By: Mahesh Thipparthi
(The author is a Software professional currently residing in Sydney, Australia)
Few months ago I was travelling from Chennai to Hyderabad on personal visit; i had booked tickets on bus operated by “Orange Travels” as I did not get tickets on train. This bus was fitted everything that any modern traveller can look for, as bus movement could be tracked from internet as this was fitted with a GPS device, also you could preorder food and sweets from any chosen good restaurants in Hyderabad and they deliver at your seat and they serve some free snacks and water as journey starts. On top of all it was said they are punctual and in fact, they were. By any standards, this is quite luxury any traveller can afford.
As I was not carrying any book, so my concentration drifted to the conversation that drivers were having- they were talking in chaste Telangani (if I may term Telangana Telugu as that way). The moment drivers notice that passenger is from Andhra, these drivers started adding “andi” for every word they utter and also changed their slang to Andhra dialect flawlessly and continued their conversation in chaste Telangani as the passenger settles in his seat. It was amazing to see a Telanganite displaying so much business acumen and was wondering “you can’t keep your natural skills in dormant forever and given an opportunity every skill can be acquired and used to the perfection”. As I get off the bus, I asked bus boy where he belonged and who were the owners and he replied he was from Mahabubngar and owners are “Manolle”-that means Telanganites.
In hostile environment where government heads are having no love for Telanganite, we are making headway in many places. “Orange travels” story is the best example. There are many green shoots like a orange travel in otherwise barren land- Telangana.This small incident throws away many lessons to the Telangana society –we have all it takes to build institutions,-we are bold when it comes to doing business as we are lion hearted thanks to our Muslim rulers and friends
What should be our Economic Model?
As we have seen in “Orange case”, in small scales we did better without much of the support of government. How can we take it further to build bigger and better companies to employ more people and bring joy to everybody and what economic philosophy we should be wedded to achieve great joy. Given the fact that state is around the corner, what kind of economic model we have to choose. It is high time Telangana society should recognize the fact that jobs can’t be created only in government. However larger number should be created in private only. We have to drive out the thought that jobs means only government jobs .We need to encourage private sector in a big way and across the state. And also we need to ensure that all the un-skilled and semi-skilled jobs are reserved for the local people and government do it best to create enough pool of semi-skilled people.
For historic reasons, Telangana society and Telangana intelligentsia has love for red way (left wing model-communism) .In changed circumstances globally “red way” model may not work well given the insurmountable challenge ahead of us. We may need to embrace “white way (right wing model-capitalism)”. ”White way” in totality may not suit society as such as we were the major victims of “Andhra Capitalism” in the past 20 years as it uprooted most of the villagers to give land to Andhra capitalist forces. We need to have right wing economic policy with left heart which is judicious mix of both. We need to trek the middle path-if I may say so – “Orange way”. It is tough task ahead for Telangana political establishment.
Environment to experiment:
The only way we can create more entrepreneurs is -giving the people an opportunity to experiment and fail. Part of it has to be created by the society, parents and education system. And other part should be supported by the government by promoting the environment in terms of easy loans for entrepreneurs of all sizes. Historically loan disbursement is the lowest in Telangana. Partly reason is that most of the Bank managers were from Andhra and they were circumspect and also never understood the society. Government must make it a point to populate most of the banks with people of the land.
This can be done at three levels. Micro level – Allowing easy loans for un-skilled people so that they can be entrepreneurial and move away from agriculture. Macro level – For medium level entrepreneurs through state finance corporation and third, most importantly, for students at the university level.SFCs must provide portion of their allocated money for universities so that students can get a chance to experiment. Even money squandered, that is social cost.
Lack of education damaged the Telangana prospects two times greatly in the past 50 years. In the early 1960s, we did not have English medium educated workforce helped Andhra lobby a lot and that way they have developed strong hold on the administration. In the second wave lack of technical education did not help us to gain entry into so many central government backed PSUS in Hyderabad like ECIL, BHEL and all that. We could not capitalize on that though they are sitting at the epicenter of Telangana society because of lack of technical education. These two things put us at historical disadvantage .It is high time that we correct it.
