Wednesday, July 31

What I wish to happen to the Telangana state

Finally, the partisan and political movement bore a fruit by declaring a separate Telangana state. This is indeed joyful to the people here (I am writing this from Hyderabad), as there is a history of over half a century to this movement, seeing a rise and fall due to various reasons along this period. This post is how someone coming from outside the region, and whose immediate ancestors haven't experienced any of the feudalistic oppression or the exploitation that happened in this region, looks at the separatist movement, its implications and possible future.

I justify this separate state movement, indeed as a matter of pride, but economic pride rather than a political one. The state of Andhra Pradesh was formed with an intention that capitalistic classes from the Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions would invest in Telangana, and hence the region would see an economic upliftment of its masses who have been subjected to the extent of slavery during the Nizam rule. A political voice to the people wasn't provided until the first separatist movement in 1969, after which many economic and political solutions were tried in the region for a better and faster upliftment of the people here.

None of these political solutions gave good results, and the region started to improve, mostly due to the purchasing power of the immigrants, rather than that of the natives. Though post-liberalization saw growth of the middle-class, the weaker and poorer sections in the region were never equipped well enough to make use of the economic situation. Although this happened all over the country and is not limited to Telangana, it's still a problem looking specifically in a regional context. Even the "Hyderabad boom" that happened in the late 1990s helped mostly the privileged sections of the region, but not the ones whose upliftment was deeply necessary with the growing economic inequality. As a matter of fact, post-liberalization period destroyed the lives of the bottom sections, increasing farmer suicides which hit Telangana badly due to its small-scale peasantry.

Coming to the present movement, although the political exploitation of the cause cannot be ignored, this is indeed a people's agitation to end the oppression they are being subjected to and to become empowered. Note that I am talking only about the underprivileged, weak and poor sections of the region, and NOT about the capitalistic and privileged sections of the same region. There have been student suicides, whose deaths were pigeon-holed into martyrdom, but the common element in every one of those is poverty, unemployment, despair and inability to get out of financial problems. Hyderabad, with its income and infrastructure, couldn't uplift any of these students from their economic situation and improve their lives in this whole period.

So, what is the future of these people now, after a state is carved with Hyderabad as its capital (in the next few years), with its income going to be spent within the region itself? Would the income distribution be favored towards the ones who are in a desperate need for it? Will it improve the chronic indebtedness of farmers in the region? Increasing Government jobs, are in fact, a burden to the state, and will impair the spending power of people, as their salaries cannot be adjusted to inflation, maintain purchasing power over a period of time. Unless people get equipped enough to jump into the competitive market economy and have their share in generating revenue for the state, the situation cannot improve as a whole.

On the other hand, we have a capitalistic and political class from the region, who are eagerly waiting to jump into the market and grab their share, and selling the notion of "development" without addressing the real issues. This type of economy without trying to uplift the masses will further increase the income inequality, and will not improve the suicide situation. The popular reasons of the present agitation - Water, Employment, and Pride will not be addressed just because a new state is being carved and more income is pouring into the treasury. Economic policies targeted to improve people's living conditions and equip them well enough to make use of the economy to get out of poverty and unemployment are desperately needed now.

So, what do I wish to happen to the new state? I would wish people would continue this revolution until their lives get improved, turn it into a class-revolution instead of a political one, make their representatives put this in priority and empower themselves. This is a good opportunity given they have a city like Hyderabad to make use of. On the other hand, what I don't wish to happen is a Crony capitalistic class getting emerged in the region making use of the same Hyderabad, increasing the oppression of the natives, and creating destructive political causes like stopping migrations, building propaganda with distorted history and culture, and persecuting people from other regions.

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Nagendran Krishnamoorthi said...

So, it is happening? Quite surprising. Wouldn’t have known about it for quite sometime, if I didn’t read your blog!

I seem to never get the way you use ‘economics’ words to talk about any social issue or society in general (like this blog or any science-fiction for that matter). It feels very similar to how Deepak Chopra uses quantum physics to explain his spiritual ideas. Considering the fact that you are very good at distinguishing between science and pseudoscience, you seem to be awful at distinguishing between social-science and pseudo-social-science.

‘Economic pride’ for the state movement? What the heck does it mean?

I don’t see you using any economic theories for supporting your views, hope or conclusions! What do you expect the change in real GDP growth rate and Gini coefficient (in the 10 districts of telangana) due to seperate state, ceteris paribus ?

I also see you mixing positive and normative statements in a very haphazard manner.
Why should there be less inequality? Is it because of your personal preference of a ‘just’ world or is it because you feel if there is lot of inequality, the prospect of long term growth of economy suffers. What do you think the ideal amount of inequality should be and how did you arrive with the answer?

Sarath Somina said...

I didn't know you were reading my blog! :)

I am not speculating on the economic situation in the new state, ceteris paribus. I am simply talking about one possible implication. I deliberately didn't use/give any solid data, due to the length of the post, and I would better do it in my other blog

//Why should there be less inequality?
My point was that, carving the new state won't really address the problems which people thought are going to be solved.

Nagendran Krishnamoorthi said...

Why wouldn't I be following your blog? I enjoy your writing!

Has any revolution lived up to all its expected promises, even the most successful ones?

Sarath Somina said...

No, revolutions never lived up to expected promises.. We both know the reasons why..
To be honest, I wanted to give an optimistic view of the future here :)

Nagendran Krishnamoorthi said...

That was a rhetorical question!

I ain't cynical about revolutions. It is just that, mainstream media tends to over-hype political revolutions and underplay technological, economic and social revolutions.

I feel that is because of the nature of mainstream media. If one truly want an understanding about revolutions in the past, present and future, he/she shouldn't start from TV news or newspapers.

Shravan said...

@Nag : What do you propose for the people of this land who are blinded by the mainstream media due to its over hype of political revolutions and unable to understand the tech, eco and soc revolutions and its ways. How can they be enlightened?
@Sarath : Good article.

Nagendran Krishnamoorthi said...

@Shru: Good article, my ass!

This blog lacks all the 'Sarath Teja' elements. No sarcasm, no good observation, no use of data or solid facts connecting it with bit decent reasoning to make a point, etc...

It also doesn't seem like this is a failed attempt to parody. (Considering his talent in writing, he wouldn't do it this terribly.)

Leaving aside his good sense of humor, the article neither brings his activist-side nor his cynicism!

Leaving aside the people of this land, can you list some tech, eco and revolutions?

Nagendran Krishnamoorthi said...


Check out this blogs for novel ideas on inequality.