How Slayers are Sainted

via Courtesy - Blog published on September 4, 2009

By Sandeep

I rarely watch news channels. I’d rather go to a local car tinkering garage if I was that desperate for noise. I made an exception today because I fully wanted to experience the expected orgy of insanity that I was sure would be unleashed when a guy like YSR dies. The Congress party and its stooge, the media, continue to be busy trying to outdo each other: Andhra strongman! Leader of the masses! Irreplacable Loss! Mascot of good governance! Good Doctor! Healer-Chief Minister! Colossus!

The process of anointing YSR from Y S Rajashekhara Reddy to St. Samuel is underway with full steam.

The martyrdom frenzy that the media is whipping up is a worse epidemic than Swine Flu. Only, this time, the focus is a (dead) human being. The verdict is unanimous: St. Samuel, St. Samuel, St. Samuel! There’s absolutely no scope for an iota of dissent, no space to dissect this man’s past…but there are some unalterable universals like the evil that men do lives after them… Only, we fail to detect a trace of the public good that YSR did over his long political career.

This superbly-researched piece (link thanks: Ravikiran) written when he first became the CM of Andhra YSR’s reveals some drops of the blood he had on his hands. Just the bits that trace his bloody rise to power.

    The man is anything but a vendor of humane visages. His rise in politics has been accompanied by more bloodshed than that of any other politician in this state. Not bloodshed for some avowed ‘higher cause’, but bloodshed for the narrowest possible cause: the rise of one individual to political power and prominence. The recent elections may very well have meant many things in terms of popular aspirations, and one has no desire to be cynical on that score. But in the matter of the change of helmsmen, it has merely replaced a man who would find nothing too crooked if it is in his political interest, with one who would find nothing too brutal…Today YSR wishes to be seen as a politician who has responded to the needs of farmers and is determined to do well by them, but in the nearly three decades of his political life, he has not been instrumental in adding one acre of assured irrigation to the parched lands of the constituency that has again and again returned him or his brother (when YSR chose to go to parliament instead) to the state sssembly.

But the foundation stone was laid by his father, Raja Reddy.

    Cuddapah has deposits of the mineral barytes, which was once upon a time not a highly priced mineral. One of the mining leases was held by Venkatasubbaiah of the balija caste. Raja Reddy joined him as a junior partner/supervisor (it is not clear which), reportedly because Venkatasubbaiah believed he would be useful in controlling the workmen. Round about the mid-1970s, however, it was discovered that barytes has use in petroleum refining, and its price shot up. Raja Reddy wanted Venkatasubbaiah to hand over the mining lease to him and go. A prominent CPI leader and writer, Gajjela Malla Reddy, brokered a deal whereby Venkatasubbaiah would take Rs 11 lakh and leave the mining lease to Raja Reddy. Venkatasubbaiah refused, and was killed. The mining lease, passed into YSR’s hands.

    For many years in the later half of the 1980s and the early half of the 1990s, YSR’s barytes mining operation was the subject of one scandal after another. Lease – or sub- lease, after barytes mining became formally the monopoly of the A P Mineral Development Corporation, only to be sub-leased to the same previous lessees – would be taken for a certain extent, but many times more land around would be mined…. a villager, Vivekanandam, whose private land of 1.8 acres was also sub-leased to YSR by the Corporation. Though that man went to court and obtained an injunction against the sub-lease, YSR continued with the mining and took away mineral worth Rs 5 crore. The maternal uncle of the said Vivekanandam, a retired government employee, Rajagopal, set out to Hyderabad, to express his protest to the then chief minister Janardhan Reddy, and to move the high court again. The old man was set upon by a gang in the middle of the state’s capital, and had his hands and legs broken. This was as recently as 1992.

The article piles detail upon detail of YSR’s atrocity-ridden rise in politics, which I recommend you read in full. “Swaminomics” Aiyar had also written a similar “profile” of YSR, drawing copiously from this same piece.

But today, this is how the Indian Express documents the “rise of YSR.” Perhaps the most barefaced lie lies in this paragraph that talks about his “achievements.”

    Reddy developed the Cuddapah region by pumping in funds and creating a solid infrastructure, making the constituency its neighbors’ envy.

