a horror story

"the basic feature that dominated the socio-economic life of the people of hyderabad and especially in telangana was the unbridled feudal exploitation that persisted till the beginning of the telangana armed peasant struggle.
out of the 53 million acres in the whole of hyderabad state, about 30 million, that is about 60 per cent, were under the governmental revenue system (the diwani or khalsa area); about 15 million acres, that is, about 30 per cent, were under the jagirdari system; about 10 per cent constituted the nizam's direct estate (the sarf khas system)...
the income -or loot- from the sarf khas area, amounting to rs.20 million annually, was used entirely to meet the expenditure of the nizam's private estate. he was not bound to spend any amount for economic and social benefits of and for the development of the people's livelihood in that area. whatever was spent, was from the other general revenues of the state. in addition, the nizam was given rs.7 million per year from the state treasury. "

perhaps things were okay in the jagirdari area ?

" in the jagir areas, constituting 30 per cent of the state, paigas, samsthanams, jagirdars, ijardars, banjardars, maktedars, inamdars or agraharams, were the the various kinds of feudal oppressors. some of them used to impose and collect taxes through their own revenue officers. some of them paid a small portion to the state, while others were not required to pay anything at all. in these areas, various kinds of illegal exactions and forced labour were common. in the jagir areas, the land taxes on irrigation were ten times more than those collected in the diwani areas, amounting to rs.150 per acre, or 20-30 mounds of paddy per acre.
...the extent of exploitation by these jagirdars, paigas and samsthanams can be judged from the fact that 110 of them collected rs.100 million every year in various taxes or exactions from the peasantry. out of this amount, rs.55 million was appropriated by 19 of them. (it must be noted, by way of contrast, that the whole income of the hyderabad state before 1940 was no more than rs.80 million)."

at least the diwani areas had to be better..

"...apart from these were the deshmukhs and deshpandes who were earlier tax collectors for the government, but who were, after direct collection by the state apparatus was introduced, granted vatans or mash (annuities), based on a percentage of past collections, in perpetuity. these deshmukhs and deshpandes, as collectors of taxes, grabbed thousands of acres of the most fertile lands and made it their own property, reducing the peasants cultivating these lands to tenants-at-will.
these feudal oppressors had acquired these lands by innumerable foul means from the people. the major portion of the lands cultivated by the peasants came to be occupied by the landlords during the first survey settlement. using the power in their hands, they got lands registered in their names without the knowledge of the peasants cultivating them; the peasants came to know of this later, when it was too late to do anything. even lands which were left in the possession of the peasants in the survey settlement were occupied by the landlords in the years of the economic crisis of 1920-222 and 1930-33. owing to bad harvests or unfair prices for the crops, the peasants were unable to pay the taxes; the landlords tortured the peasants, unable to pay the taxes, and took possession of their lands. in many instances, the acquisition took place without the knowledge of the peasants. lending agricultural products like grain, chillies, etc., to the peasants at usurious rates, the feudal oppressors later confiscated the peasants' lands under the pretext of non-repayment of the loans.
the scale of the acquisition of lands can be judged from the fact that the jannareddy pratap reddy family had one and a half lakh acres of land, and had laid a mango grove on a plot of 750 acres.
....in short land concentration in the hyderabad state and the telangana region was tremendous. the adminstrative report of 1950-51 showed that in the three districts of nalgonda, mahbubnagar and warangal, the number of pattadars or landlords owning more than 500 acres each were about 550. they owned about 60 or 70 per cent of the total cultivable land."

what makes kcr so very nostalgic and misty-eyed about the glory of telangana of the nizam era? why does he keep talking, so very fondly, about 'our nawabs' ? one reason could be..that he was born in a house whose grounds itself covered six acres.

in a way, i should thank srt and cosmic voices for this post.


