The Politics of Insecurity

Gone were the days when political parties spoke and thought about development as the main agenda of their political manifesto. While they peripherally still speak about development of the state and that of its people to be their main focus, they seldom act in such a way. The trend today seems to be where the political parties and interest groups attempt to achieve political mileage by creating a sense of insecurity among the people or by exploiting the existing insecurity. This is an attempt to establish this theme by looking at a few political movements in India and try to understand its nature as an age-old phenomenon than a recent trend.

The Telangana Issue

I would like to begin with the Telangana movement in Andhra Pradesh, as I belonging to the state and have followed the agitations since 2004. The movement has been in the furnace for decades, long even before the time when the two Telugu speaking regions of South India have decided to merge into a single state called Andhra Pradesh in 1956. I do not wish to delve into the rationale behind the movement, but wish to write on the behaviour of politicians and other leaders of the Telangana movement since 2001, especially of the leaders of Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS). Undoubtedly, there have been differences in development among all three regions of the state. While the rationale behind the movement has been ‘underdevelopment’ when compared to the other regions, the path chosen by the leaders to put their theory of underdevelopment forward, was mostly hate speech. By deliberately calling the people of Rayalaseema and Coastal Andhra ‘looters’, ‘goons’, ‘capitalists’, ‘imperialists’ on multiple occasions over the years, the leaders of the Telangana movement have tried to implant hatred in the people of Telangana. They have succeeded in creating insecurity among the people, especially students, government employees, farmers of the region. A majority of them have begun to believe in the voice that there is ‘one’ magic solution to all their problems, i.e., the creation of a separate state. The leadership has been successful in making them believe that it is only because of the ‘goon mentality’ of Kosta Andhra and Rayalaseema that Telangana remains backwards. This, I believe was a deliberate attempt to make Telangana people believe that they are inferior compared to the others and are unable to compete with them in education and jobs. This I believe, made them insecure and is one of the major contributor for an active participation of students and employees in the agitation, especially post 2009. Also, from time to time, people of Kosta and Rayalaseema, especially the employees working in the Telangana region have been threatened to leave, thus creating insecurity among them and imbibing uncertainty about their status in the capital region if a separate state is formed. For those who have lived for a generation or two and have strong socio-economic ties with the capital, this uncertainty made them feel insecure and forced them to oppose the formation of a new Telangana state at any cost. The recent successful organisation of a meeting by APNGOs in Hyderabad and the overwhelming turnout is a testimony. The point to be noted is that, rather than being responsible and trying to find out mutually agreeable solutions, the leaders seem to have banked on creating hatred and insecurity to fuel their political mileage, thus making the situation complex day by day. This ever-growing insecurity among the people in both the regions seem to fuel the movement in a very strong manner.

The Communal side of Hyderabad: Political angle of Hindu-Muslim divide

It is quite interesting that the second example should come from Andhra Pradesh, this time on communal grounds. The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) traces it’s roots to the pre-independence period and during the independence period, it is deemed a notorious status for taking a pro-Pakistan stand. The atrocities of the branches of MIM (Razakars) under the leadership of Quasim Razvi around 1947-1950 needs no mention. Leaving the past behind, the AIMIM rose from the ashes of MIM as a democratic party, mainly confined to the city of Hyderabad, where their primary interests lie. They represent the majority of Hyderabadi Muslims and portray themselves as their protectors. Being a minority amidst a majority of Hindu population, the Islāmic extremists are constant conflict with the extremist Hindus. This insecurity, as I see, made Muslims of Hyderabad to support the AIMIM as a political voice and the party has been successful all these years banking on that factor. Very less have they worked on uplifting the poor Muslims and making the community empowered. The upper echelons of the Muslim community continue to enjoy the benefits while the others live in the same state of ignorance and backwardness. What makes them think less on development and more on survival and dominance, in my opinion is this insecurity in a common Hyderabadi Muslim.

