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Internal Colonisation of Telangana: Selected Aspects
G.Innaiah (Social Activist)

Historical Background

The industrial revolution in Europe, while initiating a process of intensive economic growth, generated a simultaneous demand for cheap raw materials as well as a market for expensive manufactured goods. These, the developed nations (with the exception of Russia and Japan) sought in the resource-rich but technologically backward and densely populated 'developing countries'. To ensure the assured supply of raw materials and consumption of manufactured goods, it was imperative that they exert control which was possible through colonisation. The competitive demand soon took an exploitative colour, and each of the colonisers established their respective hegemony. The successful evolution of a new politico-economic structure of administration by Russia in the post World War I and China in the post-World War 11 period resulted in similar assertions for independence from the colonised regions. Their independence during the post-1950s, and the reluctance of ! the industrialised nations to relinquish their hold on these vast markets once again started a process of economic control with well-orchestrated economic, policies through the newly-evolved process of economic liberalisation. The neo-imperialists captured the global markets.

In India the anti-British stand taken by the 550 Princely States, strengthened its resolve to fight the colonial power for independence. During British rule, some of the states, under feudal administration ( Kashmir and the Deccan), resisted the transition to a united independent India even as the non-feudal states relented. The resistance in Deccan was soon forcibly quelled in what transpired as the Police Action on 13th September, 1948 under Nehru administration.

Even before the Police Action, the Telangana Armed Struggle /commenced in protest against the repressive feudal government of the Nizam in general and the atrocities of the Razakars in particular. The Armed Struggle was initiated by the badly marginalised Telangana peasants under the Congress and the Communist banners. The former's objective was principally for regional autonomy, while the latter combined it with class struggle. This struggle gained momentum and the nation-wide move to unite actually divided the movement into two opinions - a group that wanted to join this move and another that resisted. Under Nehru's administration, the government through suppressive and coercive action, quelled the movement until finally it withdrew. In the 1952 general elections the Congress won and B. Ramakrishna Rao was made the Chief Minister of the newly established Hyderabad State.

Meanwhile, the proposal for the formation of the States on linguistic basis was put forth and implemented. In spite of the reluctance of the Telangana people, the State of Andhra Pradesh was formed on 1st November 1956.

It may be noted here that while extra-national forces had initiated colonisation, intra-national forces had collaborated and drafted strategies of exploiting weaker regions and people. Telangana is home to a wide variety of abundant resources - extensive forests , perennial water sources for sustained irrigation and agriculture, ample coal for power development and distribution, and cheap labour. Tendu leaves are available in very large quantities for beedi-making. These factors, congenial for intensive development, failed to usher in the process of development in Telangana. The region remained underdeveloped with most of the resources under the feudal system of administration that curtailed non-elite participation, while the post -A.P. formation period policies only exacerbated the trends. This is high-lighted in the following contours of development.

Industries in Telangana

The Azamjahi Mills in Warangal, Antargami spinning mills in Karimnagar, Allwyn in Hyderabad, Nizam Sugar Factory in Nizamabad, Singareni Collieries across Adilabad, Karimnagar, Warangal and Khammam, testify to the type of industrialisation that existed. These industries were declared as Public Sector Units and initiatives to develop them were curbed. A case was built to the effect that they became dysfunctional so that this would facilitate their closure. It was propagated that the units were incurring losses , which weighed heavily on the government . It may be noted that during this period, a simultaneous effort to develop industry in coastal Andhra was relentlessly undertaken. Industries declared as futile and loss-incurring in Telangana were established. In fact the funds that ought to have been directed to initiate growth in Telangana, were siphoned off to other regions for developing similar industries discouraged in Telangana. The Hindupur spinning mills and watch ! company, the Nandyal sugar factory, the Guntur and Eluru spinning mills, were extended not adequate, but excessive incentives. Of all, only Singareni Collieries' development is being sustained. This too merely because of its indispensability since it supports non-Telangana industries, and because it has strong resistance from the mining workers' union. It is reported that even the profits made in the Telangana industries were transferred outside Telangana. The benefits due to backward region development in terms of subsidies have been siphoned by them. In the name of industries thousands of acres were lost to the non-Telangana people.

