Orugallu to Warangal: Journeys across Time శుక్రవారం, మార్చి 1 2019 

Finally, a book on the beauty of Warangal

Mallik Thatipalli, The Hindu, MetroPLus, February 13, 2109

‘Orugallu to Warangal’ is a keen and enthusiastic documentation by Lakshmi Prabhala and Sadhana Ramchander

Lakshmi Prabhala abcIt was in 2006 when Lakshmi Prabhala, then an IT employee commented on a blog posted by Sadhana Ramchander that led to an unexpected friendship. Lakshmi recalls, “It was a post on Bathukamma, about which not much was known then. I asked her if I could tag along with her on her future visits and that’s how we became acquainted with each other.” The association became professional with the release of their book on Hyderabad (Hyd and Seek) in 2015. The duo have recently finished their second book, Orugallu to Warangal: Journeys across Time, which pays an ode to the city and captures succinctly, its rich history, architecture, customs and festivals.

While Sadhana was born and educated in Warangal, Lakshmi took only one prior trip to the city. Sadhana says, “I’ve lived there for 18 years but at that age you want to see the world. You don’t want to see the world around you. On our school excursions, we went to Ramappa Temple or the Pakhal Lake. This book is a discovery even for someone who grew up there.” (మరింత…)


EARLIEST ASTRONOMICAL OBSERVATORY of India or South Asia: 80 Menhirs of 5000 BC found in Mudumal village in Telangana గురువారం, అక్టో 27 2016 


P Pavan, Mumbai Mirror | Oct 24, 2016

Hyderabad: In a significant discovery, historians and archaeologists have found what they describe as the only megalithic site in India, where a depiction of star constellation has been identified. The site was discovered in Mudumal village in Telangana and is estimated to date back to 5000 BC.

No other site in India has so many menhirs concentrated at one place, claim the historians and archaeologists who also believe that this is “undoubtedly the earliest astronomical observatory found in India or even south Asia”.

A cup-mark depiction of Ursa Major was noticed on a squarish stone planted vertically. About 30 cup-marks were arranged in a pattern similar to the appearance of Ursa Major in the sky. Not only the prominent seven stars, but also the peripheral groups of stars are depicted on the menhirs.

Mudumal contains about 80 big menhirs as tall as 12 to 14 feet, and about 2000 alignment stones of about 1-2 feet high. These menhirs, alignments and stone circles are spread out in about 80 acres of land. The central portion contains the maximum concentration of Menhirs, explains Dr. K Pulla Rao, who has been researching the site for over 11 years. A team of archaeologists from Korea will be visiting the site in December, according to the officials of the Telangana Archaeology Department.

State archaeology director Visalakshi inspected the site on Saturday and directed the officials to fence the area that has not been protected so far.

source: http://mumbaimirror.indiatimes.com/news/india/Megalith-from-5000-BC-found-in-Telangana/articleshow/55020149.cms

Hyderabad traffic woes- Singapore skywalks & flyovers are no solution ఆదివారం, జన 10 2016 


Hyderabad City in Dire Need of China Wall Dividers on Roads

Purnima Sriram, The New Indian Express, 7th January 2016

Increasing density in traffic is  choking roads in the city, a concern shared by every emerging metropolitan in India. A recent survey by cab company Ola states  that that the average car driving speed in Hyderabad is 19 kmph during peak hours. We are only better  than Bengaluru (18) and Kolkata (17) which have been rated as slowest of all metros. But every problem demands a ‘smart’solution and if we can swear by Telangana government’s  word, then Hyderabad has aced the required solutions to meet  the high density traffic demands of city.

