Andhra Mahasabha was a people's organisation in the erstwhile Hyderabad state of India. Started as a subsidiary of the Indian National Congress, it had later moved away from it permanently to join hands with the Communist Party of India.
There was an increase in political and cultural awareness among people of Hyderabad State at the end of 19 th century. As the culture and language of the overwhelming majority of the people living in Hyderabad state was sought to be suppressed by the rulers the natural desire for education and cultural development, for protection and development of their mother tongue got inevitably linked up with the struggle against the Nizam's rule.
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,he was shouted by the audience who earlier spoke freely in English, Urdu and Marathi.This portrayed the true position of Telugu language in the Nizam state .
That very night "Andhra Jana Sangham" was started with the main intention of promoting Telugu language, literature, its books and historical research, with 11 members, in the forefront led by Suravaram Pratapareddy, Madapati Hanumantha Rao,Komarraju Venkata Lakshmana Rao and others.
Within 2 years 50 branches of it were established throughout the Telangana region. By 1923 Sri.Madapati Hanumantha Rao played a vital role in the central organisation of all the branches into " Nizam Rashtra Andhra Jana Kendra Sangham".
Regular conferences were held during 1923,1924,1925 and 1928 respectively.
In the 1930 conference the Andhra Jana Sangham had converted its name into 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 Andhra Mahila Sabha was also 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 Nizam Government developed a hostile attitude towards the Mahasabha and imposed several restrictions on it. Therefore Mahasabha could not get permission for three years until it held its third conference, at Khammam, in 1934, under the presidency of Pulijala Venkata Ranga Rao.
The Fourth Andhra Mahasabha At Sircilla 1935
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. Many important resolutions were passed in this conference.
- 1. Education system should be completely revised and the educational institutions should be recognised.
- 2. Compulsory primary education should be implemented.
- 3. Mother-tongue Telugu should be the Medium of Instruction.
- 4. The legitimate rights of the people in Jagirs should be protected.
- 5. Child marriages should be discouraged.
- 6. Local-self Government should be introduced.
- 7. Untouchability should be eradicated and the untouchables should be given due place in the society.
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.
The 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.
The Later Conferences of Andhra Mahasabha
The fifth conference of Andhra Mahasabha was held at Jagir village Shadnagar in 1936 under the presidency of Konda Venkata Ranga Reddy. The sixth conference held at Nizamabad in 1937 was presided over by Mandamula Narsinga Rao. When the Seventh conference was presided over by Mandamula Ramachandar Rao at Malkapur, young men like Raavi Narayan Reddy from Nalgonda, Kaloji Narayan Rao from Warangal and Polkampalli Venkatrama Rao from Karimnagar attended it. The delegates were divided into two distinct groups namely moderates and leftists. The eighth conference held at Chilkuru near Huzurnagar in Nalgonda district in 1941 was presided over by the Communist leader Raavi Narayana Reddy. The problems of women and the agricultural tenants were mainly discussed in this conference. The Ninth Andhra Mahasabha conference held in 1942 at Dharmavaram in Warangal district was presided over by Madiraju Rama Koteswara Rao. In 1943 the Tenth conference was held in Hyderabad. Konda Venkata Ranga Reddy belonging to moderates group having defeated the leftist leader Baddam Yella Reddy of Karimnagar district became the president of this conference. In the eleventh conference held at Bhuvanagiri in 1944 the communists dominated and their leader Raavi Narayan Reddy became the president. This Andhra Mahasabha attended by ten thousand people came under the control of communists. The communist leader Chandra Rajeshwar Rao addressed this eleventh session. This led to a split in the Mahasabha. Moderates like Konda Venkata Ranga Reddy and others formed a separate association called the Nationalist Andhra Mahasabha which held two sessions in 1945 and 1946. The last session of the Nationalist Andhra Mahasabha held at Kandi Village in Medak district in 1946 was presided over by Jamalapuram Keshava Rao. However the Nationalist Andhra Mahasabha ultimately merged itself into the Hyderabad State congress.
The Communist led Andhra Mahasabha held its twelfth session at Khammam in 1946 under the presidency of Raavi Narayan Reddy. More than forty thousand people attended this conference. On 3 December 1946 the communist party was banned and naturally the activities of Andhra Mahasabha came to a close.
The Telangana Rebellion
The last Nizam king, Mir Usman Ali Khan was very notorious for the strengthening of Feudalism in the Hyderabad state. The feudal lords, nobles and other government officials, known as Razakars exploited the poor peasants and workers of their wealth, property, land and many times raped their ladies. Common people had no way other than depending on the landlords' mercy for basic needs like food, shelter and clothing. This situation made the people very angry. Many communist leaders of the region inspired by the Russian Revolution have decided to overthrow the Nizam's rule.
Sri Madapati Hanumantha Rao started Andhra MahaSabha. It was in 1928 that the Andhra Mahasabha was organised under the leadership of Sri Madapati Hanumantha Rao and others. Its first conference was held in Jogipeta in 1930 under the chairmanship of Suravaram Pratapa Reddy. In conferences, it used to pass resolutions demanding certain reforms in the administrative structure, for more schools, for certain concessions for the landed gentry, for certain civil liberties, but did not try to mobilise the people and launch struggles against the oppressors or against the Nizam's Government. But it became in those wretched and tremendously oppressive conditions in Hyderabad state, a forum, a focal point for the rising democratic aspirations of the people. (written by Sri Puchalapalli Sundaraiah in his book 'Telangana People's struggles and its lessons')
The Communist Party of India organised a peasant led armed rebellion against the cruel rule of Nizam landlords under the banner of Andhra Mahasabha. Few among the well-known individuals at the forefront of the movement were great leaders like Anabheri Prabhakar Rao, Puchalapalli Sundaraiah, Chandra Rajeswara Rao, Raavi Narayana Reddy, the Urdu poet Makhdoom Mohiuddin, Hassan Nasir, Bhimreddy Narasimha Reddy, Mallu Venkata Narasimha Reddy, Mallu Swarajyam, Arutla Ramchandra Reddy and his wife Arutla Kamala bai. The rebellion is historically famous as the Telangana Rebellion and ended in October 1951.
The Comrades Association played an influential role in the guiding the Mahasabha.