Archive for August, 2011

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

Delhi media continues to show interest in our cause. Here is an article published in the recent edition of “Delhi Talks” magazine.


Here’s the link to article:


Now to the second topic of my post- “Way Forward”


Integrationists have been seeing several encouraging signs off-late. Clearly, the separatist movement is on a back foot. Visalandhra Mahasabha firmly believes that division of our state is not going to happen. However, challenges continue to linger. The decade long separatist movement must be brought to a logical closure.


Dr. Yogendra Yadav of Lokniti is an objective researcher and a staunch proponent of a Telangana state. I met him a couple of months ago in his office in Delhi. After an hour and half of animated discussion, his stance remained firmly in favor of division.


Recently CNN-IBN published results of its survey on the issue of separation. The survey was conducted by Dr. Yogendra Yadav’s team. The survey revealed that nearly half of the people in the Nizam region desire separation. We should be glad that the number of people desiring separation is not as high as four and half crores that the separatists claim. However, for those of us who desire that we stay united, 50% is too high a number. It is a grim reminder of the venom that the separatists have managed to spread among the people of Nizam region.


The real challenge in front of all the well-meaning Telugu people is, how can the parties, leaders, and non-political organizations come together to resolve this issue in an amicable fashion. Can you think of a way forward?


Visalandhra Mahasabha is planning to put together a white paper proposing a way-forward and present it to the decision makers. I would like to urge my friends and supporters to think and suggest ways in which the current situation can be defused in a way that all Telugus can co-exist in a united state for generations to come. I request you to keep your responses concise.


As you think of potential solutions, you may want to consider how you can address different dissatisfied groups’ concerns. Some of these constituents are: political parties (congress, tdp, trs), people of the three regions, naxals, government employees, students, businesses to name a few. In addition, one should also focus on areas such as irrigation, education, employment, culture etc.


You are welcome to comment on my blog or send me an email directly. I am looking forward to your input.



Save Andhra Pradesh! 

Nalamotu Chakravarthy


Sunday, August 7th, 2011

There has been a lot of interest in the pieces that I posted, especially ‘In Praise of T Agitation’, and ‘Q&A With Parakala Prabhakar’ in Business Standard. When the responses started coming in, I thought that it would be better to write a general response at one go by bunching together the various issues raised, rather than respond to them one by one as they come in.


I would like to thank everyone who took time to read the posts and to all those who spared their valuable time to compose their responses. There were both bouquets and brickbats. It is quite pleasing that many eminent people thought it fit to write. Some wrote as comments in my site itself, some chose to respond by mail, and some others wrote their posts in facebook as well as twitter. Some friends called me up to let me know what they thought of the posts.


I am beholden to all of them.


Some of the responses were vehemently critical. Some of them were full of praise. Some of them were sarcastic. Some chose to be very caustic. Some others tried to run me down rather than engaging with my arguments. Some attacked me personally. A few of them tried to attribute motives to me.


It was quite nice reading all of them. Well, what do you expect to get when you write on something which is agitating the minds of many people and the atmosphere is so very charged. But I must tell you, I am quite used to this kind of situation; quite used to all the three – dooshana bhooshana tiraskaram. I would have been surprised if my views did not evoke strong and adverse responses. That would have meant that they did not have any value.  But I would have been disturbed if they did not evoke any favourable responses. Fortunately, there were many favourable responses too.


After reading and rereading all the comments, my commitment to the cause of Visalandhra is more vigorous today. Interestingly, it is not the favourable ones than strengthened my conviction that my argument for a united Andhra Pradesh is unassailable. It is the bunch of adverse comments that did the job. The adverse comments are so shallow and full of insinuations and devoid of logic that they failed to challenge even one element of the string of arguments that I put forward in favour of a united state. When I found well-meaning people indulging in personalised and intemperate comments, I quickly realised that they had no case and their plot was lost. Otherwise why will fairly educated and respectable adults talk about a serious matter in a sarcastic and derogatory fashion and repeat the same old allegations and falsehoods that were completely shot down elsewhere as well as in my writings?


After reading all these comments, today I am more convinced than ever that there is little to say in a serious way in favour of the division of the state.  I did not come across even a single fact or an argument that made me review or rethink any of the arguments I had advanced. There is no case to divide the state if you look at the evidence on Telengana’s economic performance; there is no case if you look at the language angle; and there is no case if you examine the so called cultural argument; and absolutely no room for argument if you look at the history of Telugu people. After all these arguments are exposed to be spurious, it finally boiled down to ‘I want it because I have been saying I want it.’ Well-meaning people are saying that they wanted division because they wanted division. Who can argue with them?  They say that anybody who wants the state to stay united is saying so because they want to exploit Telangana!!!


