Hyderabad: Come 17 September and passions rise in Telangana. Some call it "liberation day", some "merger day" and others "betrayal day". The day is definitely being used to confuse people and to play with their emotions. The Police Action of 1947 code-named "Operation Polo" remains the most controversial and hotly debated chapter in Indian history.

As a matter of fact, the integration of the Hyderabad state with the Indian Union took place on 26 January 1950. The Nizam was sworn in as "Rajpramukh" and he took the oath of loyalty to the Indian Constitution. It was the day when Hyderabad's transition from autocracy to democracy began. Those who dub 17 September "liberation day" tend to give a religious hue to the Nizam while "betrayal day" gets support from the fact that it is seen as a breach of the Standstill Agreement.

Capt. L. Panduranga Reddy, the president of Telangana Council of Historical Research, sees the bogy of 'Liberation Day' as an attempt to peddle falsehood and hate-mongering by bigots. The action of the Union government, he feels, was hasty and rash as it caused untold misery to the people, particularly to the minorities who viewed it as an act of bullying by the majority.

"It is necessary to dig into the records and reconstruct history for the benefit of posterity as it is wrong to label it as any day," says Capt. Reddy.

He wants the Telangana government to write history from the right perspective reconciling information about Moulvi Alauddin, who attacked the British Residency during the 1857 incident, Abid Hasan Safrani, who coined the word 'Jai Hind', and the national flag designer, Surayya Tayyabi, and many others.

Speaking to media persons, Capt. Reddy and Ziauddin Nayyar of Tameer-e-Millat asked the Central government to take steps and stop the 17 September celebration programmes in Karnataka and Maharashtra and remove the historical distortions from textbooks. By celebrating the day one would be only reviving painful memories and also reopening old wounds. "It is best to forgive and forget," they said.

They further demanded the government make public the Pt. Sunder Lal Committee report on the violence following police action. The report makes startling disclosure about the brutal massacre of Muslims and puts to rest all fabricated stories being circulated.

Stating that there was no victor or vanquished, they demanded the government of India express regrets to Muslims of Hyderabad as was done by Queen Elizabeth II for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre and the Congress for Operation Blue star. "The Hyderabad Muslims are second to none in magnanimity and they would certainly reciprocate in good measure," Capt. Reddy remarked.

J.S. Ifthekhar

J.S. Ifthekhar is a senior journalist with nearly four decades of experience. Ifthekhar cut his teeth in journalism at the Indian Express before he moved to The Hindu. He was also associated with the Siasat Daily, Telangana Today, Deccan Chronicle, Onlooker magazine, Newstrack, Detective Digest and a few news agencies. He has written on different subjects and aspects of Hyderabadi life. However, his passion remains literature in general and Urdu poetry in particular. He is equally concerned with culture, heritage, civic affairs and problems confronting the man in the street. As a journalist he has taken up cudgels on behalf of the underprivileged and many of his stories in The Hindu saw the government promptly taking corrective measures. Ifthekhar has authored two books - Hyderabad - The Nawabi City on The Move and Haj - The Spirit Behind it. He has also translated two books from Urdu to English. His third book - Urdu Poets and Writers , Gems of Deccan  - is just released. Loves to write and writes to live. Can't imagine doing anything else.

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