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vantage April 2018

Inclu-city Shades of Belongingness in Hyderabad


A UoH Publication

Volume 9


Oishani Mojumder Poulomi Mandal



K Mythreya Prateek Talukdar Amrutha Chandrasekharan


P. Raja Rajeswari


Prateek Talukdar Sunku Durga Prasad


Akhil Vijayan Barsha Chetia Sunku Durga Prasad




Sadhana Ramchander

Cover Photo

Vyshakh Thaliyil

Published by

Department of Communication Sarojini Naidu School of Arts and Communication University of Hyderabad Hyderabad 500046 The views expressed in the magazine are those of the authors and not those of the Department of Communication or the University. Vol 9, Pages XX

Stories of belonging and unbelonging in Hyderabad Hyderabad, the city of Nizams, for the longest time has been known only for its rich historical heritage and gastronomical indulgence. A city famous for its hospitality has opened its arms for people from all walks of life. It is this global aspect that makes the city a home away from home for many. Mercer's Quality of Living Rating released in March 2018 has ranked Hyderabad the best city to live in the country, the fourth time in a row. The flourishing IT sector has brought in a plethora of varied cultures and traditions. The ever-inviting weather makes it an apt place for people from across the country to adapt comfortably. As part of Team Vantage, we have tried to uncover the extent of Hyderabad's sense of inclusivity. While it is a city many of us have called home for quite some time, there are aspects of Hyderabad that still may seem unwelcome to many. Bidri artisans are finding it difficult to sustain their art. There has been a surprising rise in reported cases of domestic violence. And the city's general environment has been unfriendly towards Persons with Disabilities. But the city does not cease to surprise us. In contrast to the struggle of Bidri artisans, in a quiet corner of Necklace Road, the Maqtha Art District has been expanding steadily. The Public Sector Undertakings in the city have made way for a cosmopolitan lifestyle. And Hyderabad is gradually embracing couture and luxury fashion labels. It's important to keep in mind that Hyderabad, unlike most cosmopolitan cities is still evolving. From the times of the Nizams, fluctuating governments and the bifurcation of the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh, the city has withstood all. Team Vantage acknowledges that despite its flaws, Hyderabad has captured many hearts. Apart from chronicling Hyderabad's stories of belonging and unbelonging, our reporters have initiated several necessary discussions as 'Perspectives'.

Poulomi Mandal

Oishani Mojumder

CONTENTS Rhythmic Gymnastics: A Sport Far from Glory


K Mythreya

"Violence is not accepted." 4 P Raja Rajeswari

Infusing Gullies with Art 8 Prateek Talukdar

Dying Art 12 Sunku Durga Prasad

Against the Odds [Cover Story] 16 Barsha Chetia

The Life of a Garbage Disposer


Poulomi Mandal

PSUs in Cosmopolitan Hyderabad 28 Rushi Malava

Finding Home in Cinemas 31 Akhil Vijayan




When the State Fails 34 Oishani Mojumder

Who Let the Dogs in! 38 Roseleen Aind

Fashion Business on the Rise in Hyderabad 42 Sahil Suman

Coping with the Graveyard Shift 47 Amrutha Chandrasekharan

Perspectives Untimely Death of Journalism


Oishani Mojumder Prateek Talukdar

Science in the Times of Religion


Mahipal Reddy

Sunrisers Hyderabad : Poised to Win 55 Sahil Suman


Sourced from the player

Rhythmic Gymnastics: A Sport Far from Glory

Meghana Reddy Gundlapally, a rhythmic gymnast from Hyderabad selected for CWG 2018.

K. Mythreya Though the game has only a few takers in Hyderabad, the available facilities need a major facelift and more coaches need to be brought in.


family of four travelled all the way from Hyderabad to the national capital New Delhi to watch 2010 Commonwealth Games. They reached the venue with a hope to spot international artistic gymnasts in action but much to their disappointment the house was full. They managed to get passes for Rhythmic Gymnastics, a genre of gymnastics which till recently was alien to a country like India. Commonwealth Games were a prestigious sporting event


hosted by India in 2010. It was in the news for a major scam that broke out after the games. But the game – Rhythmic Gymnastics – which the family from Hyderabad watched that day engrossed a young girl. Today she is a part of the gymnastics contingent selected for the 2018 Commonwealth Games to be held in Gold Coast in Australia. Until Meghana Reddy Gundlapally, a rhythmic gymnast from Hyderabad was selected for 2018 Commonwealth Games,

this sport was expectedly unfamiliar to the city. Rhythmic gymnastics, unlike artistic gymnastics has steps drawn from ballet. It has floor movements and acrobatics. This genre of gymnastics especially needs elegance. “Meghana is a trained Kuchipudi dancer, when she started her gymnastics career in 2011 it was her coach Brij Kishore who recognized her natural edge of being slim and flexible. He suggested her to practice Rhythmic Gymnastics,” said


Naveen G

Gymnastics facilities in L.B Stadium's gymnasium hall; a portion of the roof is in dilapidated condition.

G. Pravina Reddy, Meghana’s mother who is a former gymnast.

All is not well Meghana is one among fewer than 10 rhythmic gymnasts practicing this sport in Hyderabad. The city has below par facilities for the game. Though Hyderabad has three indoor stadiums with facilities to practice gymnastics, the material and equipment inside the stadium are outdated. A senior gymnastics coach Brij Kishore says, “The infrastructure and the buildings look fine from outside but the standard of the equipment is not up to the mark. The material inside Saroornagar indoor stadium is on the verge of collapse and it is time to get imported equipment.” Also, a portion of roof ceiling in Lal Bahadur Shastri stadium’s (L.B Stadium) gymnastics hall is in a dilapidated condition, thus causing trouble in the rainy season. Saanvi Reddy, a seven-

year-old gymnast has been practicing in L.B Stadium for the last two years. Her mother Keerthi Reddy says, “Unlike international standards, the mats here have less bounce. And they are not regularly vacuumed; as a result, dust rises whenever players jump.”

“All the mats, which are now in use were bought during 2002 National Games held in Hyderabad.” Meghana Reddy Gundlapally Rhythmic Gymnast

Rhythmic gymnastics requires an exclusive mat with a quality of less springing than artistic gymnastics mats. Currently, out of the three stadiums, such a mat is only available in Saroornagar stadium. Meghana says, “All the mats, which are

now in use were bought during 2002 National Games held in Hyderabad, usually the lifespan of mats is not so long.” In a bid to give an impetus to rhythmic gymnasts and to encourage Meghana for CWG, a mat worth Rs. 29 lakhs was ordered by Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC). Since CWG are scheduled in April, Meghana had to leave for the United States of America for her training sessions. Pravina says, “The mat was supposed to reach Hyderabad by March. As the mat is being procured by GHMC, a government body, it has to undergo all the required scrutiny and thus there is a delay.” The mat is expected to reach the city by mid-April. Harinath, the administrator of L.B Stadium, which is run by Sports Authority of Telangana State (SATS), admits that the mats used in the stadiums are outdated and there is a need to


purchase latest sophisticated mats. The situation is slightly better in Maharashtra. In May 2017, Thane Municipal Corporation started the construction of a world-class gymnasium catering to all genres of gymnastics. Also, foam pits that ensure athletes remain injury free are available only in a few cities like Delhi, Allahabad, and Mumbai. Despite Dipa Karmakar’s impressive performance at the Rio Olympics in 2016 and Aruna Reddy bagging a bronze medal at Gymnastics World Cup in 2018, improving gymnastics facilities is still not a priority.

Irregular budgetary allocation According to Live Mint, gymnastics receives a boost in funds allocation only when a major sports event is due; in 2011-12, before the London Olympics, Rs 6.36 crore was granted to this sport. In 2012-13, it got nothing. This shows the non-uniform funding pattern and the little value placed on gymnastics. According to Vimalakar Rao, Administrative Officer at SATS,

the sports body spent around Rs. 9 crore for the renovation of facilities and construction of stadiums in 2017-18. An amount of Rs. 4.85 crore was utilised for cash awards, financial incentives and financial assistance to players and associations under SATS. Before the Telangana state budget was announced this year, it was expected that sports would receive a separate layout of Rs. 200 crore. But a raw deal was meted out

"Rs. 56 crore was allotted in this budget to sports which is just Rs. 1 crore more than the previous year’s budget." Vimalakar Rao Administrative Officer at SATS

to sports. “Rs. 56 crore was allotted in this budget to sports which is just Rs. 1 crore more than the previous year’s budget,” says Vimalakar Rao.

Naveen G

Rough floor edges in L.B Stadium's gymnasium hall posing a threat to gymnasts.



The share that gymnastics, including rhythmic gymnastics, is likely to receive from this budget will be known only when the separate allocations are made by SATS. Deputy Director of SATS, G.A Shobha says, “No separate allocations for individual sports will be made, we utilise the funds and make developments depending on the requirement and the demand.”

The coach conundrum Unfortunately, India doesn’t have any specialized coaches for rhythmic gymnastics. All these years, the coaches who had expertise in artistic gymnastics were training the rhythmic enthusiasts too by adopting rules, which are specific to rhythmic gymnastics. Even as the players who participated in 2010 CWG have started their own academies, the coaches are few and far between. Rio Olympian Varvara Filiou, who is Meghana's present coach says, “Most of the Indian coaches are unaware of proper techniques as the game is at a nascent stage in the country.” She adds that some of them try to learn through YouTube, which is not the way to compete at the international level. Brij Kishore agrees that the techniques and rules are fast changing in rhythmic gymnastics for which the Indian coaches need to be up to date with the latest developments. Coaches should be sent abroad for training so that they can be introduced to international standards and can observe foreign players, he says. However, G.A Shobha says, “We have certified coaches from


Sourced from the player

Calling attention

Meghana Reddy with her coach Varvara Filiou, warming up for CWG.

National Institute of Sports (NIS) and if they approach us for any latest training we can make likely arrangements.” Sathish Reddy, a gymnastics coach disagrees. He says, “Sadly, we don’t have any exclusive certification program for rhythmic gymnastics coaches even in NIS.” One more glaring concern faced by the less hyped game is the coach to trainee ratio, where one coach trains hundreds of gymnasts. Brij Kishore trains around 150 gymnasts on a daily basis. He says, “In Uzbekistan, a coach takes care of four to five players only, while in India the number is anywhere between 50 to 100.” There are seven gymnastic coaches in Hyderabad and none of them are specialized in the rhythmic genre. Ideally, a coach

can train only two to three players, but the situation in Hyderabad is entirely different. The last recruitment of coaches happened way back in 2009. Gymnasts say that the

“In Uzbekistan, a coach takes care of four to five players only, while in India the number is anywhere between 50 to 100.” Brij Kishore Gymnastics Coach

government should pump more money to recruit coaches and train them in a timely manner. The more coaches we have the more diversified pool of talent will be in gymnastics.

Varvara Filiou says that as the game is gaining attention in India, it is the right time for India to come up with a national rhythmic gymnastics team with a strong coach. Brij Kishore, on the other hand, feels that unimproved facilities for rhythmic gymnastics are making it difficult to have a strong national team. As rhythmic gymnastics has not yielded any major results in the past, it is not a part of the Target Olympic Podium (TOP) scheme. The scheme was formulated with the objective of identifying and supporting potential medal winners for the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games. Though Meghana qualified for CWG 2018, she is not part of the TOP scheme, which could otherwise have helped her in cutting down the costs of her expensive training. She says, “A single costume, which we use is for 1000 Euros.” She hopes that with the slow emergence of rhythmic gymnastics and possible good performances, the government will soon bring it under the ambit of the TOP scheme. Rhythmic gymnasts feel that if the government provides proper resources and devotes worldclass coaches, the game can see the light of the day. (This piece was written before the start of CWG 2018. Senior gymnastics coach Brij Kishore passed away on April 5, 2018 due to ill health.)


“Violence is not accepted.” P. Raja Rajeswari

Akhil Vijayan

Hyderabad is at the top of the list of crimes against women in Telangana, according to the latest data released by the National Commission for Women. More women are coming out to share their ordeal.

Domestic violence is on the rise in Hyderabad.


ou need to start knowing about the Muslim Personal Law Board,” counsels Sultana Begum, who is 32 years old and was once a victim of domestic violence. She is now working as a counsellor at Shaheen Foundation, a women resource center, in the narrow lanes of the Old City, Hyderabad. Seventeen years before she joined Shaheen Foundation, she



was admitted to Osmania General Hospital to undergo seven surgeries of grafting and plastic surgery with her one-and-a-halfyear-old baby in hand. All the surgeries took place as a result of domestic violence by her husband. She was eight months pregnant when her husband threw a heavy stone on her face after intoxicating her. This left her face disfigured.

According to Sultana, her childhood was rough and troubled. There were problems in her family. She lost her mother at a very young age, her father remarried soon after. She did not receive any education beyond her intermediate, she used to tutor kids while she was studying. Much against her wish, she was married at the tender age of 17. “I did not understand the mean-


Sunku Durga Prasad

ing of marriage at that point,” says Sultana. Even then she wasn’t unfamiliar with the idea of domestic violence. She was a constant witness to the ordeal her sisters had faced in their early marriages. Sultana had always wished for a life without these hassles, however her life turned out to be a real hell after marriage.

