Telangana since the ancient, medieval and the modern times that have passed, has seen many different rulers ruling over its people. The Satavahanas ruled it for some time and then followed by Chalukyas, Kakatiyas, Bahamanis, Qutub Shahis, Mughals and Asaf Jahis.
The last Nizam of Hyderabad was an Ashaf Jahi ruler. For about 423 years the Nizams of Hyderabad have ruled over Hyderabad State which consisted of today’s Telangana along with few parts of present day Maharashtra and Karnataka states. When the British established the British India, the Nizam of Hyderabad remained as a faithful ally to the British crown, so he was granted permission to rule over the Hyderabad on his own. But the authority of British like on any other Indian state was binding on the Nizam of Hyderabad too.
During this period the State of Hyderabad had the majority of its population as the native Telugu speakers and then there was a minority population that spoke Marathi, and Kannada. However, Urdu was the official language as it was the native language of the Monarch. And naturally the Muslim population of the Hyderabad state spoke Urdu as their mother tongue. So, Hyderabad was a multicultural and multilingual state by then. The Nizam had also welcomed the Guajarati, Rajasthani and other Hindustani people to settle and trade in Hyderabad. While this was the situation of Hyderabad state, a substantial populace of the Telugu speaking people called Andhras who were different from the Telugu speaking populace of Hyderabad state, lived along with Tamilians in the then Madras presidency which was ruled by the British directly.
Though there was a common language between the Telugu people in both Hyderabad state and the Madras presidency. Culturally, economically and socially the status of the people in general was not similar in both of these regions. While the Telugu people under the Nizam’s rule had an influence of Urdu language on their Telugu. The Andhras spoke Telugu in a slightly different way, which even had a different vocabulary to some extent. While the Telugus in Madras presidency got an English education under the British the Telugus in the Nizam’s Hyderabad state were educated in Urdu. Hyderabad in those days had its own currency, flag, army etc. It was a different country in itself, the currency of Hyderabad had to be exchanged to the local currency of the Madras presidency if a person from Hyderabad wished to buy goods from the Telugu speaking parts of the, then Madras presidency. The regional isolation between the Telugus of both the regions was of this kind.
Now, when the freedom struggle was coming to end in the rest of India that was under the British, these days were also the last days of Nizam’s rule in Hyderabad state. During this period the atrocities of the Nizam’s army called the Razakkars under the leadership of Chief Commander Kasim Razvi had performed many atrocities over the people of Telangana. Vexed up with the rule of Nizam and the Doras who were the feudal lords assisting Nizam in ruling over Hyderabad, the people of Telangana under the influence of the Communist Party have rebelled against the Nizam for their Independence from his rule and this was popularly known as the Telangana Rebellion.
Finally, when the British had granted the Independence, The Andhra Telugus in the Madras presidency demanded a separate Andhra state for the Telugus of the Madras presidency since they found themselves in a state of subjugation by the Tamilians in the Madras presidency. However, after the death of Shri Potti Shriramulu, who died in a hunger strike demanding a separate Andhra state for the Telugus of Madras Presidency, the Andhra State was formed.
When the British declared Independence, the Nizam of Hyderabad was not ready yet to merge his Hyderabad state into the newly formed Indian Union. He has gone to the extent of merging it with Pakistan but he did not agree to merge it with India. So under the leadership of Sardar Vallabhai Patel, The Indian Army has by force taken over the Nizam’s Hyderabad. The people in Hyderabad welcomed the Indian army with joy which was seen as a moment of liberation from the rule of Nizam. Then, till 1956 with Burgula Ramakrishna Rao as its first Chief minister, the state of Hyderabad continued to exist. During this period the Communist Party of India led a movement demanding for Visalandhra, which is to create a separate state for the Telugus of both the Andhra state and the Hyderabad state. So finally the demand was succeeded when state of Andhra Pradesh was formed as a part of the States Reorganisation on the basis of the formation of linguistic states in the India Union.
But as soon as in 1969 the backlash of merging both the Telugu regions was seen in Telangana through the 1969 Telangana agitation which turned very violent to an extent that 369 people were killed in the police firing, while they agitated for the creation of separate Telangana state. Most among them were the students who have sacrificed their lives and became martyrs for cause of Telangana state.
And then in 1972 Jai Andhra movement came up which demanded to separate the Andhra region from the Andhra Pradesh state. Both of these situations were an indication that by integrating two different regions, the people of varied culture, with different economic, social and educational backgrounds are now forced to come into a common cycle. And this was problematic and incompatible to workout.
While the people of Telangana who were just liberated from centuries of Nizam’s rule were Urdu educated, and financially not very sound. The Telugus of Andhra region for being under the British rule got an English education. The Andhra region had a more fertile land unlike the Telangana which had less fertile land, since it is located in a plateau region. The agriculture income of Andhra region was in surplus when the state of Andhra Pradesh was formed but this was not the case with Telangana. There was a strict Jagirdar system followed in the Nizam’s Hyderabad state, where most of the cultivating land was in the control of Nizam and his administrators in the villages. So the common people of Telangana suffered poverty, exploitation and landlessness.
