The word Telangana is derived from Telugu + Gana, which literally means Telugu Speaking People. The region comprises 10 districts of modern Andhra Pradesh. It was under the Kakatiyas from 1083 AD to 1323 AD. Afterwards, it came under Delhi Sultanate, followed by Bahamani Kingdom, Qutab Shahi and Mughals. A separate Hyderabad state was established by the Asaf Jahi Dynasty. Later Hyderabad became the first Indian Royal state to accede to British Protection under the policy of Subsidiary Alliances. The Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema were under the British India’s Madras Presidency.
Demand for Linguistic States:
- The Montague-Chelmsford Reform had favored the formation of linguistic based provinces.
- The chairperson of Indian National Congress of Calcutta Session, Annie Besant opposed the idea of formation of linguistic states; however Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Mahatma Gandhi favored it.
- Gandhi ji favored it because he believed that use of linguistic sensibilities of the people would help in better mass organization.
- The All India Congress Committee officially accepted the principle of the “Linguistic Reorganization of States” in its Nagpur Session in 1920.
- The same was reiterated by the leadership of Congress before the Indian Statutory Commission of
- 1927 and had suggested the creation of Utkal, Andhra, Karnataka on this basis.
- The same was supported by the Nehru Committee in 1928.
- The election manifesto of the Congress promised in 1946, to create provinces on linguistic basis.
The JVP Committee (Jawaharlal-Vallabhbhai Patel – Pattabhi Sitaramaiya) committee was formed in 1948. This committee also came out with opposition to formation of linguistic states. Later the Linguistic Provinces Commission was appointed to study the problem by Dr. Rajendra Prasad, on June 17, 1948 under the chairmanship of Justice S N Dhar and it was called Dhar Commission also. Justice SN Dhar was a judge of Allahabad High Court. Dhar Committee found it “inadvisable to reorganize the states on linguistic basis”. This recommendation was accepted by the cabinet.
In 1912, State of Bihar and Orissa was formed. The Telugu speaking people wanted to have their own Telugu state, soon after the creation of Bihar and Orissa. The Andhra Mahasabha was formed in 1913, but the dream of having own language state remained a dream for the Telugu speaking people for 50 years. A veteran congressman Potti Sriramulu, went on fast unto death on October 19, 1952, After 56 days of fast, he succumbed to the fasting and died on December 15, 1952. His death triggered large scale violence in the state and this led to Government of India to create India’s first state on Linguistic Basis that is Andhra Pradesh on October 1, 1953.
The official name of the state was Andhra State.
The demand for linguistic states rose particularly in South India. The political leadership was not in a position to resist the demand and this culminated in “States Reorganization Commission “on December 22, 1953 by Jawahar Lal Nehru. The States Reorganization Commission was headed by Justice Fazal Ali. This Fazal Ali Commission submitted its recommendations on September 30, 1955. The commission recommended the reorganization of the country in 16 states and 3 centrally administered areas.
The Andhra State comprised 11 districts of the Telugu-speaking portion of Madras State. Its Capital was Kurnool. Tanguturi Prakasam Pantulu became first Chief Minister of this Andhra State. It comprised Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema Regions.
States Reorganization Commission’s View on Telangana:
The states reorganization commission was of the view that a Hyderabad State (Telangana) may come in existence as a separate state with its provision of unification with Andhra after the 1961 general elections if by a two thirds majority the legislature of the residency Hyderabad State expresses itself in favor of such unification. So the SRC was NOT against the Telangana State and NOT ever rejected the demand for a Telangana State.
The merger of Andhra with Telangana was termed by Nehru as ” matrimonial alliance with a provision of divorce”.
Why Unified Andhra & wishes / views of the people for Vishalandhra:
A slogan of Vishalandhra was in the field for long time. It had an emotional appeal that people speaking the same language that is Telugu should come together.
- There was a larger section of the society which desired of Hyderabad state. However, Hyderabad state was broken into its linguistic pieces -Marathi speaking belt went to Bombay state and Kannada speaking belt went to Mysore state, it was a possibility that the Telugu speaking belt (Telangana) should go to the larger Andhra state.