The state  government recently announced multi-level flyovers, skywalks and signal-less junctions will  be developed at 54 places in the city. But will these solutions be effective to tackle traffic woes in the city? Answering to this question Laxman  Rao, HOD of JNTU Civil Engg department, which teaches traffic management as a core subject said,  “The state of traffic management plan is absolutely poor. Around 25 lakh vehicles interacting on these  corridors per day and put to a delay of more than 15 minutes of delay on an average. When we calculate value of travel time it records to `4,000  crore per annum is the congestion price which includes vehicle operating cost, value of person to that time , health etc. Local area planning with  demand, supply, and system analysis are to be conducted. Critical locations  are to be treated with technology and personnel traffic management by L& T people. Pedestrians are to be facilitated at most importance on side walk and continuity of side  walk,” he said. He also suggested a few practices that would surely be effective to control the nerve wrecking traffic. (మరింత…)

Displacing Godavari and Its People – Polavaram Dam శుక్రవారం, నవం 6 2015 

Book review
When Godavari Comes: People’s History of a River–Journeys in the Zone of the Dispossessed by R Uma Maheshwari, New Delhi: Aakar Books, 2014; pp 486 + xviii, Rs 595.

N Venugopal (venugopalraon@yahoo.com) is the editor of Veekshanam, a Telugu monthly journal of political economy and society.

Polavaram multipurpose irrigation project across the Godavari River is likely to displace more than 3,00,000 people, mostly Adivasis, by submerging over 300 habitations. It will also submerge forests with rich biodiversity, a hill range, a river and several streams, agricultural lands, and cultural sites. The highly controversial project, first envisaged in the 1940s under the colonial government, was actually taken up by the Government of Andhra Pradesh in 2006, without proper sanctions and clearances from many statutory bodies. The project violates safeguards provided to Adivasis in the Constitution as well as several legislations, including the Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA), 1996, the Forest Rights Act, 2006 and the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.

The works on the project began and continued without approvals like clearance for revised costs by the Expenditure (Finance) Committee; Central Electrical Authority’s clearance for power component; approvals from gram sabhas in the submergence areas in Odisha and Chhattisgarh states; approval of Forest (Conservation) Act for submergence areas in Odisha and Chhattisgarh; techno-economic clearance from the Central Water Commission (CWC); and CWC approval for dam design and operation schedule. In fact, the project is under litigation with several cases pending in the Supreme Court (SC) filed by governments of Chhattisgarh and Odisha as well as environmental and Adivasi groups. The project is also in violation of the National Tribal Policy as it violates the direction, “any project which displaces more than 50,000 tribal people should not be taken up.” In 2006, the SC appointed a Central Empowered Committee (CEC) to study the concerns and the CEC report said,
there is, therefore, a strong case for a second thought and explore alternative location and design of the dam to avoid the colossal loss in terms of apprehended sufferings and disruption of life style of the local inhabitants.

Tussle between States

Despite these counterpoints, the Government of Andhra Pradesh continued the works without any respect for the legal process, technical objections and social debate. The people’s movement for bifurcation of the state and formation of Telangana somewhat slowed down the pace of the works and during the movement, many Telangana votaries including Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) opposed the construction of the dam, primarily on the displacement plank. However, when the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill was moved in Parliament, recognition to Polavaram as a national project was mooted. The leaders of would-be Andhra Pradesh expressed suspicion that Telangana may oppose the project and raise litigation if the to-be submerged villages are left in Telangana and sought the villages to be given to Andhra Pradesh. All the villages passed resolutions in their gram sabhas to retain them in Telangana.

The bill became an Act in February and in May, the new government that came to power in Delhi promulgated an ordinance favouring the demand of Andhra Pradesh, transferring six mandals and some villages. Telangana immediately responded with a bandh called by the ruling party TRS against the ordinance, but, later the ordinance (amendment to the act) was almost accepted, without even challenging it in a court of law. The funniest part is that the “people’s representative” elected by the transferred villages now sits in Telangana Assembly while the people he is supposed to represent live in another state!

Movement and Resistance

Thus, Polavaram is a classic case of Adivasi displacement, deception, violation of laws, political gimmicks, constitutional and legal improprieties, corruption, etc. Notwithstanding this unique position, the comprehensive story of Polavaram is yet to be told. Over the last decade, it occupied a large space in local language media but not the deserving attention of the country. Though the people in the submergence zone as well as outside have been fighting against this gross injustice, the people’s movements against displacement have not attracted national attention. In this context, When Godavari Comes: People’s History of a River by R Umamaheshwari is a much-needed and remarkable attempt based on a number of journeys the author made in the zone of the dispossessed during five years between 2006 and 2010 and updating her story till mid-2014. (మరింత…)

