A marital vow on Telangana


By Uma SudhirThe marriage invitation card caught my attention because it was shaped like a map, the outline of which is becoming increasingly familiar. It was a loud political proclamation of a deep, heartfelt passion. On the red card was printed `laggam pilupu’, or marriage invitation, and the details inside were elaborated in a style of Telugu typically used by the people of Telangana.

The groom Madhu, a cameraperson with a Telugu news channel in Hyderabad, says being in the media, it was not easy for him to directly participate in the movement for a separate Telangana. So he hit upon this innovative idea of showing where he belongs, what he stands for, culturally, linguistically, geographically.So did you only invite people from Telangana, I asked him. No, I have many friends from Coastal and Rayalaseema and they all attended my wedding. This was only my way of showing where my heart lies.

So the menu at the marriage, for example, included “pachi pulusu”, along with the biryani. “Pachi pulusu” is a gravy made with tamarind pulp extract, typically made in Telangana.

I ask the groom, originally from Mahbubnagar district, where his bride hails from. Here only, madam, he replied shyly.

My colleagues from both sides of the divide in Andhra Pradesh thought the question need not be asked at all. In the sense that they opined, and strongly, that no longer can new marital relationships be forged between people from “here” and “there”. Arranged marriages are out of the question and love across this `divide’ or `border’ will not be easily accepted, one wise one proferred.

My driver tells us about a family in his neighbourhood. Two brothers married to girls from the two different regions of the state. What used to be light-hearted banter about how different and how similar they are in customs, habits and traditions has now become an everyday battle of one-upmanship on what should be cooked in the home and how. What should be celebrated and what should not be.

Particularly sensitive is the language issue. Renowned Tamil poet Subramanya Bharathi may have called it `Sundara Telugu’ or Beautiful Telugu. I recall a friend’s father has for years boasted to me about Telugu being the Italian of the East. And yet today, there is as no unanamity among the people who speak the language on which version should be considered `authentic’ . It has in fact become one of the most contentious points of debate. About whose Telugu is better.

Those from Telangana quite tired of their Telugu being dubbed inferior to that spoken in, say coastal region, are almost with a vengeance rightfully reclaiming and showing pride in the language that belongs to them. Who can deny the soul that the language can put into the music that springs from here, they ask.

In this era of heightened sensibilities and sensitivities, the first few words you speak are enough to label you. So it becomes tricky for people like us in the media. You will invariably be dubbed as being from one region or the other. Which happens very often. And if you deny, that is allowed to pass with a smile as though to mean that you must be from the “other side”. It is okay madam, they tell you, almost as though despite being from somewhere else, I am being given a concession of acceptance.

It was in the midst of this debate that I asked one of my colleagues who had been looking quite desperately for a tenant why he had refused many potential candidates. The otherwise mild-manner young man said firmly with a smile: “For the same reason. Because I cannot let out a portion of my home to someone from coastal Andhra when in the other portion, someone from Telangana is staying,” he explained.

“Every little quarrel has the potential of escalating into a full-fledged war. And it all begins with something as innocuous as getting water from the common tap outside to what you cook, what you celebrate and what you don’t, what language you speak and ultimately where you come from. That is how it has become,” he confessed.

Another colleague mentioned that in his apartments, some residents had recently wanted to do a `vanta varpu’ or a community cooking in the common area, responding to a call given by pro-Telangana groups asking people to come on to the roads and show that while they light the fire on the roads of Hyderabad to cook their meal, the heat should be felt in Delhi. They even invited others to join in the meal.

What could have been a fun activity to bring the community together however became a reason for even more sharp divisions. Those from non-Telangana regions raised strong and very vocal objections. Matters came to such a head that it was decided that those incharge of managing the association of house-owners should no longer be from either Telangana or the coastal-rayalaseema regions. So the mantle fell on someone from the region north of the Vindhyas !

 

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Yeddy in no God’s land


By T S Sudhir

Devare Illa, Devare Illa” screamed an agitated B S Yeddyurappa, storming into the BJP meeting. Finding the other leaders perplexed, he fished out a piece of paper from his pocket and read out in English “There is no God”.

