i am recording here, a part of a conversation about telangana movement between kuffir and chittibabu padavala happening in another forum where it may become difficult to retrieve after some time.
kuffir: there is a huge pool of dalit bahujans activism, as you say, in the telangana movement, but i don’t know if there are any strong currents of dalitbahujan thought in the movement as it has shaped up until now.
gaddar said in a recent interview: ‘manadikaani kotlaata manam kotlaadatunnaam’ (‘we’re fighting a battle which is not ours’). but he says we’ve to fight. but why? to own it, like you said? how can we fight someone else’s battle and win/own it?
gorati venkanna’s song, ‘palle kanneeru pedutundi..’ and prof.jayashankar’s theory of internal colonization– both were used as strong arguments for telangana. while venkanna’s song about the dying village and dalitbahujan distress could be about any village, in any region in the country wilting under the effects of globalization, jayashankar talks specifically about telangana.
gorati vekanna rises as the kabir of our times, or phule and asks (in this song and others)– this gaundlodu, this upparodu, this chakalodu, this kummarodu, this kammarodu, this kurmodu, this madigodu, this malodu, this erukalodu, this merodu, this turkodu– how about their right to life? he speaks with, not for, the village, the dying stream, the dying tank, the dying wells, the dying palms, the dying birds and even the dying babul trees.. it’s a stirringly human plea. a very dalitbahujan perspective. or, what i think is a dalitbahujan perspective i should learn to absorb. jayashankar brings to us, to put it simply, the brahminized shudra’s rapacity, his need to own, command and, as we know from history, ravage. nature is resources for him, people are races. it isn’t surprising for me that his ‘facts’ and theories should find much resonance in the minds of the burgeoning techie-managerial crowd among young upper castes and hinduizing obcs (now spreading like a bad case of acne across the globe), and his complaint about ‘stolen’ govt jobs should excite the dalitbahujan youth. and it also doesn’t surprise me that the prominent votaries of the miserable samaikyandhra (‘united andhra’) and ‘jai andhra’ or rayala-telangana movements/ideas should also speak the same language, focus on the same parameters of well-being, development as prof.jayashankar.
it doesn’t surprise me that jayashankar should talk about sriram sagar or nagarjuna sagar or ali sagar or whatever. and nor does chalasani srinivas talking about the grotesque polavaram or pulichintala surprise me. but what does surprise me is katti padma rao talking about ‘development’ as a superspeciality hospital in vijayawada or guntur. what does surprise me is ghanta chakrapani talking of kcr, the conductor of chandi yagams where dalits are forbidden from participating, as the icon of telangana aatmagauravam, or talk about ‘mana neellu’. only a brahminized rapacious shudra like ysr can talk/think about bottling up the krishna as ‘our water’ and take it to pothireddypadu to irrigate his clan’s paddy fields. only a brahminized shudra like kcr can talk about blowing up nagarjuna sagar..
it’s quite evident whose language and vision dominates the thinking of the telangana movement and of its opponents. for instance, in a state that has been food-surplus for over half a century and more (even regions like telangana only had a rice-deficit, not major, at the time of the state formation- it was never food deficit, because its needs were met through the production of other cereals, as you know) the focus of the ruling classes has never shifted from the large producer of surpluses to costs of the small farmer and the needs of the worker. the economic, human, social and environmental costs of the large farmer growing surpluses solely for the market should be socialised, but the costs of the vast majority of small and marginal farmers growing food for their own sustenance and the local needs should remain private.
the upper shudra’s right to privileges — his right to large dams, his right to élite education, his right to fish and prawn tanks, his right to superspeciality hospitals, his right to private schools, his right to a global lifestyle, his right to plunder nature for surpluses and his right to rule and order society– that’s the underlying theme of the telangana movement and also the opposition to it.
i don’t see what’s dalitbahujan about that.
chittibabu: [...] I would have responded immediately to your very plainly-put explosive statement that the merits we find in Telangana struggle are, and should be, the demands all sections and locales of oppressed humanity. I loved it and will try to take issue with it, nevertheless.
[.......] I like the unmistakable universalism of your position and your ability to draw it from (and in spite of the) particular and illustrate them in equally concrete ways. [.....]
i hope they keep conversing….