పోలవరం సంక్షోభం – టీ ఆర్ ఎస్ నీళ్ళు నిజాలు బుధవారం, అక్టో 26 2011 

పోలవరం సంక్షోభం ఎస్ ఈ డబ్ల్యూ కి పరిమతమైతే బానే ఉండేది. ఇది మరో గోదారి స్పెక్ట్రం కుంభకోణం లెక్క అవినీతి, ఆరోపణలు, విచారణలు. వాస్తవాలు తేలినతర్వాత దొరలెవరో దొంగలెవరో నల్గురు వార్తలు చదివి పుర్సత్తుగా మాట్లాడుకొంటరు.

కథ అక్కడ ఆగలేదు. కనుకనే చర్చ. విమర్శ. ఖండనలు. పోలవరం వివాదంలో ఎన్నెన్ని రాజకీయాలో. ప్రస్థుతానికి కొన్నింటిని తప్పనిసరిగా ఆలోచించాలి.

ప్రశ్న ఏంది? జలయగ్నం పేరుతో సాగిన బలియగ్నంలో వాటదారులైన కాంట్రాక్టరు (ఎస్ ఈ డబ్ల్యు) టీ ఆర్ ఎస్ కు బంధువెట్లాయె? నాలుగు పైసలకోసం ఓ క్రిమినల్ ప్రాజెక్టును కట్టి తూర్పు కనుమలను, కోయ జాతిని ఖూని చేసేందుకు ఉవ్వీల్లూరే కాంట్రక్టర్లు పోలవరం మీద యుద్దమే చేసే వాళ్ళకు మిత్రులెట్లాయె. నమస్కారం చేయడానికి ముఖ్యుడెట్లాయే (మరింత…)

To hell with world cup, celebrations, yagams, vacations సోమవారం, ఏప్రి 25 2011 

Opinion/Open Page, The Hindu April 24,2011

Our farmers are dying, to hell with the World Cup
Narendra Shekhawat

Yes, you read it right; to hell with the World Cup; to hell with the celebrations; to hell with all the free land and money being showered by different governments on the players. How can I jump, scream, have gallons of beer and cheer for the nation when a few kilometres away the farmers and feeders of my country are taking their own lives in hordes?

Do you know that, on average, 47 farmers have been committing suicide every single day in the past 16 years in our shining India — the next economic power, progressive with nine per cent growth? (మరింత…)

Vaikuntam’s rural Telangana మంగళవారం, ఏప్రి 5 2011 

Familiar figures
Gargi Gupta / Business Standard, April 02, 2011 New Delhi

Despite what the title of his latest exhibition claims, Thota Vaikuntam’s subject of choice remains images from Telangana.

In the increasingly city-centric world of Indian art, Thota Vaikuntam is one of the few painters who continues to be preoccupied with rural India. Though he has been living in the city of Hyderabad for many years now, the men and women Vaikuntam saw as a little boy growing up in his native Boorugupally village in rural Karimnagar continue to people his canvases.

He has painted them again and again over the past three decades, capturing them in all their vivid splendour — bright printed saris and colourful jewellery, their foreheads, palms and feet anointed with large tikas in red and yellow. These are not realistic portraits, but flat, caricatures that are delightful nonetheless. They have become Vaikuntam’s signature that assures him both loyal collectors and a healthy premium in the art market. And over the past few years, his stock has been rising with a large, untitled canvas from 2007 topping Rs 30 lakh at Saffronart’s winter auction in December 2010. (మరింత…)

Political career of cine stars- beginning of the end? శుక్రవారం, మార్చి 4 2011 

Whither Stardom In Politics?
Assessing Chiranjeevi’s Future

K Naresh Kumar, Power Politics, March 2011

Telugu megastar Chiranjeevi’s Praja Rajyam Party with the Congress in Andhra Pradesh has raised questions about the shifting political patterns and trends in southern India. From Hyderabad to Chennai, the two cities where film stars could get into a political career whenever they wanted, at least till two decades ago, the doors are slowly being shut on the overarching political ambitions of superannuated superstars, argues K Naresh Kumar from Hyderabad.