When Indian government has taken over the Nizam’s Hyderabad state, people of Telangana needed some time to recover from the effects of centuries of Nizam’s rule. But soon after they got liberated from Nizam the people of Telangana were now forced to compete in the fields of education and employment with the Andhra Telugus who were superior to them by the virtue of getting an English education and by possessing improved agricultural techniques due to the British rule. It was an unhealthy competition between people of unequal backgrounds and capabilities. Taking advantage of the situation in Telangana a large number of Andhra Telugus have migrated from Andhra to Telangana, since there were a lot of opportunities for them to grow in Telangana. But unfortunately the people of Telangana wanted some more time to make themselves ready to grab those opportunities. But the Andhras didn’t leave this option open for Telanganites. By the time Telanganites made themselves ready to compete with Andhras, a lot of government posts were already occupied by Andhras.
Within no time the Telugu film industry which was in the hands of the Andhra Telugus was shifted from Madras to Hyderabad, ever since then the film industry was monopolized by the Andhras. The culture and dialect of Telangana was ridiculed in the Telugu movies. And this made the people of Telangana feel that they are not the part of the mainstream society.
As Hyderabad was the capital city, many Andhras have made Hyderabad their home. Taking advantage of the financial situation of the people of Telangana, the Andhras have purchased lakhs of acres of land in Telangana. The Andhras have soon started to show out their superiority complex towards Telangana and its people. They made a mockery out of the Telangana dialect and projected their dialect to be the pure form of Telugu. The government posts could be easily snatched by the Andhras since their English education made them superiors to the Urdu educated Telanganites. Urdu which was the official language of the state of Hyderabad had no role in the government offices in the newly formed Andhra Pradesh. Moreover English which was an alien language for the people of Telangana was now used in the government offices.
It took a generation’s time for the Telanganites to equip themselves with English education and come on to an equal platform to compete with the Andhra Telugus. The population of the Andhrites has always been more than that of the Telanganites, as a consequence of this the Telangana legislators in the State Assembly were always in minority, and whenever a decision in favour of Telangana was supposed to be taken the Andhra legislators outnumbered the Telangana legislators. The state of Andhra Pradesh had very less number of Chief Ministers who were of the Telangana origin, as an effect of this the Telangana region’s development was ignored.
And due to this so Telangana has suffered problems like water shortage, electricity shortage poor infrastructure, etc. The resources of Telangana were exploited for the entire state while the resources of Andhra region were conserved. The best example of the injustice to Telangana can be inferred from a situation where, the Krishna river flows 5 kilometres away from a rural Telangana village, and that village couldn’t utilize the river water for their fields, such was the case where a lot of Telangana’s share of water was diverted to Andhra. All these things clubbed together has kept the demand for Telangana alive until 2014, till the time when the Parliament has decided to create the separate state of Telangana.
We must say that the experiment of Andhra Pradesh on the basis of forming linguistic states has been proved a failure. Ambedkar’s thought about linguistic states tell that a state has to be unilingual since only homogeneity can make the state function properly and wherever the states are multilingual the states experience chaos due to heterogeneity. The thinking of Ambedkar is to be appreciated since he is right in saying that for a state to prosper there must be a homogeneity among the people of the state. But the parameter chosen to describe the homogeneity on the linguistic basis is language and now language as a parameter to fulfil the condition of homogeneity is proved wrong. Language as a parameter might have worked with other states like Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu etc., but it has not worked out with Telangana, there are always exceptions for many things and Telangana is one such.
Instead of seeing Telangana as a threat to the linguistic states we must see Telangana as an exception to the linguistic states. The Telangana scenario is very different from other states. Here though there is a common language, the parameter that played a role to bring out the heterogeneity among the Telugu people was the dialect added up with many other differences. Ambedkar believed that multilingual states would mean chaos in the state, but from the very recent history it is for all of us to believe that even in unilingual states where there are more than one, major dialect, one group will dominate the other and this will lead to chaos. In the case of Telangana, dialect had played a role, tomorrow a new parameter of homogeneity and heterogeneity may arise. Keeping these things in mind, the framers of our Constitution have incorporated Article 3 into the Constitution giving the power of creating new states to the Parliament.
As an effect of this, Telangana— a long awaited dream of millions of Telanganites is today a reality when it becomes the 29th state of India. While the people of Telangana are in an extreme state of joy on this auspicious day of 2nd June of 2014, the day on which the State of Telangana is being born. The last wish of all those great souls, who sacrificed their lives for the just cause of creation of Telangana Sate, is finally being fulfilled.
Jai Telangana! Jai Jai Telangana!
Student of B.A.LLB(Hons.),
National Law University, Delhi.