Many types of India prepare to Vote

My friend MJ has an interesting piece on Why we need National Continuity.

I was also reading an article about the lack of a “national party in India” (Modi versus 20 states) but I found the comment to the post excerpted below to be very interesting and well-written.

A paen to a very different type of India. As in all things the labels Hindi, Hindu, Hindustan are very muddled because they are ultimately foreign labels. But that is not the point of the post or the comment below but rather that there are many many types of Indias not just Modi’s Bharat.

I was a bit surprised that Telangana is divided up between Rao and Reddy, to India’s credit it has funnelled the caste divides into a democratic framework (casteocracy can work). In some forms of culture South Asia is probably the most conservative region on earth since culture is essentially distributed into each caste and clan. The family networks haven’t nuclearised yet and without atomisation, Westernisation is somewhat harder to achieve.

Mr Gupta’s articulation is absolutely in line with what India is. I only hope he believes in the India that is and articulates more strongly and more often about this India. Not the India that is being projected to us by ‘pretending to be independent’ darbari (but really sarkari channels and papers) channels but who depend on the government for advertisement money. 

We are a country where the language/dialect varies by district in many cases. If we try distinguishing regions based on multiple factors, India is a combination of few hundred states. We have multiple new years. Some of us revolve our lives around the sun and others around the moon. That itself tell us, how diverse we are. We have common festivals but they are celebrated for different reasons – sometimes very different reasons. How can then our politics be led by one fellow, who thinks of himself no less than God or who is positioned by the darbaris as the reincarnation of God. Given that the God has created us to be different, what business does a self-serving politician or the darbaris have to tell us how to live our life? We are largely independent thinking and that is why no effort at assimilation in the past has succeeded. What does it tell us about who we are? Not to mention that our geography is that of a continent and our economic opportunities vary significantly. 

Not everyone can or has to become one kind of citizen – thinking the same way. 

Why do I need Modis of this world to waste my hard-earned money to tell me that I should think like him? And threaten me, if I don’t think like him, if I don’t abuse others (including my parents – read 70 years no body did nothing) like him or I don’t make hateful comments about communities like the Yogi or claim that one individual owns the army and so on?

No one politician (forget unthinking, uncaring one), will even understand the words (lack of knowledge of language), forget the problem. We don’t have many babus who are willing to think independently and help the politicians by presenting the problems as they are (after understanding the local challenges – read Gujarat cadre dominating positions across key institutions ). Consultants, and the lobbies (particularly large business lobbies or cronies – domestic and the Indian) are formulating policies. BSNL must shed 50,000 employees so that we can make space for the cronies (election funding by the 3 big businesses) in the private sector, Air India has to die to make space for 3 others – it is fine to save Jet but not Air India. BSNL and Air India were not allowed to expand when the market was growing, when we all know that timing is what matters in a business. You miss a growth cycle and you are dead. Providing support to farming a drought year is a dole, when drought is a natural calamity. Saving a private sector business is fine, as he/she made an error of judgement in pursing maximisation of shareholder value. Banks writing off lakhs of crore for less than 100 businesses is an error of judgement, but millions of farmers and rural Indian suffering on account of poor monsoon is a dole. It is fine to help a big business maintain his life-style (fly private planes), but it not fine to let a family feed itself. One is a dole, other a consideration for supporting economic growth and reviving ‘animal spirits’. I have never understood – which animals are these people referring to? My understanding of the animal kingdom is that they try taking care of their own for sure. We don’t seem to care about that ‘spirit’. Increasing income tax on the super-rich who is billionaire is considered a bad deal, but charging GST on basic needs is not a bad idea. 

Given the nature of funding that Mr Gupta has, I don’t expect him to shift, over night or 180 degrees, from supporting business interest, but I would like to urge him to present the economic reality on India as it is, rather than what the ideology driven lobbyist tell us. Same way as you have presented the reality of political India.

8 thoughts on “Many types of India prepare to Vote”

  1. “I was a bit surprised that Telangana is divided up between Rao and Reddy”
    Someone from AP can better explain this, but Rao is a honorific surname not strictly associated with any caste, and Khamma also use this surname as a honorific.