- There were supporters of cultural integration who wanted all the Telugu people come together.
- There was also a thought that in a bigger province, the expenditure of administration becomes less, duplication and overlapping may be avoided.
- There was a belief that in larger province there may be a larger scope for industrial development.
Separate Telangana & wishes of the People seeking separate state:
- They believed that emotional urge for Vishalandhra got weak after a separate Andhra state was formed. If Telangana state is formed which would comprise the pure Telugu people, the emotional urge would weaken further.
- They believed that forming a new Telangana state would not practically upset anybody, however if it was merged with Andhra Pradesh there might be a bitterness on their (Telangana) side.
- Telangana was not a part of British India and was under the British suzerainty. They believed that the way of life they have developed in 175 years would be disturbed.
- A large number of Telangana were Urdu knowing and Urdu speaking / using people who thought that if the state is merged with Andhra would take away the importance / need/ essence of Urdu from their life.
- The Telangana region was less developed particularly in education and they feared that in the larger state , they will be at disadvantage.
- The Telangana region was economically poor as compared to Andhra which had lots of economically advanced people / businessmen etc.
- There was a bitter taste / experience of the Telangana people just after the merger of Hyderabad state, the Andhra officers were hard to them and there was a mutual dislike among the people of both regions, despite of a single language.
The above hesitations of the Telangana people was tried provide safeguards with the purpose of preventing discrimination against Telangana by the government of Andhra Pradesh. It was signed in 1956, prior to merger of Andhra and Telangana. Signees were
- Andhra Side: B. Gopal Reddy (Chief Minister, Andhra State), N. Sanjeeva Reddy, G.Lachanna & Alluri Satyanarayana Raju
- Telangana Side: B. Rama Krishna Rao (Chief Minister, Hyderabad state), K.V. Ranga Reddy, M. Channa Reddy, J.V. Narsing Rao
Provisions: This agreement provided that there shall be one legislature for the whole of the Andhra Pradesh State, which shall be sole law making body for the entire state. Telangana would be regarded as one region for some convenient transaction of the business of government. This agreement also provided for a Regional Standing Committee for Telangana region. This regional standing Committee would deal with important matters such as Development of Economic Planning, Local self government , public health, Education, Prohibition and industries in the state. Urdu was ensured to keep existing position for next five years. The agreement provided reassurances to Telangana in terms of power sharing as well as administrative domicile rules and distribution of expenses of various regions.
Birth of Andhra Pradesh:
Following this agreement, central government established a unified Andhra Pradesh on November 1, 1956
The “gentlemen’s agreement” proved to be a momentary solution and the people of Telangana expressed dissatisfaction. In 1962 election Congress won and it was a feather in cap for Sanjiva Reddy. Andhra Pradesh was now a stronghold of Congress. The position of the communists (who led the peasants rebellion in 1946) declined.
The period of agitations began in late 60s which reached a substantial height in 1969. In the first phase of the agitation, only the students (particularly of Osmania University) and the personnel belonging to Telangana services participated.
Later in march 1969, the agitation took a new turn, when S Venkatram Reddy, a former minister came openly in the support of the agitations. Meanwhile, the defectors from the congress created the Telangana People’s Association (Telangana Praja Samithi) led by M. Chenna Reddy.
After 1971, midterm elections Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India, who was aware of the overwhelming majority registered for the TPS, invited its leaders for mutual discussions. The Change of the leadership was the new card Indira Gandhi played. She was well aware that Brahmananda Reddy who was for a long term in the office had developed widespread roots in the state politics well in the same manner Mohan Lal Sukhadia in Rajasthan had done. Probably, Mrs. Gandhi would not allow letting such things continue. PV Narsimha Rao, a candidate from the Telangana was chosen to be a successor of Brahmananda Reddy. P V Narsimha Rao was known to be a staunch integrationist and he became the first Chief Minister of the Andhra Pradesh from Telangana Region. The Telangana agitation subsidized and TPS merged with Congress.