Fatal ignorance Sultana’s husband was a tailor but never showed interest in his work. Whenever she tried to educate her unemployed husband, he would not listen to her and moreover, abused her physically and sexually. When she tried to help her family financially, her husband and brother-in law refused to accept that too. They said, “Daughter-in-laws in our family don't go out to work. It will inflict damage on our reputation and family’s name.’’ She got pregnant early, and expectedly, her husband did not take care of her. Though the doctor suggested her to take bed rest, she was never given any rest in her house. She took care of the household work without any proper nutritious food and adequate rest that a pregnant lady needs. Whenever she tried to question her husband’s behavior, he would harass her sexually, ignoring that she had been advised rest by the doctors. During the eighth month of her pregnancy, one night her husband offered her some milk to drink. She insisted that she was on medication and was supposed to stick to the prescribed diet. But she was forcefully made to drink it. Later, she felt dizzy and lost consciousness. He forcibly had

Sultana Begum, Counsellor at Shaheen Women Resource Center

sexual intercourse with her and then threw a stone on her face, which resulted in cutting of her nose and upper lip. She woke up to find herself in a hospital and after a month gave birth to a baby boy. It almost took two years in two government hospitals to finish her surgeries. After that, Shaheen Foundation approached her, where she learned tailoring and later worked as a field worker. She even fought a legal case against her husband and succeeded in getting the maintenance and custody of her child. Today, she works as a counsellor at Shaheen Foundation and helps

“I always wanted to be an independent woman in my life and today I’m independent.”

Sultana Begum Counsellor Shaheen Foundation

other women in their fight for a violence-free life. “I always wanted to be an independent woman in my life and today I’m independent. I raise my son, teaching him how to respect women,” says Sultana Begum.

Not anymore All these years, nothing got better in Hyderabad, cases of domestic violence have only increased and become worse. Among 138 complaints received by the National Commission for Women in 2017, 91 are from Hyderabad alone. In addition, the city stands second with 1,311 cases of cruelty by husbands according to the 2016 figures of National Crime Records Bureau. Some of the reasons that experts say are, double burden on women, which means they work at their offices and have to manage household chores too. The suspicious nature of men, and increasing awareness of legal procedures among women are other reasons.


Bhaskar Nayak

Women Police Station and SHE Teams at Gachibowli.

Senior Advocate at High court, Vasudha Nagaraj says, “Women are highly educated today. Most of the women in Hyderabad are employed, women have changed a lot, whereas men haven't. Men continue to want women as their grandmothers were. There is no way that women are ready to take this bullshit anymore.” She also adds that divorce is not a taboo like it was 10 years ago. More and more women are opting for divorce, living with their

children rather than staying in abusive marriages. Women have made up their minds not to endure this any further. “Violence is not acceptable. If you restrict a woman like a slave and a child, it doesn't work,” says Nagaraj. She points out how important it is to maintain equality in household chores as well. This should begin from parents encouraging their sons to share domestic work. The idea of associating domestic sphere with

women, needs to be eliminated. She states that men should not view women suspiciously when they return late from work. Nagaraj adds that it should not be an issue for men if their wives talk with their male colleagues.

“Women are highly educated today. Most of the women in Hyderabad are employed, women have changed a lot, whereas men haven't." Vasudha Nagaraj Senior Advocate High Court

Pillar of support

Poulomi Mandal

SHE Teams is an organization in the police wing, which specifically looks after women safety. There are counselling centers here, where usually three layers of counselling happens, first the victim is counselled and then the accused and then




they are jointly counselled at the She Team police stations. K. Rajeswari who works for Bhumika, an organization that supports trafficked women survivors is also a counsellor at SHE Teams. She says, “Most of the disputes are solved in counselling, only if the victim wants the case to be filed, it will be considered. We take the responsibility of the victim if the case is filed.” The organization provides protection, show them shelter homes and also medical care when needed. She adds that there are provisions for the victims to obtain information regarding employment and skill training facilities, if the victim is interested. Recently in January 2018 six dowry harassment cases got registered. In Cyberabad alone 1,562 crimes against women were reported in 2017, it was 742 in 2014. In a span of just three years cases have more than doubled. “Even small disputes are coming to police stations, earlier this was not the case,” told N. Shyam Prasad Rao, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Madhapur, Cyberabad Division.

The other picture Usha Kiran, Communication Manager at My Choices Foundation, an NGO which works for the abuse and violence-free life for women thinks otherwise. She says, “This is just the tip of the iceberg of what is actually happening, there is a lot more that is unreported. Domestic violence always happened in households of our country, there is no denying in that.” She points out how in urban spaces like Hyderabad, women are more intolerant towards the violence. They come out more often to report the crimes than the others. Also according to the latest National Family Health Survey, almost 37% married women have experienced spousal violence in urban Telangana. In Old City alone, Shaheen Foundation received as many as 340 cases of crimes against women in 2017. “There are many challenges even to bring out women from their homes and to talk about these issues, there are still many women who think that they have to face this because

they are women, it is their duty,” says Farhana Fathima, a field worker at Shaheen Foundation. They organize tailoring and mehendi training programmes to get women out of their homes. They conduct games and provide awareness on legal and health issues. Jameela Nishat, the founder of Shaheen Foundation says, “Change is possible, but we need to work with men regularly, and let them know about how women do so much unpaid work. Then they will understand. It will take time, it won't happen within a day! Changing mindset is not easy.”

Statistical representation of domestic violence cases in Telangana

Domestic Violence Cases Majority of the crimes against women in Telangana are reported in Hyderabad.

Rest of Telangana 34%

- National Commission for Women, 2017


Hyderabad 66%


Infusing Gullies with Art Prateek Talukdar

Sravvan V

Street artists revamp the walls of Maqtha. We try answering what it takes for art to come out of elite spaces into dense neighbourhoods and impact people.

A mural at Green Gully by Raghav Bhalla


treet artists revamp the walls of Maqtha. But what does it take for art to come out of elite spaces into the dense neighbourhoods and what is its impact on people? Adjacent to the Necklace road, a narrow lane called "Green Gully" is donning hues amidst the cacophony of the city. All the walls of the lane are



painted green with several colourful motifs on them. A board near a dumpster lays out the map of the neighbourhoods of Maqtha, marking coloured lanes and spots. It reads Maqtha Art District: a collaborative effort by St+art India Foundation, Asian Paints, Kalakriti Art Gallery, Art@Telangana and GHMC (Greater Hy-

derabad Municipal Corporation). Artists, non-profit organizations and the local government came together to turn around the face of the dense, lower-middle-class neighbourhoods of Maqtha using street art. As a result, Hyderabad currently has the largest amount of curated street art among the five metro cities. Around 50,000 square feet of area is covered by


Sravvan V

A mural at Pink Gully by Sadhu-X

street art near Necklace Road, including Maqtha. But what does it take for art to come out of the elite spaces into middle-class neighbourhoods and how does it impact the lives of people?

New lease of life Surprisingly, the dumpster near the board, doesn't have garbage scattered around it. "One day while painting, an old man walked up to me and said that the day before, somebody had spit on the wall and the person next door came and wiped it," says Nandita Ratan, an artist based in Bengaluru and contributor to the Maqtha Art District. This would be an apt depiction of how people develop a sense of community and ownership of their neighbourhoods once street aesthetics are changed. The primary motive of street art might just be the beautifica-

tion of our streets but it also has ripple effects. Prshant Lahoti, owner of Kalakriti Art Gallery says, "Street art brings economic and social transformation of the locality. It gives a feeling of empowerment to the locals." For

People develop a sense of community and ownership of their neighbourhoods once street aesthetics are changed.

a visitor, the different artworks might give a sense of direction in the labyrinthine neighbourhoods, but even the residents themselves are informally identifying and designating lanes

based on the artworks. Guilia Ambrogi, co-founder of St+art India Foundation, says, "We hope to create new navigation routes for the neighbourhood by colour coding some of the lanes. In a place where there are no names for its streets, the project will create new landmarks, both geographical and emotional." It was done by painting some lanes and spots with specific colour themes and naming the places with respect to the colour.

From the creator’s eye

One such lane gave Nandita Ratan an immersive feeling of an aquarium, drawing inspiration from which, she illustrated surreal forms resembling jellyfishes. The lane has been named "Yellow Gully". "People were very skeptical in the beginning regarding what we were illustrating and a few people


turned down our requests during the first phase. The adults were asking why make such strange figures?” Ratan says. But after the first phase when visitors started coming and enquiring about the street art, many residents themselves requested the artists to paint their walls. She asked the neighbourhood kids, who also helped her paint, to guess what the illustration is about and received replies ranging from flying burger to ice-cream until some older kids came up with the correct answer. She emphasises jellyfish is something which is not indigenous to Hyderabad and makes it uncommon, thus evoking curiosity in children. An abandoned house, near a junction named “Blue Chowk”, is painted marine blue and covered in shimmering golden, rectangular Kufesque style pattern by Varun Vedavyas, a young artist from Hyderabad. He says, "I tried to delve into the meaning of the word Maqtha, which in Urdu relates to the creative ways poets employ their name in the last A mural at Yellow Gully by Nandita Ratan

couplet of the poem. I stumbled upon Kufic while searching for ideas, and this is mostly a Muslim populated area so I thought I will go with this."

From the recipient’s eye Curious, I ask Zuber Ali, a young resident of the neighbourhood,

"Artwork that is aesthetically pleasing, so to speak, is one approach to street art. Another approach is to be highly contextual and socially relevant." Akshat Nauriyal Content Director St+art India Foundation

about his take on the artwork. To which he replied, “The pattern resembles a ball-in-a-maze puzzle or the layout of the neighbourhood.” Expectedly, Ali is not aware that Kufic is the oldest calligraphic form of the Arabic script originating in seventh century Iran, and its

non-Arabic rendition in medieval Europe got the name Kufesque. He says he doesn’t know how to read Arabic and asks me if I do. To the challenge of maintaining context of the art with respect to the locality, Akshat Nauriyal, Content Director at St+art India Foundation, says, "It would be incorrect on my part to say that every project we do is contextual. Artwork that is aesthetically pleasing, so to speak, is one approach to street art. Another approach is to be highly contextual and socially relevant.” He claims that they have a balance of both being very aware of the fact that using public space is a responsibility and they try to navigate that in the best possible manner. The artwork however, could not keep advertisers from spamming the walls with posters and bills. To which Ratan responds, "The moment artists decide to put themselves in the public sphere, their ownership of the piece stops right there.” She says artists cannot claim and complain about space. The primary motive of painting these walls is to bring awareness among people and keep them clean. But she also points out that this would be a top-down approach “imposed” on the people.

Sravvan V

The other picture

10 VANTAGE 2018

"Public participation is the most important thing in street art," says Soaham Mandal, a Public Art Research Scholar from Jawaharlal Nehru University. "Street art is a novelty in India, and honestly, is an expensive hobby.” He asserts, graffiti is not common in India because of the high cost of spray cans and paint. It is not affordable for the economically weak. That is UoH

the reason we don't often see artists coming from the grassroots. Most of the street artists are “globalised” people, trained in visual arts, as opposed to the street art scene in New York or Berlin, where people from marginalised communities started taking up street art as a medium of expression using cheap spray cans. This, despite far strict vandalism laws than in India. It rose from the streets to the global level. Here, the already-globalised is being brought to the streets. Employing a top-down approach doesn't match the spirit of street art, says Mandal. He stresses that artists will have to act local and engage with the public to leave an impact. Lahoti says, "The more we see the more we become aware of art. In Europe and all, it starts

from the school level itself.” He says, unfortunately in India, neither the government nor the corporates are focused on it. “We cannot expect everyone to visit an art gallery, it is intimidating for

In New York or Berlin... It rose from the streets to the global level. Here, the already-globalised is being brought to the streets.

Sakina Begum, a resident near "Yellow Gully" refused to get their home marked on the board as they had recently got it painted. However, she is happy for her neighbours' newly painted home as she says, "They hadn't got it painted for many years and it is nice they did not even have to spend a rupee," and is convinced that the jellyfishes are "Masha'Allah."

people, and apart from that, they are not used to seeing art.” But once it is in the street, we cannot un-see it, it is just there, it engages with everyone irrespective of discrimination. Lahoti is a recipient of Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, the French Government's second highest civilian award for art.

A mural at Pink Gully by Sundar Sukka

Sravvan V


Akhil Vijayan

Engraving being done on a mould made up of zinc and copper.

Dying Art Sunku Durga Prasad

Once a beloved art of the Deccan, Bidriware is close to its demise. Utter neglect from government, and lack of upcoming talent have hampered the growth of this beautiful artwork.

12 VANTAGE 2018


ut of the 12 Bidriware workshops that existed in and around Hyderabad during my great-grandfather’s time, merely one remains,” says Shaik Omar-bid-Ahmed, owner of Gulistan Bidriware Society. For the last four generations, Bidriware has been a livelihood for his family. The Bidriware artefacts, with its rich contrast of lovely velvety black and white brilliance, were once considered a status symbol. In fact, there was a time when no Muslim wedding was complete without the inclusion of Bidriware articles. Possessing a deep black colour that never fades, the artwork also

has the potential to be restored, even when rusted. Bidriware is a handicraft metal art that takes its name from Bidar, a town in Karnataka situated about 75 miles north-west of Hyderabad. It is a type of 'Damascening', an art of inlaying different metals into one another. The designs are drawn with a free hand on the Zinc surface and then engraved with a special type of chisel in varying depths. Silver wire or pieces of sheets are embedded by hammering. The art originated from the ornamentation of swords and other weapons. The craft is also used in making domestic items including ashtrays, sherwani buttons, cigarette buttons and legs of beds. These articles are hard and heavy. They break only if dealt with heavy blows.


Sunku Durga Prasad

Bidriware artisan Abdul Khaleed working on an artefact.

