreme Court may set aside the bifurcation procedure as illegal and unconstitutional," stated senior advocate Kuppili Muralidhar, who is also the president of the Forum of Legal Professionals, Vizag.

Prof Y Satyanarayana, director, Gitam Law University, said that passing a ministerial note on T is not equivalent to a Bill or Law. "Even if we consider the note as a Bill, the note was not sent to the President who is obliged to refer the proposals to the Assembly. The division of a state takes place either as a political viability or when people of the state demand division, though here it was not the case." he said.


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Friday, November 15, 2013

2 lakh throng Nellore Dargah on Rottela Panduga

Published: 26th November 2012 12:13 PM 

Women taking part in Rottela Panduga in Nellore on Sunday. | Express Photo 
Women taking part in Rottela Panduga in Nellore on Sunday. | Express Photo  
Around 2 lakh devotees took a holy dip in the Nellore tank (Swarnala Cheruvu), adjacent to the Bara Shaheed Dargah, and exchanged ‘Rottelu’ standing in the ankle-deep of water on the first day of annual Rottelu Panduga, festival of bread, here on Sunday.

Organisers said devotees, irrespective of their religions, thronged the Dargah, seeking the blessings of the 12 Muslim warriors, who sacrificed their lives in the ‘Holy War’ of 1751.

The devotee rush was more as the first day of the fete coincided with the 10 day of Muharram, the day on which Imam Hussain, the grand son of Prophet Mohammed, had sacrificed his life for the sake of Islam, they said.

Devotees believe that they will be blessed by the 12 martyrs if they visit the Dargah during the annual fete and their wishes will be fulfilled.

“ I came here to accept the ‘Pelli Rotte’ for my daughter as my son got married last year after I visited the Dargah during the fete in 2010, said 55-year-old Vijayamma of Padugupadu village in Kovur mandal.

The ‘boondi’ (a kind of sweet offered to the martyrs) vendors were seen very optimistic. “Usually, the vendors make a business of `20 lakh during the fete. If everything goes well, I will sell sweets worth `75,000 this time,” said SK Babu, a sweet vendor, adding that he has vowed to leave a ‘Business Rotte’ in the holy tank.

Meanwhile, the organiser committee is pinning hopes for a good hundi collection this year.  SD Shakil Ahmad, a member of the organising committee, said they are expecting a hundi collection of `20 lakh as the devotee rush is more this time as compared to the previous years.

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

సవరణ తప్పదు!

Published at: 15-11-2013 07:52 AM




రెండు రాష్ట్రాల్లోనూ 371(డి) ఉండాలి
విభజన బిల్లుతో పాటే రాజ్యాంగ సవరణ బిల్లు
జీవోఎంకు న్యాయశాఖ సూచన
మరో రెండు ఓడు రేవులు ఇస్తాం
విమానాశ్రయాల విస్తరణ, కొత్తగా మరికొన్ని
హైదరాబాద్‌లోని ఉద్యోగులకు 'ఆప్షన్స్'
వరంగల్, విశాఖలో సీఆర్పీఎఫ్ స్థావరాలు
ఆయా శాఖల ఉన్నతాదికారులు సూచనలు
అన్నీ తేల్చిన తర్వాతే ఆర్థిక శాఖ నివేదిక

