Fwd: Re: Archive (10) Kush Badhwar: OU 101
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Hello! Hi, So I am going to try to keep it quick. So, I have been looking at Telangana statehood in relation to archives and personal collections for a little while now. At one point of my research I went to AP state archives Andra Pradesh state archives. One reason I was kind of interested in that was that's an institution that would probably face a split in the future, in terms of their collection, but also they're coming from a split in the past as well. In that when AP state archives was - it was set up out of two archives essentially, which was the Nizam's archive and also the Telugu related material that was in Madras presidency archives. So, those two collections came together to make the AP state archives, and then it started growing from there. But then in the future its likely to split again with this AP Telangana state bifurcation. So, at one point of time I went to AP state archives, and sort of just as a kind of place holder inquiry I was asking about their film archives. And it initially was a bit difficult to access but eventually they gave me a look at this catalog that they produced. Which is a catalog of all the films in their archive. So, I'll just give you a quick look at few of its pages.
This is basically how it looks. And this is another page. My favorite films on these pages are Baby's Day Out and Head Cleaner. And then there was this page - it was just in the middle somewhere, and it was basically explaining why this catalog exists. And so basically it was for the digitization process. But then when I was reading the letter back home - back at home - I noticed who its addressed to was living in the same building as I was living in, which is Vaishali apartments. So basically when I sort of gathered up the courage, I just knocked on their door, asking about this. And the professor who it is addressed to had basically passed away a few months earlier. So, I kind of left it at that. But then about 6 months after that, I was sort of walking into the building and I didn't see that... I saw... this.
So, I knew it was the house and basically the family was getting rid of all of the professor's work. I mean not work, his materials, so essentially some of his work. So, I followed the tempo to the kabadiwala
and I was just sort of salvaging whatever I found interesting and the caretaker of the society - he was presence so he guided me to some other materials that might be of interest which is 35mm slides and rushes on VHS and various things. So, basically over the last few weeks through this workshop, a little bit before that and may be little bit after, I've sort of been going through this material, in relation to whatever my previous interests regarding Telangana statehood were. And so, even though there's a lot of different material, this professor was... he started out the Ancient Indian History, Archaeology and Culture department of Osmania University. So, he had a lot of different interests. He was interested in temples of Telangana, architecture, sculpture, things like that. And at one point of his career it looks like he starts to get fascinated by Osmania University itself. So, I think he starts applying whatever his practices towards his own sort of work place. And because Osmania University was sort of a big site of protest regarding Telangana state hood, I am sort of looking at Osmania University as a site from these two varying perspectives. So, I got some of his slides.
Basically this a farmaan
. These are from the professor's slides. So, he is looking at the history of the university. So, this is basically the farmaan
or the edict where the Nizam says Osmania University should exist. And this dated 19th April of 1917. Last year the university celebrated its 100 years, and this year is its 101st next month. So. that's kind of why I titled this talk OU-101.
That's the second page. And these are the buildings Osmania University inhabited at first. So, they were in Basheer bagh and Gunfoundry which are like central Hyderabad. So, the university didn't have space to expand from these buildings. So, eventually the Nizam acquires a large piece of land which is where Osmania is now.
Then these two architects basically the Nizam sends them on worldwide trip, I'll read out all the places that they go to. They go for exactly a year. So, first they start in Madras, then they go to Colombo, then they go to Osaka for two months, then San Francisco, Yale, Harvard, Princeton, California, Stanford, Wisconsin, Illinois, Chicago, New York, Colombia, Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Manchester, Kingston, Birmingham, Leeds,... they go to (?), Heidelberg, Munich, Berlin, Vienna, Hungary, Syria, Turkey and Egypt. I didn't time that properly so there's a few more.
