Monday, April 5, 2010

Demand for Telangana State: genuine and justified.

The statehood demand of Telangana has exploded to an unimaginable level in 2009 after 40 years of a sad episode of 1969 agitation in the history of Andhra Pradesh. The movement started with an indefinite fast of former Union Minister and Member of Parliament Mr. K. Chandrasekhar Rao and supported by students, quickly spread to urban intellect, towns and villages to give birth to numerous joint action committees independent of political parties to lead their own movement resulting in the democratic protests such as dhoom-dhams (songs and dances), garjanas (hullabaloos), and padayatras (marches) [58].                                                                                     
Further, the involvement of all communities in the villages and towns across Telangana region surprised everyone. The continuous agitations, frequent strikes, raasta-rokos, and the bandh calls in the late 2009 and early 2010 crippled almost all the cities and towns of Andhra Pradesh. The affect on the state economy and common man cannot be ignored, and the lives lost due to suicides for Telangana has even made the central government to appeal the elderly of the society to counsel the younger generations not to resort to extreme steps [59].

How and why it happened.

To understand the present crisis, one should take a quick look at the formation of the Andhra Pradesh and its politics. The Telangana region of the erstwhile Princely State of Nizam called as Hyderabad state is demanding a separate state. In detail, the Hyderabad state comprise the present Telugu speaking Telangana region, and a few districts of present day Maharashtra and Karnataka, and the Andhra region (including Rayalaseema) with a sizable Telugu speaking population were a part of erstwhile Madras Province in the British India. The Andhra’s in Madras state fought and demanded a separate state before and after Independence due to the discrimination of their language and culture, and the exploitation of educational and employment opportunities in the hands of majority Tamils and achieved it in 1953 [23].

During the states reorganization, the Fazal Ali commission in 1955 recommended that Telangana region to be made a separate state and with a provision for unification with Andhra state only after the general election to be held in 1961 with a two-thirds of majority in favor of unification in the Hyderabad state legislature [23]. However, in 1956, the Telangana region was merged with Andhra state to form Andhra Pradesh, with a specific assurance (Gentleman’s Agreement) and declarations by the then Prime Minister Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru. These assurances were hardly respected by the majority Andhra since inception, which led to serious discontent among the people of Telangana leading to agitate and demand a separate state in 1969. After being brutally crushed by the state government, the bruised people of Telangana understood that the political will is the need of the hour, but were exploited by a fellow Telangana politician and former chief minister Dr. M. Chenna Reddy for his personnel gains [60].

The successive state and central governments contained the agitation by further assurances and promises in form of agreements, formulas, amendment and introduction of articles in the Constitution. However, the exploitation in Telangana region by Andhra elite was a never-ending story. In 2000, three new states (Chhattisgarh, Uttaranchal and Jharkhand) were created from the existing states but the Telangana was not granted statehood because the ruling Telugu Desam Party in coalition with National Democratic Alliance opposed such a move [55]. The movement got much-needed boost in 2001, when Mr. K. Chandrashekar Rao quit Telugu Desam Party and founded “Telangana Rashtra Samithi” party with a single agenda to achieve a separate state for Telangana region [56]. At the same time the state Telangana congress unit formed a Telangana Congress Legislators Forum to pledge their support for statehood [57]. In the subsequent elections (2004 and 2009) the Congress and the Telugu Desam parties in coalition with TRS, and others promised statehood to the people of Telangana in their manifestos and election speeches.

The unexpected death of the Chief Minister Dr. Y. S. Rajashekhar Reddy in September 2009 and the subsequent political vacuum and power struggles in the state congress unit gave a chance to Mr. K. Chandrasekhar Rao to revive his party aspirations and undertook an indefinite fast to force the central government for the introduction of a bill on Telangana statehood in the Parliament. The subsequent state government action against him, his deteriorating health condition, student protests, and massive people’s movement forced the central government to announce the initiation of process of forming a separate Telangana state on December 9, 2009 with the approval of all the state political parties in an all party meeting held on December 8, 2009 [61][62][63]. The spontaneous political resignations against the formation of Telangana, and the U-turn of main opposition (Telugu Desam) and other parties cheated the people of Telangana and forced the Central Government to constitute a Committee for Consultation on the Situation in Andhra Pradesh on February 3, 2010 headed by Justice B. N. Srikrishna to examine the feasibility of a Telangana state [64].

Why Telangana should be separated.

