Police Action in Hyderabad, 1948 September 13-18 :Should We Celebrate It?

Now it is a Raging Controversy whether it should be a Day of Celebration

This article begins with current context of a political controversy, then briefly  gives  some factual accounts  and a  historical background. Then it gives Extracts from  writings  of  DV Rao (1917-1984), veteran communist revolutionary leader of Telangana People’s Armed Struggle (1946-51) , who lived through those times  as  a key leader, that give an objective  and brief  account of those events  combined with  his analysis. DV Rao was a  communist  Member of  Lok Sabha 1957-62.

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 September, 13-18, 1948 represents a most bloody part of  New India’s  History, located in princely State of  Hyderabad,  so soon after  independence.  It was a contemporary war  of the First India-Pakistan War , waged in Kashmir, during  22 October 1947 – 1 January 1949; curiously both sides  were then led by British Commanders like  Gen. Rob Lockhart and Gen. Roy Bucher on the Indian side, and   Gen. Frank Messervy  and Gen. Douglas Gracey  on the Pakistan side. Gov. Gen. Lord Mountbatten was still around as India’s Governor  General of  Independent India !  Casualties of Indo-Pak war, Wikipedia  tells us,  were 1,104 killed and 3,154 wounded on Indian side , and 6,000 killed and 14,000 wounded on Pakistan’s side. Casualties in Hyderabad were much more and almost one-sided as can be seen below. But it is a  less known story outside Telangana  and AP.

There is now going on  a controversy whether  September 13-18 ,  1948, should be celebrated as the Hyderabad Liberation Day, as being insisted by BJP, with an eye on polarization of votes on communal lines. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)  launched a campaign  demanding  of  the  Telangana government to officially celebrate 17 September as ‘Telangana Liberation Day’.  BJP  strives to become a political force in Telangana, ahead of polls in 2019, for  which Amit Shah already launched a campaign from  Gundrampally, a  village of  Nalgonda Dt., Telangana,  known for its martyrdom .  Addressing  a  meeting in May 2017, BJP President  Amit Shah said that Gundrampally has great history and several martyrs laid down their lives against Razakars and went into the annals of the history.  It is a fact that the village had  scores of martyrs, remembered by a  red memorial pylon adjacent to National Highway 65, located  60 kilometres away from Hyderabad  (see photo below).

 But it should be known that neither BJP nor its parental RSS, or Hindu Mahasabha , had any role  whatsoever in the Telangana  armed struggle, even in its ant-Nizam phase. It was communist revolutionaries of  Telangana who waged  an armed struggle, not only against the Nizam  but   also against the Hindu feudals who ganged up with the Nizam and his private army  of  the Razakars, led by headed by  Kasim Razvi, a Muslim fanatic educated at Aligarh University;  and later even against the Nehru regime that sought to restore feudal rule. But BJP of Modi- Amit Shaw duo is out to  (mis-) appropriate any  event or iconic  personage that they had opposed all their life. It may be noted that only a month before Amit Shaw was also in Naxalbari and launched a campaign for BJP.


Photo : Red Memorial, 11 –feet high,  set up at Gundrampally village remembering martyrs of Telangana armed struggle.

The Liberation Day  is celebrated officially in Maharashtra ( now ruled by BJP)  and Karnataka        ( now ruled by Congress), but the governments of combined Andhra Pradesh cutting across party lines had always  remained silent as they feared antagonising Muslim minorities in Telangana.  Many  people in Telangana consider 17 September as a historic day, but each have a different understanding as per their ideological standing :  

The BJP and the Sangh Parivar call  17 September as ‘Telangana Liberation Day’ or Telangana Vimochana Dinotsavam. The CPI  says  17 September should be celebrated as  Telangana Independence Day, and launched a campaign accordingly. The revolutionary  communists, ML groups  as also some separate Telangana advocates  called  it as  ‘Telangana Betrayal Day’   or Telangana Vidroha  dinam as the  Nehru-Patel-led- Indian Army  brutally sought to restore   feudals who were almost vanquished  by Telangana people’s armed struggle (1946-51),  in its First anti-Nizam phase by September 1948, and which had to be continued beyond  1948 to fight the feudal regime restored by independent India. And others, seeking to reconcile, matter of factly , call it as the ‘Telangana Merger Day’ or Telangana Vileena  dinostavam.

