University of Hyderabad 2016-2017 Students’ Union Election Contestation

A few details pertaining to the previous academic year 2016-17 Students’ Union election at the University of Hyderabad is as follows;

ABVP OBCA Whole Panel

ABVP OBCA President and VP

ABVP - OBCA

ABVP OBCA GS and JS

ABVP OBCA Cultural and Sports Secretaries

GS CASH

UFSJ for 2016-2017

Ultimately, this election witnessed the fruitful and victorious emergence of the United Front for Social Justice (UFSJ). UFSJ comprised various student organisations like Students’ Federation of India (SFI), Dalit Students’ Union (DSU), Tribal Students’ Forum (TSF), Bahujan Students’ Front (BSF), Telangana Vidyarthi Vedika (TVV) as electoral alliance partners. Ambedkar Students’ Association (ASA) contested as a separate panel entity; though there were high range expectations that ASA will become part of UFSJ. The ASA’s contestation as an independent electoral group of a body made many disappointed, and some even accused ASA by attributing evil motives in various forms.

This election took place after the Univerity of Hyderabad witnessed an unprecedented global attention in the wake of the unfortunate suicide of one of the Ph.D., Research Scholars, i.e., Mr Rohit Vemula. The death of Rohit Vemula attracted global attention towards projected and alleged caste discrimination on the University of Hyderabad campus in particular and on other academic institutions across India, in general.

This 2016-17 election also witnessed an unprecedented focus. One of the focal centres of concern was; why a united student body, which led a glorious revolutionary democratic battle against the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Vice Chancellor Prof Podile Appa Rao, etc. got disunited and contested elections? A large chunk of the University student body, comprised almost all the student organisations, expect ABVP, came under two platforms: ‘Justice for Rohit Vemula & Joint Action Committee For Social Justice’ and led a massive revolutionary democratic battle against the groups mentioned above and Vice Chancellor. This large-scale student organisations activism was expected to retain and sustain during this electoral contestation in the form of electoral alliance. But, such expectations, in reality, saw disunity in electoral collaboration.

By the time of the 2016-17 election, these two platforms; ‘Justice for Rohit Vemula & Joint Action Committee for Social Justice’ activities got declined. Critics observed that the reduction of these two platforms activities had to do something with the ensuring and forthcoming elections for that academic year. All this indicates: politics, though openly not acknowledged, is well mastered and practised by various student organisations and sections. And, it took some time for others to realise realities, especially for those whose expectations were very high after witnessing high-level student activism in the form of Justice for Rohit Vemula, etc.

Allegations and counter allegations also went-on high during this electoral process and immediately after completion of the electoral process also this tempo continued. It was highly alleged that ASA was the prime responsible student organisation for betraying the spirit of possible electoral collusion of all the participated teams in the Justice for Rohit Vemula movement. But, ASA justified and propagated that it fought as an independent electoral body since it got betrayed by other co-students organisations (ASA allegations over disappointment should be ascertained and seen separately)!! But, such charge and propagation of ASA got negated by other co-student organisations, which colluded under UFSJ for electoral gain. Among all the colluded partners under UFSJ; BSF took the lead and criticised ASA, as ASA possessed evil motive, for failing to join UFSJ and making unjustified allegations against UFSJ partners. BSF accused ASA has had hand-in-glove with the Indian National Congress (INC) and National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) for not joining the alliance under UFSJ. While BSF expressed such opinion publicly, some others too expressed such opinion in informal ways.

All this indicates that the University range elections, at the University of Hyderabad level, are getting entwined with the mainstream political atmosphere, which was not the case until a few years ago. In fact, in the past, almost all the Student organisations desired to have wider exposure to their political activism in the mainstream media with public attention and concern. Such wish of them started to fruity slowly over the past few years in various respects. The University of Hyderabad’s, unseen alumni role is also prominent, in getting this University into the public limelight over the past few years.

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National Seminar on ‘Politics of Inclusion: Empowering Minorities in India’

The Department of Political Science, University of Hyderabad organized and hosted a National Seminar on ‘Politics of Inclusion: Empowering Minorities in India,’ during September 5-6, 2017.

