( Since Part-1 of this article was published on Sep20, we had the sad news that Andre Vltchek is no more. This article in countercurrents.org, which has been a platform for his writings, is dedicated to the memory of the comrade who travelled extensively, supported and wrote for Communist and other movements against imperialism and injustice everywhere.)  

Scores of official meetings were held to negotiate and execute Accession of Hyderabad, by a team led by Mountbatten, who personally met Hyderabad delegation at least 10 times, that had his Adviser and Secretary VP Menon as the key task master. Patel, Nehru and Gandhi had approached the Viceroy, pleading him to aid them in handling the princely States.

We are told of Maj Gen JN Choudhury in Operation Polo, but omitted is the name of Roy Bucher, the Britisher who was the then Commander-in-Chief of Indian Army. That had a Cantonment in Hyderabad, and was the supplier of arms to the Nizam, who used them against the anti-feudal armed struggle led by the Communists. The Nizam surrendered on day-5, but army continued its campaign for the next four years to restore the feudals in new roles.   

Mountbatten led the Indian team while British bureaucrat Sir Walter Monckton  was the Constitutional Adviser to the Nizam, and was a key Member of negotiating team of the Nizam.

The 1947-48 Indo-Pak war regarding Kashmir was also headed by English Military Generals, Rob Lockhart, Roy Bucher etc for India; and Frank Messervy and Douglas Gracey for Pakistan, with Gen Mountbatten above. It was a rare war, fought so soon after 1947 August, in which both sides were headed by British Generals, who were daily discussing troop movements!

(For more on this, see,Kashmir, Patel : Some Bitter Facts vs Concocted Stories-2 ( in CC October 16, 2019)

And it is shamefully painted as a “patriotic” war! Patel is shown to be the hero of this inglorious, ironic and tragic war, a modern day Mahabharat, between cousins.

Regarding Hyderabad too, both sides had decisive role of the British as seen above. It was more a case of trouble within the family. Unlike Jinnah of Pakistan, the Nizam had close connection with Hindu feudals, most of whom were his loyalists and allies. He had good relations with Congress leaders too. No wonder the brief  Police Action ended on Day 5. But the Army continued its real operations for almost four years to come. 

Such was the screen-play and Patel and Nehru played two heroes. They together restored  the Nizam, a recalcitrant member of the family, as the Raj Pramukh. Fighting People of Telangana were treated as the villains.

This was the essence one can infer from  the story narrated by VP Menon in his most authentic and detailed work on the subject. 

***                                         ***

BJP kicked up a row harping on a mass movement around celebrations of a Day (Sep.17) that was highly controversial.Was it a Day of Liberation of People from Nizam, or of Nizam from People’s revolution?it was widely feltto be aDay of Betrayalby Nehru-Patel Govt.; so TRS govt is opposed to celebrating it. Instead, text books now included Telangana’s revolution.In Part-1 of this article, we discussed the History and Politics of Sep.17. 

Nehru visits Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan (centre). Maj Gen J.N. Chaudhuri who headed military rule and Operation Polo.   

The context? In 2019 Assembly polls, BJP got just one seat in TS, and none in AP. BJP leadership, led by Amit Shah had given them a Mission-2023, (next election 2023-24) to make it the ruling party in both states by that time.   BJP local chiefs often say the day is not far off when the CMs in both states , more so KCR in TS, would be in jail for corruption. CBI, ED, IT,  etc all under Home Ministry, headed by Amit Shah and his Deputy Kishan Reddy, are busy preparing the ground. If state leaders can not push up  BJP membership, “they can call me, I will get more from each district” the Home Minister had said in a “stern message and a veiled comment” as reported by Times of India 2019 July 7. So BJP isin a hurry.

So 24X 7, they are raking up issues and leading relentless agitations despite Covid-19. In the name of  Liberation Day, they seek to  invoke “nationalism”  and  Hindutvaas against Muslim Nizam : BJP alleges  KCR has given the steering wheel (car is TRS election symbol) to MIM. They forget that big people always give the steering wheel to a driver. The BJP vote share in TS went up from 7.5 to 22 % in just six months, Amit Shah told them, and up from 13 to 41% in the “upper castes;”  “this advantage can not be frittered away.” ( Times, 2019, July 7). Thus electoral  “nationalism” is built by bricks of communal and caste politics.