Let’s look at the opening statement of Home Minister Mr. P. Chidambaram’s during the consultations with eight recognized parties of Andhra Pradesh on Telangana issue dated January 5, 2010 [1]. Some of his statements are very essential for solving the Telangana issue in a genuine way compared to the main terms of reference “to evaluate the developments in the State to date and their impact on the progress and development in different regions of the State” given to Srikrishna committee [2]. Mr. P. Chidambaram said,

"You are all aware of the long history behind the demand for a separate State of Telangana. It is sufficient to refer to the report of the States Reorganisation Commission; the Gentlemen’s Agreement of 1956 and the amendment of Article 371(1) of the Constitution; the Six Point Formula of 1973; and the introduction of Article 371D in the Constitution. More recently, in the elections to the State Assembly of Andhra Pradesh held in May 2009, the political parties outlined their positions in their respective election manifestos. All this is in the public domain [1]."

In addition If one goes through the Reports of the Telangana Regional Committees between 1956 and 1969, the All-Party Agreement of Andhra Pradesh (1969). The Reports on the Quantum of Telangana Surpluses (1969) by K. Lalit, and the Committee on Telangana surpluses (1969) under the chairmanship of Justice V. Bhargava, and the Government Order (G.O.) 36 (1969). Further, the Report of the Officers Committee (1985) under the chairmanship of K. Jaybharath Reddy, the G.O. 610 (1985), the House Committee on Implementation of G.O. 610 (2001), the Report of J. M. Girglani Commission (2004), and the G.O. 1845 (2009) etc., for the violations and the injustices meted to the people of the Telangana region since 1956.

Now the people of Telangana want a separate state, to rule on their own (self-rule or self-governance), want to preserve their beliefs, dialect and the culture for the future generations (self-respect), and not to be ruled any further by the oppressors. Telangana should be made 29th state of Indian Union with Hyderabad as its capital based on the following points:

1.    Vocally Same but Culturally Different
2.    Political Domination and Abuse of Power
3.    Mal-distribution of State Income and Funds
4.    Exploitation of Educational and Employment Opportunities
5.    Exploitation of Water Resources and Schemes
6.    Exploitation of Industries and Mineral Resources
7.    Exploitation of Land in and around Hyderabad
8.    Branding Telangana supporters and Protesters as Maoists or Naxalites 
9.    Hyderabad as a Capital City for Telangana Only
10.  Smaller States are good for Development and Governance
1. Vocally Same but Culturally Different

The people of Andhra Pradesh speak Telugu language, but in many different dialects. The Telangana region has a different dialect compared to the Andhra and Rayalaseema regions. The people from the Andhra region believe that their dialect is superior to the other regions and discriminate the Telangana dialect in many ways. The discrimination of the Telangana Dialect and the people is very evident in the Telugu film industry (called as Tollywood) dominated by the Andhra people (who incidentally came to Hyderabad after leaving the film industry in Madras). The films produced in Tollywood mostly show villains (or bad characters) using Telangana dialect whereas actors and actresses using the Andhra dialect. Thus leading to confusion in the younger generations whether the "Telangana dialect is really inferior". 

Culturally, there are many differences between three regions, the food, festivals, music, arts and crafts of Telangana people are different from their counter parts.  For example, the festivals "Bathukamma" and "Bonalu" (also celebrated in few parts of Rayalaseema) are unique to the Telangana region. The school books do not feature the history of the Telangana region, cultural aspects and beliefs (for example the most important ones, Telangana rebellion and the liberation struggle), instead the books highlight Shri Potti Sreeramulu fasting to death for the creation of Andhra Pradesh State on linguistic basis. In reality, he specifically fasted for the formation of Andhra state with Madras as capital from the erstwhile Madras State [5]. The people of the Andhra and the Rayalaseema never bothered to understand the Telangana beliefs and culture, instead they resort to the mockery of the Telangana arts, music and festivals.

2. Political Domination and Abuse of Power

The political domination is clearly visible if one looks at the duration of the Chief Ministers served after the formation of Andhra Pradesh state. The Chief Ministers from the Telangana have just served 6 years and 3 months compared to the 46 years and 6 months by the Chief Ministers from Andhra and Rayalaseema regions (as of February 2010), barring the 9 months of the President’s rule in 1973 [3]. The disrespect of Gentlemen's agreement, partial behaviour and the domination of the Andhra and Rayalaseema politicians on the people of Telangana led to the unrest and subsequent Telangana State movement in 1969. The death of hundreds of people including ca. 370 students in 1969 was the brutal act of abuse of power by the state government headed by the former Chief Minister Mr. Kasu Brahmananda Reddy [4]. It should be noted that the imposition of the President’s rule in 1973 was due to the non-cooperation of Andhra / Rayalaseema politicians, which led to the downfall of the first Telangana Chief Minister Mr. P. V. Narasimha Rao after 468 days [6].

