Socio-cultural awakening in Telangana
As this emerging, partly-educated Dalit middle class began to enter social life, the radicalization among Dalits throughout south India brought with it identification with the ‘adi’ ideology. It was Bhagyareddy Varma himself who presided over the momentous conference at Vijayawada in 1913 when the ‘Panchama’ identity was rejected and over a number of conferences after that. Nevertheless, in Hyderabad they took up an ‘Adi-Hindu’ theme: four Adi-Hindu conferences were organized between 1912 and 1924, and gradually the main organizers began to use this terminology. In 1924 Arigay Ramaswamy formed the Adi-Hindu Jatiyonnati Sabha; not to be outdone; Bhagyareddy transformed his Manya Sangam into the Adi-Hindu Social Service League. This became the main organization of the Dalits of Hyderabad, a feat attributed to his energetic organizing and ability to gain support from liberal Hindu sympathizers. Along with the traditional aims of internal reform (‘removing social evils, establishing schools, societies, reading rooms, bhajan mandalis’), the aims of the organization included ‘removing ignoble appellations and spreading the identity of ‘Adi-Hindu’’.
This term was spreading among sections of north Indian Chamars at this time claiming them, to be exploited and conquered original inhabitants and Bhagyareddy himself travelled to north India for some of the conferences, notably two in 1927 and 1930, which described the ‘depressed classes’ or ‘adi-Hindus’ as ‘descendents of the original inhabitants of this country who were rulers and owners of this land of their birth before the advent of the Aryans to the country.
This was familiar anti-caste radicalism. But ‘Adi-Hindu’ could also leave space for identification as Hindus with simply the assertion added that Dalits could claim a high position within the total community, that they had been among the creators of the Hindu epics.
A controversy recently raged in the press as to whether the Adi-Hindus are Hindus. While the caste Hindus maintained a discrete silence, two opposing sections of Adi-Hindus entered the arena. The Adi-Dravida Educational League argued that, judged by the history, philosophy and civilization of the Adi-Dravidas, the real aborigines of the Deccan, the Depressed Classes are, as a community, entirely separate and distinct from the followers of Vedic religion, called Hinduism. The League’s contention was that Hinduism is not the ancestral religion of the aborigines of Hindustan; that the non-Vedic communities of India object to being called ‘Hindu’ because of their inherited abhorrence of the doctrines of the Manusmruti and like scriptures, who have distinguished themselves from caste Hindus for centuries past, that the Vedic religion which the Aryans brought in the wake of their invasion was actively practiced upon the non-Vedic aborigines, and that the aborigines, coming under the influence of the Hindus, gradually and half-consciously adopted Hindu ideas and prejudices. A section of Adi-Hindus emphatically repudiated the above arguments in a statement in the press and deplored the tendency of the Adi-Dravida Educational League to seek to impose an invidious distinction. The concepts of God, the mode of worship, the system of rituals and code of customs and the manner of dress and way of life of the socially depressed classes are identical with those of the caste Hindus, and therefore they maintain that religiously adi-Hindus are Hindus.
Andhra Mahasabha was a people's organisation in the erstwhile Hyderabad state of India. Started under the name Andhra Janasangham (Andhra People's Society) in 1921, the Andhra Mahasabha spearheaded people's awareness and people's movements among the Telugu-speaking populace of the state and eventually joined hands with the Communist Party of India to launch the Telangana movement.
There was an increase in political and cultural awareness among people of Hyderabad State at the end of 19th century. A triggering incident that led to the kindling of Telugu people's self-respect in Hyderabad state occurred on 12 November 1921, in the Nizam State "social conference" when a Telugu lawyer, Mr. Allampalli Venkata Rama Rao, spoke in Telugu on a resolution. Allampalli Venkata Rama Rao was heckled and shouted at by those in attendance in the audience, among whom were speakers who earlier spoke freely in English, Urdu and Marathi. This event is thought to have mobilized the sentiment of Telugu-language speakers and the perception of that language's "true position" in Hyderabad State That night witnessed the creation of the "Andhra Jana Sangham" with the stated intention of promoting Telugu language, literature, its books and historical research, with eleven members led by Suravaram Pratapareddy, Madapati Hanumantha Rao, Komarraju Venkata Lakshmana Rao, Duvvuri Subbamma and others. Regular conferences were held during 1923, 1924, 1925 and 1928. During the 1930 conference, the Andhra Jana Sangham changed its name to the Andhra Mahasabha. The Andhra Mahasabha, formed in 1930, pushed for the social and cultural development of the people of Telangana. Its first conference was held in 1930 at Jogipet in Medak district under the presidency of Suravaram Pratap Reddy. A women's conference called the Andhra Mahila Sabha was held simultaneously with the Andhra Maha Sabha under the presidency of Nadimpalli Sundaramma. Burgula Ramakrishna Rao presided over the second conference held at Devarakonda in 1931.
The fourth Andhra Mahasabha, held at Sircilla in Karimnagar district, was presided over by Madapati Hanumantha Rao in 1935, while his wife Manikyamba presided over the Andhra Mahila Sabha simultaneously at the same place. The speakers started speaking in Telugu in this conference giving up Urdu, Marathi and English. A primary form for the constitution of Andhra Mahasabha was given in this conference.
The leaders like Baddam Yella Reddy, Anabheri Prabhakar Rao, Singireddy Bhoopathi Reddy and the social reformer Bhoomaiah vakil (pleader) played important role in organising this conference. Representatives from all the taluks of the district attended this conference. From Jagtial Kasam Shivaraja Gupta, Jaisetty Lakshmirajam Gupta and Siddamsetti Sangaiah etc. attended it. The branch of Andhra Mahasabha was opened by Kasam Shivaraja Gupta at Jagtial. Raghunath Kache, who attended this conference, established the Andhra Mahasabha branch at Manthani. After the conference of Sircilla, a permanent office of Andhra Maha Sabha was opened at Boiwada in Karimnagar. Baddam Yella Reddy was elected as the District president of Mahasabha, while Anabheri Prabhakar Rao was elected as secretary. Damodar Rao of Gundi-Ramadugu was put in charge of the office. The branches of Andhra Maha Sabha were opened at Sircilla, Jagtial, Manthani, Peddapalli, Metpalli, Koratla, Choppadandi, Sultanabad, Huzurabad and several other places in Karimnagar district.
he popular leaders like K.V.Ranga Reddy, J.V.Narasing Rao, Suravaram Pratap Reddy, Raavi Narayana Reddy, Baddam Yella Reddy etc. participated in the Sircilla conference on 6 September 1935. The famous weight lifter Kodi Rama Krishna of Vijayawada is said to have exhibited his feats in this conference. The offices of Andhra Mahasabha opened in the district carried on a campaign against Vetti Chakiri or forced labour, compulsory levy system of paddy and the exploitation of the masses by the privileged class like landlords, Jagirdars and Deshmukhs. The Volunteers of the Mahasabha helped the weavers in getting the cotton thread supplied by the Government on ration cards. They worked for the fair distribution of the cotton thread without allowing scope for black marketing.
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