After protracted struggle for several decades the state of Telangana was formed
On June 2nd 2014. This was not only because of the blood, sweat & toil of millions of people but also because of the sacrifice of thousands of humans’ lives. While there can be no dispute that it was the present CM of Telangana Shri. KCR who championed for the cause of separate statehood it must also be noted that there were several other people who played a key role in the formation of the state which the TRS party would like to erase from the history books. It would be a shame if we allowed this to happen.
The region has a long history even before 1000 BC where studies have shown human habitations in today’s parts of Telangana which was seen from the Palaeolithic age. Historical evidence shows that this region flourished under the Satavahanas, Badamis, Chalukyas and several such empires until the emergence of powerful Kakatiya empire who were known for their innovative irrigation, architecture, sculptures & fine arts. This region was envy of the neighbours due to the economic abundance under which the Kakatiya empire flourished. Several attempts by the alien armies such as Delhi Sultanate to wage a war in this region were strongly resisted and they failed miserably until finally the Sultan could lay siege on Warangal Fort and captured the legendary King Prataparudra who killed himself on the banks of Narmada river unwilling to be taken as prisoner by the Muslim rulers. After the annexation by Muslim rulers there was disintegration of the Kakatiya kingdom for about 150 years with utter chaos.
Rule of Nizam
After the invasion of Mughals, Asaf Jahis or Nizams ruled from 1724 to 1948. They had established a firm control in Hyderabad which is being felt even now. Their rule had ensured that the recordings and memories of all the erstwhile Hindu empires of Telangana which had been established for centuries were thrown into the dustbin.
Hyderabad state had been steadily becoming more theocratic since the beginning of the 20th century. In 1926, Mahmud Nawaz Khan a retired Hyderabad official, founded the Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen which is now functioning as AIMIM led by Hyderabad MP, Barrister Asaduddin Owaisi.
Razakars & AIMIM
When India finally became independent from the British Empire in 1947, Hyderabad remained an independent princely state for a period of 13 months. It was after the independence that MIM & Razakars started to dictate terms to Nizam and systematically went about destroying the social fabric of the region.
MIM had a militant & terrorist by name Kasim Razvi who claimed to be an Hyderabadi which is doubtful and he headed the Razakar movement. He was hell bent on creating Hyderabad a Muslim state and according to him the Muslim supremacy was based upon the right to conquest. Under him Razakars terrorized the Hindus, Muslim moderates and crushed Communists and Peasants. Nizam lost control and rushed to the United Nations to refer the Hyderabad state to UN Security Council.
Kasim Razvi has the infamous distinction of being the first terrorist of Independent India.
There were also strong militant lobbies who wanted this region to be part of Pakistan. It was the strong will of Iron Man of India & the then Union Home Minister Sardar Vallabhai Patel which ensured that the militant forces were crushed and Hyderabad was integrated into the map of India by forcing the Nizam’s hand. Operation Polo was launched and after a brief resistance they surrendered. Mir Lalik Ali, the Prime Minister of Nizam and Kasim Razvi were arrested. Nizam of Hyderabad withdrew the complaint from United Nations and announced the region’s merger with the Indian Union.
The Razakars were disbanded after the merger of Hyderabad with India and the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen was banned although it was rechristened as the AIMIM under the Congress Government. There is enough historic evidence to doubt that the erstwhile Razakars became part of the present day AIMIM. Kasim Razvi was jailed and served imprisonment for a decade before he undertook asylum in Pakistan.
In January 1950, M.K. Vellodi a senior civil servant was made the Chief Minister and the Nizam was made the Governor.
Birth of Andhra Pradesh
The local people and leaders of this region always aspired to have a separate state of Telangana but due to the intense lobbying by the Congress leaders belonging to the Andhra region resulted in the creation of an unified state of Andhra Pradesh under a Gentlemen’s agreement which was overseen by then PM of India Jawarhlal Nehru. However this agreement was violated by the Andhra leaders from day 1 and the leaders at Delhi turned a blind’s eye to the injustice meted out to the region of Telangana by the leaders of Andhra.
