[THREAD on HYDERABAD's ANNEXATION to INDIA].This is a pic of the Indian flag being replaced with that of the Hyderabad state's on 17 Sept, 1948, after the princely state was annexed to India through Operation Polo, a military offensive. Some thoughts based on my research: (1/n)
Some basic facts first. In 1948, the erstwhile state of Hyderabad was the largest one under British India. It comprised of 16 districts: entire Telangana, and parts of Maharashtra (Marathwada) and Karnataka. It was a multi-lingual state with about 16 (some say 18) million people.
The Hyderabad state's last Nizam was Osman Ali Khan, who was one of the world's richest men. Trouble began after Indian independence. When the British left India in 1947, they however gave monarchs of princely states the option to join India, Pakistan, or to stay independent.
Osman Ali Khan was one of the handful of kings, like Hari Singh of Jammu and Kashmir, who wanted to stay independent. It may be noted that he was also one of the richest men in the world, and was the king of a relatively peaceful state.
However, the underbelly of it, especially in Telangana’s districts, was that of extreme oppression by state-appointed Jagirdars (landlords), whose main task was to collect revenue (taxes and rent) from farmers and give it to the state. The landlords were anything but benevolent.
After independence, Osman Ali Khan’s government and the Indian union began negotiating, with the latter being adamant about not Hyderabad state, which was surrounded by India, staying independent. The ‘Standstill Agreement’ was signed in November 1947, for a year, for negotiation
By 1948 however, politically, the state's social structure became turbulent, given that it had several players who waned different things. There was the State Congress, the COmmunist Party of India, the MIM and later Razakars, the Indian union and the Arya Samaj.
More importantly, by 1946, peasants in Telangana, led by the COmmunist Party of India, began violently opposing landlords and started taking back their lands. This is known as the Telangana Armed Struggle, which continued much after Operation polo, till 1951.
From border raids by India, to the Nizam's govt banning the State Congress and the CPI, it was a big mess, politically speaking. The Hyderabad state police, along with the Razakars, were engaged in violent stands against the CPI's cadres and peasants in Telangana.
But that would not be the worst complication. A separate parallel political power emerged in Hyderabad state, in the form of Syed Qasim Razvi, a lawyer from Latur, who took over the reigns of the Majilis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (started in 1927) in 1946.
Razvi took over the reigns of the MIM after the death of Bahadur year Jung in 1944. Jung was one the MIM’s most powerful leaders and was a respected figure. It is hard to say what would have happened had he not died under suspicious circumstances (suspected poisoning).
One of the major reasons behind Police Action (Op Polo) is believed to be the fanatical Razvi, who started the Razakar (volunteers) militia, which indulged in atrocities. The issue with Razvi was his violence, especially against those who were pro-India. He left no one,
The late author Omar Khalidi in his book ‘Hyderabad: After The Fall’ notes that, “Under Razavi’s charge the organisation (MIM) fairly quickly became a militant and somewhat frenzied party, accused, not without cause, of being facist in both spirit and structure”.
In his book October Coup, Mohammed Hyder, Osmanabad district's last collector, writes that Razvi in private meetings argued that Muslims are meant to be rulers, something that the Nizam himself never publicly uttered(his administration was clearly biased towards Muslims however).
Razakar violence against Hindus (and anyone opposed to Hyderabad’s independence), and communist-backed uprisings by peasants against landlords in Telangana’s rural areas meant that the political situation in 1948 was undoubtedly in turmoil. It was truly a big mess.
The murder of Shoaibullah Khan, the editor of Imroze, an Urdu daily, best captures the situation then. Khan was murdered during the intervening night of 22-23 August in 1948. His hand, according to Burgula Narsing Rao, who witnessed it, was also cut-off as a warning for others.
Khan’s newspaper Imroze used to function out of Rao’s home at Kachiguda. Rao is also the nephew of former Congress leader and first chief minister of the Hyderabad state, Burgula Ramakrishna Rao. He was also a student leader in 1948 with the CPI's student wing at Nizams College
While my earlier tweets sum up what happened in general, one of the most overlooked aspects of Operation Polo is the Telangana Armed Struggle. Some basic facts and why it took place:Vetti Chakiri (bonded labour)was commonplace in rural Telangana, along with forced tax collections
Essentially, lower-caste folks were forced to service landlords.More than that,the Nizam himself had directly owned 10% of the state’s lands, while 60% of it were revenue lands (Diwani), and 30% were under the Jagirdars (Telangana People’s Struggle and its lesson: P.Sundarayya)
Bonded labour and forced taxes were the main reasons behind the uprising, which began in 1946, Some of the CPI leaders from Telangana then were Makhdoom Mohiuddin, Ravi Narayan Reddy, Arutla Kamala Devi, Ch. Rajeshwar Rao, Jawad Razvi, Baddam Yella Reddy, etc.