  1. Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) of TRS  had promised to celebrate ‘Telangana Liberation Day’ officially during the movement for separate statehood. The BJP calls the Telangana Chief Minister  KCR’s backtracking of his promise as political expediency and minority appeasement, with an eye on muslim votes and alliance with the Muslim political party the Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen, or  MIM, now having a Lok Sabha Member,  Asaduddin Owaisi.  Analysts say   KCR Rao is careful of not upsetting the Muslim population in Telangana that constitutes about 13% of the population and anger AIMIM (All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen), the influential party that represents Muslims of Hyderabad. The BJP   wants to embarrass the TRS and score some political brownie points.  The TRS, which came to power on 2 June, 2014 in separate  Telangana,  refrained from declaring an  official celebration on 17 September, continuing the policy of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh. “We say it’s a merger day, not a liberation day,” said Kalvakuntla Kavitha, TRS MP from Nizamabad and daughter of Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao.  

The Indian state and ruling classes were neither  anti-feudal, nor  anti-Nizam,  so to say. They negotiated with and  had entered into a standstill agreement with  the Nizam  on 29 November 1947 to maintain status quo. Post-Police Action, in January 1950, M. K. Vellodi, a senior civil servant was made the Chief Minister of the state,  and the Nizam was given the ceremonial position of “Raj Pramukh” or “Governor”.  Thus the Police Action was evidently  to crush the anti-feudal armed  struggle  led by revolutionary communists. It may be noted that  the princely state of  Travancore , ruled by  a Hindu dynasty,  refused to join  the Indian Union, and  was yet to join by that time; there  was nothing like Hyderabad Police Action was there. It joined in later part of 1949.  Does  Kerala BJP, or any other party,  ask for a Liberation Day being celebrated there?

Qasim Razvi, an Aligarh-educated Muslim fanatic, who became increasingly influential during the last years of Nizam’s rule organized private militia called Razakars. The Razakars, who feared  the   end of Muslim rule in Hyderabad, terrified people by looting, killing and rape for speaking-up against the Nizam’s rule.

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Wikipedia  in an article titled,  Indian annexation of Hyderabad,  writes :

Operation Polo is the code name of the Hyderabad “police action” in September 1948, by the newly independent India against the Hyderabad State.[ It was a military operation in which the Indian Armed Forces invaded the Nizam-ruled princely state, annexing it into the Indian Union.

At the time of Partition in 1947, the princely states of India, who in principle had self-government within their own territories, were subject to subsidiary alliances with the British, giving them control of their external relations. In the Indian Independence Act 1947 the British abandoned all such alliances, leaving the states with the option of opting for full independence. However, by 1948 almost all had acceded to either India or Pakistan. One major exception was that of the wealthiest and most powerful principality, Hyderabad, where the Nizam, Osman Ali Khan, Asif Jah VII, a Muslim ruler who presided over a largely Hindu population, chose independence and hoped to maintain this with an irregular army recruited from the Muslim aristocracy, known as the Razakars.[8]:224 The Nizam was also beset by the Telangana uprising, which he was unable to subjugate.

The Indian government, anxious to avoid what it termed a Balkanization of what had been the Indian Empire, was determined to effect the integration of Hyderabad into the new Indian Union.  Amidst atrocities by the Razakars, the Indian Home Minister Sardar Patel decided to annex Hyderabad in what was termed a “police action”. The operation itself took five days, in which the Razakars and the Hyderabadi Military were defeated swiftly.

The operation led to massive violence on communal lines. The Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru appointed a commission known as the Sunderlal Committee. Its report, which was not released until 2013, concluded that “as a very reasonable & modest estimate…the total number of deaths in the state…somewhere between 30,000 & 40,000.” Other responsible observers estimated the number of deaths to be 200,000 or higher.

