Telangana media for the last  several weeks  was debating  such questions around the date of Sep. 17. It was on that day in 1948  Nizam VII, Mir Osman Ali Khan, surrendered. Hyderabad,  one of the princely states,  surrendered to Delhi’s armed forces and agreed to accession with Indian Union. The context was a sustained campaign by BJP on the issue. All parties hoisted flags to mark the Day, but with divergent views.

Five districts of the erstwhile princely state of Hyderabad went to Maharashtra and 3 districts went to Karnataka. The remaining 10 districts, including Hyderabad city,  constituted Telangana which was later (in 1956) merged to re-constitute India’s first linguistic state of Andhra Pradesh (AP). The other states are officially celebrating Hyderabad Liberation Day but the TRS government is not celebrating the state’s own liberation day, BJP says, a partial truth. It is a formal and limited function if at all in some districts there.

Shri G. Kishan Reddy, Minister of State for Home Affairs, wrote a letter to Telangana CM KCR requesting him to allot land for a memorial to commemorate the Telangana liberation struggle that led to the merger of the erstwhile princely state of Hyderabad with the Indian Union in 1948. He is Amit Shah’s Deputy, and repeatedly  harped on the issue. He is an MP elected from Secunderabad. He also said that he has discussed the matter with the Union Tourism Minister, who agreed to provide funds for it. Many Union Ministers make frequent visits and statements to embarass TRS. Telangana now has  a Governor who was an active BJP leader in Tamilnadu. Together, they seek to run a parallel govt, they are in a hurry. BJP Telangana chief often says the day is not far off when KCR would be in jail for corruption.

He expressed his anguish at how the matters of history and real achievement of Indian people have been brushed under the carpet due to contemporary politics. Reddy said that it was only due to the efforts of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that the Hyderabad Liberation Day had become a mass movement. The ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) would never celebrate it publicly under the influence of their ally, the All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM).

In this article, we shall review how indeed history is being manipulated to suit contemporary politics.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah greeted the people of Telangana, Marathwada and the Hyderabad-Karnataka region on the occasion of  September 17: “Greetings on Hyderabad Liberation Day to the people of Telangana, Marathwada & Hyderabad-Karnataka region. “I salute to all our valiant freedom fighters who fought bravely to liberate the people of the region from cruel and inhuman rule of Nizam & Razakars. #HyderabadMuktiSangram,” Shah tweeted.  (PTI )

The political context in which “Hyderabad Liberation Day had become a mass movement”  for BJP is this:

In Telugu states of  Telangana (TS)  and AP, BJP has been a Party in a hurry, more so in September this year. In both  states it failed to make a dent in last General elections (2019) , and TRS led by KCR and YCP led by Jagan formed governments with formidable majorities. From Modi, Amit Shah to more than dozen Union Ministers  had sweated, but  in Assembly polls, BJP got just one seat in TS, and none in AP. They could not form any alliances, had to go alone. With populist schemes and so many doles, the winners  were well entrenched. Through defections from a defeated TDP, which was its ally in 2014 election , BJP  got four Rajya sabha MPs, 3 from AP one in TS. They were bent on increasing their votes and seats next time, quite expected from a political party. So 24X 7, they are raking up issues and leading relentless agitations despite Covid-19 that came to the rescue of rulers everywhere. But they are using other means also : IT, CBI, ED etc all under Home Ministry, headed by Amit Shah and his Deputy Kishan Reddy.

Thus both Shah and Reddy made the above statements : “Hyderabad Liberation Day had become a mass movement,” as BJP kicked up a row. Though the next elections are far away in 2024, BJP would not like to miss any opportunity to mobilise and consolidate its Hindutva support base in the state. They would celebrate it in a grand manner if they win.  It is however not at all a simple, undisputed  fact of history.

Was it  Liberation of People from Nizam ?  or  Liberation of Nizam from People ? Was it a Day of Betrayal of people by Nehru-Patel Govt.? 

Perceptions always and deeply varied on this issue. It was a case of Rashomon effect in history and politics, with contradictory viewpoints: It has been  a big controversy how to describe the issue.   Because the complex class and political interests varied basically. No single interpretation was adequate to describe it, as in the fable of four men and the elephant (see picture below). History and politics are variously colored.  We shall examine and clarify a few issues in this article on the history and politics of Telangana.  

