An idea worth debating

An idea worth  debating

Professor KV Narayana Rao, historian and author of “Emergence of Andhra Pradesh” has come up with a new idea to resolve the current crisis...

Professor KV Narayana Rao, historian and author of “Emergence of Andhra Pradesh” has come up with a new idea to resolve the current crisis in the State. He feels it is worth debating and we are presenting his view here and opening a new discussion point. Readers can email their opinions along with their photographs to However, there is no break in the ongoing Point & Counterpoint debate.

In the wake of the decision on Andhra Pradesh by the Congress Working Committee a month ago, the winter of discontent has set in Andhra. The gloomy scenario envisaged by the Srikrishna Committee is unfolding itself before our very eyes. A public brain-storming season has begun as to the shape of things to come in Andhra Pradesh minus Telangana.
Numerous ideas -- such as statehood to exclusive Telangana or Telangana with full or part of Rayalaseema, Rayalaseema or enlarged Rayala seema, Hyderabad as Union Territory or State, suggestions to make Hyderabad the second capital for India and making India unitary -- are being floated, though their immediate relevance as a solution to the present circumstances are not elaborated. To this welter of ideas -- or confusion -- one more, with some logic behind it, may be added. Carve out Telangana excluding Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy, Mahboobnagar and Nalgonda Districts as one State. The residuary areas in Andhra Pradesh will continue to be one State, Hyderabad will be common capital for 10 years after which it will shift to a place, to be built with Central Government aid. This is a case of Hobson's choice.
The logic: In normal course, a solution, when in doubt whether to disturb the status quo or not, is don't in the demands for separate States; the case of Telangana is sui generis. The intensity of the situation as well as the severity of the repercussions have to be taken note of. Resistance to any possible solution, it appears, is inevitable. So a line of least resistance has to be chosen. At present Sonia Gandhi’s team is fighting on many fronts. The option outlined above would minimize the fronts. The Andhras who had been demanding a separate state till 1952 had to pay the price of foregoing their claims over Madras city. Telangana State thus formed would be a small state, as demanded by its advocates. Why not pay the price and get separated immediately?
A 200-year saga
For decades, Telangana protagonists have been blaming people from Seemandhra region for all that is not good in Telangana without ever pointing their fingers at the Nizams, Telangana politicians and they themselves for the state they are in
For Telangana protagonists, it has been a trend for decades to link all of Telangana’s woes to people from Andhra region. It must be remembered that Telangana and Seemandhra regions were under different regimes for 200 years, and that played a significant role in the diversity between the two regions.
Relevant 18th Century History: As a result of different agreements between the Nizam and the British, the British gained control over Northern Circars (present day Coastal Andhra) except Guntur in the year 1766, and Guntur in 1788. Rayalaseema was ‘ceded’ to the British by Nizam in the year 1800. The area was referred to as ‘Ceded Districts’. Northern Circars and Ceded Districts were part of Madras Presidency (see map) and were governed by the British until Indian Independence in 1947. The Princely State of Hyderabad which included Telangana region continued to be ruled by the Nizams until it was integrated into India after an Indian military/police action - Operation Polo in 1948.
Nizam Rule Over Telangana (1724–1948): Telangana, as part of Hyderabad State, was ruled by Nizams for more than 200 years. The Nizams were great builders and built many palaces. The present day AP Legislative Assembly, High Court, Osmania Arts College, Osmania Medical College, Jubilee Hall, Asafia Library are housed in buildings constructed by the Nizams. They developed railways, bus services, airport, postal service and radio service. In addition, six industrial units were established in Hyderabad State.
But unfortunately Hindus, who constituted more than 85% of the population, were ill-treated. As per 1941 census, less than 25% of officers in Civil Service were Hindus. Officials drawing a pay between Rs 600 and Rs1200 per month, only about 5% were Hindus. Regular police and Razakars (paramilitary force formed predominantly by Muslim volunteers) terrorized people. Temples were either destroyed or services in them denied. In the villages, Hindu Deshmukhs and Jagirdars, referred to as “Doras”, who formed the support base of the Nizams, ill-treated people, collected hefty land revenues and forced people to work without pay (“vetti”). Law enforcement and judicial systems were medieval and feudalistic and education system was outdated.
The Nizam and nobles owned 40% of the total land in the Kingdom. The ‘Time’ magazine dated February 22, 1937 had the portrait of last Nizam, Asaf Jah VII on its cover describing him as the world’s richest man. The Nizams not only had to extract taxes from people for their extraordinarily luxurious lifestyle but also for the huge money the Nizams had to pay to the British to prevent them from occupying the Nizams territory and mines. Persian was the official language up to 1893 and then Urdu up to 1948. Telugu language and culture were totally suppressed.
