Hyderabad: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday, September 17, claimed that the Hyderabad Police Action was designed and implemented by the then Home Minister Sardar Vallabhai Patel, without shedding a drop of blood.
The Union Home Minister made the remarks during the Hyderabad “Liberation Day” event, held by the BJP-led Centre to mark the merger of the then princely state of Hyderabad into the Union of India.
Hyderabad 1948: How the MIM and Razakars held sway over the Nizam
Shah, congratulating the people of Telangana on the occasion, spoke of the atrocities of the last Nizam’s Razakar Army against the people.
He paid tributes to Sardar Bhai Vallabhai Patel and agent general KM Munshi who led Operation Polo.
“Today marks the completion of 75 years of Telagana’s mukti. I will say it without batting an eyelid, if not for Sardar Patel, Telangana would not have been freed so soon,” claimed Shah.
“It was Sardar Patel who turned down all proposals of a settlement, stood true to the term ‘Nation First and designed Hyderabad Police action. He also implemented it without shedding a drop of blood and forcing the ‘Nizam’s Razakar army’ to surrender,” he added.
He credited the merger of Telangana’s Hyderabad, Karnataka’s Bidar and Maharashtra’s Marathawada into India to the duo.
“After freedom from the British, the state was relieved from the clutches of the Nizam, in 399 days the Nizam. These 399 days were worse than the torture of hell for the people of erstwhile Telangana. Sardar Patel freed the country on the 400th day,” said Shah.
He stated that the efforts of Arya Samaj, Hindu Mahasabha, and the Vande Mataram agitation at the Osmania University followed by protests and songs by Bidar farmers, were taken to its end goal by Sardar Patel.
Shah also slammed the former governments for not hosting an event for the remembrance of the freedom fighters and their agitation. “They were afraid amid their appeasement politics to celebrate the event,” he said while thanking PM Modi for the initiative to celebrate this day.
The goal of the event, he said is to “ensure that the new generation remembers the great struggle. Second, to pay tributes to the martyrs, who worked for the Liberation of Hyderabad and third, to reform themselves in carrying forward their martyrs’ dream.”
Shah also used Sardar Patel’s “Independent Hyderabad is like cancer in the belly of India,” quote on the occasion.
He alleged that despite Telangana’s redemption, due to vote bank politics, the day was not celebrated. “I want to such people that those who turn away from the history of the country, people turn away from them.”
At the event, several contingents of the Army and the CRPF performed representing several forms of services. Groups of artists also paraded to showcase the culture of Hyderabad and other Indian states.
He also inaugurated the Hyderabad Liberation Samsthanam and paid tributes to the martyrs at the War memorial.
The BJP leader also paid special tribute to Shoebullah Khan and Ramji Gond with Postal Tickets released in their names.
Khan, a journalist was murdered seventy-five years ago on the intervening night of August 22-23.
Khan, an editor of an Urdu daily, was entrapped on his way home, and his right palm was chopped off for writing against the Nizam and the Razakas and Majlis Itehadul Muslimeen leader Qasim Razvi. He was then shot thrice at point-blank range.
He also paid tribute to Ramji Gond, from the current Adilabad district, who is believed to have led only tribal rebellion against the British during the First War of Independence in 1857.
Operation Polo or Hyderabad
As the British formally partitioned India and left on August 15, 1947, the whole country rejoiced. However, princely states that functioned semi-independently under the British crown, had not been fully integrated. The princely state of Hyderabad in fact joined the country much after independence, and it was not voluntary. The Indian army had to be sent to do the task.
Run by its last Nizam Osman Ali Khan, the Hyderabad state was the largest one in India. It ran over 82,000 square miles of area, which included all of Telangana, five districts of Maharashtra and three of Karnataka. It had a population of about 1.6 crore, of which 85% were Hindus and a little over 10% were Muslims (about 43% of people lived in the Telangana region).
After months of deliberations and talks with Mir Osman Ali Khan failed, the Indian government finally decided to send its army to annexe (or merge, as some call it) the erstwhile princely state of Hyderabad to India with force. It began on September 13, 1948 and concluded in about five days on September 17.
The military offensive against Hyderabad was led by India’s J. N. Chaudhuri. Called Operation Polo or Police Action in local parlance, it has left deep scars on the psyche of Muslims even decades later, as thousands had lost their lives in the aftermath. Moreover, another major reason for sending in the army was the Communist Party of India (CPI)-led Telangana Armed Struggle (1946-51).
Mir Osman Ali Khan, the last Nizam of the erstwhile state of Hyderabad
It was essentially a peasant uprising against feudal Jagdirdars (landlords) in the Hyderabad state. It had begun much earlier in 1946. Wary of a communist takeover, the Indian government also wanted to crush the communist movement, which continued till 1951. The CPI called it off on October 21, 1951 and joined the Indian democratic system.
The entire episode played out like a fast-moving novel over a year starting from India’s independence on August 15, 1947. Osman Ali Khan’s decision to keep Hyderabad independent was also met with various kinds of responses. Many old timers who lived through Operation Polo also stated that an ‘economic blockade’ was imposed state.
74 years after Operation Polo, the ramifications of the last Nizams’s decisions still continue to haunt his people. It has also given the right-wing a reason to sully his name and Muslims in the country as ‘traitors’.