HYDERABAD: The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen has asked the Telangana and the Central governments to celebrate September 17, the day when the then Hyderabad State was merged with the Indian Union in 1948, as ‘National Integration Day’ and not as a Telangana, or Hyderabad ‘Liberation Day’.
Addressing a crowded press conference called for at short notice, AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi, released the letters he had written to Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao and Union home minister Amit Shah asking for the change of nomenclature.
Owaisi said his party, or any of his party leaders, were never opposed to September 17 celebrations and none from his party had ever spoken against holding such celebrations. "This day is commemorated in Maharashtra and Karnataka, did we ever oppose that," he asked.
He made it clear that not only he, but all his party leaders and elected representatives would take part in the celebrations if the occasion was celebrated as ‘National Integration Day’ and not as ‘Liberation Day’. "They mean completely two different things. Hyderabad state was integrated into the Indian Union," he said.
The AIMIM leader, who had been under attack for long for ‘opposing’ any such celebrations, rejected charges levelled by the BJP that AIMIM was a party that descended from the Razakars, opposed to Hyderabad State joining the Indian Union. He declared, "Those who opposed left India. Those who stayed back did so because they loved India and were faithful to India."
Owaisi said his party would celebrate the integration of Hyderabad into India with events on September 16, starting with afternoon prayer at Masjid-e-Abubakar in Mir Alam area, followed by a ‘Tiranga Yatra’ on two-wheelers that will culminate at Teegalkunta with hoisting of the National Flag, and a public meeting. "All our party leaders, elected representatives will join and take part. Everyone is welcome to join in the commemoration of the day," he said.
The AIMIM president, accompanied by his party legislators including Akbaruddin Owaisi at the press meet, said, "There was no doubt whatsoever that the rule of the Nizams was autocratic. There is a difference between democracy and feudalism, the Nizams’ rule was autocratic. People wanted to be part of India, there can be no denial of that."
He said both Hindus and Muslims struggled for freedom from the rule of the Nizam, something that was also documented by the Pandit Sunderlal Committee that toured the Hyderabad State and submitted its report to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
Owaisi, following the state Cabinet decision to celebrate the Telangana National Integration Day, thanked the Chief Minister for accepting the AIMIM's proposal for naming the event.
Excerpts from letters Owaisi wrote to Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao and Union home minister Amit Shah, that he released at a press conference.
To Amit Shah
It must be noted that the accession and merger of various princely states were not only about ‘liberating’ the territories from autocratic rulers. More importantly, the nationalist movement rightly saw the people of these territories as an integral part of independent India. Therefore, the phrase ‘National Integration Day’ may be more apposite, rather than mere ‘liberation’.
Owaisi to TS CM
A befitting celebration should be organised at University Women’s College, Koti, the building which was once the British Residency and was subject to a daring attack by Maulvi Alauddin, and Turrebaz Khan on July 17, 1857. Alauddin was the Independence struggle’s first prisoner at the Andaman Cellular Jail, and with Turrebaz Khan were perhaps among the first martyrs of India’s War of Independence.
The struggles of the people of erstwhile Hyderabad state against colonialism, feudalism and autocracy are a symbol of national integration rather than merely a case of ‘liberation’ of a piece of land, or removal of a ruler.