This is an old trick. When you don’t have a rational argument to deal with an argument, you start insinuation. You cast aspersions on the person who presents the argument. You question the bona fides of the person. You don’t engage with the argument. You try to engage with the person. Isn’t that a sure sign of a lost argument?


Now let me say something about some of the comments that were made on my posts.


First of all, I would like to make it clear that I do not want this debate to be a personalised one. I am not interested in debating about individuals, their personalities, and their worthiness or otherwise. My idea of a debate is simple: I prefer to respond to the issue raised by a person. Not respond to the individual. I do not like a debate which falls back on ‘Who are you to say?’ ‘Who is he to say?’  ‘What are you?’  ‘Where are you from?’ ‘What were you doing till yesterday?’ You are familiar with the drift I am talking about. I would like to keep the individual aside and deal with the argument. With the idea. With the proposition. And with the formulation. In other words, my concern is with issues. Only issues.


I have to say this because some of the respondents wanted to take this to personal level. Some chose to point out the fact that while I was working for the unity of Andhra Pradesh, my wife supported the demand for Telangana state. The glee in the tone of their comment is too obvious to go unnoticed. They evidently felt that they had scored a point against me.


These people obviously feel that husbands should be able to force their wives to toe their line and assert their masculine authority over them. Their point is if I can’t force my own wife to fall in line, what right have I got to tell others about the merits of my position. I don’t want to go into the details of what this means (‘What a wimp you are if you can’t shut your wife up in the kitchen and make her say yes to whatever you say?’ is just one implication of this); nor do I want to speculate on what it tells about the people who make such comments. Evidently these people are alien to the idea of two individuals having a relationship of mutual respect notwithstanding their disagreement on a particular issue. We can leave comments from this class of people alone and let them have their small thrills in life.


But I can’t resist telling you something that shocked me recently. When I was in Delhi for the Visalandhra Mahasabha’s Media Workshop and Exhibition, a girl who was with a group of people that stood outside the hall to register its protest shouted at me:  ‘first make sure your wife agrees with you’. I was shocked to learn that she was a student from Jawaharlal Nehru University.  A girl student from JNU wanted a husband to make sure that his wife toed his line! Either something is wrong with the girl student or with the University. Much more interesting is that this group of protesters was led by a ‘revolutionary’ lady with ‘akka’ as a suffix to her name.


Since I referred to Delhi Workshop, I must mention one more incident. On the second day of the workshop and while I was still in Delhi, some persons calling themselves Advocates JAC attacked my house in Hyderabad. They shouted slogans and threw stones. My mother who is eighty year old and my daughter were at home. They were bold and they did not panic.


Who attacks houses and throws stones? Only those who have no argument. Who are intolerant. Who do not want anybody to say anything that they don’t like. And above all those who are afraid that the structure of their argument is so fragile that a it will fall apart and smashed to pieces even if a single voice contests it; even if one individual questions it; even if one organization challenges it.


That day I realised that behind the insinuations, allegations, shrill voices, attacks and stone-throwing, and filthy abuse that we see around these days, there is a weak argument. The argument becomes louder and shrill because it is weak. It has violence as its companion and aide-de-camp because it is not confident about it strength and merit. It does not tolerate any other opinion because it feels threatened. It does not face facts because it fears a collapse.


This incident also strengthened my conviction that my argument was potent enough to make its adversaries panic. It made me confident that they were incapable of challenging it with a counter argument. It became clear to me that if I have to change my position it will not be because of a convincing counter argument, but because of threats of physical and verbal assault.


Some people questioned the authenticity of the data that was the basis of my argument. It was argued that the data were cooked up by the Coastal and Rayalaseema people who were exploiting Telangana. Well, I see no argument here worth a comment. Data don’t become ‘cooked up’ simply because one does not like them. If they really felt so, such people should have come up with an entire body of alternative data. Mere allegations, chest-beating, and insinuations don’t wash. One other person cited some categorization by the Planning Commission in an effort to lend some sanctity to the argument about backwardness of Telangana. I can only say that the person needs some training and help in understanding and interpreting economic data. Any student of economics can tell you that the Planning Commission’s categorization that was cited was in a completely different context and the ‘backwardness argument’ on the basis of that categorization does not stand up to even a rudimentary scrutiny.