MAP Of  The State of Hyderabad in 1909 (excluding Berar) :  Operation Polo (courtesy:  Wikipedia)


Wikipedia  gives  bare details of the Operation Polo September 13-18, 1948,  as follows :


Date 13–18 September 1948
Location Hyderabad State, South India
Result Decisive Indian victory

 Dominion of India  Hyderabad
Commanders and leaders
Sardar Patel
Roy Bucher
Joyanto Nath Chaudhuri
S.A. El Edroos
Qasim Razvi
35,000 Indian Armed Forces 22,000 Hyderabad State Forces
est. 200,000 Razakars (Irregular forces)
Casualties and losses
32 killed
97 wounded
Hyderabad State Forces: 807 killed
unknown wounded
1,647 POWs
1,373 killed
1,911 captured
Sunderlal Committee: 30,000 – 40,000 civilians killed

Responsible observers: 200,000 civilians killed


Photo Below : Major General Syed Ahmed El Edroos (at right) offers his surrender of the Hyderabad State Forces to Major General (later General and Army Chief) Joyanto Nath Chaudhuri at Secunderabad.

According to the records maintained by Indian Army, General Chaudhari led an armoured column into Hyderabad at around 4 p.m. on 18 September and the Hyderabad army, led by Major General El Edroos, surrendered.


Wikipedia says :

There were reports of looting, mass murder and rape of Muslims in reprisals by Hyderabadi Hindus and Indian Army soldiers.  Jawaharlal Nehru appointed a mixed-faith committee led by Pundit Sundar Lal to investigate the situation. The findings of the report (Pundit Sundar Lal Committee Report) were not made public until 2013 when scholars started accessing it at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library in New Delhi.  The report is also available online.

The Committee concluded that while Muslim villagers were disarmed by the Indian Army, Hindus were often left with their weapons  The violence was carried out by Hindu residents, with the army sometimes indifferent, and sometimes participating in the atrocities.  The Committee stated that large-scale violence against Muslims occurred in Marathwada and Telangana areas. It also concluded: “At a number of places members of the armed forces brought out Muslim adult males from villages and towns and massacred them in cold blood.”  The Committee generally credited the military officers with good conduct but stated that soldiers acted out of bigotry  The official “very conservative estimate” was that 27,000 to 40,000 died “during and after the police action.  Other scholars have put the figure at 200,000, or even higher. Among Muslims some estimates were even higher and Smith says that the military government’s private low estimates [of Muslim casualties] were at least ten times the number of murders with which the Razakers were officially accused.  In William Dalrymple’s words the scale of the killing was horrific. Although Nehru played down this violence, he was privately alarmed at the scale of anti-Muslim violence.

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India Today, India’s  leading news magazine, published with dateline   Hyderabad, September 10, 2013, an  Exclusive story, extracted below,  by T S Sudhir ( Editor (South), Headlines Today)  with the following caption :

Exclusive: The real story of how Hyderabad became a part of India in 1948

A confidential government report said at least 27,000 to 40,000 people lost their lives during and after Indian troops entered Hyderabad state to force the ruler to surrender.

It is one of the best-kept secrets in the annals of Indian history.

What exactly happened in Hyderabad on and after 17 September 1948 when the might of the Indian Army forced the Nizam of Hyderabad to surrender and merge his kingdom with the Indian Union, 13 months after India had become an independent country?

The day is celebrated every year by the votaries of Telangana — that is pretty much the old Hyderabad state geographically, barring districts that became part of present-day Maharashtra and Karnataka — as Hyderabad Liberation Day.

Except that if they knew the bloodshed that took place then, they would realise there isn’t much to celebrate about.

After reports that the Nizam’s Army was committing atrocities on innocent civilians, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel decided enough was enough and ordered the Army into Hyderabad.

Though its technical names were “Operation Polo” and “Operation Caterpillar”, it was more commonly referred to as “Police Action”.