(న్యూఢిల్లీ - ఆంధ్రజ్యోతి)
రాష్ట్ర విభజన తర్వాత తెలంగాణ, సీమాంధ్ర రాష్ట్రాలు రెండింటిలోనూ రాజ్యాంగంలోని ఆర్టికల్ 371(డి)ని కొనసాగించాలని కేంద్ర న్యాయ శాఖ మంత్రుల బృందానికి సూచించింది. స్థానిక రిజర్వేషన్ల కోసం రాష్ట్రపతి ఉత్తర్వుల ద్వారా ఏర్పడిన ఈ అధికరణను అమలు చేయడమే ఆయా ప్రాంతాల ప్రజలకు మంచిదని స్పష్టం చేసింది. ఆ మేరకు రాజ్యాంగంలో సవరణ చేయాల్సి ఉంటుందని వెల్లడించింది. విభజన బిల్లుతోపాటే రాజ్యాంగ సవరణ బిల్లును కూడా ప్రవేశపెట్టాలని సూచించింది. సవరణ తప్పనిసరి అయితే సాధారణ మెజారిటీ సరిపోతుందా? లేక మూడింట రెండొంతుల మెజారిటీ కావాల్సిందేనే? అనే అంశంపై న్యాయశాఖ అధికారులు స్పష్టంగా సమాధానం ఇవ్వలేదని సమాచారం. దీంతో సోమవారం అటార్నీ జనరల్ వాహనవతితో భేటీ కావాలని జీవోఎం సభ్యులు నిర్ణయించారు. గురువారం సాయంత్రం 4 గంటల నుంచి 8.30 గంటల వరకూ జీవోఎం అధ్యక్షుడు, హోం శాఖ మంత్రి షిండే కార్యాలయంలో సుదీర్ఘంగా జరిగిన సమావేశంలో ఆర్థిక, సిబ్బంది-శిక్షణ వ్యవహారాలు, న్యాయ, రైల్వే, పౌర విమానయాన, ఓడరేవులు, ఉపరితల రవాణా శాఖల కార్యదర్శులు పాల్గొన్నారు. ఈ సమావేశంలో షిండే, జైరామ్ రమేశ్, వీరప్ప మొయిలీలు మాత్రమే ఆద్యంతం పాల్గొన్నారు. మరొక సభ్యుడు నారాయణస్వామి మధ్యమధ్యలో సమావేశానికి హాజరయ్యారు. ఆంటోనీ, చిదంబరం, ఆజాద్‌లు పూర్తిగా గైర్హాజరయ్యారు. తొలుత హోం శాఖ నియమించిన టాస్క్‌ఫోర్స్ సభ్యులు విజయ్‌కుమార్, రాజీవ్ శర్మ, వాసన్ జీవోఎంతో సమావేశమయ్యారు. హైదరాబాద్ స్థితిపై దాదాపు గంటసేపు చర్చలు జరిగినట్లు తెలిసింది. ప్రతిపాదనలపై విజయ్ కుమార్ పవర్‌పాయింట్ ప్రజెంటేషన్ ఇచ్చారు. నక్సల్స్‌కు సంబంధించి పరిస్థితి అదుపులోనే ఉందని... ఇప్పుడు తీసుకుంటున్న చర్యలను మరింత పటిష్ఠంగా అమలు చేస్తే రెండు రాష్ట్రాల్లో ఎలాంటి సమస్యలూ రాకుండా చూడొచ్చని తెలిపారు. విభజన అనంతరం ఇరు రాష్ట్రాలూ నిఘా సమాచారాన్ని ఇచ్చిపుచ్చుకోవటం, ఇరు రాష్ట్రాల్లోనూ ఆక్టోపస్, గ్రేహౌండ్స్ ఏర్పాటుపై కీలక ప్రతిపాదనలు చేశారు. వరంగల్, విశాఖపట్నం నగరాల్లో సీఆర్పీఎఫ్ బేస్ క్యాంపుల్ని ఏర్పాటు చేయాలని ప్రతిపాదించారు.

ఆర్థిక శాఖ : చివర్లో చెబుతాం
ఇప్పుడు మేం నివేదిక ఇచ్చినా ఉపయోగం ఉండదు. మిగతా శాఖలు ఇచ్చిన ప్రతిపాదనల ఆధారంగా మా నివేదికను రూపొందించాల్సి ఉంటుంది. ఏయే శాఖలు ఏమేం ప్రతిపాదనలు సమర్పించాయో, హైదరాబాద్ ఆదాయ పంపిణీపై ఏం నిర్ణయం తీసుకున్నారో కూడా స్పష్టం చేయండి. హైదరాబాద్ ప్రతిపత్తి ఏమిటి? ఆదాయాన్ని ఎలా పంచుతున్నారు? మా నివేదిక రూపకల్పనలో ఇవన్నీ ముఖ్య భూమిక పోషిస్తాయి. హైదరాబాద్‌ను కేంద్రపాలిత ప్రాంతం చేస్తే అక్కడున్న అనేక సంస్థలు మున్ముందు కూడా అక్కడే కొనసాగుతాయి. చేయకపోతే పరిస్థితి మరోలా ఉంటుంది. అక్కడ ఉన్న కంపెనీలన్నీ మరొక చోటికి మారిపోతే పరిస్థితి ఏంటి? తద్వారా ఆదాయం తగ్గిపోతే దానిని ఎవరు భరించాలి? వీటిపై స్పష్టత లేకుండా మేం ముందే ప్యాకేజీలను ప్రకటిస్తే... తర్వాత పరిస్థితి తారుమారైతే ఆ భారాన్ని మళ్లీ కేంద్రమే భరించాల్సి ఉంటుంది. కాబట్టి, సమగ్రమైన సమాచారాన్ని మాకు ఇస్తే ఆ మేరకు ప్యాకేజీలను ఖరారు చేస్తాం. మా నివేదికను చివరగానే ఇస్తాం.