Cosmic Voices said...

too bad. you have denied me the opportunity to thank you first for this post with your preemptive "thanks". i wonder in which way i should be thanked.

btw, i heard sometime back that kcr was planning to sell nizam's jewels to raise funds for telangana development. i din't know he had a soft corner for the nizams, atleast publicly.

i don't read telugu and hindu doesn't give any coverage on telangana except for a few protests and gharoes. so i am missing out a lot on kcr and telangana.

i guess nizam is the simplest and easiest way to show that the telangana culture is different from the rest. irrespective of the context, most discussions on telangana, starts with nizam. ( as a compensation few passing references would be made to the rulers of hyderabad.) wonder why? did we not have a history before that?

gaddeswarup said...

I think that there is much in what you said; there is still misery in the regions ruled for a long time by the Nizam(s). Some of the circar districts escaped early and ceded districts later. I too get the 'impression' that some of the current problems are fuelled by people whose ancestors had much more hold over the region. I remember (vaguely) this period which P. Sundarayya is talking about since a number of relatives and family friends took part in the struggle. But I also rember some anecdotes which may explain some of the resentment. I do not have any statistics and have not closely followed the events after the 50's. but in the late 70's I worked in Shillong and found that the tribals resented Bengalis and Assamese. I think that after independence groups with knowledge, some technolgy and connections did use their advantages and used them for gain in areas away from their native areas. I think that similar things might have happened in Telangana. Around 1950 an acre of good wet land used to cost around 2000-3000 rupees in the Krishna delta area. I knew middle and lower middle class farmers who sold some land and bought land in Telangana area (where water facilities came later) for 10-50 rupees an acre. They struggled for a while and when water facilities came later, the land became valuable. Perhaps, they knew that the projects were coming. They also came from a tradition of such immigrations and enterprise. Perhaps their success might have caused resentment and it is also possible that the more successful people looked down on the local people who wasted their opportunities. With this kind of vague memories, I feel that there may be a mix of reasons for the current problems though the dominant reason may be Nizam' rule. These are vague memories from long ago. I may be very wrong.

kuffir said...

cosmic voices,

i had said you were partly responsible for this post - it's your response to one of my comments on your post 'edukotla...' that prompted me to find links that'd make available whatever resources are available on the net..that'd match whatever i had read earlier, ages ago, on the subject.

this post should be viewed in terms of being a part of series of posts i am doing on the issue of separate telangana. i am trying to explore the bacground, the pluses and minuses of the issue.

the separatists have a narrative which stresses on post-independence injustice/betrayal of telangana..i'm trying to point out that things were far from hunky-dory before independence. in fact they were far from even normal - they were incredibly worse than conditions in british-adminstered india. if anything, things have improved a lot since independence. please keep reading...i'd like your opinion on each following post...if possible.

kuffir said...


'I think that there is much in what you said; there is still misery in the regions ruled for a long time by the Nizam(s). Some of the circar districts escaped early and ceded districts later.'

as i said above, in my response to cosmic voices' comment, this is a part of a series of posts intended to rebut some of the key questions raised by the 'separate telangana' brigade. the point you make is very relevant here - you say 'the circar districts escaped early...the ceded districts..later'..

this is one fact that many telanganis and andhraites seem to ignore..that as recently as two hundred years ago most of us were under one rule.. the propaganda that the separatists are spreading..and which unfortunately a lot of ill-read people seem to believe is that - the telanganis and the andhraites never shared any common cultural, political roots apart from language ..given the size and spread of the telugu country it wasn't always possible for one dynasty/ruler to hold sway over the entire region - but despite this shortcoming there were many dynasties through the ages which accomplished this feat.. but what is more important is that the people were never constrained from establishing relationships across changing borders...though this happened less , unfortunately, after the accession of the circar / ceded districts.

