A.G. Noorani, left, author of the book Destruction of Hyderabad, has a word with Mohd. Safiullah, an expert on Hyderabad history, during the book launch. DC
Noted columnist and writer Abdul Gafoor Abdul Majeed Noorani said the Army should not be used against a civilian population as a way of resolving problems. He was addressing a gathering here at Jubilee Hall on Friday after the launch of his book The Destruction of Hyderabad.
Referring to the history of the Police Action in Hyderabad and Operation Blue Star in Punjab, the well known jurist and writer said that the moral of both these incidents is that the army must not be unleashed on the people. A political resolution is the better option.
Touching on the two nation theory, Noorani said this plunged Muslims into a crisis not only in India but also in Pakistan.
Referring to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru as an Indian nationalist and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel as a Hindu nationalist, Noorani said Nehru admired Hyderabadi culture, strove even in 1956 to preserve its integrity, and was deeply pained at the atrocities inflicted on Muslims to which Patel was indifferent.
During an exclusive interview, A.G. Noorani tells C.R. Gowri Shanker and Mir Quadir Ali that Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was responsible for the "Police Action". He claimed that Patel’s hatred for Hyderabadi culture was the motivating factor behind the orders to the Indian Army to march into the country’s largest princely state. Noorani hits out at Patel by calling him "mean and vindictive" and also criticises Mohd. Ali Jinnah. Excerpts:
Q Why did you write Destruction of Hyderabad after six decades of the Police Action?
This book is part of a trilogy. The first two parts were Jinnah and Tilak: Comrades in the Freedom Struggle (2010) and Kashmir dispute (May 2013). It mentions what every biographer of the duo suppressed.
Q You have titled the book Destruction of Hyderabad. Who destroyed Hyderabad?
First and foremost, Vallabhbhai Patel. Patel chose a man who was a notorious Hindu communalist, K.M. Munshi. He was virtually the RSS, Hindu Mahasabha mole in the Congress. That means he didn’t want a settlement. Munshi wanted Hyderabad to be destroyed. He didn’t like Hyderabadi culture. He called it ‘alien’.
Q Were some facts about the Police Action suppressed?
Absolutely... completely. Hyderabadis didn’t know whether to stay on or go to Pakistan. The Hyderabadi diaspora would not have been in such a situation but for Police Action. Wherever Hyderabadis went, they enriched the societies.
Q Why was the Sunder Lal Committee report on the massacre of Muslims suppressed? Who suppressed it?
Because Patel was a Hindu nationalist and this report was by a secular man like Sunder Lal. He insulted the man who forwarded the report to him because the Committee was set up by Nehru and Azad.
Q Do you think the Police Action could have been avoided? How?
Yes, in the same way Operation Blue Star could have been avoided. The economic blockade was beginning to tell. A few months would not have harmed.
Q Apart from the Police Action, what was the other option that could have been put in place?
There was an effective economic blockade. There were liberal Hyderabadis like Mirza who wanted accession. And with the economic sanction telling, the Nizam would have repudiated these people. They could have waited.
Q Hyderabad was the logical third?
Yes, Hyderabad was the logical third.
On November 1, 1947, Mountbatten gave Jinnah written proposals that if he agreed for a plebiscite in all these three states, the matter could be settled. Jinnah rejected this.
He said, "Keep Junagadh and Kashmir and keep off Hyderabad". That was a fatal mistake. Jinnah not only rejected these proposals he egged on Hyderabad to fight. Had he accepted the proposals, the cold war would have been nipped in the bud. Jinnah was invited to visit Delhi. He could have gone and stayed as a guest of Governor General Mountbatten... he could have gone to the Muslim refugee camps in Delhi... Hyderabad would have survived... perhaps eventually it could have broken up on linguistic lines... the Nizam would not have been humiliated... there would have been no cold war. Everything would have fallen into place.