శాసన వ్యవహారాల విభాగం : ముసాయిదా
విభజన బిల్లు తయారీకి సంబంధించిన ముసాయిదా మా వద్ద సిద్ధంగా ఉంది. 371(డి) సవరణ బిల్లు ప్రవేశపెట్టాలని చెబితే దానిని కూడా సిద్ధం చేస్తాం. సవరణ బిల్లును కూడా విభజన బిల్లుతో పాటే పార్లమెంటులో ప్రవేశ పెట్టాల్సి ఉంటుంది. దీనిపై నిర్ణయం తీసుకుని మాకు చెప్పండి.

ఓడరేవులు అనుమతులు ఇచ్చేశాం
దుగరాజపట్నం, రామాయపట్నంలో ఓడ రేవుల ఏర్పాటుకు మేం అనుమతులు ఇచ్చేశాం. నిర్మాణ పనుల్ని ఎప్పుడు ప్రారంభించాలన్నది రాష్ట్ర ప్రభుత్వమే నిర్ణయించుకోవాలి. కోస్తా తీరంలో ఇప్పటికే ఉన్న ఓడరేవులతోపాటు మరో రెండింటిని కేటాయించేందుకు మేం సుముఖం. సీమాంధ్రలో జల రవాణా మార్గాలను కూడా అభివృద్ధి చేయాలి.

పౌర విమానయానం : కొత్త ఎయిర్‌పోర్టులకు సిద్ధం

ఇరు రాష్ట్రాల్లో ఉన్న విమానాశ్రయాలను అభివృద్ధి చేసేందుకు మేం సిద్ధం. కొత్తగా విమానాశ్రయాలను ఏర్పాటు చేసేందుకు కూడా రెడీగా ఉన్నాం. ఎక్కడెక్కడ ఏర్పాటు చేయాలనేది నిర్ణయించి, ఆ మేరకు భూ సేకరణ చేసి ఇస్తే మేం అభివృద్ధి చేస్తాం. విశాఖపట్నం విమానాశ్రయం అభివృద్ధికి రక్షణ శాఖ నుంచే అనుమతులు రావాలి.

Source: Andhra Jyothi


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Monday, November 11, 2013

Did Bhagmati really exist?

J. S. Ifthekhar 



The Purana Pul, the oldest bridge on the Musi. A 1908 photo from the collection of Mohd. Safiullah of Hyderabad.

The Purana Pul, the oldest bridge on the Musi. A 1908 photo from 
the collection of Mohd. Safiullah of Hyderabad.   

The tomb of Bhagmati, the beloved of Quli Qutb Shah, Hyderabad's founder, rots in utter neglect at Rahmatnagar in the Old City. — Photo: Mohammed Yousuf

THE HINDU The tomb of Bhagmati, the beloved of Quli Qutb Shah,
Hyderabad's founder, rots in utter neglect at Rahmatnagar in the Old City.
 — Photo: Mohammed Yousuf

Heritage enthusiast seeks to demolish the myth of Bhagmati, with whom the city’s founder Mohd. Quli Qutb Shah is believed to have fallen madly in love, saying there is no inscription bearing her name or a trace of her grave

True love never grows old. So is the legend of Bhagmati. Hers was love made up of stolen moments – bitter, sweet and poignant. She was the damsel in distress and he the knight in shining armour.

Nothing could stop the star-crossed lovers, not even the turbulent Musi. In comes the doting father, Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah, and constructs the Puranapul bridge to facilitate his son Mohd. Quli Qutb Shah cross the river to meet his lady love.

A generation of Hyderabadis has been brought up on this lore. But, was it all real or a figment of the imagination?

“Nothing but fiction. There is no substantial evidence to prove that Bhagmati ever existed,” says heritage enthusiast Mohd. Safiullah.

In an interesting talk on Bhagmati – Fact or Fiction here on Saturday, Mr. Safiullah sought to demolish the myth of the legendary nautch girl, with whom the city’s founder was believed to have fallen in love head over heels.

“There is no inscription, miniature or coin of that period mentioning her name. There is no trace of her grave either. Even Chichalam, the place where she was supposedly born, has not been identified yet,” Mr. Safiullah said.

The talk organised under the auspices of Historical Society of Hyderabad at the Salar Jung Museum drew many historians and scholars.

While a big question mark hung on the very existence of Bhagmati, there were no doubts about other courtesans like Premamati and Taramati, since material evidence was available about them. Moreover, their graves could be found in the royal necropolis at Golconda.

“Why Bhagmati was not buried there if she was so important?” asked Mr. Safiullah of Deccan Heritage Trust.

With the help of slides, he explained how a romance between Quli Qutb Shah and Bhagmati could not have taken place, since the king was barely 10 years then. He was born in April 1566, while the Puranapul was completed in 1578 after more than two years of construction.

“That made Quli Qutb Shah just nine-and-a-half years. Imagine a youngster romancing at that age,” Mr. Safiullah wondered.

