Give an account of Bhagyareddy Varma’s role in the anti-caste Dalit movement in Hyderabad State?
Ans: Bhagya Reddy Varma 22 May 1888 –2 July 1950
Bhagya Reddy Varma was one of the Dalit leaders’ trio Bhagya Reddy Varma, Arigay Ramaswamy and B.S. Hanumantha Rao. Bhagya Reddy Varma was the earliest Dalit Social Reformer from Hyderabad State. He is revered as the ‘Father Dalit Movement in Telugu States’.
Father: Madare Venkaiah Mother : Ragmamba.
History behind his name
Bhagya Reddy Varma was born as Maadari Baagaiah. A shaivite saint who used to come to the house of Madari Bhagaiah’s house used to tell him the history and history of religions. The Shaivaite told Bhagaiah that before the advent of Aryans dalits were the rulers of this land. The Aryans enslaved the dalits. He also told that the word ‘Reddy’ is derived from the word ‘Redu’. Redu means ruler. As he started firmly believing that the dalits were once kings of India, he added the tag ‘Reddy’ to his name. In 1913 Arya Samaj honoured him with the title ‘Varma’. Thus his name became Bhagya Reddy Varma.
Ideology and Social Reformation
Inspired by Jyotirao Phule, he raised his voice against discrimination by upper castes.
Arige Ramaswami, Valthati Sheshaiah, Venkataram, J.H. Subbaiah, Mudigonda Laxmaiah, Muthaiah, Shivaram, and Puli Narsim, were the close associates of Bhagya Reddy Varma. Eventually, he established ‘Adi Hindu’ (“Original Hindu”), a social organisation, to bring awareness in the dalits. He formed a group called ‘Jagan Mitra Mandali’ in 1906, which involved Harijans and Malas, and started telling stories by ‘Hari Katha’ (popular folklore). In 1906, he started to educate dalit children from his own expense. Between 1906 to 1933, Bhagya Reddy Varma established 26 schools for Dalit girls. In a short span of time the strength of his schools increased to 2600 students.
1906 – Bhagya Reddy Varma started ‘Jagan Mita Mandali’ to educate dalits through popular folklore. (Burra Katha). Through Burra Katha and his speeches, Bhagya Reddy Varma used to bring awareness among the people regarding the necessity of social upliftment and necessity of education.
1911 – Manya Sangham was established. In 1921, it was renamed as Aadi Hindu Social Service League. After the establishment was Maanya Sangham, it started conducting the programmes of Jagan
1917 ‘Pratam Andhra – Panchama Sabha’ conference was held at Vijayawada. Later its name was changed into ‘Adi Andhra Mahajan Sabha’. The meeting held at Vijayawada was considered as the first meeting of Aadi Andhra Mahajana Sabha. In this meeting in his presidential address Bhagya Reddy Varma made a resolution that, as there was no word like Panchamas in any ancient Hindu scripture, later the aborigines of this land came to be called as the Panchamas, the Panchamas’ should be called as Aadi Hindus. From 1917 to 1938 Aadi Hindu Mahajana Sabha meetings were held every year. Due to the influence of Aadi Hindu Mahaajana Sabha, Nizam Government enlisted Maala, Maadiga, Dher, Chamar etc. castes as Aadi Hindus in 1931 census.
In 1917, Bhagya Reddy Vermas’s speech was very much attracted Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s attention at ‘Akhila Bharata Hindu’ round table conference’ held in Calcutta.
In 1919 a meeting held with Jangamulu, Dasulu, Mulavasi, for the Adi Hindu beneficial program. The purpose of this event is to resolve the internal issues in Dalit community; he insisted the panchayat court system to be rebuilt.
First Adi Hindu conference was held in 1921 in Hyderabad led by T.J.Papanna.
In 1925 in a conference led by Narayana Murthy, Raibala Mukund Reddy has been officially allotted him has Chief head who led this meeting successfully.
In 1925 ‘Adi Hindu Handicrafts exhibition’ was held to showcase the dalits skills to the world.
Bhagya Reddy also campaigned on many social issues like Child Marriage, Black Magic, Women Education, Alcohol prohibition etc. His work was spread to neighboring states Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Andhra, from their as well people joined voices and followed the revolution.
27, 28 December 1930 – in an historical speech he announced to take the dalit issues to the British notice in the upcoming All India Scheduled Castes Round Table Conference held at Lucknow in the same year. He supposes to send BR Ambedkar to lead the group. The agenda was to recognize the dalits as Adi Hindu rather panchmulu (untouchables), mala, madiga.
In 1931 the Nizam government has come forward to agree the demands of Reddy, and registered the dalits as Adi Hindus in the general elections. Nizam Osman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VII praised Reddy for his social work, and recognised him with an award. Later, the Nizam appointed him as chief adviser to his government. Adi Hindu Bhavan, at Chadarghat, Hyderabad, has been the platform for the many revolutionary meetings. It is said that he has given nearly 3,348 speeches.
In 1932, Bhagya Reddy Varma founded Swastha Dal.
Bhagya Memorial Girls High School at Esamia Bazar, Koti, Hyderabad, Telangana, which he started in 1913 is still functioning.
He established Dalit panchayat courts to settle disputes among dalits.
Reddy had launched a movement against Devadasi Pratha, forcing the Nizam to declare it a crime.
During the Telangana Movement in 2009, the students of Telangana region renamed the G. M. C. Balayogi Athletic Stadium at Gachibowli as Bhagya Reddy Varma Stadium.
Bhagya Reddy Varma – Press
Bhagya Reddy Varma started a new paper named ‘Bhagya nagar’. He published a novel named ‘Vetti Maadiga’.
Regligion and Bhagya Reddy Varma
1912 – Bhagya Reddy Varma started promoting Buddhism. Bhagya Reddy Varma in his early days followed Brahmo Samaj and Arya Samaj. In no time Bhagya Reddy Varma left the both as he observed caste based priority in both the paths and the two paths were not giving due respect to Dalits. Bhagya Reddy Varma got attracted by the preaching of lord Buddha and his ideals liberty, equality and fraternity. Thus he became a follower of Buddhism. He named his son Goutham.
Arya Samaj in 1913 organized a function to honour him with the title Varma.