- National pride comes from Samskriti which comes from Samskar – Shri Hitesh Shankar
- Youth should be aware of razakar atrocities, hundreds of skulls used to be found when wells were dug in old city- Dr Vamsha Tilak
The Golkonda Literary Festival – 2nd edition in Hindi- focusing on Hyderabad Liberation struggle was held on 11th Dec 2022 at Agarwal college campus, Patthargatti, Hyderabad. The day-long seminar organized with the spirit of `Swadharma, Swabhiman and Swarajya’, was well attended with several reputed speakers speaking on the topic. It is noteworthy that Hyderabad Liberation would be completing 75 years in the year 2023, as Hyderabad state was liberated on 17th September 1948. The year-long celebration of the event is being held during 2022-2023.
As part of celebrations to commemorate Hyderabad liberation, the media organization Samachara Bharati conducted the Golkonda Utsav in collaboration with other organizations including Itihas Sankalan Samiti, Pragna Bharati, Sahitya Parishad and media organizations including Nijam, Panchajanya, Organiser, Vishwa Samvad Kendra, Jagriti and Ritam.
Golkonda Literary Festival (GLF) -Golkonda Sahiti Utsav heralds the resurgence of Bharatiya cultural pride in Telugu land. As the nation is celebrating 75 years of Swaraj in the year 2022, the festival was infused with the theme of `Azadi kaa Amrit Mahotsav’, researching and celebrating several forgotten or ignored freedom movements and revolts, and highlighted the contributions of `Unsung Heroes’ from Southern India. The second edition of festival in Hindi was conducted with the spirit of “Swadharma, Swabhiman, Swarajya” had several thought- provoking debates and panel discussions, multiple book launches, and honored great scholars and authors. Golkonda Sahitya Mahotsav 1st edition in Telugu was held on 20-21 Nov 2021 at Keshav memorial college, Hyderabad.
Four important books were launched in the utsav.
Two books -Hyderabad Nisshastra Pratirodh by author Shri Shrirang Godbole, and it’s Telugu version – Hyderabad Nirayudha Pratighatana were launched on the occasion. The Telugu translators Shri Brahmanand Reddy (Haindavi) and Smt Parimala Nadimpalli were felicitated on the occasion.
The book ‘Vinash Parv’ by author Shri Prashant Pole was also launched.
The book ‘Sant sevalal’ was also launched on the occasion. Shri Kandakurthi Anand, the author of the book ‘Sant Sevalal’ was felicitated in the final valedictory session by the dignitaries on stage.
Sri Gopal Reddy, President Samachara Bharati in his opening remarks welcomed the audience and hoped the Golconda utsav would see fruitful deliberations throughout the day.
Shri Anand Raj Varma, scholar and author of several books was the first speaker of the day. He stated that though south India has contributed equally in the resistance and freedom struggle for hundreds of years, as it was not presented well, south’s contribution remained unsung and unacknowledged. Jhansi Laxmibai is well-known, but Rani Chennamma of Kittoor is not known. Ramachandra Rao Jadhav, Raja Mahipatrao Sehgal were great freedom fighters against the Nizam, whose contributions are forgotten now. Nawab Mir Gouhar Alikhan, son of Sikandar Jah was also imprisoned in Golkonda fort.
Turrebaz Khan and others threw bombs at British residency during 17 July 1857, the first war of independence. There were several intermittent military mutinies during 19th century.
Pandit Gangaram Vanprasth was an Aryasamaj revolutionary who threw bombs against the nizam govt. Pandit Govindlal Vyas was also known for his revolutionary activities during the Hyderabad liberation struggle. Arya Samaj played a most prominent role in the struggle. Shyamlal, Bansilal from Aryasamaj, Gangaram, Jagadish Arya, Narayanrao Pawar and several other etc, Andhra Mahasabha played a great role. It’s tragic that Narayanrao Pawar was released from jail only 8 months after 17th Sept 1948, with the efforts of several stalwarts. The speaker exhorted the youth to attach and involve themselves in the path of dharma and become aware of our culture.
Dr Vamsha Tilak, well-known surgeon, ’75 years Amrit mahotsav of Hyderabad liberation committee’ convenor, President, Samajik Samarasta Manch addressed the gathering. He is the son of Sri TV Narayana of Aryasamaj and grew up in the old city hearing the tales of atrocities of razakars. He said when wells were being dug, many skulls would be found, hundreds of gold mangalsutras used to be found in big jars, thousands of people were massacred and hundreds of women’s throats were cut and mangalsutras were snatched. Today’s youth is unaware of the razakar violence and atrocities, today’s rulers in Telangana are great allies of the erstwhile razakar party. Razakars forcefully used to disrobe women and made them play ‘batukamma’.