The Ramagundam and Kothagudem power plants supplied all the necessary power to meet the entire industrial and agricultural requirement of the State. Of the total power production in the State, 45 % is generated there. Although 20 % is observed to be derived from Vijayawada thermal power station, the raw material - coal is supplied from the Telangana coal belt. Thus, while, 65 - 70 % of the power generated is from the resources in Telangana, its consumption is just 20 % (of this the migrants / settlers share a large chunk ). The entire coal from Singareni was utilised by the Ramagundam station, but now with Vijayawada staking a claim, Ramagundam's share began to decline. The transport of power is much more economical than the transport of raw material . However, in defiance of the economies of scale and factors of industrial location, the Government persists in its intent, and is unwillingness to ensure greater equity in development.

Central Government Industries

After 1947, the Government of India undertook an extensive industrialisation programme all over the country. The establishment of BHEL, ECIL, IDPL, IDL, HMT, etc., form part of this agenda. However, in defiance of the Gentlemen's Agreement, these industries recruited 90 per cent employees from non-Telangana regions. Of the remaining 10 per cent, the employees were predominantly in the lower order occupational categories like sweepers, watchmen, security guards and they belonged to Telangana. It may be mentioned here that the Central Government initiatives, instead of ensuring equitable growth and fair development, exacerbated the inequalities. The ancillary industries that developed in and around these major industrial units, exclusively belonged to the settlers and employed migrants. Unwritten rules included co-opting the few educated Telangana administrators and rejecting deserving Telangana applicants . The industrialists continued to exploit Telangana's land, water, p! ower, labour, and repaid it by exacerbating of poverty and pollution.

Private Industries

The private industries, predominantly media, pharmaceuticals, cement, granite, food processing, poultry , dairy, steel , fertiliser, education, established in the districts around Hyderabad, have displaced existing agricultural lands, polluting air, land and water with emissions and effluents, creating health hazards for the local residents. They also displaced the traditional industries, which had been a part of Telangana life, rendering them dependent and destitute. The introduction of irrigation had a similar impact of displacement of the local population and rendering them landless.

Land - Ownership Changes and Impact

Industrial growth by, for Coastal Andhra people in Telangana also affected land-use patterns. Lands, both private and government, were allocated for industrial use and housing colonies. Some of these are given in Table l. All of these are owned by non-Telangana people, with non-Telangana employees, Thus while the resources are essentially Telangana's, the benefits of development are channelled to non-Telangana people. In fact, the Telangana people are subjected to all the negative impacts of the massive industrialisation that took place within Telangana. It is observed in various research reports that the 182 industries emit almost 34,000 tonnes effluents per annum, mostly flowing into the river Musi. The Jeedimetla industrial area alone produces 5.50 crore litres effluents besides 1.5 crore chemical discharge ( Zinc, cadmium, nickel, chromium ). They have proved hazardous to the health of the local population, and in many instances even fatal ( reports of premature ! deliveries, still-born and high infant mortality rates are many).

Table 1
1. Ramoji Rao - Film City 2812 acres
2. Sangbi Industries 2842
3. MRF 500
4. Heritage Foods 40
5. Vijay Electricals 15 0
6.GPR Housing 5600
7. East City 3000
8. Satyam Enclave 2600
9. Choutuppal Housing 2000
10. Kukatpalli Housing Board 1850
11. BHEL Housing 2500
12. Ordnance Factory 1500
13. Public Lands 5384
Source: Survey data

During the last couple of years, with the development of the industries in Coastal Andhra, after linking the industries that are projected to have been incurring losses in Vijayawada ( A.P. Heavy Machinery Ltd.) with the industries in Telangana ( Singareni Collieries Ltd.) large amounts of finances were diverted to sustain them (during 1992 - 1993 annual Rs. 25 crores were diverted to their maintenance). With the linkage of the profits and losses of these industries to Singareni, they are shown in Singareni's audit, and manipulation of statistics now project Singareni as loss-incurring and APHML as profit making and thus to be sustained. At the same time, in Telangana, the Republic Forge Company, Allwyn, Nizam Sugar Factory, etc., are being closed on grounds of economic non-feasibility. Such actions can only reinforce the development differences and increase the growth disparities between Telangana and non-Telangana areas.


Development abnormalities exacerbating polarisation effects through concentration of development inputs are also evident in the employment structure that evolved during the post 1960s. The Government's explicit policies testify to its partisan attitude. An examination of the employment structure of the nationalised banks, the educational institutions, transport sector and industry throw light on this.