There was also no evidence to show that Hyderabad was named after Hyder Mahal, the title conferred on Bhagmati. Referring to an extract from the book, ‘Landmarks of Deccan’, Mr. Safiullah said the name Hyder Mahal was mentioned along with other palaces such as Dad Mahal and Nadi Mahal. “You build a palace and then honour someone you love with its name. How illogical?” he asked.

Moreover, the word ‘Hyder’ was an attribute of Hazrat Ali, the fourth Caliph of Islam, and it could not have been conferred on a nautch girl, he argued to prove that Bhagmati was not the inspiration for the city’s name.
Travel writer Ferishta’s account about the dalliance of Quli Qutb Shah with Bhagmati could not be attached credence, as he had written about the royal affair sitting in Bijapur without visiting Hyderabad.

“At best, Bhagmati is a popular but unfounded myth,” Mr. Safiullah maintained. He referred to historians such as Haroon Khan Sherwani, Habib Nisar and David Mathew to support his argument.

But, some in the audience did not buy his argument. “There is no smoke without fire,” a participant remarked. 

Source: The Hindu

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Remembrance Day

The Indian Corps in France
In August 1914, as the German Army advanced through France and Belgium, more Allied troops were desperately needed for the Western Front. The Indian Army, 161,000 strong, seemed an obvious source of trained men, and the Lahore and Meerut infantry divisions were selected for service in Europe.

Participants from Indian Sub-continent
One and a half million volunteers came forward from the estimated population of 315 million in the Indian subcontinent (present-day India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka - henceforth referred to, for convenience, as ‘India’). Check Compton History Link.

Military Casualties of World War One

How they suffered: World War One & Its Impact on Punjabis

INDIA GATE
Inscribed on top of India Gate in capital letters is the line:
To the dead of the Indian armies who fell honoured in France and Flanders Mesopotamia and Persia East Africa Gallipoli and elsewhere in the near and the far-east and in sacred memory also of those whose names are recorded and who fell in India or the north-west frontier and during the Third Afgan War.

India and World War One
India played a significant part in World War One. However, India’s part in the war is frequently overlooked as a result of the horrors experienced in trench warfare and by Europe’s tendency to home in on battles such as those fought at the Somme and Verdun, which many assume only Europeans fought in.

Read Other Links:

British Indian Army

9th (Secunderabad) Division

2nd Indian Cavalry Division

Europe remembers

World War I casualties of Indian Forces commemorated in France
  
WWI Medal Discovery Reveals Story of Forgotten Sikh Canadian Hero

Lest we forget

Soldiers of the 38th
An attempt at an ongoing mass biography of the officers and men of the 38th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, during the First World War

Sikh Heritage Museum Of Canada Hosts Exhibition “In Remembrance – The Sikhs”

 

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

The world is her oyster

Published: 10th November 2013 12:00 AM

Just when our story on NGO SANA, among the top ten finalists for the coveted Google Impact Challenge 2013, was ready to go to press we received a call that made us slam emergency brakes on the release of pages. It was SANA (Social Awareness, Newer Alternatives)’s 30-year-old founder, Sanchaita Gajapati Raju.

“I have some excellent news to share with your readers. We have just been promoted from being nominated to being declared winners of the challenge and have bagged Rs 3 crore as prize money,” she gushed. “I am now in a position to walk the talk with regards to all my plans, so listen on,” she continued.

A couple of days before the frenzied call, she told us how it all began. “In early 2011, I was producing a film for a fertiliser company in Morocco, which was working with an NGO in Gulbarga. During its making, I realised the impact of social intervention at the grass-roots level and decided I wanted to set up SANA. My pet projects would be in the segment of drinking water and sanitation,” says Sanchaita, who lives in Delhi.

Those pet projects have taken a new shape in the last couple of years and for all their efforts, three other NGOs along with SANA have won `3 crore for initiatives to tackle global issues using technology. SANA was also voted the fan favourite, polling the maximum number of votes out of over half-a-million votes polled worldwide. Its mass appeal stems from its core ideology of providing two basic things—clean drinking water and sanitary urinals. “Throughout India, villages lack access to clean and hygienic water and toilets. This spreads deadly diseases and creates unsafe living environments. With the money we’ve got, SANA will combine solar-powered micro-ionizing water purification and bio-digesting technology to improve water and sanitation infrastructure in villages of coastal Andhra Pradesh,” says Sanchaita.

“These systems will purify local water sources to provide clean drinking water and the waste water generated will power new community toilets. We also hope to provide 54 million litres of safe drinking water to residents in three years, bio-digesting toilets to 10 villages and improve health conditions for 25,000 people annually,” Sanchaita says enthusiastically.

The excitement and energy with which she talks makes it clear that Sanchaita has found her calling. Born in Hyderabad, the spunky do-gooder pursued a degree in political science from Delhi University before studying law. After finishing law school, she worked for a media company.