“See, I told you na,” chuckled Sushma Swaraj to Nitin Gadkari. “I told you it means `there is no God’. I have not forgotten my Kannada learnt in Bellary. Dingi dingi jingalala.” (and raises her hands as if doing a jig).

 

“Sushma ji, Sushma ji, control, control. We already had a lot of answering to do for your shaking a leg at Rajghat,” Gadkari said, trying to calm her mercurial enthusiasm.

Meanwhile BSY was raving and ranting in fourth gear. “How many temples did I not go to, how many temple elephants have not blessed me. Not just temples in Karnataka but even in Kerala, Tamilnadu, Vaishno Devi. Even Mauritius. Yet, yet, I keep landing in trouble. And Gadkari saab, I don’t mean land as in my land trouble.”

Shant ho jayiye, Yeddyurappa saheb. Please sit down. Someone get him a glass of water,” said Gadkari.

“During the emergency, I remember our leaders getting agitated like this,” started L K Advani. “There was this incident in Amritsar, I vividly recall, when hamare ek sahyogi par aarop laga tha …”

Gadkari interrupted. “Yes Advani ji, we have heard that story before. This is an emergency alright. But we can’t have you going in flashback into The Emergency everytime please. We have a very serious issue at hand. What should the party do? Our chief minister has turned an atheist.”

Venkaiah Naidu, a Rajya Sabha MP from Karnataka chipped in. “This is very bad PR for a Hindutva party like ours. Yeh hamare jaise Hindutva party ki chavvi ke liye bahut kharab hai. Idi manalanti Hindutva party ki chaala baadaakaramayina vishayam… ”

“Enough Venkaiah ji. This is not a press conference that you have to repeat the same soundbite in different languages to different channels. We have a problem on hand,” scolds Gadkari.

Prakash Javdekar tries to lighten the mood, playing court jester. “If Atal ji was here, he would have said “Yeh acchi baat nahi hai.”

“Javdekar ji. Yeh majaak ka waqt nahi hai. Yahan gambhir mudde par baatcheet ho rahi hai,” chided Advani. “I remember during a discussion in 1976 October, no, no, I think it was September, yes, yes, Raj Narain had made a similar frivolous remark and Morarji bhai had ticked him off.”

“Yes yes Advani ji. We will hold another session to listen to your tales from the Emergency. Promise. Pucca. Ok, double promise,” pleaded Gadkari. “What should BJP do?”

“Don’t resign,” opened up Arun Jaitley for the first time, even as Advani made a long face. “According to Article 87 part b annexure 6 (i) of Chapter 243 of the constitution, when the allegations levelled by a constitutional authority, like the Lokayukta, in this case, are leaked to the media before the final report is formally submitted, the elected leader is under no compulsion to resign.”

“Wah, Arun ji, kya Article hai. Wah. Very farsighted, B R Ambedkar was,” Gadkari was all appreciation. “So the leak has saved us.”

“But the problem is Yeddyurappa’s image, Nitin ji,” argued Venkaiah. “Just like during the Janata party rule, leaders objected to dual membership of Jan Sangh leaders like us, similarly, Yeddyurappa cannot be in the BJP and yet say there is no God.”

Advani nodded in approval at this reference to the 1970s.

“Yeddyurappa, you cannot abandon God,” warned Gadkari.

“What nonsense,” snapped BSY. “Wasn’t it you who told me not to accept that Gowda’s son’s  challenge at Lord Manjunatha temple? I would have finished his story then and there. He would have never risen like a phenyl from the ashes.”

“Phoenix, Sir, phoenix, not phenyl,” whispers one of Yeddy’s aides.

“Ok ok now since both you and Kumaraswamy have been named by Hegde, why don’t you both go together and take an oath at the temple that you will fight all forces together,” suggested Javdekar, inviting dirty looks from everyone.

Suddenly, loud noises are heard outside.

Sushma peers through the curtain and says “It is the Bellary Reddy gang. They are holding up banners saying `Bellary Party’. Looks like they have quit BJP to float Bellary party.”

“Oh Dushta, dushta, Bellary party means BP. They want my BP to shoot up,” cries Yeddy. “Devare Illa, Devare Illa.”

