The stories of Dalits in India and their role in different movements in India remains largely untold. In Telangana, the Communist Party of India-led peasant rebellion from 1946-51 was one of the social and political revolutions which changed the lives of those who were being oppressed by Jagirdars, i.e. the landlords. The region, then under the Nizam-led princely state of Hyderabad (which comprised Telangana, parts of Maharashtra and Karnataka), witnessed peasants rising in rebellion against the feudal landlords. Within that, Dalits were bound by ‘vetti chakiri’ (bonded slavery or labour) and were largely left out of the benefits. The fight was mainly between poor peasants and landlords.
However, much before that, one Dalit man from Vangapalli in Karimnagar district decided that he would have a better future and left his village. Velukati Ramaswamy aka Velukati Baliah’s decision to do so changed his life and his family’s, who managed to get out of caste oppression by working for the railways in Hyderabad.
In this episode host Yunus Lasania talks to Dalit writer YB Satyanarayana, in his book My Father Baliah details the hardships and humiliation that his people had suffered and how his father, who decided that he would educate his sons, managed to break free from caste barriers. It is one of the few books from Telangana which explains the Dalit angle in our society.