On the sidelines of this National Seminar, I had presented a Paper entitled ‘Political Strategies and Deliberations over Muslim Backward Classes Inclusion: The Distinctive Case in Andhra Pradesh & Telangana.’ The abstract of this Paper is as follows;

Abstract

The Concepet Note of this National Seminar is as follows;

Politics of Inclusion

The tentative Programme Schedule of this National Seminar is as follows;

Programme schedule of Minority Politics

Mohammed Ghouse, Post Doctoral Fellow, Department of Political Science, University of Hyderabad was the prime source behind organising this National Seminar. But, technically the credit was acknowledged under Sri Chandrasekhara Rao as Convenor of this National Seminar.

 

First Phase of Innings: Acting and Political Dynamics of Chiranjeevi & Pawan Kalyan

In the South Indian Tollywood, Chiranjeevi and Pawan Kalyan have captured a unique place as successful lead actors. Though these two leading actors also happen to be biological brothers; yet there exists a considerable age gap between them, at a range of almost close to 17 years or so. First, Chiranjeevi ventured into the Tollywood as a trained actor from Chennai, where Tollywood headquartered in those days. Chiranjeevi chose to migrate from his native East Godavari district in the Coastal Andhra Pradesh to Tamil Nadu’s capital city Madras (later-on renamed as Chennai), as part of pursuing his well aspired and cherished career in the Tollywood. As per his admired ambition, he was able to become a successful and established lead actor in Tollywood within a short duration and was able to continue the same position, since then. In his initial years of professional career, Chiranjeevi used to be very busy as an actor by almost simultaneously acting in various films. Somehow, in due course of Chiranjeevi’s professional career, his other family members also started to venture into this field, especially his two brothers; one among them happens to be younger brother Pawan Kalyan.

It was noted on a few platforms that Chiranjeevi has nurtured the career of Pawan Kalyan to some extent by providing him training in acting at a professional trainer at Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. Thus, both Chiranjeevi and Pawan Kalyan entered Tollywood as trained actors and were successful also in due course of time. When seen from the educational background; Chiranjeevi happens to be little more educated than his younger brother Pawan Kalyan.

Pawan Kalyan, in a certain observable sense, entred Tollywood at a time when Chiranjeevi’s film career started to witness a slow motion, during the end of 1990’s. Most film and lay observers opined that Pawan Kalyan was fortunate enough to have continuous hit movies. In fact, in Pawan Kalyan’s professional career in Tollywood, so far, he has very less unsuccessful films. The parameter chosen to consider this success of Pawan Kalyan’s films stood at ‘less loss to the movies produced and released.’ Thus, almost all the producers must have been glad to have produced films under his lead character roles.

And, on other parameters, when judged, these two brothers, over the years, were able to sustain their base, though at times the film sector was under intense crisis. Not only these two brothers, but even their other family and extended family members in this Tollywood industry were also able to sustain and grow in various forms and folds. In addition to this observation, critics also noted that most of the Kapu caste actors, to which these two brothers belong to, also ventured into this sector and grown. And, in this direction, it was prominently observed and noted that Chiranjeevi’s acquired prominent position in Tollywood helped a lot in this sequential end’s realization. Thus, Chiranjeevi in a certain sense has a respectable and acknowledged honor among various sections of Tollywood, and one such section also happens to emanate from his caste, i.e., Kapu. In fact, a few critics well noted that the successful emergence of Chiranjeevi in the Tollywood had put an end to the sole domination of Kamma community, which enjoyed till then. Thus, inherently caste dynamics were present in this entire Tollywood industry for long.

II

The political entry of Chiranjeevi, primarily, was seen, by a few sections of society, as an extended desire to bring success to the Kapu caste, from his side, through newly floated political party ‘Praja Rajyam Party’ (PRP) in 2008. Both the family and extended family members of Chiranjeevi actively stood beside him during this phase of PRP election campaign. In the initial phase of this PRP electoral campaign activity, much crowd attended meetings. This crowding pulling capacity of PRP and Chiranjeevi was analyzed in various modes. But, in due course of time, PRP’s prospectus seemed to have diminished considerably. Ultimately, when PRP contested 2009 Lok Sabha and Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly elections; the result was heartening than expected. At last, on the whole, it was recognized and acknowledged that the PRP, on the whole, was able to garner only around 18% vote share or so. And, this 18% vote share was attributed to have emanated from the Kapu community.

