Main article: Telangana Rebellion
The Telangana Rebellion was a Communist led peasant revolt that took place in the former princely state of Hyderabad between 1946 and 1951. This was led by the Communist Party of India.
The revolt began in the Nalgonda district and quickly spread to the Warangal and Bidar districts. Peasant farmers and labourers revolted against the Nizam and the local feudal landlords (jagirdars and deshmukhs) who were loyal to the Nizam. The initial modest aims were to do away with the illegal and excessive exploitation meted out by these feudal lords in the name of bonded labour. The most strident demand was for the writing off of all debts of the peasants that were manipulated by the feudal lords.
The violent phase of the movement ended after the central government sent in the army. Starting in 1951, the CPI shifted to a more moderate strategy of seeking to bring communism to India within the constraints of Indian democracy.
Post-independence history of Telangana
When India became independent from the British Empire, the Nizam of Hyderabad wanted Hyderabad State to remain independent under the special provisions given to princely states. Rebellion has started throughout the state against the Nizam's rule and his army known as the Razakars (hyderabad). The Razakars, led by its chief, Qasim Razvi, massacred many people and rebels to suppress the movement, but in vain. They destroyed many temples and monuments across the state. Mass assassinations, similar to Jallianwalabhag, took place through out the state.
The Government of India annexed Hyderabad State on September 17, 1948, in an operation by the Indian Army called Operation Polo. When India became independent, the Telugu-speaking people were distributed in about 22 districts, 9 of them in the Telangana region of Nizam's Dominions (Hyderabad State), 12 in the Madras Presidency (Andhra region), and one in French-controlled Yanam. A Communist led peasant revolt started in 1946 and lasted until 1951, weakening the viability of Hyderabad as an Indian state in its present form.
The Central Government appointed a civil servant Vellodi Narayana Menon K, as First Chief Minister of Hyderabad state on 26 January 1950. He administered the state with the help of bureaucrats from Madras state and Bombay state.
In 1952, Telangana had tasted democracy for the first time when it participated in general elections and elected Dr. Burgula Ramakrishna Rao as the Chief minister of Hyderabad State. The Telugu speaking people in Madras state enjoyed some form of democracy since 1920. During this time there were violent Mulki agitations by some Telanganites to send back bureaucrats from Madras state, and to strictly implement Mulki rules.
Meanwhile, Telugu-speaking areas (Andhra region) were carved out of an erstwhile Madras state by popular agitation by leaders like Potti Sri Ramulu to create Andhra State with Kurnool as its capital in 1953.
Merger of Telangana and Andhra
In December 1953, the States Reorganization Commission was appointed to prepare for the creation of states on linguistic lines. The States Reorganization Commission (SRC) was not in favour of an immediate merger of Telangana region with Andhra state, despite the common language between the two.
States Reorganization Commission Report (SRC) said "opinion in Andhra is overwhelmingly in favour of the larger unit, public opinion in Telangana has still to crystallize itself. Important leaders of public opinion in Andhra themselves seem to appreciate that the unification of Telangana with Andhra, though desirable, should be based on a voluntary and willing association of the people and that it is primarily for the people of Telangana to take a decision about their future". The people of Telangana had several concerns.
The region had a less developed economy than Andhra, but with a larger revenue base (mostly because it taxed rather than prohibited alcoholic beverages), which people of Telangana feared might be diverted for use in Andhra. They also feared that planned irrigation projects on the Krishna and Godavari rivers would not benefit Telangana proportionately even though people of Telangana controlled the headwaters of the rivers. It was also feared that the people of Andhra, who had access to higher standards of education under the British Rule, would have an unfair advantage in seeking Government and Educational jobs.
The commission proposed that the Telangana region be constituted as a separate state with a provision for unification with Andhra state, after the 1961 general elections, if a resolution could be passed in the Telangana state assembly with a two-third majority.
The Chief Minister of Hyderabad State, Burgula Ramakrishna Rao, expressed his view that a majority of Telangana people were against the merger.
Prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru initially was skeptical of merging Telangana with the Andhra State, fearing a “tint of expansionist imperialism” in it. Later, he compared the merger to a matrimonial alliance having “provisions for divorce” if the partners in the alliance cannot get on well.
However, following the "Gentlemen's agreement, the central government established a unified Andhra Pradesh on November 1, 1956.The agreement provided reassurances to Telangana in terms of power sharing as well as administrative domicile rules and distribution of expenses of various regions.
Anti-Nehru politics emerged with the repression of the Telengana movement; many within the Congress extended their hands to radical and not-so-radical leftist causes. Feroze Gandhi was among them.
