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Jai Andhra, Jai Telangana: why a shared language wasn’t enough to unite Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh was created in 1956, with Hyderabad as its capital. Yet separatist movements had already emerged by the late 60s.

Jai Andhra, Jai Telangana: why a shared language wasn’t enough to unite Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh was created in 1956, with Hyderabad as its capital. Yet separatist movements had already emerged by the late 60s.

Jai Andhra, Jai Telangana: why a shared language wasn’t enough to unite Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh was created in 1956, with Hyderabad as its capital. Yet separatist movements had already emerged by the late 60s.

Jai Andhra, Jai Telangana: why a shared language wasn’t enough to unite Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh was created in 1956, with Hyderabad as its capital. Yet separatist movements had already emerged by the late 60s.

The Congress Party crushed the Jai Andhra and Jai Telangana separatist movements in 1973, but a lasting union was impossible.

The 1956 creation of Andhra Pradesh was based on the premise of state division along linguistic lines, making a state for all Telugu-speaking people. Yet there was always a sense of disunity between Andhra and Telangana, despite the shared language.

Culturally and historically, these two regions were dissimilar: Telangana had been part of the feudal state of the Nizam of Hyderabad, while Andhra was part of the colonial Madras Presidency. The everyday lives of the people in the two states during the first half of the twentieth century had been very different. The State Reorganisation Commission was well aware that a union could be problematic, as most of Telangana was less developed than coastal Andhra. In their final analysis, they advised against unification:

"After taking all these factors into consideration we have come to the conclusions that it will be in the interests of Andhra as well as Telangana, if for the present, the Telangana area is to constitute 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.”

Despite this recommendation, the government decided to go ahead with the unification of Andhra and Telangana into the state of Andhra Pradesh in 1956, with the provision of a “Gentleman’s Agreement” to safeguard Telangana against potential marginalisation and ensure that its people were equally represented.

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