Telangana parents are scarifying everything possible to educate their children English medium coupled with KCR vision to create government run English medium residential schools should solve the main issues of modern education across the board from village level to city. Current history books make us to believe that history started from 1956 Nov 1 itself and they conveniently ignore the fact there was a state before that. And children are made to study about all the important places in Andhra like Annavram temple and all that, though historical and famous places in Telangana are neglected. There many wrongs we are made to study. We need to rewrite the whole history and also all Telangana great people stories must be told to younger generation. We need to set up “Indoctrinate committee” to rid of all negative portrayal of Telangana in the text books and set the records straight. We also need to fill up all our text books with stories that people can achieve anything.
We need to solve our historical second problem- giving technical and vocational training to Telangana people. Andhra governments have succeeded in not skilling the people of Telangana to grab all technical opportunities in technical field. We need to take this on war footing basis to skill the people with what industry demand. We need to do this in a big way. Mind you Telangana has least number of Polytechnics and ITIs. We need to consolidate all of technical institutes we have and make them centers of excellence. There is no point in allocating few more polytechnic institutes to districts based on the demand. Instead we need to take holistic picture and consolidate these institutes and make them center of excellence and creating them across state and move the students from region to other. We need roughly organize our polytechnics and ITI under one banner something like following.
Telangana Skill building Institute (Construction-Carpentry and House wiring, Plumbing)
Telangana Skill building Institute (Electronics)
Telangana Skill building Institute (Human Resources-Office Works, English Speaking)
For the namesake or appease few districts there is point in giving university to each distircts. Yes, universities should be spread across Telangana but they should be center of excellences not mere universities with all courses. We have general universities covering all disciplines like OU and Central and all other universities must be “Centre of excellence”. For example – Palamur University be science university and Nalgonda university be some other.
We need to kill all our private engineering colleges that mush roomed across Telangana who are not maintain any quality by withdrawing the largesse that current government handing – fee reimbursement. That will have natural death. Then build few engineering schools with public-private partnership in the lines of polytechnics.
We have the worst government health facilities perhaps in south India. We need to have government hostotal coupled with college in every district head quarter. And major hospitals in every Parliamentary constituency to deburden on Osmania and other hospital as they can concentrate only on major cases. As KCR said many times if at least two major hospitals are created in the army lines and nothing could be asked more.
Telangana farmer was as much killed by lack of major irrigation as much as minor irrigation. Andhra government’s systemic paralysis they inflicted on Telangana tank system more unpardonable than major irrigation. There goes a story that Brahmananda reddy went on record saying that if your tanks were full how come water reaches coastal lands. What Nizam did to Telangana tank system and Andhra government undone by killing all our lakes.
We need to rebuild and relay the most of the lakes. Let us not go behind big projects. Let us start small. One big project on Krishna and one on Godavari and nothing more. Let us rebuild all our lake as they need immediate repair and support. Let us not do the same mistake as what AP has done by siphoning so many funds into contractors pockets and instead filling their pockets let us fill the trusty throats and parched lands of Telangana. By sticking to the simple philosophy start small and simple and solve one problem at a time.
Great Nizam rulers did as part of their policy encouraging other people to come and contribute to the society and we need to continue that and apply the same within region as well. If I have to single out biggest problem of Andhra Pradesh experiment had – one way migration or lack of migration of one region to other within State. Intra migration and inter migration helps a lot in making of any society. The policy of migration should be encouraged and inculcated as a part of the public policy of the government of the day. Telangana government should encourage this to avoid any future conflicts.
Let us not forget that there are bound to be issues within Telangana in future. Some kind of disparities within Telangana. It is possible that north Telangana may dominate Telangana as they were the protagonist of whole Telangana movement. I hope that will not happen. Simply reason being to make Telangana prosperous we need to exploit two rivers Krishna and Godavari. The moment you exploit Krishna water south Telangana gets its due and the moment you exploit Godavari you will have north Telangana gets its due.Thoguh first Telangana movement was primarily led by central and south Telangana and second Telangana movement south Telangana failed to throw up a strong leader to shoulder the movement. We need to solve this potential problem. This has very simple solution- let us move people from one region to other and this should be kind of forced migration. When people movement happens, sub regional cultures can be understood and in turn problems .Problem is half solved when it is understood.