And while there was no resistance from the Nizam’s Army, civilians indulged in loot and killings, largely of the minority community. And the Indian state turned a blind eye to what happened.

“There were more like revenge killings as well as loot. More so of Muslim traders particularly in the districts that today are part of Karnataka and Maharashtra,”‘ says Captain Pandu Ranga Reddy, a researcher.

A three-member delegation of Congress leaders, consisting of Pandit Sunderlal, Kazi Abdul Ghaffar and Moulana Misri, toured Hyderabad for three weeks in December 1948 and submitted a report from ground zero. And their report was so explosive that till date, it has not been declassified.

A request by Pandu Ranga Reddy to the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library at Teenmurti House in New Delhi asked for the Sunderlal report on Hyderabad, through the RTI Act.

The library replied to Reddy in January that the said report was not available.

However, historian Md Safiullah, using his influential contacts, could finally procure a copy of the report titled ‘CONFIDENTIAL’ in July this year.

The report under a heading ‘Killing and Looting’ states: “We can say at a very conservative estimate that in the whole state at least 27,000 to 40,000 people lost their lives during and after Police Action”.

Historians say the then government was not pleased with the work done by the committee, with Patel personally chiding the members. “I have copies of the letters written by Sardar Patel to Kazi Abdul Ghaffar asking him who asked you to go to Hyderabad. Who asked you to report all these things about the Government of India?’ says Safiullah.

The name Police Action too was coined essentially with a view to hoodwink the United Nations.

The term Police Action was a misnomer because if the Indian government had called it military action, it would have invited UN intervention as it would have been seen as India invading another state.

“It would have led to war,'” says Safiullah.

The Nizam did go to the UN but he withdrew his complaint on September 17 in a broadcast to the Hyderabad state.

However, the UN refused to pay heed to it, arguing that the withdrawal was under duress and kept it alive for another 50 years.

Interestingly, the first Emergency of independent India was declared in September 1948.

A state of Emergency was declared when 36,000 Indian troops entered Hyderabad because the government was apprehensive how the minorities in other parts of India would react to this takeover.

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A Military Action Against Agrarian Revolution (September 13, 1948)

Article Written By DV Rao , veteran communist Revolutionary (1917-1984)

(Taken from Proletarian Line No.15, September 1981, published from Hyderabad.  It is a journal with DV Rao, communist revolutionary who was a key leader of Telangana People’s Armed Struggle, as its Founder Editor. All emphases added.)

September, 13, 1948 was a day on which the armies of the Nehru government marched into Hyderabad, a princely state, composed of Telangana part of present Andhra Pradesh(now Telangana),Marathwada part of present Maharashtra and Raichur, Gulbarga and Bidar districts of present Karnataka. It was nominally headed by the then Nizam. The Nehru government claimed that it was sending the armies to suppress the Razakars for the purpose of maintaining ”Law and Order”. (Raza­kars, literal meaning being ‘Volunteers’, were a supplementary force, raised and armed for the purpose of assisting the regular armed forces who were suppressing the peoples’ movement.). The occasion was tomtomed as a day of liberation for the people of Hyderabad state not only by the congrees and big-business press but the right wing of the Communist Party as well as leftist forces outside of it. The revolutionary wing of the Communist Party never accepted the union armies’ role of liberation. On the contrary, it characteri­sed it as counter-revolutionary attack on the advancing agrarian revolution in the main, which proved to be correct.

Certain aspects of the then existing situation were as following:

