To reduce the influence of Communists over the peasants, the Government abolished Jagirdari system through Jagir Abolition Regulation in August 1949, and the Agricultural Labour Inquiry Committee was deputed to recommend land reforms.
Hyderabad: This article is in continuation to the last article focusing on Telangana armed struggle, which is one of the important topics in preparation for the State government recruitment examinations.
To reduce the influence of Communists over the peasants, the Government abolished Jagirdari system through Jagir Abolition Regulation in August 1949, and the Agricultural Labour Inquiry Committee was deputed to recommend land reforms. However, as the pressure from the government increased and the people began to withdraw their support, it became impossible for Communist Party to continue the armed struggle.
At this stage Communist leaders like Ravi Narayana Reddy, Baddam Yella Reddy, Chandra Rajeshwara Rao, and Arutla Ramachandra Reddy, versus Pucchalapalli Sundaraiah, Makineni Basava Punnaiah, Devulapalli Venkateshwara Rao, Bhim Reddy Narsimha Reddy, etc, began to differ on the question of the continuation of the armed struggle, its nature and strategy adopted.
Moreover, after the military action, the rich peasants increasingly deserted the alliance; only the agricultural labourers and poor peasants together with some middle-class peasants were left to carry on the struggle. A split occurred among the Telangana leaders.
Ravi Narayaana Reddy, the most popular of them, later dissociated himself from the revolutionary armed struggle and joined the “critics of Telangana” armed struggle. And he advocated the withdrawal of the struggle which, according to him, became redundant after the Indian Army took over the Hyderabad State. Therefore, the Communist Party withdrew the Peasant Armed Struggle in October 1951 and participated in the first General Elections and won majority seats both in Telangana and Andhra. Ravi Narayana Reddy polled more votes than those of Jawaharlal Nehru.
The important fact was that the armed struggle was withdrawn and not defeated. It was the first revolutionary peasant armed struggle of the Indian Communist over a wide area of about 16,000 square miles covering 3,000 villages. The major gains of the Telangana armed struggle included: It was a revolutionary agrarian armed struggle to end the feudal order. It was a movement where more than 4,000 people sacrificed their lives in the Telangana armed struggle.
The village committees in the liberated zones implemented an agrarian programme and over 3 million acres of land was redistributed. Forced labour was abolished and illegal extractions and feudal oppression of various types were ended. Evictions were scrapped and minimum wages were ensured to agricultural labour. The struggle pushed the question of agrarian revolution to the forefront compelling the political parties to undertake land reforms.
The Telangana armed struggle is an important insurrection in the history of people movements from many angles. It brought to the fore almost all questions concerning the strategy of Indian people’s democratic revolutionary forces. It was a revolutionary agrarian armed struggle to end feudal hegemony by raising the land questions.
The struggle prepared agriculture labourers to fight against landlords. Its lasting effect on the agrarian structure and change in the conditions of its principal participants are viewed as the criterion, and then the Telangana insurrection was no more successful than other peasant resistance movements in India.
However, the Telangana peasant armed struggle has become the source of legends and inspiration for the radical left in India. Despite the failure of Telangana Peasants’ Struggle, undoubtedly, it was a source of inspiration for the Communists as a whole in the country. This movement was led by the Communists against the tyrannical rule of the Nizam and his feudal landlordism in Hyderabad State for the liberation of the people.
To be continued…
Prof. Adapa Satyanarayana
Department of History, Osmania University