Jihad in Spring~II

The Hindus want to repeat the same holocaust that they had staged at Delhi. Their methods of coercing Hyderabad to be a mere vassal is the typical example of the ‘Bania’ rule. The only answer to them is the naked sword …. You will see me slaying or being slain with sword in my hand and the Quran in my body….

Jihad in Spring~II

(Representation image)

By February 1948, Ittehad leader Qasim Razvi made no bones about his strong affiliation with Pakistan through his inflammatory speeches:- “I urge that negotiations should immediately start for an agreement with Pakistan…any Standstill Agreement with India be torn into pieces and thrown into the waste-paper basket. I cannot give more than one month’s time to the Indian Union and my declaration may be treated as declaration of war.

” On 31 March, in the concluding ceremony of the “Weapons Week”, as he was honoured with a march past salute, Qasim Razvi delivered an incendiary speech to an equally charged audience, ‘When … the Indian Union makes any aggression on us, remember the 4-1/2 crores of [Indian] Muslims will raise the banner of revolt. We will give back in the same coin and speak to them in the same language that they will understand…I know every one of you is imbued with the spirit of jehad. Remember Karbala. A Muslim is a warrior… A Hindu who is a kafir, a worshipper of stone and monkey…The Indian Muslims will be our ‘Fifth Columnists’ in the Union ……. My heart is bleeding.

The Hindus want to repeat the same holocaust that they had staged at Delhi. Their methods of coercing Hyderabad to be a mere vassal is the typical example of the ‘Bania’ rule. The only answer to them is the naked sword …. You will see me slaying or being slain with sword in my hand and the Quran in my body…. ’. It was the proverbial last straw for the Union. If Hyderabad continued to remain independent, it would be another Pakistan to India. [It is ironic that the founder of the Razakar militia agreed to the conditions imposed by the Government of India to the extent that after being released from a long house-arrest in 1957, he left India within 48 hours. And in Karachi, where he went, he lived in obscurity till his death in 1970].


Mountbatten permanently left India as the Governor General on 21 June 1948. His handling of Kashmir achieved half success at a huge cost, and of Hyderabad came with a big zero. Negotiations remained fragile and there was no point of concurrence. However, by 15 June [1948], the visiting representatives of Hyderabad could chalk out a draft Heads of Agreement which presented much more favourable terms to the state than one could ever imagine. One such important clause ~ that the Hyderabad Prime Minister could extract ~ was that India would not station her army in the cantonment of Secunderabad and was perceived as a weak point on the part of India.

However, on the other side, the Nizam was obliged to disband the Razakars. Besides, the Nizam would also declare a firman that inter alia asserted that he would immediately install a responsible government in Hyderabad and then take a plebiscite of the people of his state on the question of annexation with India. The Indian side, though unwilling to yield most ground to the Nizam, at least hoped that Hyderabad would ultimately merge with India, when a responsible democratic government would be installed.

On 16 June 1948, the Nizam sent a telegram asking for further amendments much to the embarrassment of the negotiation team including his constitutional adviser Sir Walter Monckton [he was a practising lawyer in London and had had to join this non-remunerative exercise time and again]. The team lacked plenipotentiary powers. In retrospect, the refusal on the part of the Nizam was a blessing in disguise for India. Already other heads of princely states were aggrieved at how India bowed to the whims of the Nizam.

The bitterness emanating from the frustrating rounds of negotiations led the Standstill Agreement to nowhere. While the Ittehad leader Qasim Razvi was calling the shots, the Congress leader of the state, Swami Ramanand Tirtha, was under detention. Meanwhile, reports were pouring in of how the Razakars were indulging in large-scale looting, murder, and rape of the majority community. Muslims in adjoining parts of India were induced to join their all-out war against India. Large finances were placed at the disposal of the Razakar agents travelling throughout India.

The fear of Muslim uprising in the Deccan was no more a mere speculation. Razakars were seen daily leaving Hyderabad in trucks and returning with loads of loot, says the White Paper on Hyderabad published by the Government of India. On 22 May, Hindus travelling from Chennai to Mumbai via Hyderabad by train were attacked at Gangapur Station by armed Razakars and a few were killed. Thus. Hyderabad breached the Standstill Agreement on another key issue of communication too. Shoebullah Khan was a fearless editor of Imroze who favoured merger with the Indian Union. On 22 August 1948 he was shot dead, and his hands chopped off by the Razakars.

The situation came to such a pass that if India failed to contain this state of affairs by invasion at this stage, no amount of future army intervention would restore her prestige afterwards. On 7 September 1948, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru told the Indian Parliament that the Government of India had asked the Nizam “for the last time” to disband Razakars immediately and facilitate the return of the Indian troops to Secunderabad, who were withdrawn early that year under the Standstill Agreement, “in such strength as we want to restore law and order in Hyderabad State.” And so, ‘Operation Polo’ ~ code name for India’s action ~ led by Maj-General J.N. Chaudhury was a fait accompli.

Sensing possible stern action leading to a war, on September 9, a plane chartered by the United States Embassy in New Delhi evacuated her citizens from Hyderabad State. As India started her action against the Nizam on 13 September 1948, it was only a matter of days before the Razakars would be crushed. Pakistan’s Governor General M.A. Jinnah had passed away the previous day. Pakistan’s leading newspaper, Dawn, reported on 17 September 1948 that all Pathans in the adjoining Mysore State who were suspected to be in communication with the Hyderabad Government were being taken into custody.

The Nizam’s PRO in Pakistan had issued the following broadcast appeal of the Prime Minister of Hyderabad to Pt. Nehru, “Impressed by your speech…in which you emphasised the peaceful tradition of India, I appeal to you at this grim hour …” The strike was irreversible, and the Nizam surrendered to the Indian force on that day, 17 September 1948, at 4 pm with a declaration, long overdue, that he had passed orders for the disbandment of the Razakars and allowed Indian troops to be stationed in Secunderabad and Bolarum.

With this surrender and subsequent merger, India got rid of a potential source of danger whose dimension cannot be gauged even today if Hyderabad were allowed to remain a hostile state lying squarely in the midst of the Deccan. And in the trying period of about one year and one month since India’s Independence, two persons showed extraordinary stewardship at a time when the negotiations had occasionally run into rough weather, got unreasonably protracted and frustrating and sometimes had been derailed too. They were Sardar Patel, then Home and State Minister and his secretary, the indefatigable Mr V.P. Menon.

A false notion that the Iron Man was inflexible in negotiation and biased against the Muslims has somehow gained currency over the years. Governor General Mountbatten, on the eve of his final departure from India, visited the ailing Sardar at Mussoorie and at the parting moments made a personal request to yield some ground to uphold India’s good name. The Home and State Minister broke down and concurred as a gesture of thanks to the Governor General for his duties to the country. On hearing the news that Mir Laik Ali, the erstwhile PM of the Nizam, fled to Pakistan, there was rejoicing among some Hyderabadis.

Sardar Patel in his historic speech on 7 October 1950 at Fateh Maidan, Hyderabad, referred to this incident and observed, “Therefore, when I hear that some Muslims celebrated the occasion, danced with joy and feasted, I naturally began to entertain doubts whether Muslims here feel that their future lies in India”, but in the same breath added, “I know that when Gandhiji was assassinated, some Hindus celebrated the occasion in a similar way. I only wish to emphasize that until this devilry goes out of the two communities, there would not be real peace.” [pg-4, Thematic Volumes on Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, by P.N. Chopra, Konark Publishers P Ltd]. This statement itself invalidates any false notion about the man instrumental for the successful integration of the largest state of the Deccan.

(The writer is deputy commissioner of income tax the comments and views are personal)