(A. Suneetha, Vasudha Nagaraj, R.Srivatsan, Gogu Shyamala, Sarath Davala and R.V.Ramana Murthy, 23rd September, 2011)
Sakala Janula Samme (extraordinary general strike) in the ten districts of Telangana has entered the tenth day. Miners in the Singareni Collieries, private college teachers and students, road transport employees unions, school teachers, university staff, lawyers in the lower and high courts, the electricity employees union—in short almost all employees (who usually refuse to see beyond their immediate benefits) and contract workers (who under normal circumstances cannot afford to lose wages) needed by the state to “govern” its people—have gone on strike. Government in this region, already seriously impaired and facing severe challenges from the movement since 2009 has come to a standstill. In an extraordinary “do or die” battle for the formation of a separate Telangana state, the various joint action committees promise to continue this strike till a separate Telangana state is formed. Continue reading
Rice, cotton, the ecological crisis and the politics of violence:
[On the left is a clip from a report on the Godavari District Congress Conference addressed by Tanguturi Prakasam dated Indian Express August 11, 1940, Page 7). The full report titled "Was Resignation the Correct thing? Mr. Prakasam thinks aloud" can be accessed from here.]
If Arthur Cotton was reinvented as an icon of Telugu nationalist aspirations in late 1930s, forgotten for over four decades and then resurrected in the 1980s, it is thanks to the untiring work of a few adherents of a particular notion of cultural identity, modernity and progress. These adherents are mainly from among the Kammas of Krishna and Guntur districts and the Rajus of the Godavari districts. Like the Patel patidars of Gujarat, the Bunts of Dakshina Kannada, the Gounders of Tamil Nadu, these intermediate castes (or upper shudra castes) take great pride in their perseverance, pursuit of opportunities and success.
Forgetting Arthur Cotton and rerouting of Telugu nationalism:
At the time of independence, the Telugu nationalism of coastal delta Andhra Pradesh, represented by Brahmins and kammas was too deeply embroiled in battle for territory and capital city to have much use for Arthur Cotton. Soon after independence, with the construction of the Nagarjuna Sagar dam and the arrival of green revolution there was a period of relatively stable accumulation in the delta region and the command area of Nagarjuna Sagar until early 70s. The surpluses so generated were invested in transportation, rice mills, trading and of course in producing movies in Madras. Continue reading