When India was on the brink of Independence, the country’s leadership had the humongous task of integrating princely states into the Union of India. On a glorious September day in 1948, Hyderabad witnessed history in the making, with ‘Operation Polo’ paving the way for its integration into the Indian Union. It made the 17th of September a red letter day, as there are very few parallels to draw comparisons with the feats achieved by the Telangana people and the then government of India.
When the British decided to withdraw from India, 584 princely states were given the option to either accede to India or Pakistan or remain independent. A majority of them acceded to the Indian Union, barring Jammu & Kashmir, Junagadh, and Hyderabad. The post-partition realities ensured heavy contestation over accession. Landlocked and lying in India’s heart, Hyderabad was one of the largest princely states in terms of size and population, holding immense strategic importance for the newborn nation. As we enter the 75th year of integration of Hyderabad, it is worthwhile to recognise the contributions of India’s political leadership and the struggle of lakhs of Telangana brethren who yearned for freedom and integration with India.
The government of India made several concessions in their negotiations with the last Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan, even providing time extensions to his administration on the accession question. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s leadership, before it finally resorted to military means, accounted for all possible measures to allow for dialogue. He ensured his government’s adherence to the principles of the Standstill Agreement of November 29, 1947, even while the Nizam’s administration failed to keep its end of the bargain.
Even when Mountbatten spoke about Hyderabad’s allegations that essential goods were not allowed to reach them, PM Nehru and Home Minister Sardar Patel feigned ignorance, suggesting that the economic blockade was localised. When Mountbatten raised the issue of the government of India’s plans for military action with Nehru and Patel, the leaders once again dismissed the idea, calling it routine military exercises. By maintaining discretion, Nehru and Patel showed their astute leadership qualities. With India’s patience running thin with the Razakars’ violence, and the Nizam was just biding his time to negotiate from a position of strength, the Indian Army began ‘Police Action’, named ‘Operation Polo’, under the command of Maj. Gen. J. N. Chaudary, on September 13, 1948.
As we enter the 75th anniversary of the integration, the BJP and the TRS are appropriating history, denying recognition to the thousands of people associated with the Telangana armed struggle and their fight for freedom. During the Telangana movement, KCR questioned why Hyderabad’s integration was not celebrated. However, as Telangana’s Chief Minister, he demeaned the sacri1ces of the martyrs of the armed struggle. On the other hand, the BJP and its ideological predecessor, the Jan Sangh, did not even exist when the struggle was underway. Now, the BJP is defiling a sacred struggle by communalising the event. The two parties’ attempts to forcefully 1t into history shows their thirst for power and dominance.
Do the BJP and the TRS understand what the roots of the armed struggle are? Who led the struggle against whom? It was a struggle against the Nizam’s unjust rule and the excesses committed by Doras, Deshmukhs and the Razakars. This was a unified struggle of all sections of the society, and led by the Hyderabad State Congress and the Communists in their capacities. Stalwarts like Ravi Narayan Reddy, valiant women like Chakali Ailamma and Mallu Swarajyam played a historic role in this movement. Journalist Shoaibullah Khan, who was the editor of the news paper Imroze, published out of Burgula Rama Krishna Rao’s house, was brutally murdered because he wrote against the tyranny of the Razakars. People’s poets like Makhdoom Mohiuddin and Kaloji Narayan Rao supported the struggle through their writings. This was a struggle against injustice and feudalism and the Indian Army’s timely intervention ensured a quick end to the war, ensuring the Nizam’s surrender.
The BJP and the TRS are both disrespecting the sacrifices made by the Congress, Communists and Telangana civil society, by holding competing events and using the sentiments of the Telangana people for mere show of strength. Moreover, both parties failed the people of the state with their non-performance in sectors like health, education, and even social justice. The BJP is denying Telangana its rightful share and is cancelling the projects sanctioned by the Congress. The TRS is doing away with all the symbols that rallied the people of Telangana in the agitation for a separate state.
The time to ditch religion, caste based politics has come, and so did the time to stay true to the people’s aspirations and beliefs. A new flag and Telangana talli figurine are being launched to better represent the culture and history of the state. I urge the BJP and the TRS to do away with power politics and be mindful of the spirit of integration of Telangana and its statehood, which were historic events spearheaded by the Congress party.
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