Not enough from the government According to Ahmed, Bidri is going to die in Hyderabad within the next 5-10 years. The sole reason is that there is no government help. He says, “During 1960-80s, we used to get subsidies from the government. That stopped in 1985. Earlier the kings used to give importance to Bidri artisans. But now, there is no government, which listens or takes care of this artform. Neither is it helping in training new artisans nor promoting our products.” He states that there are around 10 government handicraft showrooms in the country that sell Bidriware, though erraticaly. It would be of great help to the artisans if the government could purchase Bidri articles regularly and sell them through their showrooms.

"People ask us to preserve this art but how can we do it without any help from the government. When I started working on this, I used to earn Rs. 6 per day. But now, even if I earn Rs. 250 a day, it is not sufficient enough to look after my wife and three children." Abdul Khaleed Bidriware artisan

O. Sri Phani, Assistant Manager of Training and Exhibition, Telangana Handicrafts Development Ltd. says, “We conducted training sessions for 20 artisans who were interested in Bidri in 2016-17. This was part of a central government scheme in which they had released Rs. 9.8 lakh.

We hired two masters for the four months program. We paid Rs. 300 per day for the artisans who were in the training program." Even as this body is run by the state government, Phani said they have asked for government help and are awaiting their reply. She added that since Telangana is a newly formed state, their office is under-staffed.

Less pay, fewer artisan Abdul Khaleed, a Bidriware artisan working in Ahmed’s Gulistan Bidriware Society, migrated from Bidar to Hyderabad 45 years ago in search of livelihood. He says, “People ask us to preserve this art but how can we do it without any help from the government. When I started working on this, I used to earn Rs. 6 per day. But now, even if I earn Rs. 250 a day, it is not sufficient to look after my wife 13

and three children.” He also says that the next generation of Bidri artisans feeling a sense of disappointment in this field. They may not take up this profession because of the low pay and intensive labour. Ahmed shares a recent incident where Golconda Handicrafts Development asked him to make a new table. “I asked them to pay an advance but they refused. So I could not take the order. There is a great demand for Bidriware but there are not many artisans. Earlier, there were a number of artisans but not sufficient work, now the situation is reverse. If there is any Bidri artisan, I would immediately offer them Rs. 1 lakh as advance for the job.” But Ahmed believes that he has been lucky. Recently, he delivered an order to the She Team Police. He gets orders from some software organizations, including CCS, Microsoft and IIIT

on consignment basis. But that is not the case with Golconda Emporiums. Even with the continuous rush of foreigners demanding Bidriware, the artisans don’t get many orders. Sometimes the government showrooms don’t pay the Bidri artists even after they have delivered the orders.

Of schemes and loopholes Yaseen Siddiqui, another Bidri artisan, works on flower vases in his small tin shop in Bidar. He started the trade at the age of 13. Now, this art is the source of income for him and his three

"We conducted training sessions for 20 artisans who were interested in Bidri in 2016-17."

O. Sri Phani Assistant Manager Telangana Handicrafts Development Ltd

brothers. Their earnings depend on the size of the work as it may take one to four days to craft an item. “We usually work for 12 hours a day. When there is no work, we have to sit idle. Sometimes, we do nothing for 15 days straight. It is a very good art form but there is no encouragement from our government,” he says. The Karnataka government is giving 50% subsidy on raw material. It even purchases the products of artisans. But all these are only available to artists who are registered with the Karnataka Handicrafts Development Ltd. Siddiqui is not a registered artist. The registrations were conducted before he was even born. They haven’t been renewed. Siddiqui further adds that the government officials promise to solve their problems but do nothing. “We didn’t learn anything other than this. We don’t know anything other than this. What can we do?” he says.

Akhil Vijayan

A giant concrete sculpture of a flower vase that showcases Bidriware art welcomes visitors to Bidar.

14 VANTAGE 2018


Akhil Vijayan

Bidriware articles ready for sale.

Other issues- Marketing and middlemen Rehman Patel, Faculty of Visual Arts, Gulbarga University, comments on the clear failure of marketing of Bidriware products by the Karnataka government. Although several new schemes have been introduced, the problem lies with not being able tomarket items adequately. “In Bidar too you can’t find Bidriware in every artefact shop. People prefer china products to give as gifts, which cost Rs. 500-1000, rather than Bidri products. Can’t they afford small flower vases, which cost just Rs 250? It is indeed a clear failure of marketing,” he says. Currently there are no NGOs working with Bidriware artists. There are no official records of the number of Bidri artisans.Patel further notes that a lot of artists are

"In Bidar too you can’t find Bidriware in every artefact shop. People prefer china products to give as gifts, which cost Rs. 500-1000, rather than Bidri products. Can’t they afford small flower vases, which cost just Rs 250?" Rehman Patel Faculty of Visual Arts Gulbarga University

shifting from Bidriware to other livelihoods like tea stalls, daily wage labour, and other odd jobs for survival. Vinayak Vangapalli, who has a Master's degree in Commerce from Gulburga University wrote a research paper on 'Commercialization and Marketability of Bidriware' in 2016. In his paper, which

he wrote as part of his MA program, Vangapalli states, “Middle men are the link between market and artisans. They stock the artifacts and sell them to others. Exporting goods directly by artisans is risky, but the middle men can do it with risk.” He adds that a few of them even make more profits than the artisans. They might sell the products with double profits. It depends on the type of market, like in local areas the costs are a bit less compared to other states. For international markets, the price goes higher. Due to a large number of existing middle men, manufacturers are not getting the right price and monetary benefit. There’s a dire need for a strong and structured marketing channel.


Vyshakh Thailiyil

16 VANTAGE 2018


Cover Story

Against the odds Barsha Chetia

For Persons with Disabilities in Hyderabad, education is still an everyday struggle. Even as both central and state governments formulate schemes on disability, they fail to include the disabled in policymaking.



y mother had to face rejection from 20 schools for I was denied admission right from the beginning,” says 31-year-old Nipun Malhotra with a heavy tone. His speech quickens as he begins talking about the callousness of schools towards Persons with Disabilities (PwD). Nipun is now the CEO of Nipman Foundation that works in the area of health and advocacy for Persons with Disabilities.

In a profound step, Telangana State Government in January 2018 reserved a 5% quota for Persons with Disabilities in all welfare schemes. The rise from 3% to 5% in reservation is expected to benefit about 11 lakh PwD population. “It is yet to be implemented. I don’t know how much time that would take. The budget allocation would have to happen before,” says Balakrishna Reddy, Secretary, Network of Persons with Dis-

ability Organisation, Hyderabad. Education is a crucial sector where Persons with Disabilities are marginalised. “Inspite of government laws, I was denied admission. Education is such an important aspect of growth,” says Nipun. He finally went to a regular school and credits his mother for that. He says, “It is so important to include Persons with Disabilities into mainstream schools. This is everyone’s right.”

Akhil Vijayan

Persons with Disabilities face problems everyday due to lack of resources.

18 VANTAGE 2018


Access to resources According to the last census conducted in 2011, Hyderabad alone has 1,080,000 disabled population. “There are about 16 special schools in Hyderabad, which run in aid with the government under Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme,” says K. Ramagopal Reddy, Superintendent, Commission for Persons with Disabilities, Telangana. The schools are meant to cater to students with various disabilities belonging to the state. “I scored 9.3 GPA in class 10. I worked hard for it,” says Shiva Reddy who studies at Devnar School For The Blind in Hyderabad. Shiva recalls how he had to request his siblings to record chapters for him from the course books. “Supplementary books were not available in Braille. I had to arrange the means to read them on my own,” says the 14-year-old, pointing to how schools lack in providing more than the course books. He recalls how he learnt to use the computer so that he can download audio files of these books. Every child is not as fortunate as Shiva to have gotten the help of technology. His parents could afford sending him to special schools for vocational training, and a computer for that matter. For Amrender Reddy, nothing came easy. Visually-impaired by birth, he is pursuing his PhD in Finance from Osmania University in Hyderabad. He seemed too engrossed with his smartphone to sense my presence when I saw him at his computer desk at the Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled in Hyderabad. Hesitant at first, he opens up in some time to talk about his struggles to reach where he is now.

“Reality struck me hard after I completed class 10. I studied in a regular school. I did not have Braille versions for the supplementary books that other students referred to, neither could I afford a computer,” recounts Amrender. For recording books, he had to heavily rely on those very classmates who would usually ignore him. While sipping chai, he turns towards me to ask, “Have you ever volunteered as a scribe?” Embarassed, I said no. I started to question my younger

"I did not have Braille versions for the supplementary books that other students referred to, neither could I afford a computer." Amrender Reddy PhD Scholar Osmania University

self whether I ever had any differently-abled classmate, but failed to recall any. An unfamiliar guilt struck me. Those Persons with Disabiliies who are more aware of their rights often attempt to spark a sense of responsibility among those with better access to resources. Amrender is learning to use the computer at Samarthanam so that he can access the internet and get study materials for his research.

Software for the Blind Most of the libraries in educational institutions do not have books in Braille. Students like Amrender face major setbacks when they have to rely on other methods for getting books. “This is one major cause for students

dropping out of colleges. A lot of them fail their exams because they could not avail of reading material,” adds Ashwin who heads the Hyderabad office of Samarthanam. The trust enrols a batch of 50 students at a time for training in computer and software, which are designed for the visually-impaired. “I am here so that I can help myself,” says Amrender with a smile that I was witnessing for the first time. Software such as Job Access with Speech (JAWS) and Non-Visual Desktop Access (NVDA) are screen readers, which help the visually-impaired navigate through the computer. “NVDA is open source software unlike JAWS and can be easily procured. The users hear the commands and work accordingly on the systems,” says Dr. Beula Christy, Head of Services in Institute of Vision Rehabilitation, L V Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad. Apart from the screen readers, a software called Optical Character Recognition (OCR) transforms written documents into electronic formats once scanned. “OCR enables the visually-impaired to get written documents, which aren’t available in Braille. This would reduce their limitations at workplaces,” says Rama Krishna, Administrative Officer of Devnar School. Although funds are allocated for infrastructural needs in government schools, which would include computers, the administration seemed unaware about whether these systems are actually enabled with special software. “We do have computers in government schools, but I will have to check if they have screen readers installed,” says Ramgopal Reddy. He assured that the government is taking initiative to 19

Arranged from the source

In conversation

Mahantesh G K receiving NDTV Spirit of Sports Award - Life Time Achievement.

Mahantesh G Kivadasannavar is the President of the World Blind Cricket Ltd (WBC) and Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI). In his vision to create a disabledfriendly society, he set up Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled in 1997. Despite running through a busy schedule, he heartily agreed for a telephonic interview. In an hour-long conversation, he talks about his journey from childhood as a differentlyabled youngster to an activist fighting for the rights of Persons with Disabilities. As per schedule, I call him at 7 AM before he heads off for a board meeting in Delhi. Tell us about your childhood. I come from a village called Sisiri in Belgaum district of Karnataka. I lost my vision due to typhoid when I was six months old. It took some time for my family to realise their child cannot see anymore. I was fortunate to have a family who accepted the way I am and raised me like any other child. I was never shown pity neither concern about my future. How did you acquire your education? I was sent to a regular government school since the concept of special schools was unfamiliar. My name was never included in the attendance register. I was never promoted to the next class. I would sit at the back and just listen to the class teacher. There was absolutely no support system at that 20 VANTAGE 2018

time for the differently-abled. I was spotted by the Chairman during an inspection when I answered all the questions posed to the class. He recommended my parents to shift me to a special school in the city. I was 11 years old when I joined Shree Ramana Maharishi Academy for the Blind in Bangalore. I had to start from class one all over again. Then, I acquired my Masters Degree and M Phil from the University of Bangalore. Do you feel the lack of awareness about education for the differently-abled is a major concern? Yes, absolutely. We talk about development goals and technology but that doesn’t reach the rural areas. People are still hesitant to talk about disability, and education is severely hampered. The parents UoH

need to be assured that accepting their child’s disability is important in getting the right education. A lot has to be done for equal access to education. Special needs have to be put into consideration. How can education become the harbinger of change? Education is empowerment. Whatever I am today is only because of two things, education and exposure. Most of the time, students don’t realise what they are good at. They seem hopeless about their future. The special schools have to help them realise their potential. Empower them with skills that would earn them bread. It is also extremely important for educational institutes to accept their disability by providing an inclusive environment. Inclusive setup in regular schools is be the best option. Also, the teachers should undergo training in disability studies. There is an urgent need to upgrade the course structure as well. It has to change according to the demands of the times. How did you start playing cricket? Cricket is my life. I was infatuated with listening to cricket commentary. I started playing at the age of six years. I used to play with the kids in my neighbourhood. They would use a plastic ball so that I can hear its sound and play. I eventually went on to captain the Indian cricket team for the blind and toured England in 1998. I captained the first team for the World Cup held in Delhi, in 1998. How different is cricket played by the blind from the regular sport we are familiar with? The ball makes a rattling sound and that’s how the players recognize it. A total of 11 players are in the team. The team comprises three categories of players B1, B2 and B3. There should be a minimum of four B1 players who are completely blind. B2 players are partially-blind and are three in number. There should be a maximum of four partially-sighted players called B3 in a team. There are two formats of World Cups, 40 overs and 20 overs. India has won two Blind Cricket World Cup in the 40-overs format in 2014 and 2018. India has also won two T20 Blind Cricket World Cup in 2012 and 2017.

ing. The government has supported us but the help is not regular. The allocated funds also take time to reach us. The BCCI has recently agreed to support Blind Cricket. This will massively improve the condition of the sport. What are the challenges that Blind Cricket faces in India? We do not have proper amenities or even a playground for that matter. We book grounds to conduct the training camps. The Ministry of Sports hasn’t been able to support sports for the Disabled. Sports for the Blind are the worst affected. They have to proactively function in recognising the needs of the differently-abled. Brands do not want to sponsor sports for the disabled since it does not attract popularity like regular sports. I would usually tell them to give me at least one reason for how they can support instead of why they can’t! What should be done by the government to improve the condition of the differently-abled in India? First and foremost, they should include us, the differently-abled in policy formation. It should be a participatory approach and not one-sided. Only making amendments in Disability Acts would not suffice. They have to ensure they are put into practice. For sports, planning and preparation have to be done way before the major international tournaments. Resources have to be allocated accordingly. Technology needs to be upgraded with adequate time to give the players adequate hands-on experience. They should be entitled to equal salaries and perks that regular sportspersons enjoy. Focusing on their ability rather than disability is the need of the hour.

