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The Andhra Movement, Hyderabad State, and the
Historical Origins of the Telangana Demand: Public
Life and Political Aspirations in India, 1900–56
Rama Sundari Mantena
To cite this article: Rama Sundari Mantena (2014) The Andhra Movement, Hyderabad State,
and the Historical Origins of the Telangana Demand: Public Life and Political Aspirations in
India, 1900–56, India Review, 13:4, 337-357, DOI: 10.1080/14736489.2014.964629
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Published online: 28 Oct 2014.

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Date: 11 December 2015, At: 07:22

India Review, vol. 13, no. 4, 2014, pp. 337–357
Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN 1473-6489 print/1557-3036 online
DOI: 10.1080/14736489.2014.964629

The Andhra Movement, Hyderabad State,
and the Historical Origins of the Telangana
Demand: Public Life and Political Aspirations
in India, 1900–56

Downloaded by [Jawaharlal Nehru University] at 07:22 11 December 2015


The Andhra Movement and the Cultivation of Public Life
At present the Telugu-speaking region is witnessing a formidable political challenge to
one of the earliest successful linguistic nationalisms in post-independence India, which
instigated the breakdown of colonial administrative divisions and saw the emergence
of regional states organized along linguistic lines. The contemporary political upheaval
in Telangana concerning separate statehood unravels a loosely knit consensus on this
question of a cultural unity giving legitimacy for the formation of a new regional state.
Yet, we are ill-equipped to understand that the demand for a Telangana state has a longer
more complex history. In historical scholarship on India, an almost exclusive attention
paid to the formation of modern nation-states and the rise of political nationalisms has
impoverished our understanding of the dynamics of a territorial region with respect
to the depth of its investments in its social and cultural institutions, the relationships
forged between classes and castes entrenched in the region, and the emergence of political ideologies concerning collective representation and rights attuned to the region’s
internal dynamics. An earlier historiography emphasized the nation as a point of reference for understanding colonial technologies of enumeration in making culture central
to processes of identity formation.
While the focus on culture and identity of the nation and region helped to understand the foundations of cultural nationalisms, it did little to illuminate the broader
discourses of political modernity and languages of citizenship in circulation in the
region. The region was more properly the site of political community and civic activity.
Consequently, the focus on national politics and identity led to the nation as a form
structuring our perception of the formation of the region, leading to an understanding
that the region was a replication of the nation and, hence, the circulation of the term
subnational. In addition, the examination of the important dynamic between the formation of religious majorities and minorities in defining the post-colonial nation states of
India and Pakistan led to a kind of ready acceptance of the inevitability of subnational
identities on the basis of religious and/or linguistic differences, as legitimate markers
of (political) collectivities. Furthermore, there has been good work on the formation of
regional linguistic identity attributing historical causation in the emergence of regional
politics to the affective relationship that was forged between community and language
Rama Sundari Mantena is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

then we would be able to perceive the fissures of the projected cohesive linguistic identity on the eve of Indian independence leading us to better understand that conceptions of region and territory were not solely anchored in cultural categories. If we broaden our analytic vision.1 These studies are a direct response to several decades of scholarship on the imagined communities of nations and ethnicities based on religion and language (and other shared markers of community). My research aims to rethink the emergence of regional publics. there is an urgent need to re-engage with broader discourses of citizenship and political modernity that defined the politics of the region from its emergence in the colonial and nationalist periods to its post-colonial afterlives. and where a sense of the unique social. This article revisits the early twentieth century to rethink the forces that shaped discourses surrounding political community—specifically the political community in its regional articulation. Another dimension explored was to provide some answers to the question: How did national and international discourses of responsible government and self-determination shape the region in early twentieth century India? For south India. While clearly prior conceptions of self-rule articulated by Indian nationalists from the Swadeshi Movement and the Home Rule Movement were circulating in British India prior to World War I. In 1918. cultures of democratic participation in defining and negotiating not only multifarious cultural identities. we witness the emergence of the region as the site of a distinct set of political dynamics. and the rise of a public politics based on liberal ideas of public reason and debate at the turn of the twentieth century. it is worth noting the intensification of these concepts with internationalist discourses of self-determination during this critical period. cultural. the focus in the historical and anthropological literature has been on how language became a cultural marker of sorts at the expense of paying attention to the political contestations to this assertion coming from disenfranchised caste groups and regions. Specifically. the extension of the franchise. This article begins with a review of the particular ways in which the discourse of rights and political representation have emerged at the regional level in post-independence India.Downloaded by [Jawaharlal Nehru University] at 07:22 11 December 2015 338 India Review in the nationalist period.2 While it was a necessary and an important task to unravel the discourses of various ethnic nationalisms and their positing of their mythical origins. the . and political dynamics that constitute the region distinct from the dynamics of nationalism and national identity is derived. we might be able to better understand why postcolonial India continues to harbor challenges from regional aspirations for smaller statehood. challenging traditional orthodoxies. recent scholarship has helped us to question the origin of the idea of the mother tongue lying in pre-colonial times by dismantling discourses of linguistic nationalism to trace the fairly recent constitution of the modern linguistic community. confronting societal inequities. but also their relationship to the past. if we are sensitive to the broader discussions of political representation and the region at this moment. in effect ushering in a new era of liberalism and the increased use of the language of political rights and self-determination. There is an even more urgent task for more nuanced political histories that draw from the insights gained in recent cultural and social histories of nationalisms in India. the dynamics of a new discourse of politics is examined in twentieth-century south India. With the institution of representational bodies/institutions at the regional level. Rather. primarily in the Telugu speaking districts of the Madras Presidency and the Princely State of Hyderabad. For example.

and it is urged that Britain cannot deny to the people of India that for which she is herself fighting in Europe.Historical Origins of the Telangana Demand 339 Downloaded by [Jawaharlal Nehru University] at 07:22 11 December 2015 Report on India’s Constitutional Reforms (The Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms) prepared for the Government of India states that World War I had a profound effect on Indian nationalism. In the February 24. The language of liberty and self-determination used by the British government not only had a profound impact on broader currents in Indian nationalism. This is a clear recognition that the old system can no longer continue. it also shaped regional conceptions of selfgovernment. The Telugu intellectuals who spearheaded the Andhra Movement made constant references to the other movements to legitimize their grievances and set their goals for not only institutionalizing Telugu as a language of education but more importantly to push for greater representative institutions better suited to initially developing the geographic region of Coastal Andhra or the Northern Circars. This directly led to two demands made by regional activists such as those who started the Andhra Movement (the principle actors who will be discussed in the following section) in the Madras Presidency: one for provincial autonomy and the other for the re-drawing of provincial boundaries based on a more rational basis than the historical accident of imperial borders in British India. It also states that the Government of India had been up until then a system of absolute government.4 The Report acknowledges that the Government of India is on a path towards greater responsible government in which Indians would be gradually introduced into the administration with greater responsibilities. and in the fight for which she has been helped by India’s blood and treasure.5 The reforms also coincided with greater/stronger calls for redrawing provincial boundaries based on linguistic criteria. Subrahmanyam of Triplicane asks: . Attention is repeatedly called to the fact that in Europe Britain is fighting on the side of liberty.6 This movement shifted to the call for a separate province for Oriya speakers in the early decades of the twentieth century. The Andhra movement was not the first broad based movement to demand the redrawing of provinces according to linguistic criteria. which was spearheaded by the Andhra activists. Britain’s reformed-minded government introduced changes in the government of India to foster the principle of “selfdetermination”—though considerably limited in colonial India. presumably because of Britain’s ideological standing in the world of nations. however. especially the advantage it gave to the Justice Party in the Madras Presidency. a struggle for the right of small nations and for the right of all people to rule their own destinies. 1913 issue of The Hindu a letter from V. The language of liberty and self-determination used by American and British statesmen to describe the ideological struggle of the war impacted colonial peoples’ perception of their rightful place in a world of “free” nation-states.3 The Report states: The war has come to be regarded more and more clearly as a struggle between liberty and despotism. The impact of the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms on provincial autonomy in south India has been dealt with by numerous historians. Consider the Oriya language movement that began in the 1860s protesting the dominance of Bengali in the region and demanding the use of Oriya in vernacular schools.

