People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 17

April 28, 2013




Andhra Pradesh: Prospect and Retrospect


A four-day seminar centred on the theme Andhra Pradesh: Prospect and Retrospect was held in the new complex of Sundarayya Vignana Kendram in Gachibowli, Hyderabad on April 06-07 and April 13-14, 2013.


Inaugurating the seminar, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and MP, Sitaram Yechury said that because the ruling classes violated all promises made in the Constitution about development, there is growing discontentment among people. He cited the recent agitations demanding separate statehood for Telangana, Vidarbha etc in this context. Recalling Sundarayyas great contribution to the formation of linguistic states in the country, Yechury said the ruling classes are seeking to disrupt the unity of the toiling masses by stoking regional and other chauvinistic passions among the people. He called for emulating Sundarayya’s method of undertaking concrete analysis of concrete conditions and take the revolutionary movement forward.


Eminent economist Utsa Patnaik in her address stressed the need to explore alternatives to neo-liberal capitalist development model and in this context mentioned the possibilities in cooperative sector, particularly in agriculture. Conceding that there are some doubts about the efficacy of cooperative sector in production, she said that they can be dispelled in action. She cited the success of the scheme Kudumbasree in Kerala and the successes achieved in Bengal under Left Front regime. She wanted promotion of small and medium scale industries along with cooperative sector. Patnaik felt one of the reasons for continuing misery of people is the lack of universal public distribution system in the country, for which the Left parties have been struggling since long.


Professor Vamsicharan Vakulabharanam chaired the session while C Sambi Reddy, managing trustee of Sundarayya Vignana Kendram and secretary of the Trust, Y Siddaiah were present. Over 300 persons from various institutions and organisations attended the seminar. After the inaugural session, there was a session on history of the state, regionwise along with an overview by renowned historian, Professor V Ramakrishna. In the afternoon there was a session on the economy of the state covering topics like political economy of growth, inequalities and the comprehensive development of Andhra Pradesh.


The next day saw sessions on rural political economy and urban political economy. Topics such as changing caste and class relations, political violence in rural areas, the situation of agricultural credit, decentralisation in urban areas, JNNURM cities, primacy of Hyderabad were covered in the panels.


CPI general secretary Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy inaugurated the keynote session titled Sundarayyas role in Communist movement on April 13, 2013. CPI(M) Polit Bureau member  B V Raghavulu and Professor V K Ramachandran were the other panelists in the inaugural session.


Sudhakar Reddy at the outset said it was a honour for him to be participating in the centenary celebrations of Putchalapalli Sundarayya. He underlined that it is Left parties alone that can be real alternative to Congress and BJP that were resorting to match-fixing politics. Their stance and policies are largely dependent on whether they were in government or in opposition. But they were united in their desire and action to serve the interests of private corporates. After failing to institutionalise a two-party system in the country and now even a two-front system, these parties were desperately trying to make the coming elections a contest between two individual leaders. Reddy called for greater Left unity to take on the ruling classes and build an exploitation free socialist society in the country.


Raghavulu in his address spoke about how Sundarayya always analysed the situation from a class angle. He gave great importance to class perspective and class struggle. Dismissing the recent proclamations of some about losing relevance of class in the face of growing identity consciousness, Raghavulu asserted that class perspective is the most crucial aspect in achieving an exploitation-free society. He felt the identity movements are aimed at undermining the unity of toiling masses. He recalled how Sundarayya played a key role in the fight against caste oppression.


Professor Ramachandran dealt at length about how Sundarayya evinced great interest on the issues facing the peasantry. Sundarayyas efforts in this regard were crucial in identifying the class nature of the Indian ruling classes and the role of peasantry in the revolutionary movement. He also spoke about his personal experience with Sundarayya when he raised some doubts about class differentiation in the peasantry. Sundarayya had invited him to Hyderabad and made him stay at his home for nearly a month. Daily he would give him material to read about the topic and discuss with him late into the night after returning from Party programmes. He had also arranged field visits around Hyderabad. Ramachandran said he was fortunate to be among the generation that was groomed so meticulously by the leaders.


In this phase of the seminar, panels on Communist movement, culture and politics, contemporary issues and social movements were conducted. Overall, the seminar saw presentation by 38 speakers in 10 panels, a significant exercise at understanding the past, present and future of Andhra Pradesh on the occasion of birth centenary of Putchalapalli Sundarayya.