The infrastructure is so solid that even after three decades of YSR rule there, not one acre of land can be irrigated and/or tilled in Cuddapah. Truly the subject of envy. It takes tremendous guts for the Indian Express to impute stupidity to its readers. But then, the Slimes can’t be far away. Although it hasn’t fudged facts as openly as the Spindian Express, it has honoured him with various epithets such as people’s leader, colossus of Andhra Pradesh, and so on. The less said about CNN-IBN, NDTV, and similar party organs, the better.

What exactly generated this rabid media mania is common knowledge: YSR was perhaps the favourite of HQ. He “revived” the Congress party’s fortunes and finances with the stunning 2004 victory and showed consistently high performance, enough to warrant a sufficiently orgasmic obituary. Andhra Pradesh holds the record for garnering maximum central funding ever received thanks to this tireless (recently deceased) leader of the masses. Even if you excuse the media for its sloppy reporting and complete ignorance and/or suppression of YSR’s violent past, why does it conceal his more recent transgressions? From corruptions too numerous to count to his son’s brazen usurping of land, the Satyam scandal (where his family was allegedly involved), mining scam, and his attempts to break the back of Ramoji Rao.

But monetary scams are pretty mild in YSR’s long list of evils. He was, true to the Congress tradition, a communal Chief Minister. Andhra Pradesh is one of the few states to still retain very strong Hindu ethos. As soon as YSR took over, he showed what Samuel Reddy was capable of. From undamming a flood of Evangelism across the state to trying to inject Evangelist poison in Tirupathi to successfully selling temple lands in the Godavari region to banning the Da Vinci Code to making Christian pilgrimages at taxpayer expense, Samuel Reddy displayed exemplary communal behaviour. I’m merely speculating, but perhaps this is also one of the reasons he earned the special graces of Our Lady from Rome living in Delhi. Which is why the entire apparatus of the Indian state was instantly summoned to frantically locate YSR the moment he went missing. Wish they had acted with even 10% of YSR-aroused speed, efficiency, and effectiveness when Bombay was besieged. An indicator of sorts that some mentalities will never change: post-YSR’s crash, our leaders want Satellite phones in the flight/chopper each time they embark on such “flying” visits. Again, at taxpayer expense.

On a personal note, a predictable but immediate retort I’ve received today for pointing out YSR’s past is this: even Narendra Modi is a murderer but you praise him for his achievements in Gujarat’s development. This argument is non-contextual, baseless, and hypocritical both factually and logically. As I’ve noted earlier in this blog, every investigation against Modi has actually yielded lesser and lesser chances of culpability in the 2002 riots. Even if he was culpable, how does it erase YSR’s bloody past? If you so easily close your eyes to judgments and reports showing Modi in positive light, why do you find it so tough to digest YSR’s record of brualities? While Gujarat’s remarkable economic achievements are well-documented and verifiable (see this solid post), YSR’s “development projects” are infected with mutations of the same Congress garibi hatao virus. Besides, compared with the central government aid that Modi and YSR have each garnered, Andhra Pradesh hasn’t attained growth remotely comparable to that of Gujarat. Blind hatred of Modi yields nothing except heads nodding in approval in charmed circles.

Hardly a few hours since YSR’s death was confirmed, the disgraceful but expected succession battle has begun. Again, entirely faithful to the Congress party’s culture. Family loyalists (not the First Family) have already decided to anoint his son, Jagan Mohan Reddy as the CM-in-waiting. Blood is waiting to be spilled. Also, the son is not even a member of the AP assembly. Exciting times await Andhra Pradesh.

Perhaps the ugliest footnote on YSR’s death is the decision to rename the Kadapa (or Cuddapah) district as YSR district in his “honour.” Kadapa is a corruption of the Telugu word, Gadapa, meaning threshold. Geographically, Kadapa is surrounded on three sides by the Nallamala and Palakonda hills and acts like a gateway (or threshold) from the north to Tirupathi. This region, which witnessed spectacular prosperity under the Vijayanagar rule, abounds with spiritual richness, and is home to people like Mahayogi Vemana, Annamacharya, and Potuluri Veerabrahmam will now be renamed in the “honour” of a ruthless murderer who mowed down innocent people in his quest for personal power.

YSR isn’t worth our tears.

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