They go for a year and in Egypt they meet an architect called Jasper in 1932, and they're basically impressed by his work, and they ask him to design the new Osmania University. So, the following year he visits Hyderabad and in that trip he is shown Qutb Shahi buildings, monuments from Bidar, temples in the (?), Ajanta and Ellora, Agra, Fatehpur Sikri, and Delhi. So, since he was really expensive he basically prepares the plans for arts college, law college, senate hall and the library. And then he pays his son and then he leaves. Two years later the foundation stone for Osmania is laid. And a vistors book is made, and its first entry is from 1937. So, this has got entries from Nehru, from Fatima Jinnah, from C.V. Raman. I had an entry written down but that's actually on the computer so forget that now. But they're actually quite boring.
Then in 1938 the first signs of protest in Osmania and how this happens is basically that they have prayer halls in each of the hostels. So they have a Hindu and a Muslim prayer hall and they are required to recite a particular hymn at the beginning of each day. So this hymn goes as follows: 'May god preserve until eternity thy kingdom'. You see Nehru's signature and some other doodle. 'May god preserve unto eternity thy kingdom, And thee Osman in thy splendour, May he make thy religion glorious. As he has made these superb among kings.'
So, these students they instead of (singing)... reciting this hymn, basically they sing Vande Mataram
. So, they do this once and they are warned. And then the second time the warden locks the doors and doesn't let them out for sometime. And then when he unlocks the doors basically he takes all of their signatures. And then the Nizam expels them. So, then they decided to go to Andhra University which is the more sort of Congress-leaning sort of university. And they ask if they can complete their classes there. But it turns out that that university has been taking... it gets 2 lakhs of funding from the Nizam. So, they reject these students, then they go to BHU, same thing happens there. The Nizam is also providing them funding. So, they get rejected there as well. Then eventually they go to Nagpur University and the V.C. there, he basically suggests that they should agitate further. And then on the basis of that agitation he's sort of able to convince whoever he needs to, to allow them into their university. So, he does. And that works and then some of them study there, some of them apologise and go back to Osmania. One of these students, Narasingha Rao, who became... ya.
So, then in 1939 the Arts college completes construction... so, there's a few construction shots. And in the building of this, all of this stone that's required for the building is quarried from within the university site itself. And about 600 stone dressers(?) from surrounding areas, and they all work on this university. A special train line is installed inside the campus to transport materials.
Gadar, who I'll introduce shortly. He's a singer balladier. He says about the building: "I'm enthralled with the beauty of the Arts College Building, but I feel sad that there is no mention of the workers who contributed their sweat and blood for the construction of the building. And it only has the name of the Badshah." The Nizam and his near and dear cut its ribbon. Then shortly after this time, addressing the atmosphere of politics and protests and possibly reflecting the approaching the change in power. Because a few years later the Nizam gets kicked out essentially. The Nizam writes: "The need to see out knowledge is obvious. Especially if one sees how fast life is changing, and how revolutions rock the world today. Only those who possess knowledge, whose mind and heart are illuminated by the light of wisdom, who have the capacity to think clearly and judge wisely, can withstand the tide of change. Students should desist from participation in active politics during their student days. Politics is a path strewn with thorns, and treading this path is fraught with risks and dangers. The arrival of spring before its due time and the blooming of many colored flowers before the season. But its no good for the garden. Shrubs that bloom early may wither prematurely."
So, all along I mean if you dig-up enough info about this you kind of see this kind of dichotomy between the tranquility of the university campus as a place of learning and also a place where one can actively participate in politics. And this kind of... I mean you might even be able to read it in the newspapers today essentially.
This is just more construction... stuff.
Crisis on the Campushttps://indiancine.ma/BKME/player/
This is a from a film called Crisis on Campus and its from 1971. And the reason I am showing you this is that the middle portion was shot in Osmania university. And what's kind of funny about how they've represented it is that rather than showing you a protest there, its actually an election. And the reason I think that they're showing this is because in 1969 there was basically Telangana agitations happen in Osmania university. I am sure probably FD heard about it at that time and they go into Osmania in the hope of seeing something along those lines. But all they're getting is an election instead. Possibly. That's not fact. So, 1969 is a big year of protest in Osmania. There's Telangana agitation that happens. 369 students across the state are killed at this time through indiscriminate police firing. And also around this time we have a number of figures who would be more important in the political scene of the state who are students at Osmania university at the time. One of those is a singer II mentioned earlier, his name is Gadar and he talks about his time in Osmania by saying "Room no. 57 was also called the room of agitation. I took up many programs and wrote many songs in this room. This gave me encouragement. Afterwards Dalit agitation, Bahujana agitation were also nurtured in this room." So, its possible that some of these sort of songs that he is famous for may have been developed in this time. So I'll show you a brief part of one of these songs, if you are not familiar with who Gadar is.