 

(In a statement, the BJP has denied that any such meeting took place at the party office)

 

A Raja’s life


By T S Sudhir

It is breakfast time inside Tihar Jail. While Suresh Kalmadi and Lalit Bhanot are standing in one line, Andimuthu Raja is in another queue.

“Why there, Sir,” enquires Bhanot.

En vazhi thanee vazhi,” smiles Raja. “This is the queue for south Indian breakfast, Mr Bhanot. Idly, sambar and chutney.”

“Oh ok. I will eat roti dal subzi only. Our north Indian standards of eating are different from the south Indian standards.”

“Enough, enough, Lalit of your different standards,” scolds Kalmadi. “Finish with your breakfast quick. Then we will have a meeting on how to tender for the 1982 Asian Games.”

“Asian Games? 1982?” Bhanot and Raja ask in unison.

“Yes, yes, Asian Games. Rajiv Gandhi has told me it should be a world-class Games. Elephant Appu is the mascot of the Asiad. I will make Indira Gandhi proud of me.”

Bhanot whispers to Raja, “Ever since he has eaten that namkeen in the jailor’s room, Kalmadi keeps mixing up his Games. Sometimes, he says Olympics, sometimes he also talks of heading the BCCI. But, maanna padega, hai pucca sportsperson. He is occupying some chair or the other in some sports Federation. Never runs away from the field.”

“That means he is forgetful. Will the court also forget and forgive? In that case, I will start talking about Graham Bell and the invention of the telephone,” says Raja, chuckling at his own joke.

“Raja Sir, you remember I spoke about toilets during the CWG and everyone jumped on me. Now I am told, some film called `Delhi Belly’ which is 100 per cent about toilets and shit is a big hit. Yeh kya baat huwi? Bose DK.”

“Yes, yes, that’s a song in the film, I heard it on the way to the court the other day,” says Raja and starts humming “Bhaag DK Bose, DK Bose …”

Oye Raja, danda ghusa doonga, Tihar me gaane bajane ki mandali laga raha hai kya,” a guard shouts and Raja, Bhanot and Kalmadi scramble to their cells.

Inside the cell, Bhanot asks Raja about the trial.

“I blasted the PM, that 180 plus IQ Chidambaram and the Attorney General Vahanvati. My overenthusiastic lawyer also asked the judge why I should not get bail. Now I fear that the judge will never give me bail,” says Raja.

“It is good Sir that you know law. All my life, I only was involved with Athletics Federation of India. Tho bhaagne ke alava kuch nahin aata. And yes, athletes ka peshab leke urine test karvana. Kya saali zindagi hai. Finally, CWG karvaya Dilli me to yahan Tihar me daal diya. Bose DK. #%@^*&”

“Yaar Lalit, why are wasting your time. Have you organised the training camp for the hockey team? That Dhanraj Pillay will get angry with me that I did not arrange properly,” Kalmadi butts in.

“Yes Sir, Yes Sir. First I will send the car for MIlkha Singh. Then I will do this.”

“Why Milkha Singh,” whispers Raja.

Arrey bolna padta hai Sirji, otherwise he will next talk about P T Usha. I am asking for a change of cell. Jeena haraam kar diya hai is bhulakad Kalmadi ne.”

“Do you think he is doing a drama to escape the law?” asks Raja.

Kya pata Sir ji. We are all in shit. Deep shit. Mainu pata hai. And when I spoke about toilet hygiene, mere ko pakad ke bole, tera character dheela hai. Bose DK. #@%*^&.”

Oye Bhanot, Iss madrasi ke saath mil ke kya Idli dosa paka raha hai,” shouts a guard passing by. “Aur wo kahan hai tera Ghajini Kalmadi?

Kalmadi walks up to the guard and says, “We have to organise a World class Olympic Games. It is already 2019. We just have another six months to go. Tell your jailor I need to meet him to make arrangements.”

The guard smiles and asks, “Kyon phir Haldiram khaana hai kya, Kalmadi?” Looking at Raja he says, “Oye Bhootpurv Phunwa mantri, aap ka phone aaya hai. Ladiej prijan se. Come with me.”

Raja gets up, adjusts his veshti and follows the guard, a smile dancing on his lips. And picking up the phone, he says, “Sollungo ma Kanimozhi.”

