The Tale of Telangana

So the creation of Telangana has been on the news for a while now, however, this article is meant to be an overview of the history and the events that finally led to the creation of this new state.

What is Telangana?

Telangana is a region within the state of Andhra Pradesh in India. It was formerly part of Hyderabad State which was ruled by the Nizams.

Andhra Pradesh State has three main cultural regions:

  1. Telangana
  2. Coastal Andhra and
  3. Rayalaseema.

Telangana is bordered by the states of Maharashtra to the north and north-west, Karnataka to the west, Chhattisgarh to the north-east and Odisha to the east.  The Telangana region has an area of 114,840 square kilometres (44,340 sq mi), and a population of 35,286,757 (2011 census) which is 41.6% of Andhra Pradesh state population.

Since Telangana was merged with Andhra state to form Andhra Pradesh state in 1956, there have been several agitations in Telangana to invalidate the merger and to form Telangana state.

On 30 July 2013, the ruling Congress party resolved to request the Central government to make steps in accordance with the Constitution to form a separate state of Telangana (the 29th independent state of Republic of India), within a definite time frame.

The events that led up to the creation of Telangana:

  1. Formation of Andhra Pradesh

In December 1953, the States Reorganisation Commission (SRC) was appointed to recommend the reorganisation of state boundaries.

The opinion in Andhra was overwhelmingly in favour of the larger unit; but public opinion in Telangana had still to crystallise itself. Important leaders of public opinion in Andhra themselves seemed to appreciate that the unification of Telangana with Andhra, though desirable, should be based on a voluntary and willing association of the people.

Prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru initially was sceptical of merging Telangana with Andhra State, fearing a “tint of expansionist imperialism” in it. He compared the merger to a matrimonial alliance having “provisions for divorce” if the partners in the alliance cannot get on well.

The central government established a unified Andhra Pradesh on 1 November 1956. The agreement provided reassurances to Telangana in terms of power-sharing as well as administrative domicile rules and distribution of expenses of various regions.

 2. Telangana Movement

There have been several movements to invalidate the merger of Telangana and Andhra, major ones occurring in 1969, 1972 and 2009. The Telangana movement gained momentum over decades becoming a widespread political demand of creating a new state from the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh.

On 9 December 2009 the Government of India announced process of formation of Telangana state. After Members of Legislative Assembly & Council from Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions had submitted resignations in response to the announcement, as well as violent protests raised in those regions immediately after the announcement, the decision to form the new state was put on hold on 23 December 2009.

According to activists, from 2010-12 over 300 young people killed themselves – sixteen by self-immolation – demanding more political control for the locals of Telangana. According to Telangana Amaraveerula Kutumbala Vedika(Telangana Martyrs families forum)’s directory there have been 904 suicides in Andhra Pradesh from November 2009 to February 2013 demanding Telangana

3. Telangana Grievances

Proponents of a separate Telangana state cite perceived injustices in the distribution of water, budget allocations, and jobs.

  • Within the state of Andhra Pradesh, 68.5% of the catchment area of the Krishna River and 69% of the catchment area of the Godavari River are in the Telangana region. Telangana supporters state; that the benefits of irrigation through the canal system under major irrigation projects is accruing substantially, 74.25%, to the Coastal Andhra region, while the share to Telangana is a mere 18.20%. The remaining 7.55% goes to the Rayalaseema region.
  • There are allegations that in most years, funds allocated to Telangana were never spent. According to reports only 20% of the total Government employees, less than 10% of employees in the secretariat, and less than 5% of department heads in the Andhra Pradesh government are from Telangana; those from other regions make up the bulk of employment. Telangana held the position of CM for 10.5 years while Seema-Andhra region held it for 42 years.
  • Proponents of a separate Telangana state feel that the agreements, plans, and assurances from the legislature and Lok Sabha over the last fifty years have not been honoured, and as a consequence Telangana has remained neglected, exploited, and backward. They allege that the experiment to remain as one state has proven to be a futile exercise and that separation is the best solution.

The culmination

On 30 July 2013, the Congress Working Committee unanimously passed a resolution to recommend the formation of a separate Telangana state from Andhra Pradesh to the INC-led central government. Hyderabad was proposed to be the joint capital for both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana for 10 years.


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