Among all the family and extended family members, Chiranjeevi’s younger brother Pawan Kalyan got highlighted in the mainstream media due to various reasons; like due to opposition party’s satirically posed serious comments and allegations over his personal life and more. Pawan Kalyan, PRP and Chiranjeevi family and extended family, in certain sense took corrective measures towards this end. Thus, this indicates that the opposition has succeeded in its satirically posed serious observations and allegations. From this stage onwards, Pawan Kalyan’s personal and professional integration started to get exposed, prominently. And, Pawan Kalyan was also seen drastically quite the opposite from his other family members.

In due course of time, Chiranjeevi has realized that he was unable to run the PRP. As a result, PRP was merged into the Indian National Congress (INC).

The merger of PRP with INC brought to the forefront various political and social commentary on various platforms. One of the major critical allegation was that Chiranjeevi had sold his PRP, in the form of merger with INC, due to a drastically changed political situation in the Andhra Pradesh political scene. A few sections, which vote and patronaged PRP and Chiranjeevi’s leadership got disappointed and ventilated their anger openly, in various modes like at times in a harsh manner too.

As a result of PRP’s merger with INC, Chiranjeevi was offered Rajya Sabha membership by the INC and got inducted into the Union Council of Ministers headed by Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister. This step also brought some negative response from a few sections of society, that only Chiranjeevi was able to benefit by launching and merging PRP with INC, politically; since his political career continued under INC.

One of the most disappointed section over the failure of PRP and subsequent merger with INC was Kapu community, as per critics observations.

On the whole, with the merger of PRP with INC, the first active phase of Chiranjeevi and Pawan Kalyan’s political career got a curtain closed.

But, both of them are still visible as film actors and leading politicians in the next continued second phase under INC and Jana Sena Party (JSP). JSP was established by Pawan Kalyan in the year 2014, taking into consideration scheduled elections to the Lok Sabha and Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly. Though JSP failed to contest in this election, it extended full-fledged active support to the TDP-BJP alliance. This second post-2014 election innings of these two brother’s needs another exploration.

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Kapu’s Dual Edged Aspirations

‘Kapu’ is one of the most well recongised and believed to be numerically largest caste group in the Telugu Region of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Though the word ‘Kapu’ appears to be a monolithic identity, in reality, and in practical coinage, this term differs largely in meaning and usage. Because the ‘Kapu’ identity is master minded and projected for two prime dual edged benefits over the years. Critics in social sciences, media, society, etc observed and well noted that the present usage of the caste ‘Kapu’ is meant and used in the context of bringing and projecting various inherently allied sub-communities under this single ambit for acheiving two prime focal targetted goals. By attempting to pose as a monolithic identity, under a single caste ‘Kapu’, all the other collaborating and conjoining sections, groups, communities and castes numerical strength gets hiked on an abundant scale. As a result, this caste can be recognised as a numerically predominant force. Thus, such acquired numerical strength, may hopefully result in bringing certain desired benefits, especially in relation to two prime focused targets over the years.

These two targetted goals are related to; one, achieving Backward Classes (BC) status for better economic prospects and advancement; and the second, relates to capturing of much coveted ‘Political Power in the form of occupying Chief Ministerial Position’. Please refer one of my previous blog-posts; which portrays how and why certain castes and communities believe and aspire to capture Chief Ministerial Position (Chief Ministerial Position: A Recognistion of Caste Domination).

When looked at Kapu community’s dual edged aspiration; these two aspirations, stands in some sort distinctly unique, when compared to other predominant communities like ‘Reddy and Kamma’.