Sep 17. 1948 : What was its character? History and politics are variously colored.

The BJP and the Sangh Parivar, like  formally Congress,  call  17 September as ‘Telangana Liberation Day’ or Telangana Vimochana Dinotsavam. However, Congress and TDP when in power, had refrained from declaring an  official celebration on 17 September in the erstwhile AP, like TRS now; at best they would recall the Accession or  Merger Day.The CPI  also agrees with Liberation Day, claims the legacy of armed struggle, with a rider that it should not have been continued after 1947 August.  The revolutionary  communists, ML groups  as also some separate Telangana advocates  had called  it as  ‘Telangana Betrayal Day’  or Telangana Vidroha  dinam: Because  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; therefore it had to be continued beyond  1948 Sep. to fight the feudal regime restored by independent India. CPM agreed with continuation, but does not say it was betrayal.  And others like TRS and MIM, seeking to reconcile, matter of factly , call it as the ‘Telangana Merger Day’ or Telangana Vileena  dinostavam.

Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) of TRS  had indeed promised to celebrate ‘Liberation Day’ officially during the movement for separate statehood. The BJP calls the   KCR’s backtracking of his promise as minority appeasement, with an eye on muslim votes (13% of the TS population) and alliance with  MIM, now with an MP, and 7 MLAs. It is true KCR  is careful, more so because BJP is aggressively targeting TRS.  The BJP  wants to polarize Hindu votes blaming minority appeasement.

The Indian state and ruling classes were neither  anti-feudal, nor  anti-Nizam,  so to say. They were for Hyderabad’s Accession by August 15,1947, which the Nizam refused. So 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-Law graduate, and a  Muslim fanatic, was against accession, and he became increasingly influential during the last years of Nizam’s rule, and  organized private militia called Razakars. The Razakars, in alliance with Hindu feudals,  terrified people by looting, killing and rape for speaking-up against the Nizam’s feudal rule. Sardar Patel had talks even with him, who was later imprisoned (1948-57), and later released on condition that he would leave to akistan where he died in 1970.

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Kishan Reddy indeed lamented about the “Marxist influence on Indian history writing,”  which he said was ‘extensive and debilitating.However, he expressed hope that over the years, things were changing. He said that the use of social media had democratised information and brought the real history of Indian civilisation to the people.”  (swarajyamag.com , Sep 16, 2020 ). He spoke to Bharatvaarta, a podcast platform, which conducted the discussion in association with Swarajya, a Right-wing magazine.

Indeed the BJP was debilitated; it failed to play the anti-Muslim card to win seats, in Hyderabad city, as we shall see later. Telangana’s was a struggle led by communists that was anti-Nizam the ruler, but not an anti-Muslim struggle, as tacitly painted by BJP. In fact it was not merely Marxist influence on Indian history writing, but in making history. It was a case of fact versus fiction, in so many respects.

We shall examine a few issues in this article on the history and politics of Telangana.

BJP has an electoral  base in Hyderabad, but not sufficient to win. It won only one seat as MLA. Thus BJP has been trying for decades but till now is unable to re-write history in Telangana.  He said “social media had democratised information”. It is not social media BJP is relying on.  It is indeed anti-social media of misinformation and disinformation, seeking to create anti-Muslim frenzy, of course  in a controlled manner because it won’t work the rabid way in Hyderabad. In fact, the (pseudo-) secular wallahs should note, BJP here regularly held Iftar parties, and supported state support for Haj pilgrims, their leaders put on Muslim cap too! It fielded Muslim candidates too, a woman post-graduate, against Akbaruddin Owaisi (MIM MLA)  to divide Muslim vote but it failed to work. Democratising information, he said. It often implies harassing and silencing those who it blames for Marxist influence on Indian history writing.