'Around 1950 an acre of good wet land used to cost around 2000-3000 rupees in the Krishna delta area. I knew middle and lower middle class farmers who sold some land and bought land in Telangana area (where water facilities came later) for 10-50 rupees an acre. They struggled for a while and when water facilities came later, the land became valuable. Perhaps, they knew that the projects were coming.'

the whole narrative of disparity centres around the apparent prosperity of the four districts falling in the godavari-krishna delta regions..and the poverty of the telangana regions falling north of these borders. this confusion of these four 'rich' districts with the whole of andhra and rayalaseema distorts the formation of a clear perspective on disparity. the delta regions have to thank the british for their recently acquired poverty (one century and odd years old?)..and not even the whole area under the four districts can claim to be developed.. and not all the communities/castes from those regions can claim to be developed.

but the 'early prosperity' of these districts, in my view, helped the 'early formation' of an educated, mddle class in these districts which led to ..several other developments like..their early migration to control of urban assets like govt jobs, businesses, political positions etc., first in madras and later in andhra pradesh..

the districts in andhra/rayalaseema less endowed, in terms of natural resources, lagged a little..and sometimes a lot behind. but what helped them gain an edge over similar areas in telangana was that the relative 'progressiveness' of the british and the early, widespread introduction to western education and limited democracy...encouraged them to aspire..to education, jobs and..urban assets earlier.

'I feel that there may be a mix of reasons for the current problems though the dominant reason may be Nizam' rule.'

the nizam rule was atypical - not matched by any other large 'modern day' princely state in india.. it pushed the ordinary telanganis at least a half-century behind the rest of india..maybe more.

i have the same request, as i made to cosmic voices, for you ..i'd like your opinion on the 'telangana posts' that'd follow..now and then.

rc said...

Good work.

For someone not familiar with Telengana this is some good information.

The phenomenon of a vast majority of fertile land in a given area being owned by a handful of dominant castes is nothing new.

The Maapillais (Kerala) own the vast majority of coffee, tea, rubber, and pepper estates in Wayanad district Kerala. The Vokkaligas, Gounders, Naickers, each own vast tracts of the fertile lands in their areas of dominance. The list goes on.

kuffir said...


thank you for the kind words.

Cosmic Voices said...

i am happy that you would be posting a whole series on this.

i shall definetly try ("try" because exams nearing )to follow each of them and you can expect more queries than opinions.

personally, telangana issue made me realise the importance of knowing one's history. i was told that this region has its own culture that is distinctively different from the rest of ap.

i must tell you that your comment on the psychological aspect of telanganis in my post was quite insightful. it reminded me of this post

" In my region of Telangana, there’s a phrase Nee Baanchenu which is often used by rural or lower caste person when addressing a rich or upper caste person. Nee Baanchenu is Telangana Telugu equivalent of Nee Banisanu of Andhra Telugu, which literally translates to ‘I am your slave’. They include this in each of their sentences. Though there would be many out there who would caution me not to take such things literally, I do not think they can be brushed off so easily. To understand discrimination, one has to understand and acknowledge the importance of such literal usage and their history, because they are a consequence of something more innate to our society and has come into existence reflecting the ground realities of our times.....

....These words and phrases give clear indications of attitudes of that society."

the subject of the post might be different. but your comment vindicated sujai's thoughts. there is surely something more than what meets the eye.

kuffir said...


interesting link..but i don't whether he understands the full meaning of the term 'nee banchanu'.. i see that he is an effective transmitter of all that the trs has to say..

if you dismiss/don't understand the reasons behind the formation of one state ..you don't have any premise to insist on separation.

i'd be happier if these voices were raised in support of creation of the infrastructure that telangana lacks.

vibhor said...

hi kuffir,
i was almost ignorant about this.. thanx for provideing such a wonderful peice of information...

kuffir said...


welcome! glad you found the post interesting.

kiran kumar Chava said...

అబ్బా ఇంత పెద్ద పోస్టులు తెలుగులో కూడా వ్రాయవచ్చు కదా
త్వరగా చదివి తెలుసుకుంటాము :)

kuffir said...


i've tried various methods to install telugu lipi on my computer..but i've managed to read only very few sites with the installed programs . what i've right now is the sirigina package..but it's not helping me much..i'm a non-geek. what do you suggest?

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