As per my personal observation and dialogical exchanges, which I had at various points of time, with various recognisable persons on this field of ‘caste politics of coastal Andhra Pradesh’; Kapu community’s aspirations are not able to get positive acceptance from various sections of the society and political class due to inherently present and evolving dynamics.

For instance, though Kapu community claims to have backward sections within its fold and seeks BC reservation; such claims and aspirations are highly contested by various sections of the society, by putting forward how and why Kapu community doesn’t deserve BC reservation, as a whole. In this sequence, it was also highly pointed-out, various previous instances of proven track records. Yet, this community is not giving-up this aspirational claim to get inducted under the BC category.

And, on the second edge, related to capturing of political power by occupying the position of Chief Minister. Though Kapu community is recognised as a predominant caste force on par with Reddy’s and Kamma’s, by certain sections; so far this community has failed to hone it’s collective political caliber. In this sequence, we can observe, for instance, that this community has failed to negotiate well with the Indian National Congress (INC) leadership and capture the Chief Ministerial position (INC has an established tradition of giving patronage at regional level to certain castes and sustain political base, by capturing power. In this sequence, in the Andhra Pradesh region, upto bifurcation as Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in the year 2014, INC well co-opted Reddy community and sustained political power over the years).

On the other side of realising this much-coveted desire of capturing Chief Ministerial Position, Kapu community has failed to establish and be successful in the electoral democratic domain, unlike the Kamma’s under Telugu Desam Party (TDP). Though, Mr Chiranjeevi, one the most popular film actor in Tollywood, who belongs to this Kapu community, has attempted to ensure this desire gets fulfilled, by establishing Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) in 2008, has failed in reality. Kapu’s also sounded to have got well disappointed with the failure and susequent merger of PRP with the INC.

At present, to some extent, Kapu’s political trajectory is running under shadow shade, under the guise of another Tollywood actor Mr Pawan Kalyan, who established Jana Sena Party (JSP), in the year 2014. Mr Pawan Kalyan, as per many critics observations is playing a guised and shadow political game, by not formally establishing and playing politics under JSP. All this amounts to unprofessionalism in politics, so far.

Thus, all this indicates, that as of now, Kapu’s are failing to get realise their dual edged strategical aspirations. How long, this non-fulfilment may prolong, needs to be seen, by waiting and analysing the democratic political march. Or how this dual edged aspiration may also get modified or defeated also requires to be seen in the political discourse.

Chief Ministerial Position: A Recognistion of Caste Domination

Politics is an open professional filed, and people venture into this field from various professional backgrounds like the business, social service, academics, engineering, etc. Such professionally embedded diversity in politics brings maturity and endurance to the democratic process. One should welcome such diversity in politics for better prospects of democracy and democratic aspirations to triumph.

Professional sectoral background in the Indian politics is embedded with other factors, like; region specific sectoral variations like caste, etc. While caste is a predominant and perhaps, at certain level, a sole highlighting factor; at other levels, other factors also got ventured into.

For instance, in the Indian political discourse, the upper castes mostly captured political power through electoral democratic battels in the first innings. In the second innings of democratic march, the upper castes started to face and see challenge from middle castes and/or other backward classes. This entire discourse is well captured by Political Scientist Christophe Jaffrelot in his most popularly recognised work ‘India’s Silent Revolution: The Rise of Lower Castes in North India’.

This kind of continuation in the Indian political discourse can also be observed in the South Indian states, like Andhra Pradesh. Primarily, in the first march of Indian democratic battle, Reedy caste leadership emerged and was successful under the Indian National Congress (INC). The success of Reddy community is usually recognised in capturing and repeatedly sustaining Cheif Ministerial position.

In the second innings of the electoral democratic shift, this situation witnessed and brought-in a new player in the form of ‘Kamma Caste’. Kamma community was able to capture political power (i.e., Chief Ministerial position) through its charismatic Tollywood Actor Sri Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao (NTR), who established Telugu Desam Party (TDP). TDP in due course of time had a best political career in the Andhra Pradesh and Indian democratic politics, in various forms, at various points of time.

One of the most recognisable and appreciable fact about TDP lies at capturing political power in 8-9 months of duration after establishment. And, in the second subsequent stage, TDP was also able to emerge as a key player in uniting anti-INC parties across the country and formed anti-INC governments too on a few occasions, at the national level.

