Pratap Kishore – founder of Telangana Praja Samiti జనవరి 4, 2012Posted by M Bharath Bhushan in 1969, agitation, Andhra, Hyderabad, Identity, Mulki, politics, regionalism, Telangana.
Tags: Basheerbagh, Chenna Reddy, Madan Mohan, Musheerabad jail, telangana leaders, Telangana Martyrs' Memorial, Telangana Praja Samithi, TPS
Pratap Kishore – Founder and torch bearer of Telangana Praja Samiti
Pratap Kishore, the founder of the Telangana Praja Samiti, and the first person to speak for a separate state was born on October 9, 1933 in Hyderabad, Telangana, to Chandravati and Hind Kishore, an aristocrat of Hyderabad.
Pratap Kishore studied in Grammar School up to class 8, after which he shifted to Madras-e-Alia, now Alia College. He completed his matriculation from Alia and joined the Nizam College from where he studied for both his intermediate and Bachelor of Arts degree. After graduation Pratap Kishore entered the portals of Osmania University to study for a Diploma in Journalism. On completing Journalism course, Pratap Kishore joined the Indian Express as an intern. Later in the early 60’s he joined the Deccan Chronicle as a reporter. And went to become the Special Correspondent for the paper in New Delhi. As a reporter Pratap travelled across the state and was moved by the plight of the Telangana people and the slow domination of the Andhra’s which was beginning to show.
Pratap Kishore’s fight for a separate Telangana State started in 1956, when the state of Andhra Pradesh was formed by merging the Hyderabad state and the Andhra state against the recommendations of the Fazal Ali Commission popularly known as the SRC commission, and the will of the Telangana people. He had the foresight to see the systematic degeneration the region will be forced into if it was merged with the state of Andhra.
In 1969, Pratap Kishore along with Keshava Rao and other Telangana leaders formed the TPS, “Telangana Praja Samiti”. The TPS spear headed the agitation for a separate Telangana in 1969, in which over 360 students were shot dead. The founders of the TPS like Pratap Kishore were all employed in private service and hence could not take up the party positions. And the leadership was passed on to Chenna Reddy and Madan Mohan.
Pratap Kishore, the man behind the 1969 agitation had to go underground to evade arrest and detention by the Andhra police but was arrested in November of 1969, and detained in Musheerabad jail. While in the jail Pratap Kishore organized a meeting of jailed Telangana fighters and the minutes and resolution passed in this meeting within the jail were smuggled out and reported in the national media, needless to say it created a furore within the state and national government. Seeing the condition in which the students were being held in the Jail, Pratap Kishore led a hunger strike with the result that the students were treated as political prisoners and not like common criminals as was then happening.
Pratap Kishore, a staunch separatist spent the years from 1980 to 2004 in carrying out his crusade for a separate state of Telangana and kept the cause alive during the bleak 1980’s and 90’s when no one dared speak of a separate state. He revived the Telangana Praja Samiti in 1984 and held Telangana conventions in Hyderabad, Warangal and Mahbubnagar as well as mohallah meetings across Hyderabad. In June 1987, Pratap Kishore lead a 5 member TPS team on a padayatra from the Charminar in Hyderabad to Delhi, to highlight the cause of Telangana. In 1985 the TPS as a protest against the unhygienic living conditions in the city and the apathy of the Government, presented a kilo of garbage collected from the overflowing and uncleared garbage dumps in the city to Mr. NT Rama Rao, the CM of Andhra Pradesh. The direct fallout of this was the holding of the Municipal Council elections in 1986.
From 1985 to 2003 Pratap Kishore led the TPS in a dawn to dusk fast every November 1, at the Telangana Martyrs’ Memorial in Basheerbagh, as a mark of respect for the martyrs who laid down their lives in 1969, fighting for a separate state. This in spite of the fact that from 1996 he was a cardiac patient and was on medical support. As General Secretary of TPS, Pratap Kishore published a large number of status reports on the lack of development and the injustice done to Telangana and tried to build Governmental consensus for a Separate Statehood. In 2000 at an open house organized by the State Electricity Board and the World Bank, which had granted a loan of Rs 4,200 crore to the ASPSEB, Pratap Kishore spoke against the APSEB’s practice of billing the consumers bi-monthly and charging an interest on the previous months consumption. He stated that this was hurting the middle class citizens especially those living on their pensions. Wherein instead of making one small payment each month they were being forced to make one big payment for two months plus interest and taxes. This he said was breaking the finances and the back bone of the retired senior citizens making their ends meet on their pensions. This speech of his received a standing ovation and the World Bank took up the issue with the result that APSEB today sends out monthly bills.
In fact, most of the works published by him “Towards Telangana State” “How to achieve Telangana” spoke about the ways of protest we today talk about like boycotting Andhra products and traders, not letting out homes to Andhra’s, support and preference for Telangana people while selecting them for jobs. Pratap Kishore a journalist, a writer he wrote over 100 short stories, Urdu couplets and a die hard Telangana separatist breathed his last on January 29, 2004 surrounded by his family. As per his wishes, his ashes were immersed in the Sangam of the Isa and Musa rivers in Hyderabad, as he wanted his ashes to be mingled with the soil of Telangana.
Pratap Kishore was wont to say, “I may die but will never be dead until Telangana is formed. And it is a belief of all those who were touched by him, that his soul will rest in eternal peace only when Telangana state is formed.