Andhra Mahasabha was a people’s association in the erstwhile Hyderabad state of India. Madapati Hanumantha Rao was the founder member of the Andhra Mahasabha. It was started by the Telugu people in the Telangana region against Nizam’s rule. The people of Telangana formed the Andhra Mahasabha as they could not tolerate the injustice being done to the Telugu language and Telugu culture. It eventually joined hands with the Communist Party of India (CPI) to launch the Telangana Rebellion in 1946.
Andhra Mahasabha was initially started under the name ‘Andhra Janasangham“, which means Andhra People’s Society. The organisation spearheaded people’s awareness and people’s movements among the Telugu-speaking populace of the state.
Andhra Janasangham started in November 1921 with a mere 12 members after a failed attempt to pass a resolution in Telugu at Nizam’s Social Reforms Conference in Hyderabad. The first conference of Andhra Janasangham was held in February 1922 under the chairmanship of Konda Venkata Ranga Reddy, with Madapati Hanumantha Rao as its Secretary. Its membership quickly increased to about a hundred.
It was in 1928 when Madapati Hanumantha Rao took the lead to form ‘Andhra Mahasabha’. The first conference of Andhra Mahasabha was held in 1930 at Jogipet under the chairmanship of Suravaram Pratapareddy.
Some of the demands of the Andhra Mahasabha were the medium of instruction should be Telugu, the removal of untouchability, the discouragement of child marriage, the introduction of local self-government, and the protection of legal rights of people.
From 1930 to 1945, around 12 Andhra Mahasabhas were held. The activities of Andhra Mahasabha in the Telangana region created awareness among the people against the Nizam and led to the armed struggle in Telangana.
In the 1940s, during the Telangana Rebellion, the peasants started turning towards communism, organised themselves under Andhra Mahasabha and built their strong base in Telangana villages. The village-level communist sanghams (organisation) led the local struggles against the high rents, land eviction, forced labour (vethi), and other oppressive exactions. They laid down the demands for better wages, disallowance of vethi, evictions, and unreasonable taxation.
The prominent leaders of Andhra Mahasabha were Madapati Hanumantha Rao, Suravaram Pratapareddy, Ravi Narayana Reddy, Baddam Yella Reddy, Daasarathi, and Burgula Ramakrishna Rao.