The deliberate neglect of the Telugu language and culture in the Hyderabad state prompted a socio-cultural awakening in the beginning of the 20th century. In 1901, Komarraju Venkata Lakshmana Rao started a library named Sri Krishnadevaraya Andhrabhasha Nilayam. In 1906, an association named Vijñāna Chandrika Mandali was founded to publish books on science and literature. Several other periodicals like Nilgiri Patrika, Telugu Patrika, Navashakthi, Nizam Vijay etc appeared during this period to cater to the literary needs of the people.
Education was the most neglected area under Nizam’s rule. In 1946, the entire of Hyderabad had only a handful of high schools. As there was no initiative from the government to spread basic education, it fell upon educationists and social reformers. In 1906, Keshavrao Koratkar and Vaman Naik established Vivek Vardhinī Pāṭhśāla. In 1907, Nutan Vidyālaya High School was established in Gulbarga. Pandit Taranath set up Hamdard High School in Raichur. Mādapati Hanumantha Rao established a girls’ school in Hyderabad with Telugu as the medium of instruction, defying the diktat of the Nizam.
To improve upon the Telugu language and culture, several intellectuals established Andhra Jana Sangham in 1922. A central organization called Andhra Kendra Jana Sangham was set up which published several books and promoted women’s education. Finally, a much bigger organization called Andhra Mahasabha was established in many towns in 1930. Andhra Mahasabha played a very important role in creating a socio-cultural awakening in the Hyderabad region. The first conference of the Mahasabha was held in Jogipet in Medak district under the presidentship of Suravaram Pratap Reddy. The second conference was presided over by Burgula Ramakrishna Rao, who also played an important role in the fight against the Nizam’s rule and in the library movement.
The popularity of Andhra Mahasabha encouraged the establishment of Maharashtra Parishad and Karnataka Parishad. From 1940 onwards, the second phase of the Mahasabha began. With the large-scale participation of the Communists, the Andhra Mahasabha’s activities gradually shifted from socio-cultural to economic and political.
The Andhra Mahasabha activities inspired establishment of libraries and cultural centres all over Telangana, even in remote villages. Working class people read books by social reformers Kandukuri Veerasalingam and freedom fighters like Gandhi and Nehru. Mahasabha also published a number of books in Telugu reflecting contemporary problems and cultural issues.
Hyderabad had a land area of 2,14,000 square kilometres, which is nearly equal to the area of the United Kingdom and had a population of 1.60 Crores in 1941. It was a composite state consisting of 8 districts of Telangana, 5 districts of Marathwada and 3 districts of Karnataka. According to the 1941 census, 50% people spoke Telugu, 27% Marathi, 13% Kannada and only 10% spoke Urdu. However, as Urdu received royal patronage and the Muslims pursued Urdu, they had a disproportionate access to positions in administration and police even though they constituted only ten percent of population.