    “BSNL must shed 50,000 employees so that we can make space for the cronies (election funding by the 3 big businesses) in the private sector, Air India has to die to make space for 3 others – it is fine to save Jet but not Air India”

    Seriously? This is time for Bengalis to stop writing this nonsense. No one from India is pining for BSNL and AI. Because we have been subject to BSNL and AI and have suffered. We are fine with Airtel and Jio. and private airlines. For jet Air, we have a resolution, Tatas are buying it off. There will never be a resolution for AI and BSNL. We definitely do not want bengali thinkers resolving it for us, and do not wish to be WB, ever!

    1. Rao originally seems to be a Hindustani tadbhava of the Sanskrit rAjan, ‘king’ (please see entry number 10679 in Turner’s Indo-Aryan etymological dictionary) that seems to have become popular in Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and perhaps Karnataka also at some point, possibly during the Maratha period, Nizam rule, etc. etc. I don’t know what castes originally had it in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh but in the previous generation to mine, probably every other guy (strengthened in Telugu Brahmins and non-Reddy agriculturist castes maybe) used to be given this tag lol. The stupidity began and stopped in my family with my father and thankfully I am not some Santosh Rao or anything lol.

      Edit: But then, looking at the actual Telugu word used which is rAvu instead of the anglicisation or the origin-for-English rAo, it seems an older form of Marathi and not Hindustani is the source for the Telugu word because the native Marathi inheritance of rAjan apparently was in the form of rAvo, according to the Turner’s etymological dictionary.

    2. It may actually be slightly difficult to discern the exact source for the Telugu word rAvu using purely linguistic approach because actually both (older?) Hindustani rAo (राओ; ISO-15919-transliterated rāō) and native (older?) Marathi rAvo (रावो; ISO-15919-transliterated rāvō) are valid sources for the Telugu word because the outcome for the Hindustani-origin rāō would have also been rAvu because Telugu like all other literary Dravidian languages cannot have words with vowels in hiatus as is widespread in Prakrits and New Indo-Aryan languages.

      The shortening involved in the word-final long vowel ō into u is interesting (it could not have changed into a short o because one of the strictest rules of Telugu phonotactics is that no word can end with a short o) – I have to see how Prakrit-origin words of this type had been borrowed into Telugu until that point. This also makes me doubt if these oldish Hindi and Marathi forms are actually sources for Telugu at all and a cursory look at Mahendra Chaturvedi’s A Practical Hindi-English Dictionary tells me that a form like rAv (राव; ISO 15919 rāv) does exist in Hindi and if this rather newish-looking form is considered as the source for the Telugu word, the explanation becomes more straightforward as Telugu-isation by the word-final addition of the vowel u, as rAv –> rAvu.

      1. How really ridiculous! I always get confused by the schwa-syncope thingy. The transliteration of Hindi राव should be rAva technically and I don’t know at what point the schwa-syncope sound change began in NIA. It has perhaps been [rAv] for a lot of time now practically speaking.

  2. Rao in N-India is a honorific surname, not in Andhra. In Andhra its a proper surname/caste-name

    1. Of course, speaking only about AP and TL, this is incorrect. Rao surname in AP & Tl is used by many communities. Telugu Brahmins, Velamas, and some Kammas are some examples who use it as surname.

      P. V. Narasimha Rao – Brahmin
      N. T. Rama Rao, Nageswara Rao – Kamma
      K. Chandrashekhar Rao – Velama

      Depending on who you ask, either the Velama people or Khamma people claim the title. However, over the last 100 years, many castes in coastal AP have
      copied it, I believe.

  3. Multiple caste can have same surnames. “Das” is used by Bengali right from top to bottom of caste hierarchy (Brahmin–Scheduled caste) , does not make Das some sort of a honorific surname .

    Rao in N-India is very rare, and the people using it themselves have a separate surname/caste name as well (Singh, Ahir). You can find people within the same family who are using “Rao” as well as those who have dropped it and just using their caste surnames.

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