- Is it liberation day, unity day, integration day?
- BJP, TRS plan huge events to commemorate Sept 17, 1948
September 17, an important day in the annals of Indian history, more so in the history of Telangana and Hyderabad, has become contentious when it sought to be celebrated in diametrically opposed ways by BJP and TRS with the Congress standing watching the fun. Hyderabad Princely State was merged in Indian union and the Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan, had surrendered before Union Home Minister Sardar Patel on the same day 74 years ago. It is being celebrated for the first time by all the political parties with vengeance. While the BJP calls it a Liberation Day, the TRS named it Telangana Unity Day. The Communist parties call it integration although they treat it as a liberation caused by peasants’ armed struggle. AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi, Hyderabad MP, termed it as a National Integration Day. He wrote to the State Government, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking them to celebrate it as a day of national unity. He suggested that a tricolor bike rally (a tiranga bike rally) should be taken out on that day. He said it was the desire of both Hindus and Muslims to integrate with democratic and secular Indian union.
The Telangana Government which has been countering every step taken by the BJP to influence the voters with its own brand of celebrations, has decided to have the unity day celebrations for three days from today, Friday, 16 September 2022. Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) will be spearheading the celebrations. He is in an aggressive mood after deciding to name his newly built secretariat after Baba Saheb Ambedkar and passing a resolution in the Assembly calling upon the Centre to name the new Parliament building after the constitution maker. It may be recalled that KCR had tried to preempt the Azadi Ka Amritotsav celebrations of Centre by organizing ten days of Diamond Jubilee Celebrations of Independence. The State government had organized the celebrations on a grand scale.
There were three princely States which were not prepared to merge with India in spite of repeated appeals by the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Union Home Minister Sardar Patel and Home Secretary VP Menon. They were Hyderabad, Kashmir and Junagadh. Kashmir’s Raja Hari Singh had to posthaste sign the instrument of accession with India in the face of Pakistani aggression. The Pakistani soldiers in the guise of tribals were reaching Srinagar after occupying half of the valley and Hari Singh had to abandon his desire to be independent and hurriedly sign the instrument of accession with India. Patel had got the army flown to Sirnagar airport in a very meticulous operation to save part of Kashmir. The part of Kashmir occupied by the Pak troops is called Pak occupied Kashmir by India and Azad Kashmir by Pakistan. Vice versa with Indian part of Kashmir.
Juangadh’s nawab Muhammad Mahabat Khanji III had signed the accession treaty with Pakistan on 15 August 1947 itself. The princely state had a Muslim ruler and more than 80 percent of the population were Hindus. There was rebellion and a lot of pressure on the Nawab to integrate with India. He had fled to Karachi. Then the grandfather of Benazir Bhutto and father of Zulfikar Bhutto, Khan Bahadur Sir Nawaz Bhutto of Sind, was holding the forte for the Nawab in Junagadh. Jinnah of Pakistan had signed the treaty with Junagadh after a month of independence. Junagadh was surrounded by India on three sides and on one side it was Bay of Bengal. The princely state was part of today’s Sourashtra, part of Gujarat. Patel said he would not suffer any nonsense and sent the troops to Junagadh which had fallen with zero resistance. Nehru got a plebiscite conducted in which more than 99 percent of the people wanted a merger with India. The merger took place in 1949.
The question of Hyderabad was a little different. Hyderabad was the biggest among all the 565 princely states. All the princely states were given three options by the colonial rulers before they left. Merge either with India or Pakistan or choose to be independent. While the rulers of Hyderabad and Kashmir wanted to be independent, the Nawab of Junagadh wanted to merge with Pakistan. While Kashmir had a Hindu king and majority of the subjects were Muslims, Hyderabad and Junagadh had Muslim rulers with majority of the subjects being Hindus. Hyderabad had the backing of Tory party of Britain and Jinnah of Pakistan. Former Prime Minister Winston Churchill asked the British Government to support any princely state that wishes to be independent. But the last viceroy Mountbatten was in favour of Hyderabad and Junagadh merging with India. His tenure was over by June 1948 and he left for London for ever. Nizam of Hyderabad was the richest ruler in the world at that point in time. He had regular army of 17,000 soldiers and a private army of Razakars headed by a fiery Khasim Razvi, a product of Aligarh Muslim University. Muslim fighters from MP and UP came to Hyderabad in large numbers. As Indian Army was tied up in Kashmir, Nizam and his advisers thought it would not be able to extricate from Kashmir and arrive in Hyderabad. Nizam had purchased thousands of rifles (301) from European countries like Belgium and Netherlands where the Nazis had left their rifles and fled to Germany or got killed in the process. Jinnah was sending armaments from Pakistan by airplanes which used to land at Mamanur in Warangal district and Bidar. Razvi’s men used to pick them up. Nizam and Razvi thought they can take on Indian army and protect Hyderabad from takeover. When Major General JN Chowdhury marched his army though Sholapur to Hyderabad, the Nizam’s army and the Razakars could resist for not more than five days. The army started for Hyderabad on 13 September 1948 and it won Hyderabad by the evening of 17th when the Nizam surrendered to Sardar Patel blaming everything on Razvi and his own prime minister Mir Laiq Ali. About 800 soldiers of Nizam and Razakars were killed in the ‘liberation’ of Hyderabad. According to Pandit Sunderalal (appointed by Prime Minister Nehru) report, thousands of Muslims were killed by the Indian army on its way to Hyderabad. Patel did not trust the report and kept it under wraps.
The BJP wants to reopen the old wounds to show today’s Muslims as villains. That is why it wants the nation to remember the forgettable dark days during the partition when Hindus and Muslims killed each other on a large scale. In the same way, Modi and Amit Shah would like to remind the Hindus of Telangana of Nizam’s oppressive regime in which Hindus had suffered at the hands of the Muslim ruler. Nehru and Patel did not use the word ‘liberation’ at all. They said it was integration. They treated Nizam with respect. Osman Ali Khan was made the Governor and Raj Pramukh. He was allowed to live in his palace. Governments of Hyderabad State, United Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have so far thought it is better not to celebrate the historic day of Nizam’s surrender as a liberation day. Even Modi and Shah did not talk about liberation day being celebrated for eight years of their rule so far. This year they want to influence the voters of Telangana by polarizing the society and creating a gulf between the Hindus and Muslims. This will have serious and harmful consequences which some of the politicians do not want to take note of.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah is arriving in Hyderabad this evening. He will lead the liberation celebrations. He will unfurl the national flag at the Army Parade Ground in Secunderabad. The Telangana unit of the BJP has invited the chief ministers of Telangana, Maharashtra and Karnataka, the three regions of the erstwhile Hyderabad princely State, to the liberation day meeting. Chief Ministers of neighbouring Karnataka and Maharashtra Basavraj Bommai and Eknath Shinde will attend tomorrow’s meeting. This is part of the huge effort embarked upon by the BJP in Telangana to grab power in Assembly elections due next year. Tomorrow happens to be Narendra Modi’s birth day. It would add to the enthusiasm of the BJP. Modi is at Samarkhand of Uzbekistan participating in the 22nd regional summit of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. KCR, on the other hand, would not be attending Amit Shah’s show but will be busy with his own unity day celebrations.
The theme of the innumerable speeches made by TRS leaders right from KCR, KTR to a Municipal councilor is that the nation is being filled with hatred and religious poison is being injected to the society by spreading hatred against Muslim community for electoral purpose. It is for the people to understand and decide on what should be the future of Telangana. Whether to electorally make Telangana a UP or a West Bengal in the coming elections is the question before the people.