Geophysical Nature of Telangana

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By Tadakamalla Vivek

T. VivekIf history is about narration of change, June 2nd 2014 should be reckoned as great divide in the lives of people of Telangana. A democratic struggle of six decades for statehood culminated in the form of Telangana, a distinct geophysical region within the erstwhile state of Andhra Pradesh, becoming the 29th state of Union of India. The state is surrounded in its north western and northern directions by Maharashtra. Karnataka encircles the stte towards the west and Chattisgarh lies to its north eastern direction. To the east lie Odisha and residuary Andhra Pradesh. Most part of the state lies on the Deccan plateau. The state extends from 15degrees 50 minutes to 19 degrees 55 minutes North latitude and 77 degrees 14 minutes and 78 degrees 48 minutes East longitude. It is near triangular with the Penganga, Wardha, Pranahita and Godavari as its Northern boundary. River Krishna and Tungabhadra serve as its southern boundary. there is no prominent physical feature to serve as a boundary in the west. 

Spatially Telangana is land locked. It is spread over an area of over 1,14, 840 sq.kms with a population of 3.52 crores making it the 12th largest and populous state in India. The metrolitan city of Hyderabad serves as capital of Telangana and residuary of AP. However the latter shall also have it as its capital for not more than ten years as per the AP Reorganisation Act 2014. Hyderabad’s metropolitan dominance is overwhelming and that explains the absence of other large towns in the state of Telanana. The distinctive urban pattern of Telangana is one of very few big towns and many medium and small towns. 

Telangana is situated on the Deccan plateau having highly eroded flat hillocks. It is a long belt of peneplains mainly developed over gneissic rocks. It has an average altitude between 300 meters and 600 mts with general slop towards the east. Its north and north eastern side is occupied by the Godavari valley. Geologically the state possesses a variety of formations. The rocks, namely granites, metamorphic and sedimentary, distributed throughout the state are rich in minerals. Granite, limestone and shale are found mostly in Mahaboobnagar, Nalgonda, Rangareddy, Khammam, Warangal, Karimnagar and Adilabad. Asbestos, Barites and Steatite occur in these formations. Coal deposits are found in Karimnagar and Adilabad.

Telangana is semi-arid and has hot and dry climae. Summers start in March and reach peak in May with average temperature 42 degrees. Monsoon arrives in June and lasts until September with 755 mm precipitation contributing about 80 % of the annual rainfall. A dry, mild winter starts in November and lasts until early Febraury with average temrature in the 22-23 degrees range.

The state is drained by two major perennial rivers, namely Krishna and Godavari. Tributaries like Manjira, Maner, Pranahita and Indravati join Godavari on its way. The catchment area of the river includes Adilabad, Karimnagar, Nizamabad, Medak, Northern part of Warangal and Khammam. The river Krishna rising in the western ghats in Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra enters Telangana in the Mahaboobnagar district. It is joined by tributaries like Bhima, Dindi, Peddavagu, Halia, Musi and Munneru. The catchment area of the river lies in Mahaboobnagar, Rangareddy, Nalgonda and souther western parts of Warangal and Khammam districts. 

Telangana is agrarian. Soils are mainly red, black and lateritic. Red soils are mostly found in South Telangana and suitable for raising ground nut crop. Black soils are found mostly in Nizamabad, Adilabad, Warangal and Medak districts and suitable for raising cotton and dry crops. 

The natural vegetation of Telangana consists of dry deciduous and scrub forests mostly found in Adilabad, Karimnagar, Warangal and Khammam districts while scrub forests are found in Nalgonda and northern parts of Mahaboobnagar districts. The forest cover is about 23% of the geographical area and less than the optimum 33% mandated by the National Forest Policy. Major forest produce are teak and Roosa grass concentrated in Adilabad and Nizamabad respectively. The latter is used for perfume oil. Beedi leaves are avilable in Nizamabad. Mahaboobnagar boasts of custard apples. 

Geography, it is often said, imposes limitations. The votaries of determinism are rivalled by the advocates of possibilism. It would be fatalistic to think human endeavour has no role in shaping its own destiny. The limitations imposed by the geophysical nature of Telangana have to be negotiated for improving the lives of people of Telangana. However in the process of doing so laws of nature must be respected.  In sum one has to strike a balanace between ecology and human needs. This postulate should guide us in re-building the nascent Telangana. The change that it brings about should become the subject matter of history.

(Author is President of Telangana History Society. The above article was presented in a national seminar on ‘Historical Perspectives and Future Prospects of Telangana’ organised by Department of History in Nizam College on January 23, 2015.)