How are the funds arranged by CABI? Funding is a real challenge. CABI is supported by Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled. We get funding from corporates. That’s how we are surviv21

Barsha Chetia

Students of Devnar School For The Blind going home after school.

provide these softwares in each system. “The alternative to JAWS, which is priced about Rs 25,000 a system can be NVDA. It is free and can be used in the government school systems,” suggests Rama Krishna. Fifty students at Samarthanam Trust were learning how to write a mail for the first time and I could feel their confidence rising.

Need of the hour "If universities can have courses on foreign languages, why not one on sign language!” suggests Tirupati Reddy, visually-impaired by birth. Asked about his education, he smiles to tell me he has completed his MBA in Human 22 VANTAGE 2018

Resources from TKR College, Hyderabad. “Initially my classmates would not mingle with me. When they realised I was capable to compete with them in studies, they became my friends,” adds Tirupati. The need to make amendments in the education curriculum has been raised by many activists. The demand for disabilitysensitive course structure tops the list. “It’s necessary to include everyone irrespective of their ability. This would remove any sort of exclusion from the very beginning,” says Dr. Ipsita Sapra, Associate Professor, TISS Hyderabad. In Februray this year, Union Finance Minister, Arun Jailtely

announced the start of an integrated B.Ed. teachers' training programme with a budget of Rs. 1 lakh crore in the Union Budget. “Despite the rise in budgetary allocation, they failed to include funds for training teachers in special education. If the teachers are not well equipped, how would they teach these students,” adds Dr Ipsita. In a study headed by her, out of 30 schools in Hyderabad, most of them lacked disabledfriendly infrastructure. She goes on to say, “The schools did not have ramps. And even when they did, the gradients on those ramps were too dangerous.” Most of the schools kept flower pots along the railings; others did without the UoH

railings. The study also brought forth how these schools did not have toilets for Persons with Disabilities. Apart from the physical limitations, other major factor that Persons with Disabilities face is to do with the variations in sign language itself. The curriculum doesn’t cater to the demands of the outside world. Anju Khemani, Co-founder of Drama Association of the Deaf (DAD) feels the course structure is not inclusive for the differently-abled in the first place. “For the Deaf, it’s too much of written words. Their language is non-verbal and nonwritten. They face major problem when they have to express words with similar spelling but different meanings. It obstructs them from conveying the right explanation,” says Anju. She points out it is also

equally important to keep updating the sign language. “When hearing people say Nope! We understand it as 'no'. For the Deaf, there is no such word in the Indian sign languages,” adds Anju. The Deaf usually get their tenses wrong because they are not included much in their language. It

The Disability Act 2016 extended the number of disabilities from seven to 21 but still fails to recognize the demands of the disabled.

Despite government’s efforts to make education every citizen’s right, it still seems a long way for Persons with Disabilities. The Disability Act 2016 extended the number of disabilities from seven to 21 but still fails to recognize the demands of the disabled. Definitely, there is an urgent need to focus on providing explicit and intensive instruction targeted to meet the specific learning needs of Persons with Disabilities.

becomes a hindrance when they have to go abroad or even communicate with foreigners.

A visually-impaired student learning to use JAWS on computer.

Barsha chetia


Poulomi Mandal

GHMC workers resting after their shift.

The Life of a Garbage Disposer Poulomi Mandal

Trials and tribulations that garbage disposers and sweepers endure while working to keep Hyderabad clean.

24 VANTAGE 2018


or the last 10 years, A. Chandrakala has woken up every morning at 4 AM. She wakes up her husband, who’s a farmhand; she cleans her tiny rented home and then promptly goes for a bath. Never once has she faltered from this routine. Her children, one daughter and a son, are old enough to prepare their own meals before

school. This gives Chandrakala just enough time to be ready to catch her bus. Straightening her blue sari, adjusting her bindi, she checks her reflection one last time, and then leaves to meet her father, A. Krishna, on the way to Kurmaguda bus stand. They board a bus and journey for an hour straight to reach Charminar, their assigned area. Both Krishna and Chandrakala work in the same profession. They are known by many names - waste picker, garbage disposer, sanitation worker. They are part of the many staff from the unorganised sector who work with the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation’s Solid Waste Management Department. Every day these workers pool into the city from far flung villages, ready to sweep, clean and pick up gar-


Poulomi Mandal

Krishna and Chandrakala transferring the day's waste to the GHMC bins.

bage from their assigned areas. Their shifts usually last from 6 AM to 2 PM, depending on the area and number of households alotted to them. According to the norms set by GHMC, the waste pickers collect and segregate wastes from different households, carry them over with the help of a cart or the disposal autos to the main municipal trucks at transfer stations. From there, the garbage is set off to be dumped into one of the four dumping yards of the city, namely Jawahar Nagar, Patancheru, Khanapur and Pappireddyguda, where the divided sections are treated.

The truth about earnings The workers can work as both sweepers and cart/auto tippers. A sweeper receives a fixed salary of Rs. 10,000. But

the system for disposers is a bit different. Each household is supposed to pay up Rs. 50, a monthly fee to their respective locality worker and auto tipper. This rate is decided on an average of charging 80 paise per kilogram of waste. Now each tipper is assigned to cover 600800 households daily, which sometimes mean multiple trips from the localities to transfer stations. Moreover, the disposers are allowed to sell scraps to kabadiwalas for an extra income. As per GHMC regulations, workers should be earning around Rs. 40,000 salary each month! Almost rivalling that of an IT personnel! But is that really the case? Sadly, no. Raju, another garbage disposer from Somajiguda area, recounts his worst fights with

households where the owners have straight up refused to pay. “They make excuses. Kal aana (come tomorrow) or Paisa toh government dega (the govt will pay you). They say we don’t come on time, we slack off,” he says. He adds that the worst part is feeling betrayed after spending hours arms deep in rotting garbage, trying to segregate it into two bins.

No gloves, no masks GHMC has installed blue and green bins in many parts of the city. Blue is for dry waste while the green one is for wet waste. But to the dismay of the sweepers, the locals have yet to make this a part of their daily habit. B. Yellamma, who cleans near Charminar, states how disgusting it feels to sort waste from those bins. “We have seen


people spit in them as well. All we have are polythene bags to cover our hands while sorting. The stench is horrible too,” she says. Emptying these bins and sorting garbage without proper precautions are reasons for bigger worry than lesser income. The garbage and contaminated sewage water are nests of communicable diseases and other infections. The toxic smells that rise are equally harmful and can cause health problems when inhaled. Apart from these, the workers’ hygiene is of concern. Dr. Bindu Bhargavi, Assistant Medical Officer of Health, GHMC has a different point to state. “We provide the workers with gloves and masks in addition to the orange vests. Wearing these are mandatory protocols of the job,” she comments. What’s surprising is that though the Solid Waste Department has claimed to provide protective gear, many cleaners and workers of the city are seen without them. While the tippers and locality disposers collect and sort the garbage, the sweepers have the responsibility of cleaning the streets and open dumps. They have to pick up garbage and dispose both manual and animal wastes. “This morning I had to clean the bottom of a tipper. There was so much rotten stuff on the floor. It got under my nails,” young Parvathi, who works in Laad Bazaar, says showing her slender fingers. Coated with a dark substance, one could barely make out the red nail paint.

sector of disposers and waste pickers even before the launch of Swachh Driver Cum Owner scheme in 2015. Through this scheme, K. Chandrashekhar Rao’s government had wanted to create employment for informal labourers so that they can come together to do organised work. Many signed up for the tippers, which were given to the drivers on an EMI basis. According to The News Minute, the

"We have seen people spit in them (bins) as well. All we have are polythene bags to cover our hands while sorting. The stench is horrible too."

B Yellamma A Sweeper

government plan was to make the workers pay 10% of the cost of the automobiles, while the rest 90% was going to be paid through a GHMC- assisted

subsidized loan provision. Now those workers who had received their tippers had to start repaying loans to banks. However, they do find it difficult to pay a monthly EMI of Rs. 7,500. This they have to do for at least the next six years. “My son registered for the tipper, but some new people got the job. They (government) are not giving the autos to disposers. Several contractors have claimed the carriers as they can pay the high EMI rates,” Vandana, an old disposer states. She works near Charminar. Her eyes are sunken and poverty seems to have taken a rather larger bite out of her. “This is all I know. This is all my family knows,” she says sombrely. GHMC has never launched any welfare scheme nor has it provided any aid to the workers. Approximately, a garbage disposer makes around Rs. 7000-20,000 per month. Adding the cost of maintenance of the tippers to high EMIs and detoriating heath standards, these

An empty cart, rusted, but still in use.

Poulomi Mandal

Swachh driver-cum-owner There are several young women and men who have been working in GHMC’s informal

26 VANTAGE 2018


workers seem to have got the short end of the stick. One big concern that arises is that of being exploited. Are the disposers being unfairly used?

Slave labour The People’s Union for Civil Liberties has been advocating the rights of sanitation workers for over a decade. They aim for equal treatment at work, quality pay and assured leaves for all workers of this sector. Prof. Y. V. Rajendra, state president of PUCL Bangalore, explains a bit more in how the whole system of garbage disposal is a way to promote "organised slave labour." There are literally no special laws, no data or statistics gathered to calculate the worker’s income and increase in labour. This sector exists solely to clean cities without their concerns ever put high on agenda. Infact GHMC has no record of how many workers comprise this informal sector. “The work itself is considered undignified and the people associated with it as low lives. Caste plays a major role in the sector

itself, segregating the different status of work, from sweeping the roads, to cleaning drains and carrying wastes. While Reddys in Andhra and Telangana never become sweepers, the lower castes are pushed into the cleaning,” he comments. There is also a clear gender segregation visible in the garbage disposal systems. While men are usually given the job of using the tippers, women are forced to clean roadways and streets. The plight is similar to that of rag pickers who are not associated with GHMC. Rag pickers have always suffered an unorganised work life, erraticaly funded by individual societies and households. Contrary to GHMC's claims, the lives of garbage disposers have not improved. With seasonal labourers pouring in to the city from neighbouring states, it has created a greater competition in this field of work.

Other ventures Amidst this mess, rise new start-ups, hiring illiterate locals,

“The work itself is considered undignified and the people associated with it as low lives. Caste plays a major role in the sector itself, segregating the different status of work, from sweeping the roads, to cleaning drains and carrying wastes." Prof. YV Rajendra PUCL Bangalore

Aruna Shekhar, the brain behind Sun Green Waste Management has created one such successful system. Her company hires women and men from the marginalised sections of society and helps them in standing on their own feet. “We are basically an awareness team. We convinced several societies to convert to safe ecological waste disposal systems. Not only does it ensure a greener environment, but also creates healthy jobs for many young people.”

Poulomi Mandal

Arms deep in waste: segregating spit, vegetable peels, food, and what not.

creating social entrepreneurs out of them for the garbage disposal and management industry. Several of these ventures are tied up with mostly upperclass societies of Banjara Hills and Jubillee hills, while others have managed to convince IT hubs to go green the safe way.


PSUs in Cosmopolitan Hyderabad Akhil Vijayan

Rushi Malava

Logo of NIN Centenary Celebrations

Central research institutes and public sector undertakings have helped in building a strong multicultural ethos in the city. Thanks to these institutions, staff and employees from diverse linguistic backgrounds have made Hyderabad their permanent home.


agadish Vishwanath, Deputy General Manager in Electronics Corporation of India Ltd, and currently President of ECIL Employee Association, was born and raised in Balasore, Odisha. He chose Hyderabad drawn by his desire for a government job in this company, which is in the public sector. In 1988, the interview and recruitment used to be conducted only in Hyderabad. As the years passed by, the organization started holding recruitment drives across all the states in the country. Vishwanath had aspirations for his kids. He wanted to give them a better future.

28 VANTAGE 2018

“During that time, our colleagues who arrived from other states were little uncomfortable because they had issues regarding language,” says Vishwanath. After a month they had the support of local Telugu speaking employees, which gave them a sense of belongingness in the city, he recalls.
Employees who have come from states like Bihar, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan make up a diverse organizational community in ECIL. During festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi, Holi and Diwali, all the families of the employees come together and celebrate with exuberance. With

the availability of large skilled personnel in the city, this organization played a pivotal role in enhancing the cosmopolitan profile of Hyderabad.

100 years of NIN One of the premier research centres in Hyderabad is the National Institute of Nutrition. In 1918 the institute was established for the development of nutrition research. There was an opportunity to explore multiple dimensions in this area. This led the institute to train the students and staff from various parts of the country. Therefore, the centre required a large space. Scientists


Barsha Chetia

You don't have to use a photo here. This is only illustrative.