Telugu speakers were prominent in the Justice Party in Madras and they posed a political challenge for the Andhra activists who were primarily Congress supporters. the literacy even in vernaculars of Malayalis and Kannadigas was high. say. the latter phase was considerably shaped by the new politics unfolding in the early decades of the twentieth century. They were the second largest group in the Presidency.9 One can extend this analysis to suggest that the expansion of representative institutions instigated a turn to the growth of regional parties. both Irschick and Baker link the reforms to the expansion and success of Non-Brahminism in the Madras Presidency.Downloaded by [Jawaharlal Nehru University] at 07:22 11 December 2015 340 India Review Why did the dispatch of Lord Hardinge have such an impact on the Andhras alone and not on others. During the height of Non-Brahminism. Consequently the well educated Malayali or Kannadiga in Madras Presidency had better chances for public service compared to their numbers and so were not aggrieved like the Andhras.8 These communities were further refined and called forth in the early twentieth century when new political technologies were being introduced at the regional level. initiated the separation of the Andhra Congress unit.7 The Andhra activists through their primary organ the Andhra Mahajana Sabha (AMS) founded in 1913 were busy comparing numbers. the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms instigated greater expansion of native participation in the Madras government. assessing majorities and minorities in the provinces. resources. the Andhra movement faced some competition. We see the impact of the expansion of representative institutions as a result of constitutional reforms leading to the formation of different constituencies in south India: the Justice Party. Neither Malayalis nor the Kannadigas were numerous in the Madras Presidency comprising less than 10 percent and about 4 per cent respectively.10 While the processes of institutionalization of language began in the nineteenth century. Konda . specifically strategies of enumeration such as the census helped to forge community identities based on language and religion. . They were the second largest group in the Presidency with similar grievances in matters of education and public service. Within this complex set of political currents in the Madras Presidency. the growth of provincial politics and of political institutions. Konda Venkatappayya. who was one of the leaders of the movement. Further in the Madras Presidency. and equally significant the Andhra Mahasabha. and making demands on how best to develop their region. the regional units of the Indian National Congress. how did language become significant criteria for the demand for regional political autonomy? Civil societal activism centered on language in British India tended to shift from a phase of institutionalizing language to making a claim on territory and its resources (in the language of development and modernization). However. For the Andhra activists the expansion of representative institutions and proposals for provincial autonomy brought forth discussions of how best to break up big provinces such as the Madras Presidency to provide greater powers and autonomy to significant regional/territorial communities within the Presidency. that is. Strategies of colonial governmentality. The Kannadigas were more numerous in Bombay but still only about 10 percent. and their community. . . the Self-Respect Movement. As historian Christopher Baker argues. the Malayalis or Kannadigas? The condition of the Andhras in Madras Presidency resembled that of Biharis in the Bengal Presidency.

regionalism was shaped by discourses of political modernity and the introduction of representative government in the first two decades of the twentieth century. tolerance and responsibility and other noble qualities characterizing a race or community entitled to self-government. The proceedings began with the song “Vande Mataram” expressing allegiance to the nationalist movement and the meeting was conducted in Telugu. they must be constituted into separate. Sharma told the audience at the AMS conference that they were Indians first and sons of “Mother Andhra” second balancing their regional affiliations with the compulsions of nationalism. culture and sentiment. at the turn of the twentieth century. compact and homogenous entities. and heroines commemorating Andhra history. one of the primary Andhra activists of this period. The goal of independence for the nation as outlined by the Indian National Congress was to take precedence over regionalisms. At the venue for the conference. In fact the Andhra activists saw themselves as pioneers in outlining a strategy for federated regional identities that would support a national one. may have free play and promote unity. the Government will sooner or later have to make language areas.”11 The devolution schemes of the colonial government provided greater levels of autonomy to local and regional governments leading to the cultivation of what could be argued were novel ideas of citizenship and public life. a member of the Legislative Council of Madras. social and political issues. to cultivate public life.Downloaded by [Jawaharlal Nehru University] at 07:22 11 December 2015 Historical Origins of the Telangana Demand 341 Venkatappayya. In a sense nationalism in India was intensely fueled by anticolonialism. While clearly the Andhra activists began to promote language as the natural bond that would be cultivated to create a political community at the region.15 This was a common refrain of the Andhra activists lest they be mistaken as working against the nationalist cause. so that the natural binding forces of society. handy. wrote on why new provinces must be rethought along linguistic lines: “If the people living in those provinces are to have an organic growth and development. twenty-two gates were constructed each adorned with the names of poets. Rather. they nevertheless knew that the nationalist movement was primary. two resolutions were reached: (a) “to ensure efficient administration and the promotion of the best interests of the people of India. language and literature. However. 1913 presided over by B. the Andhra activists recognized that they could do both: cultivate their regional political community while simultaneously working for the nationalist movement. the territorial basis of provincial .13 At the turn of the twentieth century. heroes. At the first AMS conference.N. Sharma. Viziagaram Literary Association. Associations such as Young Men’s Literary Association of Guntur. who later became member of the Viceroy’s Executive Council. such as. the impact of the shift to vernacular languages in public speaking cannot be underestimated.12 It was momentous in that it brought together representatives from different districts of British India and from the princely state of Hyderabad. Regionalism on the other hand was not so much shaped by the politics of anti-colonialism as such. Local and regional literary societies took the lead in providing space for public discussion and debate over literary. The first Andhra Mahajana Sabha meeting took place on May 20. Intellectuals and activists hailing from regional locations began to think of ways to foster community bonds and loyalty through the cultivation of civic mindedness. and the Coconada Literary Association were established to provide such a space.14 B.N. custom and tradition.

now appointed. more . Furthermore. Ramadas Pantulu quoted the standing committee of the Andhra Maha Sabha on the relationship between a provincial identity and a national one: The moment we visualize each of the fifteen or sixteen provinces constituted on linguistic basis. may develop on healthy and natural lines. but as a harmonious combination of diverse cultures exhibiting a fundamental unity. What were the regionalist-culturalist movements articulating besides making a case for administrative convenience (an argument introduced by the colonial state)? Indeed the region became the locus for new aspirations of cultural pride. Gurunatham also wrote a fascinating biography of Kandukuri Veeresalingam. the Andhra activists believed it was not only in their interests to push for linguistically defined provinces. Political development encompassed a great deal from fostering civil societal institutions centered on the development and appreciation of developments in the field of language and literature to conducting public debates on what responsible government would entail for the region. this Conference Committee. Writing a “Memorandum on Andhra Province” in 1938. His book on Veeresalingam argued that social reformism was well intentioned but it did absolutely nothing in developing the regions politically. a prominent nineteenth century Telugu writer and social reformer.19 Gurunatham saw significant changes taking place at the turn of twentieth century. functioning each in its own as. He wrote in The Hindu on matters of advancing the cause of the Andhras. Lakshminarayana and Konda Venkatappayya discussed the potential benefits of separating the Telugu districts. fostering its own language. ascertain public opinion. the very moment we visualize India as a nation whose nationalism is not the steam-road-rolled product exhibiting a dull uniformity. Gurunatham a member of the Young Men’s Literary Association (1903–04) in Guntur along with his associates U. there needs to be an orientation towards the fostering of a political community at the regional level to aid the political development of the region.16 and (b) “that provincial administration.Downloaded by [Jawaharlal Nehru University] at 07:22 11 December 2015 342 India Review administration”. is necessary in order that both the self government on colonial lines pleaded for by the Indian National Congress and the provincial autonomy approved of by the Government of India. he was a teacher at the Christian College of Guntur and then secretary of the Rajah of Kurupam and a member of the Supreme Legislative Council. At the time.18 Even before the founding of the AMS. Gurunatham argues that in order for Telugu people to take part in the march toward self-government. However. J. imparting its own instruction and administering its justice through its vernacular language and dealing with its villages and their rural problems through the vernaculars of the heart.”17 The argument based of administrative convenience especially because a common language would ease communication is part and parcel of the broader projects of political modernization. on the question whether the government should be asked to constitute the Telugu districts into a separate province. on such a basis. in 1911 that offers us an insight into some of the political discussions that were taking place in the early decades of the twentieth century in the Telugu districts of the Madras Presidency. Gurunathan was one of the founding fathers of this young movement. promoting its own culture.