I never ventured into north of Telangana nor my family entire life as there was never a need to do that. I do not know how Nizamabad or Karimnagar looks. This might be the problem of many in south and does not augur well for future of Telangana.
Intra State Migration
Migration can’t happen on its own and we need to have some public policy in place to encourage that. The only way government can encourage is by building center of excellences across the state and forcing the people to move there to work and study. Creating industries across width and breadth of state can force migration naturally. Taking district as unit to for government transfers is another policy. Yes I understood they are radical but in the best interest of state we need to do that.
Inter State Migration
As much as we want intra state migration, we need to encourage interstate migration. Great learning can happen by interacting with different cultures and people. This has to be part of public policy and must be state funded one. We need to build “Telangana Bhavans” across neighboring states and also in some major cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata- where subsidized accommodation must be provided. So that people have a nest for them even if they go out to faraway place in search of job or poets and social scientists go there to establish interactions with other society. They must be culture centers and meeting points for all the Nonresident Telangana people.
Culture and Cinéma
We have seen how language can be used as political weapon to suppress the democratic aspirations of other region and also how danger it is to tie you to language based politics. And it is high time if we, as a society, realize and stop seeing language through political or religion prism.
Unfortunately some people started equating language with religion and we have to shun it.let us not treat Urdu as language of Muslims alone and instead see it as means to understand a part of the society. Urdu needs to be given as much prominence as any language gets. Let us not have Telugu university and let it be named as University of Languages and let each language flourish there.
Folk Artists Promotion
I do not think in independent India if any movement created so many folk songs as much as Telangana movement. Telangana sensitization happened mostly through the writing of Telangana artists than KCR speeches. Telangana movement and society thrived on artists we should never forget their contribution either to Telangana movement or to the society.
We need to promote it so that even in future they represent voice for the voiceless. Some of the artists may not be at largesse of the government just to avoid conflict of interests. Government of the day must promote wholeheartedly and understand the true meaning what their artist represent and take corrective actions instead of suppressing their voice. The true way we can honor them by giving all prominent artists as honorary professors in University of Languages and Culture to do their work from their own comfort and Creating separate chairs in the universities for each folk arts so that they can be passed on next generations.
My Kerala friends say that Kerala cinema has many stories on Telangana situation and conflicts with in Telangana. Given long turmoil Telangana went though there are many human stories to be told to the world. Let us give good cinemas to the India by telling human stories in the lines of Kerala, Bengal or Iranian cinema not amalapuram types.Let us take Narsinga Rao or Syam Benegal for inspiration not Raghavendra rao. We need to build “Telangana Institute of Drama and Fine Arts” in the lines of Prithvi theatre in Bombay ,in each and every distict all kind of arts can be encouraged and performed for a nominal or subsidized cost. Let those institutes be served as cultures centers and artists makers to the nation and world.
It is bitter fact that today’s youth are succumbing to bad habits at very early age in villages, their energies must be channelized for right sports. Creating residential sport school in every district may be good idea.
To suppress the leftwing extremism, police were given too many powers. It really went too far. It went to an extent that normal crimes are often dealt with encounter killings by utter disregard to constitutional rights. Even a Constable wields so much power under the garb of handling naxalism. The way they treated citizens while Telangana movement is on, under the instructions of high office, is in public domain.
Telangana government must make every effort to humanize them by involving them in social programs and making them accountable for even certain social obligations. If sufficient Telangana officers are not there, we must ensure to appoint more neutral police officers from other parts of India. We need to handle all these issues at the root-level.
Close scrutiny of Telangana history reveals the fact that Telangana was never at peace for the last 70 years or so.I reckon that Telangana is inching towards most peaceful state now. I understand some of the ideas are utopian. And it is high time that we sit together and build our dream land.