Well-known author and keynote speaker, Shri Prashant Pole, stated that it’s our great misfortune that we are not aware of several great freedom fighters and warriors. We hardly know anything about the great Queen Rani Abbakka who fought with the Portuguese and won decisively against the foreigners, which prevented further spread of Portuguese. Similarly Raja Martanda Varma of Kerala fought the battle of Kolachala in 1741, and driven out the Dutch East India Company. Tilaka Manjhi was a great tribal hero who fought against British colonials in the present day Bengal- Jharkhand region. The great queen Shivakasi’s Velu Nachiar and her woman commander, Kuyili won decisively against the British. We were also unaware about Birsa Munda, Rani Chennamma of Kittoor and several others till recently. However a false narrative that Indians were illiterate, superstitious and lived in jungles, and needed the British to ‘civilize’ and develop them was deliberately floated. We are now aware that 1/3 of world trade was conducted by Bharat in ancient times, as researched and revealed by Angus Madison.
Many British researchers in the 1750s, wrote about India’s medicinal systems and commended the way India was able to deal with epidemics. Bharatiya way was to infuse medicine and treatment with Dharma so that people adopt these as a way of life. One great example is that of Mata Sheetala devj, (and other grama devathas) who are identified with traditional practices in prevention of measles and chicken pox. The book ‘colonizing the body’ reveals how Edward Jenner took a lot of inputs from Indian medicine. Shri Dharam Pal in his ‘Beautiful Tree’ wrote about the prevalence of extensive education system quoting from British documents by Thomas Munroe. There are many scholarly works which describe the great systems of education, governance and administration, medicine prevalent in India before the British colonial rule. Textiles, shipping industry, thousands of village occupations and industries were all destroyed by the British colonialists. Jallianwala Bagh massacre was whitewashed by British parliament, which declared Gen Dyer as non-culpable. Great Hindu scholars, scientists, movie makers, writers and poets started the resistance in the social and cultural spaces, which revived India’s revolutionary freedom movement. It’s now recognized well that India fought the longest freedom struggle in the world spanning several centuries. We are in the amrit-kal period of our nation and need to recognize and remember our glorious history to take inspiration.
In the 2nd session of the day, Shri Mahadevayya, Swadeshi Jagaran Manch, stated that the razakars attacked hundreds of villages in the districts of Jalburgi, Raichur and Bidar of Karnataka region of Hyderabad state. The killings known as ‘Gorta massacre’ of gorta village in Basavakalyan saw major Hindu killings, reminiscent of Jallianwala Bagh. He also recollected the contributions of Swami Ramananda Teertha. Research and publications of dozens of unknown fighters who valiantly fought against the Nizam’s dictatorship are being published in Kannada. In the ‘amrit mahotsav’ celebrations, many publications and presentations are being done in schools and colleges too. Author Dr Vidya Deodhar stated that Hyderabad state people have kept their traditions and culture despite the continuous muslim rule from 17th century, especially the Nizams since 1724. Maharashtra has seen Hindu cultural freedom during Chattrapati Shivaji rule, unfortunately Hyderabad didn’t have that experience. Many people were always in the forefront of resistance; Vasudev Balwant Phadke was among the heroes. Swami Vivekananda’s address in Hyderabad enthused the people, community festivals like Ganapati Utsav have also reenergized the movement. Swabhasha and Swadharma were important, library movement by Marathi and Telugu activists too contributed to the struggle. The Vandematharam agitation by Osmania university students, the Arya Samaj resistance movement had satyagrahis from different parts of the country. Keshavrao Koratkar, advocate Vinayakrao Vidyalankar and thousands of ordinary people offered strong resistance to the nizam rule.
Author and researcher Dr Rahul Shastri of Samvit Kendra, stated that the real power was with the British during the 18th century, though Nizams were the rulers. The VI Nizam Mahabub Alikhan removed Hindus from civil administration, Urdu became compulsory and peoples’ languages were removed, he also started Osmania University with Urdu medium. He had strong links with Aligarh Muslim University and supported it. The consequences of Nizam’s move towards Islamization, and Urdu language were disastrous, 90%-95% of all higher positions were held by Muslims. Bhagyareddy Varma started the girls’ school in 1910 in Telugu. Bahadur Yar Khan of MIM under VII Nizam, started proselytizing activities and converted large numbers of Hindus into muslims. Under Aurangzeb’s overall supremacy, Brahmins were slaughtered from Hyderabad to Masulipatnam and riots were organized. Bahadur Yar Jung of MIM unveiled the Islamic charter, and consequently razakars started their Islamic/ muslim power and supremacy over Hindus. Congress socialist group/ later party was almost hijacked by communists, therefore the only nationalist force in Hyderabad state were the Arya Samajis. Balakrishna of Arya Samaj, who ran a shop Bombay Tailors, came in touch with Revolutionary parties and retaliated after Jinnah’s visit and inflammatory speeches against Hindus in Hyderabad. Nizam started importing muslims into Hyderabad to change demography, more than 8lakh muslims from outside were resettled in Hyderabad, after Jinnah’s Direct Action against Hindus, as reported by Sardar Patel. Some activists went to Konda Laxman Bapuji for support. Narayan Babu, Gangaram, Jagdeep threw bombs against Nizam, but the plot failed. Wanaparthi Raja donated Rs 22000 every month to the nationalist activists. Vandematharam Ramachandra Rao and other youth groups trained in military techniques outside Hyderabad, infiltrated the Nizam army and artillery, carried out espionage and managed to prevent the use of artillery against Indian Army during Police Action ‘Operation Polo’, that is the reason why Indian army succeeded so rapidly in Govt of India’s action.
