Millennium Post

Many milestones in saga of Telangana

Many milestones in saga of Telangana
The passage of Telangana Bill in Rajya Sabha on Thursday marks the realisation of a demand which cropped up almost 60 years ago and saw a journey punctuated by violent agitations and stiff resistance from certain quarters.

The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill, 2014, which envisaged creation of a separate state of Telangana, was passed by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday last and received the Upper House’s nod on Thursday, bringing to an end a long-drawn legislative process which had its share of acrimony, high drama inside and outside Parliament and also generated intense political heat.

The separate statehood agitation is based on the contention that ‘justice’ has not been done to Telangana in distribution of water, employment opportunities and development funds in Andhra Pradesh, the first state in the country to be formed on linguistic basis.

The protagonists of ‘integrated Andhra’, however, dismiss the notion of injustice and assert the region has witnessed rapid development in all spheres since the formation of Andhra Pradesh.

Interestingly, a spirited agitation for formation of separate Andhra state, delinking Telangana, popularly known as ‘Jai Andhra’ movement, had also taken place in 1972.

There have been a number of milestones in the saga of separate Telangana. The formation of AP on linguistic basis by merging Telugu-speaking areas in erstwhile Madras state and the princely state of Hyderabad was preceded by a long fight by Andhraties for a separte state. The Andhra people had been struggling for the formation of a separate Andhra Province out of Madras state since the British period but did not succeed. When India attained Independence, they hoped their long-cherished desire would be realised soon. But it was not to be.

However, the moment of reckoning came when Potti Sriramulu, a Gandhian, began a fast-unto-death which was largely ignored by the Centre. Sriramulu attained martyrdom on 15 December, 1952, which led to a popular upsurge.

The government of Jawaharlal Nehru was taken aback by the agitation. The PM announced in Lok Sabha in 1952 that the Andhra state would be formed. On 1 October, 1953, Andhra state came into existence with Kurnool as capital.

Meanwhile, the Nizam of Hyderabad sought to become independent and the efforts to unify the Hyderabad State with Indian Union did not fructify immediately. State Congress leaders, led by Swami Ramanand Tirtha, held a movement for merger of Hyderabad State with the rest of the country.

The Centre decided to curb violent tendencies by launching a ‘Police Action’ against the Nizam on 13 September, 1948. The Indian Army, led by Major-General JN Chaudhuri entered the State from five directions and the military action was a grand success.

On 18 September, 1949, Nizam’s forces surrendered. Five days later, the merger of Hyderabad Dominions into the Indian Union was announced.

In January 1950, M K Vellodi, a senior civil servant, was made the Chief Minister of the State and the Nizam was designated ‘Raj Pramukh’. After the 1952 general slections, the first popular ministry headed by B Rama Krishna Rao took charge of the State.

The creation of Andhra State in October 1953 strengthened the general demand for linguistic States and the idea of ‘Visalandhra’ (formation of a large Telugu-speaking state) was mooted. Andhra Pradesh was inaugurated on 1 November, 1956 with Hyderabad as its capital following an agreement (Gentlemen’s agreement) between the leaders of Telangana, Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema.

In 1969, an agitation for formation of separate Telangana began seeking implementation of the safeguards provided for the region.  About 300 people were reportedly killed in the agitation.

In a development that helped the separate Telangana cause in no small measure, BJP came out in support of statehood demand and it promised ‘one vote, two states’ in the 1998 election.
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