(As imagined by T S Sudhir)

10 Janpath, bugged


By T S Sudhir

PM : Good evening Madam. I bring to you good news. Yeddyurappa has agreed to step down.

Sonia Gandhi : Namarste, Manmohhan Singhji. But yeh acchi khabarr kaise hai? If he had not agreed, it would have meant more trouble for the BJP and that would have been Advantage Kangress.

PM : Oh, yees. Dhat tere ki. Mainu political dimaag hi nahi hai.

Sonia : Yes. What do they say in your Poonjabi? Mooli ke paranthe khayiye.

PM : Sorry Madam. I will learn. I will also spend some time with Digvijay Singh ji for political gyaan.

Sonia : Yes, I have called Diggy also to this meeting. He should be coming any moment now.

PM : But Madamji, he is always taking care of Rahul Baba and giving statements saying Baba should move to 7, Race Course Road. My worry is that phir aap akeli pad jayengi.

Sonia : (gives PM a cold glare as Diggy walks in) Aayiye Digyvijay ji, Pradhanmantri ji abhi abhi aapkee tarrrrrreef karr rahe the.

Diggy : Thankyou sir. I try my best to be a good babysitter, Madam.

Sonia : Let us discuss Karnataka now.

PM : Yes Madam. So as I was saying Yeddyurappa will resign now. Should we send S M Krishna to Karnataka to lead the Congress there?

Sonia : No. He is nat willing to go. He instead wants to travel to Hislamabad. He has arranged to play tennis with Hina Rabbannni Khar. I think he will lose the game at love.

PM : (mutters under his breath) I think he has already.

Diggy : If I may submit, let’s send Sharad Pawar and Farooq Abdullah too. They can play cricket and golf as well. Sporting ties are always good.

Sonia : Ok. Yes, tell Kapil Sibal not to talk about Karnataka. He will do some silly calculation and say Yeddy caused zero loss to the state exchequer.

PM : Yes Madam, I will SMS Sibal. He is hardworking but thoda Maths me kaccha hai.

Sonia : OK. What news from Tihar? That Raja created a scare by naming you.

PM : That is not a problem Madam. Actually, all this while, everyone was saying I don’t do any work. But Raja said I took some decision. Isn’t that positive?

Sonia : Ok ok, if you insist. Aapko Raajneeti bilkul nahi aati. Tell me, is it true that Suresh Kalmadi has forgotten everything?

PM : Kabhi haa kabhi naa. Short term memory loss lagta hai Madam. Memory is a very funny thing. I myself forget I am the PM of India. Even Krishna forgets. That’s why he read the Portugal minister’s speech. Haw haw haw.

Sonia : Good joke, Man ji. Aapka sense of humour is improving.

Diggy : Now Kalmadi has said his only problem is with the heart. What he means to say is that man Tihar mein nahi lagta. I have already declared him innocent. I think it was Nagpur’s conspiracy to implicate Kalmadi since he is from Pune.

Sonia : (ignoring his theory) By the way who is dis Rakhi Sawant?

PM : Naam sunayi padta hai. Is she a minister in my cabinet?

Sonia : (gives PM a stern look) No, apparently she said she was in love with Rahul Baba earlier and now she is in love with Baba Ramdev.

PM : Oye teri. From Baba to Baba.

Sonia : And she has also said “Meri Sonia Gandhi ke saath daal nahin galegi”. That’s so offensive. I always make pasta at home.

Diggy : This is so insulting. How can any girl reject Rahul? And that too for Ramdev. Ghor apmaan. (Turning to PM) Sir, kuch karna padega

PM : Main kya kar sakta hoon ji

Diggy : Can’t we book her under any section? Quickly.

PM : No idea

Diggy : So get idea. hee hee hee.

Sonia : No reference to that Bollywood family in my home, Digvijayji.

Diggy : Sorry Madam. (starts to surf the net on his mobile) Ah yes, Madam, yeh to wonderful hai. Disproportionate assets ka case to bilkul banta hai. Under section 36C.

PM : Yeh ED ka case ya CBI ka. FERA violation ya FEMA.