The abuse of power is an important issue, and is the cause of the present situation in the state. The first abuse of power was noticed soon after the formation of the Andhra Pradesh state. According to the Gentleman's Agreement "if the Chief Minister is from the Andhra / Rayalaseema region, then the Deputy Chief Minister-ship should be given to the Telangana Region" [7], but the then Chief Minister Mr. Neelam Sanjiva Reddy didn't approved a deputy Chief Minister for the Telangana region. The power in the hands of Andhra and Rayalaseema politicians has allowed them to bypass most of the rules and agreements, and the people from Andhra region took possession of agriculture lands in and around the state capital and occupied most of the higher positions in all the state government jobs and their subsidiaries!. Even the judicial department is not immune to their power abuse, for instance the number of Advocates Generals appointed since the formation Andhra Pradesh are eight. Four from the Andhra Region and four from the Rayalaseema region and none were appointed from the Telangana region as of February 2010.

3. Mal-distribution of State Income and Funds

According to the Gentlemen's Agreement, the state income should be distributed proportionately between the two regions and the balance of income from Telangana should be reserved for the development of the Telangana region [7]. The mal-distribution of state income was one of the main causes for the separate Telangana movement in 1969 and thereafter. The 1969 Telangana unrest forced the central government to appoint the Justice V. Bhargava Committee of Telangana Surpluses of 1969, this committee report showed the unspent surpluses totaling of Rs. 28.34 crore were recorded from 1956 to 1968, which were ought to be spent on the development of the Telangana region [8]. 

After this fiasco, the region wise evaluations were abolished and the information is scarce on the public domain, but in few instances, there were queries in the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly for the region wise income and expenditure. The present Finance Minister and the Chief Minister Mr. K. Roshiah answered these questions, and were reported in the local newspapers. In the last 5 years the large chunk of the state income (including Hyderabad) was generated in the Telangana, was 76% (Telangana: Rs. 57,752 cr, Andhra and Rayalaseema: Rs. 17,270 cr) but the expenditure on the Telangana was only 51% (Telangana: Rs. 27,059 cr, Andhra and Rayalaseema: Rs. 25,794 cr). Similarly, for the year 2006-07, the income generated from the Telangana region (excluding the Hyderabad and the central government income) was 57% (Telangana: Rs. 6093 cr, Andhra and Rayalaseema: Rs. 4677 cr) and the expenditure on the Telangana was only 48% (Telangana: Rs. 5987 cr, Andhra and Rayalaseema: Rs. 6370 cr) [9]. The revenue from Telangana region (including Hyderabad) was more than half of the Andhra Pradesh total income from 2003-04 to 2006-07, mostly comes from the coal and the forest resources [52].  

It is clear from the above financial data that the Telangana region has the surpluses in the last five years but surprisingly 9 out 13 districts of the Andhra Pradesh listed for the Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF) scheme started in 2006 by the Government of India are from Telangana region [10]. Hyderabad (or state capital) is the only Telangana district that is not in the BRGF scheme. The Telangana region has faced a gross injustice in the funds allocation from the state and the central governments. There are numerous examples of funds mal-distribution, the latest and a glaring example is the G.O. 1845 issued with regard to NABARD under rural infrastructure development fund on December 11, 2009 for the construction of roads and bridges across the state. The Telangana region received a meager amount of Rs. 9.32 cr compared to Rs. 121.13 cr for the Andhra and Rayalaseema regions [11].   

4. Exploitation of Educational and Employment Opportunities

The best way to develop a society or region of rural India is by imparting the educational and the employment resources of the state. In case of the Telangana there has been a gross violation compared to the other two regions. The main sources of education such as public aided schools, junior colleges and degree colleges are unbelievably mismatching with the population, thus hindering the development in the Telangana region. According to 2001 census, the Telangana has 40.5% of state population, in the same year the enrolled students in Telangana region were 33%, for them the state government allocated 31% of schools, 31% of teachers whereas for the rest 59.5% population and 67% enrolled students, there were 69% schools and 69% teachers of the total number in Andhra Pradesh [12]. Similar situation can be observed in the further education, there are only 36% of junior colleges, 24% of degree colleges, 43% ITI's, 39% polytechnics, 36% engineering colleges, and 27% of medical colleges in Telangana region of the total number of aided institutions in the state of Andhra Pradesh [13][14][15]. 