”23 Again. The Andhra activists seemed to be on a path toward being granted a new province in the 1930s. Venkatappayya wrote in 1913 that the “Andhra movement is only an attempt to open their [i. the region became the ideal locus to conceptualize and cultivate the new citizen-subject of a selfgoverning India. Back in 1919 when Montague was travelling around British . and towards uplifting themselves in the scale of nations by their education. The region is conceptualized and articulated as a territorial linguistic community claiming that language would act to bind the community together and would inspire its speakers to work towards the political unit of the region. importantly. In 1913. What these movements have in common first and foremost is a civilizational defense of the region and language as worthy as any other. Importantly.Downloaded by [Jawaharlal Nehru University] at 07:22 11 December 2015 Historical Origins of the Telangana Demand 343 importantly. which falls under cultural pride.21 Clearly the Andhra activists knew that there was no inherent natural community based on language that would lead to a political community. character and wealth.e. Sarma at the first Andhra Conference said that the Telugus need to be encouraged to cultivate “a spirit of brotherhood. Cultural cohesion fostered through linguistic provinces would enable greater democratizing of politics. It had to be cultivated and constructed and made politically viable through producing consent amongst the various parties. However. the clearly stated goals of the early Andhra activists display the conscious effort that was put into the making of a dynamic civil society. Konda Venkatappaayya went to the ceded districts of the Madras Presidency to speak with local leaders and to convince them of the benefits of amalgamating the Telugu districts into one province. Since the founding of Andhra Maha Sabha two decades later. there was a steady discussion of how to develop the provinces as British India moves toward selfgovernment. despite the hurdles faced by the Andhra activists.”22 The work of the movement was to cultivate great love for education and culture to improve themselves and become better citizens. N. to create a spirit of cooperation and mutual trust by educating people of the agricultural and commercial potential in the region and to get the people to work collectively towards its progress and. Therefore.”20 Sarma recognized as other Andhra activists that linguistic pride or nationality based on a common language had to be cultivated in order to create a cohesive political community. a nationality based on common tradition. another commonality is the call for adequate political representational institutions for the region. interests and aspirations. it can be argued that the region became the site for the elaboration of liberal civil societal institutions that would inculcate democratic virtues of citizenship and reworked conceptions of egalitarianism. cultural cohesion was not a given. Consent would come about by carefully addressing the needs of all the Telugu-speaking districts. language was clearly preferred over caste and religion as markers of community as the latter were seen to be more divisive. to cultivate Telugu literature in order to disseminate “the principles of modern culture and enlightenment to the masses. However. B. the Telugu people’s] minds to their present backwardness and induce individual exertion as well as corporate action on their part to improve their condition. The ceded districts were opposed to the demand for a separate Andhra province from the very beginning. it had to be cultivated. it is both a source of cultural pride but most importantly a site for political modernity. As for the liberal aspiration for developing civil societal institutions.

24 The Rayalseema districts insisted on Madras while the Working Committee of the Tamil Nadu Congress protested this new development. and economic interests all should be taken into account. For these reasons. associational politics developed quite differently in the neighboring Princely State of Hyderabad with different political aspirations. This was struck down at the time because of the more pressing issue of Gandhi’s impending noncooperation movement. It took them a series of compromises from first convincing Rayalseema districts that they will benefit from forming a state with Andhra.” However. However. the Rayalseema districts were reticent to join the coastal districts in the agitation for an Andhra Province. Beyond that the most important criteria/principle is “the largest possible measure of general agreement on the changes proposed. S. the coastal Telugus had to be convinced that this was beneficial for their province to have Madras as its capital. First. However. B. He cites C. With World War II and the intensification of nationalist agitation for independence. There were also prominent Telugu intellectuals in Madras contributing to its public life such as Kavali Borayya the famed assistant of Colin Mackenzie. Rather.Downloaded by [Jawaharlal Nehru University] at 07:22 11 December 2015 344 India Review India interviewing various leaders. both on the side of which is gaining. Hyderabad: The Disintegration of a Princely State The Andhra activists from the Madras Presidency believed that the institutionalization of language provided the best base for the cultivation of democratic institutions. A convincing case had to be made for Madras. They acted on the idea by garnering the precarious loyalties of the people. This led to the demand to make Madras a joint capital for both the Tamils and Telugus. Ramadas Pantulu writes that Andhra public opinion has come around to the idea that fixing Madras as the capital for Andhra would aid industry. Rajagopalachari speaking at the Madras Legislative Assembly on the question of an Andhra Province. Radhakrishnan offers a more measured testimony for Madras to remain capital of an Andhra Province. The Andhra activists brought in Vavilla Venkateswara Sastrulu and Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan to provide arguments for why Madras needed to be a joint capital. reaching out to those who were skeptical of the benefits of unifying the Telugu districts and making Madras its capital. geography. Rajagopalachari quotes the Montague Report on the idea that a common language is a “strong and natural” basis for “provincial individuality. Sharma put forward a motion in the Imperial Legislative Council for the creation of a separate province for Andhra. Vavilla Venkateswara Sastrulu argues that Madras has always been a Telugu city from its very foundations. that is the area that is losing advantage. a consensus had to be reached (as far as possible) through public discussion and debate. Hyderabad was one of the earliest . The twentieth session of the Andhra Maha Sabha was preoccupied with the question of Madras as the capital of an Andhra Province. the issue of new provinces was temporarily laid aside. it is not the only criteria. after Andhra University was established at Waltair in the coastal districts in 1931. the First SurveyorGeneral of India. and on the side.N.”25 In other words. religion. Telugu Brahmins were employed as translators and interpreters. commerce and banking in the province. Vavilla Venkateswara Sastrulu provided an historical argument that from the very beginning of English transactions in south India. race.

Telangana eventually was integrated to Andhra Pradesh in 1956. the city itself comprised of around 46 percent Muslims. the nominal head of the princely state. there was nevertheless a proliferation of political interests. the Hyderabad state witnessed the formation of dynamic civil societal associations demarcated by language with affiliations in British India. In an early study of the political conditions in the Hyderabad state. Leonard argues that in the following years. what Leonard leaves out are a whole set . The period witnessed the successful fostering of non-Mulki (outsiders) modernization schemes. One overriding concern for this section is why and how did socio-political conditions in Hyderabad compel the state’s subjects to organize along linguistic lines? What were the institutional mechanism that enabled organizing along linguistic lines and how did that shape political aspirations/futures harbored by the people. The Nizam. The impetus for the formation of these associations is different from the emergence of regional/linguistic associations in British India. My concern however will be primarily the Telugu-speaking districts of Hyderabad or the region of Telangana as it forged links with their cross-border counterparts in the Madras Presidency.27 However.Downloaded by [Jawaharlal Nehru University] at 07:22 11 December 2015 Historical Origins of the Telangana Demand 345 princely states that became part of British India through the subsidiary alliance system in the late eighteenth century. civil societal groups. The decades leading up to Indian independence saw in Hyderabad a surge of civil societal activism despite many constraints placed by the state’s administration. There was clearly much cross-border interaction through civil societal associations. Instead of relegating Hyderabad a political backwater. However. the nonMulkis that were brought into Hyderabad by Salar Jang dominated political power and continued with their modernization schemes. Muslims constituted around 10 percent of Hyderabad’s overall population. Despite this reluctance. In 1941. Most interestingly. one reason that Carolyn Elliot put forward was that civil societal institutions were “underdeveloped” within Hyderabad and representative government was not expanded as was taking place in British India. Bombay Presidency and the Central Provinces of British India. Leonard traces the development of a modern bureaucracy to the period of the successful Diwan Salar Jang (1853–83). Karen Leonard offers us a more nuanced historical picture of the internal dynamics within Hyderabad. Hyderabad bordered on the Madras Presidency. The arguments made towards the making of linguistic provinces by the Andhra activists took on a different political dynamic in the context of Hyderabad where civil societal associations imagined different political futures. Leonard argues that new cultural-political ideologies emerged in the decades leading up to the Hyderabad merger: Mulki cultural nationalism or a synthesis of Deccani nationalism and a movement for Muslim sovereignty. The city was home to around 48. and charismatic leaders in the decades leading up to the forceful merger with the Indian union.2 percent of Telugu speakers and approximately 85 percent of the overall population was Hindu. pushed for constitutional reforms to develop representative government institutions only when feeling pressure from representatives from British India.26 While it may be true that the Nizam was reluctantly carrying on discussion of political reforms and banned political gatherings unless approved by the state. The most prominent challenge facing the people of Hyderabad was that civil society institutions were severely restricted at the height of the nationalist movement in British India.