The region-wise distribution of employment in the nationalised banks ( Table 2) of Andhra Pradesh highlight the overwhelming concentration of the employees hailing from Coastal Andhra ( 70 per cent ). The proportions recruited from Telangana , Rayalaseema and non-Andhra Pradesh areas are almost the same. It may be noted that the 11 per cent share of Telangana also includes the second generation settlers in Hyderabad, thus actually displaying a more grim position of Telangana.

Table 2
Employment in Nationalised Banks in Andhra Pradesh - 1996 -1997
Regions Employment Total Percentage
I.Coastal Andhra 42,000 70
2.Rayalaseema 5,000 9
3. Telangana 7,000 11*
4. Non-A.P. 6,000 10
Total 60,000 100
*includes second generation settlers. Source : Survey Data

In the Ambedkar Open University, the recruitment pattern is found to be on similar lines. Academic, administrative and technical posts are skewed in favour of Coastal Andhra. Telangana's shares are 40, 39 and 12 per cent respectively. A greater proportion of them are again settlers. Recruitment in the technical category is particularly inclined toward Coastal Andhra candidates. This pattern is attributed to 'non-availability of eligible candidates from Telangana', which is a pretext, since such sectors as transport, which does not really require 'eligibility' in that sense of elimination, also subscribes to such trends. Of the 25,000 employees, 65 per cent are from Coastal Andhra, 15 per cent from Rayalaseema and merely 20 per cent from Telangana.

Table 3
Employment in Ambedkar Open University. Hyderabad, 1996 -1997
EmploymentCoastal Andhra Rayalaseema Telangana Total
1. Teaching 23 4 18 45
2.Administrative 15 4 12 31
3. Technical 21 - 3 24
Total 59 8 33 100

Source Fieldwork, 1997

Table - 4
Employment structure in APSRTC - 1997
RegionsNo. of Employees %
Coastal Andhra 16250 65
Rayalaseema 3750 15
Telangana 5000 20
Total 25000 100

Source: Fieldwork, APSRTC, 1997

The position in four industries which were studied in depth shows a similar picture. The N.R.B. Bearings Ltd. in Uppal has recruited all the three executives from non-Telangana areas, while of the 70 other staff, only 12 are from Telangana. In the -lower order employment, i.e. casual workers, 38 are locals and 12 are non- locals. Amongst the trainees, all the 15 are non-locals. which reiterates the objective of imparting training to non-locals and projecting them as the only trained candidates later on. Ashok Leyland, a Hinduja Group, has all the four executives from outside. Of the other 197 staff members, a minuscule 39, are from Telangana. -There is found to be a concentration of local workers in the lowest order of workers, with 450 from Telangana, while 150 are from non-Telangana regions. Almost 200 casual workers are also employed by them, where Telangana employees constitute 130 or 65 per cent. Parke Davis displays a more pitiable picture, with the local population! recruited in only lowest order workers category. There too, locals constitute less than 45 per cent.

Table 5
Parke Davis - Employment Structure (1996 - 1997)
Category of Employment Non-LocalLocal Total
1. Executive Directors 1 - 1
2. Director General 1 1 2
3. General Manager 1 - 1
4. R & D 1 - 1
5.Managers 2 - 2
6.Senior Staff 10 - 10
7. Other Staff 16 - 16
8.Workers 170 150 320
9. Security Officers 3 - 3
10.Security Guards 22 - 22
11. Casual Workers - 150 150
12. Trainees 500 - 500

Source: Field Work


These developments are similar to the exploitative nature of capitalism characteristic of colonial system of governance. They exploit local resources - human and non-human, displace local people, exported local resources- coal, cement, granite (even milk is purchased from the local farmers and sold at a premium with labels establishing ownership rights.). The required infrastructure, power, communications, to their industry, and agriculture (including forest raw materials and water) are oriented to their growth and development. The industrial development benefits the non-locals whether it is the white or blue collar jobs, or even menial work. The industrial produce too benefited the non-Telangana people. The traditional industrial structure collapsed under the impact of modern industry. The impact on culture, unquantifiable, is immense and evident in the transition from a biryani culture to that of idly-dosa. There has been a massive erosion of local customs and tradition! s and the way of life under the overwhelming onslaught of the multi-faceted migrant culture. The only two predominant religious functions - 'Pochamma panduga' and 'Jammi for Dasara', besides the 'Peerlu' is widely dominated by Rakhis, Ganesh Utsavs, Varalakshmi Vratam, Santoshi Mata pooja etc. What have developed are islands of prosperity in expansive areas of poverty and underdevelopment.

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