***             ***

Kishan Reddy speaking about the Liberation Daysaid : “history is being manipulated to suit contemporary politics.”  In Part-1, we showed how indeed he was doing that. We showed and  established facts:

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

— And thatTelangana’s 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 merely anti- Nizam but  also against the Hindu feudals who ganged up with the Nizam and the Razakars.

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.

The Nizam was made the Raj Pramukh, instead of being removed for all his crimes, and was given all privileges, by Constitutional arrangements that of course served all feudal princes, and secured their ill-gotten properties too.

Sheik Abdulla represented India in UNO ( 1948 Feb) on Kashmir, and he was jailed by Nehru-Patel regime for 11 years. The Nizam’s regime went to UN questioning India, and he was made the  Raj Pramukh.

Nehru and Patel presided over the betrayal and suppression of people.  That is the significance of Sep.17.

–Sardar Patel was the iron man, but the iron heels were reserved for the people, and a soft glove was for the Nizam. Both Nehru and Patel were friends 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.

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?  Hindu-ruled Manipur also did not  join until 1949.

BJP speaks about Modi’s  dream “Statue of Unity, ”, of Sardar Patel,“the architect of modern India,” who played hero, in the Operation Polo, and in Kashmir war (Oct 1947). This has been a pet theme for BJP, to undermine Congress and Nehru.

Both camps do not tell us why our  heroes and architects could not get  accession of  colonies Goa (Portuguese) until 1961; and of Puducherry (French) until 1954, and finally until 1962. Had they no guts ? or collaborated with those imperialist powers? Our nationalists never raise this question.

After all it is a country where idolatry is predominant. India is a unique country with thousands of bigger and bigger  statues of leaders, (not only of dead but of living too), big and small.

BJP and a  few other experts make Patel’s statue too big, not only in size but also politically.We shall discuss it, among other things, in this Part-2 of the article.

***               ***

Gandhi, Patel, Nehru and the Nizam

Patel is shown as the architect who united India, only to undermine Nehru. But it is well known that Gandhi (his father wasDewan of  Rajkot, and he had his concept of trusteeship) and Patel were opposed to building even a formal movement in princely states. 

Congress founded in 1885 was not allowed by AICC to open units there until 1937-38, including in Hyderabad. The first-ever Satyagraha on 24th Oct 1938 was attended by few among Telangana elite, who were mostly “loyalists” siding the Nizam. The first Telugu man was Ravi Narayana Reddy who soon after  joined the Communist party. Only a few youth and students were mobilised later on, and many followed Reddy. They were all  disillusioned when it was called off, and they felt it was “stabbing in the back”  by the AICC. Only some youth of Arya Samaj  continued it, and Congress was isolated.  Ramanada Thirth, a Nehruite mentioned by the BJP leader as a “doyen”, in his Memoirs wrote “ we felt the pinch.”  

Congress and Gandhi were so conservative that they refused to help students (including DV Rao and PVN) who were rusticated by the Nizam regime for no greater crime than singing Vandemataram in Osmania University hostel, and they refused to apologize for that. Universities, Andhra  and BHU, headed by Gandhian nationalists refused to help the rusticated students by giving them admission.They said the Nizam funded them, so we can not antagonize him.  DV Rao recorded the students moving on the issue and meeting, in Wardha, Gandhi who told them “ye bahut kathin samasya hai”( It is a very difficult problem).  That attitude distanced the youth who increasingly joined communists.

Gandhi and Patel as Barristers  were close to them in Gujarat and Kathiawar.  Nehru insisted and got the policy reversed through the establishment of a Congress B-Team called All India States’ People’s Conference. He earned their wrath and was imprisoned by princes like in Nabha, Kashmir.

“The problem of the (Princely) States is so difficult that you alone can solve it,” reportedly said   Gandhi to Patel “when faced with the biggest problem left by the British while departing India….And Patel, Nehru and Gandhi had approached the Viceroy Mountbatten,  pleading him to aid them in the process of integrating the princely states…” to avoid Balkanisation. (indianexpress.comOctober 31, 2017)

Their relations were described thus:

Patel reportedly had a meeting with Gandhi on (1948)  January 30, where he expressed his grouses against Nehru. Gandhi assured him that he would discuss all issues in the evening prayer meeting. But Gandhi was shot dead by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu fanatic, same day.Ghose writes: “Beside Gandhi’s body, Mountbatten told them (Nehru and Patel) that Gandhi’s last wish was to bring them together and keep them friends. Nehru and Patel nodded and embraced each other.”(Sankar Ghose , Jawaharlal Nehru, a Biography. Cited  bytheweek.in, February 12, 2018).  Hyderabad and Police Action soon followed, and the three worked together in it. 