British icons who boosted Andhra economy and Telugu language:
During the same period, Andhra and Rayalaseema regions were ruled by the British. Compared to the Nizam rule, law enforcement, judicial system and education methods were ‘relatively’ more modern. The system of ‘Local Self Government’ was introduced by the British in the year 1885 where as a ‘request’ for a similar system was made to the Nizam by the people of Hyderabad state only in the year 1935. In addition, deeds of two Englishmen raised the standard of living of the common man and preserved the Telugu language.
Sir Arthur Cotton (1803 –1899): This “Apara Bhageeratha’s” works included Dowleswaram Barrage over Godavari, barrage over Krishna River and the Godavari Canal system which transformed drought and flood ravaged Godavari and Krishna districts into rice bowls of Andhra Pradesh. A whopping 30 lakh acres benefited from the canal systems developed by Sir Cotton.
Charles Philip Brown (1798 – 1884): “Andhra Bhashodhadara” – saviour of Telugu language. This Indian Civil services bureaucrat wrote several books in Telugu including the still acclaimed Brown (Telugu–English) dictionary. He spent his own money to get many Telugu works printed and was instrumental in the recovery and discovery of many old Telugu works. Today, the Oriental Library at Chennai stores many of his works. His selfless service to Telugu culture and literature is unparalleled even among Telugus. Another Englishman who needs mention here is Lord Curzon (1859-1925), Viceroy of India from 1899 to 1905, who promulgated “The Ancient Monuments Preservation Act” in 1904.
Under the less repressive and more progressive rule of the British and with the construction of barrages across Godavari and Krishna, the common man in Andhra region had better opportunities to improve his economic status than his counterpart in Telangana region. But after merger of the two regions in 1956, rates of growth for majority of development parameters were better for Telangana region. This has been confirmed by Srikrishna Committee. It is therefore, high time that Telangana protagonists stop cribbing about the alleged atrocities by their brothers (as they are now calling us) from Andhra region.
(The writer is a doctor, Vani Nursing Home, Narasapur, West Godavari District. The above article is an extract from the article "Telangana – Forays into History and Current Opinion" he submitted to Srikrishna Committee in March 2010)
It is a people’s movement
The Srikrishna Committee members had not gone through the proper records. That is, the conditions on which basis Andhra Pradesh was formed. Telangana people strongly believe that only in a separate state, all their problems will be solved.
The demand for Telangana is a people’s movement born out of their frustrations. It is not new; the people in the Telangana region had clearly expressed their opposition to merger a decade before Andhra Pradesh was formed. They had reasoned that in a united Andhra Pradesh they woul not get justice.
Telangana has been systemically robbed; natural resources and water have been diverted; people have been subjected to ridicule with respect to language. Discrimination is seen in irrigation, industries, roads, canals, dams, energy, education and employment in the Telangana region. Most of the new jobs, postings in government departments have been given to people from Andhra. Except for common language, the people of Andhra and Telangana have different dialects, histories, cultural systems and food habits.
To resolve the crisis, the Central government had appointed Justice Srikrishna Committee which, sadly, had not considered important aspects of the Telangana case. As a result, the Report has become controversial. After going through the Srikrishna Report, I have observed that the Committee members had not gone through the proper records. That is, the conditions on which basis Andhra Pradesh was formed. Why the Telangana farmers are committing suicides? How the educated youth of Telangana have been denied employment opportunities? And how the Telanganities are being insulted??
The people of Telangana strongly believe that only in a separate state, all their problems will be solved. The burning issue among the Telangana employees in the government is denial of promotions and unfair treatment in recruitment and placement in jobs at Secretariat from top to bottom. Even lawyers at courts, including the High Court, are divided region wise, not to speak of the political parties. Thus the whole State is divided as Andhra and Telangana.
One of the reasons Andhras eyed Telangana was Hyderabad – a readymade beautiful Capital City. It was the fifth largest city before AP was formed and still it is. If Andhras had contributed to Hyderabad, it was not out of love for Telangana but for the convenience of the rich Andhras who had made Hyderabad their home. Hyderabad is still growing; not because of Andhras but because of middle and lower classes of Telangana moving to the city for livelihood.
(The writer is working as DEO in A P Secretariat)
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