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A Tumultous March

Rajendra Kumar Pandey

By Gautam Pingle
Orient BlackSwan, 2014, pp. xvii 326, price not stated.


The book under review seeks to critically analyse the factors, circumstances and processes that underlined the tumultuous and painful march towards the creation of the State of Telangana as the twenty-ninth State of the Indian Union marking the conclusion of a long-drawn struggle of the people of Telangana seeking separate Statehood for their region. The volume underscores the rise of Telangana from the naught to which it was reduced in the post-Independence times by its merger with the Andhra and Rayalseema regions of the erstwhile Madras State to create the first linguistic State of India consisting of the Telugu speaking people. This volume, as the author concedes, is mainly, if not entirely, a systematic arrangement of his previous publications with the remaining portions written afresh for the book.   The topical nature of much of the volume is apparent from the arrangement of the chapters, not only in terms of number but also thematic focus. Thus, the first five chapters look at the historiography of the region with a view to situate the context in which the whole region was reorganized leading to the decimation of the distinct status of the Telangana region by merging it with the other regions to create the State of Andhra Pradesh. However, much of the passionate arguments are presented in such a way as to uncritically show the historical wrongs done to the Telangana region by the political class of the time. At the same time, incoherence of the contents and related arguments is also unmistakably apparent that somehow distorts the logical flow of the volume. In the chapter dealing with Hyderabad the entire debate on the city’s past, present and future have been discussed at the same time and at a very early stage without properly and contextually discerning the issues involved in the allocation of a particular status to the city. In order to understand the dynamics and complexities of the social, economic and political problems and aspirations of the region, the next three chapters reason out the simmering discontent rooted in the varied and subtle interests of different stakeholders. Thus, the sixth chapter looks into the intricacies of the caste configuration of the State in terms of the political positioning of three predominant castes, namely Reddys, Kammas, and Telegas in order to zealously protect their bastion amidst the fluid situation arising in the wake of the formation of the new State ...

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