“We were producing award-winning documentaries, daily serials and entertainment shows. I was heading the finance and administration department. It was a great learning experience,” she says.

It was at that time that she presented her first social intervention project—a solar-powered water purifying compact station to the Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit. “I tied up with a company working in Laos for the technology. All I wanted was permissions and ground support from the Delhi government which I managed to get, so we decided to set a pilot project in RPVV School in East Delhi,” she says. This school had no clean drinking water nor did it have funds to buy water.

SANA installed a solar-powered water station in a record 30 days. “We trained the students and staff to maintain the system, created a distribution platform, where every student was allowed to take home five litres of clean drinking water every evening. A few other projects paved the way for us to think bigger and be bolder and here we are with our most recent water purification and sanitation mission,” she says.

When Sanchaita isn’t conducting extensive research projects or devising strategies for intervention, she likes to spend her time listening to music and planning travel itineraries.

“In my free time, I love to cook and bake. I am passionate about gardening, especially growing vegetables. But to tell you honestly, there isn’t a moment when I am not thinking about work,” she says. “I could have given this interview in my sleep as the issue of sanitation and safe drinking water has become my life and is surely more than just a job for me,” she beams.

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Saturday, November 09, 2013

Telangana unlikely before 2014 polls



HYDERABAD: The flurry of activities notwithstanding, Telangana is unlikely to become a reality before the 2014 elections. The Congress high command - though strong in its resolve to carve out a new state - is unable to bite the bullet. This is primarily because of chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy. Though all methods have been used to persuade Kiran to fall in line - including in the last two days- he is unwilling to relent. The powers that be aver - on the basis of information from multiple sources that Kiran will resign the moment the Telangana resolution is sought to be introduced in the Andhra Pradesh assembly. Intelligence reports have also predicted that he will launch his political outfit batting for united Andhra Pradesh immediately after resigning.

But Kiran's expected resignation is not worrying the Congress high command. What the bosses fear is that any new Congress chief minister will not be able to command the majority in the assembly and win a vote of confidence. In this situation, the assembly will have to be dissolved and fresh elections ordered. "With the term of the assembly ending in April next year and even the general elections slated then, the feeling is to continue with the Kiran government till the end of the term," said a source in the inside track of the development.

However, till the elections are announced - the Congress party and the government will continue to make motions of moving forward on the matter. The group of ministers (GoM) set up to study the problem will continue its work and present its recommendations to the Union cabinet at the end of the month.

Even as the GoM goes ahead with its confabulations, Congress party bosses are also seeking legal opinion to figure out whether a newly appointed chief minister can carry on in office for a few months without facing a vote of confidence in the legislative assembly. Though President's rule is an option that the government should have ordinarily preferred to- the thinking is against this. There is an opinion that legally it may not be possible to divide the state when President's rule is on. However, in the past - in 1966- Punjab was divided in the midst of President's rule. The Congress party is also seriously mulling over the proposal to merge Anantapur and Kurnool districts with Telangana to water down the opposition to the new state in Rayalaseema region which is Jagan's stronghold. Jagan has emerged as the most potent opposition to bifurcation.

Now, it transpires that the Congress is not even sure that it will be able to get a resolution on Telangana approved in the Lok Sabha. The apprehension is that in the run-up to the general elections, the major opposition party (the BJP) is unlikely to play ball with the Congress and help to get the bill passed. Though on paper the BJP is committed to Telangana, it now senses an opportunity in the political vacuum in Seemandhra and wants to piggy ride on the back of TDP.

Analysts aver that the BJP will oppose some clauses and sub-clauses in the proposed bill and stymie efforts of the Congress to create Telangana before the elections.

Sensing this, the Congress has already initiated back channel talks with the BJP seeking support for the Telangana bill.

The TRS which is the only party unequivocally for Telangana will protest at the delay in creation of the separate state but will benefit from the delay. If Telangana becomes a reality before the elections, the party will have to share honors with the Congress for creating the new state. But if it does not happen, the party will sweep the polls in the region as people's ire in Telangana will make them vote decidedly in favour of TRS.

The delay in the creation of the new state is however going to hit business and life hard. Business and other sections of people are now mentally prepared for the bifurcation which they analyze will end the uncertainty in their lives. But for the time being it seems that the uncertainty will continue.

Source: The Times of India

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BJP not to submit suggestions to GoM

Published: 09th November 2013 08:28 AM

The BJP, while reiterating its commitment for creation of Telangana state with 10 districts and Hyderabad as its capital, made it clear on Friday that it would not submit its suggestions to the Group of Ministers (GoM) until the Centre comes out with its views on the terms of reference on state bifurcation.

