An Open letter to the new Excise Minister
By: Soonya Naidu
Thanks to one cheap TV Channel and its petty anchor and a spiteful script writer ‘Paachi’ Kallu has come to fore.
Paachi Kallu is used by the arrogant Andhra’s to demean Telangana people as drunk or as drunkards while the facts speak otherwise.
Like the proverbial ‘guruvinda ginza’ our friends from the border and their apologists in Telangana ignore the numerous ‘Braaandi shops’ in Andhra and the Naatu Saara which flows. Why, Shriman NTR named the scheme ‘Varuna Vaahini’ even! They even introduced modern ‘Automatic Form Fill and Seal’ machines and branded them and sold then in ‘Prasadu’ – prabhutva saarai dukanams!
I’d like to thank the Cheap Channel for bringing the issue of ‘Kallu’.
Long long ago, the government used to sell Neera and I remember the days
when my father would take me for a walk in the morning to buy his newspaper
at Osmania Medical College Koti and both of us would savor one small bottle of
fresh and cold neera and walk back to our house in Sultan Bazar.
May I request that your department consider it seriously and initiate a
corporation if there is none to procure, process and provide Neera, to the
citizens of Hyderabad.
I am sure it will provide a good price to the toddy tappers and will ameliorate
May I also suggest that you rope in IIIT Baasra and Osmania University to
develop various products to make the life of toddy tappers easier and safe while
protecting the consumers of both the fresh Toddy (neera) and fermented Toddy
For example some of the challenges and opportunities are listed here:
1. How do we control the fermentation process so that the amount of alcohol does not exceed in the Kallu.
2. How do we keep it cool and clean and filter it – as many living organisms love including the lowly ants!
3. Can we develop and market organic sugar and jaggery from toddy and keep from becoming soggy and moisture attracting? The Toddy sugar
is a great product and tastes fantastic. Khadi and Gramodyog folks use
to sell it in Koti long ago.
4. Can the toddy plant be researched by our Horticulture departments and scientists to see which one yields more sugar under what
conditions and what types and develop new seed?
5. Create a Toddy festival like Octoberfest in Germany and make it a tourist attraction every year.
6. Please do appoint a manager/leader to ensure that we develop within 6 months, appropriate harnesses to save the lives of Toddy
Tappers who die falling from the trees. Every year it is believed 150
Toddy Tappers lose their lives and their families lose a bread earner.
Under your regime please do solemnly resolve that no life will be
lost as part of occupational hazard. I have seen such harnesses in
Phoenix, Arizona,US where workers have to prune/cut the branches of
ornamental Palmyra trees.
7.Introduce Veturi Prabhakara Sastris essay on multiple uses of Toddy tree in school curriculum. Better, ask any Gouda literary person to
write one! Thee are many in Telangana! Or best a song by Goreti
Venkanna also as an addition.
8. Aelay Laxman lost an opportunity to add the Toddy Palmyra to our state Logo!
9. Ensure that Diazepam, Hydralchlorate which are used with impugnity by money mongers are arrested and controlled ruthlessly. If necessary
call the elders of Gouda Sanghams and have a strict policy of managing the purity of the Kallu.
New excice policy.
Kindly explore ways and means of discouraging the stupidly names ‘IMFL’ or
Indian Made Foreign Liquor.
It’s a shame to gloat and clink our glasses when we can brew our own!
The monks discovered rum and the Carribeans figured out a way of producing
some of the finest rums especially dark rums in the world.
The Lodha’s (willing to be corrected if I am wrong) of Dhoolpet were ‘invited’ to
set up shot to brew liquor.
Instead of seeing them as ‘boot-leggers’ or anti-social elements, we must
encourage them and train them to brew local stuff which their ancestors knew
and brand it like Dhoolpet Drink or something like that.
We must also encourage and help the Tribals in Telangana who are proud
of ‘Mahua’ and even Bhadradri Rama likes the Mahua the flower which
yields sugar and is used by tribals to brew ‘Mahua liquor’. Can the Tribal
commissionerate or Corporation get it Geo-tagged or patented so that only small
quantities are made and priced and sold in the best of the stores world over as a
fine liquor? The proceeds should go to tribal development.
Can we ask the Kayasths of Hyderabad who hold many secret recipes from time
immemorial and who know how to ferment various fruits and make wonderful
fruit liquors and brand and patent them?
If the French, Spanish and Italian can be proud of their vintage wines, why not
Telangana on the world map of world-class liquors?
If Chinese can be proud of their beers, why can’t we commission our OU or IICT
or CFTRI to build a special brew or beer from Jowar which can be grown on
marginal soils with very little water?
Please do give sops to those foreign companies and brewers to build their malt
from jowar, especially the ‘blackened’ jowar – for a grain based alcohol is a true
Whiskey. And how about inventing our own whiskey? You will be a trail-blazer
and all the dry-lands and uplands in India, especially the Hyderabad Karnataka
and Marathwada region farmers will be thankful to you.
And please encourage micro-breweries in Telangana and come up with a policy.
If people were to drink beer, it is better they drink some without glycerine and
other preservatives. It creates a local economy and it creates a touristic variety
and costs less.
Madanna was a smart leader I learn, and it is believed that he created the Abkari
Policy under his regime so that good taxes were collected. He seemed to have
told the government officers to encourage planting of Toddy saplings on all
bunds where there could be water during rains and collected taxes on all trees
and had a good income for the government.
Telangana people are celebrating type, even when they are on roads protesting
they break into song and dance. Even when they are taking their dead to the
Khabrastan, they have some toddy and dance, which is seen as ‘funny’ by our
I am told, the true and traditional Vaishnavites do not cry when some one in the
family passes away, for the believe that the dead person is leaving for Vaikuntam
or God’s abode, something to feel good about than mourn.
These Andhra fellows have no sensitivity or tolerance, but have an arrogant
ethno-centric view of every thing.
Sorry for digression, the point I wanted to make was, can we proudly celebrate
our culture, like the French do. Nobody finds it objectionable when the French
take wine during lunch. Or an American drinks beer during lunch. Why should
we be made to feel otherwise?
Why the Churches, I am told give a few drops of wine as the blood of Jesus!
So, please do not see alcohol as taboo, for the Soma was invented by Gods and is
known as god’s drink and the Monks discovered wine and rum. So you have holy
blessings! (I am an atheist, but enjoy the stories).
However, invest a part of the income of your department to encourage
responsible drinking. And also you must support the police department with
breathalysers. To make it easier, you can insist that all bars and drinking places
provide one breathalyzer so that people who decide to drink or get drunk do not
drive and kill themselves and others on the roads.
Your department truly reflects ‘Joy de Vivre’ or Joy of Life!
Let us look at French for inspiration but not worry about our Victorian value
laden Andhra critics!
Telangana people have been original and are original. Quite unlike our brothers
beyond the borders. Our movements created original forms of protest, like
vanta-varpu, even the communists who always protest had to learn it from the
Telangana movement. Our protests were filled with songs and dance. Potana
according to KCR is the aadi kavi not anuvada kavi like Nannayya. There is more
Telugu in Potana’s than Nannayya’s poetry.
Time to rewrite history. What better way than starting the exercise in the excide
I am sure you will appreciate the ‘spirit’ of this letter.
Yours spiritedly for Telangana