The peasant revolt in Telangana is a movement for the rights of Dalit peasants
The partition of India in 1947 is a very important event in the history of the Asian subcontinent and the world. The British leaving the kingdom of this vast Indian subcontinent was not an immediate decision at all. On the contrary, India's independence was the ultimate consequence of innumerable protests, resistance and unrest all over India.
As the time for independence drew to a close, instability spread across the country. However, some incidents had nothing to do with partition. Those incidents, which were caused by completely different reasons, continued for some time after the independence of India. One such incident was the peasant movement in Telangana, also known as the Telangana Rebellion.
The peasant movement in Telangana, which started on the eve of India's independence, lasted for three more years after independence. There were more social causes than just political reasons behind the rebellion of innocent and unarmed peasants. Among these social factors were exploitation and deprivation of the ruling class as well as religion, language and discriminatory state laws.
The arbitrariness of the Nizams (then called the Nizams of Hyderabad rulers), the burden of state taxes, the inhuman treatment of the Dalits and the untouchables - all combined to make Telangana a pot of boiling oil, the ruling class sensing its fierce heat.
Prior to independence, the state of Hyderabad in India was divided into three distinct linguistic zones. In these three regions of Telugu, Marathi and Kannada speaking people, Hindus were the majority, but the ruling power was in the hands of the minority Muslims. The history of the subcontinent says that religion alone is enough for a movement or rebellion. But there were many more reasons added to religion in Telangana.
Telugu people lived in more than half of Hyderabad. For this reason, the Nizam used to impose extra strictness on everything in the region. If you can subdue a large number, others will also be loyal - that was the attitude. The laws on land ownership and distribution were therefore very discriminatory.
More than 40 per cent of the land in the region was owned either by the Nizam or by an elite dynasty granted as 'jagir' by the Nizam. The remaining land was under the government tax system. Due to the influential local zamindars, the poor farmers did not have any rights or security even in these government lands. Sometimes it could be evicted without any reason.
Puchalapali Sundaraiya, a leader of the peasant movement in Telangana and a founding member of the Communist Party of India, published a research report in 1982, which gave a true picture of the inequality of land distribution in Telangana at that time. According to the report, at least 550 zamindars owned more than 500 acres of land before '47. Some zamindars owned 30,000 to 100,000 acres of land!
Exploitation was more horrific in the case of the untouchables or the Dalit community. An unwritten law called the Veti Act was prevalent for this community. Under this law, one man from a Dalit family had to work for the zamindars every day without pay. Somewhere women had to go for the housework of the zamindars. These women were often sexually abused.
There has always been a covert attempt to suppress the Telugu, both linguistically and culturally. Telugu-speaking people also dominated the country's independence movement at the bottom. Neglected by language and regionalism, the Telugus came together in 1922 to defend their rights. Telugu leaders walked out of a meeting of the Hindu Reform Conference that year when Telugu speakers made sarcastic remarks.
He formed the Andhra Jan Sangha in Hyderabad with an oath to establish the Telugu language and the rights of the people in that language. In 1926, it was renamed the 'Andhra Mahasabha' on a larger scale and started a movement for the greater political interests of the people of the Telangana region, not limited to the language-centric movement.