The princely state of Nizam joining Indian union remains the most controversial and fiercely debated issue
J.S. Ifthekhar | Clarion India
HYDERABAD – Divisive politics pays. And so does jingoist nationalism. These twin strategies have worked well for the BJP to get a foothold in Telangana where none existed. Polarised voting on religious lines helped the party to notch up four Lok Sabha seats in the 2014 general elections – Secunderabad, Nizamabad, Karimnagar and Adilabad. The party put up an improved performance in the subsequent Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) polls too, raising its strength from four wards in 2016 to 48 in 2020.
Buoyed by its surprise show the party has set its eyes on the 2024 Assembly elections and hopes to come to power in Telangana. But devoid of positive issues, the BJP harps on familiar themes embedded in politics of divisiveness. Year after year the party rakes up the ‘liberation of Hyderabad’ subject to generate heat. This year was no different. Union Home Minister Amit Shah came all the way to Ellepally, a remote village in Nirmal Mandal of Adilabad district, to pay tribute to the 1,000 Adivasis hanged by the British rulers and Razakars for revolting against the establishment. Later, he addressed a public meeting to mark the ‘Telangana liberation day’ on September 17.
Political pundits feel Amit Shah’s visit to the state was also intended to set the record straight that the BJP sees the ruling TRS government as its political adversary and not an ally. Last week Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao was in Delhi and called on both Prime Minister Narender Modi and Amit Shah. Pictures showed that Rao had a friendly meet with the BJP leaders. This cordiality obviously created a piquant situation for the Telangana BJP leaders, especially its President, Bandi Sanjay, who is going hammer and tongs at the TRS. Amit Shah’s visit was well timed to clear this confusion among party cadres and send a clear message that the TRS remains the arch rival of BJP and that the two have no secret electoral tie-up as is being rumoured.
The merger of Hyderabad State with the Indian union remains the most controversial and fiercely debated issue. The BJP wants September 17, the day when the princely Nizam’s state joined India, to be officially celebrated as the ‘Telangana Liberation Day’ while TRS observes it as a ‘merger day’. “We will come to power in the next elections and officially celebrate the liberation day in a grand manner,” Amit Shah promised.
During the separate Telangana statehood movement, KCR had promised to officially celebrate the Telangana Liberation Day and after coming to power he is wary of doing so as he doesn’t want to hurt the Muslim sentiments. This has come handy for the saffron party to target KCR for going back on his promise ‘out of fear’ of the Majlise Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), the TRS ally.
Interestingly, Amit Shah’s diatribe on the issue has not evoked much reaction from the TRS while the Majlis has ignored it altogether. Shorn of politics, for the general public September 17 has no significance at all. Many feel it is better to forget and forgive the past as it would only revive painful memories and open old wounds. “Both Hindus and Muslims have suffered at the hands of the Razakars”, say senior citizens.
Historian, M.A. Nayeem calls the Indian invasion of Hyderabad State as ‘naked aggression’ and blatant violation of international law. “The military attack was euphemistically named ‘Operation Polo’ to assuage the world criticism of the unprovoked aggression”, he says.
Capt. L. Panduranga Reddy, President, Telangana Council of Historical Research, demands the Government of India to express regrets to the Muslims of Hyderabad for the massacre that followed the Police Action of 1948 code named “Operation Polo”. He wants the government to emulate the example of Queen Elizabeth II, who apologised for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre and the Congress party for the Operation Blue Star.
Many question the significance of September 17 by arguing that the integration of the Hyderabad State with the Indian Union took place on January 26, 1950 as a matter of fact. It was on this day that Hyderabad’s transition from autocracy to democracy began. The seventh Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan, took the oath of loyalty to the Indian Constitution and was sworn in as ‘Rajpramukh’.
Whatever be the case, the Hyderabad State meekly surrendered to the Indian military without a single shot being fired. This was largely due to the betrayal of El Edroos, the Commander-in-Chief of Hyderabad Army, who instructed the various army sector commanders to ‘avoid resistance and surrender’. The Asaf Jahi dynasty which ruled the Deccan for nearly 224 years ended with the Nizam signing an instrument of accession to join India.