Kishan Reddylamented about the “Marxist influence on Indian history writing,”  which he said was ‘extensive and debilitating. (swarajyamag.com, Sep 16, 2020 ). He spoke in a discussion bySwarajya, a Right-wing magazine.

He stressed “Democratising information”. It often implies demonizing,  harassing and silencing all those who are sharply critical about Modi regime, including some it blames for Marxist influence on Indian history writing, and media. Rulers, more so BJP, have been trying to influencehistory writing: We shall draw more from their sources only. VP Menon is one such source.

***                        ***

Patel the IRON man was forged in the furnace of Viceroy Mountbatten

From Right : Nehru,Patel and Menon (ICS) who as the Chief Negotiator coaxed the Princely States for Accession. Menon was the Constitutional Advisor to three Viceroys, the last being Mountbatten.  This book is considered to be one of the most authentic and detailed works.

VP Menon (1893-1965), was a senior-most ICS officer, who authored the classic and authentic book, The Story of the Integration of The Indian States (Longmans -1955). He was the Secretary and Constitutional Advisor and Political Reforms Commissioner to the last three Viceroys of British India, the last being Mountbatten. “This book is in part fulfillment of a promise made to the late Sardar Vallabbhai Patel”, he wrote in his Preface : “I have narrated the whole story as objectively as it is possible for one who was in the midst of it…”

Vappala Pangunni Menon was born in Panamanna near Ottapalam (Kerala). Eldest among a dozen kids to a school headmaster, he was only a matriculate who left his home for any  job to help his father.From being a construction worker to a coal miner, factory hand, a coolie-grade stoker, an unsuccessful cotton broker – he did it all. He joined as a clerk-and-typist in the Home Department in 1929, later assisted ViceroyLord Linlithgow,  accompanied him  to England on most official trips, to become an ICS officer. Menon’s comprehensive knowledge of all Indian situations impressed all the three Viceroys he assisted. The onus of laying down and working the strategies for the transfer of power, and later Accession of the 500 plus Princely States  was entrusted to Menon.

Out of about 400 pages of Menon’s narrative, dealing with about 565 states, more than 75 pages are devoted to JK and Hyderabad, with Mountbatten playing a key role along with Menon : Mountbatten personally met and negotiated with Hyderabad’s representatives at least 10 times. That is apart from his team, including Menon, handling the affairs. Most of the related narration given below is from that authentic book.

Instead of Marxist authors, therefore, we shall see it from the Horse’s Mouth of Menon. We should know something about the making of the architect and how the IRON man was forged in the furnace of the British:

A new States Department.was formed by the new Viceroy Mountbatten upon Secretary Menon’s suggestion. Nehru who headed the Interim Ministry named Sardar Patel to head the department. Patel had before him a veteran Menon, of  Viceroy’s secretariat, to handle  all the affairs of Accession. Menon writes he wanted to retire after 15 August 1947. But “Lord Mountbatten advised me to accept Sardar’s offer.”

“At its meeting held on 25 June (1947) the interim Cabinet accepted the proposal for the creation of the States Department and on 27 June a press communiqué was issued allotting the Department to Sardar. I was named as the Secretary…”

One can see from the above Viceroy’s Secretary Menon’s key role  both before and after a new department was created, and how and by whom Patel himself was picked up for the job of the architect.

“Nor was Sardar himself over-optimistic.For one thing, he was doubtful”about  accession policy being implemented before 15 August. “I proposed that the active co-operation of Lord Mountbatten should be secured. He was the Viceroy and  from a Royal Family : it was bound  to influence the rulers. “Sardar whole-heartedly agreed and asked me to approach him without delay.” 

Menon told the Viceroy about it, and added : “he would be earning the gratitude of  generations of Indians if he could assist in achieving the basic unity of the country… to my relief and joy, he accepted the plan.”  It was  (provisional) PM Nehru who followed it up:

“Nehru, with the approval of the Cabinet, readily entrusted Lord Mountbatten with the task of negotiating with the rulers on the question of accession and also with the task of dealing with Hyderabad.” ( Menon, p.68).

***                                ***

The Screen-Play Was Written By The British: Patel And Nehru Played Heroes

From Right: Mountbatten, Nehru, Patel, JB Kripalani( Congress President 1947-50.