As an old proverb says, “fire can’t be made by just one stone”. As much as there is insecurity among the Muslims and parties have been successful in exploiting it, the Hindu extremists too have done their part to exploit the insecurity of the Hindus of Hyderabad and they still do. It must be noted that the extremists of both religions made life difficult for common people by pitting against each other. The Hindu extremists of Hyderabad always wanted to keep the Muslims at bay and created a threatening picture among the Hindus thus trying to gain mileage over the Muslim parties. This tug of war has existed for so long that every religious event in Hyderabad is looked at suspicion by the other group. The Bhagyalakshmi temple controversy right inside the Charminar compound signifies growing tensions between two extremist groups. These extremists have made the situation so complex that an average Hindu and Muslim in the Old City of Hyderabad today thinks that his survival very much depends on his allegiance to the political wing representing ones religion.

The Partition of India

As it goes on, I am sad that more and more examples should come out of India and the fact that most politics happening in the country are primarily based on exploiting the insecurity of a group. The idea of the partition of India stemmed from the belief of a section of Muslims that they are never safe in a Hindu majority country and that a separate nation was necessary for them to be safe and prosper. This opinion grew and became a major issue by 1940s. The fact that Muslim League rose to be the single largest party in British Punjab during the 1946 Provincial Assembly Elections by winning 75 seats (from just 2 seats in 1937), shows a wide support from the Muslims of Punjab to secessionist Muslim League. They probably felt, they would be safe in a Muslim majority new country than being together with the Hindu majority. I do not wish to deal with the causes of hostility of Muslims towards the Unionists and Congress, but I think there is strong enough evidence to believe that this reaction in part was due to the policies of the Hindu Majority Congress towards the Muslims and their inability to represent the entire population of India.

I am forced to believe that this insecurity among people has been persistent in different times in all regions of the country for some reason or the other. Examples of perfect harmony have been very less and conflicts have always been a driver for change of attitude of one group towards the others. Be it (i) the Nazi Germans who felt insecure of growing power of the Jews in their society (or) the Westerners who felt threatened by the growing power of Nazis, (ii) the Marathas who felt threatened by of the religious policies of Aurangzeb (or) the British who felt threatened by the power of Marathas, (iii) the native Americans who almost went into extinction because of the Europeans (or) the White Americans who felt threatened by the imposition of British power in the thirteen colonies, one common theme in all these examples is the fear of losing freedom and power to the others and hence striving to negate that influence on the people. This insecurity among people, running parallel to the hunger for power among its elite have shaped the history of the world and it still continues to do so.


Tale untold – The other half of history

I recently happened to read some lines told by Mr. Joss Whedon, a famous screenwriter, comic book writer, composer and actor. He co-wrote ‘Toy Story’(1995), recently wrote and directed ‘Marvel’s The Avengers’. He said,

“Half of writing history is hiding the truth”.

After reading this line, I began to wonder if there was any truth in it. This statement seemed to contradict a hard-line philosophy that we have been fed all our lifetime. That “the righteous always win over the unrighteous”, like in the epics where Rama won over Ravana, Pandavas over the Kauravas. To quote a contemporary political example, the victory of Allied powers over the Axis powers and Hitler in the World-War-II.

As I had more pressing matters to attend at that moment when this thought occurred to me, I had to dump this contradiction without giving it a serious thought. But after a few days, I incidentally happened to come across another related saying, this time, an old African proverb, reportedly told by the famous Nigerian author and father figure Chinua Achebe.

“Until lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunters”.

I now began to wonder, if all the epics or history we read today is a version of the victorious. Never in the course of history has there been a popular version of those who lost. Those who lost have been demonized by those who won.