Salar Jang. the nationalist period did not only produce narratives of nationalism and patriotism but also gave rise to the complex story of political democracy and citizenship in India: “While rarely engaged in overt acts of resistance to the colonial power. Maratha Parishad. John Roosa’s work suggests that the regional “cultural” organizations were popular because they claimed not to be political. If one were to look at the enduring set of historical forces that shaped these decades before independence.29 Members of these associations while claiming membership in the regional groups within Hyderabad cultivated ties with their counterparts in British India. Hyderabad appears to be a political “backwater” as Elliot summarized in her explanation of its slow political modernization. which were becoming dynamic organs for anti-colonial nationalism. there were nationalists in Hyderabad from the late nineteenth century onward endeavoring to build horizontal allegiances and workable alliances between diverse communities. and the Karnatak Parishad. as Roosa points out. Primarily. the Society of Union and Progress of 1926. While Hyderabad was not a hot bed of anti-colonial nationalism. it saw an early demise because it threatened the balance of power of Muslim elites who were more cautious in aligning with what they saw as regional Congress supporters whom they viewed as expressing Hindu interests in Hyderabad.”31 This observation would extend to British India as well in particular the Madras Presidency. it did witness radical challenges to the status quo and proposals for alternate political futures.33 This certainly did not mean an Islamic state in which religious laws would be .Downloaded by [Jawaharlal Nehru University] at 07:22 11 December 2015 346 India Review of other forces such as the regional parties with affiliations with Congress units in British India: the Andhra Mahasabha and the Karnatak and Maharashtra Parishads. the Hyderabad Political Reform Association of 1919.30 However. conceived Hyderabad to be a Muslim state contributing to the perception of Muslim dominance in the Nizam administration. the Nizam and his supporters attempted to thwart these discussions.32 This became more apparent with the introduction of the census in 1881. Societies such as the Osmania Graduates Association. In many ways. the groups that proliferated in the 1920s and 1930s attempted to have conversations on constitutional reforms and the political future of Hyderabad as a consequence of what was perceived as the impending British withdrawal from India. Despite this lack. However. rather than fostering discussion to shape the political future of Hyderabad. there was a proliferation of Urdu literary societies investigating Deccani Urdu that fed into Deccani nationalism. The radicalized youth of Hyderabad embraced linguistically defined regional groups such as the Andhra Mahasabha. Hyderabad went through some pertinent changes that prepared the way for discussions of constitutional reforms by the state as well as shaping the political aspirations of its people.28 The Nizam’s Subjects’ League in particular brought together leaders from the Andhra Mahasabha and attempted to forge a secular alternative voice to shape the political future of Hyderabad. Similar to what we witness in the Telugu districts in the Madras Presidency. Roosa argues that the reforms begun by Salar Jang had given a clear advantage to Muslim recruitment. and the Nizam’s Subjects’ League of 1935 are a product of these “Deccani” nationalisms that garnered/articulated political loyalities to the Hyderabad state. In the framework of anti-colonial nationalism. Leonard nevertheless offers us rich glimpses of how Deccani culture was invoked by Mulki nationalism in these decades.

and Arya Samajists under one group. This inspired them to organize to form a separate association in which Telugu speakers would have a public political forum. The modernization schemes implemented by Salar Jang along with calls for constitutional reforms starting in the second decade of the twentieth century nurtured the conditions for the emergence of a thriving public sphere in Hyderabad. Ravi Narayana Reddy. but also the dominance of Muslims in the bureaucracy. somehow signaling to them that it would harbor threatening political ideologies. etc.37 This lead to a surge in political activity in Hyderabad including student protests on the campus of Osmania University over the singing of “Vande Mataram. The Arya Samaj and the Hindu Mahasabha also called for a satyagraha at the same time which led to Hyderabad facing . it remained distinct from the AMS in the Madras Presidency. An important Telugu newspaper.34 This is precisely what happens in Hyderabad in the early decades of the twentieth century when we begin to see the proliferation of civil societal associations speaking to the different political/cultural needs of the educated populace.” The Hyderabad government banned the formation of the Hyderabad State Congress because it deemed it a communal organization and it objected to its affiliation to the Indian National Congress. a public that would eventually not only pose a challenge to the monarchical power of the Nizam. it did mean that Muslims whether mulki or non-mulki (outsider) would be recruited to man the civil administration to give the state its character as Muslim (acknowledging its history.). recalls that they chose to call the newspaper Golconda instead of Andhra because the Hyderabad authorities would not have welcomed a daily with the name Andhra. in his memoirs of this period. Telugu speakers felt compelled to organize a linguistic unit for public discussion of issues ranging from cultural-literary to political reforms. However. the Golconda Patrika (1927) was established by Suravaram Pratapa Reddy who presided over the First Andhra Mahasabha Conference held at Jogipet in 1930. While the AMS in the Madras Presidency was meeting annually to articulate their political interests as well as increasing its membership. A primary political and cultural association for Telugu speakers was the Andhra Jana Sangham conceived in 1921–22. The Congress attempted to protest this by calling for a satyagraha in Hyderabad. the Telugus felt it necessary to organize when the Nizam State’s Social Reform Conference did not allow the use of Telugu at their meeting. established in 1923–24 and eventually renamed Andhra Maha Sabha in 1930. The Majlis-e Itthehad al-Muslimin responded with the founding of a group to unite all sects of Muslims in 1928 giving voice to what Leonard had called the defense of Muslim sovereignty. Finally. Telugus. It brought together Maharashtrians. the Jana Sangham in the 1920s in Hyderabad was a public forum for Telugu speakers to express their varied political and cultural interests.36 The Hindu Mahasabha was also founded around the same time in Hyderabad in 1923. when the Indian National Congress authorized political activity in the princely states in 1938. the Provincial Committee of Hyderabad State Congress was formed in 1938. Interestingly in both cases in Hyderabad and in Madras. Interestingly. Dalits.35 We hear a similar story of the origins of the Andhra Movement in Madras Presidency attributed to when Telugu speakers felt neglected in a Tamil dominated Congress.Downloaded by [Jawaharlal Nehru University] at 07:22 11 December 2015 Historical Origins of the Telangana Demand 347 implemented to govern the people nor did the state harbor any plans to encourage the conversion of the Hindu populace. However.

