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YSR and the present generation of the Reddy rajas

By: Dr. T. R. N. Rao
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(The author is retired Professor - Emeritus of Engineering and Computer Science, and living in Houston)

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Sir C R (Cattamanchi Ramalinga) Reddy (1880 -1951), a Cambridge doctorate, a Telugu novelist and poet, also famous for his ready wit and humor, was twice vice-chancellor of Andhra University, which he founded in 1925. During the India"s independence celebrations of 1947, in Vishakhapatnam, he was the honored guest to inaugurate an exhibit of the history of the Andhras. Starting with Satavahana (Andhra Vishnu), Cholas, Chalukyas, Kakateeyas, Vijayanagara kings and other famous dynasties, the spirit, valor and glory of Andhras were portrayed in their chronological order. Dr. Reddy was delighted and thrilled with the exhibit, congratulated the exhibit director, Mr. Prabhakar, a Ph.D. student. Soon he realized one missing link, a flaw, in the exhibit. He put his hands on the shoulder of the young man and said, "Prabhakar, you have done a marvelous job, I am proud of you. But I feel little disappointed that you missed out on our Reddy rajas of Nellore." The young man was a little bit shaken at first, but then quickly recovered and quipped rather innocently: "Dr. Reddy, sir, this exhibit is of dynasties that are perished and are history; our Reddy rajas have a long way to go before they become history." Sir Reddy soon realized that he found his match in this young student and closed of the conversation.

The drama of late YSR, Dr. YS Raja Sekhar Reddy, the iconic former CM of Andhra Pradesh, will, in all likelihood, continue under the son, YS Jaganmohan Reddy, whose cohorts, the feudal landlord MLAs and MPS, started his campaign for CM on the very day his father"s corpse was found and was yet to be buried. TV news continued flashing that over 350 young and old could not control their grief and sorrow at the loss of their beloved leader and have either died of heart attacks or committed suicides. For two days, this drama unfolded with hour by hour count of the dead on live television; while the Hindu scriptural Bhagavad Gita (Ghantasala tape) is played before the ritual of a Christian burial. The rumor mill has gone around that the surviving families will receive compensation of one lakh rupees each. One heart attack victim, who was reported to have died while watching the TV news in his home, was found to have no TV after all. How much can you trust the TV news or their numbers these days anyway? The people of AP are awaiting the diktat off the Congress high command, a.k.a, the Empress Sonia. Congress can loot Hindu temples and their manyams (land properties) and grant subsidies for Hajj, Vatican and Jerusalem pilgrimages without any contempt or fear from any quarters. The Congress can appoint a liquor baron, a feudal power gang lord, as the chairman of TTD (Tirupati- Tirumala devasthanam), the holiest shrine of the Hindus. The numerous TTD guest houses can run as club houses for the enjoyment of the corrupt politicians and some can be used as brothels.

The power house of feudal lords brought under the Congress control by YSR, using his political and gang-lord skills, has acquired the political might, which the Congress can least ignore. The youthful YSJ, a Reddy in name and a loyal Christian, can turn out to be a greater asset than YSR to Sonia. A good part of the loot from the government contracts and temples" lands and other corrupt black money can continue non-stop to her party exchequer.

The once famous Reddy Rajas, the pride of coastal Andhra of 12th and 13th century C E, have ruled and promoted Telugu samskriti and glorified the dharma of the land. They were gone and are now just a history. The present generation of the Reddy rajas (casteist and some Christian), however, serve the cause of an Italian Christian. Christians, like YSR, with Hindu names, adorning tilaks and bottus, the big red dots on their foreheads, and wearing dhotis and turbans of native Hindu folk are in greater command of the state. How else the Christians who are about three percent of the India"s population can have a super PM and so many Christian CMs and control the power hierarchy and administrative high posts at the center and many states? Typically, in AP, where people vote in a large measure for the candidate on the basis of their caste preference, a Reddy caste name will do to over ride his Christianity. After all, Reddys are only 5 percent of the AP population, but they can elect over 30% of MLAs and MPs. The money bags speak volumes. The Reddy parampara (dynasty) starting with Bezwada Gopal Reddy, Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy, on and on right down to YS Rajasekar Reddy, except for short breaks now and then, has taken a dimension of its own. Now, YSR"s son, the youthful YS Jaganmohan Reddy, has arrived and is steadfast in his claim for the CM crown.

The age-old slang, "Reddoccha modalada" (Reddy, the village chieftain, has come, start all over the veedhi natakam, the street drama), is not just for laughs. Also the quip of the then young Prabhakar, uttered rather innocently more as a joke some six decades ago to Sir C. R. Reddy, seems so prophetic.

Dr. T. R. N. Rao

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