Here he was referring to Telangna’s recent history. As an article recently pointed out :

“ Telangana (1946-51) and DV Rao are now part of text books read by millions every year … DV and Telangana were banished for decades from history text books, but not any more. … Telangana peasant armed struggle (1946-51) came back with a bang into school text books, including a box item on DV with his photo. It also arrived as part of syllabus for competitive exams conducted for all govt  jobs – Class I to IV jobs! Thus virtually millions are now told of that great legacy. Thus lakhs of teachers and unemployed youth must read it now. So many general books, including one by DV, arrived. Osmania University also reversed its decades-old policy, and held a National Seminar on DV, with a keynote address by Anand Teltumbde, hailing him as the Father of Theory and Practice of Agrarain Revolution in India. A dalit-bahujan scholar like History Prof Inukonda Tirumali, who did a deep study on the subject, was an authoritative speaker who endorsed the key role of DV. There is now plenty of authentic literature on the subject now.” (See I. Chandriah, September 8, countercurrents.org, Kancha Ilaiah’s Theories As Seen Through By a Dalit-Born Teacher)

Kishan Reddy is unable to swallow facts of history and blames Marxist influence on Indian history writing, but here is a book that is not colored by ideology : The  History of Telangana People’s Armed Struggle-Vol I by DV Rao (1917-1984, he was MP from 1957-62 ), published in 1988 after the death of the author, is an authentic and meticulous work (of about 448 Royal Demy pages) that had three reprints already. Volume I ends with Police Action, 1948 September. It indeed has become a hurdle to many  in messing up history to suit their current politics. Incidentally, even KCR at one time, when he was yet to become CM, said this is an authentic work he would accept. It dealt with many questions now under debate:

Was it to “liberate the people of the region from cruel and inhuman rule of Nizam & Razakars?” as Amit Shah and ruling classes in general claimed? Or Liberation of Nizam from People, and their revolution as asserted by revolutionaries?  Was it a Day of simply accession to India, or  Day of Betrayal of people by Nehru-Patel Govt ? People of Telangna were clear in their mind, saw the Betrayal and rejected Congress in 1952 polls.

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1950 Constitution provided for and protected Feudals

The Indian Constitution of  1950 has a high-sounding Preamble (democratic etc). Was it for Democratic India without princes and princely kingdoms, as claimed by Nehruites? Was “cruel and inhuman rule of Nizam” ended as Amit Shah claimed ?  Was tyrant Nizam shown his place as claimed by votaries of  Home Minister  of Vallab bhai Patel, like those of  today’s BJP who seek to appropriate him?

Nehru-Patel-Ambedakar regime, and their 1950 Constitution, was not anti-feudal, as some people, including Leftists,  tend to project. They accommodated the feudals in the new Constitution, including privy purses, privileges; BJP should be reminded including the Right of succession:

It was decided that all the princely states/covenanting states would merge with the Indian republic, and all the Maharajas would be provided with a Privy Purse and Privileges as enjoyed by them on 15 August 1947 by constitutional guarantees. Hence Art. 294, Art 362, Art 366, Art 363 were incorporated. Besides it was also decided that the Maharaja of Mysore, the Maharaja of Jammu & Kashmir, the Nizam of Hyderabad, and the Rajpramukhs of the Covenanting states would continue to be the constitutional heads of their respective states…. In accordance with constitutional provisions all the Maharajas (who) entered into another agreement with the Governor General of India to provide for the specific privy purse amount, the right to their personal properties (as distinct from state properties), and the right to succession in accordance with the practice in their territories. These agreements were entered into before 26 January 1950 so as to bring them within the ambit of Art. 363.

On 26 January 1950, India became a republic. The new constitution created four types of administrative divisions in India: nine Part A states, the former British provinces, which were ruled by an appointed governor and state legislature; eight Part B states, former princely states or groups of covenanting states, which were governed by a Rajpramukh; ten Part C states, including both former princely states and provinces, which were governed by a chief commissioner; and a union territory ruled by a governor appointed by the Indian president…

As per Art.366 of the Indian Constitution (as it existed in 1950):

Art 366(21): Rajpramukh means-
(a) in relation to the State of Hyderabad, the person for the time being is recognised by the President as Nizam of Hyderabad.;
(b) in relation to the State of Jammu and Kashmir or the State of Mysore, the person who for the time being is recognised by the President as the Maharaja of that State;
and (c) in relation to any other State specified in Part B of the First Schedule, the person who for the time being is recognised by the President as the Rajpramukh of that State, and includes in relation to any of the said States any person for the time being recognised by the President as competent to exercise the powers of the Rajpramukh in relation to that State.

The eight Part B states were Hyderabad, Saurashtra, Mysore, Travancore-Cochin, Madhya Bharat, Vindhya Pradesh, Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU), and Rajasthan.