Separate Telangana state movement
In the years after the formation of Andhra Pradesh state, people of Telangana expressed dissatisfaction over how the agreements and guarantees were implemented. Discontent with the 1956 Gentleman's agreement intensified in January 1969, when the guarantees that had been agreed on were supposed to lapse. Student agitation for the continuation of the agreement began at Osmania University in Hyderabad and spread to other parts of the region. Government employees and opposition members of the state legislative assembly swiftly threatened "direct action" in support of the students.students.
Although the Congress faced some dissension within its ranks, its leadership stood against additional linguistic states. As a result, defectors from the Congress, led by M. Chenna Reddy, founded the Telangana People's Association. In Parliament elections held in May 1971, Telangana Praja Samithi won 10 out 14 Parliament seats in Telangana.
Despite electoral successes, however, some of the new party leaders gave up their agitation in September 1971 after realizing that Prime Minister not inclined to towards Telangana, much to the chagrin of separatists, rejoined the safer political haven of the Congress ranks.
During this period, the Government promised to correct what critics saw as violation to Gentleman's agreement in jobs, budget allocations, educational facilities. Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi was strongly against the division of the state but on her recommendation, P. V. Narasimha Rao became first Chief minister of Andhra Pradesh from Telangana on September 30, 1971.
In the year 1972, all candidates belonging to STPS under the leadership of M Sridhar Reddy contested the assembly elections, however, only Mr Thakkalapalli Purushothama Rao got elected from Wardhannapet constituency of Warangal District and rest were defeated. In 1969, Mr Purushotham Rao unveiled Telangana map in the state assembly.Purushotham Rao was for outright separation during the 1969 movement and he supported the student views.
At the end of 1972, when the Supreme Court upheld the Mulki rules, the very next day of the Judgement, Jai Andhra movement was started in Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions protesting the protections mentioned in the Gentleman's agreement. P. V. Narasimha Rao had to resign as Chief minister of Andhra Pradesh on January 10, 1973. President's rule was declared in the state. Finally, a political settlement was arrived at under the aegis of the Central Government. 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
1 the abolition of Mulki rules and the Telangana Regional Committee (protections mentioned in the Gentleman's agreement) and
2 the establishment of a Central University at Hyderabad to augment educational facilities.
3 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. However according to GOM, the regions were rezoned with Zone I,II,III Coastal Andhra, Zone IV Rayalaseema, Zone V,VI Telangana.
Movement in 1990-2004
The emotions and forces generated by the movement in 1969 were not strong enough, however, for a continuing drive for a separate state until 1990s when Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), promised a separate Telangana state if they came to power. BJP created Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Uttarkhand states in year 2000 as promised. But the BJP could not create a separate Telangana state because of the opposition from its coalition partner, Telugu Desam Party. These developments brought new life into the separatist Telangana movement by year 2000. Congress party MLAs from the Telangana region, supported a separate Telangana state and formed the Telangana Congress Legislators Forum.
In another development, a new party called Telangana Rashtra Samithi (or TRS), led by Kalvakuntla Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR), was formed with the single point agenda of creating a separate Telangana state, with Hyderabad as its capital.
Grievances of Telangana proponents
Telangana is the largest single region of the three regions of Andhra Pradesh state covering 41.47% of its total area, is inhabited by 40.54% of the state’s population, contributes about 76% to the state’s revenues (excluding central government contribution). From Central govt: 19.86%, From Telangana: 61.47% (including 37.17% from Hyderabad), From Andhra: 14.71, From Rayalaseema: 3.90%.
Among others, alleged injustices in water, budget allocations, jobs are the grievances cited by Telangana proponents. Telangana supporters cite that the majority of water supply is from the Telangana region, yet canal irrigation disproportionately benefits the Coastal Andhra region with relative underdevelopment of Telangana. In addition, the share of education funding for Telangana ranges from 9.86% in government aided primary schools to government degree colleges which has a share of 37.85%.
Above numbers includes the expenditure in Capital Hyderabad. In addition, budget allocations to Telangana are generally less than 1/3 of total Andhra Pradesh budget. In addition, there are allegations that the Telangana budget is being misappropriated. Telangana proponents cite that only 20% of total Government employees, less than 10% employees in secretariat, less than 5% of head of the departments in Andhra Pradesh are from Telangana, while those from other regions make up the bulk of employment.
Andhra Pradesh was represented by Telangana chief ministers for only 6-1/2 years out of over five decades of its existence, with no chief minister from the region being in power continuously for more than 2-1/2 years.
