The State of Hyderabad was founded by Mir Qamruudin Chin Qilich Khan, the son of Aurangzeb’s General Ghaziuddin Khan Feroz Jang who claimed his ancestry to first Khalifa, Abu Bakr.
Hyderabad was a last remnant of Mughal empire which had a pivotal geopolitical position as it was surrounded by central provinces in north, Bomaby in west and Madras in east and south.
It was a premier state with approx. 16 million population, Rs 26 crore annual revenue and 82000 square miles area and having its own currency.
British administration never treated Hyderabad differently in comparison to other states despite its premier position which the Nizam always aspired for.
The 85% of population of the state were Hindus but they were denied the civil, police and army positions, these were close preserves of the Muslims.Even in 132 membered Legislative assembly set up by Nizam, the Muslims were in Majority.
After the announcement of British Government’s 3rd June plan of formation of two states India and Pakistan, the Nizam of Hyderabad Osman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VIIissued a firmaan, not to send any representative to constituent assemblies of India and Pakistan and become Independent sovereign state.
He sent a delegation headed by the Nawab of Chhatari to meet Lord Mountbatten to discuss the demand of Nizam to retrocess Berar to Nizam, grant of Dominion status to Hyderabad.
The Nizam’s both demands were technically declined as Mountbatten opined that Berar was practically integrated with central provinces, therefore any changes in status quo can be changed with the consent of the people of the area. Similarly, Dominion status for Hyderabad was also rejected as Mountbatten said firmly stated that His Majesty’s Government will only accept through either of the two new dominions.
These proposals were unacceptable and delegation returned to Hyderabad.
Lord Mountbatten was hopeful for Hyderabad’s accession with India and he pleaded that some extra time should be given to Nizam to educate the 15% minority which was holding the most of top position.
On 8th August Nizam again wrote to Mountbatten to not accede with India but enter to an agreement with India with conditions of almost autonomy as independent sovereign state, specially the demand of privilege of not to align with India in case of any war with Pakistan.
After several round of negotiations, in November 1947, Hyderabad signed a standstill agreement with the dominion of India, continuing all previous arrangements except for the stationing of Indian troops in the state.However, with the rise of militant razakars with whose support, Nizam wanted to establish independent Islamic state, the life of majority Hindus became hell. In order to curve the menace of militant Razakars and Nizam, it became necessary for India to take punitive action against state of Hyderabad in September 1948 leading to surrender of Nizam and sign the final accession with India.
In the Hindu majority Hyderabad, the Nizam ensured that Hindus didn’t even receive general fundamental rights. He tried to convert Hyderabad into a sovereign Islamic state. Nizam was a `trusted friend’ even during Lord Reading’s time, and because of the confidence he enjoyed with British, he started singing `independent hyderabad’ tune. But the British govt had cleverly placed it’s officers in critical positions and deprived the Nizam of his dreams.
The Hyderabad people under foreign-rule in an independent India started agitating for freedom. Nizam tightened the state machinery and furthered his oppressive dictatorial regime. He acquired a religious organization `ittehaadul musalmeen’ to support himself and his regime. This organization started publicizing that `muslims were rulers and hindus were ruled; and Nizam represented the power of Muslims’. This religious organization inducted it’s religious army `Razakars’ into the arena. The Nizam had multiplied the percentage of Muslims in Hyderabad by settling Muslims from other regions in Hyderabad.
Nizam started acquiring weapons clandestinely by airplanes with the help of foreigners like Sydney Cotton. All the factories in Hyderabad state were converted into arms-manufacturing units. The Nizam then entered into a double-game, while at one hand he was building his army, he also started peace negotiations with the Govt of India. He also started attacking Hindus by spreading hatred against them in the name of religious `Jihad’. Razakars spread terror and fear everywhere by looting people and raping women.
The Razakars attacked many villages in Telangana region, looting people, raping women and conducting massacres, and spread the reign of terror. In this atmosphere of fear, people in some places started gathering courage and defied the rulers. As an act of subterfuge, Nizam government then started ‘peace committees’ to mislead Hindus. This was a ploy to fool Hindus, and they showed that Hindu members are also on these committees. For example in Janagama, Industries dept supervisor Sri MN Reddy and Agriculture dept supervisor Sri Satthagopacharyulu were part of the peace committee. But if the Hindu members complained against razakars, their lives were in grave peril. And the sham became quite apparent, as in the `peace committee’ meeting once, Sri Satthagopacharyulu condemned the extreme atrocities of Razakars, the very next day he was dragged to the Janagama road and shot dead. When Sri MN Reddy complained against Razakars more mildly, he was threatened that he would be killed.
