Telangana forms part of the Deccan Plateau which has a very ancient history. As the region consisted of people speaking Telugu language, it became known as Telangana. It is also said that the word ‘Tilinga’ became popular from the Kakatiya period and Telangana was derived from ‘Tilinga’. Since 1776, the area that was under the administrative control of the Asaf Jahi rulers with Hyderabad as its capital was recognised as Telangana. Prior to that, the Satavahanas ruled this area from Kotilingalain Karimnagar district as their capital. They were succeeded by the Ikshavakas. Simultaneously, the Vakatakas controlled the northern parts of Telangana. They were then succeeded by the Vishnukundins who ruled till 7th century. Later, Badami Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Chalukyas of Vemulawada, Chalukyas of Kalyana expanded the area and ruled it.
It was the Kakatiya kings who during 1163-1323 established a huge kingdom – the largest in southern Telangana. It was a golden period and there was tremendous development in this era. Agriculture flourished through cultivation under a chain of tanks in the whole of Telangana.
Asaf Jahi Dynasty
Around 1500, the Bahmani kingdom split into five small states and one of them was Golconda, which was founded by Sultan QuliQutb Shah of the Qutb Shahi dynasty. In 1592, the capital was shifted from Golconda to Hyderabad and much of the city, which was known as Bhagyanagar then, was built during the Qutb Shahi period. Following the accession of Golconda by the Mughals, Nizam-ul-Mulk was appointed as the Subedar of the Deccan. Subsequently, he declared independence and established the Asaf Jahi dynasty, which ruled until the reign of the seventh Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan, ended in 1948.
The present district administrative system and revenue administration date back to Salar Jung who was Prime Minister during 1829-1883. As part of his ‘District Formation Policy’, the 10 Telugu-speaking districts, including Hyderabad, was brought under a separate region which is the present-day Telangana with 33 districts.
When India attained independence, Hyderabad State did not accede to the Indian Union. It was one of the three States which did not join — the other two were Junagadh and Kashmir. It was only after the Police Action that Hyderabad State merged with the Indian Union. KM Munshi was appointed the Agent General. Around that time there was an armed struggle in Telangana led by the Communists. In 1950, a civil government was formed and MK Vellodi became Chief Minister in whose Cabinet Burgula Ramakrishna Rao served as a Minister till 1952 elections. The Congress party won the elections and it formed the government with Ramakrishna Rao as Chief Minister.
In 1953, the Andhra region got separated from Madras State and consequently, the State of Andhra was formed. With a view to overcoming the problems facing the Andhra government, a few sections wanted to merge Telangana with Andhra. This was, however, not acceptable to Telangana society at large. Apprehensions were raised as they felt that the Andhraites would snatch the resources of Telangana. There was already an agitation against the system of employing people from other States, ignoring people from Telangana, resulting in the Mulki movement in 1952. There was a ‘Gair-Mulki’ movement also. Notwithstanding all this, Andhra Pradesh was formed merging Andhra and Telangana regions.
This was followed by the ‘Gentlemen’s Agreement’ to check possible injustice to the Telangana people. It was more in breach than in implementation right from day one. Then Chief Minister Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy did not implement the agreement in the first instance and the same continued unchecked. Even the projects that were conceived in Hyderabad State were set aside by the AP government or were redesigned suiting the needs of the Andhra region. Exploitation of Telangana resources was in full swing. Mulki rules were grossly violated and jobs were given to people from Andhra and Rayalaseema regions. The assurance incorporated in the Gentlemen’s Agreement to implement Mulki rules was not adhered to.
This ultimately led to the conclusion that unless Telangana State is separated from AP there would not be any justice to this region. This resulted in the 1969 agitation for a separate Telangana. The then Congress government did not concede to the people’s demand and crushed the agitation. However, GO Number 36 was issued to send back the Andhraites to that region. But that was also not implemented. The then Andhra leaders approached the Supreme Court to do away with Mulki rules but the court did not agree. The rules were violated despite the court ruling.
Subsequently, following an amendment to the Act, people from Andhra were getting employment in Telangana without any problem. This resulted in another movement by Non-Gazetted Officers of the Telangana region. Against this background, the NT Rama Rao government issued GO No. 610, which was also not followed. In addition, under the umbrella of the constitutional provision of 14-F, people from Andhra got jobs in Hyderabad Zone, which triggered an agitation for the removal of 14-F.
Formation of TRS
After many more violations and injustices with regard to employment, resources and water for irrigation, a party, Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), was formed by Kalvakuntla Chandrashekhar Rao who resigned as an MLA and Deputy Speaker in 2001 to lead a non-violent movement for statehood. Chandrashekhar Rao undertook a fast unto death on November 29, 2009, as a last resort to achieve his goal. The people of Telangana joined Chandrashekhar Rao and fought for the cause. The Central government had no option but to announce the formation of Telangana on December 9, 2009. Later, however, the government went back on its commitment and the agitation continued with more vigour.
Finally, Parliament passed the AP Reorganisation Act in 2014 and announced the formation of Telangana State. The appointed date was fixed as June 2, 2014, and Telangana came into being as a new and 29th State of India on June 2, 2014.
The TRS won the Assembly elections and formed the government with Chandrashekhar Rao, popularly known as KCR, as the first Chief Minister. The State, which is the result of a decades-long struggle of the people against discrimination and injustice, is now marching rapidly towards ‘BangaruTelangana’.
(The author is Chief Public Relations Officer to the Chief Minister of Telangana)