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The Telangana Issue

Current Affairs Quiz - new Telangana issue has been generating a lot of news for the past couple of years. It's an issue about which many people have been very passionate and has led to the loss of many lives. Infact the Telangana issue has been around for over many years now. Here is a look at what has happened over the years and why the Telangana issue still stands unsolved as it does today.

What is Telagana?
Telangana is a region in Andhra Pradesh and was originally a princely state, ruled by the erstwhile Nizam of Hyderabad. Andhra Pradesh today as it stands, can be divided into three regions – Telangana, Rayalaseema and Coastal Andhra.

The Telangana region comprises of districts in Western and Central Andhra Pradesh (Adilabad, Karimnagar, Nizamabad, Medak, Warangal, Khammam, Hyderabad, Rangareddy, Nalgonda, and Mahaboobnagar) It comprises 10 of Andhra Pradesh's 23 districts. It accounts for 119 seats out of the 294 seats in Assembly.

Telegana at the time of Independence
After Independence, the Nizam of Hyderabad wanted to retain his hold over the state. But the Government of India had other plans and amalgamated his state on 17th September 1948 by force. On a historic note, Rayalseema and Coastal Andhra were part of the Madras Province under the British Empire. However post independence Rayalaseema and Coastal Andhra were separated from the Madras State in 1953 and were merged with the Telangana region of Hyderabad in 1956 to form the state of Andhra Pradesh. The remaining parts of the Telangana region were merged with Karnataka and Maharashtra. This was the first state that was carved out on linguistic lines in the country.

Demands for a separate Telangana State
Demands for carving out a separate Telangana State became more buoyant during 1969. There are quite a few reasons for this:-

  • There were distinct differences between Telangana and Andhra Regions.
  • Andhra that was initially a part of Madras presidency had much better standards of development and education. Telangana on the other hand was more feudal in its approach and much less developed.
  • The Telangana people had reservations also because they feared they would lose out on many jobs with the merger
  • The cultural differences too were apparent. Under the rule of the Nizam the Telangana region bore influences of Northern India. The kind of festivals being celebrated too was different.

The 1969 Agitation
This was primarily a student protest which erupted in the regions of Telangana with Osmania Univeristy proving to be the hot bed of it all. The protests became massive with huge numbers of people taking part in the agitation. Over 350 people lost their lives in lathi charge and police firing. Former Congress leader Channa Reddy who defected to form his own party the 'Telangana Praja Samithi' later diluted the impact of the agitation as he merged with the Congress. Channa Reddy was also the same person responsible for raising slogans like 'Jai Telangana'. The Prime Minister Indira Gandhi later went on to make him the Chief Minister after which the movement collapsed. After this P.V Narasimha Rao was also made the Chief Minister in 1971. He was also from the Telangana region.

The role of K Chandrasekhar Rao
K Chandrasekhar Rao was a member of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) during the 1990's. While hoping for a ministerial birth he only got that of a deputy speaker following the 1999 elections. KCR quit TDP in 2001 and set about to form the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) which he announced would fight for the formation of a separate Telangana State. The timing could not have been more perfect for KCR considering the fact the people of Telangana were already feeling looted. There was already a strong feeling gaining ground that the surplus produced by them was being rerouted to the finance body so that it could be used to develop the rest of the state.

In the elections of 2004 YS Rajashekara Reddy and KCR decided to join hands after YSR promised him the formation of a separate Telangana State. But later YSR backtracked and sent a report to the Congress against the formation of the Telangana State. TRS withdrew support from the Congress led coalition government on the grounds of alleged indecision by the government over the delivery of its electoral promise to create a separate Telangana state.

Soon the Telangana also ended up being a deeply political issue. Parties could often be seen flip flopping on their stand on the Telangana issue. The Congress and TDP are a divided house while Praja Rajyam and CPM are for a united Andhra. On the other hand the BJP and CPi are supporting the formation of s separate Telangana.

On November 29, 2009, KCR took a fast until death demanding that the Congress Government introduce the Telangana bill in the parliament. Student's rallies and people from various organizations took part in the demands and there were massive protests in many regions of Telangana. With KCR's health fast failing the centre was forced to look into issue and finally gave into his request of a separate state making KCR end his 11 day fast.

Srikrishna committee headed by Justice BN Srikrishna was then set up to look into wether a separate state should be carved out or a united Andhra must remain. The committee was constituted by the Government of India in 3 February 2010 and expected to submit its report on 30 December 2010 to the Ministry of Home Affairs. As part of the committee they invited people from all sections of the society and also toured the entire state where they got the opinions of a lot of people on what they felt about the issue. The SriKrishna Report was released on the internet to the public on 6 January 2011.

The issue is still being contemplated in the political circles.

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