In the town of Thipparthi, Muslim officers used to conduct arms exercises with people, without civil-military differentiation. They would train hindus in shooting weaponry, and get them to kill other fellow hindus. At the same time, the Nizam used to publicize that they would protect people with the setting up of `peace committees’. This founding of `peace’ was so terrifyingly evident, as was illustrated by Sri MN Reddy; he was traveling on the kodakandla-rangapur road, this area is 6kms away from Inanoor police station, and he saw 5 corpses hung on a tamarind tree. He immediately asked the villagers nearby, the bodies are of 5 brahmins. A group of 7 brahmins were returning on that road after attending a death ceremony the previous day, they were accosted by a peace-keeping razakar gang. The razakars caught hold of all 7 brahmins, 2 of them fled away. They came to the conclusion on their own, that these 5 persons were Govt agents. They hung them to the branches of tamarind tree, put a fire beneath them so as not to burn the ropes, and killed them by burning all the five brahmins alive. The razakars then left the corpses hanging on the tree to send a strong message to the other hindus in the area. The silver waist-ornaments on three of them were twisted and turned black, the silver-coins they obtained from the death ceremony were found in the ashes. The dhotis they wore, and their bodies were charred black, the villagers were terrified and completely shaken at seeing this inhuman ghostly visage.
The evils perpetrated by the brutal Nizam state and razakars exceeded those of British army officer Neil during 1857 First war of Independence. Neil used to hang Indians to death, he used cannons to fire at them. There were no instances of even Neil burning people alive. The credit for burning people alive goes to razakars only, even the demons wouldn’t have done such barbaric acts. Razakars and govt staff together used to raid villages and loot them during nights without any qualms. They used to pull and snatch ear-rings and nose rings of women, and used to leave them bleeding. They used to collect the bloodied ornaments and hide them under the tables in Sri MN Reddy’s office, and distributed the loot among themselves in the mornings. There was no use of complaining against such dastardly acts. Hindu officers like MN Reddy were immensely distressed, but were helpless. Even when hindus condemned such acts, nizam govt not only justified these acts in the name of emerging agitation and establishing peace, and oppressed the hindus even more.
Mohammad Ali Jinnah came to Hyderabad in 1947 and made many provocative statements addressing a big public meeting. He said `we will break the hindus like chicken necks. We will cut them like radish’ which put the razakars on an even more aggressive mode.
Razvi- The meeting hall was filled up with thousands of muslim people, shouting Islamic slogans and Islamic songs. ‘Majlis-ittehadul-musalmeen’ leader Khasim Razvi called by his followers as `ali-janaab siddique millath’ and `salaar-e-azam’, protected by armed razakars on both sides, is moving towards the dias. `Shahe usmaan zindaabad, azaad hyderabad paayambaad siddique millath khasim razvi’ slogans greeted him. Razvi made a surcharged speech saying he’s determined that Hyderabad would continue to remain independent. He said that Nizam made a Stand-Still agreement with Govt of India and mentioned the Residency building. At that time Sri KM Munshi, Agent General of Govt of India was residing there. Razvi threatened that Residency building is a symbol of Hyderabad sovereign state and hence if KM Munshi doesn’t vacate the building, they will raze the building to the ground. The assembled muslim crowd applauded him and endorsed his idea. As a result, the Nizam sent orders to Sri KM Munshi to change his residence from Residency to Bolarum house. And Residency building became Police head-quarters. This development is not only part of a strategy of Nizam and Razvi, it’s a political win for Razvi.
In 1947, as per the then circumstances, Govt of India said that those provinces which do not wish to merge into India or Pakistan can remain independent. Taking this as a pretext, Nizam felt that he could remain independent in mainland India. The nizam history reveals another historical truth. The nizam royalty have always bowed down before every empire, initially the Marathas, afterwards French and later the British, to whom they remained loyal servants. This mindset reached it’s pinnacle when Nizam begged the British not to leave them helpless, as the British empire was withdrawing from India.
In the fast-changing events of the time, in the guise of his religion, Nizam made numerous efforts to remain independent. His fanaticism for islam and brutal monarchy can be gauged from his own verses, `salaatheenee salph, sab hogaye nazre, azal usman musalmaanonkaa therii sultanat se hai nishaan baaki’ – islamic kingdoms have perished because of political changes, he Osman! But today, your kingdom remains as a symbol for muslims’ . `banda naakhus hua sunke naara ye thakiibeerjal jalaa, aahi gaya rishtha ye junnaarpar’ – allah o akbar chants stopped the blowing of conches, it is doom for people wearing the sacred-thread (yagnyopavitham). The nizam felt that merging his kingdom in Independent India is an insult to him and his royalty. To advise him on Constitutional matters, he specially invited well-known lawyer Maleckon, and paid him Rs 1 lakh as fees everyday.
