Telangana Rebellion

The Telangana Rebellion (IAST: tělaṃgāṇā věţţi cākiri udyamaṃ, "Telangana Bonded Labour Movement"; alternatively, tělaṃgāṇā raitāṃga sāyudha pōrāţaṃ, "Telangana Peasants Armed Struggle") was a peasant rebellion against the feudal lords of the Telangana region in the princely state of Hyderabad. The rebellion was one of the first large scale struggles of Indian peasants.[1]

Telangana Rebellion
Communist Party of India
Commanders and leaders
Raavi Narayana Reddy
Hassan Nasir
Bhimreddy Narasimha Reddy
Nandyala Srinivasa Reddy
Chandra Rajeswara Rao
Makhdoom Mohiuddin
Hyderabad State


The revolt started in 1946 against the oppressive feudal lords and quickly spread to the Warangal and Bidar districts in around 4000 villages. Peasant farmers and labourers revolted against local feudal landlords (jagirdars, doras deshmukhs).[2] Telangana had a feudal landowning system due to the Nizam's militaristic rule, and the Nizam utilized deshmukhs and doras to extract rent and revenues from his citizenry.[3] These deshmukhs, jagirdars, and doras were predominantly from the Deshastha,[4] Reddy,[3] Kamma,[3] Muslim, and Velama social groups.[5][6] But this peasant rebellion was more of a class conflict than caste conflict because people from the same communities often fought on different sides of the rebellion, such as Reddy farmers fighting Reddy landlords in Telangana.[7] Most of the armed peasant squads in this struggle were dominated by Reddy and Kapus, which would impact land distribution.[8]

Chakali Ilamma, who belonged to the Rajaka caste, had revolted against 'zamindar' Ramachandra Reddy,[9] during the struggle when he tried to take her 4 acres of land. Her revolt inspired many to join the movement. The agitation led by communists was successful in taking over 3000 villages from the feudal lords and 10,00,000 acres of agriculture land was distributed to landless peasants. However, the Dalits that had fought alongside peasants in the armed squads were still practically left landless, with nothing but common and waste lands.[8] Around 4000 peasants lost their lives in the struggle fighting feudal private armies.

It later became a fight against Nizam Osman Ali Khan, Asif Jah VII. The initial modest aims were to do away with the illegal and excessive exploitation administered by these feudal lords in the name of bonded labour. The most strident demand was for the elimination of all debts of the peasants that were manipulated by the feudal lords.

Nizam's resistance to join India/PakistanEdit

With Hyderabad's administration failing after 1945, the Nizam succumbed to the pressure of the Muslim elite and gave-in to the Razzakar Movement. At the same time, the Nizam resisted the Indian government's efforts to bring Hyderabad State into the Indian Union and also did not intend to join Pakistan. The Indian government sent the army in September 1948 to annex Hyderabad. The Communist party had already instigated the peasants to use guerrilla tactics against the Razzakars and around 3000 villages (about 41000 km2) had come under peasant rule. The landlords were either killed or driven out and the land was redistributed. These victorious villages established communes reminiscent of Soviet mirs to administer their region. These community governments were integrated regionally into a central organization. The rebellion was led by the Communist Party of India under the banner of Andhra Mahasabha.

Among the well-known individuals at the forefront of the movement were Ravi Narayana Reddy, Maddikayala Omkar, Maddikayala Lakshmi Omkar, Puchalapalli Sundarayya, Pillaipalli Papireddy, Makhdoom Mohiuddin, Sulaiman Areeb, Hassan Nasir, Manthrala Adi Reddy, Mallu Swarajyam, Mallu Venkata Narasimha Reddy, Bhimreddy Narasimha Reddy, Nandyala Srinivasa Reddy, Aruthula Kamaladevi and Bikumalla Sathyam.[citation needed]

The violent phase of the movement ended in 1951, when the last guerilla squads were subdued in the Telangana region.[10]