The party instead of submitting its suggestions on bifurcation to GoM chairman AK Antony has sent a letter to Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, who is also a member of the GoM, asking the Centre to clarify its stand on the terms of reference.

Speaking to reporters, BJP state president G Kishan Reddy, Nagam Janardhan Reddy and Bandaru Dattatreya said that the GoM is totally in a state of confusion on the issue of bifurcation and was changing its stance everyday.

“Neither the Congress Working Committee (CWC) nor the GoM has clarity on the terms of reference and were confusing the political parties of the state. Let them first come out with their views on the terms of reference then we will respond to each  issue,” Kishan Reddy said.

The Congress is not able to bring consensus among its leaders and was asking other parties to express their views on terms and reference. What kind of national party is this which do not have control over its  members, he wondered.

“On one hand the chief minister who is supposed to convince his party leaders is himself revolting against the party’s decision and was also provoking the people of the Seemandhra region. On the other hand Congress leaders from Telangana region are busy taking out victory rallies in the region. What message the Congress leaders want to give to the people of the state,” he asked.

“The GoM has called for an all-party meeting on November 12 and 13 and is giving just 20 minutes to each party to present their views. Is the GoM serious about the exercise?” he wondered.


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Monday, November 04, 2013

శ్రీ కౌముది నవంబర్ 2013

Friday, November 01, 2013

A tale of two states: 'Happy Birthday Andhra Pradesh' has a sad tinge today

T S Sudhir  Hyderabad, November 1, 2013 | UPDATED 16:13 IST

'Happy Birthday Andhra Pradesh' has a sad tinge to it today. For this November 1 could well be the last Andhra Pradesh Formation Day that the state is celebrating in its present form. If the Congress has its way, by December, the state would be cut into two to create a new state of Telangana with ten districts while the remaining 13 districts would continue to call themselves Andhra Pradesh.

In 1956, Andhra Pradesh was the first state to be formed on linguistic basis. In 2013, that will fade into history.

By all accounts it has been a messy divorce, with court proceedings (read appeals in the Delhi Durbar by people from Andhra Pradesh) virulent, emotional and ugly. That is because people from the coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions think they have been given a raw deal. They believe both in the short term and long term, the new Andhra Pradesh or Seemandhra is going to be unviable. A flop state, condemned to doom, from day one.

"Telugu speaking people will lose both politically and economically in a big way. But then if that is a choice that the Telugu speaking people have made consciously, they you cannot complain about it,'' rues Jayaprakash Narayan, President of the Loksatta Party. Narayan who is an MLA from Hyderabad city, is in favour of Telangana but objects to the manner in which the state is being bifurcated.

Interestingly, that it has been a case of 'winner takes all' is a sentiment shared even by Telangana politicians in private. They gloat that they have successfully managed to convince the powers-that-be in Delhi that the "historical mistakes of the past" should be corrected by being overgenerous to Telangana.

Andhra Pradesh sends 42 MPs to the Lok Sabha, the highest in south India. Since 1996, this contingent has played a central role in governments at the Centre, be it the Telugu Desam in 1996, 1998 and 1999 or the Congress in 2004 and 2009. Now Telangana state with 17 MPs and Seemandhra state with 25 MPs, will find their political clout considerably reduced.

"Size matters," points out D A Somayajulu, former Economic Affairs Advisor to Andhra Pradesh government and now a leader with the YSR Congress. "Now we are going to lose this size. So no one will take you seriously. Does anyone take Mizoram seriously the way they take a big state like Andhra Pradesh. They wont.''

But reduced political clout is not the only reason why many feel that it is a lose-lose situation for both states. People of coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema are ruing that since Hyderabad will longer be their state capital, it will take away the magnetic power the state had to attract investors.

"Any division will have its advantages and disadvantages. For the people of Seemandhra, losing a capital city like Hyderabad, a city that has been developed over decades is a loss. They cannot replicate even if they are given 2 or 3 lakh crores. That kind of money can create infrastructure but it cannot create an economy,'' says K Nageshwar, political analyst.

Somayajulu argues that the administrators of Andhra Pradesh erred by putting all the goodies in the Hyderabad basket as a result of which there is a world of difference between the the state capital and other cities in the state.

"In 2012-13, Andhra Pradesh had a software turnover of 55000 crores out of which Rs.54800 crores was from Hyderabad. Which means 99.9% is from Hyderabad. This means the engine of economic growth is in Hyderabad while the rest of Andhra Pradesh will have only compartments with no engine. That too at a time when agriculture constitutes just 15-16 per cent of GDP. So you cannot have 84 per cent on one side and 16 per cent on the other. Not the best way to divide a state," he says.