Hyderabad State had its last Nizam, HEH Mir Osman Ali Khan (b. 1886 -d. 1967) as Rajpramukh from 26 January 1950 to 31 October 1956.

(Wikipedia)

By 1956, the system of voluntary unions of states was dismantled and the position of Rajpramukh abolished. But many of them got into the system by getting elected, and becoming Ministers who had more and wider powers than when they were princes. Not only Congress but BJP is flooded with such feudals who are still calling shots in a formal democracy of India. It was much later Indira Gandhi as Prime Minister, for her own reasons,  abolished ( in 1971, by 26th Constitutional Amendment)  the Privy Purses and Privileges of the feudals: After all, she was party to the earlier arrangements until then.It had some exclusions still. And BJS/ BJP had opposed her doing that even at that time.

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Ruling classes and their parties like Congress, BJP, TRS are divided on these and other questions. Communists who were then key leaders of the people’s struggle are also divided: CPI and CPM are not one on the issue. Curiously there is commonality between CPI and BJP, both favoring it to be called  Liberation Day. CPM does not agree with that view; The latter  agree to the fact that people continued the armed struggle until it was withdrawn in October 1951. If 1948 Sep.  were Liberation, why the continuation?

The TRS now ruling Telangana State (TS) once said it was  indeed  Liberation Day, which ruling Congress did not celebrate officially in Telangana. TRS had then pointed out that Congress  however celebrated  it in Marathwada and Kannada  areas that were once part of Nizam-ruled Hyderabad. That is the same argument made by BJP today!TRS after it formed govt (in 2014) refused to celebrate it as  Liberation Day. TRS leader KCR explained: ‘We consulted the wise and knowledgeable people, and felt it is highly controversial. It would hurt the sentiments of some people. Why kick up a controversy about the past?’

TRS and MIM are tacit but  not formal allies. TRS fielded candidates in Hyderabad city against MIM in elections, prevented polarization of Hindu votes, as desired by BJP, and thus helped it to defeat BJP and to win and retain all 7 out of 8 seats it had contested in 2018-19 election. BJP won  only one seat. MIM thus is a defacto ally that occupies the seats as a loyal opposition of TRS! Congress accused BJP having a tacit deal with MIM,  in Maharashtra, where MIM  fielded candidates and attracted Muslim vote that would have been polled by Congress, thus indirectly helping a BJP win. The same accusation was made in Bihar. In both states, MIM won, and now has one MLA each. TRS  and MIM do not agree on other issues; TRS backed and voted with BJP-led NDA on Kashmir (Article 370 amendment) and Citizenship issue (CAA), which MIM opposed.

Why was the situation different within Hyderabad princely state ? The difference was the revolutionary consciousness of people, created by Telangana People’s Armed Struggle (1946-51), that was missing in the other (Marathwada and Kannada) parts of Hyderabad. It was a struggle led by communists that was anti-Nizam the ruler, but not an anti-Muslim struggle, as tacitly painted by BJP.

It was not only anti-feudal, as universally acknowledged, but it was anti-imperialist struggle also,  because the feudal Nizam was a subsidiary (ally) of the British who had their Resident (like Governor) and Military Cantonment in Hyderabad. The relations were governed by The Treaty of Subsidiary Alliance of 1800 AD, signed by Nizam’s predecessors, as DV Rao (1917-1984), a key leader of the struggle, explained in his History of Telangana. The British extended its (military) support to Nizam when essential.  The anti-Nizam  struggle was not an anti-Muslim struggle as painted by BJP.  It was  for Agrarian Revolution and Land to the tiller.  Even India’s official records of Loksabha described that DV Rao “worked for removal of feudal landlordism in Telangana.” He was called the Father of the Theory and Practice of Agrarian Revolution by scholars including KS Sharma and Anand Teltumbde.

(See DV Rao the father of the theory and practice of agrarian revolution in India by Anand Teltumbde

https://countercurrents.org/2020/08/dv-rao-the-father-of-the-theory-and-practice-of-agrarian-revolution-in-india-anand-teltumbde/)

  

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Was tyrant Nizam shown his place as claimed by various lobbies? 

The answers to many questions can be answered on the basis of historical facts.