If the allotment of educational opportunities to the people in the Telangana region to be considered as a naive mistake, then the funds distributed or the amounts spend on the education by the state government is worse. For example between 1956 and 1997, the total expenditure of the degree college (aided) education for the state is Rs. 1150.2 cr the Telangana region received a paltry amount of Rs. 120 cr (10.4%) and the Andhra and Rayalaseema regions got Rs. 1030.2 cr (89.6%) [16]. In recent times (2006), the Telangana University and the Vemana University were established in Nizamabad and Kadapa districts of the Andhra Pradesh, the former was allotted only Rs. 27 cr with 40 teaching staff, and the later received Rs 300 cr with 250 teaching staff [17]. With such a step motherly treatment, no wonder the Telangana region will have the lowest literacy rate and the present literacy rate (2009) is around 57% (including Hyderabad) compared to 62% and 60% in the Andhra and Rayalaseema regions respectively [18].

The exploitation in employment is another major concern among the people of the Telangana region. The Andhra region under the British colonial rule have had good awareness in the education field, while the Telangana region under the Nizam did not had the same opportunity. After the merger, the Gentlemen's agreement of 1956 clearly stated the Mulki Rules (which guarantees the rightful employment for the locals in the Telangana region) to be followed, but were bluntly violated. After 1969 unrest G.O. 36 was issued in order to repatriate the 25,000 non-local employees illegally appointed in the Telangana region between 1956 and 1969, the non-locals challenged the G.O. in the Supreme Court [19]. The Supreme Court upheld the Mulki Rules and the implementation of G.O. 36 thus leading to 1972 "Jai Andhra" movement, which eventually abolished Mulki Rules and gave birth to the Six Point Formula in 1973 [20]. 

The history repeated again, when the former Chief Minister Mr. N. T. Rama Rao appointed the Officers' Committee under the chairmanship of K Jayabharath Reddy in 1985, to find out the number of employees appointed in violation to the Six Point Formula between 1973 and 1985. Again, a new G.O. 610 was issued to repatriate more than 50,000 non-local employees [19], nothing happened. Sensing a serious discontent among the people of the Telangana in 2001, former Chief Minister Mr. C. B. Naidu appointed a one-man commission headed by J. M. Girglani. Submitting the report in 2004, he indicated a gross violation of non-local appointments in almost all the departments in the Telangana region with recommendations [21]. According to an unofficial estimate by the Joint Action Committee of Unions of Telangana Employees, Teachers and workers, the number of non-locals employed in Telangana region exceeded 2,00,000 in 2004. Out of 15,00,000 jobs in state government the people of Telangana occupy only 3,00,000 (i.e., 20%) [22], it will become 33% if the 2,00,000 jobs of non-locals are repatriated, and is more or less the rightful share of Telangana people. Further, there is not even one district collector from Telangana region in the entire state, and only seven department heads out of 433 department heads spreading across the state are from Telangana region [22].

5. Exploitation of Water Resources and Schemes

The exploitation of water resources was also a serious concern expressed by the people of Telangana during the merger with Andhra state in 1956 and even today. Main concerns were the irrigation projects (Major projects e.g., Nagarjuna Sagar and Sriram Sagar and medium irrigation) and the schemes (minor irrigation) taken up by the Hyderabad state to provide extensive irrigation facilities for the people of Telangana in the valleys of the Godavari and the Krishna rivers [23]. The rightful share of these waters considering the fact that large portion of the catchment area (79% for Godavari and 68.5% for Krishna Rivers) lie in the Telangana region [12]. Before the merger, the existing, under construction and the committed projects and schemes would have provided 790 TMC (Thousand Million Cubic ft) of water to the Telangana region (excluding the future projects worth 504 TMC). After the merger, due the Godavari and Krishna water disputes with other states and the re-distribution among the three regions in Andhra Pradesh, the Telangana region got only 627 TMC (including the minor and medium irrigation projects), while the Andhra and Rayalaseema regions received 853 TMC of water [24]. Further, 800 TMC of Godavari water and 89 TMC of Krishna water surpluses were allotted to all the regions as future projects and expansions.

All though Telangana lost a considerable amount of its water share due to merger, the utilization of the entitled water tell a different story. The projects benefiting the Telangana region has been lagging since their inception and inadequate funds added to more delays. There is shortfall of 133 TMC of water as of year 1997 due to the inadequate funds in completion of projects and the diversion of allotted amounts to the other projects [24]. One example worth mentioning is the Nagarjuna Sagar project, was signed as a joint project between the Hyderabad state and Andhra state in 1954 for equal sharing of 264 TMC of water as left and right canals. After the merger the 132 TMC was reduced to 106.2 TMC and this amount was eventually reduced to 89 TMC during the design and execution stage by the manipulation of levels and alignment of the Telangana left canal [24]. The Tank irrigation developed by Kakatiya Kings in 13th Century is unique to the Telangana region and has a potential to provide irrigation facilities to 3,56,123 hectares at the beginning of the century [24]. 