  1. The revolts and struggles of armed forces, workers and peasants which took place over length and breadth of the country, immediately after the end of Second World War (1939-45) were suppres­sed by congress regime or allowed to be suppres­ sed (by British colonial regime before transfer of power). Some of them took place in princely states.
  2. All the princely states, which were enjoy­ing a status of independence according to Indian Independence Act of British Parliament, (July 1, 1947) had joined Indian Union and became administrative units of the same, one of the few exceptions  being the Nizam’s Hyderabad state.
  3. The armed resistance in Nalgonda District (Telangana) was temporarily suppressed by the Nizam’s armed forces, towards the end of 1946. Soon a “movement” was started by the congress to force the Nizam to join Indian Union, from August 1947. The then Communist Party (united) had again started and developed a mass revolu­tionary movement leading to agrarian revolution and armed struggle.
  4. By the time the “Police Action” took place, the armed struggle in Telangana, headed by the Communist Party, had reached an advanced stage and forced the Nizam’s armed forces into defensive position and the Razakars had begun to flee from the areas of armed struggle. Thus it was proved beyond doubt that the Nizam’s armed forces were no match to the armed guerillas.
  5. There were two types of areas where armed resistance was going on. There were areas where agrarian revolutionary programme including land distribution was implemented and they were exten­ding every passing day. They were the main centres of armed resistance. There were other areas where there was no land distribution, the resistance was weak, which could be suppressed if more armed forces were available to the Nizam.
  6. Negotiations between the congress government at Delhi and the Nizam’s government did not lead to early settlement. While the former relied on the comparatively stronger state power at the Centre, the latter relied on the support of Pakistan, pro-Pakistani forces and feudal Chiefs in the state together with its weak armed forces, which could be used only to suppress the mass movement, in a limited way.
  7. There was a proletarian revolutionary wing in the Communist Party, which advocated and was ready to lead the armed struggle even after a settlement and continue the agrarian revolution. There was another wing which was reformist in its politics which advocated that the armed struggle should be stopped immediately after a settlement, or after the Nizam had joined Indian Union, thereby becoming part and parcel of India.

Nizam’s regime concentrated its armed forces more in the areas of agrarian revolution with land distribution, without success. Thus a situation had developed wherein the armed forces of the Nehru government had to step in the shoes of the Nizam to suppress the advancing agrarian revolution and the armed struggle. The counter revolu­tionary role of Nehru government was clear more than ever when it sent troops to Burma and Malaya to suppress the advancing liberation movements in those countries. It was the role played by British imperialism, when these countries were its colonies. When this was the case with independent countries like Burma and Malaya, (they were independent by then), it was no surprise that the Nehru regime would not spare an agrarian revolu­tion on the Indian soil. Hence the socalled police action was a military action, against agrarian revolution in Telangana.

For a military with superior arms and equip­ment it was not difficult to disarm and demobilise the Razakars. It could complete this operation within a week. The Major part of it was over within first two or three days. But the military operation continued for three long years against the agrarian revolution. Even then it was not suppres­sed. Therefore it was clear even by the end of Sep­tember 1948, that the socalled Police Action was directed against agrarian revolution which was advancing in Telangana. But it was tom-tomed by the official media, congress, pro-congress sections and the right wing of the Communist Party that, the Nehru government had liberated the Hyderabad state from Razakars’  atrocities. It was true that the atrocities had come to an end as soon as the Union armed forces could disarm them. But there was no evidence to show that such an “Action” was necessary. Be­cause they had already collapsed, in areas where people put up organised resistance  in the form of guerilla warfare, which was spreading into all parts of the state. Even in other parts people could put up some resistance to the Razakars. Therefore left to themselves people could wipe out Razakars in a short period.

If the Nehru government was so much con­cerned about the atrocities of Razakars and the resultant plight of the people, it should have taken this action long before, because they lasted for one full year. Instead, it was conducting negotiations to hatch a compromise by meeting the demands of the Nizam half-way.

There was a political change in the state of Hyderabad, as a result of “Police Action” in the sense that a pro-Pakistani regime was replaced by pro-Indian Union and pro-congress regime, which was characterised by the right wing of the Communist Party as progressive and desirable. But the revolutionary wing treated it as counter- revolutionary against which an armed struggle was necessary to defend the revolutionary gains achieved by the people. Therefore there were two different lines before the party and the people which were implemented for the time being. At same time the revolutionary wing had an upper hand and finally it could implement the pro­gramme of armed struggle with all the limitations imposed by the then existing situation, inside and outside the party. The non-Communist forces treated the Police Action as god-send because they had no understanding of the need for agrarian revolu­tion. They were passive spectators for what was happening in the state. Even if some of them put up some resistance, it was spontaneous and not conscious and organised. Some others had a limited objective of a change for another regime from that of Nizam.