Sardar Patel was the real iron man who handled the Nizam and Kashmir, assert some. Some of them, like those of Sangh parivar (BJP etc), add Nehru was not the tough guy. He had a soft corner for them. Nehruites say he was anti-feudal, democratic, and so abolished princely states. What are realities

There was indeed no basic difference. The iron heels were reserved for the people, and a soft glove was for the Nizam. Both Nehru and Patel were friendly with the Nizam, then among the richest in the world. After all, it was Patel’s team that negotiated a stand still agreement with the Nizam :

The Nizam was not banished any time, not even for a day, by the ruling classes.  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. The Police Action was actually a military offensive code-named Operation Polo. It commenced on Sep 13, and ended on Sep 17, so far as the Nizam was concerned. During this period, the Nizam’s army was not dis-armed as demanded after August 15, 1947, by some, but was retained. In fact it was aided by the Union.

After the surrender, what happened? What was the status of the Nizam regime? Hyderabad-based  history scholar Syed Inamur Rahman Ghayur said there was not much activity in Hyderabad on September 17, 1948, except for a broadcast by the Nizam on Hyderabad Radio saying that he had ordered the Hyderabad army to cease fire and permitted the Indian army to take possession of Secunderabad cantonment. Work then began on the formation of a new responsible government with Nizam as the head of state. (Times of India, Sep 17, 2019).

The Nizam taking oath as Raj Pramukh, the first governor,  of Hyderabad state on January 26, 1950.

Military occupation in fact was followed by Union military rule, one of the few such instances soon after 1947 August. It continued for about 16 months until new Constitution came into effect on Jan 26, 1950.  It could have been Governor’s rule, but formally it was not so. 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”. What was the arrangement in the interregnum? Though the military-administrator took control of Hyderabad on September 18, 1948, all government orders (firmans) continued to be issued in the name of the Nizam till January 25, 1950 – a day before India became a formal Republic. Then ceremonial position of “Raj Pramukh” or “Governor” was accorded to the Nizam.

Nizam’s grandson Najaf Ali Khan had  asked :  I would like to ask the celebrators of the so-called liberation, if the Nizam’s reign was marked by tyranny, why then after the accession of Hyderabad to India, was he made the Raj Pramukh?”

Kishan Reddy expressed his anguish at how the matters of history and real achievement of Indian people have been brushed under the carpet due to contemporary politics : This is true. BJP is raking up the issue only with the hope and aim  to mobilize Hindu votes. With that motive he  said : “although India got independence on 15 August 1947 from British rule, the state of Hyderabad had to wait 15 more months to really enjoy this freedom. It was only on 17 September 1948 that Hyderabad merged with the Indian Union.”  He harped on Kashmir and Article 370 also. He should know that many princely states did not readily join India. It may be noted that  the princely state of Travancore , ruled by  a Hindu dynasty,  also refused to join  the Indian Union, and  was yet to join by that time; but nothing like Hyderabad Police Action was there. Travancore finally joined in later part of 1949.  Does  Kerala BJP, or any other party,  ask for a Liberation Day being celebrated there?

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Nizam And Razakars Served  a System With Hindu Feudals At The Top

Reddy said that the AIMIM carries the legacy of the Razakar army and to appease the MIM, the TRS has given up on this day. He also accused Congress and earlier Telugu Desham Party (TDP) of ignoring the Hyderabad Liberation Day publicly. It is a fact that all these parties are opportunist, and had their own reasons. Congress too had allied with MIM earlier. Reddy is distorting history to suit their current anti-muslim politics. An impression is created as if it was a Muslim oppression of Hindus, which is not true.

Earlier during 2019 elections, Amit Shah in his rally in Telangana had termed AIMIM a party of ‘Razakars’ referring Owaisis’s past. There were so many Hindu feudals, like Sindhias now with BJP, who joined British and their army to suppress 1857 Revolt.

It is true that Razakars were Nizam’s private armies and had indulged in atrocities. Like BJP has Hindutva politics today, they had Islamic communal politics. But it should be reminded that they were shielded and fed by by Hindu feudals like Visunuru Ramachandra Reddy and Jannareddy Pratapa Reddy; and they protected and served the Hindu Deshmukhs and Jagirdars, who together crushed the peasantry. In fact some of these Hindu feudals themselves were also commanders of Razakars.