The Ramayana: Two sides of a coin

Ramayana, written by Valmiki, literally meaning “Rama’s Journey” is all about Rama the victorious. Why Rama had to go to the forest to live in exile, how Ravana abducted his wife Sita and why Rama had to fight a righteous war and defeat Ravana. Had Rama failed to win the war, I felt that there wouldn’t have been a Ramayana, but a Ravanayana (though it sounds funny) :p

Different possibilities aside, Rama won. But none cared to hear the other version, the version of the defeated, the version of Ravana’s kin. I wondered if they had a different version, or altogether a different tale to tell. Incidentally again, I happened to stumble upon an internet link that portrays a different say, a version of the same tale told in Sri Lanka. It narrates a different story about why Ravana, though being a king, abducted Sita. Ravana’s sister Surpanakha was attracted to Lord Rama and expressed her love for him, but he rejected it. Lakshmana insulted her and in an act of arrogance, cut off her nose.  That version sympathetically asks the reader,

“Now would a king forgive someone who has cut his sister’s nose? No king or a human being would forgive another person who harasses his own sister. Who would tolerate such an act? No one would, because tolerating such a thing would be a crime by itself. So, Ravana abducted Sita to avenge his sister’s honour”. It is also said that Ravana kept Sita very respectfully. The version also states that Rama made a mistake by leaving his wife unattended in the forest during the exile.

Now which version do we deem to be correct? Rama’s tale has been carried forward from times unknown, while neglect and ignorance were the gifts for Ravana’s version. We shall never know which one is true, but the point to be noted is that, only one tale stands the test of time because there is support for it, while the other versions die. That tale is always the tale of the victorious.

My understanding of history is that it portrays those who won the fight to be right and the lost party to be wrong. History we read today would’ve been a lot different, if Hitler had won the 2nd world-war. Winston Churchill and Roosevelt would’ve been the villains of the tale while Hitler would’ve been the saviour of humanity. Winston Churchill knew this fact better. He once said, “History is written by the victors” and at a later time, said “History will be kind to me as I intend to write it”.

How relevant is this to me?

Whenever I was a part of any conflict, I had my own reasons to support that I’m right. Tried my best to win over my opponent using ‘my’ logic. But never did I try to put myself into my counterparts shoes to see if his argument is right too (from his perspective). Who knows..? The parameters of his argument might have been totally different from mine. As in vector calculus where characteristics of a vector differs with the plane of reference used, the other argument might be as true as my own, but from a different perspective. Just as a coin has two sides, every tale has two (or more) versions. As they say in The Art of Living, truth is contradictory. What one finds to be the true might be false to another and so there is no single truth.

So all I have to do to make a fair argument with anyone is to talk to the other person, listen to him, understand his say and then see if my opinion still outweighs his. If it does, I’ll fight for it and if it doesn’t, just shut up. 🙂

End of Story.


There is no greater happiness than doing what you are passionate about. That is when work becomes play. You never have to work later.
– Martin Yan

Not the exact words, but a man called Martin Yan said it. He must have learnt from someone or by his own experience. But the point is, I’ve begun to implement it and I’m very happy… 🙂

Why does my action count…!!!

The History

The world has seen many Yugapurushs in the past. All of mankind’s history and mythology is full of deeds of those men, the events that led to those deeds and it’s consequences. Our country, being one of the oldest civilised cultures has seen a number of them, while there were many in other parts of the world too. Nevertheless, there is one recurring theme in all those stories. When lawlessness reigns, these ‘people’ have brought order and fought to drive evil away.

Hindu mythology speaks of Lord Vishnu descending to the earth in a mortal form to save our people from the evil that has dawned upon the earth. He has done so, several times, once in the form of a fish, then a turtle, once a boar, once half man and half beast and the other times as a human being, as Rama, Krishna and others. They changed the course of history and created order and harmony in the world.

The other religions too, had their own special men. The Jews called him Moses, Christians the Jesus and Muslims, the Muhammad. The central theme of all these stories  is the triumph of good over evil. When evil has grown powerful, we needed a Yugapurush to get over it.