Jai Andhra Movement , President’s Rule & 6 Point Formula:
A new regional movement broke out in Andhra in 1972 which was called Jai Andhra Movement. This movement started in the Coastal and Rayalaseema regions and the agitators protested against the protections mentioned in the Gentlemen’s agreement. On 18 January 1973, Andhra Pradesh was put under President’s rule. After 11 months of President’s rule, on 10 December 1973, Indira Gandhi chose Jalagam Vengal Rao as Chief Minister. A Six-Point Formula was agreed upon by the leaders of the two regions to prevent any recurrence of such agitations in future. The `Six-Point Formula’ included
- The abolition of Mulki rules and the Telangana Regional Committee (these were the protections mentioned in the Gentleman’s agreement
- The establishment of a Central University at Hyderabad to augment educational facilities.
- In regards to jobs, state divided into six zones, within the framework of three regions, namely, Coastal Andhra, Rayalaseema, and Telangana (Zone V, and Zone VI) with Hyderabad under Zone VI. Each zone should prefer local candidates for state government jobs.
The BJP Promise and New States:
In 1990s Bhartiya Janta Party promised in its election agenda that it shall create new states as demanded (Jharkhand, Uttranchal, Chhattisgarh, Telangana) if they came into power. The three states were crated but the fourth state was not created because, it was in coalition with Telugu Desam Party, which opposed.
With the main aim of formation of a new Telangana State, K Chandrasekhar Rao (a member of TDP) formed Telangana Rashtra Samithi. It allied with Congress in 2004 on the grounds that Congress would create a new state. It withdrew the support after congress not fulfilling the promise. In 2008, all TRS MLA’s and MP’s resigned. In 2009, TRS allied with TDP (which was never pro-separation). But TRS backed out of the alliance in the last minute, thereby creating a huge dent in the prospects of TDP reclaiming power. Though, major parties supported the formation of Telangana, Congress won and YSR became chief minister. BJP came with the promise of creating Telangana and Gorkhaland. In September 2009, Chief Minister YS Reddy died in a helicopter Crash. In November 2009, K Chandrashekar Rao started fast unto death demanding introduction of Telangana Bill in the parliament. In December 2009, P Chidambaram announced that the central government would start process of forming a separate Telangana State. The 11 day fast of KCR ended with this announcement. There was a celebration among Pro Telangana supporters but protests in Rayalaseema and Coastal Regions.
Justice BN Srikrishna Committee:
A Five member committee was formed on separate Telangana with Justice BN Srikrishna, a retired judge of Supreme Court, as the chairman of the committee in March 2010. The committee is expected to submit its report by 31 December 2010. Other members of the committee are
- Vinod Duggal – former Union Home Secretary
- Ravindar Kaur – professor at IIT Delhi
- Abusaleh Sharif – PhD is a Senior Research Fellow at the New Delhi Office of International Food Policy Research Institute
- Prof. (Dr.) Ranbir Singh, Vice-Chancellor – National Law University
It was said that the panel will examine the demand for a separate state of Telangana as well as the demand to keep Andhra Pradesh united. It was a politically clumsy decision which led to violent demonstrations in Hyderabad, plus resignation threats by about half the members of the legislative assembly. This paralyzed the state government and sparked follow-on bifurcation claims from other states all over India.
- Telangana has been neglected and is backward. All its irrigation projects, agriculture, education and employment is courtesy of Andhra.
- Hyderabad did shine, but it is just a small territory in Telangana and people living in Hyderabad are not just the people from Telangana but also from Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema.
- The people of coastal Andhra have benefited economically since the days of British rule when there was extensive investment in irrigation, but the Telangana region lagged behind under the thumb of the Nizam of Hyderabad.
- When Hyderabad began to flourish in the 1990s as an IT centre, wealthy landowners from the coastal region flocked to the city to develop real estate and infrastructure projects. The creation of the new state would hurt their business interests.
- Separation would not solve all the issues.
- Andhra Pradesh is state which is divided into various constituencies and each constituency has its own representative who sits in the assembly and the parliament.
- Every constituency gets funds equally and as per the Gentleman’s agreement the Telangana region gets more.
- It is the fault of the leaders in the Telangana region that it hasn’t developed. KCR wants power than to fix the Telangana region problem.
- The demand for new states would intensify.