Lord Mountbatten himself knew that it would be impossible to persuade Hyderabad to accede by 15 August; at the same time he did not wish to break off negotiations with the Nizam.

“In his (key) address before the Constituent Assembly on 15 August (1947), Mountbatten referred to the fact”  that most of the States in India had acceded”, but “important exceptions” included  Hyderabad. “Characteristically, he struck an optimistic note saying that negotiations would be continued with the Nizam and that he was hopefulof reaching a solution satisfactory to everyone.”

“He therefore asked the Government to grant an extension of two months to Hyderabad. The Cabinet agreed and requested Lord Mountbatten to continue the negotiations.” 

It is a typical case of how modern states are run, handpicking loyal and able bureaucrats who play a decisive role behind the screen.This is how political figures are sculpted by the ruling classes, aided by media. Lot of screen-play-writing goes into building up Bahubalis, Nehru, Patel or Modi.

Long Live Mountbatten was one of the main slogans on August 15, 1947, not only in Delhi but at several places in princely states too, it is recorded. Obviously he was a main architect along with Menon:

The task of Integration was not finished by August 15, 1947: Two of the biggest and crucial states, Hyderabad and Kashmir, remained outside. Mountbatten the last Viceroy, who had planned to retire from India, was requested to postpone his return to UK, and to take up the job as the First Governor General of India and help finish the job. He agreed and continued.

“There were prolonged discussions with some of them (princes)…In view of the special position and peculiar problems of Hyderabad, both Nehru and Sardar felt that Lord Mountbatten should continue to negotiate with the Nizam even after 15 August.”  (p.82)  During this extended period, Mountbatten handled Kashmir and its representatives also.

Mountbatten personally met and negotiated with Hyderabad’s representatives at least 10 times, during his extended stay. Patel, down with a heart attack, was away from office for several weeks under medical advice (p.236). Mountbatten’s role was obviously not ceremonial. He was also the Military Chief, and headed the Army operations during Kashmir war. Developments leading upto Hyderabad Police (actually military) Action and handling the Communists there also involved his key role,narrated Menon. (p.215 etc). So-called Liberation of Hyderabad by Patel is a story by itself, to be told separately.

We are told, in Operation Polo, of Maj Gen JN Choudhury, but omitted is the name of Roy Bucher, the Britisher who still was the Commander-in-Chief of Indian Army during “patriotic”  Operations  (he retired in 1949 October).

“The Political Department was represented by Sir Conrad Corfield and L. C. L. Griffin” Menon guided by his boss  Mountbatten represented the States Department.They were the key screen-play writers behind the Heroes, Patel and Nehru.

British bureaucrat Sir Walter Monckton  was the Constitutional Adviser to the Nizam,and was a key Member of negotiating team of the Nizam. At one time, he resigned from that office, and telegraphed to Mountbatten. Almost immediately a telegram came from the Nizam asking Lord Mountbatten to persuade Sir Walter Monckton to stay on in his service, and he continued. The Nizam’s delegation included Hindu dignitary Pingle Venkatarama Reddy.  (we know top judges in India came from the Pinglefamily.)

***                         ***

 

Standstill Agreementof Nov. 1947 provided for supply of arms by Delhi to Nizam,  basically an ally, not an adversary 

Indian govt came down by one step and signed it, without any commitment on accession. “This was an immense step forward”, wrote Menon. It was so dependent on Mountbatten, that all waited for him to  return from a trip to UK to India on 24 November.Patel had “a very bad heart attack” on March 5, “after which he was completely laid up and was forbidden by his doctors to do any work whatever for some days.” Thus the Viceroy and Menon carried on the work.

“It was about this time that Kasim Razvi visited Delhi…He had an interview with Sardar and also came and saw me in my office…He then shook hands with me and walked out.”Government of India insisted on a plebiscite, if need be about accession. (It was not ready for it in Kashmir, with Muslim majority). Hyderabad was not for it.

“On 29 November Sardar laid the Agreement and the letters on the table of the Constituent Assembly which was then functioning as a Parliament. He said that the Government of India fully appreciated the internal difficulties of Hyderabad… He added that this settlement made it clear that Hyderabad did not propose to accede to Pakistan and finally paid a very high tribute to Lord Mountbatten for his services in this connection.”

(The Nizam also wrote a secret letter to Lord Mountbatten undertaking not to accede to Pakistan, Menon wrote.)

