Andhra Pradesh abbreviation A.P. is one of the 28 states of India, situated on the country's southeastern coast. It is India's fourth largest state by area and fifth largest by population. Its capital and largest city is Hyderabad. Andhra Pradesh is bordered by Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Orissa in the north, the Bay of Bengal in the east, Tamil Nadu to the south and Karnataka to the west.
According to the Planning Commission of India, in the financial year 2011-12 the state was second in nominal GDP, and in GDP per capita it ranks fourth. Andhra Pradesh GDP in financial year 2011 was 5,67,636 crore (123.56). It is historically called the "Rice Bowl of India". More than 77% of its crop is rice; Andhra Pradesh produced of rice in 2006. Two of the mega cities of the state Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam were listed among the top 15 cities contributing to India's overall Gross domestic product.
Andhra Pradesh has the second-longest coastline of among the states of India. Two major rivers, the Godavari and the Krishna, run across the state. The small enclave of Yanam, a district of Puducherry, lies in the Godavari delta in the northeast of the state. The state comprises four regions: Telangana, Coastal Andhra, Uttarandhra, and Rayalaseema. The primary official language of Andhra Pradesh is Telugu and the co-official language is Urdu. Other languages often spoken in the state include Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Kannada and Oriya.
On 1 November 1956, the States Reorganization Act formed Andhra Pradesh by merging Telugu-speaking areas of Andhra State with the already existing Hyderabad State. The Marathi speaking areas of Hyderabad State merged with Bombay State and Kannada speaking areas were merged with Mysore State.
The first historical records appear in the Buddhist text Anguttara Nikaya, when what is now the Nizamabad and Adilabad districts of the Telangana region constituted parts of the Assaka Mahajanapada (700–300 BC) An Andhra tribe was mentioned in the Sanskrit epics such as Aitareya Brahmana (800 BC) and Mahabharata (400 BC). The Natya Shastra written by Bharata (1st century BC) also mentions about the Andhra people. The first Telugu poet Nannayya (Adi Kavi) from Rajahmundry gave Telugu script which has made a perfect language This is probably due to the fact that the Telugu language originated here, though the Telugu language traces found to be around 2,400 years old from here.
Megasthenes, a Greek traveler and geographer who visited the Court of Chandragupta Maurya (322–297 BC), mentioned that the region had three fortified towns and an army of 100,000 infantry, 200 cavalry, and 1,000 elephants. Buddhist books reveal that Andhras established their huts or tents near the Godavari River at that time.
Inscriptional evidence shows that there was an early kingdom in coastal Andhra (Guntur District) ruled first by Kuberaka and then by his son Varun, with Pratipalapura (Bhattiprolu) as the capital. Around the same time, Dhanyakatakam/Dharanikota (present day Amaravati) appears to have been an important place, which was visited by Gautama Buddha. According to the ancient Tibetan scholar Taranatha: "On the full moon of the month Chaitra in the year following his enlightenment, at the great stupa of Dhanyakataka, the Buddha emanated the mandala of 'The Glorious Lunar Mansions' (Kalachakra)".
The Mauryans extended the their rule over Andhra in the 4th century BC. With the fall of the Maurya Empire in the 3rd century BC, the Satavahanas became independent. After the decline of the Satavahanas in AD 220, the Ikshvaku dynasty, Pallavas, Ananda Gotrikas, Rashtrakutas, Vishnukundinas, Eastern Chalukyas, and Cholas ruled the land.
Scholars have suggested that the Prajñāpāramitā Sutras, the earliest Mahayana Sutras, developed among the Mahāsāṃghika along the Krishna River in Andhra country. A.K. Warder holds that "the Mahāyāna originated in the south of India and almost certainly in the Andhra country." Sree Padma and Anthony Barber note that "historians of Buddhist thought have been aware for quite some time that such pivotally important Mahayana Buddhist thinkers as Nāgārjuna, Dignaga, Candrakīrti, Aryadeva, and Bhavaviveka, among many others, formulated their theories while living in Buddhist communities in Andhra." They note that the ancient Buddhist sites in the lower Krishna Valley, including Amaravati, Nagarjunakonda and Jaggayyapeta "can be traced to at least the third century BC, if not earlier." The Dzogchen, Mahamudra and Lamdré masters Sri Singha, Savari, Maitripa and Virupa lived and taught in the Andhra region for some portion of their lives or were in some cases permanent residents.
During this period, Telugu emerged as a popular language, supplanting Prakrit and Sanskrit. Telugu was made the official language by the Vishnukundina kings (5th and 6th centuries), who ruled from their capital city of Vengi. Eastern Chalukyas ruled for a long period after the decline of Vishnukundinas; their capital was also Vengi. As early as the 1st century AD, Chalukyas were mentioned as being vassals and chieftains under the Satavahanas and later under the Ikshvakus. The Chalukya ruler Rajaraja Narendra ruled Rajahmundry around AD 1022.
