Thursday, December 10, 2009

Vision for Telangana I

The people of Telangana have fought for creation of a new state for themselves for nearly 60 years now. This legitimate fight for creation of this new state with Hyderabad as its capital, within the legal confines of Indian Constitution, has had a voice since the time of Indian Independence. In 1948, right after the Indian Independence, Indian Army entered the region to liberate the people of Telangana (as part of Hyderabad State) from the Nizam Rule. The newly formed Hyderabad State was a distinct entity in Indian Union and had its elections (in 1953) prior to the formation of Andhra Pradesh (in 1956). Meanwhile, another region next to Telangana, called Andhra, was keen on fighting for a separate state for its people away from Tamil people.

Potti Sriramulu of Andhra region went on a hunger strike in Madras (Chennai) for 58 days and died fighting for creation of separate state out of Madras Presidency called Andhra State with Madras as a capital. After his death, the Central Government in New Delhi conceded to his first demand, that of creation of Andhra State, but it rejected his other demand. Instead, Madras became capital of new Tamil State. We tend to forget that Potti Sriramulu fought for political aspirations of Andhra people of Madras Presidency, not the Telangana people of Hyderabad State.

Andhra People having lost Madras to Tamils looked for an alternative city for its capital and they eyed the glorious city of Hyderabad. Using the slogan that Telugu is the binding factor for both the regions, they renewed their fight to include Telangana into their new dream of Vishalandhra. People of Telangana had a different opinion – they didn’t think it was a wise move. In fact, Hyderabad city saw the first waves of protests against joining Andhra Pradesh (and some protestors died in the shootings).

Potti Sri Ramulu’s death and Andhra people’s demand for creation of a state on linguistic basis led to creation of First State Reorganization Committee (SRC) in India. Though Nehru was averse to this idea, many new states got formed in India on the basis of language. Kerala and Karnataka got formed immediately. Telangana was clubbed with Andhra State to form new Andhra Pradesh though Fazal Ali of First SRC clearly expressed reservations against clubbing together the two regions that were unequal partners.

The history of Telangana after India’s Independence is riddled with false promises and betrayals. The hypocrisy and selfishness of political leaders cannot be ignored. While the Andhra people felt they would not be represented fairly in the Madras Presidency since it would be dominated by Tamils, they fought for inclusion of a reluctant Telangana into the Andhra Pradesh. Though there were many glaring differences between Coastal Andhra and Telangana because of cultural and historical reasons, those were ignored to unite them under linguistic basis. Right from the beginning, it was clearly understood by many that people of Telangana would never get a fair representation in education, opportunity and employment, but those legitimate concerns were ignored.

Prior to Indian Independence Andhra people were under British Rule, and hence had better access to education and employment while the Telangana people under Nizam Rule were less educated or literate in Urdu- and Urdu didn’t have a role to play in the new state of Andhra Pradesh. While the British Rule curbed feudal system bringing in land reforms in Andhra Region, the Nizam ruled Telangana was steeped in extreme feudal system, to such an extent that Pandit Nehru described Nizam Dominion as ‘ancient feudal relic’. The land reforms which were long due in Telangana didn’t happen in spite of a communist rebellion that started in this region prior to the Indian Independence. Zamindars continued to rule the region as before. The poverty was rampant and disparity between rich and poor phenomenal. Landlords and the privileged class soon became the de facto leaders in the new political sphere. They were keen on filling their coffers than on attending to the problems of its people. Leaders of Telangana joined forces with leaders of Andhra Region to betray their own people again and again.

After a prolonged period of discriminatory policies and unfulfilled ‘Gentleman Agreements’, people of Telangana rose in unison in 1969 demanding a new state for themselves. That Telangana Agitation was ruthlessly suppressed killing more than 350 people and sending the thousands into jails. However, the movement did not die in the minds of Telangana people. In the next Lok Sabha elections of 1971, a new party called Telangana Praja Samiti (TPS) bagged 11 seats out of a total 12 from this region on one single agenda – to create a new Telangana State. But the popular mood was hijacked by the corrupt and selfish Telangana leaders who betrayed their people once again. Channa Reddy, leader of TPS, joined Congress Party under Indira Gandhi, renounced the pledge he has given to people of Telangana, and in a clear case of display of avarice became the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh.