Annexation of Hyderabad StateEdit

The rebellion and the subsequent police action led to the capture of Hyderabad state from the Nizam's rule on 17 September 1948 and after a temporary military administration, it was merged into India. In the process tens of thousands of people lost their lives, the majority that died during the army's movement being Muslims. According to the Sunderlal report, which has not been officially released, around 50,000 Muslims were massacred.[11] Other estimates by responsible observers run as high as 200,000.[11] The Communist Party of India, although weak today, still retains strong support in the grassroots of Telangana. Puchchalapalli Sundaraiah went on to become the first leader of opposition in independent India.[12]

The last Nizam Asaf Jah VII was made the Rajpramukh of the Hyderabad State from 26 January 1950 to 31 October 1956. The 1952 elections led to the victory of the Congress party in Hyderabad state. Burgula Ramakrishna Rao was first Chief Minister of the Hyderabad state from 1952 to 1956. In 1956, Hyderabad State was merged with Andhra State to form Andhra Pradesh. It was again separated from Andhra Pradesh to establish the State of Telangana in 2014.{{citation needed|May 2021]]

Land reformEdit

The revolt ensured the victory of the Communist Party in Andhra Pradesh in the 1952 elections. Land reforms were recognised as important and various acts were passed to implement them.[13]

In popular cultureEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Reddi, M. P. R. (1986). Peasant and State in Modern Andhra History. Clio Book Club. p. 151.
  2. ^ "Decline of a Patrimonial Regime: The Telangana Rebellion in India, 1946-51". 14 May 2009. Archived from the original on 23 October 2012. Retrieved 13 July 2012. deletion notice issued for this website
  3. ^ a b c Sharma, Chanchal Kumar; Swenden, Wilfried (7 December 2018). Understanding Contemporary Indian Federalism: Competing Perspectives, New Challenges and Future Directions. Routledge. pp. 157–158. ISBN 978-1-351-25971-2.
  4. ^ Mysore Narasimhachar Srinivas (1977). Dimensions of social change in India. Indian Council of Social Science Research, Allied Publishers. p. 288. ISBN 9780836401455.
  5. ^ Thirumali, Inukonda (2003). Against Dora and Nizam: People's Movement in Telangana, 1939-1948. Kanishka Publishers. p. 30. ISBN 978-81-7391-579-6.
  6. ^ Satyanarayana, A. (1993). "Land, Caste And Dominance In Andhra Pradesh". Proceedings of the Indian History Congress. 54: 641–644. ISSN 2249-1937. JSTOR 44143038 – via JSTOR.
  7. ^ Balagopal, K.; Haragopal, G. (1988). Probings in the Political Economy of Agrarian Classes and Conflicts. Perspectives. p. 12.
  8. ^ a b Chhotray, Vasudha (1 March 2011). The Anti-Politics Machine in India: State, Decentralization and Participatory Watershed Development. Anthem Press. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-85728-841-7.
  9. ^ "Demand for installing Chakali Ilamma's statue". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 1 November 2010. Archived from the original on 5 November 2010.
  10. ^ "Declassify report on the 1948 Hyderabad massacre". Retrieved 25 September 2013.
  11. ^ a b Aiyar, SA (25 November 2012). "Declassify report on the 1948 Hyderabad massacre". Times of India. Times of India. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
  12. ^ "Hyderabad 1948: India's hidden massacre". BBC News. 24 September 2013.
  13. ^ K. Menon, Amarnath (31 December 2007). "The red revolt" (Text). India Today. Retrieved 17 November 2013.


  • Arutla, Ramachandra Reddy. Telangana Struggle Memoirs,(New Delhi: 1984). people s publishing house. OCLC 832196203.
  • Thirumali, Inukonda (2003). Against Dora and Nizam: People's Movement in Telangana. Kanishka Publishers, New Delhi. ISBN 81-7391-579-2.

External linksEdit

[[Category:Conflicts in 1951]