The most important aspect of September 13, 1948, was that it brought forth the need for a revolutionary path for people’s democratic revolu­tion against the new set of ruling classes which came to power on August 15, 1947. The strategy and tactics was mostly a controversial subject inside the Communist Party. The subject of armed struggle was still more controversial at the time, because it was taking place in Telangana against heavy odds and all the forces opposing it were ranged against it. Notwithstanding this, it could continue till later part of 1951, when the leader­ship of the Communist party betrayed it only to adopt parliamentary path as its line. How did it happen ?

Immediately after September 13, 1948, the Union armies had flooded Telangana districts where agrarian revolution was going on, encircled them to wipe off the movement, the party and guerillas. Arrests, tortures, burning the villages, killings (shooting to death) took place on massive scale which had no comparision with the atrocities committed by the Nizam’s armed forces and the Razakars. How could the “liberators” commit atrocities on such a scale ? There could be no explanation other than that the Nehru government sent its armies to suppress the advancing agrarian revolution in Telangana. The Razakars,  a weakened and exhausted force, were not only demanding a separate and independent Hyderabad state but were a pro-Pakistani force also. As such they were dis­armed. It was a small affair which was exaggera­ted beyond proportion, because it serves the interests of ruling classes.

There were controversies inside the party connected with September 13.  One of them was: since the class in power at the centre was bour­geoisie and Nizam was a feudal, there was a contradiction between the two. The “Police Action” resolved this contradiction by abolishing the feudal state. It is wrong and right opportu­nism to say that the state power is wielded (after transfer of Power) by bourgeoisie which is anti-feudal. On the contrary the ruling classes were comprador bourgeoisie and the landlords (feudal landlords in the main), who were in alliance. (The same is the case even now) Therefore there was no contradiction between the two. All the native states, big and small,   had merged in the Indian Union either voluntarily or by persuasion together with some pressure where it was necessary. All of them were headed by feudal Chiefs. Their merger denotes that there was no contradiction between “bourgeoisie” at the centre and “feudal” Chief in the respective native or princely state. There was a delay in the merger of Nizam’s state because of the strength of pro-Pakistani forces who were for independence which served the interests of Pakis­tan. The agrarian revolution in Telangana was directed not only against local feudalism but Indian feudalism as a whole. Therefore both Nizam and Nehru governments were interested in suppressing it. The latter had bigger stakes in it because of its all-India character.

There was a view that the armed struggle should have been withdrawn immediately after September 13. The premise of such a view was that the armed struggle was against the Nizam and not against the Nehru government, about whom people had illusions, legal or otherwise. They cited as examples how people welcomed union armies as “liberators”. It is a fact that there were areas (Towns and villages) where people were passive spectators who treated them as “liberators.” Though there was some resistance in some rural areas the people did not participate in it. Some armed squads often led by the local land lord, resisted the Razakars while people were passive spectators. There was no such resistance in towns. No wonder if people had illusions for the time being.  Even in the areas where agrarian revolution was advancing the rich peasantry and a section of small land lords which was cooperating with the communist party kept itself aloof from it immediately after “Police Action.” For them the struggle was against the Nizam and not against the Nehru government. The right wing of the communist party reflected the views of these classes.

On the other hand,  middle and poor peasants, and agricultural labourers who form the overwhel­ming majority of the rural population, demanded continuation of armed struggle against Nehru government because they realised from next day of “Police Action” onwards, that the armies were restoring landlords, and were liquidating their gains,i.e., the land and village Soviets. They also realised the need for their defence with the help of guerilla squads, which meant that the struggle was directed against Nehru government. They were aware that they had to face an armed force superior in number and equipment to Nizam’s forces. They cautioned the Party to take all precautions. The revolutionary wing of the party took this as the basis for advocation of the conti­nuation of armed struggle, and the armed struggle continued inspite of the heavy losses inflicted by union armies encircling the areas of armed strug­gles. In this connection it should be said that the atrocities committed by union armies were more severe and serious than those of Razakars from whom they claimed to have liberated the people on September 13.