especially the groups that overlapped and had explicit ties with the Indian National Congress. The political ideologies as they developed under the conditions of a modernized monarchy upheld by British colonial power differed considerably from their British Indian counterparts. demanding constitutional reforms and the expansion of representative institutions. The Anjuman’s print organ was Ra‘iyat (1927). Baqar Ali Mirza inspired by radical movements in Europe returned to Hyderabad after finishing a degree at Oxford in 1927. What these associations and their discussions reveal is a very different political climate in Hyderabad—a political climate that was putting forward critiques of the monarchical power of the Nizam. They address specific Hyderabad issues with respect to the integrity and autonomy of Hyderabad as a political unit.” which upheld monarchical power and .989 satyagrahis were arrested according to the British Resident in Hyderabad. it matters little in a society where thousands are perishing every day because of disease. there were associations that tried to cross linguistic and religious lines. However. even the Congress groups. It is also a testament to the differences of political conditions and political discussion in Hyderabad in comparison to British India. “if a few people were injured in religious squabbles. Between October 1938 and June 1939 around 7.40 Mandumula Narsing Rao (1897–1976) as editor of Ra’iyat and member of the Anjuman attempted to stake out the paper’s anti-sectarian identity. The platform for campaigning was to be economic issues believing that an economic agenda would bridge the growing rift between the religious communities.” 41 Rao in another editorial wrote. in other words. He had taken part in the International Congress against Colonial Oppression and Imperialism in Brussels earlier that year in 1927. Hyderabad became a battleground of sorts between the Nizam’s administration and the burgeoning public sphere that they could not control nor manage. were from British India. The reforms begun by Salar Jang in the last decades of the nineteenth century transformed the state and its administration into what Janaki Nair has referred to as “monarchical modern. Other notable Hyderabadis attended the meeting such as Virendranath Chattopadhyaya and his nephew Jaisoorya Naidu.Downloaded by [Jawaharlal Nehru University] at 07:22 11 December 2015 348 India Review a massive political agitation that brought in large numbers of political activists from British India.39 Mirza helped to begin a new organization. “These communal organizations (farqavarana tahrikat) may have their origins in British India but their poisonous winds reach here too.38 The same report claims that only 20 percent of those arrested were Hyderabad state subjects. an era of evil mindedness and distrust began in the state. As soon as people started adopting ideas from British India. had to work under conditions of a monarchical power that did not openly engage in dialogue toward greater constitutional reforms. In other words. They shared some similar goals. Anjuman-e Taraqqi Hyderabad (the Society for the Progress of Hyderabad) in 1928. From the 1920s and throughout the 1940s. liberals and socialists. these two organizations were organic to Hyderabad and its political climate. The majority. He wrote an editorial in 1935 expressing these sentiments. the goal of greater representational institutions moving toward a popular democracy.”42 It is interesting to note the perception that communalism was a disease from British India that threatened to distract from the real political issues that should bring people together in Hyderabad. In addition to these associations.

The Telangana peoples’ movement brought new complications in the 1940s as AMS members were taking active part in the struggle against landlords in Telangana.”43 This lead to tortuous negotiations between the Nizam’s Executive Council and the Government of India and the Standstill Agreement that allowed for Hyderabad to exist autonomously for a year during which time they would have to decide on either instituting responsible government or ascend to the Indian Union. The Nizam believed that Dominion status was a possibility for Hyderabad. he voiced his protest to: “the way in which my state is being abandoned by its old ally. the Nizam had been steadily lobbying in the early years of the twentieth century to have the British recognize Hyderabad as a sovereign state equivalent to Britain. the Razakars. In other words. In particular. formulated the position of the defense of “Muslim sovereignty” or to keep safeguards in place that would not completely undermine the political status of Muslims in Hyderabad. This inspired cross-border Congress activism on the Maharashtra border. On the eve of Indian independence when the Nizam realized that the Indian Independence bill did not allow for dominion status to be conferred on Indian states. The former. in resisting Congress’ strategy to advance into Hyderabad. Meanwhile. The radicalism of the Telangana people’s movement provides another dimension to the proliferation of the political in the first half of the . Furthermore.Downloaded by [Jawaharlal Nehru University] at 07:22 11 December 2015 Historical Origins of the Telangana Demand 349 simultaneously modernized the administration. The Majlis’s paramilitary outfit. This created the conditions for the emergence of new publics that would eventually contest the monarchical power of the Nizam. the British Government. he and his supporters tried to have the British agree to adhere to the earlier treaties that the British would come to its defense when India became independent and Hyderabad would be engulfed by a larger potentially hostile state. was preparing to defend Hyderabad from internal opposition and the Government of India. However it is important to keep in mind the dynamism of the Majlis and its leader Bahadur Yar Jung who espoused different political positions on constitutional reforms over the course of his political career. this stalled any innovative thinking through of the possibilities for political autonomy for Hyderabad. the communists were inspiring a people’s revolution in the villages of Telangana. the Hyderabad State Congress members were jailed in Hyderabad. The decade of the 1940s produced new tensions. the various political interests were in disagreement with one another. and the ties which have bound me in loyal devotion to the King Emperor are being severed. This would have appealed to the Hyderabad civil societal associations if there was indeed open dialogue between these groups and the administration over the political future of Hyderabad. On the Madras Presidency border. they feared the loss of Muslim dominance with the dissolution of the Nizam’s authority. Because the Nizam and his administration were unable to engage in an open dialogue on the political future of Hyderabad with civil societal associations. The Majlis took the lead in outlining a position of defending the monarchy and held onto what they saw would disappear without the authority of the Nizam: the Muslim character of the state. Because constitutional reforms posed a threat to the traditional power dynamics of the Hyderabad state. This led to two developments in Hyderabad: The Majlis’ political power and position along with the formation of the Razakars and the equally dramatic emergence of the Telangana peoples’ movement. Congress units were making raids into Hyderabad territory and attacking government offices.

The AMS in Madras Presidency achieved the goal of convincing Congress that Telugu-speaking districts deserved their own Congress unit and thereby provided legitimate arguments in favor of linguistic reorganization of states after the departure of the British. In Hyderabad. the civil societal associations were split in the articulation of their political interests. Their primary concerns were not quite obviously the separate state of Telangana but rather to push for constitutional reforms similar to the other civil societal groups within Hyderabad. on the other hand. the Andhra activists were fairly successful in making a case of linguistically demarcated states as suited for better governance. Visalandhra.Downloaded by [Jawaharlal Nehru University] at 07:22 11 December 2015 350 India Review twentieth century: the eruption of politics and the coalescing of regional. and the Comrade’s Association. While the AMS provided an meeting point for Telugu intellectuals and activists from Coastal Andhra to congregate and explore their common cultural and historical roots as well as to examine the pros and cons for forming a political community on the basis of language. a radical turn within the AMS in Hyderabad introduced a new element to the mix: the political aspirations of the communists. While in Madras Presidency the kind of national government that would come into place was largely agreed upon—or at least Andhra activists took part in national discussions as part of the INC—by both the provincial political leaders as well as the nationalist leaders. the groups were contending with one another for political power. By the 1940s. In the two decades preceding independence. The Majlis earned the favor of the Nizam because it purportedly stood to defend the monarchical power of the Nizam. and religious interests. Clearly the AMS provided them a cultural and political forum to voice political ideologies to shape the future of Hyderabad. the Nizam’s Subject’s League. those who advocated strongly for the integrity of Hyderabad as a national albeit cosmopolitan unit were few and far between. Anjuman-e Taraqqi Hyderabad. it became clear that the political dynamics within Hyderabad were very different from the Madras Presidency. At the provincial level. Nationalist Communists. In Hyderabad. harbored different political aspirations. Moreover. The AMS in Hyderabad while sharing with their counterpart in British India the goal of cultural and literary revival of Telugu. . The civil societal institutions such as the linguistically demarcated ones within Hyderabad eventually aligned themselves with their counterparts in British India. and the Breakup of Hyderabad In examining and comparing the emergence of civil societal activism in Hyderabad and in Madras Presidency—specifically the Andhra Mahasabha—it is clear that they had very different histories and political trajectories. attempted to address concerns internal and specific to the political conditions of Hyderabad with a greater likelihood of retaining Hyderabad as a political unit. The Andhra activists in British India and soon within the Indian Union had only to contend with Congress and its leadership in Madras over dividing up the province. civil societal institutions had more contentious proposals to extend constitutional reforms in the state and challenge the monarchical power of the Nizam. The Majlis-e Itthehad al-Muslimin. caste. because the Nizam was reluctant to work with the various civil societal associations to produce consensus toward an agreed upon set of constitutional reforms. local. However.

