Telangana Maha Sabha

The Telangana Maha Sabha was the next step in organizing intellectuals into a single platform. It was a peoples’ assembly organized at Suryapeta in the Nalgonda district on 11 April 1997, which was led by Maroju Veeranna. The songs sung by Belli Lalitha at this platform brought her into the limelight with the Telangana community. This platform questioned the authority of higher castes over the lower castes to subjugate them. The speakers like Prof. Jayshankar, GadeInnaiah, Dushcherla Satyanarayana and Mandali Satyanarayana were the eminent speakers who demanded a separate Telangana state. The main demands put forward were the formation of Telangana with 10 districts, stoppage to construction of Polavaram and Pulichinthala projects, distribution of surplus land to poor, an end to extrajudicial killings in the name of Naxalites, ban on privatization of public property and more.

According to the Backward Regions Grant Fund 2009–10, 13 backward districts are located in Andhra Pradesh: nine (all except Hyderabad) are from Telangana and the rest are from other regions. Proponents of a separate Telangana state feel that the agreements, plans, and assurances from the legislature and Lok Sabha over the last fifty years have not been honoured, and as a consequence Telangana has remained neglected, exploited, and backward. They allege that the experiment to remain as one state has proven to be a futile exercise and that separation is the best solution. The people of Telangana are once again restive, reiterating their demand for a separate state. The demand of the people of this region for a separate state is not a new development. It was voiced much before the formation of Andhra Pradesh and continues to be raised even thereafter. The reason for the opposition of people of Telangana to join Visalandhra (metamorphosed to Andhra Pradesh) was fear of neglect and injustice in the enlarged state and the reason for their refusal to continue in the present state is the actual experience of becoming victims of neglect and injustice. The States Reorganization Commission (SRC) set up by the government of India in early 50s to examine the question of reorganization of states of the country was, in fact, not in favour of merging the Telangana region with the then Andhra state.

After a very careful examination of the issues involved the SRC recommended: It will be in the interest of Andhra as well as Telangana if, for the present, the Telangana area is constituted into a separate state which may be known as the Hyderabad state, with provision for its unification with Andhra after the general elections likely to be held in or about 1961, if by two-thirds majority the legislature of the residuary Hyderabad state expresses itself in favour of such unification”.

The Gentlemen’s Agreement of 1956, which was an assurance of fair play given to the people of Telangana to facilitate the formation of Andhra Pradesh, was scuttled the very same day on which the state was born, by the very same “Gentlemen” who were signatories to the agreement. The result was a massive revolt of the people of the region in 1968-69 demanding separation of Telangana from the state of Andhra Pradesh. It has come to be known as Jai Telangana Movement. The governments of the time in the state and at the centre then woke up and tried (or pretended) to undo the damage done to the region.

The first step taken in that direction was the All-Party Accord of January 1969 arrived at a meeting of the leaders of all political parties in the state convened by the then chief minister Brahmananda Reddy. But it was shelved in less than six months’ time. Thereafter, a couple of packages were announced by the prime minister of the time, Indira Gandhi, styled as Eight Point Formula and Five Point Formula. When the modalities of giving effect to these packages were being worked out the supreme court of India gave a historic judgement validating, what were then known as, Mulki Rules. This judgement upheld the rule of reserving employment and

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