Cultural and community centre at BHEL

and personnel were considering cities like Mumbai and Delhi for this purpose. In 1958, the then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy leased out the Osmania University lands to NIN. During a survey conducted by the institute, it was found that geographically Hyderabad was ideally located for the institue. Other research centres such as National Geographical Research Institute, Indian Institute of Chemical Technology and Nuclear Fuel Complex too came up in the same area.
 S. Devendran, Senior Technical Officer working at NIN hailing from Madurai often called the Athens of the East came to this research hub at Hyderabad in 1999. When he first got down at Secunderabad Railway Station, it took him one and a half hours to reach the institute, which was just three kilometers away from the station.He couldn’t understand the directions given by the locals who were speaking in

Telugu and Hindi. Because of this incident he was determined to learn the local languages. He started borrowing children’s books from his neighbours in the surrounding quarters to help him to learn the language. Now he speaks Telugu fluently, which speaks volumes about his desire to adapt to the city by way of language.

“My son who is studying in class 9 and daughter who is in class 5 can speak English, Telugu, Hindi and Malayalam.” S. Devendran Technical Officer, NIN

“My son who is studying in class 9 and daughter who is in class 5 can speak English, Telugu, Hindi and Malayalam as they have friends from various states. What’s more, it feels

like the staff quarters are like our own house,” notes Devendran. Even as Hyderabad is increasingly an important part of their lives, Devendran and his family make sure to visit their hometown twice a year to meet his parents. This helps his children to be in touch with their roots.
National Institute of Nutrition has always been cosmopolitan in its intake of people. It was started by Robert McCarrison, who was from England. Mullah Singh from Punjab was McCarrison’s lab assistant. The then Raja of Parlakhemundi (which is now in Orissa) was part of the Royal Commission, which funded a scholarship of Rs. 2 lakh for research students during those days. C.Gopalan, who is credited with bringing international recognition to the institute, was from Tamil Nadu. The previous director, Thingnganing Longvah, was from Nagaland. These appointments are evidence of the diversity of the Institute from its


early days.The staff of NIN also includes scientists from Kashmir, Karnataka and Maharashtra. Dr. Irfan Ahmed Mir, from Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, who works as Veterinary Doctor in the National Centre for Laboratory Animal Sciences (also a part of NIN) talks about the cultural similarities between Srinagar and Hyderabad. Both the cities have Urdu speakers and share similar food habits, such as consumption of rice and meat. He also talks about the institution being very supportive of him through his initial period here. With little free time, he has only been able to visit places like Charminar and Tank Bund. His fondness towards Hyderabad's rich heritage has only grown. 
“It has been three years since I started working in Hyderabad.The locals are very friendly and supportive. It’s only because of them that I could find a home easily. I’m looking forward to work here as long as I can,” says Mir. But he also adds that if he gets

a promotion with a hike in the salary, he would't be hesitant to move to another city.
 NIN conducts an annual event where all the employees and students come together and participate in cultural performances. This makes the bond stronger in this diverse community. This institution is all poised for its centenary celebrations in November this year.

BHEL: Township for all Bharat Heavy Electronics Limited is a state-owned enterprise, which has its own township.
It was established in 1964 to produce a range of electrical equipment to meet the needs of the growing Indian industrial sector. The company manufactures heat exchangers, sensors, electronic voting machines and other transmission systems. The BHEL township, located on the western fringes of the city, consists of around 4100 families out of which 1035 families are not from Telangana and Andhra


PSUs In Hyderabad National Mineral Development Corp.



Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd.



Electronics Corporation of India Ltd.



HMT Ltd.



Bharat Dynamics Ltd.



Mishra Dhatu Nigam Ltd.



Sponge Iron India Ltd.

- 1973

Hindustan Fluorocarbons Ltd.

- 1983

Indian Immunologicals Ltd.

- 1983

30 VANTAGE 2018

Pradesh. It includes an international club and an open theatre that screen films from different Indian languages. This is the only central government township in Hyderabad with a temple, church, and mosque.

“I find this place very good and have been staying here since August 2007. We also started celebrating local festivals." Tapish Khandelwal Senior Engineer BHEL

The employees in the township speak about how the kids began speaking Telugu even at home, in contrast to their parents who struggle to understand the language despite being in Hyderabad for 20 years.
 Tapish Khandelwal, a senior engineer from Kota, Rajasthan, talks about his experience as a resident of the township. He says that the families in the township are very enthusiastic and have always welcomed newcomers with open arms. “I find this place very good and have been staying here since August 2007. We also started celebrating local festivals like Makar Sankranti and Ugadi, which have become our festivals as well,” he adds. 
People who migrate from various states also bring their languages, traditions and cuisines to this city. This medley of culture establishes mutual respect among people while also giving them the freedom to follow their own beliefs.


Finding Home in Cinemas Akhil Vijayan

Akhil Vijayan

Chennai and Bangalore have always had a good market for Malayalam films. The emergence of Malayalam films in Hyderabad is a recent phenomenon.

Ticket counter at PVR Cinemas in Forum Sujana Mall


atheesh Mohanan came to Hyderabad exactly 22 years back to find work and so far, he had only seen three films in movie theatres in Hyderabad. Because of his busy life he prefers television over the big screen. But this is not the case for his 18-year-old daughter and 16-year-old son. They often go to theatres on weekends along with their friends. "We watched almost every Malayalam movie recently released in Hyderabad," says the eldest

daughter, Pavitra Satheesh in fluent Malayalam. "We see Kerala through films as Achan (father) hardly takes us there."

The changing trends Malayalis always search for their roots in every place they go. They always try to get in touch with their home in one way or the other. Sometimes it would be through a film, a book or by forming communities. It fascinates me that Malayalis living in the metro cities

find a home through cinema. Malayalam films have recently started releasing in these busy cities after the advent of PVR cinemas and other multiplexes. Mohanan has a small shop in Lingampally. "I don't get much time to go to the cinema," he says with a smile. "The last movie I had seen in a film theatre with my family was Mohanlal's Pulimurugan." He didn't like the movie much. They have formed several collective associations, that in-


Akhil Vijayann

Last minute rush to the recently-released Malayalam movie, Poomaram.

cludes Nair Service Society and Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam. "Most of these are working people and go to the theatres every weekend. There are almost 400 Malayali families living in Lingampally and surrounding areas,� said Mohanan. "Malayalam films have been releasing here for the past nine or ten years," he answered when asked about the beginning of Malayalam film releases in Hyderabad. "When I first came to this place there were hardly any Malayalam movies. But this isn't the case now. My children go often with their friends." Vishnu Satheesh who is the younger of the two children of Satheesh, is a huge Dulquer Salman fan. He watched “Parava’ twice in the theatre. The first time with his sister and the second time with his father's friend. "I like his style," he says with excitement, "But Amma likes Mammootty more," Pavitra says. At home the mother and son often fight over their

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respective likes for the two actors. "Amma says, Mammootty is a far better actor than Dulquer, and my brother can't stand that," she laughed. Greeshma Prakash is an alumnus of the English and Foreign Language University. "I love this city. I have lived here for the past six years. This is my

"Malayalam films have been releasing here for the past nine or ten years."

Satheesh Mohanan Shop Owner

second home," she said. She came to buy snacks as she was leaving for her home in Kerala the day after. She intruded into our conversation only after realizing the discussion was on the Malayalam actor, Mohanlal. She commented on Mohanlal's poor selection of recent movies and introduced herself as an

ardent cinephile. "I watch every language film, both Indian and foreign," she said. The passion for cinema was apparent in her tone. "But the films I connect with the most are those of my own language," added Greeshma.

Weekend viewing

Hyderabad has a sizeable population of students from Kerala. There are more than two central universities, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, and a number of private nursing and engineering schools in the city. And the students often spend their weekends watching films. "We used to go to movies on weekends. Sometimes the film takes us back to our home environment for a few hours," said Greeshma. "Angamalli Diaries just blew my mind," said Krishnanunni Hari, a final semester Literature student from the University of Hyderabad. This is his fifth year in Hyderabad. "I personally know every character in that


movie. I connect with them. I had seen such violence in my childhood, back home, though unlike the film at home it was about the political rivalry between Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)." He watched Lijo Jose Pellissery’s 'Angamalli Diaries' in Sujana Forum Mall. Most of the Malayalam films screened in Hyderabad are released in the PVR Cinemas located at this mall. “Mostly young people come to watch Malayalam films here, especially during weekends,” said the Assistant Manager of the PVR in Sujana Mall, who didn’t want his name to be revealed. Almost every week two or three Malayalam films release in Hyderabad. The good films earn word of mouth publicity and manages to last in a theatre for two or three weeks. “Some Malayalam movies last only for four or five days,” the assistant manager continued. “But certain films are there which really do well, the recent movie Parava is one of them,” he added.

Akhil Vijayan

PVR Cinemas in Hitech City

Reaching the masses “Only very limited number of films release in Hyderabad,” said G Suresh Kumar, one of the leading producers of the Malayalam film Industry and the office bearer of the Film Producers Association in Kerala. He stated, “Most of these films cast leading stars like Mohanlal, Mammootty,

“Mostly young people come to watch Malayalam films here, especially during weekends.” Assistant Manager PVR in Sujana Mall

Prithviraj, Nivin Pauly, Dulquer Salman and Fahad Fasil. However, only the quality movies will taste success.” The increasing demand for Malayalam cinema in metro cities also makes one wonder about what kind of films these uprooted people like to watch. “It is not necessary that only urban related

themes get success in cities like Hyderabad. It mostly depends on the quality of the film,” said Suresh Kumar. Dr. Sathya Prakash, Associate Professor at the University of Hyderabad and the author of the book, ‘Beyond Bollywood, Cinemas of South India’ says, “I am sure the viewers like both. But those who move from villages and small towns also have longing for films that depict their world. So, there will be both.” Shaji Nadeshan, the cofounder of the film production and distribution company ‘August Cinemas’ says that Bangalore has more market for the Malayalam cinema than Hyderabad. He said, “Chennai and Bangalore always have a good market for Malayalam films. The emergence of Malayalam films in Hyderabad is a recent phenomenon.” His recent film ‘Kali’ has not done well in Hyderabad, which is also an urban themebased film. The obsession with realism in films is the other trademark among Malayali filmgoers. And they do not identify with largerthan-life images typical of Telugu films. Filmmakers from Kerala make more realistic movies. “This whole idea of a certain hierarchy in ways of making movies is the product of Malayali exceptionism. It is built around realism as a way of making films. They don’t make spectacles like Telugu and Tamil,” said Dr. Prakash. Watching Malayalam films in theatre with a majority of Malayali audience is also a way of belonging to “home” while being away.


When the State Fails Oishani Mojumder

Bhaskar Nayak

An inside look into the state of legal aid for marginalized women provided by non-government organizations.

Sujatha Surepalli (L) with Grace Banu (R) at the University of Hyderabad on Rohith Shahadat Din.


hyamala had gone to her fields to tend the crops. She was accompanied by her husband, Devender, and children. The irrigation facilities in her village, Bompally, in Pedapally district do not start until late evening around seven o'clock. The police were on patrolling duty in the area. During an altercation, the police reportedly accused her of being a prostitute and molested Shyamala. When Devender objected to Senior Inspector Haribabu’s behaviour,

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he was beaten up by the police. Sujatha Surepally, Telangana Dalit activist and scholar, and her team tried to investigate the issue and lodge a complaint against the accused. The police officers argued that Shyamala is an OBC woman married to a Dalit man and therefore a case of SC/ST Atrocities would not be registered along with the cases of sexual harassment. The police has filed a counter case on Shyamala, claiming that she tried to file a false case against the po-

lice. The case as of 22nd March, 2018, is still in court. “These are marginalized women from extremely poor backgrounds with no literacy and zero knowledge of the law. They do not understand which cases to file against who. The people sitting in police stations file cases as per their convenience and closeness to the accused,� says Sujatha Surepalli. Further, Professor Surepalli explains how Muslim, Adivasi and Dalit women, in this discourse,



Crimes Against Dalit Women National Crime Records Bureau Violence against Dalit women has increased almost two folds. On an average six Dalit women are raped across the country every day. The number of rape cases have increased from 1,217 in 2006 to 3,172 in 2016.

Rise in number of atrocities against Dalit women

are on the lowest rung of the ladder by virtue of multiple prejudices. Therefore, when faced with various forms of violence and assault, access to legal services by state mechanisms becomes a complex process. They face a manifold of barriers while seeking legal and judicial redressal.

Dalit atrocities rise Hyderabad, in NCRB’s most recent report, is placed fifth among the top 10 cities to have recorded violence and atrocities against Dalits. Incidentally, in the last decade (2007-2017), crimes of violence and atrocities against Dalits have gone up by 66% and violence against Dalit women has increased two folds as stated by the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB). Each day on an average, six Dalit women are raped across the country. The numbers of rapes cases have increased from 1,217 in 2006 to 3,172 in 2016.

“Mustering up the courage to go to a police station to file a complaint is a big ordeal for women from marginalized sections. The police stations are e xtremely chauvinistic spaces.

Hyderabad, in NCRB’s most recent report, is placed fifth among the top 10 cities to have recorded violence and atrocities against Dalits. Most of the cases, therefore, do not even get reported or filed, let alone justice being served through due process,” says Gogu Shyamala, eminent Telugu writer, and women’s activist. She also warns how it is imperative to understand and keep in mind that these numbers should not be taken at face value. The cases reported and registered are only a fraction of

the crimes committed in actual numbers. In most cases, the victim refuses to report the crime against them due to the lack of cooperation of the police and judicial system, fear of social stigma and the threat of retaliation by upper castes. In situations like these, it is the women victims who have to face the brunt of the inaccessible state mechanisms. Reports of violence against socially marginalized women are more often than not, categorized only under gender-based discrimination, assault or harassment. It is, therefore, evident that these women face the burden of both caste and gender-based violence, more than men of their communities or women of dominant class and caste.

