1968 across the Subcontinent: Rising Political Movements and Regionalism in India in the Late 1960s

Sunday, January 10, 2010: 11:00 AM
Elizabeth Ballroom C (Hyatt)
Lavanya Vemsani , Shawnee State University, Portsmouth, OH
    Within a decade of the independence of, new political movements developed in south based on regional discrepancies giving rise to the establishment of regional political parties.  In this paper, I examine the regional political movements based on Dravidian identity, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party (DMK) and All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Party (AIDMK) and Telangana identity (Telangana People’s Association (TPA), Telangana Rajya Samiti (TRS) and Nava Telangana Party (NTP), both cultural constructs applied to geographical regions led by political motifs.

     Although Sanskrit is accepted as the lingua franca of, Hindi did not receive such a welcome in. In fact, it is this imposition of Hindi language on South India that gave rise to the first regionalization movements in and led to the foundation of DMK in 1954. The anti-Hindi movement helped DMK win the state assembly elections with a significant majority in 1967 and 1971, defeating the major national party, thus paving the way for regionalization doctrines.  Agitation for the establishment of a Telangana state by separating the Telangana region from the state of Andhra Pradesh began in 1969 and gained momentum with the foundation of TPA by M. Chenna Reddy. Despite its electoral success in 1971 this party was disbanded and the agitation for separate Telangana was abandoned.

     Through an analysis of the formation of the regional political parties, DMK,  and  various Telangana parties, I examine the dynamics of borders and citizenship, inclusion and exclusion, dominion, negotiation and resistance in Tamilnadu and Andhra Pradesh. Through an examination of their theory of alternative identity based upon language, I will offer an explanation for the successes and failures of regional parties.

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