Nehru said: “ ‘This means we shall have peace for one year.’ That, in fact, summed up the attitude all over the country.” ( Menon, p. 230-231).

Article III of the Agreement stressed that India“would not exercise any paramountcy functions in their relations with Hyderabad.” Such was the extent of compromisewith Nizam.

Why then the Police Action ?

***                        ***

Police Action : Some Factors considered by Delhi

“…after a careful evaluation of all the considerationsand only when it was clear that no other alternative remained open did the Government of India take the decision On 9 September, to send Indian troops into Hyderabad to restore peace and tranquility inside the State and a sense of security in the adjoining Indian territory.” Indian forces would march into Hyderabad in the early hours of 13th. It is significant that even after this date had been fixed, efforts were made to postpone it till the 15th.”

What were the considerations?

“ On 28 August, the Nizam’s Agent-General in New Delhi informed us that, as a Hyderabad delegation would be presenting their case to the United Nations, they would be glad of air transport facilities.” (The relations were so cordial with the Nizam!) 

Delhi replied UNO had no role as the dispute was a purely domestic one. A  Hyderabad delegationproceeded to Karachi and to America and presented their case to the Security Council.

“The American Charge d’Affaires in New Delhi apprised us meanwhile of the fact that the Nizam had written to the President of the United States requesting that he should arbitrate and that the latter had refused.”

US had a treaty with Pakistan, as a Member of SEATO and CENTO.UK was an ally. India had fears of internationalization of Hyderabad, like Kashmir.

“On 23 September the Nizam sent a cable to the Security Council withdrawing the Hyderabad case. Certain foreign powers continued to press for the discussion of the case, but ultimately it was dropped.”

Operation Polo was called Police Action to avoid and minimize internationalization of the problem.

One “consideration” as to dates of army action, was Jinnah’s health, so as to minimize troubles. The Nizam , more so Kasim Razvi’s’s camp, had some dying hopes of diplomatic support. But the hopes diminished with Jinnah’s grave illness : He had lung TB that was not responding for years, and got aggravated. It was concealed, but by July 1948, “advanced lung cancer” was detected….and pneumonia was also confirmed early in September. Jinnah died in the night on Sep.11.

Troops marched in early hours of Sep13. It was a two-pronged advance towards Hyderabad, one from Sholapur, and the other from Vijayawada.

“There was some stiff resistance on the first and second days. After this, resistance petered out and virtually collapsed. On our side the total casualties were slight” on the other side also the number of dead was a little over 800.

“On the evening of 17th Hyderabad army surrendered. On the 18th the Indian troops, under Major-General Chaudhuri, entered Hyderabad City. The operation had lasted barely 108 hours.”

Chaudhuri took charge as Military Governor on 18th. Leading Razakars were apprehended, and Razvion 19th.

***                         ***

“I was more worried about the activities of the Communists …than about accession ” : Menon

What were the “internal difficulties” Patel mentioned? Menon wrote:

“I was studying the reports daily and I was by this time more worried about the activities of the Communists and the Razakars than about accession or responsible government for Hyderabad.” That was months before Police Action.

Razakars were an easy game. Delhi had sized up Kasim Razvi, who met them, and shook hands. No doubt it was a nuisance :The military view was that the campaign could not last beyond three weeks. Actually, everything was over within less than a week. (Sep 13-17)”

In fact, it was one issue that was a factor in discussions preceding the Agreement. 

India appointed K. M. Munshi, former Home Minister in Bombay, as their Agent-General in Hyderabad. Article III stressed that India“would not exercise any paramountcy functions in their relations with Hyderabad.” Such was the extent of compromisewith Nizam. Real trouble was elsewhere:

“The Nizam’s Government started pressing for the speedy withdrawal of the Indian troops and for the supply of arms and ammunition for the Hyderabad army and police. A delegation of Hyderabad officials met the representatives of the Government of India on 24 December 1947. We agreed to the supply of arms and equipment. The position with regard to the Indian troops was that most of them had already been withdrawn from Hyderabad State.” (p. 231)

Obviously Nizam was not going to use arms against Razakars. Trouble grew, and Delhi in its talks was not convinced Nizam could handle communists.   

“Their agreed conclusion was that as a first step there should be simultaneous action by both Governments. Hyderabad should prohibit the Razakars from assisting the police in maintaining law and order, while the Government of India should take action against the Communists on their side of the border. ..

