Demand for Employment of Local people

As early as 1952, people of Hyderabad had revolted against alien rule. Six students laid down their lives in the anti-non-Mulki agitation. This agitation too was betrayed as also the 1956 agitation against the merger of Telangana with the Andhra State.

The policy of intervention began in 1868 when the traditional ruler of Hyderabad State initiated steps to ensure that local people (or as they are called in Urdu, mulkis) would be given preferences in employment in the administrative services, a policy that continues, in a more complex form, to the present day.

In post-independence India it was the Hindu middle classes in the Telangana region who demanded preferences in government employment against the middle class migrants from the Telugu-speaking areas (in particular the Northern Circars districts) in eastern India. The common thread is a set of government policies known as the mulki rules whose history and consequences this monograph traces in considerable detail.

Prior to 1947 a number of steps were taken to enhance the opportunities for local people: the switch from Persian to Urdu as the official language of government improved the competitive position of local Muslims; so did the establishment of Osmania University (today one of India’s paramount educational institutions) in Hyderabad. But the mulki rules, however inadequately enforced, provided the legal basis for giving preferences to those who were born in Hyderabad or had been residents of the region for at least fifteen years.

The Hindu middle classes that took control of Hyderabad after 1947 were most reluctant to give up this legal protection, especially when it became apparent that their efforts to replace the dominant Muslim bureaucracy were being thwarted by the better educated, politically aggressive Telugu middle class migrants from Madras. When the Telugu-speaking areas of India were brought together to form a single linguistic state known as Andhra Pradesh, the Hindu middle classes of Telangana were particularly concerned about their ability to compete for positions in the state administrative services.

The growth of demands for local preferences in public employment by the Telangana middle classes were basically due to four critical factors:

(1) the rapid growth of education in the Telangana region, with high school attendance alone leaping from 82,000 in 1956-57 to 440,000 only a decade later;

(2) a corresponding increase in the number of educated young people entering the labor force, as indicated by substantial yearly increases in registrations at the employment exchanges, especially in the urban areas;

(3) the importance of employment in government in a state where over 600,000 persons work for state, quasi-government, and local bodies, and another 151,000 work for the central government; and

(4) a growth in migration to Hyderabad city from the coastal Andhra districts by the educated middle classes seeking and (in spite of the mulki rules) obtaining positions in the state government and elsewhere.

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