On June 2, Telangana celebrated its 8th anniversary after becoming a separate state in 2014. The leadership of the state has remained constant since its creation with Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao at the helm. In light of the anniversary, the state released a 172-page report highlighting the schemes and changes under the CM aimed at bettering welfare. The event was celebrated in Delhi too by the Union Ministry of Culture with Union Home Minister Amit Shah in attendance. A look at Telangana’s history, and its struggle to become a separate state.
The Telangana rebellion was started by a group of peasants in late 1945, against the prevalent jagirdari system where power to collect revenue and govern certain landholdings was installed in certain officers. Represented by the Comrades Association, who were affiliated with the Communist Party of India, the rebellion turned violent and clashed with the Razakars, a militia headed by Kasim Rizvi. According to official sources, the Razakars murdered scores over the next three years.
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In the years following 1945, Hyderabad was asked to accede to India but the Nizam put forward multiple conditions — all of which were unacceptable to the Indian state.
In the meantime, Kasim Rizvi and his Razakars became increasingly dominating, difficult to ignore presence in Hyderabad. He influenced all major decisions the Nizam undertook and installed his chosen men in the government. In order to ensure that Hyderabad’s already deteriorating law and order condition did not worsen further, India signed the Standstill Agreement with Hyderabad, stating that all administrative agreements that were in place between the Nizam and the British Crown would continue between the Nizam and India.
The signing of the Standstill Agreement, however, ensured peace for only about a year. Almost instantly, Hyderabad started violating the conditions put forward by the agreement and simultaneously the violent activities of the Razakars increased, creating an atmosphere of anarchy in the state. To achieve some semblance of law and order, and prevent India from getting affected by internal turmoil in Hyderabad, the state repeatedly demanded for the Razakars to be disbanded, but to no avail. As a last resort, India launched ‘Operation Polo’ in September 1948 and defeated the rebel forces within five days to make Hyderabad an integral part of India.
In 1953, the States Reorganization Committee came into existence in order to manage the smooth redrawing of state boundaries. In 1955, the Committee recommended that Hyderabad be linguistically reorganised. The Marathi-dominant Marathwada would be integrated into the bilingual Bombay state and south western Kannada-dominant districts would be integrated into the Mysore state. The real issue arose over the Telugu-dominant Telangana region.
Andhra had expressed the desire to integrate the Andhra State and Telangana in order to create Vishalandhra, however the SRC was against this.
The Committee suggested the idea of maintaining Telangana as an separate state till 1961, where post general elections the state could voluntarily vote to integrate itself with the Andhra State.
The government ignored this and on passing the States Reorganisation Act later that year, Andhra State and Telangana were merged into a single state called Andhra Pradesh, with Hyderabad becoming the capital.
The ‘Mulki Rules’ agitation
Telangana region also had what were called the Mulki Rules, which were safeguards in place to ensure that Mulkis or native residents did not face difficulty in procuring government jobs. The rules had 4 conditions to be met in order to be classified as a Mulki. When in 1952, the Hyderabad government accepted a large number of non-Mulkis into government positions, protests broke out. January 1969 was a turning point as Andhra Pradesh witnessed widespread student protests over the violations of the safeguards that the Gentlemen’s Agreement signed between Telangana and Andhra State in February 1956 to allow the formation of Andhra Pradesh. While the government took measures to placate the population, the fire barely subsided.
Call for Telangana statehood
In 1969, the Telangana Praja Samiti was formed to further the call for a separate Telangana state, and when protests for the same turned increasingly violent, the Andhra Pradesh High Court state declared the Mulki Rules null and void, only for the decision to be stopped by a divisional bench of the same court. In 1972, when the Supreme Court upheld the Mulki Rules, the Jai Andhra movement asking for a separate Andhra state picked up, causing the state to be put under President’s Rule in January 1973. Days prior to this in December 1972, Parliament also passed the Mulki Rules Act to limit the operation of Mulki Rules.
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In September of 1973, Indira Gandhi initiated the 32nd Amendment to the Constitution, which declared that Andhra Pradesh would be divided into 6 zones, with reservation for jobs being decided on the basis of zones. As a result of the same, the Mulki Rules Act was repealed.
The Telangana movement and KCR
K Chandrashekhar Rao revived the movement in 2001 when he established his own political party — the Telangana Rashtra Samithi which had the singular aim of establishing a separate Telangana. While in 2009 the TRS’s performance at the polls was dismal, the party continued to push forward and in September that, post the death of Andhra Pradesh’s Chief Minister Y S Rajsekhara Reddy, an opportunity presented itself. KCR exploited the political turmoil, beginning a fast unto death and eventually the then Union Home Minister declared that Telangana would achieve statehood, separate from Andhra Pradesh.
The state of Telangana was finally created on June 2, 2014 after years of political turmoil and repeated reassessment of state boundaries to emerge as a separate state.