Telangana: A Critical Appraisal
Historically, Telangana has been witness of many dynasties. One of the prominent, Satavahana, the feudatories of Mauryan Empire declared independent after declining of Mauryan Empire, ruled this area for many years.
During the era of Delhi Sultanate, this area comes under the Muslim rulers, and then succeeded by Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb. Asif Jah I, A Mansabdar of Emperor Aurangzeb was appointed a Viceroy of Deccan. He was given a title of Nizam-ul-Mulk by Farrukhsiyar. He was popularly known as a Nizam of Hyderabad. At the end of eighteenth century, Nizam of Hyderabad signed Subsidiary alliance with British and became Princely state after losing defence and foreign affairs by adopting the dominion status under the British.
Beginning of conflict:
After independence of India, 1947, Nizam of Hyderabad was not ready to merge with Indian Union. In response, Government of India annexed Hyderabad forcefully on 17 September 1948 under the leadership of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Deputy Prime Minister of India. At the same time, there was a voice to separate Telugu-speaking region like Rayalaseema and Andhra region which has been part of Madras Province under British Raj. Finally in 1953, Andhra State was formed as its capital Kurnool after death of Potti Sri Ramulu, who was on the fast unto death for formation of Andhra Pradesh.
In 1953, State Reorganization Committee was appointed to reorganize the state boundaries. SRC report in Para 374 said, “ The creation of Vishalandhra is an ideal to which numerous individuals and public bodies, both in Andhra and Telangana, have been passionately attached over a long period of time, and unless there are strong reasons to the contrary, this sentiment is entitled to consideration” While at the same time SRC also not fully in favor of this merger due the following background:
- Public opinion was not in favor of merging with Andhra Pradesh.
- Telangana region was under developed economically, politically, educationally because of it’s existence under the Nizam while Rayalseema and Coastal Andhra were the part of Madras provinces under British was highly developed.
- Linguistic bases of merging the state (As Nehru Report, 1928) was not a very much justified due to the major difference in their cultural and social system.
- Telangana region was equipped with a natural resource, they were afraid its resources might be diverted to Andhra.
- Telangana people were feared that planned irrigation projects on the Krishna and Godavari rivers would not benefit Telangana proportionately.
The commission proposed that the Telangana may be constituted as a separate state with a provision for unification with Andhra state, after the 1961 general elections, if a resolution could be passed in the Telangana state assembly with a two-third majority. But eventually it failed unfortunately.
At the same time the prominent leaders of Andhra Pradesh approached to the government to merge the Hyderabad state (having the Telangana region) to the Andhra Pradesh. Finally under the influence of Congress party’s central leadership, Contemporary Chief Minister of Hyderabad state, Ram Krishna Rao supported the decision of merging with Andhra Pradesh by ignoring the vast interest of Telangana people.
In order to proceed further, Andhra state assembly passed a resolution on 25 November 1955 by assuring Telangana that “the development of that area would be deemed to be special charge, and that certain priorities and special protection will be given for the improvement of that area, such as reservation in services and educational institutions on the basis of population and irrigational development.”
An agreement was reached between Telangana leaders and Andhra leaders on 20 February 1956 to merge Telangana and Andhra, which was popularly known as Gentlemen Agreement. There was severe protest, violence in Telangana region during 1948 to 1969.
By 1969, Telangana leaders were not satisfied with the proper implementation of Telangana safeguards. They observed that the agreement had been broken, Telangana erupted. The violence took the place and Army had to be called in. the movement was lead by the political party Telangana Praja Samiti.
Political and Social Movement:
Telangana Movement has been active since 1953 with slow and steady race. Taking some political advantages, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), promised to Telangana people to form a separate Telangana state if they came to power. But in 2000, BJP created Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, and Chhattisgarh. But in 2002, during the ruling of NDA, Union Home Minister, L K Advani made U turn and said that regional disparities in economic development could be tackled through planning and efficient use of available resources. And later in 2012, again making u turn he said that A Telangana region could not became a separate state due to the immense opposition from its coalition partner, Telugu Desam Party.
In this flip flop, K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR), Former member of the Telugu Desam formed a new party Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) with a unique agenda demanding separate state as it existed before the merger to Andhra region.
On 9 December 2009, Home Affairs Minister, P. Chidambaram announced that we are in a process of the forming a separate Telangana state, pending issue in the Andhra Pradesh assembly. It led a severe protest, resignation from both Andhra and Rayalseema region. On 23 December, the Government of India announced that no action will be taken on Telangana issue until the consensus of society and political parties are not reached.
