With September 17, the so called Hyderabad Liberation Day, here, falsehoods and hate-mongering will be resorted to through various fora by bigots and falsehood peddlers.
While it is nobody’s case that the Razakars were totally innocent of blame, it should be borne in mind that (1) there were other interest groups at play wrecking havoc in the countryside to achieve their twin objective of setting the stage for an eventual military onslaught on Hyderabad, and satiating personal greed by loot and plunder with a communal bias, and (2) Muslims alone were not the Razakars. The learned Captain Pandu Ranga Reddy through painstaking research has established that there were four types of Razakars – volunteers who came forward to defend Hyderabad against any military aggression in the face of declared inadequacy of the state’s military to do so, and other types of Razakars that included Hindu personnel recruited for the purpose by Hindu Deshmukhs and Zamindars to curry favour with the Nizam, and also the irregular militia called Razakars. Another type of Razakar were Home Guards and Reserved Constabulary of bordering Indian districts who often put on the Razakar garb and launched nightly raids within Hyderabad territory.
This happened at the behest of Congress leaders with government backing. People in the know have said out of firsthand knowledge that at least 17 of them became important functionaries, including ministers, in the government that succeeded the Nizam’s rule.
Yet another type of (fake) Razakars were members of the Arya Samaj, Hindu Mahasabha, Communists, and even Congress of Hyderabad State working in close coordination with an organisation called Poona Patri Sarkar operating from Satara under the leadership of Achyut Patwardhan. This organisation caused a lot of damage and destruction in Hyderabad and feared by its local populace.
This concerted activity by various “groups” of Razakars was undoubtedly traumatic for the general public. Many lives were lost. Many were dispossessed of their valuables and many (Hindus) moved away to Independent India. People suffered on account of siding with “groups” – but more due to fear and less due to preference.
In short, how monstrous was the Razakar problem can be judged from the reply Nehru got from Vallabhbhai Patel on the prompting of Padmaja Naidu on October 13, 1950. He said that out of the 15,654 Razakars in jail, 15,642 had been released and the remaining 12 were reportedly the dangerous type. He stated that out of more than 2,000 other category of Razakars originally arrested for various atrocities, 340 were tried and sentenced to various terms including death by special tribunals (meaning without a fair trial). The rest were released or discharged without being put on trial.
That the Razakar activity came in as future date manna for the Government of India and the murderous hate-mongers is an undeniable fact. It helped provide the Government a fig leaf to hide its shame at not being able to control a genocide of Muslims in the outlying districts.
It was also a face saver for the rampaging, predominantly Hindu, Communists who engineered large-scale destruction and mayhem essentially against the oppressive and exploitative Hindu landholding class, the Deshmukhs.
It is worthwhile to note that in British India, there was not a single uprising against the Nizam’s government.
In 1946, with the winds of political change thick in the air and people from Andhra eyeing the large landholdings, especially in the Telangana area of Hyderabad State, a full blown uprising against local landlords began.
It lasted till 1951 through and beyond the Police Action. So much so, that at one point, and for a good period of time, the writ of the Nizam did not run in 2,000 villages.
The gravity of the situation can be gauged from the fact that from the time of the Police Action in September 1948, up to March 1951, the number of grievous crimes committed by the Communists was 2,577, including 914 murders, 391 loot/dacoity and 238 attacks on the police and military (S.A. Huda IPS, Police An Insider’s View, Book Links Corporation, Hyderabad, 2004).
The writer is a journalist and Research Scholar...