Exploited Telangana- History of Struggle డిసెంబర్ 22, 2007Posted by Telangana Utsav in Hyderabad, Telangana, Telangana People.
The red revolt
by Amarnath K Menon
December 20, 2007
Visit any village deep in the dusty drylands of Telengana and encounter an unlettered elder. The instant greeting of submissive welcome will be “I am your slave.” This is the last remaining psychological scar of an insurrection that took place during the mid-’40s. The armed struggle against the feudal landlords—the jagirdars and deshmukhs—in the princely state of Hyderabad with exactions and forced labour, called vetti-chakiri, was responsible for the peasant uprising not only against the feudal landlords but also against the Nizam of Hyderabad himself.
The worst forms of exploitation followed by the landlords provided ideal conditions for an armed rebellion led by the communists with the slogan “land for the tiller”. One of the most vociferous demands of the movement was waiving the debts of the peasants.
The revolt in Telangana was sparked by the murder of Doddi Komarayya, a worker of the nascent nationalist movement called the Andhra Maha Sabha (AMS), in July 1946. The struggle took place at a time when the Nizam was trying to resist the efforts of the Indian government to merge his state with the Indian union.
The attacks by the Nizam’s police on the communists and the resultant counterattacks led to a ban on the Communist Party on December 3 that year. The Razakars— the newly formed fundamentalist militia of the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen— joined the Nizam’s army and the police in suppressing the peasantry.
Despite the reign of terror, the communists succeeded in establishing a parallel government in Nalgonda, Warangal and Khammam districts. The hated landlords, who were the pillars of the Nizam’s autocracy in rural areas, were driven out from their fortress-like houses and their lands seized by the peasantry.
The significance of this historic campaign is that it lasted for about five years and land was redistributed among the landless; evictions stopped and vetti-chakiri abolished. The plunder, exploitation and exorbitant rates of usury were either drastically cut down or banned altogether. The daily wages of agricultural labourers were increased and a minimum wage was enforced.
The sharp antagonism that developed between the peasantry and the landlords, effective control of AMS by the communists against Nizam’s autocracy and the Nizam’s refusal to join the Indian union resulted in the communist-led movement in the Hyderabad state gaining the character of a national liberation struggle. The aim was to free the people from the rule of the Nizam and also put an end to the feudal order.
The communists were as surprised as everyone else to see their efforts culminate in a series of successful attempts at organising the rebellion and the distribution of land. With the Nizam holding on, even after the proclamation of Indian Independence, the communists stepped up their campaign stating that the flag of the Indian union was also the flag of the people of Hyderabad, much against the wishes of the ruling Asaf Jah dynasty.Simultaneously, the Central government on September 13, 1948, initiated police action against Hyderabad not only to put an end to the Razakar terror but also the communists. Succumbing to pressure, the Nizam finally agreed to the accession. He surrendered on September 17, 1948, and the Razakars were disbanded.
The timely and effective police and military operations directed by India’s first home minister Sardar Vallabhai Patel smashed the strongholds of the agrarian revolution in Telangana and other areas in Hyderabad and also led to drastic measures against the communists throughout India. Their activities were declared unlawful, a ban slapped on the party and many leaders of the organisation were either forced to go underground or were imprisoned.
The Communist Party of India that had turned into an underground terrorist organisation finally called off its campaign on October 21, 1951, citing “increased repression by the Indian Army”. It agreed to give up violent activities and function as a legal party using constitutional methods to acquire power.
The revolt ensured the victory of the Communist Party in Andhra Pradesh in the 1952 elections. Land reforms were recognised as important and various acts were passed to implement them.
source: India Today, Dec 20, 2007 http://indiatoday.digitaltoday.in/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&&issueid=33&id=2698&Itemid=1&page=in&latn=2