But, it should be noted that Kamma community was also a predominant political force and player in the Andhra Pradesh electoral and democratic march, having a substantial presence, even before the establishment of TDP. But, Kamma community was dissatisfied for not able to capture the Chief Ministerial position under INC and losing every time to Reddy community. Hence, obtaining of Chief Ministerial position under TDP is considered as criteria for recognition of the political success of this community.

Thus, this indicates, that the social and economic dominations of a few castes got reflected in capturing political power, successfully over the years together (i.e., being in opposition or in power). And, most notably such domination is well recognised, if Chief Ministerial position is repeatedly captured and retained by a single community, especially under one political party.

This established democratic tradition, which we have seen under INC and TDP, in favour of Reddy and Kamma castes, made a few other castes to believe and aspire; that a caste’s political power can only be recognised and established, if political power is captured and retained through Chief Ministerial position under a single political party repetedly!! But, this is a distant dream to many castes to realise in practice!!!

Annotated Critical Deliberation on the ‘Annihilation of Caste’

‘Annihilation of Caste’, is one of the most popular treatise in India dealing with the ways and forms of persistence of Caste and modes of ‘Annihilating’ it, penned by Dr B R Ambedkar. Though Ambedkar authored and published many a works related to caste, etc; among all his writings, the ‘Annihilation of Caste’ has a unique position among his admirers and followers , primarily. As a result, his admirers and followers published and republished this ‘Annihilation of Caste’ document in various forms and modes over the years, across India in various vernaculars modes too.

The present review deals with the Navayana Publishing House, New Delhi published work in 2014. Navayana Publishing House in 2014 brought out an ‘Annotated Critical Edition on the Annihilation of Caste’. In this edition, the Editor S Anand provided critical Annotations to the original text of Ambedkar’s ‘Annihilation of Caste’. And, a lengthy Introduction was also provided by Arundhati Roy, one of the well known Indian English writers. This Introduction was entitled as ‘The Doctor and the Saint’.

I had composed a Review of this Book in the The Criterion: An International Journal in English‘, as part of this Journals April, 2017 issue. ‘The Criterion’ is an University Grants Commission (UGC) recognized journal. This Review can be found on the following source.

Annotated Critical Deliberation on the ‘Annihilation of Caste’

Previously, a discussion on this Book was held at the University of Hyderabad in 2014.  And, I had provided a report on that discussion in 2014 itself. Please refer the following URL source for that same discussion, if interested.

Arundhati Roy tilts towards Gandhi: Prof. K. Y. Ratnam

Moral University Convocation

A few years back, a predominant Scheduled Caste (SC) group and organisation at the University of Hyderabad Campus begun to perceive me as a threat to their ‘Caste and Organisation’. As a result, they started to brand me as an ‘Anti-Dalit’ and propagated in such a manner to a few Non-Telugu Dalits, who begun to believe the same.

I came to know about this process and incident a bit late.

On one day, a Non-Telugu SC Doctoral Research Scholar from Political Science started to behave with me in an unusual manner, due to this believed (mis)belief as an ‘anti-Dalit’, without expressing the same in full-fledged form.

Surprisingly, on another midnight, we both encountered each other while walking on the University Campus. This gentleman was thoroughly drunken. As a result, he was able to open his feeling against me as ‘anti-Dalit’, albeit in a little polite manner. But, I was able to guess the sense.

The result was – at length discussion, deliberation, debate, explanation followed. Even then, there was no change in his mindset.

After returning to my hostel room – I pondered over about this guy’s perception towards me and more. At last, I felt pity for his inability to understand ‘what constitutes Political Discourse – why and how’, even after having highest qualification in the academic discipline and exposure to a particular Political Society and System for more than a decade!!??

As a final moral resort, I conducted ‘Moral Reserve University Convocation’ in my heart as Chancellor of the University and repealed his awarded academic qualification in the Political Science discipline for his inability to sustain scientific temper in the pursuit of the Subject!!