Sonia : Oh Manmohhanji, don’t take so much strain of work on your head. Not good for you. But this case sounds funny, I must say.

Diggy : No Madam, let us proceed. This is a plot of civil society to undermine our authority by making Rakhi Sawant say she finds Ramdev Hot-ter.

PM : Even Pranab da found him hot to handle ji

Sonia : Too many people calling Baba names. That Kerala man, what was hisss name, yes, V S Achooothanandan, uff what a long name, he called Rahul an Amul Baby.

Diggy : But this Rakhi Sawant will set an unhealthy precedent, Madam. We should act immediately.

PM : Haan ji. Gursharan also always advocates a strong line. Baby, err, I mean Baba so gaye kya?

Sonia : No, I am waiting for him to get back. He has gone for an evening walk. I hope he does not get lost and step into Uttar Pradesh. Will you go and search for him and get him back, Manmohan ji, if you are not too busy?

PM : Me, beejee, never. I will go right away Madam. At your service. Good night.

Diggy : I will come with you Manmohan ji. I know his regular haunts in Noida. Good night Madam

Sonia : Good night.

(We would like to inform our readers that a probe has been ordered into how this conversation was recorded and leaked out. Sonia Gandhi suspects the PM has started chewing gum and has asked him to either lose the habit or his job. Digvijay suspects an RSS hand. Watch this space for more)

Johny Mera Naam


By T S Sudhir

 

Johny Lever is hopping mad. Someone has texted him from Delhi saying Congress leader Manish Tewari has insulted him.

 

Arrey, kaun heh yeh Tewari yaar, pata karo, fauran,” Johny screams at his Man Friday.

Johny Bhai, kis se poochoon, Apne ko political contact nahin hai.”

De mujhe phone,” Johny snatches the phone from his hands and dials Govinda.

“Govinda bhai, as-salamu alaykum. Some Congress fellow called Manish Tewari, aap jaante hai kya?”


Haan haan. He is the party spokesman. Bole to, jo Madam ka sandesh hai, din mein party office mein batiyaate hai and raat ko he goes from studio to studio and tells same to same to the country. Faltoo kaam hai. Kya koyi lafda ho gaya kya?

Bhai, apni inzult kar di is Tewari ne. Aur Katrina ki bhi,”

“Woh kaise??”


Johnny explains how it all began. He reads out what Katrina Kaif had said in an interview to a newspaper: “Am I supposed to be ashamed that I am half-Asian, I mean, no! Rahul Gandhi is half-Indian, half-Italian. So? I am very proud of what I am and I just don’t understand the confusion as if I’m trying to hide the fact that my mother’s a British. Why would I?”

 

“Ok, so? Iss me Johny bhai, aap kidhar se ghus gaye?”

Suno na. Now when the media asked this Tewari about Kat’s comment, he reacted asking : “Who is she? I do not know. Tomorrow, you will ask for our reaction on the statement of Johny Lever. To what level you want to bring down the level of the political discourse in the country?”

Yeh to too much hai Johny bhai. Not only you, he has insulted Katrina baby also. `Partner’ me kya kaam kiya tha mere saath. `Do you wanna partner, oh partner’. Main abhi Sallu ko phone lagata hoon”


At Salman Khan’s den :

 

Bhai, Govinda bhai ka phone hai.”

“Arrey kamaal karte ho Govinda ji, aap hi ki kal shaam ko baat ho rahi thi, yaar dosto ke saath. Tell me what’s the matter?”

 

Govinda gives him a low-down on Tewari’s statement.

 

Salman is angry and disturbed. He must do something. So he takes off his shirt and does 40 push-ups. That inspires him with an idea to approach the original Bollywood Don, Sanju Baba, to ask him to tell his MP sister Priya Dutt to complain to the Congress High command against Tewari’s loose comment. After all, it is all about `being human’.

 

Bole to, Sallu, dekh na. Not only he insulted Kat and Johny, he also asked who is she? What a fellow yaar. He does not know Sheila ki jawaani? Kya fattoo aadmi hai yaar. Picture nahi dekhta kya?”

Meanwhile, the BJP organises a press conference to condemn Tewari’s insult to Bollywood and film comediens. Shatrughan Sinha is  specially drafted to lead the BJP charge.