These minor irrigation storages were encouraged by erstwhile Nizam government and were providing irrigation facilities to 4,47,286 hectares as of 1956, but this potential was deliberately neglected by the state government which led to the decline of 72% to 1,26,000 hectares as of 2004 [12][27]. This shortfall and other factors had severe effects (e.g., suicides, abandoning farming etc) on the poor and medium farming community in the Telangana region that started exploiting the ground water (wells / bore-wells) using pump-sets. The well / bore-wells irrigation has seen an increasing trend in the whole state between 1956 and 2004 from 2,84,000 hectares to 19,00,000 hectares (i.e., 669% increase), while the increase in the Telangana region during the same period was 968% (from 1,16,000 hectares to 11,24,000 hectares) [27]. The other factors such as erratic and low voltage power, higher seed prices, pesticides, crop failures and high interest rate borrowing added to their peril.

To sum up as of year 1997, it was estimated that the canal irrigation system for the cultivable land of 64,02,358 hectares (58%) in Telangana region receiving only 2,66,964 hectares (4.2%) and 46,33,304 hectares (42%) of the Andhra region receiving 13,12,795 hectares (28.3%) [16]. Further, the amount spent on irrigation purposes in the three regions are as follows, Rs. 4005 cr (15.5%) in Telangana, Rs. 19639.5 cr (76%) and Rs. 2201.5 cr (8.5%) in the Andhra and Rayalaseema regions respectively. In recent years, due to revival of separate Telangana state demand in 2001 and the Congress party in alliance with Telangana Rashtra Samithi party in year 2005-06 has given a large allocation of budget to the irrigation projects and schemes to the Telangana region, got Rs. 2797 cr (44%) of the total amount (Rs. 6374.12 cr). However, 25% (Rs. 689.67 cr) was allotted to Sriram Sagar Project - Stage II and the Sriram Sagar Project - Stage I started in 1963 is yet to be completed and was given Rs. 158.41 cr for its completion works in same budget [25][26].

6. Exploitation of Industries and Mineral Resources

To understand the exploitation in the industries, one should look at the stage of industrialization in Hyderabad state before the merger in 1956. The industrialization was far more advanced than in Andhra state, with 26 major industrial undertakings (state-owned or controlled) such as Ajamjahi Mills, Nizam Sugar Factory, Singareni Collieries, Sirpur Paper Mills, Allwyn, Praga tools, Sirsilk etc., while the Andhra state consists of only AP Paper Mills, Andhra Sugars, and few jute mills [23]. At the turn of the 21st century, most of these industries were either closed, sick or privatized due to the delay in the expansion, modernization and siphoning off the entitled funds. While the existing industries and mills in Andhra region were allotted funds for expansion and modernization with more incentives. Only the Singareni Collieries sustained because of its indispensable nature, supporting the non-Telangana industries and the strong worker unions [28]. 

The Nizam Sugar Factory (NSF) was one of the Asia's largest sugar factories in 1937 with a crushing capacity of 2500 tonnes [24]. The company started incurring losses in the late 1970’s further the faulty expansion of units (Hindupur and Miryalaguda), takeover of loss-making units (Bobbili and Seethanagaram) in 1981, and delayed modernization ultimately led to the verge of closure in 2000 [29][30]. The state government decided to put up the auction of the NSF and its units citing the private-owed sugar companies were making profits, and to reduce the financial burden on the state. Later in early 2002, the state government decided to enter into a joint venture with the Delta Paper Mills (owned by an Andhra industrialist) with 49% equity share capital of Rs. 9.8 cr along with the NSF and its two units. Before auctioning off the 4200 acres of agricultural lands belongs to the NSF and making a monetary gain of ca. Rs. 84 cr by the state government [54]. The new venture (Nizam Deccan Sugars Ltd.) absorbed only 37% of the existing staff and sending the remaining to voluntary retirement scheme [31]. The remaining units were either closed or sold out. Further, in mid 2007 the state government was mulling to take over from the Delta Paper Mills due to the pressure from its allies [32]. 