According to the Andhra Pradesh finance ministry, Hyderabad accounts for 70 per cent of Andhra Pradesh's tax revenues. In 2012-13, of the state's revenues of 69146 crore rupees, Rs.48400 crore came from Hyderabad and its neighbouring Ranga Reddy district. The revenue from rest of Telangana was Rs.6206 crore, coastal Andhra Rs.10729 crore and Rayalaseema Rs.3809 crores.

However the Justice Srikrishna committee which studied the situation in Andhra Pradesh, believed that Hyderabad as the bone of contention is over hyped. In its 505 page report submitted in January 2011, it said this about economic viability : "Telangana as a new state can sustain itself both with and without Hyderabad. The other combination of regions - coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema - together can also sustain themselves as a state; in fact they can sustain themselves separately.''

The committee's report pointed out that the Telangana region (excluding Hyderabad) ranks 15th in the list of 28 states in terms of absolute GDP. Including Hyderabad, its rank moves up to 13th place. Interestingly, coastal Andhra ranks 13th too in terms of GDP. The laggard is Rayalaseema, whose per capita income is below the all-India average.

Former director of Centre for Public Policy and a votary of Telangana, Dr Gautam Pingle therefore believes that this fear of Seemandhra being a Bimaru state is just not true. "If they are bimaru, we are also bimaru. We are in fact worse off. They have capital, entrepreneurship. For last 150 years, they had 2 million acres under both the deltas, thanks to the Brits,'' says Dr Pingle.

However, that has not prevented the battle for a united Andhra Pradesh from becoming a battle to retain control over Hyderabad, some way or the other. Votaries of status quo argue that it is because they are also interested in Hyderabad's prosperity. Being made the capital of a Telangana state, they argue, is killing Brand Hyderabad.

"If it were not to be the capital of a large state like AP, and be just be an erstwhile princely state like Mysore, Junagadh or Gwalior, it would have deteriorated and degenerated. But because it became the capital of a large prosperous state with two deltas, long coastline, minerals, Hyderabad prospered. Now if it were to become the capital of a state with just 17 Lok Sabha seats and not much economic activity in the hinterland of Hyderabad, then Hyderabad will be lost even before the next 10 years. It will be an insignificant metropolis,'' argues Parakala Prabhakar, a votary of united Andhra Pradesh.

However, Telangana activists say that it is time Seemandhra moved on, instead of crying hoarse that all is lost by losing Hyderabad.

"If we took the same view, we would go to Bangalore ten years ago. Because ten years ago, Hyderabad was not an IT hub, Bangalore was. So you have to start somewhere. If you want to present yourself as a location that is favourable and profitable, there is no point saying, we lost Hyderabad," says Pingle.

But Hyderabad is only one part of the issue in this tale of two states. The region whose concerns are being ignored the most in this entire division debate is Rayalaseema, which for all practical purposes, is even more backward than Telangana. Not everyone is confident that the two regions of coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema will continue as one state for too long. They point out that culturally and in terms of prosperity and work ethic, people from the two regions are very different. The apprehension is that Rayalaseema will be seen by people of coastal Andhra as a burden, almost like poor cousins. Especially since the region does not have the kind of resource base that coastal Andhra has.

"Rayalaseema's concerns and future are far more important than Hyderabad. Far too many people are focusing on Hyderabad. But we are ignoring central issue of 16 million people. They are most backward districts of India. There is a genuine sense of being orphaned. If we do not address that, we are not really finding a solution,'' says Jayaprakash Narayan.

Which is why there is almost a consensus that Rayalaseema that consists of four districts may want to break away from coastal Andhra, sooner than later. That a trifurcation of present-day Andhra Pradesh will most certainly take place.

G Omkarnath, Professor of Economics at Hyderabad Central University sees an unviability in terms of Seemandhra surviving as one unit. "There would soon be forces who would play up in Rayalaseema. The same forces who came in Telangana will say look, we in Rayalaseema have our own identity and become a third state instead of two states, sooner or later. It calls for tremendous institutional engineering, political statesmanship, vision on part of polity as a whole,'' says Prof Omkarnath.

When advertising professionals Shashi Vadana Reddy and S K Swaroop got married 13 years ago, the fact that Shashi hails from Telangana and Swaroop from Vizag in coastal Andhra, hardly mattered. But now in a situation where Andhra Pradesh is about to be cut into two, Shashi has to walk that extra mile to ensure peace in her household. She says divisions run so deep that people from her side of the family do not even want to give one of their daughters in matrimony to a boy from coastal Andhra.

"Sometimes it becomes a bit heated. For instance, when my aunt comes over. She is totally into Telangana and has very extreme views on it. When she comes over, I make sure Swaroop is not around,'' says Shashi Vadana Reddy.

