This is the concluding part of a two-part article on the Nizam’s surrender on 17 September 1948, thus paving the way for Hyderabad’s accession with India.
The Standstill Agreement was only a ploy to buy time so that the Nizam could create conditions on the ground suitable to his nefarious design. Soon after signing the Standstill Agreement, he took actions detrimental to India: he prohibited the export of precious metals from Hyderabad, rendered Indian currency illegal in Hyderabad and proffered Pakistan a loan of 22 crores in the form of Indian Securities.
Next, he turned to the Razakars to implement what was the crux of his diabolical game plan: intimidation of the majority Hindu community that favoured accession to India and drive them out of Hyderabad State to make it a Muslim majority region. Razakars were ideally suited to carry out this vicious task: they were the rabidly communal storm troopers of the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), an organization that was founded in 1926 to perpetuate Muslim hegemony in the region. Their role warrants scrutiny, for the MIM is the predecessor of Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM.
Nawab Bahadur Yar Jang, one of its earlier leaders proudly proclaimed: “Asaf Jahi flag is not a personal flag of [the] Asaf Jahi dynasty; but an Islamic flag and a symbol of a great Islamic state. If it was considered as a personal flag, a Muslim would not lay down his life for it.”
In 1938, when the Constitutional Reforms Commission headed by Arvamudu Aiyengar proposed an elected legislature for Hyderabad with equal representation for Hindus and Muslims, the MIM opposed it and demanded that Hyderabad be declared an Islamic State. Jinnah too supported the move and asked that Hindus be designated as a “statutory minority”.
In 1946, the leadership of the Razakars was assumed by Qasim Razvi, an Aligarh trained lawyer who was an unabashed proponent of Muslim supremacy and a Hindu hater; he was the perfect man to carry out the Nizam’s agenda.
In a short time, the Razakars recruited over 2 lakhs into their fold and unleashed a reign of terror in the countryside targeting the Hindu community—hundreds were killed or coerced into accepting Islam, women were raped and others were forced to flee the State.
In a recent news report, a 90-year-old survivor of that period recalled how 70 Hindus were killed in one day alone by the Razakars in a village called Bhairanpally: “They plundered everything. The armed men molested women, killed sheep and killed able-bodied men just for pleasure. They looted every village.”
In another incident at Parakal, an eye-witness Mr. Vaikuntum narrated how the Razakars fired on people gathered to hoist the Indian flag “I was just nine years old, but I still remember what had happened on that day. The Nizam’s police and the Razakars opened fire indiscriminately killing 22 people on September 2, 1947,” (https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/Elders-recount-Parkal-massacre/article15901477.ece)
Time and again Razvi warned India against an invasion: “If the Indian Union venture to enter Hyderabad, the invaders will see the burning everywhere of bodies of one crore and sixty-five lakh Hindus…”
Simultaneously, Hyderabad began formal military preparations—building airports and illegally acquiring arms and ammunition that were smuggled into India from Karachi with the help of an Australian named Sidney Cotton. These arms mainly found their way to the Razakars and the Communists who were bent on creating mayhem. The Nizam also recruited British mercenaries; one of them was Lieut. T.T. Moore who was apprehended by the Indian Army on the eve of Operation Polo with a cartload of explosives meant to blow up border bridges.
For India, an independent nation ruled by a Muslim ruler smack in the middle of the country with an ability to cut India into two parts in an emergency was an anathema. Sardar Patel rightly called an independent Hyderabad a “cancer in the belly of India”.
K.L. Panjabi in his book, The Indomitable Sardar writes: “The terrorization of Hindus was intensified; the border raids increased in virulence; Sardar could no longer be a silent spectator of the sufferings of the Hindus of Hyderabad… Law and order did not virtually exist for these people.”
Sardar offered Hyderabad Indian troops to restore peace. When no reply was forthcoming, he authorized Operation Polo. It was decided to send Indian troops into Hyderabad on 13 September 1948. Within days the official Hyderabad Army (that had once boasted of having bombers that would attack Bombay and Delhi) collapsed ingloriously; the Razakars turned tail and fled. To call it an Army mission would be to give too much credit to the Hyderabad Army and the Razakars; it is suffice to call it “police action”—which lasted exactly 108 hours.
Following Operation Polo, MIM was banned, Qasim Razvi was arrested and jailed. In 1957, he was released on the condition that he leave India; he moved to Pakistan. Prior to his departure, Razvi handed over charge of the MIM to Abdul Wahid Owaisi, Asaduddin Owaisi’s grandfather.
Asaduddin Owaisi, the current president of the AIMIM has not made any attempt to disassociate his party from the actions of the original MIM; neither has he disavowed its policies. Retention of the same name suggests an implicit endorsement of the ideology that was pivotal to its previous avatar. In light of this Mr Owaisi’s sermons on secularism appear hollow and insincere.
Indians, especially Hindus, have an uncanny habit of deluding themselves about the truth in a false paean to a distorted secularism. The military preparedness, the acquisition of arms from abroad, the terror unleashed against the Hindus by the Razakars, the border raids on Indian villages adjoining Hyderabad State and the liaison with Pakistan—all attest to an “undeclared war” against India.
Hyderabad was not peacefully integrated with India. To call it integration is a denial of the truth; the perpetuation of a falsehood and another classic example of surreptitious minority appeasement. It is an insult to the hundreds of Hyderabadi Hindus who sacrificed their lives for the cause of a united India.
Hyderabad was liberated from the clutches of autocracy and fanaticism so that it could once again become a part of a democratic and secular polity.
P.S.: Around 2018, nearly 70 years after the Nizam’s Hyderabad was history, I met an individual in a distant foreign land. He had come to repair my office computer. He looked Indian and, in an effort, to make small talk I asked him which part of India that he came from. His response left me stunned. He replied with a stern demeanor: Nizam-e-Hind. He was about 50 years old and must have been born at least 20 years after the demise of Hyderabad State. The toxic ideology lingers.