The NSF case in not unique but it is the same story with all the major industries in Telangana existing before the merger. While the state government encouraged the closure of the sick and futile industries in Telangana region, at the same time it encouraged and developed similar industries in the Andhra and Rayalaseema regions e.g., Nandyal sugar factory, Hindupur, Guntur and Eluru spinning mills etc [28]. The coal deposits in four districts of Telangana have been the jewels of Telangana. The power sector in the state is mostly supported by the coal based Ramagundam (62.5 MW), Kothagudem (1200 MW), Vijayawada (1760 MW) and Rayalaseema (840 MW) thermal power stations [34]. The power stations located in Telangana coal belt produce only 1263 MW (i.e., 33%), while the Vijayawada and Rayalaseema units produce 2600 MW depending on the coal transported from the Singereni Collieries (Telangana), Mahanadi Coal (Orissa), etc [33]. Thus leading to question the attitude of the state government in establishing more power stations in the Telangana region allowing the transportation of coal instead of power, the former is economically in viable [28]. This is just a tip of the iceberg, the others such as the state government tenders, contracts, employment of administrative staff and industrial land auctions show gross violations. 

7. Exploitation of Land in and around Hyderabad

Today, the land exploitation in and around Hyderabad has become a major issue for solving the Telangana issue. The Urban Land Ceiling Act (1976) can be considered as a starting point, feared of losing their large tracts of prime land in the middle of Hyderabad e.g., Road No. 1, Banjara Hills etc., many Muslim families resorted to distress sales. Which were bought by the people from Andhra region at a throw away prices, after changing hands these were regularized [35]. The enormous tracts of lands surrounding the urban capital amounting to 13,00,000 acres were either available for free or at throwaway prices, until 1960's the grabbing was limited to government employees and their industrial lobbyists, but the 1969 Telangana movement changed all the dynamics and the domination was exponential in terms of land exploitation. To name a few of these acts are the GPR Housing (5600 acres), East City (3000 acres), Sanghi Industries (2842 acres), Ramoji Film City (2812 acres), Satyam Enclave (2600 acres), BHEL Housing (2500 acres) etc., [28]. 

The irrigation in the surrounding villages of the Hyderabad city was supported by number of tanks and the Musi river, without proper support from state irrigation department the tanks gradually silted and the river dried up making the farmers to face hardships. It is an undeniable fact that most of these lands were bought by the agricultural surplus from the coastal Andhra region [36]. At the turn of the 21st Century, the politicians, prospered industrialists, and the NRI's possess these lands, incidentally most of these are from Andhra and Rayalaseema regions. Today (as of 2010) the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority has grown to 6300 km² (15,56,764 acres) with 54 mandals located in five surrounding districts. The old municipal corporation with 173 km² (42,749 acres) consisting 300 villages is extended by sucking 600 more villages [37]. The famous mega projects like Hi-tech city, GMR airport, Outer Ring Road rapidly increased the development of Hyderabad, although it gained a monumental name in the world as an IT hub and income for the state, but is purely a real-estate based development. The HUDA started selling the government lands (also the Wakf board properties) to the private parties for infrastructure development and IT parks in the name of Special Economic Zones [38]. As of 2010, the state government had encroached the 57% of total 1,45,411 acres of state Wakf Board (the land or buildings denoted for Muslim religious or charitable purposes) properties by the influential board members, politicians, and realtors [39]. 

The case of Lanco Hills is an example of Wakf Board property exploitation, the 180 acres of land at Manikonda in Hyderabad was bought by the Member of Parliament from Vijayawada (Mr. Lagadapati Rajagopal) for IT SEZ development from the state government. Upon allotment, the IT SEZ was limited and the real-estate development was planned in the major portion of the land, after inception a case was filed by Mr. H. A. Rahaman challenging that the land is registered as Wakf [40]. One should not forget that the Satyam Fiasco, that caused mainly due to the desire of Mr. B. Ramalinga Raju to move out of lucrative IT business to more profitable real-estate businesses [35]. Further, the large chunk of private companies in and around Hyderabad (mostly owned by the people of Andhra and Rayalaseema regions) e.g., pharmaceutical, cement, granite and food processing etc. are polluting the air and ground water and creating severe health hazards to the local residents, showing the negative impact of industrialization that took place in Telangana region [28]. Hyderabad, known to the world as a "city of Pearls and Nizams", transformed in 1990's into Cyderabad due to location of several IT and ITES companies, and should not be surprised when called as "Pollubad" at the dawn of the 21st century.

8. Branding Telangana supporters and Protesters as Maoists or Naxalites 

The merger of the Telangana into the Andhra state has no logical reason, no sentiment in the people of Telangana, not recommended by States Reorganization Commission, and no interest shown by the then Prime Minister Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru. However, the merger took place because the Andhra state was virtually bankrupt and needed the surplus government revenue of the Telangana region, the industrialization is more advanced although the agriculture is poor, to choose the 4th largest built-up city of Hyderabad as Capital, finally the merger would strengthen the Congress party [23]. The assurances in the form of Nehru's declarations and the Gentleman's agreement were given to the people of Telangana. In 1956, Nehru declared that the merger is against the recommendations of SRC and clarified that "if the people of Telangana suffer injustices at the hands of Andhras then they will have the right to seek separation", and "Andhra people are on Trial and the Unity of the new state depends on how fairly they treat people of Telangana" [48].

