Role of Andhra Mahasabha

Role of Andhra Mahasabha

Communist organizing in the state had begun only in 1938 when
the newly formed unit of the CPI got in touch with members of progressive groups in Hyderabad, ranging from members of the Mahasabha and Maharashtra Parishad to the ‘Comrades’ Association’ among progressive Muslims. In 1939 these groups
converged into the Nizam State Communist Committee. The Andhra Mahasabha
became the centre of activity, and communists found a base in the rural areas of
Telangana where commercial agriculture was beginning to provide scope for a newly assertive peasantry. Initially, the Mahasabha started out as a literacy movement with the nomenclature Andhra Jana Sangham, but soon turned into a political platform for progressive leadership. In the 1930 conference, the Andhra Jana Sangham had converted its name to Andhra Maha Sabha and the use of the word ‘Andhra’ was quite objectionable to the Nizam’s government but the Telangana leaders stuck to it and refused to substitute it by the word Telugu or Telangana. The Communists made good use of the platform to launch a militant movement against the feudal regime in the Telangana region of Hyderabad state.

In an atmosphere of illiteracy, ignorance and feudal rule, there were only a few
enlightened social workers in the city. Some of them were Unnava Venkataramiah,
Madapati Hanumantha Rao, Suravaram Pratap Reddy, Ravi Narayan Reddy, T.Anantha Venkat Rao, Ramachandra Reddy Deshmukh, Alladurgam, Gopala Venkat
Rao and Datta Narayana who constituted themselves into an organization called the Andhra Maha Sabha. It is also significant to note that along with the Andhra Maha Sabha conferences, Andhra Mahila conferences were also held in 1930.

The most harmful practice that the Sangham endeavored to stop was ‘begar’, a
form of forced labour. According to this system, government officers, Patels,
Patwaries, Deshmukhs and Deshpandes exercised a right to employ the skill and labor of craftsmen for their own benefit without any payment to the workmen. Though the Nizam had issued firmans against the evil practice of enlisting forced labor, there was no relief for the victims. Therefore the Sangam published a booklet in Telugu and conveyed the knowledge of the firman to all the sufferers. The other forceful demand was to abolish Urdu as a medium of instruction to Hindu girls. The Mahasabha also fought against the evil practice of devadasi system.

By the year 1938, strong leanings towards Communism began to appear
among some members of the group. The split in the group began to appear between nationalist persons like M. Ramachandra Rao and Ravi Narayan Reddy, the
Communist leader. The 11th and 12th annual conferences of the Sabha were held at Bhuvanagiri and Khammam under the Presidency of Narayana Reddy alone. The
Andhra Communist leaders including Chandra Rajeshwara Rao participated in the
conference which was attended by more than ten thousand people. K.V. Ranga Reddy and M. Ramachandra Rao denounced the session as a Communist Party meeting and organized a rival Sabha called the Nationalist Andhra Maha Sabha. This Sabha held two sessions in 1945 and 1946 and then decided to merge itself with its counter parts – the Maharashtra Parishad and the Mysore Parishad in the Hyderabad State Congress. The Sabha under the Communists held its 12th session at Khammam 1945 and more than 40,000 attended the conference. On 3rd December 1946, the Communist Partywas banned and naturally the activities of the Andhra Maha Sabha also came to a halt.

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