As the CPI was banned, some of its members started the Comrades Association, a frontal organization. The Telangana Armed Struggle's initial start is credited to a few incidents: one is the rebellion of Chakali Ailamma against Visnuru Ramachandra Reddy, the biggest landlord in TS
It is said that Ramachandra Reddy had owned or oversaw about 40,000 acres of land alone, and that 11 others in Jangaon had owned or collected revenues from 259 villages. Under a Jagirdar, there was a Police Patel, a Mali Patel and a Patwari (accountant).
After Ailamma revoled against Visnuru Ramchandra Reddy in Warangal, another incident, the murder of Doddi Komaraiah, a peasant (and supposed CPI cadre) by landlords or their goons is also said to have sparked the Armed Struggle. By 1947, it became a full-fleged uprising,
The Telangana Armed Struggle led to the CPI becoming so strong that it virtually captured or took control of Nalgonda and Warangal districts, apart from some other areas. Syed Ahmed El-Edroos, the last commander of the Hyderabad State Army, concedes this in his own book
The Armed Struggle was also led by CPI leaders from Andhra like P. Sundarayya, Devulapally Venkateshwar Rao and others. It becomes so strong that the CPI actually sent 4 people to meet Stalin, to try and start their own separate commune, or state. This was however rejected.
The peasant rebellion became an armed struggle in 1947, and the communists continued it even after Operation Polo. This was one reason that the India army stayed here after 1948, until 1951, till it stopped and when the CPI decided to contest elections
The Telangana Armed Struggle was called-off on 21 October, 1951. In the general elections, the CPI, in spite of many leaders being jailed, managed to win 42 out of 77 seats in Telangana. The Congress, thanks to seats in MH and KN, formed the state govt then
However, this is not the only thing. Before Operation Polo, the Razakars did indulge in several atrocities, especially in the areas of Maharastra, and Karnataka. While the militia was supposedly started for Hyd's independence, its members did target Hindus specifically.
I know this for a fact, having spoken to several eyewitnesses over the past few years. The Razakars did also loot and go after the rural folk in Telangana, but there was stiff resistance from the CPI cadres, which was also seizing arms from landlords to fight back
The blowback to this would however come in the aftermath of Operation Polo, wherein 27000-40000 Muslims lost their lives (Sunderlal Committee report) to targeted killings by local elements, after the India Army came. Thousands of others were displaced and fled to Hyd city
There is no proper data on Razakar atrocities, but we know from several accounts, that the group basically did what it wanted in the name of Hyd. Razvi had the backing of Hyderabad state's last PM, Mir Laiq Ali, who even writes that he had helped Razvi secure arms
The Indian army, after Operation Polo, not only disbanded the Razakars, but killed the off, and jailed its sympathizers. Qasim Razvi was jailed, while Miq Laiq Ali was put under house arrest. The Nizam, Osman ALi Khan, however, lived as he did, and retained his wealth
In the aftermath of Operation Polo, razvi was jailed for nearly a decade and was later allowed to go to Pakistan. Laiq Ali, after 2 years of house arrest, snuck away from the police's nose (in a burkha apparently) and escaped to Pakistan via Bombay. That was the end of that
I would also like to take this thread to remember our heroes, not from the Congress, but from the CPI. People like Makhdoom Mohiduin, Raj Bahadur Gaur and Ravi Narayan Reddy had showed exception courage in taking an anti-Nizam stand at a time when it would almost lead to death
Ravi Narayan Reddy was in fact so powerful and popular, that he won the Nalgonda Lok Sabha seat with the highest majority in the country, even more than Nehru. He had inagurated the Indian parliament's first sitting (I believe). Nalgonda then, was apparently called Red Fort
By the time the CPI had ended the armed struggle in 1951, over 4000 of its cadres were in jail, while several others had been shot dead. I know some of the people who lived to see Operation Polo and the Armed Struggle. Many lost family members.'Land to the Tiller' was their call.