The Hindu Jagirdars and Deshmuklhs were controlling and looting hundred of villages and lakhs of acres. There were 2600 Jagir villages, excluding those of Nizam’s 646 (Sarf-e-khas) villages. Some off the Jagirdars had their own armed police, and wielded Revenue and Judicial powers. (DV Rao, History). Nizam was one of the  biggest Jagirdars.

Razakar atrocities pale into insignificance if compared with those committed by the Indian (Nehru-Patel) army. There was a popular song about Indian army atrocities that exceeded  those by Ravana  who, the song says, never raped Sita in captivity. Indian army  then raped hundreds of women, it is recorded, most of who were communists fighting the Nizam. They of course raped Muslim women, as recorded by Sundarlal Commission, appointed by the Union after the Police Action. Its Report was not formally released: 

“The Operation Polo 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.” (Wikipedia)

The above reference excludes the 4000 communists who were killed by the Army. And almost one lakh who were detained and jailed, often in Open Jails with fencing as Prisons could not accommodate them.

Hindu feudal Maharaja Kishen Pershad ( 1864-1940, born a Hindu Khatri) was a Nizam loyalist all his life, and was a Military Minister, and later Dewan (Prime Minister)  of the Nizam for two terms, in 1902 and again  during 1926-1937. In fact, the first term was after dismissal of a Muslim Premier, Viquar-ul-Umra, and he was conferred the title Yamin us Sultanat (Right Handman of the Sultan, Nizam); in that term, he quadrupled the revenues of the Nizam. It indicated fleecing the farmers also.

Raja Bahadur Venkata Rama Reddy (1860-1953) was the Kotwal (Police Chief, Commissioner) of the capital Hyderabad, “a most powerful post”, for a long tenure of 14 years (1920-34); he was 74 when he retired.  Later he was appointed Special Officer of the Nizam’s private Estate that spanned over 646  (Sarf-e-khas) villages. The present Police Academy is named after that  Kotwal of the Nizam.

Raja (Goswamy) Dhanrajgir, a successor of Hindu monks who turned into feudal bourgeoisie, was a top banker of the Nizam, who financed the Nizam State Railways, and a whole State of Berar (of Nizam) was mortgaged to him.

It is claimed that cow slaughter was banned by the Muslim Nizam (The last Nizam – Hero or Villain? Times of India, Sep 17, 2019) to placate these Hindu feudals.

When the Nizam refused to join Indian Union, his regime included Hindu representatives.  When the Nizam approached UNO, the delegation included such Hindu representatives, including dalit elite like Sham Sundar Rao. So many Hindu-born feudals even headed Razakar hordes;  there were even dalit leaders (Shamsunder Rao), who worked for Razakars in the name of Dalit-Muslim axis. They were Hyderabad-based dalit elite who were close to the rulers, including Hindu feudals, and who never bothered about people’s struggles for land and livelihood. B.S.Venkat Rao (SC leader), emerged as Minister of Education in Nizam’s Government. Thus Nizam’s was not a mere Muslim regime, as BJP hints.

Kishan Reddy “expressed his anguish at how the matters of history and real achievement of Indian people have been brushed under the carpet due to contemporary politics.”  That is exactly what BJP is doing today. The above facts reveal the same : they seek to exploit it history for their anti-Muslim politics.  It is well known that Travancore  representatives were seeking independence from India, like some others; they  had contacts with Pakistan, hoping for their support.

Reddy spoke of legacy of the Razakars. They include not just MIM, but the successors of such Hindu feudals who later became legislators and Ministers in Congress cabinets. And BJP is now seeking to rope in Hindu feudals and their touts, by engineering defections.  

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Telangana’s  was not an anti-Muslim struggle : Role of Hindus and  Muslims

“Kishan reddy talked at length about the freedom gained from the tyrannical rule of Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan, whose Razakar Army went on a rampage on Nizam’s wishes. This army pillaged, killed and raped people to let Nizam stay out of the Indian Union and merge with Pakistan.

“However, a people’s movement, led by doyens like Swami Ramanand Tirth, PV Narasimha Rao and tribal leader Komaram Bheem ensured that the Nizam was weakened. Reddy explained how Operation Polo, led by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, India’s first Home Minister, ensured that there was no balkanisation of our independent nation.”

https://swarajyamag.com/politics/telangana-government-ignoring-hyderabad-liberation-day-to-appease-aimim-g-kishan-reddy

He blamed others of distorting history, but brazenly does it himself.

