Telangana is a newly proposed state to be formed out of Andhra Pradesh in India. Telangana, as well as the language spoken in that country Telugu, is thought to have been derived from Trilinga. According to a Hindu legend, Lord Shiva descended as linga on three mountains—Kaleshwaram, Srisailam, and Draksharma which marked the boundaries of the Trilinga Desha. This is roughly the region between the Krishna and Godavari rivers or modern Telangana region.
When India became independent from the British rule in 1947, the Nizam of Hyderabad was not willing to merge with the Indian Union and wanted to remain independent under the special provisions given to princely states. However, the Government of India annexed Hyderabad State on 17 September 1948 in Operation Polo.
Between 1946 and 1951 the Telangana Rebellion was a peasant revolt supported by the communists. In 1952, Dr Burgula Ramakrishna Rao was elected Chief Minister of Hyderabad State in the first democratic election. During this time there were violent agitations by some Telanganites to send back bureaucrats from Madras State and to strictly implement rule by natives of Hyderabad.
In December 1953, the States Reorganisation Commission (SRC) was appointed to recommend the reorganisation of India’s State boundaries. It was not in favour of an immediate merger of Telangana with Andhra Pradesh, despite their common language.
The people of Telangana had several concerns. According to them, their region had a less-developed economy than Andhra but had a larger revenue base which might be diverted for use in Andhra. They feared that the planned irrigation projects on the Krishna and Godavari rivers would not benefit Telangana proportionately, even though people of Telangana controlled the head-waters of the rivers. It was also feared that the people of Andhra, who had access to higher standards of education under British rule, would have an unfair advantage in getting governmental jobs.
The Commission proposed that the Telangana region be constituted as a separate State with a provision for unification with Andhra State after the 1961 general elections if a resolution could be passed in the Telangana State Assembly with a two-thirds majority.
The Chief Minister of Hyderabad State expressed his view that a majority of Telangana people were against the merger. However, he supported the Congress Party’s central leadership decided to merge Telangana and Andhra despite opposition in Telangana. Andhra State Assembly passed a resolution on 25 November 1955 to provide safeguards to Telangana. The resolution said, “Assembly would further like to assure the people in Telangana that the development of that area would be deemed to be a special charge and that certain priorities and special protection will be given for the improvement of that area, such as reservation in service and educational institutions on the basis of population and irrigational development.” An agreement was reached between Telangana leaders and Andhra leaders on 20 February 1956 to merge Telangana and Andhra with promises to safeguard Telangana’s interests.
But there have been several movements to invalidate the merger of Telangana and Andhra, and major ones occurred in 1969, 1972 and 2000 onwards. As the Telangana Movement gained momentum over decades becoming a widespread political demand of creating a new State, on 9 December 2009 the Central government announced process of formation of the Telangana State. However, the decision to form the new State was put on hold on 23 December 2009. The movement continued in Hyderabad and other districts of Telangana.
According to activists, during 2010-2012, over 300 young people killed themselves—16 by self-immolation—demanding more political control for the locals of Telangana. On 30 July 2013, the Congress Working Committee passed a resolution recommending a separate Telangana state from Andhra Pradesh, and Hyderabad to be the joint capital for 10 years. The split has been approved by the Parliament of India before the State is officially created.