As part of his plot, he did everything to instigate Islamic fanaticism in muslim population. He felt that it would be dangerous to have states of independent India surrounding his kingdom. For which, he would need a sea-port. He even thought about buying Goa from Portuguese government. He understood that Govt of India’s approach was against his own plans, and he knew it was impossible to fight with a very powerful Indian army. So he started making other efforts which included expanding his army and training them in guerilla warfare. He decided to import arms and weapons from foreign countries as well as manufacture more weaponry from their own factories. As a second front, he developed the Razakar army. He especially brought Pathans to guard his borders. He made preparations to secretly import weapons in aircrafts. He got aerodromes in Bidar, Warangal and Raichur renovated. With a view to bring muslim population on par with hindu population in Hyderabad, he attracted muslims from other areas with many assurances and resettled them. He instigated caste disturbances between upper-castes and harijans, and instigated one against the other. Razakars created terror by killings, looting villages, burning homes and raping women. He had his loyalist hindu ministers in the cabinet. He rejected all positive suggestions from Govt of India and continued with his nefarious designs. We already saw how he treated Govt of India’s representative, Sr KM Munshi who came to Hyderabad as Agent-General.
After sometime, Hyderabad kingdom’s prime minister Mir Laiq Ali went to Cheriyala for a visit. Thousand villagers under the leadership of Immadi Rajireddy went to him and complained about razakar attacks. He simply told them to stay together. With no other option, the villagers in that area, started gathering weapons for their own self-defense. They obtained a cannon from Vallapatla Ramachandrarao Deshmukh and mounted it on Bhairavunipalli burj (tower), plenty of ammunition was always kept ready. The blacksmiths in the village started making iron-balls and other weapons. Bekkal, dhoolimetta, thorasal, jaalapally, kondapur, kutigal, solipur, ankusipur and many other villages prepared their own self-protection groups. Bhairavunipalli became the anchor village for all these activities. Hence, razakars focused on this village.
Bhuvanagiri deputy collector Iqbal Hashim regarded Bhairavunipalli villagers as rebels and prepared to attack them. The courage and valor of the villagers was like an open challenge to him. Hashim pounced upon the villages with his armed police force in the name of peace-keeping. He ruthlessly shot more than 40 innocent villagers dead in kodakandla village. Then with his 150- member armed police troupe, he reached Bhairavunipalli village. The guards on the top of Burj /tower noticed the troupe’s movement and beat the drums. In the pitched battle, Hashim’s troupe was trounced with the firepower of the small cannon. Defeated Hashim vowed to take revenge and destroy the village. Encouraged with their victory in the battle, the people of Bhairavunipalli grew more confident that they could face the razakar army fearlessly. But can they face nizam’s army? They didn’t think much about it. When they came to know that army surrounded their village, it didn’t occur to them to run away into the forests and save their lives. Therefore, the complete destruction of Bhairavunipalli village couldn’t be prevented.
By then sun rose, and daylight was spreading. Even as the two youth, Magutam Ramaiah and Bhumaiah were on the vigil standing on the watch-tower, they were hit by cannon shots and collapsed immediately. The surrounding walls, the interior and the defence equipment was destroyed. The villagers understood that this is not a razakar attack, and that there was no use fighting the battle. They showed white-flag from the tower. But the nizam army continued the cannon firing at the village, the soldiers entering the village behaved like wild animals. They shot and killed every person they saw, at one place they threw hand-grenades at ten youngsters, Viswanath Bhatt Joshi and others were killed. Many innocent villagers were murdered, including a mother who just delivered a baby. The live baby was found when identifying the bodies. The village self-defence was completely destroyed.