Also in the conditions of repression in which we are working and the big battles we are fighting against Feudal Tyrants and police Zulum. were actually fleecing the poor. and the Karnatak Conferences were truly representative. But the latest decision of AISPC has created an unprecedented situation for Andhra Conference. Vishnoor Ramachandra Reddy. Swami Ramananda Tirtha on the misguided policies of the All India States Peoples Conference (AISPC) to exclude the Andhra Conference as a representative body because it harbored communists. when it is asked to be merged minus the leaders who have built it up. As mentioned earlier in both cases in Hyderabad and in Madras Presidency. Telugu began to be used . How and why did the three linguistically aligned associations become truly representative according to Ravi Narayana Reddy in Hyderabad? The emergence of these civil societal associations based on language were certainly strengthened with the increased use of vernacular languages in public/political life: they reached a broader public and cut across the urban/rural divide. the then President of the Andhra Conference wrote to the President of the Hyderabad State Congress (HSC).Historical Origins of the Telangana Demand 351 Downloaded by [Jawaharlal Nehru University] at 07:22 11 December 2015 In 1946. who hands in glove with the village tyrants.46 Just a year before. and the famous watandar. it has not become possible to call a meeting of Delegates who alone can decide the issue. Such a decision cannot easily be taken by the Working Committee. Rather. Reddy wrote to the AISPC’s general secretary Jai Narayanji Vyas stating that the HSC was not representative. In fact the efforts made by the INC to make a single association the sole representative is undemocratic Reddy writes. the three linguistically oriented conferences. the fights Andhra Conference has conducted against the Jagirdars and other feudalism in Warangal District and other places. have all made the Andhra Conference the most popular organization in Telingana. the Maharashtra. against the notorious Deshmukh.”45 He goes on to write that it is not possible to have the members vote on the potential merger of the Andhra Conference with the HSC because of the volatile political conditions of the Telugu speaking districts: Regarding the other letters I have received concerning the merger of the Andhra Conference into State Congress.”47 The struggles they refer to were the peoples’ insurrection against landlords in the villages of Telangana supported by the communists in the AMS. By the mid-1940s.44 He wrote: “This means that the major section of the Leadership and local members of the Andhra Conference who have made it what it is today will be excluded from the State Congress. you have asked for a reply before 7 August. Ravi Narayana Reddy. “The struggle that Andhra Conference has lead in Jangaon Taluqa Nalgonda District. Kathar Ramchander Rao. The use of regional languages in Hyderabad became a powerful device in increasing politicization and ultimately cultivating political life and the democratic virtue of civic mindedness. the communists dominated the AMS in Hyderabad. the Andhra. and the campaign it has carried against the corrupt officials. Any person confersant [sic] with political situation in Hyderabad can understand the disastrous effects of such exclusion of the people’s movement in the state. A report was sent to the AISPC on repressive measures in Telangana states.

”51 Regionalism was endorsed by both the CPI and Congress leaders in Hyderabad and this ultimately led to calls for the severance of the state along linguistic lines as the best political solution to a monarchical modernity that reached its limits and ultimate demise. The turn to Telugu for public purposes clearly contributed to expanding their constituency. to encourage the pursuit and attainment of representative government for the people of the princely states. it is important to note that in the 1940s.Downloaded by [Jawaharlal Nehru University] at 07:22 11 December 2015 352 India Review publically as a political tool. At present they only constitute a wedge driven by the British between the people of India and their ideal of a composite nationality. Sitaramayya declares: “They are the vestiges of an ancient civilization and must perforce disappear sooner or later like their betters of the past. In addition to the fostering of linguistic regionalism by the CPI and Congress. based on universal adult suffrage. The Visalandhra Mahasabha was formed in 1949. Sundarayya wrote. their own sacred right of self-determination through their constituent assemblies. it declared its objective as: “’the attainment of Responsible Government for the people in the Indian States through representative institutions under the aegis of their rulers.”50 He continues.”49 Taking cue from the Soviets. earlier in 1945.”53 The AISPC worked . two pivotal figures in the Telangana movement of the 1940s. the communists were endorsing the linguistic principle for states reorganization. and the Hindu Mahasabha anticipated the demise of the Nizam and hoped that political forces would compel Hyderabad to join the Indian Union. culture. common language. other British Indian supported groups such as the Arya Samaj. common historical tradition. The All-India States’ People Conference (AISPC). the call for a united Andhra or “Visalandhra” (merging Telangana districts) initially seems to have come from Telugu speaking CPI (Communist Party of India) members who called for combining Telugu speaking provinces from Madras with those that were part of Hyderabad. P. and common economic life would be recognized as a distinct nationality with the right to exist as an autonomous state within the free Indian Union or federation and will have the right to secede from it if it may so desire. Sundarayya and Ravi Narayana Reddy. When the ban on the CPI was lifted in 1942. psychological make up. Sundarayya wrote a pivotal pamphlet calling for a united Andhra. were politicized through their immersion in Congress politics before they gradually turned to communism. However.’”52 In reference to the 600 states and their standing in the way of a composite Indian identity. Interestingly. the CPI Central Committee began to endorse the idea of the Indian union or federation consisting of distinct nationalities: “Every section of the Indian people which has a contiguous territory as its homeland. within the Nizam’s Andhra Maha Sabha. The recognition of the self-determination of nations within India gave support to Andhra communists in their calls for the linguistic reorganization of states.”48 Even before the idea emerged. Sundarayya had already published a pamphlet advocating the idea of “Greater Andhra. the communists came to dominate the association. Also important to note is the fact that P. “We believe that a free Indian Union can come into existence only by the sovereign nationalities freely and voluntarily coming together and not by denying to them the just and sacred right of self-determination. P. In its inauguration meeting of 1927. “we believe that we must unequivocally concede to each of the seventeen growing nations in India the right to determine their destiny. an organization formed by the INC.

The commission toured for 26 days examining witnesses at Vizagapatam. Karnataka. and Maharashtra. Three new provinces were created in 1938: Sindh. Mangalore. the question of unity and the economic and political integration of India became of primary concern. as far as possible. Alongside these forces for compelling the princes to join the Indian union. Because of the violence of partition and the communal violence that erupted in Hyderabad between 1947–48. and Coimbatore. 15). He quotes Sir John Simon in 1929 on the issue: When we come to consider the constituent elements out of which the federation of British India is to be built we are met with an initial difficulty. Another tour took place in . whereas in India there are only a number of administrative areas which have grown up almost haphazard as the result of conquest. in 1945–46 in the election manifestos the idea of linguistic provinces was mentioned: “It [Congress] has stood for full opportunities for the people as a whole to grow and develop according to their own wishes and genius: It has also stood for the freedom of each group and territorial area within the nation to develop its own culture within the larger frame work and it has stated that for this purpose such territorial area or provinces should be reconstituted. Madura. The 1948 Report of The Linguistic Provinces Commission. In 1946. having regard to the cultural level and economic conditions of their inhabitants. Federation schemes usually start with a number of clearly defined States each already possessed individuality and consciousness. At this time. p. The commission was appointed by the Constituent Assembly of India on June 17. Congress also began discussions concerning linguistic reorganization of states. Pattabhi Sitaramayya. it began to change its course in the immediate post-independence period. Then. No one of them has been deliberately formed with a view to its suitability as a self governing unit within a federated whole. on a linguistic and cultural basis. which deferred the question of Andhra becoming a separate province. or the Dar Commission. Congress resigned from ministries before WWII. Madras. Most of them are populous and extensive. Then. The communist uprising in Telangana also presented a clear challenge to the newly independent Indian state. Nehru remained hesitant on the issue of the break up of Hyderabad. Nehru was careful to move gradually on the issue. suggests that linguistic reorganization should not be conducted hastily. and Orissa. II. Kerala.Historical Origins of the Telangana Demand 353 Downloaded by [Jawaharlal Nehru University] at 07:22 11 December 2015 arduously from its inaugural year to shape peoples’ movements within the princely states to move toward not only representative government but also compelling them to join the Indian union. 1948 to report on the question of formation of the provinces of Andhra.”55 While Congress was clearly on a path toward linguistic reorganization from the 1920s. Calicut. following the Nagpur congress session in December of that year. NWF Province. suppression of former rules or administrative convenience. published a plea on linguistic reorganization of states for the constituent assembly to take up the issue.54 Congress has recognized the need for the reorganization of states since 1920. After newly independent India’s forcible takeover of Hyderabad from the Nizam’s administration in September of 1948. to allow of the easy working of the machinery of representative Government on a reasonably extensive franchise (Vol.

