Thursday 29 September 2016
facebook.com/Outlookindia twitter.com/outlookindia digimag.outlookindia.com instagram.com/outlookindia youtube.com/user/OutlookMagazine

Cleft Stick

Nag prefers to steer away from opinion and stick safely to facts. It's a quick run-through of the issue for outsiders.
Battleground Telangana: Chronicle Of an Agitation
By Kingshuk Nag
HarperCollins | Pages: 274 | Rs 299

As a chronicle of the ongoing Telangana agitation, Kingshuk Nag’s Battleground Telangana has much to offer: well-written, missing no issue and, more important, unemotional. Nag supports the creation of a separate Telangana state, ridicules the idea of Hyderabad city as a union territory and drives home the point that the decision to do so should be taken now. He takes us through the unhappy creation of Andhra Pradesh from the coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions of erstwhile Madras State and Telangana, the resentment of the people of Telangana that led to the first agitation in 1969, the state through NTR, Chandrababu Naidu and Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, and the movement since 2009. Aware that Telangana is an emotive issue, Nag steers away from opinion and sticks safely to facts. It’s a quick run-through of the issue for outsiders.

Advertisement

But now the troubling issues. The Telangana movement, says Nag, arises from its cultural divergence and its heritage of revolt. But to say that the demand for a separate state is because of its militant history is hitting at the very basis for the demand. In a patriarchal marriage, the wife is right whenever she wants a divorce. As Nag himself explains, the 1956 merger was one forced on the people of Telangana. But how do you explain their long-standing grudges—unequal political power; lesser share of funds in every sector, including education, health, irrigation and civil supplies; diversion of its surplus funds into the general kitty; cultural dominance which has led to an erosion of their language, food habits and other cultural markers; the virtual take-over of Hyderabad, erasing its landscape? Is it because of vested interests and realpolitik of the coastal Andhra elite? Nag makes no attempt to examine this.

Advertisement
Nag isn’t always objective; taking cheap swipes at the Nizam and Chandrasekhar Rao, missing the subtleties of a difficult issue.

Similarly, Nag misses the point of difference in the economies of the two regions. Andhra had the benefit of sustained irrigation for over a century-and-a-half. This generated huge surpluses which benefited both the local populace and the British. It is false to ascribe Telangana’s backwardness to a despotic Nizam and Andhra’s development to the British. The Nizam established the railways, High Court, several hospitals, the Osmania University, the Singareni collieries, industries, and maintained the centuries-old tank irrigation system. And yet Nag takes cheap swipes at both the Nizam and Chandrasekhar Rao of the trs. While there is no call for reverence, there is a need for objective assessment. In a decade of instant revolutions of the Babas and the Annas, it is no mean feat to keep a movement going, as Rao has been doing. He walks a tightrope between an autocratic Centre, a hostile state government, an exhausted populace and the grim shadow of the CPI-ML, and yet keeps the movement alive and peaceful.

Nag devotes a whole chapter to the issue of Hyderabad, central to the Telangana state. He suggests that Hyderabad be made a special administrative region within Telangana. In 1953, rejecting Andhra Pradesh’s demand to share Madras as its capital, Nehru said: “It is true that the Andhras have had an important share in building up the city and their cultural life is centred around it. But it is equally true that Madras city is the intellectual, cultural nerve centre of Tamil Nadu.” Substitute Hyderabad for Madras and Telangana for Tamil Nadu, and you will find the claim equally true today.

Hot Air Beneath A Layer Of Subcutaneous Fat Bibliofile
Download the Outlook ​Magazines App. Six magazines, wherever you go! Play Store and App Store

Post a Comment

You are not logged in, please Log in or Register
  • Daily Mail
THE LATEST ISSUE
CLICK IMAGE FOR CONTENTS
REVIEW
Review
Except for the excellent profiles, rehashed articles don’t serve Guha well
MAGAZINE September 21, 2016
Book Extract
The Honey Bee network gathers lessons in creativity from the grassroots
MAGAZINE September 21, 2016
Review
All the start-up entrepreneurs featured in the book have amazing stories to tell—of struggle, of peer pressure and of intrigue.
MAGAZINE September 15, 2016
Review
A compilation of the events that led to the 2013 IPL batting-fixing scandal and its consequences
MAGAZINE September 15, 2016
Review
Alexievich’s visceral first-person accounts from the last days of the USSR are saturated with anger, longing and hope
MAGAZINE September 15, 2016
read more>>>
OUTLOOK ON TWITTER
POLLS

More than a decade after India first started the procurement process, it has finally inked an €8bn agreement to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets from France’s Dassault. The original deal was to buy 126 Rafales to replace the accident-prone Russian MiG-21s. Ultimately, the government offered to buy only 36 ready-to-fly planes.

POLL STARTED ON: Sep 26, 2016
Quiz
Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro is hosting the 31st Olympic Games from August 5 to 21. This is the first Olympics being held in South America and is going on even as a majority Brazilians are unhappy with their rulers. Here’s a quiz on some random Olympic facts and related trivia.
QUIZ STARTED ON: Aug 11, 2016
Advertisement