Though there were many gentleman promises and many GOs passed to protect interests of Telangana people in their region, they were all struck down eventually. The history of Telangana is fraught with unfulfilled promises. Telangana remains backward, in education, in agriculture, in industry, in infrastructure, in employment, and in prosperity.

Even today, Telangana people are discriminated in their own region. Telangana language is ridiculed and its speakers are butt of many demeaning jokes. People of Telangana have a distinct culture, a different history and different temperament in addition to different social and economic status. Now, they seek a new state within the legal confines of Indian Constitution after enduring pain and suffering for over fifty years.

We have come together many a times to seek a separate Telangana. And now we are poised to attain the statehood. Separate Telangana is no longer an elusive dream but a distinct reality. It’s not the matter of ‘if’, but ‘when’.

Here is the text of Jawaharlal Nehru’s speech given on the eve of Indian Independence. It applies to Telangana in the current context.

Jawaharlal Nehru’s Speech to new India on August 15th, 1947

“Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, …

The achievement we celebrate today is but a step, …, to the greater triumphs and achievements that await us. Are we brave enough and wise enough to grasp this opportunity and accept the challenge of the future?

That future is not one of ease or resting but of incessant striving so that we may fulfill the pledges we have so often taken and the one we shall take today. The service of India means the service of the millions who suffer. It means the ending of poverty and ignorance and disease and inequality of opportunity. … We have to build the noble mansion of free India where all her children may dwell.

The future beckons to us. Whither do we go and what shall be our endeavor? To bring freedom and opportunity to the common man, to the peasants and workers of India; to fight and end poverty and ignorance and disease; to build up a prosperous, democratic and progressive nation, and to create social, economic and political institutions which will ensure justice and fullness of life to every man and woman.”

Message to the leaders of Telangana

What shall we do when we get our Telangana? What is our vision and what are our objectives? How shall we correct the mistakes of the past? How shall we better the lives of our people? How shall we make Telangana a great place to live?

Our forefathers who fought for Indian Independence spent many long years to architect our constitution and formed ideas on how they are going to rule this country, what principles they are going to imbibe and what mistakes they will avoid. I don’t see a single political party discussing their vision for Telangana. Are they going to be another set of corrupt and self-centered politicians who will just usurp power to feed themselves, or are they going to be committed leaders who will work for the betterment of this region? Are we going to replace one selfish ruler with another, the way the Zamindars took over where Nizam left off, or are we going to make this truly a government of the people – all people, lower caste or upper caste, Hindu or Muslim, rich or poor, villager or a city dweller, man or woman?

Getting separate Telangana is only the beginning, not the end in itself.


[The related posts are at: Telangana - A New State, Telangana II, Telangana III, Telangana IV, Telangana V: Political angle, Telangana VI: Hyderabad State?, Telangana VII: Political Drama, Telangana VIII: You need to make a case, History of Telangana I, Telangana IX: Riots turn ugly, Telangana X: Congratulations!]


  1. You see, history has always two sides and you've pretty well described the Telangana part of the tale. You've talked about vision, but I dont find any vision in Part I, may be in Part II? Well, I'll wait.

    You had >100 representatives from your province (I mean Telangana) in Andhra Assembly didn't you? Still they didn't do much for the area? Hyderabad was built for the whole of Andhra, and it is the people who make a city...not just brick or mortar/glass or chrome. Snatching Hyd away from the whole of Andhra is fair? I find you comparing the West with the Indian perspective a bit too critically in many of your posts, so you think such riotous behaviour and mutilating the nation in the name of mere slang will reap dividends? Politicians have their own aganda, and I'm pretty sure KCR will be no different when he gets to the seat.

    Remember, Chattisgarh has gone downhill after formation even after many years. I'm not against Telangana my any means, but the way this was done here and also the anti-Andhra sentiments propagated by the leaders and some organizations leaves a Q-mark. As an Indian these kind of things piss me off...

  2. Telangana leaders fed poor people of telangana following.

    If a telanganite went n asked his leader education Telangana leaders told him andhra people took his education.

    If a telanganite went n asked his leader for jobs Telangana leaders told him andhra people took his job.

    If a telanganite went n asked his leader for water Telangana leaders told him andhra people took his water by godavari.