But it is not so hush-hush when it comes to Telugu films. The manner in which the Telugu film industry, dominated by people from coastal Andhra, portray people from Telangana as comedians, has always been a grouse with those from the region. If a new wave of Telangana filmmakers emerge, that could change though the argument is that films should be made for all nine crore Telugus and not for four crore in Telangana, five crore in Seemandhra and two crore living outside the state.

Eminent film producer D Suresh Babu predicts that there will be one set of filmmakers on both sides who will try to make extreme regional films. "If they have a broader appeal, they will do well across. But if they have only local appeal, they will do well only locally and will slowly die out. Because business needs better films. So they will also come back - the bigger Telangana director and the bigger Vizag director,'' says Suresh Babu.

The situation is worse when it comes to those practising purist cultural traditions. Varsha Bhargavi, a member of the International Dance Council of UNESCO, fears that dance forms that have their roots in coastal Andhra will find the doors of Hyderabad city as an art patron shut on them for ever.

"I feel the bifurcation will really affect the dance forms in Andhra Pradesh especially those performers based out of Vijayawada and Rajahmundry. Already many of them are not allowed to performed in Hyderabad city, which is really the place for the performing arts. We have seen a lot of negative views on Andhra Natyam dance form when we were performing at the Kakatiya dance festival in Warangal last year. We had to announce it as a temple dance tradition instead of Andhra Natyam,'' says Varsha Bhargavi.

If the borders of Andhra Pradesh are redrawn, future generations will witness water wars. That is the prediction, Seemandhra politicians like Kiran Kumar Reddy and Jaganmohan Reddy are making. Their argument is that river water sharing will at best be on paper, but never implemented in letter and spirit by the upper riparian state, which in this case will be Telangana.

Given the confrontationist nature of river water sharing disputes between Karnataka and Tamilnadu and even Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, people from Seemandhra region predict that this division will sound the deathknell for agriculture in coastal Andhra. They point to Andhra Pradesh's experience with Tungabhadra which is jointly managed by Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

"We hardly get 50 per cent of the water allotted to us in any year. In the years of flooding, anyway water will come. But in normal years, we do not even get water that is allotted to us. So now you will have another state created and this state with all its resources can utilise all this water. Who are you going to tell? What are we doing to Karnataka?'' says Somayajulu.

Interestingly, experts predict that Telangana region, that is largely dependent on borewells and tanks, and has seen many farmers burdened by debt killing themselves after their crop failed, could now see its agriculture take a turn for the better.

"Telangana agriculture might show more dynamism. Because they don't have a history of irrigation. Traditionally they have had tank irrigation but now tanks have been closing down due to real estate take over. But as they get more and more into river-based irrigation system, it will improve. Already Karimnagar, according to the Srikrishna committee report, is the rice bowl of Telangana. And the rice millers assocation of Karimnagar is very powerful politically,'' says Omkarnath.

Union ministers like Purandareswari and Pallam Raju from Seemandhra, reconciled to the inevitability of bifurcation, are now bargaining for a hefty package to develop the new state. But it will not be easy to attract private capital, unless juicy carrots are dangled. J A Chowdhary, Chief Mentor of The Indus Entrepreneurs points out that if any industrialist has to set up operations in Seemandhra, he will look for incentives such as tax breaks, both sales tax and income tax.

Analysts also warn Seemandhra against making the mistake Andhra Pradesh did and advise the state's future rulers to develop several industrial hubs across the two regions.

But it is not as if everything is hunky dory for Telangana state. Over focussing on Hyderabad could be a strategic error as would be to use the city only as a money-minting machine for the state exchequer. Experts point out that huge differences within Telangana - between a tribal Adilabad and a Mahbubnagar prone to large scale migrations - will have to be reconciled in a more socialist development ecosystem.

Many like chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy have argued that the lights will be off the moment Telangana becomes a separate state. That is because it will be a power deficit state. Telangana region now produces 57 million units in a day, but consumes about 115 million units. If the lift irrigation schemes in Telangana were to be implemented, it would need another 175 million units everyday. Which means the state will face a daily shortfall of over 200 million units. The result will either be loadshedding or a drain on the state exchequer to buy power from other states.

Telangana leaders admit the power situation will remain a concern in a future new state but say they will manage it. "Hyderabad is the hinterland of Telangana and is the economic engine that drives Andhra Pradesh today and will drive Telangana tomorrow. So Telangana being a surplus state can buy power from Andhra or Chhattisgarh and if we get grid connectivity, even from the north east. If power is the only issue, there are avenues to make up for the deficit. But yes, we admit that Telangana as on today will be short on power," says K T Rama Rao, TRS leader.

For the last four years, Andhra Pradesh has been a house divided, a case of Us versus Them, with the differences on regional lines completely exposed. But the real test starts now. For people in both states. They need to ensure that while united they stood, divided too they will not fall.

Source: India Today
 

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