There was always an unrest between the two regions but the then ruling party Indian National Congress silenced the Telangana leaders by offering doles in the form of administrative, executive and political positions. However in the year 1969 championed by Chenna Reddy there was intense agitation due to the non-implementation of Gentleman’s agreement and continued discrimination to Telangana region in government jobs, irrigation projects, education and public spending. It was a common knowledge that the Finance portfolio of Andhra Pradesh was most of the times in the hands of a person from Andhra region and rarely from that of Telangana which resulted in lack of funds being allocated to the region.
After Indira Gandhi’s grand victory in 1971 on the popular slogan of “Garibi Hato” and due to her reluctance to accept the statehood demand of Telangana, Chenna Reddy agreed to merge his party with Indira Gandhi’s Congress (R) party.
In the next 25 years the political landscape of Andhra Pradesh & also India saw rapid transformation. AP saw the emergence of matinee idol from Tollywood NT Rama Rao as the CM and the issue of separate statehood of Telangana was put in the backburner. The Telugu Desam Party which was founded by NTR was against the formation of separate state of Telangana since he himself hailed from Andhra region.
Historic Kakinada Resolution of BJP
It was in the year 1997 that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) passed the historic resolution seeking a separate state of Telangana. BJP was emerging as a national alternative to Congress at that time and the commitment shown by the saffron party towards creation of a separate state raised eyebrows across the political spectrum. It was for the first time that a pan Indian party was championing for the cause of separate statehood of Telangana.
BJP had always seen the Telangana region as a fertile soil for its brand of nationalistic politics. It was no wonder that in 1984 out of just the 2 seats that the party had won one was from Hannamkonda which was once the capital of Kakatiya empire. The saffron party was committed to the creation of smaller states for administrative efficiency.
However once BJP came to power in 1998 it was unable to carve out a separate state due to the political compulsion of having TDP as an ally in the undivided state of Andhra Pradesh and the survival of Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government was dependant on the support extended by Chandrababu Naidu who was against the formation of Telangana. Hence Telangana could not be formed when separate states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand were created by the NDA Government.
Birth of TRS & Emergence of YSR
Meanwhile Telangana Rashtra Samithi was formed in 2001 on the back of the then AP CM Chandrababu Naidu’s reluctance to accommodate the then Deputy Speaker Kalvakuntla Chandrashekhar Rao into his cabinet. Stung by the insult meted out to him KCR started TRS with a single ideology of creation of the state of Telangana. In the ensuing local body elections TRS party swept in the region and there was a huge groundswell of support for this emotive issue.
In the hope of achieving the separate state KCR aligned with Congress Party (which was never 100% committed to the Telangana cause) in 2004 and became an Union Minister but the newly elected Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy was too powerful and was never supportive for this cause. He had used TRS just as an ally to win sizable number of seats in the Telangana region. This led to the resignation of KCR from the Union Cabinet and there were several instances of the elected representatives of TRS resigning and forcing by elections to exhibit the support that they had for the cause of Telangana statehood.
In the 2009 general elections TRS aligned with TDP and could just win 10 assembly segments and 2 parliamentary seats. It was at this point that the support for the cause for Telangana was debilitating since Congress party had come back to power in the centre with a renewed mandate and YSR had emerged as a powerful regional satrap in the congress party who started to rule Andhra Pradesh as his personal fiefdom. Moreover the AP CM continued to show impertinence towards the division of the state.
Turning Point for the Cause
However the turning point in the creation of Telangana was certainly the unfortunate demise of YSR in a helicopter crash in September 2009 which led to a huge vacuum in the state congress leadership. Added to the fact was the reluctance of Sonia Gandhi to appoint YS Jagan Mohan Reddy who felt that he was the heir apparent for the seat of Chief Minister of AP.
Seizing the opportunity KCR went on fast-unto-death on November 29th 2009 and this led to widespread protests and anarchy in Hyderabad. In a premature announcement Union Minister P. Chidambaram announced to initiate the process for formation of separate state of Telangana on December 9th 2009. This announcement caused a huge stir and widespread protests started in the Andhra and Rayalaseema regions. Leaders of state congress party also started to speak in multiple voices and this led to pandemonium in the state. There was en mass resignation of MP’s and MLA’s from the Andhra region which threatened the survival of the Congress government in the state.