    Poor telanganite is so desperate and is commiting suicides and his leaders are telling lies to telangana people that they will get jobs, education,water if telangana is formed so keep dying on roads.

    will poor telanganite get jobs,water,education ??????

  3. Hey Sujai,
    I would like to see your take on hyderabadi vs telangana. I am pretty sure both aren't same, would like to see your take..
    Srikanth Yanamanagandla

  4. @scorpiogenius
    "You had >100 representatives from your province (I mean Telangana) in Andhra Assembly didn't you? Still they didn't do much for the area? Hyderabad was built for the whole of Andhra, and it is the people who make a city...not just brick or mortar/glass or chrome. Snatching Hyd away from the whole of Andhra is fair?"

    Today every region is playing the tune that they are backward why couldn't they get benefitted with 175 representatives?
    Telangana issue is not just related to Backwardness but also to the desire of the people for freedom and self rule.
    Hyderabad was never built for the whole people of Andhra or by Andhra..It was built about 400 years ago even while the andhra region was under british india in the Madras constituency.
    Geographically too Hyderabad lies far inside the Telangana and was never apart from Telangana.
    Just by migrating in huge mass to one place and establishing colonies does not give claim for Union Territory.Formation of Union Territories is reserved for other situations that are irrelevant here.Hyderabad was never part of Andhra region.Today,the way they are talking shows that Andhras only hoped for Visalandhra just to get hold on Hyderabad but not out of love for fellow telugu people.
    It is not about KCR or YSR but the opputunity and freedom to elect our people and have self rule rather than people who ridicule,look down upon the people of Telangana and also who does not accept/recognise them as one among them.This is more about freedom including the other problems.

  5. Half truths peppered with anecdotes, a lot of spin and hey, you got a decent case.

    True, Potti Sriramulu fought on behalf of the people of Andhra. But he is the most under appreciated of independence fighters. His sacrifice has changed the whole political map of India and led to the creation of states on linguistic basis.

    It is laughable that you paint the Andhra politicians of that time as cunning and opportunistic whereas the politicians of Telangana region as naive. When states were created on linguistic basis, Andhra and Telangana areas had to merge "by default". Just like Kannada speaking areas of erstwhile Hyderabad district became part of Karnataka "by default" and Marathi speaking areas became Maharashtra "by default". It is also true that there were some apprehensions with Telangana people, but the leaders (including leaders of Telangana) accepted for a merger. Indeed, there were cultural differences after hundreds of years of Nizam rule, but you forget that the sole basis for state formation was language.

    The Telangana area was lagging behind initially but the gap has now reduced dramatically. Some districts in Telangana area surpass Andhra and Rayalaseema areas in any number of development indicators. Karimnagar, Medak, Hyd, RangaReddy are consistantly in top 10 in development. And while progress has not touched Mehbub Nagar, it is equally true for Srikakulam and Ananthapur districts.

    You say Telangana language is ridiculed in movies. But our movie industry is not exactly epitome of great taste (with a few exceptions). It is controlled by individuals from select caste and select districts in Andhra area. Seema accent is ridiculed, as also Telangana, Srikakulam etc. Seema people are always factionists, Brahmins are shown in poor light and I can go on.

    We have come so far and now it is all the more difficult to separate. 60 years made a lot of difference and today we share more things in common compared to few differences which we can mend. We are all united by our 'Telugudanam'. Division will not solve any problems you mentioned.

    What is happening today is a Twentieth century 'movement' for 21st century problems. It is Telangana for politicians but not for people. People from all over Andhra came to Hyderabad and participated in its development. Separation will only take the city and state back by 20 years. We the people reject this decision taken against the will of people of AP by spineless and opportunistic congress government.

  6. @Manohar
    We have argued about many aspects of the urge behind separate states in volumes in this very blog.We can go on arguing about them. Whether you like it or not, Telangana people want a separate state very strongly. But the attitude of many opposers seem to be really sad. How could you force us to be with you when we dont want to be with you.I see most of the Andhra politicians saying, Andhra people went to Telangana and deveopled. How can we leave now?Dont say that Hyderabad or Telangana is developed by people from Andhra. That shows the patronizing attitude attributed to Andhra people. Hyderabad has been a rich city for centuries. There were definitely funds from the AP state spent on HYD. It is not deniable.When the Madras state was divided, Didnt Andhra people become part of Madars city. What happened when Bombay state was divided? Yes, there needs to be some kind of package to compensate.There can be some solution. If Hyderabad is the only deadlock, it is definitely not something which is impossible to be solved. But forcing Telangana people to stay with them when they strongly do not want to, is utterly ridiculous. This attitude will increase hatred but nothing.