On 3 February 2010, the government appointed a five-member committee headed by Justice Sri Krishna to enquire the matter.
The six options presented in the report were as follows:
Maintaining Status Quo – Keeping the Andhra Pradesh State without any change.
Andhra Pradesh into Seemandhra and Telangana regions with both of them develops their own capitals in due course of time. Hyderabad to be converted to a Union Territory – This proposal was similar to the Punjab-Haryana-Chandigarh model.
Dividing Andhra Pradesh into two states – One of Rayala-Telangana with Hyderabad as its capital and second one of the Coastal Andhra Pradesh
Dividing Andhra Pradesh into Seemandhra and Telangana with enlarged Hyderabad Metropolis as a separate Union Territory that will be linked geographically to district Guntur in coastal Andhra via Nalgonda district in the southeast and via Mahboobnagar district in the south to Kurnool district in Rayalaseema
Bifurcation of the State into Telangana and Seemandhra as per existing boundaries with Hyderabad as the capital of Telangana and Seemandhra to have a new capital. This was the second most preferred option according to the report.
Keeping the State united and providing for creation of a statutorily empowered Telangana Regional Council for socio-economic development and political development of Telangana region. This was the most preferred option
In comparison with the Rayalaseema region, the SKC remarked that “Thus, on the whole, it would appear that the deprived region is Rayalaseema not Telangana”
Telangana leaders rejected the recommendations of the Sri Krishna committee report and insisted on the formation of a separate Telangana State with Hyderabad as its capital.
Contribution of Telangana in Andhra Pradesh:
Major rivers including the Godavari and Krishna, flow into the Bay of Bengal at Coastal Andhra, draining Telangana. Telangana is the largest in terms of area comprising 41.47% of its total area. It’s population is around 44% of the state’s population and contributes about 15% of the state’s revenues, excluding the contribution of the central government. Andhra Pradesh revenue comes from Telangana, 12.47% (7.17% from Hyderabad) from the central government 19.86%, from Andhra: 65.71% and from Rayalaseema around 24%. There are allegations that in most years, funds allocated to Telangana were never spent. . According to Professor Jayashankar only 20% of the total Government employees, less than 10% of employees in the secretariat, and less than 5% of department heads in the Andhra Pradesh government are from Telangana; those from other regions make up the bulk of employment.
A Sudden wake of Congress:
On 30 July 2013, the Congress Working Committee (CWC) unanimously passed a resolution to recommend the separation of Telangana from Andhra Pradesh to the central government. Hyderabad was proposed to be the joint capital for both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana for 10 years. 9 Districts will be in the Telangana state. Here, Debate takes place why INC (Indian National Congress) waited for a long time. Was INC waiting for 2014- Lok Sabha Election or something else?
Article 3 says that the Formation of new States and alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing States.—Parliament may by law:
(a) form a new State by separation of territory from any State or by uniting two or more States or parts of States or by uniting any territory to a part of any State;
(b) increase the area of any State;
(c) diminish the area of any State;
(d) alter the boundaries of any State;
(e) alter the name of any State:
Provided that no Bill for the purpose shall be introduced in either House of Parliament except on the recommendation of the President and unless, where the proposal contained in the Bill affects the area, boundaries or name of any of the States, the Bill has been referred by the President to the Legislature of that State for expressing its views thereon within such period as may be specified in the reference or within such further period as the President may allow and the period so specified or allowed has expired.
So in case of Telangana there is a need of only a political will and parliament bill for formation of Telangana State as per the laid down Constitutional procedures. Neither the consent of Andhra Pradesh Assembly, nor the Amendment to the Constitution is required for a new territory from the boundaries of Andhra Pradesh state. Here, the Union Cabinet has to take a political decision and advice President to recommend to the Parliament to pass such legislation. Constitutional framework says that if new sate is affecting the territory of any state, The President is bound to refer the Bill to be introduced to both the parliament and the Andhra Pradesh Assembly. While, the opinion expressed by state legislative assembly not making any influence on proposed bill. It means if there is an opposition against the referred bill or no opinion is made within stipulated time period, or when such a bill is approved, the President can go ahead with formation of a new state.
Challenges for New State Government:
Water: the most dominating dispute, poverty, Irrigation projects, illiteracy, regional disparity, poverty, and power – distance would be the major challenges before the Telangana state.
Sachin Raj Singh Chauhan
(Chief Sub Editor, Ground Report India Group)
- NCERT Books, wikipedia sources
- Modern History, Vipin Chandra,
- Federation of India and States’ Re-organisation: Reconstruction and Consolidation, Ranjana Arora, Verinder Grover
- Few of web links: