Shouldn’t TRS Mourn the September 17th Liberation Day?
In order to not lose the momentum of their movement, TRS is working hard to gin up issue after issue till the Srikrishna Committee finishes its work. According to The Hindu August 20, 2010, KCR said that “…citizens all over the world enjoyed the right to celebrate the freedom of their homeland. But, people of Telangana alone were unlucky on this front. The Independence Day on August 15 was not a matter of celebration for them. On the contrary, they got their real independence from the clutches of Nizam’s rule on September 17”.
In my view KCR and his TRS cohorts should grieve on September 17th and not celebrate.
In the modern history of Telugus there are three salient events- 1) Formation of Andhra State 2) Liberation of the Hyderabad State 3) Formation of Andhra Pradesh (Vishalandhra)
In my view all three should be celebrated, by one and all. However, no more government, bank, or school holidays- they wreak economic havoc on common man.
Andhra State was formed on October 1, 1953. The state came into existence, after a struggle that started in 1904 when Young Men’s Literary Association was formed in Guntur. This organization transformed into Andhra Mahasabha. Father of the Andhra State movement Konda Venkatappayya fought hard for over three and a half decades for a state that will unite Telugus scattered across different regions. After the death of Amarajeevi Potti Sriramulu, Nehru conceded to the creation of Andhra State.
Now coming to the Hyderabad State, half of the state was made up of Telugu people, while Marathi, Kannada, and others constituted the remaining half. Initially Persian and later on Urdu became the official language of the state, despite Telugu being the most spoken language in the state. Telugu people were not even allowed to speak in their mother tongue in public forums. Telugus tired of discrimination under Nizam formed Andhra Mahasabha. Respectable figures like Madapati Hanumanth Rao, Survaram Pratap Reddy, Raavi Narayana Reddy led this organization. Later on the organization came to be dominated by Communists who have organized the peasants in an armed struggle against Nizam and his feudal lords, who have committed untold atrocities against civilians. Over 4,000 people died in that armed struggle and over 2,000 from the Nalgonda district alone. This movement shook the foundation of Nizam’s rule. During this struggle against Nizam, friendly relationships developed between the Nizam Telugu districts and the Madras Telugu districts, which laid the seeds for a future Vishalandhra.
After India’s independence from the Britishers, almost all the 600 odd princely states merged with either India or Pakistan, while Nizam toyed with the idea of staying independent. On September 13, 1948 Nehru ordered Operation Polo, which was one of the easiest wars Indian army ever undertook. Andhra Pradesh state came into existence on November 1st 1956 according to the desires of majority of the Telugu people of all the regions. Burugula Ramakrishna Rao sacrificed his CM position for Telugu unity.
Therefore, Andhra State formation on October 1st, Hyderabad State Liberation on September 17th, and formation of Andhra Pradesh on November 1st should be celebrated by all Telugus.
For current day separatists, millions of peasants that suffered under feudal atrocities under Nizam’s rule are not so material. It doesn’t matter that Hyderabad was built for elites, with the blood sucked from the poor farmers who had to endure 26 different kinds of taxes including taxes such as levy- which is what farmers had to pay irrespective of the output on the land, dispute tax to have a dispute settled between two parties, ash tax to cremate loved ones, war tax to finance the British in the 2nd world war. While Nizam ruled from Hyderabad and gave over 80% of the government jobs to Muslims, feudal lords reigned over rural areas running their own fiefdoms and fleecing poor peasants. Janna Reddy Pratap Reddy of Suryapeta owning 1.5 lakh acres of land, Kalluru Deshmukh of Khammam owning one lakh acres, Visunur Deshmukh owning forty thousand acres gives an idea of how dire the situation was. While Nizam derived approximately 8 crore rupees annual revenue, the feudal lords combined revenues were around 10 crore rupees. As a result of this robbing, Nizam became the richest man in the world with 27 palaces in 7 different countries.
However, separatists look at this past very differently.
TRS chief KCR at a public event on June 19th 2007 said “Asaf Jahi rule of Telangana is a golden era”. Responding to those that criticized him for praising Nizam, KCR on November 29, 2007 said that he would praise Nizam’s rule a thousand times. He said that during the Nizam rule, Muslim kings sent pearls to Lord Rama in Bhadrachalam and jewelry to Kanaka Durga in Vijayawada. He said that when there were floods in Musi, Nizam performed prayers according to Hindu rituals. KCR claimed that any development in Telangana was only because of the Nizams. Osmania University, the Medical College, the Nizam Sagar project, and the Nizam Sugar Factory were all results of Nizam’s benevolence.
There are several other intellectuals in the separatist camp that subscribe to this position. Prof. Kodandaram, the head of the JAC, wrote: “Before the merger with Andhra State, Telangana, which was part of the Hyderabad State, was doing well in terms of agricultural and industrial development.”
If Nizam’s rule was a golden era and if the region was doing economically well before Police Action, why does KCR and the separatists want to celebrate September 17th as a “Vimukthi Dinotsavam”? Shouldn’t they be grieving the end of Nizam’s glorious rule?
Save Andhra Pradesh!