So, another person who studied at Osmania around this time was K.C.R. who is now is the first chief minister of the new state. And I'll talk about him a little bit more in the future... in a moment. Another person who was not studying Osmania at this time but became chief minister, Andhra Pradesh in 1971, was a student who was formerly in that previous agitation in the Vande Mataram protest, ie Narasingha Rao. So, now he's gone from a student protesting to someone who is the leader of a state while student protests are occuring. Another student who studied at this time was George Reddy. And I will show you a clip of him speaking in... its also from Crisis on the Campus in 1971.
So, that's George Reddy in 1971 from Crisis in the Campus. And what happens the following year in 1972 is that Reddy is murdered in broad daylight on the Osmania university campus by members of the ABVP and the RSSS. Now what happens out of this is it kind of makes a martyr out of Reddy. So he's you'll still find that he's sort of in the consciousness of students or organisations that have come out of student movements even today. And possibly studying at the same time was Mani Rathnam, and apparently he bases the character called Micheal from his 2004 film based on Reddy. So, I'll show you that clip.
Clip from Yuva (2004): https://indiancine.ma/ATQF/player/BEB
Through the 80's and 90's many Osmania students adopt important political positions ranging from in mainstream politics to leaders in armed revolutionary mass movements. Around this time they're also major clamp-downs on political activity in the university at this time. For example the banning of student union elections from 1988-1992. Also during this period, an ex-students K.C.R. cuts his teeth by Youth Congress, and the he switches to the Telugu Desum Party. And in 2001 he resigns from that party citing that basically there is no way to... there is no other way but to achieve state-hood, essentially. So, he sets up another party with one point agenda to establish a new state. And... him and others, what you see is that now that the university has sort of this history of politics that has taken place, it starts to serve as a symbol for people to try to enact political desire essentially, led by such people as Gadar and K.C.R.
So, in 2007 Gadar undertakes a Padyatra
, or a 'peace walk' around Telangana. And I believe this borrows from another sort of important historical figure Vinoba Bave, who did a Bhoodan movement walk which took place in the mid 1950's, also on Telangana and other places. And I think Gadar is appropriating that walk, but then also important sites such as Osmania university to achieve what he wants from that walk, which is essentially Telangana state-hood. So, I have some footage of that.
So, this is Gadar sort of entering the university. And eventually he gets to... the main sort of university buildings over there. And he kind of holds a concert and all of that sort of stuff. Same thing happens with K.C.R. He holds a fast unto death which is a big moment for Telangana. And eventually in 2014,... AP is bifurcated and Telangana becomes a new state. Now what happens after this is... I'll show you the last clip which is of a film from 2011, called Jai Bolo Telangana
. Its just the trailer actually.
So, you see Osmania university, especially that iconic arts building sort of becoming this backdrop or this symbol for achieving political desire. Now what's happened since statehood on campus is basically more and more repression has come in. The latest I read is that they're banning political and public meetings on campus. Last year at the 100 years celebration they were expecting 20,000 people to come, but they sort of... you had to register your presence there via Aadhar and if you looked dubious they made you actually scan your fingerprint. So in the end only 4,000 people came and 3,500 police were posted there, CCTV was deployed, all of this type of stuff. So, on the one hand its become this symbol of achieving political desire but in reality there's more and more repression. So, eventually they're going to milk that symbol dry, and going to have to find new symbols. And that's end thank you.