Hyderabad CM Burgula Views about merger

Here is a letter from Chief Minister of Hyderabad state , Burgula Ramakrishna Rao to U. N. Dhar, President, Indian National Congress few months before the merger of Telangana (Telugu speaking areas of Hyderabad state ) and Andhra state to create Andhra Pradesh state on November 1st, 1956. .

The letter is highly significant for it reveals the thinking of Mr Burgula and his observations of the ground realities in Hyderabad state , and the impending merger of Telangana with Andhra .

Letter Text

From: Burgula Ramakrishna Rao
Chief Minister
To: Shri U. N. Dhebar
President Indian National Congress
New Delhi.

My dear Dhebarbhai,

What I am writing to you just now is in the nature of an interim report. Shri Bhargava is flying to Delhi tomorrow and I thought I should write to you lest the whole thing should be rather late. Yesterday and today I had the advantage of meeting a number of persons in individual and representative capacities. This morning both Shri Bhargava and myself had a little round of villages round about Hyderabad. It is not so very easy to assess the views of the people in any manner that can be called accurate. Besides the time at our disposal is so short that we have to do the assessment in a great hurry. Subject to these considerations I am giving below the assessment of the situation as I see it.

Mr Burgula's views on Merger of Telangana and Andhra

There is, no doubt, considerable agitation in Telangana on this important question. When I say considerable, it is of course nothing of the type we come across in Bombay. The agitation this side is spread over the whole province and not restricted only to cities. My estimate of the views of the people of Telangana is that the people by majority would desire Telangana to remain a separate state. There is a strong section of the people holding the other view, that is in favour of Vishalandhra, but the majority is decidedly in favour of retaining Telangana as a separate province as recommended by the S.R.C. The actual breakdown of views I shall try to give in a fuller report that I shall be sending from Bombay. There should, however, be no doubt in anybody's mind that the majority opinion is inclined towards a separate Telangana Province

Mr Burgula's views on Merger of Telangana and Andhra

I shall now briefly summarise the pros and cons of the situation. Those who desire the formation of Vishalandhra support their view on the following considerations:

  • Many of them would have desired the retention of Hyderabad State as it is at present, but since this is broken in linguistic pieces and since the big two pieces have gone to their respective linguistic units, the third also, viz. Telangana, should go to the large Andhra province.
  • The slogan of Vishalandhra has been in the field for a long time. It had its emotional appeal. In Hyderabad it represented the urge to break away from the feudal system. Hence they believe that Vishalandhra be formed to satisfy that urge.
  • The supporters of the Cultural Integration feel that it is better that two Telugu-speaking people living in contiguous areas should come together. For them there is a great cultural advantage in a bigger province. This is entirely an emotional approach to which a section of the literary people attach considerable importance.
  • In a bigger province, the expenditure of administration becomes less. Duplication and overlapping can be avoided. This is one important point in favour of Vishalandhra. There can be one Governor, one High Court, one Public Service Commission and many other departments can be reduced as compared to their double strength just now for two provinces.
  • There is also a belief that in a larger province there may be a larger scope for industrial development etc.

The enumeration of these points is rather illustrative than exhaustive. Those who are strongly agitating for the retention of Telangana as a separate province do so for, amongst others, the following reasons:-

  • They believe that the emotional urge for Vishalandhra has been considerably weakened after the formation of the separate Andhra state. It will further weaken with the creation of Telangana which is purely a Telugu state. There is no agitation of a strong character in Andhra on this subject while there is a strong agitation in Telangana not to merge with Andhra.

    Mr Burgula's views on Merger of Telangana and Andhra
  • If a separate Telangana is formed, it will not practically upset anybody. Ideologists and the people with emotional approach will be a little disappointed but there will be no agitation. On the contrar if Telangana is compulsorily merged with Andhra there will be considerable bitterness in Telangana with no adequate advantage on the other side.
  • Telanganites feel that apart from being Telugus they have built up their own way of life during the last 175 years. This way of life is in many respects different from the way of life of the Telugus in Andhra. The merger, they fear, will destroy this way of life. That is why they are worried.
  • Quite a large number of Telanganites are Urdu-knowing and Urdu-speaking people. For more than a hundred years Urdu has had its place in the life of the people. The administration is carried on in Urdu, records are maintained in Urdu, courts conduct their proceedings in Urdu, lawyers and other professionals carryon their work in Urdu. They are, naturally afraid that the merger would take away the importance of Urdu in their life. They do not like this prospect.

    Mr Burgula's views on Merger of Telangana and Andhra
  • Educationally Telangana is very backward as compared to Andhra. They are particularly backward in the study of English for which there are either no facilities or very poor facilities. They are, therefore, afraid that in the matter of service in a bigger province, they will be at a terrific disadvantage. While there are thousands of graduates and M.A's in Andhra, there are not even a few hundreds in Hyderabad. No guarantees can level up this great deficiency. Services, therefore, are afraid of an adverse effect of the merger.
  • Economically, Telanganites are afraid that they will be sufferers in Vishalandhra. On an average, Telanganites are poor people. They have no money reserves as some people in Andhra have. They are afraid there would be an immediate exploitation in land and even in trade, small and big. They have got many instances where Telugus from Andhra do not hesitate to exploit the Telugus from Telangana economically when they get an opportunity to do so. This is by far their biggest fear.

    Mr Burgula's views on Merger of Telangana and Andhra
  • Although the language is common, there are instances that there is no love lost between the Telugus in both the states. The classical example of this mutual dislike can be found in the attitude of Andhra officers during the Razakar agitation and immediately after the accession of Hyderabad. While, they say, the Marathi, Kannads and other officers were comparatively kind to the people of Hyderabad, Andhra officers were particularly harsh and unrelenting. There are bad memories left. These memories are so fresh in the minds of the Telanganites that they do not want to be at the mercy of their brethren in Andhra.
  • The Communists and the Communalists, as in similar cases in other parts of India, having made common cause in demanding Vishalandhra, the other sections are rather doubtful whether it would lead to the happiness of the people on both sides. They believe that for the Communists and Communalists, it is a political game. They are not sincere in their support of a larger province.
  • Those who desire a separate Telangana as recommended by the S.R.C. are prepared, as they say, for any test to ascertain the wishes of the people. They claim that in a test it can be found that a larger majority of Telanganites are opposed to the merger. They also claim that if elections are held on this issue they would not yield even a single seat either to the Communists, the Communalists or even the sponsors of Vishalandhra.

    Mr Burgula's views on Merger of Telangana and Andhra

I have sketchily summarised some of the pros and cons of the situation. It would be wrong on my part to give any opinion of mine. I have kept my mind open on the subject. I have summarised the situation in an objective and dispassionate manner. I shall write more about this in my fuller review of the situation from Bombay. I may however, add one thing that in case Telangana is kept a separate unit there is no harm in having common aspects of the administration common. For example, the Governor, High Court, and the public service commission can be common for both units. I write this subject to the decision of the high command in this respect.

With my kindest personal regards

Yours sincerely,
Sd/- B. Ramakrishna Rao