War Veteran seeks not to include ‘Telangana Armed Struggle’ in school syllabus

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Capt Lingala Panduranga Reddy
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A retired military officer, historian and a popular Telagnana protagonist Capt. Lingala Pandu Ranga Reddy took serious objection to incorporate ‘Telangana Armed Struggle’ in the yet to be prepared curriculum in Telangana school books. He has written a letter to this effect to both state and the Central governments and warns to approach the court for justice in case his plea is not considered. The Captain shot to limelight when he refused to accept the Doctorate of Philosophy awarded to him for his outstanding research work on ‘States’ Re-Organisation, A Case Study of Andhra Pradesh’, at a convocation of the Osmania University held in 2011 in Tagore auditorium in city. A gold medalist in the history, Lingala Pandu Ranga Reddy refused to receive doctorate as a protest for not granting Separate State of Telangana.  

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It may be recalled that during the united Andhra ruling, Telangana, history, culture was completely suppressed and the school syllabus was filled with Andhra culture, history including those of the legendary historical figures. Now, with the formation of the new Telangana state, it has become imperative for the state government to replace the old one with new one. The state government has entrusted the task of preparing syllabus to the State Education, Research and Training Institute (SERT), Government of Telangan, which has formed an experts committee to research, study and suggest the subjects to be incorporated in the curriculum.

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In this back drop, the retired Captain sought both state and the central governments to be extra cautious about incorporating a chapter on the controversial ‘Telangana Armed Struggle’ in the history syllabus as there are many pros and cons involved in it.  While revealing details of the proposed controversial subject in an exclusive interview to senior Journalist Sridhar Dharmasanam, the Captain insists that the doctrine of repugnancy should be made operative in this case. Excerpts from the interview:

1. Capt. Saab what is Doctrine of Repugnancy? And how do you relate it to the subject of historic ‘Armed Struggle’ ?

Ans: This is a principle of choosing to be ignored as it may generate a strong feeling of dislike for something that is very unpleasant or morally wrong. As for the Armed Struggle is concerned, it is riddled with several contradictions in spite of its spirit and genuineness which itself makes it undoubtedly a ‘controversial’ subject.

2. Capt. Saab what made you to think that the ‘Telagnana Armed Struggle’ is controversial?

Ans : The Nizam ruled 16 districts, not just Warangal and Nalgonda, which are geographically contiguous to Krishna and Guntur districts.  If the Nizam’s rule was so oppressive, the armed struggle should have broken out in all the 16 districts.  Why was it confined to Warangal and Nalgonda only?  These two districts do not form even the entire Telangana.

After the Police Action, the Govt. of India imposed military rule in Hyderabad state on 18th September, 1948.  And the military Governor was Maj. Gen. J.N. Choudhary: de jure – the Nizam; de facto military governor. 

The communists fought against the Govt. of India from 18th September, 1948 to 15th October, 1951.  In fact, Govt. of India sent the army to chastise the Razakars and the Communists. (V.Shankar, My Reminiscences of Sardar Patel, New Delhi, 1963, p.40). Of course, it was also a small rap over the knuckles of the Nizam to fall into the line.  The Govt. of India prepared ground for a military aggression.  K.F. Rustomji, I.P., a senior police officer, who was then the Superintendent of Police, Akola District in the Central Province, now lives in Maharashtra, writes :

“In order to gain public sympathy the Govt. of India raided Hyderabad to establish a border belt free of the Razakars.  In the dead of night, Central Province police used to go upto a distance of ten miles and spread panic and caused reprisals which were highlighted by the press as Razakars atrocities” (V.N. Narayanan & Jyothi Sabhrawal – ed. – India at 50 Bliss of Hope and Burden of Reality: K.F. Rustomji, Policing: Best Times, Worst Times, P.183–Annexure-IV)

Can we afford to include these things in the school text books?

3. How do you authenticate your claim?

Ans : the Nizam’s Government in 1943 had banned the party.  Initially Communists were opposed to the Razakar but subsequently they colluded with them.  Despite the obvious difficulties of the State Govt. in stemming the agitation and the avowed intentions of the CPI to spread the insurrection to the rest of the country, the Govt. of India did not come to Hyderabad’s rescue. Laik Ali, the Prime Minister of Hyderabad State utilized the hostility of the Communist Party of India towards the Govt. and resentment of local communists towards the Standstill Agreement.

He began to send feelers to Telangana Communist leaders, representing to them the advantages of an alliance against their common Indian enemy who was reported to be preparing for a military intervention.  Makhdoom Mohiuddin and Ravi Narayana Reddy, the two leading Communist figures from Telangana, who were underground, were contacted. (Mir Laik Ali – The Tragedy of Hyderabad, Karachi, P.207). 

Although the Communist ranks were divided on the issue, the deal was struck on 4th May 1943, the Nizam lifted ban on the Communist party in Hyderabad. (White Paper on Hyderabad, Govt. of India, Pgs.39 to 47, Annexure-V). The Razakars wanted to establish a Muslim oligarchy in the State, the Communists’ purpose was to exploit the turmoil and confusion so that they could spread their tentacles to the rest of India.  Each wanted to use the other for its own ends. (V.P.Menon – Integration of the Indian States – pp.437 & 39). 

4. Well what if state government still decides to go ahead with its decision to incorporate in the school syllabus?

Ans : My question is when the Govt. of India report itself says Communist movement in Telangana as the first terrorist movement in the country, then, how will the Telangana state reconcile to it. If the Telangana state government includes these controversial topics in the text books despite our pleas, we are constrained to move Hon’ble Court for justice.

5.  Do you realise the sensibilities surrounded the very subject of armed struggle? I mean the sentiments attached to it?

Ans : History is a subjective matter. It cannot be generalised on the basis of sentiments. It is based on the facts and figures. The outcome may be anything, But it has to be objectively and rationally looked into.

6. What do you think how the public would receive your claim?

Now, time is propitious to discard the dregs of history and take up the task of rejuvenating Telangana society. Hence, I have asked the government to appoint a Committee of Experts and take their considered opinion rather than to act in haste, lest it should create problems. 

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