Nizam govt officials and army resorted to barbaric acts after their victory and destroyed Bhairavunipalli, as if they defeated the biggest rebellion. They searched houses and tied up all the youth, raped women, looted all the houses, they burnt all the fodder. There seemed to be no difference between religious fanatics and nizam govt’s army. All the 92 youngsters were brought outside the village, there were two older persons too. The officers stood there trying to test their shooting skills, they estimated how many can they kill with one shot using their 303 rifles. The youngsters were bound in ropes like sacrificial animals, and made to stand in 4 rows, one behind the other. First, an army officer started firing, the same bullet pierced through four young men, and all of them collapsed instantly. Second, a police officer shot and killed three youngsters. Next, civilian officers came forward to show their prowess. Bhuvanagiri Dy Collector Hashim killed eight persons with vengeance. Except the two older persons, they murdered almost all of them with sten-guns. Razakar army commander Razvi’s chief aide Mohazzim Hussain (nalgonda) played major part in this barbaric massacre. Later they called harijans from the village, got all the 90 bodies thrown into an unused well and did a mass burial. The people killed in the village are not part of this count. Around 11am the same morning, this army on their return journey went via kutigal village. There they murdered 25 persons including the village patwari Narasimha Rao.
Janagama people hated the nizam govt after the massacres and brutal attacks in Bhairavunipalli and Lingapur villages. But nizam brought journalists from abroad by spending thousands of rupees, distorted the massacres of Bhairavunipalli, and portrayed them as Govt taking measures to protect law and order, after the Hindus of the area resorted to an armed rebellion against Govt. Yet the truth of the nizam’s inhuman acts and bloodshed of innocent people emerged in the public.
80-year old Sri Irasettappa Vanke of Gorta village stated recently that Nizam had exploited and impoverished the villages. Between 1928 and 1948, for 20 years, the nizam enslaved the hindus, exploited their hard work and looted them. Anybody who revolted was murdered. In the first act of resistance in Gorta, Sri Vanke too underwent one-year imprisonment. The moment nizam declared that he is running an independent regime, every muslim started behaving as a ruler himself. Especially those in power, became the dictatorial and oppressed other villagers. Muslim officials in Huyanabad, kalyan, balki, rajeswsar, ghodavadi, saigaon, mohekar and other villages started harassing, looting and killing hindus.
They would enter hindu homes, drag the men out and murder them. These violent acts were indescribable. In one instance, they started to stab and kill all the men, they dragged the last youngest brother too outside, his pregnant sister fell on him and started crying. The cruel murderers hit her on the stomach, she gave birth to a baby and died then and there. The child being called Babu is surviving today. Evil rule prevailed in the village on that day, they raped every woman that they came across, several women became victims of razakars’ sexual assaults. There was no one to face their brutality on that day. Among the 50 persons murdered, these are a few names- Aniruddhappa, Mulusetty, Jagabetti, Sivappa, Dhangar, Sivappa maitri, Maruthi appakone, Dholappa kanaje, Ramarao pataje, Gurappa kanaje, Bhimanna rajole, Saranappa kanakati, Chinnappa baradari, Gurappa baradari, Kasappa madhukanti, Virupaakshappa mathapathi, Basavappa vanke and many others.
Nizam whose ambition was to establish islam- asafiya empire (sultanat-e-asafia islamia), proclaimed independence and declared himself His Majesty the Nizam after 1947. His was the most oppressive rule, implementing extreme brutalities on hapless hindus. He wanted to be an `independent kingdom’ in a newly independent Indian nation. He increased the muslim religious influence with the organizational support of Ittehadul musalmeen, and protected his regime with the cruelties unleashed by the razakars. Even the then former British PM Winston Churchill supported `independent Hyderabad’ and argued that it can remain as a `buffer state’ like Switzerland is in Europe.
Razakar commander Khasim Razvi gradually became a self-created problem for nizam. He began to think that he’s in the mould of great military commanders in history like Field Marshal Rommel. He met Iron Man of India, Sardar Patel and said Hyderabad would remain independent. Sardar Patel remarked briefly ‘no one can prevent anyone from committing suicide’. Razvi made inflammatory speeches to instigate muslims, he boasted that he would capture the capital Delhi and hoist `Asafia’ flag on Red Fort. But within three days of Indian army entry into Hyderabad, the nizam’s army and razakars laid down their arms and surrendered. Nizam simply shifted blame to Razvi and razakar army, and surrendered to India.
After Police Action, a special court was constituted for the trial of Khasim Razvi, where he stood in the dock as a mass murderer and a dacoit. The court had sentenced him to seven years’ severe prison punishment. From an ordinary lawyer to a rogue army commander who projected himself as a Field Marshal, ultimately Razvi had to show himself in his true colors as a common dacoit and looter. Because of the stupendous efforts by Intelligence dept head Sri Narsing Prasad, Razvi was convicted in the trial with clear evidence and witnesses, and he had to undergo stringent punishment.