“About this time the Government of Madras asked for military assistance in border areas to ward off the incursions of the Razakars and Hyderabad troops into Indian territory .A conference of the Premiers of Madras, Bombay and the Central Provinces was held in the States Ministry on 21 February to discuss the question. The Home Ministers of Bombay and Madras as well as K. M. Munshi were also present. Sardar presided and gave a brief review of the situation. (P.233.)

“The Premier of Madras described the difficulties created in his province by Communists who had entrenched themselves in the border districts of Andhra and Hyderabad and were indulging in hit-and-run tactics. In fact in these border areas the people went to the extent of saying that the Razakars ruled by day, while the Communists ruled by night.The Government of Madras wanted military aid, but the Government of India could spare no troops at the moment. The provincial governments were asked to strengthen their borders with military police. Several minor administrative decisions were also taken.” (An instance of “dual power.”)

By now it was the middle of May and within a month Lord Mountbatten was to bid good-bye to India… On  21 June 1948, three days after the breakdown of negotiations with Hyderabad, Lord Mountbatten left India and was succeeded as Governor-General by C. Rajagopalachari. Lord Mountbatten was extremely disappointed…but later, an agreement was arrived at :

“Hyderabad was to be allowed to retain 8,000 irregulars in addition to 20,000 regular troops; thirdly, the Razakar organization was to be disbanded gradually, not all at once…” (Obviously they helped curbing communists, the real target.) (p.252).

 

The above was the situation, as seen by Menon, before Sep.13.

Thus, the communists were top on the agenda of Delhi, which had been supplying arms to the Nizam, but to no good results. The Nizam and Razakars needed to be replaced by a strong Central army. That was the basic purpose of Police Action.

                                   ***                                ***

Kid gloves for the Nizam, made Raj Pramukh, and Kasim Razvi

“When immediately after the Police Action I was asked to go to Hyderabad, the first question I raised with Sardar was that of the future of the Nizam”, ruling for over 37 years; he had support “among his co-religionists in the rest of the country, and  also a certain prestige abroad. The abolition of his dynasty immediately in the wake of the Police Action would have a very unsettling effect.”(P.257).Patel, Nehru and Rajai all agreed.

“There were two choices before us. The first was to administer the State under martial law; the second, which was more acceptable from all points of view, was to carry on the administration with the co-operation and in the name of the Nizam. The Nizam, whom I saw that same afternoon, was ready to co-operate.”

So he was back as Raj Pramukh, de facto from Day1, and dejure from Jan 26, 1950( as per the new Constitution).

Menon then went and met  Kasim Razvi,“who was under detention in one of the military barracks. Major-General Chaudhuri took me there. I told him that I would prefer to see Razvi alone. Surprise was writ large on Razvi’s face when he saw me. When I greeted him he told me that he never expected that I would shake hands with him….  He assured me that he was being well looked after and that he did not want anything.” This was totally different from communists, including leaders, who were shot dead, and humiliated while in prison.(Razvi was found guilty and was in jail up to 1957, when he was released on condition that he would leave for Pakistan, where he died in 1970 – Wikipedia)

Chaudhuri continued to head till December 1949, when an administration with M.K. Vellodi, I.C.S., as Chief Minister was installed. In 1950, four of  State Congress were taken as ministers. After the general elections, in March 1952, a Congress ministry under B. Ramakrishna Rao was set up. Vellodi became Adviser to the new Government.

***                                     ***

“We were able to bring the communist menace under control only after three years of ceaseless effort” – Menon

The law and order situation was still fluid, the Razakars had not yet been brought under control and the Communists were still a menace.”

One can see glimpses of the Govt’s assessment through Menon’s narrative.

“One of the pressing problems which the Government of India had to deal with was the serious situation caused by the activities of the  communists.The Communists had entrenched themselves in Nalgunda and Warrangal districts which were extremely backward and neglected. In Nalgunda for instance, the district headquarters were without railway and telegraphic communications. The feudal system under which the landholders exacted labour and tribute from the peasantry provided fertile soil for Communist activities.”

 (In fact the system was everywhere in India. Communists of  Telangana utilized it; within Nizam State  itself, in other vast area, there was no such resistance.)

“In the beginning the Communists under the direction of their leaders divided the State into district, taluk and village organizations, and militant bodies were set up for guerilla warfare which included even women and children.”

“The terrain also, with its outlying forests and lack of communications, was ideally suited for guerilla warfare. The Communists exploited this to great advantage.