At the time, there was a discussion going on inside the party about the path of Indian Revolu­tion. While a section of a leadership connected with armed struggle in Telangana advocated that, India being a semi-colonial and semi-feudal country, experiences of Chinese Revolution (protracted Peoples’ War) are in the main applica­ble to our country than those of Russian Revolu­tion (insurrection). The experiences of armed struggle in Telangana, even by that time, confirmed this view.

The view which advocated that continuing armed struggle after September 13 was wrong, was there althrough and present CPI as a whole repre­sents this view. There was another view, which said that armed struggle to defend the land of the land-lords which was distributed before or immediately after September 13, should have been conducted as partial struggle and not as a struggle for People’s Democratic Revolution. The view is self contradictory because the distribution of land of landlords among the toiling peasantry and agricultural labourers was not a partial struggle for a partial demand. It was a struggle for a basic demand whose aim is to abolish feudalism and semi-feudalism, which was being protected by Nehru government. The land reforms introduced by it served the same objective,i.e., reforming the feudal and semi-feudal systems and not abolishing them. The armed struggle, which was the highest form of the struggle was inseparably linked and coincided with the basic demand of abolition of feudalism and semi-feudalism (landlordism).

The gains of the agrarian revolution of pre-September 13 were not limited to the land alone.

There were village Soviets which were functioning at the time of “Police Action.” Most of their members were arrested and some had deserted. The concentration of troops made it impossible for the people to replace them with the new Soviets. This did not mean that the situation would continue for all time to come. Therefore the demand for defending village Soviets was a practi­cal demand for the period, and also basic demand, which could not be given up immediately after September 13 or at any time after it.

Most important of all was the question of guerilla force, who inspite of the heavy losses, retreated to forest areas and continued their resis­tance. Defending the gains of the agrarian revolution could not be separated from defending guerilla forces, which was beyond the scope of a partial struggle. Therefore the view that the armed struggle should have been conducted as partial struggle after September 13, 1948 is wrong.

The only way, a correct way at that, left before the communist revolutionaries of that period was to continue it as a full-fledged agrarian revolution with all the ups and downs which were inevitable in a given situation.

That the Telangana armed struggle was be­trayed by the right opportunist leadership was indisputable. At the same time, it was also obvious that the revolutionary wing and its leadership could not continue the struggle because it suffered from serious short-comings in its understanding and practice. As a result, the struggle was withdrawn three years after  September 13, 1948.

The armed struggle, and agrarian revolution in Telangana had developed and continued for five years (1946-51). There were favourable condi­tions to develop such struggles all over India There were attempts for this, but they were stopped half­way by the leadership (Tebhaga, Worli etc.). The long period of Telangana armed struggle provided an opportunity for communist revolutionaries to start and develop them in their own areas, over the length and breadth of the country. But they could not take up the task because their understanding of the agrarian revolution and its significance was wrong and defective. The armed struggles in Naxalbari and Srikakulam show that the path shown by Telangana Armed Struggle is still alive and it applies to agrarian revolution in India as a whole.

The Communist Revolutionaries in India are paying serious attention in studying the experiences of Telangana armed struggle so that they may utilise them in developing agrarian revolution all over India. Let us dedicate ourselves to this task. (21-8-81)

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P.S. : In the  first General Election held in 1952, in Telangana as well as in  Andhra,  communists  got maximum seats, and Congress Party, the self-appointed “Liberators”,  lost face, so soon after independence and  Police Action 1948. Even in 1957 Elections, though communists here lost seats, they polled higher proportion of votes than in 1952, much higher than what BJP and Modi polled in 2014 General election. It may also be noted that all this tyranny was going on even as the Constituent  Assembly, with all its stalwarts,  was deliberating on the emerging  democratic republic!  It was an indication of people’s mind on  the ruling classes’ claims of democracy.

M K Adihya is a mediaperson



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