Nizam, Muslim Majlis, oppressor Khasim Razvi all tried their best to prevent Hyderabad’s merger into Indian Union and cheated the people. Nizam declared that hindus and muslims are as dear to him like his two eyes; he cleverly fooled the people by saying, Hindus would be upset if Hyderabad merged with Pakistan and Muslims would not like, if it merged with India; hence in these circumstances, it would be better if Hyderabad remained independent. He hid his ambitions and religious fanaticism and issued a decree declaring Hyderabad as independent. But the reality was very different. Hindus who constituted the majority population in Hyderabad wished to merge their region in the non-religious independent India and wanted a responsible democratic government to be established. Hyderabad state congress party was struggling to achieve this aim. And the nizam was trying to hide the reality and suppress people’s aspirations. He nurtured the religious organization `ittehadul musalmeen’ to support him in this venture. Nizam was fully prepared, he further strengthened his army and brutally suppressed people’s legitimate struggles. From 15th August 1947, Hyderabad state congress intensified the people’s struggle, nizam arrested all the parties which participated in Satyagraha, and started severe repression. Nizam police forces, razakars are committing immense number of atrocities against people as well as suppressing the congress struggles with the use of police forces. Satyagrahis were lathi-charged and injured in jails also.
On 11th January 1948, nizam got goondas and hooligans from outside into Nizamabad jail, and they severely beat up and injured the political prisoners. Unable to tolerate any longer, Sri Ramacharya resigned from Liaq Ali cabinet. Thousands of political prisoners were subjected to cruel violence inside the jails. Students were boycotting schools to participate in independence movement. Razakars were committing atrocities against progressive minded people and leaders. Lakhs of people were fleeing hyderabad province to other regions fearing for their lives; their lives, dignity and properties were not safe in hyderabad. Hundreds of people died felled by bullets. Burning people alive, raping women and looting houses was common, and there was chaos and mayhem everywhere. Press which reported on these atrocities was shut down. In these difficult circumstances, state congress started its activities from outside the province.
During the razakar atrocities, on Sunday 4th August 1946, in the premises of a house on the north side of Warangal fort, in Warangal town, swayamsevaks are standing in a row, they are singing `jhanda oonchaa rahe hamaara, vijayi vishwa thirangaa pyaara’ and are saluting the Indian tri-color pledging that they would sacrifice their lives to protect the flag’s honor. After the song, the slogans `inquilab zindabad, bharat mata ki jai’, mahatma gandhi ki jai’ reverberated in the area. It is extremely surprising that in Warangal fort area, which belonged to nizam’s chieftains, the Indian tricolor was hoisted and freedom songs were sung!
Like a drowning man catching a straw, they declared themselves as the `real rulers’. They made it clear that nizam is only a name-sake symbol to them, and in their territory no political reform or change can happen without their consent. `Majlis ittehaadul muslameen’ organization was formed under the leadership of Nawab Bahadur YarJung as a muslim party. Nizam didn’t consider it as a political party, hence there is no ban on it. Soon the popularity and influence of Nawab Bahadur YarJung grew a lot. There is a rumor that nizam got him killed, as he was afraid of his growing popularity. Whatever be the veracity of it, this healthy nawab died suddenly on 25th June 1944, his death remains a question till today. The same Majlis was used by the nizam to protect and continue his own dictatorial authority. Nizam started issuing orders on the conduct of internal elections within the organization and other issues. They tried everything to see that the muslim minority would dictate terms and assert it’s authority over the majority hindus. Govt jobs, monies and assets were always enjoyed as their own properties. Their mindset was that of ‘muslims were the rulers, and Hindus were the ruled. The majority hindus were treated as slaves and they always kept a watch on the activities of Hindus. Hence they couldn’t tolerate the patriotic activity conducted in the premises of Warangal fort. Especially Subedar Habeebullah Khan, who was a fanatic and a very cruel man. So the consequences were extreme.
Before the Police Action, a few youth fought against the razakar atrocities and protected Udgir and it’s surrounding areas. With their amazing courage, valor and discipline the young men transformed into a united fighting force, battled against armed razakars, nizam army, rohillas and pathans with heroic valor and protected many villages for over six months. They fought the enemy valiantly, and killed many razakars and police officials. The farmers group in bidar district became a threat to razakars and police force. After Police Action, women while doing farming activity used to sing songs of farmer guerillas.
Menon, V.P. (1950) The Story of the Integration of the Indian States , Orient Longman Private Limited, New Delhi/Calcutta
Das, Durga (1953) SARDAR PATEL’S CORRESPONDENCE 1945-50, Vol 7
THIS ARTCILE WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN 2020..