In many ways, the rude reality check was just waiting to happen. Only that it was sooner than expected.

The early February 2011 merger of megastar Chiranjeevi’s Praja Rajyam Party with the Congress in Andhra Pradesh, unconditionally at that, has once again raised important questions about the shifting political patterns and trends in southern India.

From Hyderabad to Chennai, the two cities where film stars could get into a political career whenever they wanted, at least till two decades ago, the doors are slowly being shut on the overarching political ambitions of superannuated superstars.

Earlier, in at least as far as a host of illustrious stars like M G Ramachandran, N T Rama Rao and the temperamental Jayalalitha were concerned, it only looked’ natural’ for them to move on to the political stage and keep serving the fans who had kept them at the numero uno slot for a long, long time. Not anymore.

It does mean, at least for the present, that a successful hero is not an automatic choice for the chief minister’s post. Chiranjeevi’s example is a stark reminder of this fact. In a region where reel merged seamlessly with the real, it no more seems to be an open and shut case. (మరింత…)

బతికుండి మేం సత్తున్నం! Agrarian crisis in Telangana బుధవారం, ఏప్రి 28 2010 

బతికుండి మేం సత్తున్నం!

అన్నదాత అడుగడుగునా దగా పడుతున్నాడు. అప్పుల పాలవుతున్నాడు. ఆ విషవలయంలో చిక్కి శల్యమై చివరకు చావును ఆశ్రయిస్తున్న రైతులెందరో. బాధలను భరించలేక రైతు ప్రాణం తీసుకుంటే అతడిపైనే ఆధారపడిన ఆ కుటుంబం పరిస్థితి ఏమటి? అతని భార్య, బిడ్డల భవిష్యత్తు ఏమిటి? తలుచుకుంటేనే ఒళ్లు జలదరిస్తుంది. ఆరు నెలల క్రిత ం తన భర్త యెల్చెట్టి భోజన్న పంటను బతికించుకోవాలని కొనుక్కున్న పురుగుల మందు తనే తాగి ఆత్మహత్య చేసుకున్నాడు. ఆయన భార్య రాజమణి పుట్టెడు కష్టాల మధ్య ఒంటరిగా మిగిలింది. అన్నదాత ఆత్మహత్య చేసుకోవాల్సిన పరిస్థితి ఎందుకొచ్చిందనే వివరాలు రాజమణి మాటల్లో….
ఆనాడు రాత్తిరి ఎప్పటిమల్లెనే పనిజేసుకుని మా ఇంటి ముందోళ్లింట్ల అరుగు మీద ఆడోళ్లమంత బీడీలు చేసుకుంట కూసున్నాం. పదింపావు, పదిన్నర అయిందనుకుంటా….’ మీ ఆయన మందు తాగిండు..కిందపడి కొట్టుకుంటున్నడ’ని సుట్టు పక్కలోళ్లందరొచ్చి మొత్తుకోవట్టే (అరిచారు). ముందుగలయితే నాకేమీ అర్థంకాలే.

‘అయ్యో నీ మొగడు మందు తాగిండటనే’ అని నాతోటి బీడీలు జేసేటోళ్లు నా సుట్టూ సేరి మొత్తుకుంటుంటే గప్పుడు తెలిసింది. సుట్టుపక్కల మొగోళ్లే ముందుకొచ్చి 108 అంబులెన్స్‌కి ఫోన్ చేసిండ్రు. అంబులెన్స్ వొచ్చెటాలకే పానం (ప్రాణం)బోయింది. మా ఇంటి పెద్ద చనిపోయి ఇప్పటికి ఐదునెల్లు అయితుంది.

రైతు రుణవిమోసన సట్టం కింద సర్కారు పైసలిస్తరంటే దరఖాస్తు పెట్టిన. ఆయన పేరు మీద పొలం లేదు కాబట్టి ఆయన రైతే కాదని రిపోర్ట్ రాసిండ్రు. గింత అన్యాయం యేడన్నా ఉంటదా? నడుమ నాలుగు సంవత్సరాలు తప్ప బుద్ధి తెలిసిన నాటి నుంచీ యెవసాయాన్నే నమ్ముకున్నోడిని రైతే కాదంటే మా కట్టం ఓల్లకు జెప్పుకోవాల?