SC/ST Atrocities Act The apathy of the country’s legal and judicial system reflects in the case of the Kondh tribal


women from Andhra Pradesh. In 2007, 11 women from Vakapalli village were allegedly raped at gunpoint by personnel of the country’s elite anti-Naxal task force, the Greyhounds. In the long judicial battle that has stretched over a decade now, these women have faced intimidation from the police, the anti-Naxal forces back home, and members of their own family who have disowned them. Vasudha Nagaraj, an eminent lawyer who has been working on the Kondh Tribe case says, “In a case where an upper caste man violates or assaults a Dalit woman, the police usually do not file a case based on the SC/ ST atrocities act. Only an FIR is lodged against sexual harass-

ment or assault. The reason for this is that the SC/ST Atrocities Act is not only a non-bailable but also serves a very stringent punishment.” The SC/ST Atrocities Act states any person not belonging to the SC/ST community who

"...the police usually do not file a case based on the SC/ST Atrocities Act. Only an FIR is lodged against sexual harassment or assault. " Vasudha Nagaraj Advocate High Court

“intentionally touches a woman belonging to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe, knowing that she belongs to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe, when such act of touching is of a sexual nature and is without the recipient‘s consent; uses words, acts or gestures of a sexual nature towards a woman belonging to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe, knowing that she belongs to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe” shall be punishable with imprisonment of at least six months which may extend to five years with a fine.

Flicker of hope In the face of such adversity, numerous organizations work for the welfare of women’s rights in Hyderabad. From providing employment opportunities, gender sensitization campaigns, workshops to equipping women with legal counsel and aid. Dalit Stree Shakthi, Anveshi, Bhumika and Shaheen Women’s Resource and Welfare Association have been doing commendable work.

Wikimedia Commons


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Shaheen Women’s Resource and Welfare Association was set up in 2002 to provide help to primarily Muslim, Dalit and OBC women, in the form of legal counseling, anti-trafficking campaigns, health awareness and gender sensitization camps. The organization is committed to women’s rights and communal harmony and is situated in the Old City. Shaheen mostly encounters young women between the age of 10-14 who have dropped out of school and therefore the organization works simultaneously with local schools,


teachers, and administrators. Almost 300 children are in touch with the organization. Jamila Neeshad, founder of Shaheen explains, “We provide young marginalized women with legal and psychological counsel. We have counsellors at our centre that help women from backward communities make well-meaning life choices. For example, currently we are counselling a young transitioning transgender woman to help her understand the choices she should make.”

Dalit Stree Shakthi Dalit Stree Shakthi was set up in Hyderabad in the year 2006. G.Jhansi, convenor of DSS says, “The initiative to establish Dalit Stree Shakthi was to provide an exclusive platform for Dalit Women. It is the first of its kind in the state. The aim is to strengthen, and if necessary to intervene, in the Dalit women movement right from the childhood stage.” The institution works towards organizing and uniting Dalit women to fight for their rights through various women’s collectives, training sessions, and continuous monitoring of roughly 80 categories of violations of rights of Dalit women and girl children. In the past decade, DSS boasts of addressing over 3000 major cases of violence against Dalit women and girl children, getting the cases registered with proper sections and ensuring necessary action. They have been able to acquire 15 concrete convictions.


Bhumika Women’s Collective has been working in this

field for over 24 years now. One of their objectives is to provide health and legal counsel. The organisation started a toll free helpline number in 2006 to immediately reach out to women in need of legal advice, pro-

"...a team of 5 lawyers who are available on every Saturday to provide legal counsel, and services if and when the need arises. The legal services are free for women from the BPL category." D Krishna Kumari Counsellor Bhumika

tection, shelter and emotional counselling and support. "We have 25 counsellors at Bhumika who provide psychological and family counselling to survivors of various violences. We also have a team of five lawyers who are available on every Saturday to provide legal counsel, and services if and when the need arises. The legal services are free for women from the BPL category,” D Krishna Kumari, a counsellor for Bhumika. Bhumika also actively works as counselors for the Hyderabad Police SHE Teams, SAKHI Centres and Bharosa Support Centre.

by Swati Lakra, IPS, Addl. CP Crimes and SIT. The SHE Teams are supposed to be available for continuous surveillance in areas of the city which are known to be unsafe for women. The SHE Teams also assist women to file FIRs, lodge complaints and provide counseling for cases that can be negotiated without a complex legal procedure. ”We provide counseling to whoever needs it. The SHE Teams do not selectively work for just underprivileged womencaste, class, and religion is no bar to access SHE Teams services and we try our best to serve every complainant equally,” said K Rajeshwari, a counselor with the SHE Team, Gachibowli Police Station.

SHE Teams The Telangana State Government’s initiative, SHE Team, was launched in 2014 to provide a safe and secure environment for women. The initiative is headed


Chonbeni Shitiri

Who let the dogs in! Roseleen Aind Foreign dog breeds are not suited to the country’s climate. Hyderabadis need to open their homes and hearts to native dogs.

38 VANTAGE 2018



e often see them with their tiny wagging tails, moving around their mother, their faces trying to reach her belly for milk. They are always moving in a bunch outdoors. These are the puppies that are born on the streets, eat all sort of rubbish and still survive. Many households in Hyderabad would not want these dogs as pets. Mostly it’s the foreign dog breeds like Labradors, German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers that are bought at high prices and raised as pets. According to a report by the Deccan Chronicle published in September 2017, the city is home to around 8.4 lakh dogs that live on the streets. This figure came up through a census conducted by the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation in September 2017. These dogs are called stray dogs but they are actually descendants of the Indian Native Dogs. “Many urban street dogs are a mix of Indian Native Dogs

and other breeds,” says Ms. Rajshree Khalap, founder of the INDog Project and the INDog Club, who is also a wildlife conservationist working for the tiger reserves of central India with Satpuda Foundation. “I call street dogs INDogs-mixes or Indies,” she explained.

The Indian natives The Indian Native dogs are the village dogs of a specific type, these dogs have evolved without any human interference. They are intelligent, capable of independent thinking and are alert. Ms. Khalap explains that though there is a difference between the street dogs or Indies and the Indian Native Dogs, when it comes to companionship, beauty and loyalty, both are wonderful. The Indian Native dogs and Indies have such great qualities but still don’t get a place in most Hyderabadi houses. The reason being, most people aren’t aware of the existence of a pure Indian breed. Another reason is

the commercialization of foreign dog breeds. Even our movies feature foreign dogs, ranging from a Pomeranian in the film ‘Hum Apke Hain Kaun’ to a Bullmastiff in ‘Dil Dhadakne Do’. With increased demand for foreign dog breeds, dog breeding has become a major business. This has resulted in numerous puppy mills, where the mother dogs are exploited for giving birth more than the safe number of times. They are kept in deplorable conditions and their health and fitness are seldom cared for. Irresponsible and multiple breeding lead to the birth of diseased puppies, which are then sold to people and then dumped by the owners because of the pups' illnesses. Every dog deserves to be in a home, which can provide love and care. If not a home they are at least entitled to live freely instead of being put in cages. There is limited space at animal shelters to accommodate every abandoned dog. On roads, street

Chonbeni Shitiri

An Indie (street) dog


Chonbeni Shitiri

A dog resting in the University of Hyderabad.

dogs often meet with accidents as vehicles just run over them.

Not enough penalties The Indian law also cares a bit less about the dogs. One of the reasons for extensive breeding to happen is that the penalties for breaking breeding regulations are negligible. “We have the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, which is a well drafted law of 1960, but the penalties are not very great,” says Ms. Anjali Sharma, an advocate, at a New Delhi-based law firm. She is also an animal rights activist and a former legal advisor to the Animal Welfare Board of India or AWBI. According to the "Treating Animals Cruelly" clause of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, “An owner shall be deemed to have committed an offense if he/she has failed to exercise care and supervision with a view to the prevention of any offense. Provided that where an owner is convicted of permitting cruelty

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by reason only of having failed to exercise such care and supervision, he shall not be liable to imprisonment without the option of a fine.” Therefore, an animal abuser could easily escape strict punishment as he/she is given the option of paying a fine instead. AWBI, which is a statutory body working under the Minis-

“We have the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, which is a welldrafted law of 1960, but the penalties are not very great.” Anjali Sharma Advocate

try of Environment and Forests, framed the Animal Welfare Act in 2014 to impose tougher penalties on irresponsible puppy mills. The Act has not yet been passed in

the Parliament. “The dog breeding rules were notified but, they are rules framed under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act so, the penalty prescribed by the rule cannot be higher than the penalty prescribed by the Act,” explains Ms. Sharma. AWBI is trying to amend the cruelty laws and make them more animal-friendly. In Hyderabad there are few non-government organizations that are working for the benefit of the street dogs. There are shelters and rescue homes that take care of sick and abandoned dogs and put some of them up for adoption. Two such NGOs are People for Animals and the Blue Cross of Hyderabad.

Open your hearts and homes Apart from the adoption drives, People for Animals run a project wherein they encourage people from different housing societies to get the dogs in their locality sterilized. This would help in controlling the birth of more


puppies. However, adoption is not a permanent solution to stop puppy mills. “The adoption drives happen but, what happens after the puppy is adopted nobody cares to know, only a few organizations do proper pre and post adoption checks before giving away the puppy,” says Ms. Vasanthi Wadi, Chairperson of People for Animals. People do not understand the level of commitment that is required to adopt a dog for life. They just take one and abandon it in a shelter or on the roads a few days later, she says. There is some good news, however. Government banned the import of dogs for breeding and other commercial purposes. This was announced almost two years ago. “This is like a few drops in the ocean, it will definitely have an impact. As of now it has affected the dog breeding trade badly,” says Ms. Sharma.

The street dogs of Hyderabad need more people who are ready to adopt them. Hyderabadis also need to stop buying expensive breeds and then dumping them. Even as the city

“Dogs are a man’s best friend, we have been taught about this from our pre-schooling but now, it is time for man to be a dog’s best friend.” Thogaru Joanna Jacqueline A Pet Parent

gets extremely hot in summers, breeds like Siberian Husky and Saint Bernard can still be found in several houses. These breeds need a cold climate to survive, Hyderabad is just not the right place for them.

According to animal lovers and activists, a suitable climate is a must for the well-being of any dog. The Indian Native Dogs and the Indies are perfect for India. Apart from the constitutional laws, regulations and adoption drives, people need to be aware of the importance of their native breeds. “Dogs are a man’s best friend, we have been taught about this from our pre-schooling but now, it is time for man to be a dog’s best friend,” says Ms. Thogaru Joanna Jacqueline who adopted a street dog when she found her injured several years ago. She has been a happy and proud pet parent to two dogs - a Labrador named Bozo and an Indie, Spark.

Chonbeni Shitiri

Joanna with Bozo and Spark


Sahil Suman

Fashion Business on the Rise in Hyderabad Sahil Suman

A designer saree at Nikhil and Shantanu's outlet in Banjara Hills


yderabad’s tryst with fashion is an old one. The sixth Nizam, Mir Mahboob Ali Khan was quite a fashion aficionado. During the early 1900’s, he had built the 176 ft. long wardrobe spread across two floors, occupying a large collection of western as well as Indian clothes, shoes and other accessories. The H.E.H Nizam’s Museum display panel boasts that Mahboob Ali Khan never repeated his clothes and once worn, the clothes were given

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The city welcomes national and local designer labels to cater to the rising demands of the new fashion enthusiasts.

away. It was one of the largest functional wardrobe in the world at that time and can still be visited in the Nizam’s Museum at Purani Haveli. Unfortunately none of the original clothes are preserved from that era. In the last two decades, the city has emerged as a major IT hub employing over two lakh professionals coming from all parts of the country. As of 2017, it is the sixth most populated city in India with per capita income of Rs 2.99 lakh, according to the

Department of Economics and Statistics of the Government of Telangana. When the software business in the city was growing by leaps and bounds, there was another industry silently and firmly planting its feet: the fashion industry. According to a recent report released by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India or ASSOCHAM on Feb 28, 2018, the revenue of India’s luxury fashion goods reached a total of


Sahil Suman

Bridal collections at Ritu Kumar's outlet in Banjara Hills

23.8 billion USD, and it is expected to cross 30 billion USD by the end of this financial year. The fashion industry produces items, including branded clothing, apparels and accessories, pens, watches and jewellery.

Grand Weddings In Hyderabad too, the designer wear has seen an impressive growth with the increase in higher disposable income in recent years. Also, social networking sites like Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram played a key role in giving buyers an exposure to the international brands. Talking about the rise of designer wear market in the city, Jasti Pooja, Assistant Professor at the National Institute of Fashion and Technology (NIFT) Hyderabad, correlates this boom with the increase in the

"The weddings in the city earlier used to be a two-day affair, but now it has become a week-long event. Mehendi, Sangeet and Cocktail Evenings, which weren’t part of the South Indian rituals , have now been added in our wedding itinerary." Jasti Pooja Assistant Professor NIFT Hyderabad

number of grand weddings in the city over the past few years. “The weddings in the city earlier used to be a two-day affair, but now it has become a week-long event. Mehendi, Sangeet and Cocktail Evenings, which weren’t part of the South Indian rituals, have now been added in our wedding itinerary.