Vigorous steps were taken to put an end …All available resources werethrown into this all-out drive. Armed police were borrowed from Madras, the Central Provinces and Bombay. We were able to bring the menace under control only after three years of ceaseless effort. One might well imagine what would have happened had the Communists been allowed an undisturbed lease of life.

Early in 1951, the question was raised of removing the ban on the Communist party in the State, but the States Ministry held that there could be no question of removing the ban unless the Communists eschewed violence and surrendered all the arms in their possession… (p. 264-266)

Before 1952 March elections, Govt formally removed the ban, but as manhunt continued, Communists could contest only as PDF.

Simultaneously with the suppression of the violent activities of the Communists, a positive policy had to be followed… The first step was to abolish the jagirdari system (briefly described in Chapter XI) which existed in a most acute form in Hyderabad. This coupled with the appointment of an Agrarian Committee largely neutralized whatever appeal communism might have had for the masses.

The first jagirs to be taken over were the Nizam’s own, ( Sarf-e-Khas)These were yielding him a net surplus, after deducting the expenses of administration, of Rs 124 lakh per annum. The Nizam agreed to surrender all his rights .. Government gave him a compensatory allowance of Rs 25 lakh per annum for his lifetime.

Apart from this, the State was dotted with tiny islands comprising villages belonging to various categories of Jagirdars. On 15 August 1949, by the Jagir Abolition Regulation, these too were abolished. The administration of all jagirs was taken over by an Administrator during September 1949 and the process of their integration with the district administration was completed by the end of March 1950.

As an interim arrangement, an overall relief of 12.5 %  per cent in the then land revenue assessment was granted to the tenants of these lands and greater relief was given in areas where the rates fixed by the Jagirdars were higher. This reform was hailed with joy by the five million people living in jagir areas.

The Jagirdars and their shareholders and dependents were also treated justly. For the first six months an interim allowance was paid to them ranging between 41.5 per cent to 75 per cent of their annual income from the jagir, based on the size of the income of the jagir. Subsequently, the Jagirdars were paid commutation sums, which were also worked on a graduated scale being most favourable to the lower income groups.

The form and manner and the number of installments for payment of the commutation amount had to be settled. For this purpose I went to Hyderabad in August 1950. ..The resulting formula provided for payment in ten equal annual installments to those of the Jagirdars and their dependents whose commutation amount worked out at Rs 10,000 or less. The bigger Jagirdars with a gross income of over Rs 25 lakh. (P.266)

It was communist revolutionaries of  Telangana who waged  an armed struggle (1946 July -1951 Oct) , 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.

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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Sizing up Patel, the ‘great’ architect of Modern India

Lot of stories are there about how Patel, the “Bismarck of India”, saved India from Balkanization. BJP in modern cinema parlance built him up into a Bahubali-1, the second being Modi. We have seen a little about the screen play, the actors, and their roles that can not be denied. Now we try to bring out a few facts to size up the issues involved. Hard-nuts to crack  included mainly Kashmir and Hyderabad. We have seen above the latter story. We shall now see Menon’s description of the rest, which ismore concealed than revealed. 

The number of princely states (even in Menon’s work) is not consistent, varying from 560 to 600, as per different criteria. Menon cites Sir B. N. Rau, Adviser to the Constituent Assembly, who actually sized up the States: 327 rulers were of petty States, average area about 20 sq. miles, average population about 3,000 and average annual revenue about Rs. 22,000.

Fully empowered States numbered only 140, small or big, and Accession applied only to them.Besides these 140, there were smaller estates and talukas, which were also counted as ‘States’. These, numbering over 300, were situated in Kathiawar and the rest in Gujarat.(Menon, p.222). Most of them were easy push overs, pleading for their privy purses and properties.   They could be bought over, happily for them.

Out of a total of around 565 states, but for about 100, the rest are all in Gujarat, Bombay and Rajasthan, all close to Patel and Gandhi (of Porbandar, Kathiawar), the Barristers who personally knew many of them. Annual revenue of 450 of them was less than Rs 15 lakh per year. ( p.73-76 and p.325).

One can see, from the above, why Patel’s statue was set up in Gujarat. So it was a bonaza helped by Patel, from public exchequer, for these petty princesthat they would get handsome privy purses and privileges, promised by Indian Govt., for decades to come,and given by progressive regimes of Nehru and Indira Gandhi too. The princes got them until 1971 when they were abolished by Indira regime that fell into minority and indulged in some Left gimmicks to save itself with Left support. When they were abolished, it must be recalled, Jan Sangh (now BJP) and Swatantra Party opposed the relevant Bill in parliament.