The battle of Palnadu (1182) resulted in the weakening of the Eastern Chalukya dynasty and led to the emergence of the Kakatiya dynasty in the 12th and 13th centuries AD. The Kakatiyas were at first vassals of the Rashtrakutas, and ruled over a small territory near Warangal. Eventually all the Telugu lands were united by the Kakatiyas. In AD 1323, Delhi Sultan Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq sent a large army under Ulugh Khan to conquer the Telugu country and captured Warangal. King Prataparudra was taken prisoner. Musunuri Nayaks recaptured Warangal from the Delhi Sultanate in AD 1326 and ruled for fifty years.
Inspired by their success, the Vijayanagara Empire, one of the greatest empires in the history of Andhra Pradesh and India, was founded by Harihara and Bukka, who served as treasury officers of the Kakatiyas of Warangal. In AD 1347, an independent Muslim state, the Bahmani Sultanate, was established in south India by Ala-ud-Din Bahman Shah in a revolt against the Delhi Sultanate. The Qutb Shahi dynasty held sway over the Andhra country for about two hundred years from the early part of the 16th century to the end of the 17th century. Although Hyderabad was founded less than 500 years ago, archaeologists have unearthed Iron Age sites near the city that could date back to 500 BC. Approximately over 1000 years ago this region was ruled by Kakatiyas until AD 1310, and fell under Delhi sultanate from (1310–1345), when the central sultanate became weak the Bahmani Sultan revolted against the Sultan of Delhi Muhammad bin Tughluq and established an independent state in Deccan within the Delhi Sultanates southern provinces and ruled until AD 1518. Quli Qutb-ul-Mulk, governor of Golconda, declared independence from the Bahmani Dynasty and proclaimed himself Sultan of Golcanda in that year, and he founded the Qutb Shahi dynasty.
Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, a fifth Sultan of the Qutb Shahi dynasty (the ruling family of the Golconda Sultanate, previously a feudatory of Bahmani sultanate that declared independence in 1512) founded the city of Hyderabad on the banks of the Musi River in 1591 to relieve a water shortage the dynasty had experienced at its old headquarters at Golconda city (11 kilometers west of Hyderabad city on the other side of Musi). He also ordered the construction of the Charminar. The Mughal emperor Aurangzeb captured kingdom of Golconda including the city of Hyderabad in 1687 and, during this short Mughal rule, Mughal-appointed governors of the city soon gained autonomy.
In 1724, Asaf Jah I, who was granted the title Nizam-ul-Mulk ("Governor of the country") by the Mughal emperor, defeated a rival official to establish control over kingdom of Golconda renamed it as Hyderabad state. Thus began the Asaf Jahi dynasty that ruled Hyderabad State until a year after India's independence from Britain. Asaf Jah's successors ruled as the Nizams of Hyderabad. The rule of the seven Nizams saw the growth of Hyderabad city both culturally and economically. Hyderabad city became the formal capital of the kingdom (Hyderabad state) and Golkonda city was almost abandoned. Huge reservoirs, like the Nizam Sagar, Tungabhadra, Osman Sagar, and Himayat Sagar, were built. Survey work on Nagarjuna Sagar had also begun during this time; the actual work was completed by the Government of India in 1969. The wealth and grandeur of the Nizams is demonstrated by the fabled Jewels of The Nizams, which is a tourist attraction. The state was the richest and the largest among the princely states of India. The land area of the state was 90,543 mi²; its population in 1901 was 50,073,759. It enjoyed an estimated revenue of £90,029,000.
India became independent from the United Kingdom in 1947. The Nizam wanted to retain the independence of the Princely Hyderabad State from India, but the people of the region launched a movement to join the Indian Union. The state of Hyderabad was forcibly joined to the Republic of India with Operation Polo in 1948.
In an effort to gain an independent state based on the linguistic and protect the interests of the Andhra (Telugu-speaking) people of Madras State, Potti Sreeramulu fasted until death in 1952. After his death, Andhra state was carved out of Telugu speaking areas of Madras State on 1 November 1953, with Kurnool as its capital. It was the first state of India which was demarcated on linguistic basis.
On 1 November 1956, the States Reorganization Act merged the Telugu-speaking areas of the former Hyderabad state also known as Telangana with the Andhra state to form the state of Andhra Pradesh. The city of Hyderabad, the former capital of the Hyderabad State, was made the capital of the new state.
There were several movements to invalidate the merger to form two states viz. Andhra and Telangana in 1969, 1972 and now. 1969 movement was in Telangana region and 1972 movement was in Andhra region. Current movement, which started in 2000, is in Telangana region and is an ongoing political issue in the state.
On 9 December 2009, Government of India announced process of formation of Telangana state. It was announced that a separation proposal for Telangana would be introduced to the state assembly. Controversy arose as to the future status of Hyderabad City, part of one of the ten districts of Telangana region. This move was opposed by protesters from Kosta and Rayalaseema regions, however the protests in the state capital Hyderabad was rocked only by pro-bifurcation protests. On 23 December 2009, the government decided to put the decision of bifurcating the state on hold until a consensus is achieved among the different political parties.
This agitated supporters of a separate Telangana state. On 5 January 2010, the Central Government represented by Home Minister P Chidambaram conducted a meeting by inviting all the recognised political parties of AP and recorded their stand on the issue. The Government of India appointed a committee, headed by B. N. Srikrishna, to guide the central government to settle the issue of Telangana amicably. The committee submitted its report on 30 December 2010, a day before its term was to expire.