What Is Sept 17 For Telangana?

  • Betrayal, Integration or Liberation Day?

Hyderabad: The disputed day is fast approaching with the relations between the ruling parties at Centre and Telangana State threatening to snap. The BJP has repeatedly appealed to the TRS to celebrate September 17 as Telangana liberation day or integration day or betrayal day? It is liberation day for the BJP, integration day for the Congress and betrayal day for the extremists. Each has his own political needs to cater for.

TS BJP spokesperson Krishna Sagar Rao charged TS Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao of betraying the history of Telangana. The BJP is going to organise a big public meeting on that day. BJP president Amit Shah is expected to address the meeting.

All political parties interpret the history according to their convenience. BJP attacked TRS for making the charge that it is playing divisive politics. It demanded that the TS government should celebrate September 17 as Telangana Liberation Day.

It was on 17 September 1948 that the Nizam of Hyderabad surrendered to the army of the Indian Union. The BJP calls the day a liberation day since Hyderabad princely State was liberated from an oppressive and, more importantly, a Muslim ruler. Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, whom the BJP treats as one of the stalwarts of freedom movement, in his capacity as the Union Home Minister, moved the army in to Hyderabad. General JN Chowdhury led the forces under the name ‘Operation Polo’.

The Congress party whose cadres fought against the oppressive rule of Nizam at Hyderabad level and the British colonial rulers at the national level called it liberation of Hyderabad at the beginning. But on realising that it might hurt the Muslim sentiment across the country, it carefully reduced the focus on liberation and started talking about integration. 

At A seminar on ‘ Hyderabad case in the annals of the United Nations Security Council’ held here on Wednesday, the political significance of September 17 was debated by political analysts and historians. The role of Nizam, Razakars, Congress, Communists, Rightists, the feudal class and the army was discussed thoroughly. The panelists agreed in general that there are some glaring gaps and distortions in the history of Hyderabad before and after the freedom struggle.

After Independence, out of the 562 princely States only Hyderabad, Kashmir and Junagadh remained recalcitrant. The Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan, wanted to join neither India nor Pakistan. The Nizam sent a cablegram to the Secretary General of the United Nations that Hyderabad was invaded by India. That he was made to realise the folly of being an independent and sovereign State is history. He duly surrendered after the Indian army overpowered the Razakars. 

The revolutionary faction of the Communists who did not have faith in the Union government labeled September 17 as a day of betrayal. They described the situation as a betrayal because their plan to fight against the Razakars on one hand and the military on the other was defeated by the intervention of the military forces. While the BJP which had no role in fighting against either Nizam or his feudal order or the Communists or the military insists on celebrating Liberation Day because the princely State got rid of the most oppressive and despotic ruler. The Congress which had a role in fighting for freedom of the nation and in fighting against the Razakars and the Communists prefers to call it Integration Day. The Communists of extreme variety who fought against the Nizam, his feudal lords, the Razakars, the Congress and the military would like to call it the Betrayal Day.

The last definition holds good for one more reason. The Communists who led the peasants armed struggle ‘liberated’ some areas, killed some feudal lords and distributed thousands of acres of land to the poor tillers. The inspiring slogan that the peasants struggle contributed to the world was, ‘Land to the Tiller’ (Dunneevadikee Bhoomi). After the integration, the landlords snatched away their lands from the poor assignees with the help of the police force. That is why freedom fighters like Chukka Ramaiah would like to call September 17 as a transition day meaning that the power was transferred from Nizam to the Congress.  The reversal of land reforms had led to the struggle for separate Statehood in 1969. The struggle that was carried on intermittently had resulted in bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. The first government of the new State of Telangana has been following the Congress path in this regards since it does not want to lose the Muslim votes. The Congress, the TDP and the TRS had taken a similar view in regard to September 17 as they thought there is no point in antagonising the Muslims for what happened in the past which is best forgotten.

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