Brides and grooms are opting for different designer outfits for every event till the reception is over,” she says. In November 2017, the popular actress Samantha Ruth Prabhu tied the knot with costar Naga Chaitanya. Samantha’s attires for her wedding events were the talk of the town and made headlines. Her engagement attire and the Christian wedding dress were designed by Kresha Bajaj and for the Hindu wedding, she wore a Sabyasachi saree. “Most celebrities often hire stylists. They don’t necessarily buy the clothes themselves. The amount of money that a commoner would splurge once on a wedding is justified as compared to spending on everyday fashion. We see value in our dressing. For instance ,a Rs.10 Lakh Sabyasachi lehen-


ga, apart from the brand, is filled with handcrafted embroidery and hours of workmanship making it one of a kind piece. Therefore, the huge amount seems justified,” Prof. Pooja adds.

Ode to local designers A lot of customers when shopping in Hyderabad for their big day prefer local designers. One of the major reasons that they claim is a visible difference in the price tag as compared to national designers. One such person is Naveena Kruthiventi who runs a merchandise company called Radio Culture in the city. She recently got married and shares her experience of looking for her wedding gown, running from one reputed designer to another. She says, “I visited a number of outlets and though the designs were unique, I wasn’t willing to pay so much. So, I finally zeroed down to The Bridal Studio, Secunderabad and bought my gown at Rs. 80,000 and sa-

The last five years saw a hike in fashion brands in the city. Realizing the market potential of Hyderabad, several nationally-acclaimed designers opened their labels, one after another in the city. ree at Rs. 70,000. The fabric I got was not so different from that of the branded outlets." The veteran designer Ritu Kumar’s first store in Hyderabad opened in 2012 in Banjara Hills. Since then it has expanded to four outlets in different parts of the city. Soujanya.V, the cluster manager of Ritu Kumar’s latest outlet, which was inaugurated on 7 March 2018 at Jubilee Hills, is busy maintaining the balance sheet of the store’s daily report. She says, “Our clientele is very choosy. Back in 2013, only two or three clients would walk in

Sahil Suman

A customer purchasing an outfit at Ritu Kumar's store in Banjara Hills

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per day, but now the numbers have increased up to 14-15 and that’s enough for our revenue.” The last five years saw a hike in fashion brands in the city. Realizing the market potential of Hyderabad, several nationallyacclaimed designers like Tarun Tahiliani, Raghvendra Rathore, Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Shantanu & Nikhil and Satya Paul opened their labels, one after another in the city. The concept of multi-designer boutiques like ‘Elahe’, ‘Angasutra’ and ‘Anahita’ also emerged in the same period, which sell the collections of Manish Malhotra, Sabyasachi, Rohit Bal, Anju Modi and Anamika Khanna. On Feb 10, Masaba Gupta, who is famous for her eccentric prints and vibrant color palettes, opened her flagship store, the largest in the country yet, in Jubilee Hills. Banjara Hills and Jubilee Hills have always been the preferred choice for these outlets as that is where most of Hyderabad’s elites reside. And then came a string of Hyderabad-based designers who started flourishing as well. Some of the noted names are: Anushree Reddy, Shilpa Reddy, Shashi Vangapalli, Jayanti Reddy, Gaurang Shah and Anand Kabra. Events like the Lakme Fashion Week helped them gain wider popularity and recognition. The designers also focus on the ‘prêt segment’ (ready to wear) targeting the middle-income group.

The city on red carpets While Sashi Vangapalli became the first Hyderabadbased designer to showcase


Sahil Suman

Latest collection at Nikhil and Shantanu's outlet at Banjara Hills

her collection at Cannes Film Festival in 2017, Shilpa Reddy was the first Indian designer to display her label at the J-Autumn Fashion Show held at Eiffel Tower. The event was organised by fashion icon and supermodel Jessica Minh Anh in 2014. Last year, Hyderabad was one of the five cities, which hosted the 13th edition of the prestigious ‘Blenders Pride Fashion Tour.’ The two-month long tour kickstarted at N Convention, Madhapur on October 28, 2017 where the nationally-acclaimed designer duo Shantanu and Nikhil displayed their special collection. In an interview with Telangana Today on November 5, 2017 the brothers said, “Hyderabad is memorable. Over a period of time, we have seen a

lot of lifestyle changes happening around it. People started to accept modernity in the restaurants, nightlife, the film industry. Actually, we opened a store and made our mark here because there was a sense of faith in the city, not in the beginning though, but it is hands down one of the best markets now.” Shalini Kumari, Assistant Store Manager at Shantanu and Nikhil’s at the Banjara Hills flagship outlet says, “Our men's wear and women's wear collections are completely different. Our latest bridal lehenga is on a relatively higher side in the Rs. 2-6 lakh range and yet it is doing well. What's more, it is impressive to see Hyderabadi men experimenting with drapes and going for more exuberant colours now.”

Another famous designer store, Neeru’s Emporium is located near a busy traffic signal at Jubilee Hills. The entrance is marked with a giant flex banner of Karisma and Kareena Kapoor, both flaunting their royal attires. Their newest ambassador is Sonam Kapoor, one of India’s most popular fashion icons. Neeru’s currently has the largest number of outlets in India - as many as 49 stores in 20 different cities. The director Avnish Kumar in an interview with on February 23, 2018 said: “Now we have plans to expand internationally by adding stores in the Middle East as well as the United States of America and we are eyeing to hit a revenue target of Rs. 220 to Rs. 230 crores this fiscal.” Pradeep Kumar, the store manager at Neeru’s Emporium is attending to a few customers at a fairly busy hour of the day. The store is offering a 50% discount on selected outfits on the occasion of International Women’s Day. Half an hour later he got some breathing space after closing a deal and then said, “There is a lot of awareness among customers these days in terms of choosing a particular outfit. They come up with a picture of their designs, patterns, color and ask us to show the same outfit. In the wedding season, previously the middle-aged women used to buy the traditional silk sarees costing below Rs. 10,000. But over the last couple of years, half sarees are more in demand and the customers don’t mind extending their budget up to Rs. 60,000-70,000.” Ishna Rawlani is a Hyderabad-based fashion and lifestyle blogger. She has been following


the city’s fashion scene for five years now and has collaborated with various top designers. She says, “It's amazing to see how the fashion market has evolved in the city in the last couple of years. People are investing in designer clothing more. I have been attending the Blenders Pride Fashion Tour religiously for five years now. This year when the event came to Hyderabad, people loved the whole vibe. We need more fashion shows in the city that would help people see runway fashion.” About her own wardrobe, she adds, “Out of all the brands I have, two stand apart: One is Masaba - a little black dress with her signature machine print. I absolutely love her prints and colors. They’re so vibrant and young. And the

"In the wedding season, previously the middleaged women used to buy the traditional silk sarees costing below Rs.10,000. But over the last couple of years, half sarees are more in demand and the customers don't mind extending their budget up to Rs.60,000-70,000."

Nikhil and Shantanu outlets in the city saw an upsurge of 12-15% during the last two years. Incredible as it may sound, such well-known designer brands in Hyderabad are still focussing on a niche clientele with deep pockets, and it’s the upcoming designers in the city who are making fashion more accessible to the middle class.

Pradeep Kumar Store Manager Neeru's Emporium Hyderabad

other one is a sheer floral top and skirt by Shainah Dinani. This pair is so chic and elegant.” The annual business revenue of Ritu Kumar's, Neeru’s and

Sahil Suman

Latest saree at Ritu Kumar's Banjara Hills Outlet

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Coping with the Graveyard Shift Amrutha Chandrasekharan

Lakhs of young people in Telangana work the night shifts. Research suggests they are prone to suffer health problems from obesity to diabetes. Hyderabad is especially at risk.

A corporate office setting


ratik Ganguly, a 24-yearold from West Bengal, is an employee of a reputed corporation in Hyderabad. It has been three years since he began his night shifts. He found it hard to adjust to the graveyard shift. “It started with small symptoms like digestion problems, weight gain and constipation. I experienced insomnia too and it was really a very hard time for me,” he says. In 2017, Pratik was diagnosed with Type-2 Diabetes.

Like Pratik, there are many young people working night shifts in Hyderabad. According to a study conducted this year on 2,70,000 people, employees who periodically work in the night shift are more prone to have Type 2 diabetes than the employees who work in the regular day shift. This study was done by the University of Colorado Boulder and, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) in Boston.

But is it just Type 2 diabetes that is a threat to these shift workers? No. Various studies suggest that night shift workers are more likely to have hypertension, weight gain, inflammation, gastrointestinal problems, insomnia, and breast cancer. The Telangana Socio-Economic Outlook 2018 states that the IT (Information Technology) / ITeS (Information Technology enabled Services) sector in Telangana has added 24,506


Bhaskar Nayak

Employees outside the DLF building

new employees in 2016-2017, increasing the total to a staggering 4,31,891 employees. The number of IT/ITeS units has also increased from 1200 in 2014-2015 to 1500 in 2016-2017, marking a growth of 25%. A growth rate of 13.85% was also observed in the exports of IT/ITeS companies of Telangana during 2016-2017, approximately 4% higher than the national average. Hyderabad is home to some of the leading software companies like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Deloitte, Cognizant etc. All these companies provide different products and services but they have one unifying factor - they have three shifts in them - morning, afternoon and night, the night shift being the hazardous one. According to the latest report of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS), Hyderabad stands in the first place in diabetes, hypertension and obesity. Nearly 890 of 100,000 women aged 20-34 and 882 of 100,000 men

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are reported to have diabetes in Telangana. Nearly 15% woman and 22.3% men are reported to have hypertension in urban areas of the state. Approximately 17% women and 22.2% of men of the age group 20-29 are reported to

“By 2 am you start feeling drowsy, and after 3 AM you begin to feel dizzy. By the time I reach home, it is 8 AM and then it is hard to sleep since everybody else is awake by then.” Jerrin John Employee at an IT company

be obese. Therefore, the possibility of night shifts increasing health risks is especially grim. Dr. Saran Rangacharyulu, a general physician of the Bapuji Hospital in Nacharam, explains why night shift workers of the city are prone to many diseases. According to him, one of the main reasons why the employees fall

sick is due to their lifestyle and the food they eat. “The sleeping patterns of these shift workers are completely changed as they go to bed in the mornings. Moreover they tend to eat snacks and junk food. This eventually weakens the immune system and also causes a lot of changes in the biological cycle of your body,” adds the doctor. Jerrin John, an employee of another IT company in Hyderabad, shares his experiences with the night shift (10PM -7AM). “By 2 AM you start feeling drowsy, and after 3 AM you begin to feel dizzy. By the time I reach home, it is 8 AM and then it is hard to sleep since everybody else is awake by then,” he says. Jerrin, who has been working in the city for the past five years, has already become a victim of stress and obesity. He also remembers being admitted in the hospital for low blood pressure in the initial days of his graveyard shift. A study conducted by Century International Institute of Dental Sciences and Research Centre in Kerala in 2014 states that, “Shift work is a factor in the timing of food consumption; hence eating pattern may be affected more in night shift workers compared to day workers leading to poor eating habits.” The night shift workers do not eat sufficient amounts of food rather consume snacks more frequently. This eventually leads to weight gain. In the recent years, the area around DLF building has evolved to be a popular food stop for many Hyderabadis. There are a large number of street food stalls that serve throughout the night despite regular police raids. The main reason these stalls stay


open is because of the constant flow of night shift workers. According to Sheik Rahman, the owner of 'SK Arabian Shawarma', nearly 700 - 800 people eat from the stalls every night. There are around 25 companies inside the DLF building itself. Most of the night shift workers rely on the outside stalls to fulfill their midnight cravings, which in fact ruin their health in the long run. “Since I started the night shift, it feels like I don’t have a life,” says Harsha Rao, a 20-year-old employee of one of the corporations in Hyderabad. She said that since she was a ‘night person’ she was excited about doing night shifts. But gradually she too started having similar issues. Low blood pressure, hair fall, insomnia. A few weeks back she was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. The reason? Stress. According to a study published by the Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health in March 2010, night shift workers experience behavioral and physiological stress reactions. They end up sleeping

Bhaskar Nayak

Night food stalls at DLF serve dosas.

for lesser duration, develop unhealthy eating habits and sometimes even begin smoking. Mohammed Feroz, the owner of 'Green City Pan Shop', said nearly 80 cigarette packets are being bought from his shop every night. 80 cigarette packs constitute of 800 cigarettes. “The most preferred Maggi by the employees is the Chicken Fried Maggi. We get almost 500 orders every night,” says Manish Arora the owner of ‘Hunger Maggi’, a stall in the DLF area. The owners of most of the stalls in that joint consider 10 PM – 4 AM a peak time for their business. One needs to maintain a proper time to eat, to sleep and also make sure they get enough ex-

“The most preferred Maggi by the employees is the Chicken Fried Maggi. We get almost 500 orders every night.”

Manish Arora Owner, ‘Hunger Maggi'

ercise for the body. But the bitter truth is that, the night shift workers are helpless. Most of the night shift companies provide health insurance to their employees, which gives them a cover of Rs. 2-3 lakhs every year or they reimburse the hospital bills. One of the reasons people voluntarily choose night shifts is to get a higher pay. They also pay Rs. 100-200 more if you work for a few extra hours. Raja Mora, HR of a startup called ‘100 Pins’ says that the added perks are nothing but bait. “Eventually working in the nights will ruin your health. These are very bad organizational practices seen in Hyderabad,” he says. “Now a days companies are beginning to take precautions to make sure the employees are being taken care of. At least three days a week our company provides us healthy snacks made of ragi and they completely avoid junk food. We also have a gym where the instructor is available 24/7 and we can go for workouts,” says Karishma Pandit, a Senior Analyst in Invesco, an independent investment management firm. Every IT/ITeS company needs to take up measures like these to make sure the employees lead a healthy lifestyle. “The first thing I am going to do after leaving this company is sit back and take proper care of my health,” says Harsha Rao. She says she chose this company to gain a year’s experience. It has already been nine months since she joined her workplace. “Just three more months with night shifts,” says Harsha ecstatically.


