Andhra-Telangana Dispute Series Part 1

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andhra-telanganaWhether formation of AP State was maneuvered by Andhra elite people?

Much water has flowed down after announcement of Telangana by Congress Working Committee. The massive agitation in Coastal & Rayalaseema is beyond expectations of political pundits. Even I was compelled to relook into the whole gamut of issue once again. In the anxiety to substantiate their perceived stands, both sides are trying to distort the history to suit their own arguments.

Ultimate victim is history. One of these arguments is about formation of state.The Telangana protaganists are propagating that formation of AP State was maneuvered by Andhra elite sections. Is it a fact? History speaks otherwise. Let us relook into it.

Telugu revival movement from both the Regions

There was strong urge from both the regions to focus Telugu and its culture. Andhra Mahasabha was started in Bapatla in May 1913 whereas Andhra Jana Sangham was started in November 1921 in Hyderabad. The former was formed  to establish Telugu identity and culture through formation of separate Telugu speaking State. People from Hyderabad and Warangal attended the first ever Conference of Telugu people. That itself speaks the emotional attachment of Telugu speaking people.

The later was formed after the insult meted out to the participants in the function for speaking in Telugu. The name was changed to Andhra Mahasabha in the year 1930 and its first Conference was held at Jogipeta, Medak. As Telangana was under Nizam, initially they confined to Library movement so that it was permitted to function. No respect to Telugu in political circles. After Urdu, there was some respect to Marathi. Telugu and Kannada people were treated as third class citizens.

Telugu speaking people in Madras province advanced their political demand for separate State vigorously. They were able to convince Congress Party to agree for their demand. In the year 1938 itself Madras legislative Assembly passed resolution in support of Andhra state. It was delayed for 16 more years as the Capital city issue was not resolved. Ultimately the first Telugu speaking state was formed on 1 speaking people in Hyderabad State.was formed on 1 October 1953. It was welcomed by everyone including Telugu speaking people in Hyderabad State.

Meanwhile Andhra Mahasabha activities in Hyderabad State picked up. Gradually they started taking up people’s problems and it was converted as an instrument to fight against feudal order. In 1944 Communists took control of Andhra Mahasabha. They started armed struggle against Nizam. Razakars committed atrocities against people. The role of Communists in fighting Razakars is exemplary. They lost 4000 of their comrades in the
struggle against nizam and feudal order.

They distributed 10 lakh acres to poor and landless people. They brought Self Respect to the people from the era of ‘Nee Baanchan Kalmokta’ to stand on their own legs and fight. It is an inspiration to one and all. It should benoted that feudal sections led by Desmukhs, Jagirdars ably assisted by Patwaris and patels totally collaborated with Nizam during this struggle.

It should alsobe noted that Andhra people fought along with their colleagues in Telangana.Camps were erected on the Andhra border side to support the fighting comradesof Telangana and several comrades took shelter in these camps when Razakarsattacked them. Along with liberation of Hyderabad state on 17Telanganites must remember this peasant  struggle forever. These feudal sectionsas some intellectuals observed are very shrewd and adopt new methods to be in limelight.

Strong urge from both the Regions to get united

After formation of Andhra State on 1st  October 1953, Government of India appointed State Re-organisation Commission on 22nd December 1953 to submit its report on re-organisation of States in the country. It created an opportunity to protaganists of linguistic states to advance their arguments. Telugu speaking people were divided into Andhra State and Telangana Region of Hyderabad State.

October 1955, SRC submitted its report. It recommended trifurcation of Hyderabad State on the basis of language. As far as Telugu speaking part i.e.Telangana, it opined that it should be allowed to continue as separate State for time being. Unification with Andhra State be made after 1961 general elections(presuming elections after 5 years) if Telangana Assembly passed Resolution with two thirds majority.However, people from both the
Regions wanted unification without further delay. In Andhra, Sri NG Ranga opposed unification. In Telangana, Sri KV Ranga Reddy opposed it. Swamy Ramananda Thirtha was an ardent champion of unification. He even toured Andhra State. Communists who had major stake in Telangana championed the cause of unification.

On 25th  November 1955, Andhra Assembly passed resolution in favour of unification whereas on 3rd December 1955, Hyderabad Assembly passed resolution overruling SRC report for immediate unification. Here it is to be mentioned that overwhelming majority in Hyderabad State supported the resolution. Out of 147 present, 103 supported. 29 opposed and 15 were neutral. If we count Telangana MLAs exclusively, out of 85 present,
59 supported, 25 opposed and 1 was neutral. These were followed by Gentlemen Agreement on 20th  February 1956, The States Re-organisation Act,1956 on 31 August,1956, Seventh Constitutional Amendment Act,1956 and finally formation of AP State on 1st  November,1956. This was the history based on facts.

Certain sections of intellectuals are distorting these facts creating an impression that Andhra people thrusted the unification on Telangana people. It is not a fact. Both sides felt for emotional unity of Telugu speaking people. In fact, it is Andhras who sacrificed much for this emotional unity. For the sake of unity, they agreed to State Capital in Rayalaseema; Rayalaseema people lost golden opportunity by agreeing for State Capital at Hyderabad
relinquishing their Capital.

It has become a fashion to brand these people as Capitalists. Atleast, in the initial days more than vested interest, it is the emotional attachment that made all regions to agree for the unification. In Telangana, the notorious feudal sections were mainly opposed unification. Congress party led by Swamy Ramananda Thirtha who launched freedom struggle against Nizam, the Communists who led the peasant struggle and distributed 10 lakh acres were solidly behind Unification.

Nehru’s views on Unification

Once again a distorted version is projected about Nehru’ views.  If one goes by history , formation of linguistic States were opposed by many stalwarts. In 1917, when a resolution was moved in Calcutta session of Congress by Pattabhi Sitaramaiah for separate State of Andhra, Gandhiji and Annie Besant opposed it and Tilak supported it. Similarly, the demand for linguistic states picked up momentum after attaining Independence. Congress appointed a Sub Committee with Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabhai Patel and Pattabhi Sitaramaiah to formulate the view point on this issue.

In April 1949, JVP Committee submitted its report. It is not in favour of creation of linguistic states immediately. It wanted postponement for few years. But Andhra was made an exception reluctantly. However Congress agreed for SRC due to popular demand from different provinces after formation of Andhra State.

Otherwise, even Hyderabad state could not be trifurcated. Basically Nehru was not supporter of linguistic states. At the same time, he is great democrat. Most of the present non Hindi states were formed on linguistic basis only. If Nehru’ views only prevailed, the shape of state structure in India would have been totally different. Let us not misquote him.

Here I would like to draw the attention that history should not be rewritten to suit our viewpoint. It is nothing but intellectual dishonesty.

Next let us discuss about separate agitations in 1969 and 1972

By Ram from Seattle,USA
(28/8/2013)