More importantly, the Indian govt after taking over Hyderabad also however went after many officers from the previous administration, on various suspicious. October Coup by Mohammed Hyder best captures this. Do read it Available on Amazon
At the end of it all, I wonder if Osman ALi Khan had more foresight, could he have avoided it? Not for any other reason, but for the fact that thousands lost their lives in his bid to hold on to his seat. There is however a story that he almost signed an accession treaty like JnK
Many old timers say that the Nizam had signed an accession treaty and given to an official (Ali Yavar or Nawaz Jung), who was apparently stopped at the begumpet airport by Qasim Razvi and the Razakars. So that was that apparently. But I cant confirm this
A note about the Nizam himself. The Hyderabad state was contradictory. While the rural areas were neglected, the city of Hyderabad witnessed a spectacular transformation under Osman ALi Kha, especially after 1912, when the City Improvement Board was set up
While Khan can be rightly blamed for letting the feudal system continue,he can be equally credited with building modern Hyderabad,much ahead of its time in fact. 3 years before Khan became king,Hyderabad was devastated by the 1908 Musi River floods,due to which 1000s perished
Moreover, in 1911 Hyd was also hit by the bubonic plague. However, for a monarchy over 100 years ago, his government acted swiftly and not just saved the city, but also transformed it. The then govt concentrated on public infrastructure and also built homes for the poor.
Apart from constructing major public infrastructure buildings like the High Court, Govt. City College, Osmania General Hospital, Unani Hospital, etc., the CIB also drew redevelopment plans across to decongest slums across the city. Some of those buildings are in use even today
Such was the foresight while constructing public infrastructure. Under the CIB, a total of Rs.50, 85,200 was spent to develop the city during his reign from 1911-48. Today, Osman Ali Khan’s legacy has become contentious. If only he had the foresight, or even better advisors
What complicated matters in the run-up to Operation Polo was the fact that the Razakars had a free hand. In his book, Syed Ahmed El-Edroos, Hyd's last army commander, states that he offered Khan an option to take down razvi once and for all, but that it was rejected
So in spite of his own words that "Muslims and Hindus" were "like his two eyes", we can shift some blame on the Nizam, at least for allowing the Razakars having a free hand. But it also must be noted that Qasim Razvi had become powerful on his own as well by 1948
Call it whatever you want, annexation or liberation, up to you.More importantly,we have forgotten our own heroes from the CPI who fought to free slave labours and peasants from landlords.Many who survive today also told me that the CPI asked its cadres to prevent communal clashes
That is one reason why there was no widespread atrocities against Muslims in Telangana at least (sporadic instances may have taken places). But it is commendable that in spite of Razakars, it didn't happen. Many Muslims also had joined the CPI, while others actively supported it.
To name a few, apart from Makhdom: Jawad Rizvi, Alam Khundmiri, MK Moinuddin, etc. In fact, many Reddys and others from the ruling class also had voluntarily given up their lands to their tenants in Telangana. This is also something to be appreciated.
Among the important personalities then were 1. KM Munshi: He was the agent general to Hyderabad, appointed by the Indian govt. Munshi also wrote his side of the story in his memoirs. But safe to say, he did not get along with the Hyd PM then, Miq Laiq Ali, another character
Both Laiq ALi and Munshi write about various machinations against each other in their books. Coming to the 'war' itself. Operation Polo was started on 13 Sept, and ended on 17th. Syed Ahmed El-Edroos, after realising that his army was no match for the Indian side, surrendered.
In retrospect, El-Edroos was the only one with some foresight, as he at least saved the lives of thousands in his troops, who otherwise would have died. Edroos was also arrested for a while, and he later spent his final years in Bangalore
The scars of Operation Polo still bear heavy on people to this day. Muslims in places like Gulbarga, Bidar and Osmanabad relive their horrors,while many who faced Razakar violence also have their own horror stories.
Couple of things I forgot to add: Operation Polo was led by JN Chaudhuri from the Indian army, who would go on to become the army chief later. The Hyderabad state govt would also go to the UN in its bid to retain independence. Moin Nawaz Jung, external min, led that attempt
Chaudhuri and EL-Edroos completed the surrender of Hyderabad with the latter asking for a glass of alcohol (scotch I think?). Edroos's ancestors in fact were from Hadramout in Yemen, like many other Yemenis an Arabs who came to work in the Hyderabad Army
Also, during the Telangana Armed Struggle, there was a split in the CPI. One side wanted to end it after Operation Polo (like Gaur and Makhdoom), while the others, like Sundarayya,w anted to continue it because they felt that complete freedom for the poor wasn't attained

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17 Sep 19
71 years ago today,the Indian army annexed the erstwhile state of Hyderabad to India in 1948. The events leading up to it, and after however, still remain a major point of discussion. Been researching on this, especially human aspect from few yrs. Some facts and thoughts:
It all started after Osman Ali Khan, the last Nizam, wanted to stay independent. India and Hyd even signed a standstill agreement on 1 Nov, 1947, for 1 year. It was never complete, as Hyd was merged with India on 17 Sept 1948. However, trouble had started much much earlier
The Majilis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen was formed in 1927 itself, as a socio-religious org. Bahadur Yar Jung, arguably its most power speaker and leader, however died in 1944. Enter Qasim Razvi, a failed lawyer from Latur with reported bad antecedents, who took over in 1946
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