All this resulted in the Centre putting the process of formation of separate state on hold and an announcement to this effect was made on December 23rd 2009 saying that widespread consultations with all the stakeholders was necessary. Both the UPA Government at Centre and Congress Government at the state were clueless on the way forward which resulted in complete breakdown of law and order in the state.
A series of protests such as Million March, Chalo Assembly and Sakalajanula Samme (general strike) were held in the Telangana region. All these agitations were championed by TRS and T-JAC.
It is unfortunate that certain sections of people in TRS are trying to create a fake narrative today that BJP had played no role in the fight for separate statehood of Telangana. On the contrary ever since BJP was founded in 1980 the party had always stood for protecting the interests of people in this region and for the cause for separate state of Telangana. As mentioned earlier it was only due to the coalition compulsion during the NDA 1 regime that stopped BJP from the creation of separate state. It is also to be noted that Sangh Parivar and RSS played a pivotal role in fighting against the militant Razakars and ensure that Hyderabad becomes a part of Indian Union.
It is pertinent to note that the former Union Minister Late Sushma Swaraj had played a key role in the formation of state of Telangana. She was the first national leader to provide vocal support to the Telangana cause in a public meeting at Hyderabad. She was vociferous in lending her voice of support in the lower house of Parliament as the Leader of Opposition. So much so that 2 TRS MP’s including KCR & Vijayashanthi and 10 Congress MP’s trooped into the well of the House. She appealed to the Speaker and requested the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to announce the formation of the new state. She had assured the ruling UPA that NDA and its constituents would wholeheartedly support the bill in both the houses of the Parliament. She cried out that the administration in the state of AP had come to standstill and firing of rubber bullets had become the order of the day. She had even threatened in a media conference that she would resort to “Sonia Bashing” if the demand for separate state is not met.
In order to pass the statehood bill smoothly the then PM Manmohan Singh had called her for lunch and she repeatedly assured him that bill would be passed. Not for nothing she is affectionately called as the Chinnamma of Telanagana.
If it was the late leader who fought for the statehood in the Parliament the regional BJP leaders held several protests and rallies. It is a fact that entire top BJP leaders including the then Presidents Nitin Gadkari and Rajnath Singh had personally attended the various rallies, meetings and protests held at Hyderabad and at other places in Telangana.
The then BJP President of Andhra Pradesh G. Kishan Reddy who is presently the Union Minister of State for Home undertook a 22-day Telangana “Poru Yatra” a 3,500 kilometre journey through 986 villages and 88 assembly constituencies stressing the need for separate Telangana from 19th January 2012 which was flagged off by the then BJP National President Nitin Gadkari. KCR ensured that Kishan Reddy’s yatra did not get the proper coverage and this was one more conspiracy of TRS.
Several state level leaders like Bandi Sanjay, Laxman and others were active in organising protests for the cause and they were ably supported by national Secretary Muralidhar Rao who hails from the state of Telangana.
It was the TRS party which decided not to participate in this yatra fearing that the credit for formation of Telangana state would go to BJP. The intent of KCR and TRS was to showcase that the entire credit to the formation of Telangana state comes to them
Finally in spite of all the theatrics displayed by the Congress MP’s from Andhra it was the BJP leader in the Rajya Sabha and the present Vice President Shri Venkaiah Naidu who ensured that the bill was passed in the midnight and the dream of millions of people of Telangana became a reality.
As we celebrate the 8th anniversary of Telangana Foundation Day the citizens of the state are yet to fully realise the fruits of achieving the separate state of Telangana since the benefits have only gone to a sections of people and we see the dynastic rule of TRS in full display. Telangana was formed for Employment, Water & Irrigation & more funds for local funds for the state. Unfortunately the joblessness is galore in the state and the unemployment stands at 9.4% as on May 2022. The promise of providing Rupees 3016/- to the unemployed youth of the state which was made in 2018 is only on paper and yet to be implemented. Allegations of corruption are reported in irrigation projects. The state is struggling to pay salaries to its employees. In spite of all these challenges we are sanguine that Bangaru Telangana would soon be a reality to every citizen of Telangana and not just one family.
(This article is penned by JVC Sreeram who is a Political Strategist, Motivational Speaker, Author & Psephologist and Media Consultant for Jan Ki Baat.)