The conditional merger, disrespect of agreement, and the assurances lead to the discontent and unrest among the people of the Telangana in 1960's, the Telangana agitation in 1969 was a witness of the injustices and subsequent G.O. 36 is the proof of it. The agitation was brutally suppressed by killing hundreds of people including students, later the former Chief Minister M. Chenna Reddy betrayed the people of Telangana for his personnel gains. The police action in 1969 forced many students, protesters and supporters to take up radical path into Communism to fight the government and the injustice. The Communism was already in place due to the roots of Peasant's Struggle (1946-51), the people found solace from the autocratic Andhra rulers. The people of Telangana were forced to listen to the Andhra rulers in the name of development, election promises, and manifestos, and their democratic separate statehood demand is now refereed as Naxalism with supporters as Naxalites or Maoists. People tend to forget that Naxalism or Maoism did not take birth in Telangana, it originated from Coastal Andhra in Andhra Pradesh and often guided by Andhra comrades [49].

The suppression of this democratic wish is clearly visible to what happened and happening in several universities and districts of across Telangana in late 2009 and 2010. As in 1969, the Separate Telangana Movement started by Member of Parliament Mr. K. Chandrashekar Rao in late 2009, the Osmania University students are taking most of the grievances by the police force. Unlike 1969, the state government deployed central and special commando forces (Greyhounds of Andhra Pradesh Police) along with civil police to contain the movement. The Greyhounds, committed human rights violations on the students and media persons in the campus as reported by Human Rights Watch report dated January 19, 2010, thus leading to question the attitude of the state government by the Supreme court, High court and the people of the Telangana [50]. The people of the Telangana are not patient enough to sustain these movements, young people mainly students committed suicides fearing Telangana might not become reality, and the number has reached more than 300 as of March 2010 [51]. The media (print and television) is playing its part by showing partial news and censoring the movement for their own gains!   

9. Hyderabad as a Capital City for Telangana Only 

The Historical city of Hyderabad is 419 years old, founded by ruler Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah of the Qutb Shahi dynasty in 1591. The Hyderabad fame, Golconda's wealth, and the strategic location attracted the Mughal Emperor Aurangazeb, who captured Golconda after a long siege in 1687. In 1724, Mir Qamaruddin (Asaf Jah I), a Governer appointed by the Mughal Emperor defeated the rival official to establish control over Hyderabad, this marks the beginning of Asaf Jahi Dynasty which lasted for seven generations until 1948 [41]. During this period, the city of Hyderabad has grown both culturally and economically, the public works department in 1868, municipal administration system was first introduced by 1869 and the taxation structure was established. The last ruler Mir Usman Alik Khan Bahadur (Asaf Jah VII) reign spanning 37 years witnessed the introduction of electricity, railways, roads, airways, irrigation projects, Hyderabad State Bank with Hyderabadi rupee as currency. Nearly all the public buildings were built in the city such as Osmania General Hospital, AP High court, State Central Library, Assembly Hall, Jublee Hall, State Museum, and also started Osmania University making primary education compulsory and provided free for the poor [42]. 

Although the Nizams repressed the majority Hindus and their contributions, they depended heavily on the rural economy of the state and a significant portion of this wealth was invested to develop the infrastructure and services in the city of Hyderabad. The process of industrialization began in 1909 with the establishment of several spinning and weaving mills. By 1956, it was 4th largest city in India, and became a home to many industries (listed in the 6th point) with industrial estates such as Azamabad and Sanathnagar [35]. The amenities of the Hyderabad city fascinated Dr. B. R. Ambedkar and in 1955, he suggested Hyderabad to be made the second capital of India. He said,

"Hyderabad fulfils all the requirements of a capital for India. It is equidistant from all parts of India. Hyderabad has all the amenities which Delhi has, and it is far better City than Delhi. It has all the grandeur which Delhi has. Buildings are going cheap and they are really beautiful buildings, far superior to those in Delhi. They are all on sale. The only thing that is wanting is a Parliament House which the Government of India can easily build." [43].