BJP’s Kishan Reddy highlights  Congress leaders, the Swami and PVN (both Nehruites), who had a feeble role to play in Telangana.  The results of 1952 elections, so soon after 1948 events, showed the place of the “doyens” he mentioned. Congress was routed, and communists swept the polls in Telangana winning 38 out of 44 seats, plus some allies (socialists and a faction of SC Federation) they backed. PVN was not an elected leader in 1952. Even after PVN was made the PM, he could not hope to win from any seat in Telangana, and so he went to a safe seat in Rayalaseema, with the help of the then AP CM Vijaya Bhaskar Reddy; and NTR’s TDP did not field a candidate. Such are the “doyens” he mentions.

He mentions correctly only  Komaram Bheem, but omits to name the communists who played the decisive role and who “ensured that the Nizam was weakened.” The communists  created literally hundreds of fighters like adivasi hero Komaram Bheem. Doddi Komarayya and Chakali Ilamma retrospectively became iconic figures whose statues came up in recent past. BJP is seeking to appropriate even their names, aided by a media known for spreading lies. V. Prakash, author of a big book of History of Telangana, now in TRS, wrote an article with the title : “It was DV Rao who created hundreds” of such fighters, but often DV  is not mentioned for the same reason.

BJP leaders conceal one more key fact. The Hindutva forces, Hindu Mahasabha and RSS included, were nowhere in the picture. They were rejects in Telangana.

It should be known that neither BJS/ BJP nor its parental RSS, or Hindu Mahasabha , had any positive role  whatsoever in the Telangana  armed struggle, even in its anti-Nizam phase.

In early phase there was some influence of Arya Samaj on youth of middle class and urban origin. It was a reformist, revivalist  organization that was firmly anti-Nizam and was  opposed to idolatry and untouchability. It had demarcated itself from the very word Hindu, and called itself a Vedic organization.Thus it attracted some, but soon lost ground  as the influence of communists went up. The ideology and politics of communists weaned away their young cadre, including BN Reddy and Dharma Bhiksham, both of who later (before 1944) became communist fighters and served several terms as MP and MLA, from Nalgonda, the citadel of communists.

An interesting episode   was narrated by DV Rao in his History (page 192). Pandit Narender ji, Arya samaj top leader visited Nalgonda in early 1944 or so. By that time, Arya samaj was badly weakened and local leaders felt the visit would be a failure with little attendance. It was anti-Nizam and so were communists. So they approached DV Rao, the District Secretary and requested him to send some youth to attend the meeting. When he raised the differences, DV Rao was told that Narender ji would not say one word against communists in the meeting, which should not be a flop. It was agreed and  the meeting went of well. Narenderji praised the bold and self-less work, and egalitarian views of communists with whom, he said, Arya samaj had no differences except on the question of God. After the meeting  Narender ji sought and had a meeting with DV Rao, thanked him, and said Arya Samaj would back them and not the Right wing elite who compromised with the Nizam. Swami Agnivesh agreed with such a viewpoint in retrospect.  

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 Shah  duo is out to  (mis-) appropriate any  event or iconic  personage that they had opposed all their life, including communist fighters without acknowledging them as communists. They eulogise Communist icon Ilamma, born a washer woman, highlighted by DV Rao in his works since 1946. It may be noted that Amit Shah had launched his election campaign (in 2017 May) in a communist village Gundram pally. In the current phase, they campaigned in Bairanpally where 500 men of Nizam army was resisted in a battle in which around 60-70 comrades were killed.  Everywhere without acknowledging them as communists.  

There were many muslims, rural and urban, who fought against the Nizam. Shoibullah Khan ( Editor of Imroz, pro-congress paper) , it is often cited, was murdered by Razakars; he was a victim.  But not much is said about Muslims who fought Nizam.

