Andhra Pradesh: Prospect and Retrospect

(Conference on the occasion of Putchalapalli Sundarayya’s birth centenary, April 2013)

A Concept Note

The state of Andhra Pradesh is at cross roads. On the one hand, it could dissolve itself in the near future because of the near unresolvable antagonisms that it has created during the more than five decades of its existence, or it might continue to spiral out of control along multiple axes such as class, caste, gender, region, environment, or the new urban processes that it has unleashed, and so forth. This speaks of an unmistakable crisis of the bourgeois hegemonic process that has attempted to keep various antagonisms in the state under some check over the last six decades. On the other hand, there is no clear emergence of an alternative counter-hegemonic progressive force at the level of the entire state that can take advantage of this hegemonic failure. This counter-hegemonic unity (in the whole state or in different future states) can be brought about only through vigorously reimagining people’s struggles for equity and justice in this moment of chaos and hegemonic breakdown. In fact, the present moment may be ripe to imagine a different kind of politics. In order to achieve this latter objective, we need to carefully analyze how the current state of affairs has come about in the State. This cannot be done simply by focusing on the economy or politics or culture or the contemporary everyday issues exclusively but through a careful examination of all these multiple arenas of the social totality and their mutual interactions that have come to define the state, its people, and its various social antagonisms. This conference that is being planned during the birth centenary of P. Sundarayya pays a rich tribute to his legacy by bringing together all these multiple aspects to produce an understanding of the present and offer some pointers to a more equitable and democratic future.

We wish to focus on different aspects of the social totality of the state of Andhra Pradesh. First, we wish to analyze the history of the different threads that came together to form the state of Andhra Pradesh. This would involve describing/explaining the very different dynamics at work in the three regions of Coastal Andhra, Rayalaseema and Telangana and how they came together in 1956 in creating the state of Andhra Pradesh. Just because a geographical and linguistic state got constituted for administrative purposes, these different dynamics do not simply wither away but continue to function and shape the construction of the new hegemonic space. We would like to unearth these dynamics while discussing the contemporary history of the state. Second, we wish to analyze the political economy of the different processes that unfolded in the state of Andhra Pradesh. This includes a cumulative and a disaggregated treatment of economic growth, inequality and the structural aspects of the overall development (or the lack thereof). In the exploration of this aspect, we also wish to focus separately on the rural dynamics at work (both cumulative and disaggregated) and the urban ones (especially the faster growth of the urban spaces in the past thirty years with the primacy of the megacity of Hyderabad). Third, we wish to look at two very different levels of politics – a. the politics of electoral democracy and its effects and b. the politics of the grassroots or democratic people’s movements in multiple arenas and their effects. Fourth, we wish to analyze cultural aspects at different levels – a. elite cultures, media effects, religious attitudes of the rich and the nouveau rich and the middle classes; b. folk cultures, working class cultures, peasant cultures, and the processes of imitation of the elite cultures (e.g. sanskritization or cultures of consumption) by working people. Fifth, we wish to focus on contemporary issues that are central to the conduct of the everyday lives of people such as power, irrigation, education, health and so forth. While different presenters will present on these different aspects in detail, we also wish to organize some plenary sessions that will bring together all these different aspects in coherent frameworks of analysis.

There are three threads that we wish to bring together in each of the papers in the presentation of different aspects of the Andhra Pradesh society and its people. First, we wish to request each of the paper writers/presenters to present a broad historical overview of the particular aspect that is being presented/studied so that the issues concerning the particular aspect would be brought into a historical/evolutionary perspective. Second, a focused analysis of the more recent past from the 1980s until today that has produced multiple new antagonisms that have tended to heighten inequity and erode democracy, so that the present moment can be understood better. Third, a broad indication of how we go forward from this point on, to reimagine a more egalitarian and democratic future for the people of this society. In presenting these three aspects in each paper, there will be a sort of unity in terms of the broad structure of the different papers that will be presented in the conference.

In terms of the concrete output, we wish to conduct this conference in two parts in April, and also bring out two corresponding volumes in honor of the legacy of P. Sundarayya.



Dates: April 6-7 and April 13-14, 2013

Venue: Sundarayya Vignana Kendram,

Gachibowli, Hyderabad.





APRIL 06, 2013

Keynote session: Sundarayya's Contributions to Political Economy and Society

Time: 09:00 to 11:15 am

Sitaram Yechury

Utsa Patnaik

N Ram

Time for Q&D: 10:50 to 11:15 am


Tea break: 11:15 to 11: 30 am


History session: 11:30 am to 01:30 pm

Chair : V Ramakrishna

Overview: V Ramakrishna

Telangana: V Ramakrishna Reddy

Coastal Andhra: GHSS Sunder

Rayalaseema: A R Reddy


Lunch: 01:30 to 02:30 pm


Economy session: 02:30 to 04:30 pm

Chair: D Narasimha Reddy

Inequalities: Sripad Motiram

Political Economy of Growth: Vamsi

Comprehensive Development of AP: C Sambi Reddy


APRIL 07, 2013

Rural Political Economy: 10:00 am to 01:00 pm

Chair : BN Yugandhar

Tenancy Relations – R Vijay

Changing class and caste relations – Purendra

Political violence in rural areas – Korivi Vinay Kumar

Rural Non-farming trends – Syamasundari

Rural credit – Srujana


Lunch: 01:00 to 02:00 pm


Urban Political Economy: 02:00 to 05:00 pm

Chair: Satish Chandra

Primacy of Hyderabad – Anant Mariganti

Mission cities – Ganga Rao

Mapping Hyderabad – Siddharth Hande (Fellow, Hyderabad Urban Lab)

Rural Urban Migration – Saswata Guha Thakurtha (HCU Research Scholar)

Decentralisation in Urban areas – Raghu


APRIL 13, 2013

Keynote Session: Sundarayya's Role in Communist Movement

09:00 to 11:15 a.m.

Survaram Sudhakar Reddy

B V Raghavulu (Chair)

V K Ramachandran


Tea break: 11:15 to 11: 30 am


Communist Movement: 11:30 am to 01:30 pm

Chair: V Ramakrishna

Kisan struggles: S Malla Reddy

Worker struggles: S Veeraiah

Cultural movement: SV Satyanarayana


Lunch: 01:30 to 02:30 pm


Culture and Politics session – 02:30 to 05:00 pm

Chair: K Nageshwar

Working class and folk culture – Y Sudhakar Reddy (HCU Dept of Folk Culture)

Print and electronic media – Tankasala Ashok

Devotional cinema and making of NTR's persona – Uma Brugubanda

Nationality question and politics of AP – K Srinivasulu (Prof in OU)

Literature – T Ravi


APRIL 14, 2013

Contemporary Issues (I): 09:00 to 11:30 am

Chair: Thimma Reddy

Power Reforms in AP – M Venugopala Rao

SEZs – Usha Seethalakshmi

Irrigation – Sudheer

IT impact on AP – Kiranchandra


Tea break: 11:30 to 11:45 am


Contemporary Issues (II): 11:45 to 01:30 pm

Chair: TBA

Education – Ramesh Patnaik

Health – Purendra

Caste and Media – G Mamata

NGOisation – KHSS Sundar


Lunch: 01:30 to 02:30 pm


Social Movements: 02:30 to 05:00 pm

Chair: V Lalitha

Student and Youth movements – R Arun Kumar

Gender movements – Katyayini (Prof in KU)

Caste movements – Satish (Research scholar, UoH)

Environment movements – G Vijay (Faculty in UoH)

Tribal struggles – Vijaya Bhasker