Nizam Telangana State Demand is NOT Over 50 Years Old
Separatist leaders and intellectuals often claim that people’s desire for a separate Nizam Telangana state is over 50 years. These claims being made by the separatists are untrue. To the contrary, it is the vast majority of Telugu people’s desire for Vishalandhra that is over 50 years old.
The movement for a Telugu state started in 1903-04 with the formation of Young Men’s Literary Association in Guntur. This association developed a map of Andhradesa that included Telugu-speaking provinces of Madras Presidency, Central Provinces, Nizam dominions, and the Mysore state.
In 1912, when Congress Party leaders held their 21st Krishna-Guntur district conference, members of the literary association proposed: “…to agitate first for the formation of a province for the Andhras comprising the coastal and Ceded districts and that later they could add the five contiguous eastern Telugu districts in the Nizam’s dominions and the Telugu-speaking areas in the Central Provinces.”
As a result of these efforts, the “Father of the Andhra Movement” Sri Konda Venkatapayya undertook the task of leading the movement for a separate state. Andhra Mahasabha was born as a result of these grassroots efforts. The organization held its first meeting in Bapatla in 1913. In addition to 2000 visitors, 800 delegates from Kosta, Seema, Nagpur, Warangal, and Hyderabad attended the conference.
The struggle for a Telugu state went on for a couple of decades. The organization was able to convince Gandhiji to agree in principle to the formation of a Telugu state. They even sent delegations to London to make a case for Telugu province.
In March 1936, on Ugadi, Vishalandhra proponents carried a map of Andhrarashtramu in a procession through the streets of Bezawada. The map consisted of the Telugu-speaking areas of the Madras presidency, Orissa, Mysore, and Hyderabad. Hundreds of people gathered on the banks of the Krishna River and took a pledge to achieve an Andhra province.
Sataavadhaanulu Srinivasa Sodarulu compiled a book titled “Andhra Raashtramu” in 1940. Given below are a couple of poems from 1940, 16 years before a united Telugu state formed. The writers’ affinity for Telugus living in all the regions, including the Madras presidency, Hyderabad state, and Orissa, becomes clear from these poems.
After India achieved independence there was intense lobbying by Telugus for an Andhra state. Government appointed Dar commission to sort out the issue and it recommended against linguistic provinces.
On August 15, 1949, Father of the Andhra Movement, Konda Venkatapayya died without realizing his dream for a Telugu state.
Then the JVP committee was formed- made up of Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabhai Patel, and Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramayya. These efforts failed too, as the issue of Madras became contentious. Telugus claimed their right to Madras city as it historically belonged to them and the region was given to the British by the erstwhile Vijayanagara kings who ruled from Chandragiri after the empire’s downfall.
In January 1950, APCC general body met at Madras and passed a resolution demanding Madras be the temporary capital of Andhra province and upon creation of Vishalandhra, Hyderabad become the permanent capital.
Swami Sitaram, a Congress Party worker who became a Saadhu, took up the cause that Venkatapayya fought for decades. He started his fast unto death on August 16, 1951. 35 days into Swami Sitaram’s fast, Vinoba Bhave intervened and convinced Sitaram to give up his fast and promised to reason with Nehru. However, Bhave failed to impress upon Nehru for the formation of a Telugu state.
Potti Sriramulu consulted Swami Sitaram and obtained permission to start his fast until death. After 57 days of fasting Potti Sriramulu passed away. Following Amarajeevi’s death there was widespread violence and Nehru agreed to the formation of the Andhra state. Telugus’ claim to Madras was denied by Nehru, given Rajaji’s intense lobbying.
Telangana separatists often cite an article written by Sri M. Narayan Reddy, former M.P. from Nizamabad where he referenced Potti Sriramulu’s letters about the status of Madras and claims that Potti Sriramulu fast was just to win Madras for Telugus.
Yes, Madras was a contentious issue at that time. However, Sri Narayan Reddy looked through a narrow prism to reach his conclusions. He ignored 50 years of Telugus’ struggles for a state, which culminated in the death of Potti Sriramulu.
Now, let’s switch gears and quickly look at Nizam Telangana.
Peasants of Nizam Telangana rose up against the feudal system and shook up the foundation of the Hyderabad state. Following Police Action initiated by the Indian government, Hyderabad state became free of Nizam’s atrocious rule.
Nehru publicly expressed disinterest for Vishalandhra accusing Telugus of having imperialistic tendencies. He appointed Fazal Ali commission to make a recommendation on the future of Hyderabad state’s constitution. As expected, Fazal Ali toed Nehru’s line and recommended keeping Nizam Telangana region as a separate state for 5 years.
The elected representatives of the Nizam Telangana region rose up against the irrational recommendation made by Fazal Ali. Legislators of the Hyderabad state met and debated the issue for a week in the Assembly. Under the leadership of Burugula Ramakrishna Rao, they discussed a resolution favoring the creation of Vishalandhra. Out of 174 representatives in the Assembly, 103 favored Vishalandhra, 29 favored a Telangana state, whereas 15 remained neutral. If one just takes people’s representatives from the Nizam Telangana region, 59 favored Vishalandhra, whereas 25 favored Telangana, and 1 remained neutral.
Clearly, there is overwhelming evidence that Telugus across Nizam, Kosta, and Seema wanted to be part of Andhra Pradesh. This desire existed ever since the Young Men’s Literary Association was formed in A.D. 1904. At the time of the formation of Andhra Pradesh state an overwhelming 70% of the people’s representatives from Nizam Telangana supported Vishalandhra.
So, how can the separatists claim that Telugu people from the Nizam region wanted a separate state for over 50 years?
Save Andhra Pradesh!