One of the earliest martyrs to be remembered was Sheik Bandagi, a Muslim peasant, in early (unarmed) phase of the struggle. Bandagi and three of his brothers waged a long struggle for over 10 years. He won in litigation, but was finally murdered (in 1942) by the mercenaries of Visunur deshmukh, Ramachandra Reddy. That struggle against the Deshmukh was revived in 1944 and carried forward under the leadership of communists. DV Rao in his early classic work, Heroic Struggles of Jangaon (1946), devotes a whole section, written in a passionate, almost lyrical, prose to this episode which he describes as the Prelude.The burial place of Bandagi became an annual pilgrimage visited by thousands, and was the base for some literary pieces too.

Makhdoom Mohiudddin (1908-1969) was one communist (sometime under ground) fighter, a college teacher (of Urdu) who became a famous party and working class leader, and twice MLC (1956-69). He was a Founder Leader of Progressive Writers’ Association, called as the Shayar-e-Inquilab ( poet of revolution), compared to Faiz Ahmed Faiz. He was one of those Comrades Association based at Hyderabad, that was one stream that joined the party, and it included prominent Muslim intellectuals like Alam Khundmiri, and Jawad Rizvi, who also helped build students organization.

Another historical fact that is suppressed is the backlash against innocent Muslims after the police action. Thousands of Muslims were massacred by Hindu communal elements in Shahapur taluk in Gulbarga district of Hyderabad Karnatak, in Kushtagi (Raichur district), and in Latur Omerga and in Osmanabad (Bombay presidency).  Muslims also participated in large numbers in the struggle against the Nizam. “The famous and influential sufi from Gulbarga, Sajjad Darga Bande Nawaz, spoke against the Razakars,”

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The Police Action was evidently  not to subjugate Nizam, but was rather to crush the anti-feudal armed  struggle  led by revolutionary communists. That was why the Indian Army, through Operation Polo, continued its pacification (suppresssion) campaign Telangana in Telangana until almost 1952-53, though the struggle was formally withdrawn in Oct 1951.

( For more on the subject see :  Police Action in Hyderabad, 1948 September 13-18 :Should We Celebrate It? (September 12, 2017)  https://countercurrents.org/2017/09/police-action-in-hyderabad-1948-september-13-18-operation-polo/)

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Kishan Reddy, like Amit Shah earlier,  paid rich tributes to Sardar Patel, the architect of modern India. He said that the role of police action via Operation Polo was critical in beating the Nizam. Reddy talked about Patel’s Statue of Unity – the dream of PM Narendra Modi. This has been a pet theme for BJP, and for others, who use it, for sundry purposes including to bash Nehru.

Patel’s statue is too big, not only in size but also politically.

But that is a story by itself. We shall deal it in Part-2 of this article.  

Kishan Reddy made an observation on the famous picture taken at the Hyderabad airport soon after the state fell to Indian troops. In this picture, the Nizam is standing with folded hands and receiving Sardar Patel. Reddy said that despite the victory, Sardar Patel did not humiliate anyone and left doors open for integration. He said he has appreciated how Sardar Patel appeared so calm and humble even in the picture of his victory and glory.

Ramakrishnan was a  media person


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2 Comments

  1. Avatar S. N. Murthy Ch says:

    Only those who masters the Marxist method and philosophy of Dialectical and Historical Materialism can give an objective and accurate account of the glorious Telangana People’s struggle (1940-51) and its essence. Com.D.V.Rao was such a great Marxist who accomplished it with no parallel. Ofcourse he had the advantage of practically leading the Struggle. However, all those other leaders associated with the Struggle could not do it. Rather they did not, to suit the lines they followed.
    I thank the author so much for presenting this valuable information that exposes all kinds of distortions of history of the Struggle and the class and political interests behind the same. This article also shows how the History of the Teangana struggle written and explained by Com.D.V.Rao is still so much useful to understand the present politics of India.

  2. This article brought out the correct perspective of 17 th september in Telangaana history. It amply focuses on the motives of the past and present politicians who were never in line with the people’s struggle but want to encash on the Telangaana sentiment. At the same time it exposes some of the so called communists who claim legacy of the armed struggle of theTelangaana peasants.Both the sections talk of it repeatedly as a glorious history to gain political mileage now in contrast to the actual revolutionaries who gaze the history as a guiding principle for the peoples movements.it also clarifies the hypocrisy of present day politicians who largely base their arguments by distracting the historical facts. While appreciating Mr.Ramakrishnan for this vivid explanation , I like to express my thanks to the editor, countercurrents in publishing this article which shells out the misinterpretations of facts. .