Proponents of a separate Telangana state feel all the agreements, accords, formulas, plans and assurances on the floor of legislature and Lok Sabha, in last 50+ years, could not be honoured and Telangana was forced to remain neglected, exploited and backward. They allege that the experiment to remain as one state proved to be a futile exercise and therefore, separation is found to be the best solution.
2004 and later
In 2004, for Assembly and Parliament elections, the Congress party and the TRS had an electoral alliance in the Telangana region with the promise of a separate Telangana State. Congress came to power in the state and formed a coalition government at the centre. TRS joined the coalition government in 2004 and was successful in making a separate Telangana state a part of the common minimum program (CMP) of the coalition government.
In September 2006, TRS withdrew support from the Congress led coalition government at the centre on the grounds of alleged indecision by the government over the delivery of its electoral promise to create Telangana
In December 2006, the TRS won the by-election to the Karimnagar parliamentary constituency with a record margin. The TRS continued to pressure for the creation of aTelangana state in 2008.
All TRS legislators in Parliament and in the State (4 MPs, 16 MLAs, 3 MLCs) resigned in the 1st week of March 2008 and forced by-elections to increase the pressure on Congress party to take action.
By-elections for the 16 MLA seats, 4 MP seats were held May 29, 2008. During the election campaign, the TRS party said it is a referendum on a Telangana state but both Congress and TDP parties said it is not a referendum on Telangana and also said that they are not opposed to the formation of Telangana state. To the disappointment of Telangana proponents, the TRS retained only 7 out of 16 MLA seats and 2 out of 4 MP seats after the by-elections.
In June 2008, Devender Goud, who is considered number two in the TDP, a politbureau member and Deputy Leader of the Telugu Desam Legislature Party, resigned from the party saying he would devote his time and energy to the formation of a separate Teelangana state. In July 2008, Mr Goud along with some other leaders like Mr. E Peddi Reddy formed a new party called Nava Telangana Praja Party or NTPP.
On 9 October 2008, in a historical turnaround from its 26-year history TDP announced its support for the creation of Telangana.
Konda Laxman Bapuji of the Nava Telangana Party announced that "We solemnly declare statehood for Telangana on November 2, 2008."
2009 and later
In February 2009 the state government declared that it had no objection, in principle, to the formation of separate Telangana and that the time had come to move forward decisively on this issue. To resolve issues related to it the government constituted a joint house committee.
Ahead of the 2009 General Elections in India, all the major parties in Andhra Pradesh supported the formation of Telangana
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) again announced that they would create two more states, Telangana and Gorkhaland, if they won the election.The Congress Party still says it is committed to Telangana statehood,but claims Muslim minorities are opposed to creation of separate state along with majority of people. Some analysts, however, feel that the "Muslim reluctance card" has been deftly played by then Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy, who is staunchly opposed to the formation of the new state.
The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) had promised to work for Telangana statehood. Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) joined a Mahakutami (or grand alliance) with TDP and left parties to defeat the Congress party for denying statehood for Telangana.
The Praja Rajyam Party (PRP), newly founded by film star Chiranjeevi, supported Telangana statehood.
Nava Telangana Party merged with PRP after it realized that there is not enough political space for two sub-regional Telangana parties with Telananga statehood as main agenda.
Congress returned to power both at center and state.
In September 2009, Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy (YSR) died in a helicopter crash while flying in bad weather.
On November 29, 2009, the TRS president, K. Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) started a fast-unto-death demanding that the Congress party introduce a Telangana bill in the Parliament. He was arrested by the government of Andhra Pradesh.
Student organizations, employee unions and various organizations joined the movement. Telangana strikes shut down Telangana on Dec 6th and 7th.Student organizations planned a massive rally at the state Assembly on Dec 10th. Government warned that the rally did not have permission and deployed police troops through out Telangana. The apparent decline in KCR's health led to a sense of urgency to take a decision on the issue of Telangana statehood.
Proposed Telangana state formation process
On December 9, 2009, P. Chidambaram, the Union Minister of Home Affairs announced that the Indian government would start the process of forming a separate Telangana state, pending the introduction and passage of a separation resolution in the Andhra Pradesh assembly.KCR thus ended his 11 day fast, saying from his hospital bed that this was a "true victory of the people of Telangana."
Pro-Telangana supporters celebrated the central government decision while those from the Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions (Andhra region) protested.