Khamosh. Yeh hamare sanskar nahi hai. Iss tarah se film comedien ka apmaan, hum katayi bardaasht nahi kar sakte.”

“But Sir, do you agree with what Katrina said about Rahul?

 

Haan, bilkul. She said nothing wrong. Why is the Congress so touchy about the Italian connection? I would say after a 3-hour long Spanish holiday in `Zindagi na milegi dobara’, we should now do a film set in Italy. And I would now say (and pointing to the scribes to say `Note kiya jaaye‘), Manish Tewari, Get a life because zindagi na milegi dobara !”

 

 

 

Karnataka’s can of political worms


By T S Sudhir

Like the soap operas on Sun TV, where once every few weeks, there is a flare-up, with the mother-in-law banishing the daughter-in-law (or vice versa), the curtains have gone up on yet another Act in the Karnataka nataka. The latest kahaani me twist, of course, is more “explosive”. For the salvo is not fired by the unofficial leader of the Opposition, Governor H R Bharadwaj, but the Lokayukta, Justice Santosh Hegde.

The Lokayukta is reported to have named chief minister B S Yeddyurappa, former CM H D Kumaraswamy, the infamous Bellary brothers, two more ministers and a senior Congress leader. Staying true to the adage that the family that “eats” together, stays together, the CM’s son and son-in-law also have been named. For in a very Kalaignar TV style operation, 10 crore rupees were reportedly `donated’ by a mining company to a trust owned by the CM’s family. The report says the loss to the state’s exchequer from illegal mining is 1827 crore rupees in 14 months between April 2009 and May 2010. The soot from the Bellary mining scam has blackened the face of Karnataka.

But what’s new, you may ask. True, the report only puts in black and white what has been the talk on the street for quite many months now. That Karnataka politicians are out to Bangalore the state. That Karnataka has given the traditionally bad image states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh a run for their money. Munni badnaam huwi, Karnataka tere liye.

The BJP has reacted pathetically, saying there is nothing new in the report. Old Bellary in new Hegde. The party is more bothered about how the report got leaked and not about Hedge’s allegation that his phones have been tapped.

I hope the Congress, the BJP and Deve zzzzz Gowda’s Janata Dal don’t use the occasion to score brownie points. Iss Hamaam me sab nange and it is high time, the civil society of Karnataka says no to this crass nudity.

Now that Yeddyurappa’s Mauritius holiday has been ruined, he should come back and get out of his job. He has brought enough ignominy to himself, his chair, his party and the state. The BJP has shown to what level it can stoop to save its gateway to south India, by sending V Dhananjay Kumar to allegedly “intimidate” Justice Hege to ensure he does not mention Yeddy in the report. The party would do well to put its spokespersons on mute for a while and focus on cleaning up its home. Though with Yeddy and the Bellary wealth gone, BJP may well shut shop in Karnataka.

Deve Gowda and Sons have proved that they have the best interests of everyone in mind. Everyone in their family, I mean. I suspect Gowda will play the humble farmer card once again. Ignore him. It has been 14 years since he spoke of rising like a phoenix from the ashes. The ashes have turned cold.

And the Congress, waiting in the wings, too has got its `hand’ dirty in the till. Though I dread the cocky sneer that Manish Tewari will have on his face tonight. But with `Portugal’ S M Krishna as its tallest leader, it doesn’t have a hope in hell to occupy Vidhana Soudha. Siddharamaiah, the other aspirant, has too many crabs in the Congress to contend with, to emerge a winner.

Karnataka doesn’t deserve this. A bout of President’s rule, albeit under a non-partisan, apolitical, dynamic Governor will do the state a world of good. And Bharadwaj should be put on the next flight back to Delhi.

 

For the last many years, Karnataka’s politicians have ruled by hook or by crook. It is time to organise a get together for the crooks.

 

 

The birth companion


By Uma Sudhir

 

Childbirth can be an intensely painful, scary and lonely. Having someone who cares by your side in those difficult moments can transform that experience. Realising that, the Tamil Nadu government started allowing a birth companion to be present with a woman in labour. The virtually no-cost scheme has been found valuable in more ways than one.

(Video of the story)