By Konatham Dileep:
The above picture is from a children’s magazine named “Bala” – October 1953 Issue. You can see a young girl showering flowers on the Andhra Map. The Andhra state was formed on October 1st, 1953 by separating Telugu speaking districts in erstwhile Madras state, after a sustained and violent agitation.
Later, the Telangana region was forcefully merged with Andhra state on November 1st, 1956 to form the current Andhra Pradesh state.
The history of Telangana has been distorted so much that not many people outside Telangana know the difference between the Andhra state and Andhra Pradesh state and use these terms interchangeably!
Today, many Andhra leaders say they can’t imagine the state being split. Some feel sentimental about the shape of the Andhra Pradesh state post Telangana formation. But, here is a rare image that shows how they celebrated the same map!
The movement to separate the Telugu speaking areas from the erstwhile Madras state was the first ‘separatist’ movement of India. Andhra was the first state to be formed after India attained independence. And it happened a full 6 years after we got independence.
Knowing more about how the Andhras have got their state was never more important than now.
The demand for creation of a Telugu state dates back to early 1900s. But it picked up momentum after India got independent.
The central government could not reach a decision on the Andhra statehood issue because of two main reasons:
– the ongoing controversy between Telugus and Tamils about who gets ownership over Madras city.
– the fear that the country might disintegrate if they started creating new states.
During this time the central government appointed a commission to study the demand for linguistic states. That commission was called the Linguistic Provinces Commission or Dar commission.
It rejected the division of country into states on the basis of language. It clearly stated:
“the formation of provinces on exclusively or even mainly linguistic considerations is not in the larger interests of the Indian nation and should not be taken in hand.”
The Andhras reacted very seriously to this commission’s recommendations. Unable to bear the pressure exerted by the Andhra leaders, the Congress Party appointed another committee named JVP Committee (Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabhai Patel and Pattabhi Seetharamaiah).
JVP Committee also rejected the creation of linguistic states. But, so powerful was the Andhra lobby, that the committee said that only Andhra state could be formed on the basis of language!
It famously said…
“if public opinion is insistent and overwhelming, we as democrats, have to submit to it subject to certain limitations in regard to the good of India as a whole.”
Even after JVP Committee’s report, the central government used delaying tactics citing lack of consensus on the statehood issue.
Nehru declared the formation of state only when the Andhra region witnessed unprecedented violence after the death of noted Gandhian Sri Potti Sriramulu.
Read more about the violence that followed Potti Sriramulu’s death here:
Next Part: Explosive Facts Behind Potti Sriramulu’s Fast & Death
Image courtesy: Rakesh Marupaka