In fact, within a short time of the Home Minister's declaration, sensing the public mood, MLAs from the Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions (Andhra region) submitted their resignations in protest of the process of creation of a new state within Andhra Pradesh.By the 16th of December, at least 147 legislators (including Praja Rajyam Founder Chiranjeevi) and many Members of Parliament had resigned in protest of the Government's decision to begin discussions on forming a new state of Telangana. 22 Ministers from the State Cabinet, all from Andhra (Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema) regions submitted their resignations.
On December 16, media reports confirmed that there was a split in the Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) over the Telangana issue, with its leader Chiranjeevi as well as 16 out of 18 party MLAs(the remaining 2 hailed from Telangana) opposing the division of Andhra Pradesh while Telangana leaders in the party were unhappy with the shift in the party's views.
On December 23, the Government of India announced that no action on Telangana will be taken until a consensus is reached by all parties. The TRS reacted by calling for another general strike on 24th Dec '09, an action aimed at stalling the regional economy.
A Joint Action Committee (JAC) was formed with the pro-separation members of the major political parties. There were reports that members of the JAC had widely divergent approaches on the issue of a separate Telangana.
Subsequently, Andhra (Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema) region MLAs started withdrawing their resignations while MLAs and ministers from Telangana started submitting their resignations, demanding the Centre to take immediate steps to initiate the process of bifurcating Andhra Pradesh.The Home minister had an all party meeting on the 5th of January to elicit views of all parties in the State. Further, on the advice of Congress party's central leadership, all of the Ministers from Telangana withdrew their resignations.
Rallies, hunger strikes, suicides continue, sometimes turning violent, through out Telangana to protest against the delay in bifurcating the State.The all-party Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC) started relay hunger strikes and threatened resignations of all legislators on Jan 28, demanding the Centre to spell out its stand on separate Telangana and start the process of creating the State within a timeframe.
The Union minister for Home Affairs P Chidambaram announced on January 28 that a Committee to examine the demand for a separate Telangana would be announced after a week.On the 3rd February the government announced the 5 member committee that would look into the issue of Bifurcation of state.
The Telangana Joint Action Committee said the agitations would continue until a Bill was passed in Parliament for the formation of a Telangana State. Agitation involved human chains, community kitchens on roads, amongst othersOn Feb 3rd JAC organized a longest human chain in India, a distance of 500 km, from north to South in Telangana.
The Jamaat-e-Islami Hind has supported a separate Telangana state by giving the slogan, "Justice for Telangana and Telangana for Justice" The Jamaat with its student wing Students Islamic Organisation of India organized a large rally at Nizam college grounds on February 7, 2010.
On February 12, Central government announced Terms of Reference to B.N. Srikrishna Committee with a deadline of December 31, 2010. Telangana-JAC rejected the terms of reference saying that it "undid" Union home minister's statement in New Delhi on December 9, 2009.
All 10 of TRS MLAs, 1 TDP MLA, 1 BJP MLA insisted speaker of Assembly to accept their resignations. Speaker accepts resignations of 12 MLAs. Rest of the Telangana MLAs withdrew their resignations which disappointed Telangana JAC.
On February 16, Congress legislators from the Telangana region resigned from the Joint Action Committee due to "unilateral actions by KCR."
As of February 22, 2010, more than 250 Telangana people committed suicides over the delay in the formation of Telangana state.
Sri Krishna Committee solicited suggestions/views from the political parties, social organisations and other stakeholders on February 21. Committee received over 60,000 petitions by the deadline of April 10. The committee began personal interactions with the various stakeholders, including the political parties starting from April 16.
The committee met with the leaders of TRS, PRP, CPI, MIM, TDP leaders from Seema-Andhra,TDP leaders from Telangana and various organizations from though out Andhra Pradesh.
By-elections for 12 MLA seats are scheduled on Jul 27. Congress and TDP decided to contest elections ignoring the appeal of JAC.
On July 6, Telangana congress legislators and ministers met Sri Krishna commission and made strong arguments in favor of the formation of Telangana state.
All the Telangana MLAs who resigned protesting the delay in the formation of Telangana(11 TRS and 1BJP) in February were re-elected in the by-elections on July 27, 2010 with huge majority. TDP lost deposits(i.e. got less than 1/6th of polled votes)in all constituencies; Congress lost deposits in 4 constituencies.
AP state Ministers belongs to Seema-Andhra submitted a report to SriKrishna Committee saying that those seeking separate Telangana are anti-national.They also said that all the districts of Telangana are well developed between 1992 and present period. This evoked strong protests in Telangana demanding the dismissal of those ministers.Incidentally, Central Government declared 13 districts in AP are backward, and 9 out of 10 Telangana districts are backward vindicating Telangana proponents arguments.