Another comment was regarding the position taken by the now wound-up Praja Rajyam Party on Telangana agitation and my stand those days. Everybody in PRP and outside knew my strong views in favour of an integrated Andhra Pradesh. I along with many in the PRP continuously and strongly argued for adopting an integrationist stand. The leadership’s already confused position on the issue became even more confused. And the outcome was the vague ‘Samajika Telangana’ which was neither here nor there. My position then was for integration; and it is for integration today.


One person took the pains to bring out a hyperlink to a report in The Hindu newspaper which quoted me on the issue. I want that person to go back to the report and read it once again. He will find that everywhere I was quoted as saying “we” (meaning the Party) and not “I” (meaning Parakala Prabhakar). As a spokesperson of the party it was my duty to summarize and faithfully state the deliberations and decisions of the Party forums. I am not familiar with the practice of a spokesperson or a functionary saying, “My party’s stand is this but my personal stand is this.” But within the Party forums my position was absolutely clear to everyone. I was never ambivalent on this issue. The person was clever to dig the report out. I only wish that he could have used the same wisdom to read it carefully and understand it. Had he done so the nuance would not have escaped his scholarly attention.


In response to the electoral performance of Telangana Rashtra Samiti and other parties I referred to in my interview to Business Standard, somebody asked me if had deliberately overlooked the performance of Telangana Praja Samithi. No, I did not. I chose to refer only to the recent past. If one wants to bring in TPS saga also into the discourse, one has to explain why there was nothing between the TPS merger with Congress and till the latest spurt of the agitation. And how the leaders of the erstwhile TPS served in important positions in the united Andhra Pradesh also needs to be explained. The same person perhaps felt that BJP’s performance after ‘one vote – two states’ slogan was spectacular, while I described it as ‘pathetic’. I still feel that it was pathetic. If it had swept the polls or even came anywhere near to it in the region, perhaps I would have given some weight to the comment. For this commentator, when Devender Goud and Indra Reddy floundered, it was their credibility deficit and not the weakness of the cause. And when somebody wins handsomely or even scrapes through, it was the strength of the aspiration, but not as a result of the quirk of electoral fortunes. He is obviously used to only peculiar rules of engagement in an argument: Heads I win, Tails you lose!


Some tried to strip me of a title which I never possessed. They said that I was not an intellectual. Well, I never laid claim to the coveted title of ‘intellectual’. I am a normal citizen, a simple Telugu person, born into a politically and socially conscious family. I am fortunate to have gone to some reasonably good schools, colleges and universities. That’s all. No more. I do not suffer from the delusions that I am an intellectual.


But I speak my mind out. Candidly. Fearlessly. I take positions after a careful sifting of evidence. But I am also constantly on the lookout for any fact or insight that would call for a rethink or a review of my position. On this issue, I must tell you, I have not come across even a shred of evidence to support the demand for dividing the state. I must tell you that I do not consider anyone who disagrees with me as my enemy or a traitor or an unworthy person or a person with ulterior motives. I don’t level charges or attribute mala fide intentions to anybody who takes a position at variance with the position that I take.


I am open for a debate. Anywhere. Anytime. I am not the kind of person who can be cowed down by sarcasm. Nobody can browbeat me. None can intimidate me. Let nobody labour under the illusion that they can pass some caustic remarks and make some cheap personal comments to prevent me from championing the Visalandhra cause and from challenging the falsehoods propagated by the separatists. I am aware that only those who have no argument resort to this kind of innuendo. Innuendo makes a lot of noise. But it cannot be a substitute for an argument.


Therefore, if somebody is prepared to leave this clutter behind and ready for a genuine and honest debate, I am ready. And Visalanddhra Mahasabha is ready.


Let me add this here: I don’t buy the argument that ‘those who demand separate Telangana state are the only ones who are the well-wishers of Telangana.’ I have seen this trick. I don’t fall into the trap. I believe that all those who support the separate Telangana state are not necessarily the well-wishers of Telangana. And all those who are in favour of Visalandhra are not against the interests of Telangana. In fact those who are championing the cause of Visalandhra are the real well-wishers of Telangana. And Coastal region. And Rayalaseema. They are the well-wishers of all Telugu people.


Lakhs and lakhs of people from all the regions of Andhra Pradesh, all the districts of Andhra Pradesh, and all the villages of Andhra Pradesh want the State to stay united.


I have seen through the cynical efforts to portray the current situation as a conflict between ‘Telangana people’ on the one side and the rest of the State on the other.


I will lay bare the trickery of this diabolical game and expose the cynical sleight of hand behind it.


Watch this space (