Contemporary world

Even in the contemporary world, we have had a few special people. To channel Indians agony and protest over the British, a person called Gandhi has come to us. He devised a new technique – The Satyagraha, based on the principles of Ahimsa and active resistance. His mission was accomplished and he left us. Using the same principles of Ahimsa and Satyagraha, other special ones of the time, be it Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela, triumphed over the evil and achieved their purpose.

Another important feature in the concept of a person coming to save the civilization, is that the masses idolised them. They listened to him, they followed him. People followed the principles of those men to help them achieve their common goal. While the mythological purushs were powerful and supernatural and achieved what they had to by themselves, their modern counterparts mobilised masses through their principles and made them fight.

Indians under the leadership of one such person called Gandhi could drive the British out. South Africans under the leadership of Mandela could get the Africans into power. The Blacks in America could achieve equal rights on par with the whites, under the leadership of Martin Luther King Jr.

Based on those observations, I did conclude that those Men were able to directly inspire and influence people.  They were successful in convincing the masses that their principles are right. They were able to mobilize people against something wrong. They helped good reign over bad.

How do we look at the problems?

This whole thing brought me to a question. Is our current society in need of That One person? I tried to look into the world I live in.

A few days back in Jaipur, a woman and her daughter died in a road accident. Her husband and his 3-year-old son cried for help for about two hours, but none came to their aid. What a disgrace to humanity.

Before that, in another shocking incident in Delhi, a girl and her friend were attacked, the girl was brutally raped and her friend was badly injured by a gang of men and were later thrown away on the road. The girl later succumbed to her injuries. The act was terrible and a blot on humanity. There were widespread protests demanding that the accused should be severely punished, even by death if necessary. It received widespread media attention.

After that incident occurred in December, at least 100 rape cases were reported in India. The number of unreported cases? We can’t even imagine. Did the protests really change anything? No.

Ruling class. There is utter lawlessness in the Government, favouritism, corruption from the lowest to the highest levels both in government and bureaucracy, extremely biased media and people who don’t care about anything unless they directly get affected.

I would not refrain myself from saying that our country has gone to the dogs. Wouldn’t you agree? Do you have a solution to change the perception of the life and world we have? Is there a way where people regain their long forgotten moral values and culture? I was wondering if evil has reigned over good and affecting the people? Is it time for the one to dawn and bring a change in the system?

I genuinely believed, Yes. I was confident that the only way to bring about a change in the society is through a special person, to whom everyone would listen. One person who would have the power to command millions towards good. One person, just like those great ones of the past, like Krishna, Jesus and Gandhi. I was waiting for the one.

But questions remained. Why should one person come to the rescue of millions of people? Even if one did, how would I be motivated to blindly follow a man? The whole concept of a person emerging to put us through the right path seemed hypothetical. I then realised that normal people, through their great deeds have earned the title. Nobody is a leader by birth. The title is an after effect, not the beginning.

Are you ready to be the change you seek?

That person is one among us. One who stands against any wrong that comes to his notice. One who offends and questions those who commits a mistake. One who stands as a role model for all those who seek one. The path he is going to choose may not be an easy one. He would have to face all the odds in this world. He might have to protect his loved ones from those who oppose him. He might have to withstand all the pain in the world to achieve what he wants to, for us. That brought me to another question. Why would anyone take such pain to stand for what is right? Why does one person have to suffer for the benefit of all of us?

Evil would be strong if one person goes against it. What if it isn’t just one person, but every one of us? What if everyone fights against what is wrong? It eventually would have to bow down to all of us. Succumb to our will power. Does it have a chance? NO.

The problem with us is that we look for someone else who would bring us out of the problems we face. But rarely do we understand that we are the best beings in the world and we are the ones that has to do it. Yes, all of us have that special person in us. We are the ones who should stand for good. Should change the fate of the world.

Just as small specs of grass make a rope, our own actions, however small will bring out a larger good to the society. Rather than looking for someone , I prefer to stand for the benefit of our country. Small deeds make a big action. I’ve decided to take small steps. I’ve decided to be the one. Are you ready too..?