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Untimely Death of Journalism? Oishani Mojumder and Prateek Talukdar


t has been a long time since our TV screens constantly flashed breaking news as boring and mundane as “Maut ka Bathtub”. Sridevi, film superstar was immortalized recently not for her contribution to cinema, but for her death itself. She died drowning in a bathtub and TV news media, being the ethical stalwarts that they are, covered it with a fervour that her demise didn’t call for. The media constantly consoled her family members, children and husband by asking for details and their opinions on the tragic incident. But in these odd times, when TV news media is facing competition from interactive media and the Internet, they set the bar high for journal-

ism when anchors recreated graphic bathtubs and literally stepped into them to break down the scientific reasons for her asphyxiation. As soon as the Dubai Police released a statement about the presence of alcohol in Sridevi’s blood stream, our well-meaning news anchors, replaced all the cosmetic surgeons on the primetime panel to provide their own two cents about how she probably took to the bottle because of speculated depression. Viewers in the comfort of their living rooms sat around, discussed and debated if it was the alcohol, heart attack or a foul play, hinting at Boney Kapoor, that claimed their beloved Chandni’s life. But this behavior by the Indian media is not new. Indian media, especially vernacular channels are infamous for their over-the-top reportage, destroying every semblance of ethical journalism. In a bid to rake up TRPs, news channels pick on the easiest targets for ridicule - women. Death is something that reminds us of the materialistic life that we are leading. But death also creates economic opportunities, and when a female celebrity suffers an untimely death, it is the perfect recipe for round-the-clock coverage. The media is said to reflect the general intellectual atmosphere of the country, and that means we are all chief ministers hoping to cure cancer with gaumutra. While news personnel were grading Sridevi’s life choices, deciding whether she took too many botox sessions, five years back speculations about Jiah Khan’s abortion and


subsequent sex life was splattered across TV screens for everyone’s entertainment. When Jiah Khan committed suicide, she left behind a heartbreaking letter explaining her state of mind while in a relationship with Suraj Pancholi. Every paragraph of the letter was dissected at length by news organizations calculating the time span around which Jiah Khan could have gotten pregnant and what kind of abuse - physical and mental she went through. Self-proclaimed supreme judges also held media trials standing in front of animated green screens in news studios to state if Suraj Pancholi should be held guilty for the suicide, which Jiah’s mother vehemently claimed. ‘Balika Vadhu’s’ Pratyusha Banerjee was at the peak of her career. She was the apple of every middle class family’s eye, thanks to her role of adult ‘Anandi’. Therefore, the news of her untimely suicide came as a rude shock. Perhaps her character assassination was done, by the media and the viewers alike, to grapple with this shock. Pratyusha Banerjee was the idealistic ‘bahu’, so her apparently fast life, erratic behaviour, live-in relationship and pregnancy were difficult to swallow. Before hanging herself, she had a tense conservation with Ra-

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hul Raj Singh, her boyfriend, over the phone. News organisations diligently broadcast and published the entire transcript of the conversation. The media by default forms the opinion of the public. It puts forward information that helps people decide, choose and base their opinions on. Therefore, as journalists and media persons, the onus is on us to show a dignified way we look at female bodies and their spaces. Giving air-time to patriarchal forces validates the atrocious behaviour of people towards women and the LGBTQ+ community. The Indian media has often been called out by international media organizations for the former’s flouncy reportage of sensitive issues. Our coverage of the Nepal earthquake tragedy in 2015 had received flak for being insensitive towards the survivors and the victims of the disaster. Even with Sridevi’s case, Khaleej Times, a UAE-based English newspaper advised Indian media “patience - a virtue in these trying times.” It is high time that we take a step back and contemplate where we went wrong as the fourth pillar of democracy. Illustrator: Oishani Mojumder


Science in the Times of Religion Mahipal Reddy says, “When religion, as well as superstition has such an all-pervasive presence in the lives of people, the overall quality of life of a society suffers.” The beheading of a baby on the lunar eclipse night in Hyderabad, and the killing of an elderly person in Nalgonda district recently on the accusation of witchcraft, are indications of a complete lack of a progressive mindset among certain people.

Government’s role


yderabad is home to many chemical, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical, nuclear and forensic institutions. The city has global prominence for its IT sector. It also has another face, that of religious temper and superstitions. On the day of lunar eclipse, 31 January 2018, Madhapur traffic police observed at least 65 per cent less traffic than a normal working day. “The traffic was comparatively thin throughout the day,” said Raj Gopal Reddy, Senior Inspector of Madhapur traffic zone. Hemanth Kumar, an engineer at Tech Mahindra, was repeatedly asked not to go out between 7:00 PM and 8:30 PM, by his family. “My zodiac sign is Cancer. And because of the superstitious bombardment by TV channels, family started worrying about me. I don’t really believe in these things, but I just respected what my well-wishers said.” Babu Gogineni, a renowned rationalist, human rights activist and former director of The International Humanist and Ethical Union, is often seen fiercely debating against religious dogmas on Telugu television and YouTube channels. He

The public channels like Doordarshan of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana changed their names to DD Saptagiri and DD Yadadri respectively. Saptagiri and Yadadri are renowned pilgrimage centers. As per the program schedule published by general entertainment Telugu TV channels, nearly five hours of religious content is being broadcast on an average day, and two hours of it is aired on prime time. Every elected government promises a secular environment and reiterates its commitment to the promotion of science and scientific spirit. However, fiscal allocations by those governments display a different picture altogether. In 2017 the Telangana state government spent a whopping Rs. 800 crore to conduct Krishna Pushkaralu, a 12-day river festival. This is eight folds of the expenditure that the government has incurred on Godavari Pushkaralu in 2015. A section officer of the state secretariat who requested anonymity said that a large part of this fund was spent for just advertising the event. “Our objective is to promote science and technology at three levels: research and development, applied science and ‘extension programs like science fairs and awareness programs.


But because of the budget constraints we limited ourselves to extension programs only,” said Dr. C V Rama Krishna, project director of Telangana State Council for Science and Tech-

nology (TSCST). He also says, “When we were conducting science awareness programs in rural areas in the past, the reception was very positive. Now I think they receive superstitions through media. As a result, they are more exposed to supertitious beliefs than to science.”

Public display of religion

Hyderabad has a long tradition of magnificent public celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi. Of late, the government started regulating the festival by involving the police department to issue licenses to install idols in public areas. According to T. Srinath Reddy, Senior Inspector of Police in Musheerabad zone, “Every year we are observing a raise of 10 per cent in applications for installation of Ganesh idols.” He adds that the culture of Durga Mata pandals during Dussehra wasn’t too visible until five years back. But slowly it is spreading all over the city and we are forced to give permissions. Vinay Goud an executive member of Shabarimala Ayyappa Seva Samithi (SASS) who is practicing Ayyappa Deeksha for two decades gives a picture of the present trend. “Ayyappa procession was not a part of Deeksha but a few years back it started in Dilshuknagar and now it is slowly spreading to other parts of the city. This year it has also started in Gandhinagar and Bowenpally.” Dr. Kancha Ilaiah has filed a Public Interest Litigation seeking information about Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandra Shekar Rao’s offering of gold ornaments to the Tirupati Balaji

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Temple. Allegedly, Rao had issued three Government Orders to the Endowment Department to use the funds from Common Good Fund costing the government more than Rs. 5 crores.

Religion and science

Dr. G. Nagaraju, a sociology professor at the University of Hyderabad states that in any society the degree of scientific presence would be proportionate to the degree of absence of superstition. He worries that educational institutions, which should be the centers of scientific temperament, have also started indulging in religion. Meanwhile, Dr. C. Raghava Reddy, a professor at the Department of Sociology, University of Hyderabad, says, “Science shouldn’t be arrogant to the rational practice of religion but it should definitely interfere with the irrationality of any religion and belief. There should be a condition of equivalence between religion and science where they don’t come into the way of each other.” Observing the current trends of both science and religion, Babu Gogineni says, “Religion has certainly humanized over the years both by the pressure of new knowledge and the implementation of the law. But religion in India has now become a more active component of politics and aggravates the polarization of society. Religion has wrongly captured the idea of what culture is, and because of what is happening, a new and dangerous development of culture versus science is being set up, instead of a culture of science.” Illustrator: Poulomi Mandal


Sunrisers Hyderabad:

Poised to Win


Sahil Suman

ver the last 10 years matches going down to the wire at the Indian Premier League (IPL) is what gets adrenaline pumping in cricket lovers. The mighty cash league has completed a decade and it is set to dazzle the spectators in its eleventh season. IPL is not just about cricket, over the years it has become more of a two-month long festival. The tournament has brought some of the biggest Bollywood stars, business tycoons, and sportspersons together for a common goal of providing wholesome cricketing entertainment. Talking about this season’s league, one team that stands apart is Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). At this year’s mega-auction, SRH has acquired one of the most balanced teams. Popularly known as the ‘Orange Army’, SRH has a perfect mix of domestic and international players. They will play seven matches on the home ground Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Uppal. In the last three years, the team has won 20 out of 30 matches on this ground. SRH had surprised everyone by clinching the IPL title in 2016. The team think-tank led by head coach Tom Moody seems to have ticked all the right boxes in the auctions held earlier this year. So, what are the other factors that make SRH such a strong contender to repeat 2016’s performance?


After David Warner’s removal from captaincy, the management has trusted the New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson for the leadership role. His recent batting form will be an added advantage for the team. He has a 60% winning record in all three formats of the game for the black caps. Cricket Pundits all over the world rate him as one of the top batsmen in modern cricket.


The top brass of the batting looks extremely strong. Shikhar Dhawan, who displayed good form recently in the South Africa and Sri Lanka tours, is the fixed opener. The player partnering Dhawan at the top of the order would be an interesting choice. They may either choose Alex Hales or Wriddhiman Saha, who himself has expressed interest in opening the innings. The skipper, Kane Williamson, will follow at number three. The middle order is filled with newly inducted players, like Manish Pandey. The sight of Pandey becoming the first Indian player to score an IPL 100 in 2009 is still fresh in the memory of fans. Since then he has grown in experience and stature by working hard to cement his place in Indian national team. His agile fielding and running between the wickets will be another plus for his new IPL team, SRH. 55

Wicket Keeper

SRH has managed to bag the seasoned wicketkeeper, Wriddhiman Saha. The team mentor VVS Laxman believes that Saha will be the best choice behind the stumps to control the flippers of ace wrist spinner Rashid Khan. Also, Saha’s recent knock in domestic cricket where he scored a 20-ball century will put him in the race for batting at the top.

All Rounders

All these years, SRH was in a dire need of quality all-rounders. This year, the franchise has hit the bull’s eye by acquiring Shakib-Al-Hasan who is currently ranked number one all-rounder in all three formats of cricket - Test, One Day International and T-20 International. The addition of Carlos Brathwaite, Mohammad Nabi, Bipul Sharma, and Yusuf Pathan has further strengthened the side.

Fast Bowling

Right from its inception in 2013, fast bowling has been one of the most lethal weapons that SRH wields. Team India’s go-to strike bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar will be spearheading the pace attack. He was among the leading wicket-takers in the previous three seasons of IPL. He has been proving his mettle in death-overs with the latest addition of the ‘knuckle ball’ in his bowling armoury. Bowlers like Sandeep Sharma, Siddharth Kaul, Billy Stanlake and Chris Jordan will complement Bhuvneshwar from the other end.

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Spin Department

The spin division of SRH is led by 19-year-old Afghan sensation Rashid Khan who is currently the number one T20 International bowler. Recently, he became the fastest bowler to reach 100 wickets in one-day international history. ShakibAl-Hasan, Yusuf Pathan, Deepak Hooda and Mohammad Nabi will be his spin partners. The team is blessed to have all-time leading wicket-taker Muttiah Muralitharan as their bowling coach.

Bench Strength

The franchise is delighted to have young Indian players like Tanmay Agarwal, Ricky Bhui, Basil Thampi, T Natarajan, and Sachin Baby. SRH also has a surprise package in Khaleel Ahmed, a left arm speedster who is known for his orthodox bowling action. Overall, this is going to be Sunrisers’ best chance to regain the title. While most other teams are still struggling to find the right combination of players, SRH’s probable playing eleven is in fine form backed by a formidable bench strength. (This piece was written before the start of IPL 2018.) Illustrator : Poulomi Mandal


Souptik Garai

People behind the 64 pages : The Print and New Media Batch (2016-2018) Top row (L-R): Mahipal Reddy, Roseleen Aind, Amrutha Chandrasekharan, Rushi Malava. Middle row (L-R): K Mythreya, Prateek Talukdar, Oishani Mojumder, Asst. Professor Anjali Lal Gupta, Poulomi Mandal, Sunku Durga Prasad, Sahil Suman. Bottom row (L-R): Akhil Vijayan, Barsha Chetia, P Raja Rajeswari

Poulomi Mandal

DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNICATION Sarojini Naidu School of Arts and Communication University of Hyderabad, Gachibowli Hyderabad, 500046

Vantage2018 Volume 9  

A University of Hyderabad publication.

Vantage2018 Volume 9  

A University of Hyderabad publication.