Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Political Treason - Part 2 - Paritala Ravindra's bloody story - Rakta Charitra

Creative Commons License

*In collaboration with Shri. Devesh Garu.

Variants of Organized Crime

1. Crime arising out of necessity and poverty is easily taken care of by good governance and effective utilization of carrot and stick. 

2. Ccrime arising out of mentality which derives pleasure from "doing something different" or "breaking rules" cannot be tackled by good governance. 

3. Crime arising out of faulty laws can be corrected by means of changing laws and social counselling. 

To elucidate with an example, smuggling of gold was illegal in independent India. But people have been trading and importing gold for ages in India. Due to policy decisions by govt, certain networks and their routes were deemed illegal and the import was branded as smuggling. This gave them incentive to continue trading while avoiding taxes. While they grew powerful and wealthy, they found new commodities to trade[like drugs and weapons] using the already perfected means and routes of smuggling less harmful product. 

The drug traderoute of kabul-karachi-mumbai-vizag-SE asia has been existent for centuries now. One cannot stop it merely by making it illegal. What is law, but a mere sentence, if state isn't in position to enforce it. The biggest and only "gunda" in nation-state has to be the state. But there is no such compulsion on a civilizational state, as long as these fringe elements are kept under the hold of Sanskriti so that their services be used when the time arises, in lieu of certain price. 

The significance of the tale of Paritala Ravindra.

With respect to Hyderabad-Secunderabad, the 80's and 90's did see the emergence of politicos in the "right direction". However, before the action could get into the den of the entrenched Islamist networks, one such MLA (not native to Hyderabad) was put down due to a Jaichand like character. You will get a clear picture by watching a Ram Gopal Verma biopic - Raktacharitra.

Paritala Ravindra (depicted as Prathap Ravi in the film by Vivek Oberoi) is a good case study. The man had much potential but YS Reddy, after coming to power in 2004, allegedly had him killed in a shootout. From 2004 to 2005, about 1000 active and resourceful members of Telugu Desam Party were killed off in various operations.

The slow infiltration of Andhra Pradesh by various interests began right after NDA came to power in 1999. The first victim was Alimineti Madhava Reddy. He was a powerful man from Telangana and commanded lot of respect from all over AP. He was Chandrababu Naidu's right hand man. It was said that Naidu's success was only possible because of Madhava's steadying hand by his side.

Madhava Reddy was killed off in a Naxalite attack. It was for the first time in history that a sitting Home Minister and Deputy CM of any state was murdered in this way in spite of having Z-security. Back then and even now, many people consider his death as the work of his political opponents. Madhava Reddy's death was a tragedy for many reasons. Firstly, he was a Hindu with strong affiliation to the religion. Ssecondly, he wasn't in bed with the mining and drug mafia which supposedly has close connections with INC network. Thirdly, he was a shrewd politician who knew how to get his way without being dictatorial. And finally, he wasn't afraid to get his hands dirty or have others do it for him. 

He didn't care for the "established" regime in Hyd. That is the entrenched Islamist mafia of Hyderabad since days of Nizam and Razakars and now with alleged political backing of few pro-Islamist political parties and leaders. The situation is further complicated with boiling Telangana issue. In many ways, Madhava Reddy's political savvy exceeded Naidu's and could have rivaled that of YSR's, had he lived to steer the hand of TDP. 

As stated earlier, the timing of Paritala Ravindra's death should be kept in mind. From July 2004 to August 2005, close to a 1000 "rising stars" with strong potential at the organization level of the Telugu Desam were killed. This is usually covered by the media as "factionism"/"family feuds"/etc. But what is hidden or is conveniently ignored is that all of the deaths happened to those belonging to a certain orientation politically. Usually the deaths are covered up as "revenge" from "old enemies". 

Let's take the case of Paritala Ravi himself.  He is shown, in the film, to be killed by a guy who is thirsting for vengeance. Howsoever true this may be, but how come this guy, Surya Narayana Reddy aka Maddelacheruvu Suri, who was wronged in the 90's, took him so long to get his revenge. I mean in the end, all he had to do was attack Paritala Ravi when he was traveling in a car. How come it was only after INC/YSR came to power that the Suri became so emboldened and found the means to take out Ravi?

The real life Suri, as opposed to filmy one, was a felon. His family wasn't that better off either. The acts committed SN Reddy 'Suri' are some of the worst atrocities by any political family in India. Paritala Ravi, believe it or not, was a relief to the people there. He gave them security that the goons under INC-network couldn't care to give.

The Role of Intelligence Bureau in the episode of Paritala Ravi

The last scene of film Rakta-Charitra 2, when the IB officer confronts 'Suri' says a lot. It is implied that IB allowed the assassination of Ravi to happen. It is both disconcerting and disturbing since there is a pattern here. Ravi's background would give people too much of "power" by setting a precedent. To be clear, Paritala Ravi's career was not the usual one for the reason that he was the first guy in AP (perhaps in India), since 1947, who actually waged guerrilla warfare on an entrenched network of criminal-politico gangsters, defeated or at least dented their power base enough to make inroads for himself and the agriculturalist interests that backed him. For several years in the 80's he really did go into the hills and jungles and waged war on the local Congress networks and eventually earned enough of a reputation and attracted enough business and labor networks to get himself elected and also create a base for Telugu Desam.

Ravi did not have the right "foundational background" to transform his fight into something bigger. His father and him were both Left-leaning. their careers started on the social justice plank. His father was instrumental is curbing the powers of the local land-owning mafia. His son carried forward his work and established his own political space.

To truly give the "social justice" issue a much wider base and bigger fight, Ravi's ideological background was not enough. His radicalism was fueled by personal grievance based on the "pro-poor" activities of his father. But for a "first phase" of rebellion against INC in the region, it was a good start. 

For about 10 years, he was basically waging asymmetric warfare. during all this time, the major antagonists - INC elites of the region - were in power and continued to make his life miserable. IB did not really "help" in Ravi's power. Perhaps, they just ignored him as another "naxalite" and left it at that. It was only after he became a long-term thorn in INC's side because of his charismatic personality and the ability to persuade and cajole certain important networks, especially the Leftist unionist/agriculturalist type people, that INC and their helpers started targeting him. In this phase, it is alleged that Jagan Reddy and his followers provided Ravi's killers with info and equipment while they were in jail. This is not easily covered up without having the local police-wallahs and intelligence inputs in their pockets.

When probed diligently beyond the surface, even voters of INC in recent times remember Paritala Ravi, Alimineti Madhava Reddy, and few others like them, whose lives were basically a story of commitment against INC and who ultimately all were murdered.

Relevance of Paritala Ravindra in this narrative of political treason and organized crime

Paritala Ravindra was perhaps first non-Hyderabad based "tough man" who after coming to power, rounded up the mafia based in Hyderabad. This mafia is the important link in the trade route mentioned in opening section. No other political party showed the balls to take on the interests of the politician-gangster nexus operating in this trade-route anywhere. Be it in kabul,  Karachi, Mumbai or Hyderabad, those in power dare not touch this network heads on. 

Paritala Ravindra will pay for all his bad deeds in next birth, according to Indian theory of Karma. But he sets one important precedent of daring to perform a deed which Vijaynagar empire, Marathas did not. That is attempting to bring the Hyderabad node under civilizational influence of Pro-India and pro-Dharma forces.

Paritala Ravi cannot be called "Dharmik" in truest sense. But he surely level the playground for the time he was in power. Our narrative learns many important lessons from the example of Paritala Ravi.