In Telangana. in 1952 there was a student agitation in Telangana. began a series of fasts for the creation of an Andhra province on August 16. 1951 (until September 20th) and again on May 25. This was always the sticking point for the Andhra activists from the 1930s. While making statements and acknowledging how there are real differences in Andhra and Telangana. both the Dar Commission and the internal Congress report on linguistic reorganization did not see how Madras would ever become part of a new state of Andhra. And. Swami Sitaram. a violent reaction from the Telugu speaking population in Madras forced Nehru’s government to concede to the creation of Andhra.57 However. Poona. Nagpur. finally the commission also points out the necessary time and work involved in building consensus for the reorganizations plans. and the refugee crisis. consequently. the Andhra assembly passed a resolution to form a single state merging with Telangana. specifically in Warangal. a movement towards Telangana statehood. complicating the plan to reorganize states on the basis of language was the novel and precarious experiment the new government was embarking under a new constitution with autonomous states and adult franchise without a national language. Furthermore. there seemed to . There were clearly strong reservations against joining Andhra. While in 1955. With the inevitability of the breakup Hyderabad. While it seemed clear that Congress was bent on delaying the process of reorganization of states in the immediate post-independence period. volatile state with the recent partitioning of British India. Andhra became a state in October of 1953 after a series of unexpected events. there was a sense that the urgency came from the Congress promise of linguistic provinces demanded by the people. it stated the argument for linguistic reorganization for ease of communication within a given state. Language became primary in the commission’s analysis of how to redraw provinces. another Gandhian. the majority of members of parliament in Telangana supported a separate state for Telangana in late 1955. Madras was not to be included. With that premise. the SRC initially rejected that Hyderabad should be retained as a unit. led to the formation of new states in the south. the latest generation of Andhra activists stepped up their pressure on the Nehru government. However. 1952 (until June 15th). However.Downloaded by [Jawaharlal Nehru University] at 07:22 11 December 2015 354 India Review October of that year in Hubli. the ongoing war with Pakistan. However. a Gandhian. the impending critical situation that Hyderabad found itself in may have been a catalyst to the hasty breakup of Hyderabad and that. The SRC recognized the administrative convenience of language but it too hesitated to force Telangana to merge with Andhra. a mulki agitation erupted between 1948–52 in response to the incoming coastal Telugu speakers who began to take up posts in the administration of Hyderabad in the aftermath of the police action of 1948. One anxiety the commission expressed is that the new Indian government is in a critical. and Bombay. Potti Sriramulu.56 There had been a steady movement within Hyderabad as the breakup of Hyderabad was inevitable. protesting a potential merger with Andhra. Even the Golconda Patrika switched its support of a united Andhra in 1954 and began to support a separate state of Telangana in 1955. Most recently. Afterward.58 The States Reorganization Commission (SRC) formed in December of 1953 after the formation of Andhra in October 1953. This sensitive period of transition made it a difficult moment to carve up the states. succumbed to a fast that took his life in December of 1952. Meanwhile.

and Coastal Andhra. When tensions were rising within the AMS in the late 1940s. Public life through civil societal activism in Madras Presidency and in Hyderabad led to not only cultural revivalism of language and literature but also possibilities for political community and citizenship. political aspirations as they erupted in the AMS in Hyderabad anticipated the dissolution of the Nizam’s monarchical authority as part of the global movement towards representative democracy and popular sovereignty. Telangana’s merger with Andhra began on an unsure footing. it is not even a peasant’s association (kisan sabha). The Telangana demand is the product of this dynamic historical conjuncture between the end of an old monarchical order. it seeped into regional discourses of governance and the path toward popular sovereignty. Acknowledgments I would like to thank Benjamin Cohen (University of Utah) and Sumit Ganguly (Indiana University) for organizing a stimulating AIIS workshop on “Regionalism in India” in August 2013 that gave me the initial impetus for beginning a project on the . popular forces instigated and nurtured by the different political parties anticipated the dissolution of British India into a more rationally ordered group of provinces linguistically organized. invocation of the language of self-determination in outlining the logic for linguistic provinces in a free Indian Union illustrates the elasticity of these concepts and their mobility in multiple political contexts/discourses. The language of self-determination not only impacted the anti-colonial tenor of Indian nationalism. Ultimately. regional committees were to be formed to deal with the inequalities between Telangana and Andhra. Moreover. political ideologies erupted into public life and shaped the political aspirations of Indians. Sundarayya’s. from the assurances of responsible government made by the Government of India in the first decade of the twentieth century to its Indian subjects to the post-World War I impact of the language of self-determination.”59 This is the clearest statement on the novel dynamics of public life and political aspiration that characterize early twentieth-century India: the undercurrents of the anti-colonial nationalist struggle. With the creation of the Regional committees to assure the equitable distribution of resources in the new state. While protests against Telangana’s merger with Andhra were clearly articulated between 1948 and 1956.” Rather it is “a public gathering for representatives of all parties and schools of thought among all social classes and all Andhra people involved in public life. the political turmoil in the aftermath and the inauguration of a new state.Downloaded by [Jawaharlal Nehru University] at 07:22 11 December 2015 Historical Origins of the Telangana Demand 355 be no way of arguing against the linguistic argument to merge Telangana with Andhra even with the growing opposition to the proposal. A plebiscite was never conducted and the glimmers of protest never completely died out. a leading figure in the Telangana people’s movement. He explains that the AMS “is neither a students association nor a textile mill workers’ union. In conclusion. Both 1953 and 1956 show fissures between regions: Rayalseema. Telangana. P. In order to satisfy the critics of the merger. the logic of the linguistic argument made in the SRC took on its own momentum to silence the opposition on the path toward linguistic reorganization. Mandumula Narsing Rao wrote an editorial in Raiyat against the communist takeover of the association.