Hyderabad liberation play & Kavi Sammelan
Itihas sankalan samiti organized a grand play in Hindi depicting the Hyderabad liberation struggle. More than 60 school children participated in the drama. An engaging Kavi sammelan in Hindi moderated by Shri Avadhnadh Rai also took place in which several poets including Sri Narendra Rai, Sri Srimannarayana and others participated.
In the penultimate session focusing on the topic ‘Lok/folk literature & culture and their contribution to liberation struggle’, Dr Jogendra Singh stated that Hyderabad state was liberated a year later on 17th Sept 1948, independence wasn’t achieved with non-violence, it was achieved with thousands of people sacrificing their lives. He explained briefly about the atrocities of razakars in Marathwada region, in one instance Shri Shyamlal was poisoned in jail; in Parbhani district several persons were burnt and thrown in a well; in another instance, Hindus were killed for celebrating Holi. Ved Prakash Arya of Arya Samaj was killed brutally. Sridhar Vartak was killed with stone- pelting from the dargahs. The contributions of Arya Samaj, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Hindu Mahasabha were immense. He said we need not tolerate anti-social, anti-national elements in our midst. Acharya Dr Chilakamarri Sanjeeva, professor from Kakatiya university, said folk/lok literature (songs, skits etc) wasn’t given the status it deserves. In 1842, the well-known English officer Charles Brown wrote a booklet on the great qualities of Indian women. Acharya Sanjeeva explained the importance of folk culture in Hindi and Telugu literature, which contains the essence of Vedanta; he also mentioned verses which were sung against Nizam raising awareness among people.
Author, senior journalist and ‘rakalokam’ youtube producer Shri Raka SudhakarRao stated that lok/folk literature, songs and skits played a critical role in raising consciousness among people. He quoted Ramprasad Bismil, Jyotiprasad Agarwal in Assamese, Bijendralal Rai in Bangla, Punjabi folk verses which inspired people and raised nationalist consciousness, he said we see the same national spirit in all languages. He mentioned Guru Gobind Singh’s verse in praise of Teg/ Sword, which inspired Swatantrya Veer Savarkar; poetry, songs, cultural symbols united the soul of the nation, in its entirety. Korukonda Subbareddy in East Godavari district of Andhra quoted Nanasaheb in a court case in front of British court officials. The slogan `Jai kaisar’ was reverberating even in remote parts of India! Balasanthulu, a nomadic tribe used to sing about the sacrifice of Nakka Andalamma till 2-3 decades ago. Similarly song about Renigunta Ramireddy was sung extensively. Sri SudhakarRao said it’s the responsibility of all of us to research, publish and bring them to light in the public domain.
In the last valedictory session of the day, eminent media professional, Shri Hitesh Shankar, who is associated Panchajanya, ‘Vibhajan ka vibheeshaka’ series on DD among others was the chief guest.
Senior journalist Shri Valliswar, convener of GLF stated that literature/songs/poetry has the capacity to transport us to another world. Now it’s time we need to hear and read about the stories of the forgotten and ignored heroes of our struggle for freedom. We are indebted to researchers, writers and historians who are researching and revealing those stories to us. The freedom we enjoy today is due to them.
Shri Hitesh Shankar in his valedictory talk stated that pride comes from culture/samskriti, which comes from Samskar. Atharva veda’s Matru-sookthi already defined the connect between the land as Mother and her children. Similarly Vishnu Purana defined Bharat Varsha. Sant Tulasidas invoked ‘Raja Raghuram’ as it sets the ultimate goal. The national pride in Bharat was deliberately scuttled, with false theories, distortions in history, creating rifts between communities, especially in movies, popular literature & culture, and for political gains. He quoted from former PM Sri Vajpayee’s verses on the incomplete history of nation-making. He also quoted from the verses of Makhanlal Chaturvedi, Subhadra Kumari Chouhan, Sohanlal Trivedi, Dinkar, Jaishankar Prasad, Bharatendu Harishchandra etc.
Shri Avadhnadh Rai proposed the vote of thanks and thanked all the speakers, many of whom have come from different cities, he also thanked the Agarwal College administration.