Patel, the Hero who had no villains, but all allies.

Patel was a Bahubali, an inflated character. He was not an adversary but an ally of the princes. Menon writes:

“Patel had no doubt that the feudal system had to go, but was against any sort of violent expropriation of Jagirdars, which he always described as ‘choree’ (theft), or ‘daka’ (dacoity). … He was as much  concerned about the future of the Jagirdars as about the future of the tenants. There was certainly no sadistic socialism in his make-up…That is why he insisted  that their lands should be taken only on payment of reasonable compensation…”(Menon p.332)

In addition, these feudals, petty except a few, were honored, Menon wrote, by Patel as “co-architects” of India! For the Hero that was Patel, thus there were no villains, all were their class allies. Many of the bigger kings continued as Raj Pramukhs (Governors) until 1956! And many later continued as CMs, Ministers and MPs with power and income greater than what they ever got as petty kings.

They were told of their doomed destiny – if they did not join the union – by Mountbatten, who cited Europe’s anti-feudal revolutions, that they would be swept away by the wrath of peoples revolts, rising all over. The Union would protect and reward them at its cost, if they joined.So the princes fell in line.

On July 28, 1947, Mountbatten hosted a Gala Reception attended by over 50 princes plus 100 representatives of States. He spoke to them along above lines. Some who were adamant did not attend.Out of those who attended, those who were still reluctant, were all taken to Mountbatten for a one-to-one meeting to be convinced by him, to fall in line.Then they were taken to Patel (p.78, 82-83), who soothed and convinced them: Democracy rescued and fattened them all. Including the Nizam, they were comfortable with him.

Menon wrote: “Patel’s unfailing politeness to the rulers, viewed against his reputation as the ‘Iron Man of India,’ endeared him to them” including the Nizam.

On August 15, 1947 Mountbatten spoke again,paid a tribute to Patel, appreciated the princes who all fell in line, heeding the advice, and congratulated both sides.

Menon writes why Patel was greatly valued :

“…The rulers soon came to recognize him as a stable force in Indian politics and as one who would give them a fair deal. Added to this, his unfailing politeness to the rulers, viewed against his reputation as the ‘Iron Man of India,’ endeared him to them…

“Another factor which went a long way in winning over the rulers was of course the infectious charm and inborn tact of Lord Mountbatten…he had taken upon himself the task of negotiating with the rulers on the question of accession. And once he undertook any task he invariably put the whole weight of his personality into what he was doing and spared himself no effort. Half-hearted methods and half-hearted measures are alien to him. India can never forget the magnificent service he rendered at a critical juncture in her history…” (p.83)

Patel therefore was not the only architect, as it is made out by the Sangh parivar. Mountbatten (who pesonally met Hyderabad delegation ten times) and Menon played decisive roles, the latter travelled across the country, virtually met hundreds of them, and implemented the carrot and stick policy.

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

Some information about the statue is note-worthy. Early reports that it was made in China were denied by authorities. It did not mean it was Swadeshi : It was India-based MNC  L&T that  won the contract for its lowest bid of Rs 2989 cr, and built by PPP mode. Only Bronze plates for Bronze cladding were forged in China and imported, L&T  clarified. It is claimed to be the world’s tallest, almost 600 feet high. How indigenous?  It was built and supervised by a  consortium of Turner Construction (USA’s biggest contractors), a subsidiary of Germany’s Hochtief , Michael Graves, US Architect , and Meinhard group.

Inaugurated by Modi 2018 Oct 31, it reminded of the class contradictions like the Police Action. While the elite welcomed it, local people including  of Tadvi tribe and of villages including  Kevadia, Kothi, Waghoia,  Limbdi,  Navagam, Gora had  opposed the statue. They demanded the restitution of the land rights over 927 acres acquired earlier for a dam, and were finally given some cash and land compensation  by Gujarat  govt. 

Read Part I

(Author was a  mediaperson)


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One Comment

  1. Avatar S. N. Murthy Ch says:

    The artcle laid bare the real quality of the “iron” in the ” iron man” and the secret of its manufacture basing on historical evidence. It is a pity that betrayal of people is celebrated as liberation. One of the greatest achievements of Parliamentary Democracy in India is suppression of real history of people and the Truth.