See Lisa Mitchell’s Language. 5. No. While I am not entirely sympathetic with Elliot’s . University of Minnesota. ed. Elliot attempts to understand why Hyderabad appears politically backward and resistant to political modernization. It was also associated with growing communal tension. See Carolyn Elliot. Ibid. 1996). 1969). Hyderabad witnessed more communal and divisive politics rather than an encouragement of coalitions across religious and language affiliation/lines. I thank Marina Mogilner (University of Illinois at Chicago). 21. J. The meeting was held in Bapatla. Irschick. 13. Volume 1 (Hyderabad: The Committee of History of Andhra Movement. 1905–1919. Emotion. No. Fredrik Albritton Jonsson (University of Chicago). p. 55. The Politics of South India 1920–1937 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1976). “Vande Mataram” is a nationalist song/slogan. Subba Rao. History of Andhra Movement. Language. 6. as well as from Nagpur in the Central Provinces and from Warangal and Hyderabad in the Nizam’s territories. 33. 34. Part 1. 1918). See Christopher Baker. 1916-1929 (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. 24.. India. and Karuna Mantena (Yale University). The Andhra Movement. If we take Elliot’s assessment of the underdevelopment of political conditions in Hyderabad. 18. 1911). 11. pp. 2006) and Partha Chatterjee. Regional Identity and Nationalism in Eastern India (1866–1931)” (PhD diss. No. 20. 203. See Benedict Anderson.356 India Review Andhra Movement and its connections with Telangana. In other words. 20. See Pantulu. pp. Mount Road. 12. 1 (2013). 1939). See Pritipuspa Amarnath Mishra. Memorandum on Andhra Province. The Politics of South India. 17.” American Historical Review 111.. 8. For this. 142–66. G. p. 2. 9–10. 4. See Erez Manela.S. and Eugene F. then it seems likely that a lack of institutional development to garner political sentiment led to the crisis of the integration of the Hyderabad state to the Indian Union. 27–47. Report on India’s Constitutional Reforms (Calcutta: Superintendent Government Printing. 22. 14.. 51. 20. and Irschick. The Nation and Its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories (Princeton: Princeton University Press. “’To Persuade Them Into Speech and Action’: Oratory and the Tamil Political. A General View of the Problems Arising from the Formation of the Andhra Districts of the Madras Presidency into a Separate Province (Madras: G. The Emergence of the Andhra Movement. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (New York: Verso. 1976). Press. “Decline of a Patrinomial Regime:The Telengana Rebellion in India 1946–1951. and Politics on the changes that Telugu underwent in nineteenthcentury Madras Presidency. 1891–1970 (Berkeley: University of California Press. p. “Imagining Woodrow Wilson in Asia: Dreams of East-West Harmony and the Revolt against Empire in 1919. Narayana Rao. 10. There were 2000 visitors at the meeting including 800 delegates from Telugu districts of the Madras Presidency. 48. 2001) and Bernard Cohn. 2009). Downloaded by [Jawaharlal Nehru University] at 07:22 11 December 2015 NOTES 1. Politics and Social Conflict in South India. Madras. 4 (November 1974). Quoted in K. 13. Rao. p. Memorandum on Andhra Province. p. Rao. The Emergence of the Andhra Movement. See Bernard Bate. 9. The Andhra Movement (Guntur: The Radha Press.. Ramdas Pantulu. p. Gurunatham. 2008). Carolyn Elliot argues that with the lack of political parties within the Nizam’s territories. 37 26.. 16. Castes of Mind: Colonialism and the Making of Modern India (Princeton: Princeton University Press. The Founder of Telugu Public Life (Rajahmundry: S. See Nicholas Dirks. Emotion. Konda Venkatappayya. 7. “Divided Loyalties: Citizenship.” The Journal of Asian Studies Vol. 23. V. pp. Viresalingam. 25.V.” Comparative Studies in Society and History Vol. fn 88. p. See Baker. Ibid.. Venkatappayya. p. 1993). Various people have provided me forums for presenting arguments contained in this article allowing me to revise my initial formulations. The honorable V. and Politics in South India: The Making of a Mother Tongue (Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. 15. 5 (December 2006). Ibid. The Andhra Movement. 14. which can be translated as “hail to the motherland” has its origins in the Swadeshi Movement in Bengal. 49. p. Gunneswararao Bros. The Emergence of Andhra Pradesh (Bombay: Popular Prakashan. 10. 1915). Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge: The British in India (Princeton: Princeton University Press. p. 3. 1997) and Lisa Mitchell. Politics and Social Conflict in South India. 1326–51. pp. See Sumathi Ramaswamy. 1982) p. Passions of the Tongue: Language Devotion in Tamil India. 19. Venkatappayya.

File No. 411. 39. 1. 46. University of Wisconsin-Madison. See Roosa.” The Journal of the Pakistan Historical Society Vol. 35.” p. 37. 63. 57. Sitaramayya.” Pacific Affairs Vol. Vishala Andhra (Bombay: People’s Publishing House. “The Quandary of the Quam. “The Quandary of the Qaum: Indian Nationalism in a Muslim State. 1935. 4 (December 1954).” p. 2000). 31. Narsing Rao’s Editorial in Ra’iyat. The Indian States’ People’s Conference. Lucien Benichou. p. Narsing Rao’s Editorial in Ra’iyat. and 152 out of 207 in the revenue administration and finally 52 out of 54 posts in the courts. 66. 27. 44.” Roosa.” Journal of Peasant Studies Vol. there clearly was a failure of consensus within Hyderabad on becoming part of the Indian Union. quoted on p. 34. pp. 147. “The Quandary of the Quam. John Roosa. Heroic Telangana: Reminiscences & Experiences (New Delhi: Communist Party Publications). The Language of Secular Islam: Urdu Nationalism and Colonial India (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. 1943). 8 (February 20. Sundarayya. To get a sense of the political and social conditions of Hyderabad in this period. 1936.d. XLV. 1949–1956. p. IV (October 1973). 52. p. 2. p. No. p.. 55. p. 47. p. “The Quandary of the Quam.” p. n. Hyderabad Residency. 73. July 30. No. Gautam Pingle. “Linguistic Regionalism in India. Pingle. Vishala Andhra (Bombay: People’s Publishing House. Muslims held 5 out of 6 posts at the ministerial level. Convention on Linguistic Provinces (Delhi: Delhi Printing Works. 24–25.” quoted on p. Pattabhi Sitaramayya. No. 42. Roosa. 306. 1945). Sitaramayya. Ibid. 54. Benichou quotes a report sent to the Secretary of State by the Superintendent (Political Branch). 72. 40 41. House. 357 developmental model of political modernization in her analysis of Hyderabad politics. Marshall Windmiller. Ibid.” Nehru Museum and Memorial Library (NMML): All India States People Conference (AISPC). Roosa provides figures for the proportion of Muslims and Hindus in the administration. Downloaded by [Jawaharlal Nehru University] at 07:22 11 December 2015 30. 28. President of Andhra Conference to Swami Ramananda Tirtha. 36. From Autocracy to Integration. November 20. 1928. p. 1997). 146.” Economic and Political Weekly Vol. Ravi Narayana Reddy. 38. Karachi. 2013). 21. 1945).” p. First published in 1956. Also see Mandumula Narasingaravu. 21. In the mid-part of the 1880s. 1977). “Repression in Hyderabad State: Andhra Conference Leaders Interned. The Indian States’ People’s Conference. 45. John Roosa. p. 410. Nehru Museum and Memorial Library (NMML): All India States People Conference (AISPC). 205–18. p. from M. Roosa writes that the ratio of Hindus and Muslims ranged from about 1:4 to 1:5. N. “The Historical Context. 51.. From Autocracy to Integration: Political Developments in Hyderabad State (1938–1948) (New Delhi: Orient Longman. Ravi Narayana Reddy. The Integration of the Indian States (Madras: Orient Longman. 53. 32. p. Roosa. Ibid. Fifths Session. P. 317 The AISPC was formed by the Indian National Congress. 1946). Benichou. from M. National Unity for the Defense of the Motherland: Resolutions of the Plenums of the Central Committee of the CPI held in 1942 (Bombay: People’s Pub. “The Deccani Synthesis in Old Hyderabad.). Sundarayya. pp. 33. 411.Historical Origins of the Telangana Demand 27. Sundarayya. Krishna (ed. 50 Samvatsaramula Haidarabadu (Hyderabad: Mandumula Narasingaravu Smaraka Samiti. p. July 18–19. Pattabhi Sitaramayya. 2010). 59. B. XXI. Hyderabad 1850-1948” (PhD diss. 10. “The Deccani Synthesis” p. 50. part 1. 63. K.. Ibid. B. Ibid. See Elliot. 21. See Karen Leonard. 64. 29. 48. “The Quandary of the Quam. 4 (2001).” p. File No. Leonard. VP Menon. 406. Roosa. “Passive Revolution Meets Peasant Revolution: Indian Nationalism and the Telangana Revolt. Letter from Ravi Narayana Reddy. 43. Kavita Datla. 56. “The Quandary of the Quam. 1998). “The Historical Context of Andhra and Telangana. See P.. 77. 28. Presidential address of Dr. 10 out of 18 posts at the secretarial level. 134. 1. 1946. “Decline of the Patrimonial Regime. 213. . part 1. p. Vishala Andhra. p. 58. 66. 49. ft. No. Discerning from the list of civil officials between 1894–1931. April 22.