The culture of Hyderabad is referred to as a "Ganga-Jamuna tehzeeb" that is peaceful co-existence of all. The people of many religions (Armenians, Anglo-Indians, Parsis, Shias, and Sikhs etc) co-existed in the state along with Muslims and Hindus (Telangas, Kannadigas, Marathas, North Indians etc) [35]. Before the annexation of Hyderabad State into the Indian Union, a Communist led Peasant revolt popularly known as Telangana Rebellion took place between 1946 and 1951. The people revolted due to the illegal and excessive exploitation meted out by the feudal lords of the Nizam. The revolt began in the district of Nalgonda and quickly spread to the Warangal and Bidar districts. The Nizam's response was brutal and thousands of people lost their lives during the course. Many great leaders were in the forefront of the movement to name a few leaders like Puchalapalli Sundariah, Chandra Rajeshwara Rao, Raavi Narayana Reddy, Makhdoom Mohiuddin, Hassan Nasir, etc., [44][45]. 

Later, the people of Telangana sought integration of state with rest of India with a non-violent and peaceful struggle known as “Hyderabad Liberation Struggle” under the leadership of Swami Ramananad Tirtha. However, this turned violent due to the brutal oppressive and communal movement of the Razakars (a private Islamic militia organized by Qasim Razvi to support the rule of Nizam). Eventually, the Indian Army routed the Razakars and Hyderabad state is liberated [46]. The History of Hyderabad makes Hyderabadis and the people of the Telangana proud. The Telangana region does not have an alternate city like Hyderabad, other cities such as Warangal (fourth largest), Nizamabad (tenth largest) are either small or in viable for a capital city. At the same time, the Andhra and Rayalaseema regions have the second (Vishakapatnam) and third (Vijayawada) largest cities in Andhra Pradesh [47]. Considering the historical aspects, factors and economics, Hyderabad should be made capital for Telangana only. 

10.  Smaller States are good for Development and Governance

From 1952 to 1956, Telangana existed as a part of Hyderabad state with 16 districts (10 districts of Telangana, few districts of Maharashtra and Karnataka) with Hyderabad as its capital. The States Reorganisation Commission had judged correctly in the division of the linguistic states, suggested that Telangana and Vidarbha to be made separate states. The political-will stopped from doing so, while there are five Hindi speaking different states in the north India, none were made in south India [23]. The States Reorganization Commission said that the Hyderabad state with an area of 45,000 km² and 1.13 crore population with an annual revenue of Rs. 17 crore was a stable and viable one. Due to its higher land and excise revenues, it has revenue surpluses, which would be sufficient to finance the irrigation projects it needed. It further said the Telangana is neither poor nor backward due to its rich resources however, it lagged due to the lack of English educational institutions and employment opportunities under the Nizam [52].

The economy of the newly formed states in 2000 such as Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand supports the formation of the Telangana. The gross domestic product figures of these new states are much better than their parent states as of 2007-08. The percent increase in the growth of GDP from 1999-2000 to 2007-2008 is 102% for Jharkhand, 150% for Chattisgarh, 182% for Uttarakhand, while their parent states figures for the same duration are 76% for Bihar, for Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh are 78% and 97% respectively [53]. The newly formed states are achieving higher rates of growth than their target growth rates in the Eleventh Five Year Plan (2007-2012) [52]. The main problems of these states such as poverty and extremism also exist in their parent states. The smaller states would be beneficial for efficient governance to tackle these problems compared to their larger counterparts. Telangana with Hyderabad as its capital will definitely prosper as a separate state, and will bring the lost prosperity and happiness to the people of Telangana. With its peaceful co-existence nature, the settlers can lead a normal life and represent the society and the development for the coming centuries.

Afterword: The above information is submitted to the Committee for consultations on situation in Andhra Pradesh on March 22, 2010, constituted by the Government of India, headed by Justice B. N. Srikrishna for examining the demand for a separate State of Telangana or to maintain the present status of a united Andhra Pradesh.
Note:  Any views or opinion represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blogger Vijaya Bhaskar and do not represent those of my employer. Everything you repeat and say that has been previously said in this blog without permission may be an infringement of copyright law. Any comment without proper name and email address will not be entertained on this article since it is a highly sensitive issue.


  1. Can you please give me your opinion based on the need for a comprehensive strategy to deal with the problems of Telangana??

  2. Well, in Economic and Political Weekly, you can find lot of opinions on comprehensive strategies to solve the problems of Telangana, which concur my opinion.

    As a start, you can go through this article..."Movement for Telangana State: A Struggle for Autonomy, M Kodanda Ram, Economic and Political Weekly, January 13, 2007".

    If you find the above interesting, please find more articles here.

    1. a great note in favour of telangana and a fact situations described ..separation of telangana is absolutely a genuine and true demand.