  7. Mr. Scopiogenius, when andhra state seperated from madras it also had half of the representatives but why did you think andhra politicians think that their region would be marginalized? Atleast telangana tried to coexist a single state for 50 years and then after several hits and trials it has become clear that staying single would not help.
    As far as your argument goes it is completely double standards because andhra people want one state because they want to capitalize and prosper on telangana resources and not for the real cause you have been stressing. its never been for the development of telangana. Why would you care for the region you do not belong to unless you can reap off something. Whereas separatist are also not with out their own interests, they want to prosper with out being marginalised under a single state.
    you got that!
    Stop trying to be a saviour of telangana you want single state to develop your own interests not for the interests of telangana. No body would expect that.

  8. South Indians in general and Tamil/Telugu in particular have been very unkind to me...So as a northie I am only pleased with this news.

    Next in line should definately be Tamil Nadu.

    That would really make my day!.

    Keep it coming Im loving it !!


  9. Hey,
    This is a good blog, I can find lot of information about telangana at one place.

    Ramesh V

  10. I didnt get it with the line we need jobs, u make me clear with this..
    U think u can make more jobs jst by separation ? how ?
    u cant get more no of jobs if there's a separate state ! u say u'll get the private jobs too on to ur own Region? or only govt jobs ?
    if this is with the govt jobs, i already remind u that the jobs under govt category follow under regional basis and not the only basis of talent.
    so, u too people have the jobs.. and if the reason is talent, u say that the people will get the jobs after separation even they dont hv the caliber and Telangana would be developed, right ??
    Coming to the jobs of private, they are purely based on the talent and in this condition, if the Telangana people are adequate for any particular job on the basis of talent, then they too will have it, its not on the basis of region.
    U say even if there's separation, u are letting Non-Telangana people to live there happily and if its the situation, then there cant be any jobs to Telangana people as of now as u said.. because they were on the eligibility criteria.

  11. @Manohar that was a great replay...

  12. Read this interesting news from Deccan Chronicle (Dated Feb. 17, 2010):

    This news debunks at least principle of the blogger who claimed Samaikya-andhra propents are bigots who clamor for cultural purity, but the proponents of Telangana have "open to influence"and have empathy for "others".

    Hyderabad, Feb. 17: The Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) leader, Mr Akbaruddin Owaisi, said on Wednesday that the attacks on Muslims by T-activists in Nizamabad district amply showed that the agitations are assuming a communal colour.

    “Do you want to achieve separate Telangana over the corpses of Muslims?” an angry Mr Owaisi asked in the Assembly, as his MLAs stalled proceedings for more than an hour demanding a debate on the attacks on Muslims in Pothangal village in Nizamabad.

    Mr Owaisi said that his party was not against Telangana nor the united state and added that it was not proper to force Muslims to participate in agitations for and against Telangana.

    After the Speaker, Mr N. Kirankumar Reddy, rejected the adjournment notice moved by the MIM on the issue, the party members trooped into the Well of the House forcing an adjournment.

    When the House reconvened, the MIM stuck to its guns forcing another adjournment. Finally, the Speaker allowed Mr Owaisi to raise the issue. Narrating the incident, the Majlis leader said some people took out a rally in support of Telangana in the village and asked Muslims to join as well. While some agreed to, others with folded hands urged the agitators to allow them to earn their daily bread.

    “The rally marched towards a Muslim locality and angry agitators beat up Muslim youth and forced them to shout Jai Telangana slogans,” he said. “Their houses were burnt. One person who was injured died in the hospital.”

    He also condemned the police inaction and said the cops took six hours to act and they moved only after he spoke to the district superintendent of police. He urged the CM, Mr K. Rosaiah, to immediately direct the police to register cases. In response, the CM promised to take action against people involved in the attacks. He also agreed to provide better medical assistance by shifting the injured to the city.

    The Majlis leader dominated the proceedings though the Telugu Desam too tried to stall the House seeking a debate on the lathicharge at the OU. The Speaker only took it up after Question Hour.


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