As the news of Dr. Kolluri Chiranjeevi passing away at AIG hospital arrived, many found themselves revisiting the Telangana movement. Some even reliving it.
Dr. Chiranjeevi, born in 1947 in Warangal, is known for his struggle during the Telangana movement, both of them going back to 1969. Most of those with a medical degree backing them, take to research and practice but rarely politics or full-time frontline activism, but Dr Chiranjeevi pursued MBBS from Kakatiya Medical College and later worked for People's war group, a far-left communist outfit founded by Kondapalli Seetharamaiah in 1980.
However, he later walked out of the outfit and joined BSP. He has also been in the field of journalism, as an editor for Bahujana Patika. On being questioned, as to how did he start his social life, he attributed his initiation into social causes to his father.
"Fortunately or unfortunately my father was into politics and that's how my exposure to all these things began," he once said in an interview, wherein he named all his political idols and the people his father associated with.
The movement that goes back to 1969
To state that he played an important role would be undermining his significance in the movement. He served as a convener of Telangana Movement Founders Forum in 1969.
The second phase of the same movement
Dr Kolluri also played a key role in the second phase of the Telangana movement, which kick-started again in the early 2000s. As a member of the Joint Action Committee (JAC), he literally led the movement. The four-decade-long struggle for the state of Telangana heated up and peaked in 2009. This was made possible by the committee which brought people – farmers, traders, politicians from all walks of life together. This was the committee that also developed a huge network across the state, thus channeling voices and resources for the agitation.
His opinions and ideology
In 2011, Dr Chiranjeevi republished the book Tragedy of Hyderabad, a first-person account of the tumultuous events leading up to the merger of Hyderabad with the Indian Union, penned by Mir Laiq Ali, the last Prime Minister of Hyderabad State. This was the book that was first published in Karachi in 1962 and was banned by the Indian government.
In 2011, several collaborations led to the reprinting of the book, one of them being the Telangana Movement Founders' Forum. The book, as Dr. Chiranjeevi said in several interviews back then, "revealed the hidden facts of the tragic history of Hyderabad State." He also said in the republished book, they had added correspondence between Ali and the government.
Chiranjeevi always maintained that Hyderabad did not merge with India on September 17, 1948, and that the Nizam's rule continued till January 1950. He said, "September 17 has no significance. It was not the merger of Liberation Day."
But he will always be known as significant in the creation of Telangana. Dr Chiranjeevi was 74 and is survived by his wife and daughter.