మాది ఆదిలాబాద్ జిల్లా లోకేశ్వరం. మేము ముగ్గురం అక్కచెల్లెళ్లం. ఒక అన్న ఉన్నడు. మా అందరి పొత్తుల (ఉమ్మడి) నాలుగు బిగాల (ఎకరాల) పొలముంది. మా చెల్లెలు పెళ్లయినంక పొలం పంచుదమని అట్లనే అందరి పొత్తుల ఉంచిండు మా అయ్య. నా లగ్గమై19 ఏండ్లయితుంది. లగ్గమైనప్పటి నుంచీ అట్ల పొత్తుల పొలం చేసుకుంటనే ఉన్నం.

యెవసాయం మాకేనాడు కలిసిరాలేదు. మొదటిసందీ పత్తి పంటనే ఏసినం. పంటేసినాంక కొంచెం పెరిగేటాలకే పురుగు తగిలేది. యేముంది? పంటంతా లాస్. సేసిన కట్టం ఎన్నడూ మిగలలేదు. సొంత పొలంల ఇట్లయితుందని నడమల వేరోల్ల పొలం కూడా కౌలుకి దీసుకుని చేసినం. అండ్లసుక (అందులో కూడా) పత్తే ఏసినం. అప్పుడూ పురుగే. అప్పులు చేసి పంటలేసుకుంటుంటిమి పంటపండితే అప్పులు దీరుస్తమనే ధైర్యంతో. పంటేడిది? మన్నేడిది? (పంటా?మన్నా?) పురుగు తగులుడు..పంట గంగల కలుసుడు. ఏండ్ల సందీ గింతే మా బతుకులు. అప్పులు మాత్రం మస్తుగ పెరుగవట్టే. (మరింత…)

Migrants make Hyderabad a concrete jungle శనివారం, డిసెం 5 2009 

Hyderabad: The good, bad and ugly

Radhika Chhotai,

New Indian Express, Hyderabad 04 Dec 2009

One of the biggest changes that has transformed Hyderabad is the continuous traffic snarls with the congestion going from bad to worse. There was nearly no traffic earlier and we could reach from one place to another, in not more than 30 minutes.

Being a fashion designer, another thing I hate the most is the fact that Pochampally weaving and Ikkat art is dying. Earlier, each house in Pochampally would have a loom in their house but today only five to ten houses have looms. Though at one point in time, Hyderabad was famous for Pochampally weaving and Ikkat art, today the demand has gone down.

Also, earlier if you went to Charminar, you would find traditional embroidery everywhere around you, but now it is not that easily found. Very few people sell that traditional embroidery. They are more interested in selling modern and new designs, catering to the demand.

But, one thing that I like about the city is that it is very accepting. Coming from Tirupati, they not only accepted me, they made me feel welcome and at home. When I came, Kalamkari was a dying art, but because of the renewed interest of the Hyderabadis, I could bring it to the level that it has reached. Today nearly 45 to 50 families depend on Kalamkari art for their livelihood.

I also like the sensibilities of Hyderabadis. They have a very unique taste that blends tradition with modern. Hyderabadis are very traditional at heart, but still are open to new things, and this openness leads to a fusion in the type of clothes they prefer.

One thing that has not changed about Hyderabad is its passion for cinema. People are as crazy about movies and cinema, as they were ages ago. Even today, you see long queues to book tickets on the first day of a movie.

Also, the ice-cream shop that I used to hangout in my childhood, Rasranjan, near Abids, hasn’t changed a bit. They still have the best vada pavs in the city and their ice creams are as delectable as I remember them to be. They have ice creams with natural fruits and its quality is the same.

But Hyderabad has become a concrete jungle, it has no open spaces where we can just go and sit in peace. A lot of people from outside Hyderabad have set shop and the city has become overcrowded.

Earlier Abids used to be the hot joint for youngsters, but today hardly anyone visits that area. Though it is still my personal favourite, the area has lost its fame over the years.

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