Andhra Leaks Part 3: Explosive Facts on Sriramulu’s Fast & Death

  • April 19, 2011 4:55 am

For several decades, from school children in Telangana to some of the country’s top journalists were fed misinformation regarding the creation of Andhra Pradesh state. They were made to believe that the formation of Andhra Pradesh was a result of Potti Sriramulu’s fast. While the fact is that Potti Sriramulu’s fast was intended to decide who gets Madras city – Telugus or Tamils.

Read what the latest issue of Tehelka Magazine wrote and you will understand how a lie, when repeated a hundred times, becomes a fact!

[Note the number of bloopers in this piece – First Potti Sriramulu had worked for Railways, he was not a lecturer; Second he died after 58 days of fasting, not 82 days; and third – most importantly, his death resulted in formation of Andhra state and NOT Andhra Pradesh state]

To reinforce this falsehood, every year, on November 1st state formation day, the AP state government releases full page advertisements in all leading newspapers with large images of Potti Sriramulu. So complete was the distortion of history that you will find life size statues of Potti Sriramulu almost in every town of Telangana. This, in spite of the fact that Potti Sri Ramulu did nothing for the people of Telangana or for unification of Telangana with Andhra.

Here are some more damning disclosures about Potti Sriramulu’s fast and death.

Not many people know that the Indian government had already agreed to form the Andhra state even before Potti Sriramulu launched his indefinite fast. The JVP (Jawaharlal, Vallabhai Patel and Pattabhi Seetaaramaiah) committee had recommended the formation of Andhra state. However, the Andhra’s staked claim over Madras city and this led to a delay in state formation.

The reasons for this fast were given in ‘his own words’ in several documents like his letters and manifestos issued before commencing his fast.  Some of his statements in these documents are cited below to appreciate his ‘object and feelings’ in the matter.

In his reply to Swamy Sitaram’s letter dated: 2-10-1952, he clarified about the object of his fast.  The relevant para is extracted below:
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“My Fast begins only for determining the future of Madras City”, he declared. “During my fast, people themselves will come to a decision…..
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My fast is intended to make the people and at least some Tamils in the City to agree to Madras becoming a separate State.  Therefore if I leave the question of the City in doubt and undertake the fast, I shall be failing in my purpose and duty”.
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An Avoidable Death?
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A careful analysis of the newspaper reports and first hand accounts of events that led to the death of Potti Sriramulu reveal a disturbing fact. That Potti Sriramulu’s life could have been saved if only the Andhra leaders of that time were sincere.
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During the course of his fast, the Indian government had repeatedly tried to inform him that it was ready for creation of the Andhra state without Madras city. But Potti Sriramulu and the Andhra leaders were adamant.
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Nehru himself made an appeal after Sriramulu’s fast entered its 50th day.
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On December 14, 1952, Hyderabad’s Chief Minister, Boorgula Ramakrishna Rao sent a telegram to Sriramulu, fasting in Madras. It read, “Your fast is causing much anxiety and distress in the whole country. Panditji (Jawaharlal Nehru) is prepared to constitute a Boundary Commission immediately and has given an assurance of other steps. I earnestly entreat you to break your fast, and give all leaders a fair opportunity.”
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Another important thing to note is that Potti Sriramulu became very weak and had become unconsciousness during the final days of his fast. Some reports even say he slipped into coma.
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Read this extract from The Hindu:
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“On the 56th day, he passed into a coma and a couple of days later, he developed breathing problems. On December 15, 1952, Sriramulu breathed his last, after 58 days of fasting. “
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Since the central government had already accepted to create the Andhra state, and Sriramulu was in an unconscious condition and not in a position to take any decision whatsoever, any sensible Andhra leader should have immediately rushed him to a hospital and saved him. But, strangely the leadership did not make any attempt to move him to hospital.
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This brings us to the important question. Did the Andhra leadership wanted something dramatic to happen to force the hand of Nehru? Otherwise what explains the orgy of violence that followed Potti Sriramulu’s death?
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Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of Potti Sriramulu’s death was discussed in “Two Score and Ten”, the autobiography of GV Ramakrishna, an IAS officer who started his career in 1952. He had served as Chief Secretary of Andhra Pradesh Government and went on to hold several key posts in central government too.
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He mentioned about some unconfirmed reports which reveal how inhumanly some people around Potti Sriramulu behaved during his fast.
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If there is even an iota of truth in the above statement, then the Andhra leaders should hang their heads in shame for sacrificing a valuable leader at the altar of power politics.
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Some more damning facts about Andhra State formation in next part: A Lie Called First Linguistic State

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Read Previous Parts of This Series Here:

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Note: Excerpts from Sri. M Narayan Reddy Ex MP’s article on Potti Sriramulu’s fast were used in this article.


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