Opinion: 17 September a 'Black Day' in human history

Every year, 17 September becomes a topic of debate among all circles, and mostly it has been converted into a political issue. By distorting history, the right wing and BJP instigate people for the sole benefit of political gains and the common people are at the receiving end.

By Kaneez Fathima  Published on  16 Sep 2022 7:43 AM GMT
Opinion: 17 September a Black Day in human history

Hyderabad: Hyderabad's history is always distorted in various ways by various kinds of people. Some name 17 September as integration day, some as merger day, and some as liberation day. Seven Nizams of the Asaf Jahi dynasty ruled Hyderabad state. The last Nizam was Mir Osman Ali Khan, VII. His subjects were majorly Hindus comprising 85% and the rest were Muslims, but the people were multilingual. When the British decided to grant independence to India by creating two dominions, i.e., India and Pakistan, the Nizam neither agreed to part with Pakistan nor merge with India. But the Union government wanted to bring all the princely states under Federal India. Thus, India decided to accede Hyderabad state and sent its military to occupy the princely state. It was named as 'Operation Polo' popularly known as 'Police Action'.

Police Action took place between 13 and 17 September 1948. Before Police Action, there was unrest in the Nizam's state. Razakars (meaning volunteers) were carrying out atrocities such as levying monthly amounts on every town and village. These activities took place between August 1947 and September 1948. Razakars were not just Muslims but also comprised of Hindu upper castes Reddys and Velamas. The communists were spreading their anti-Nizam activities in various districts; their main presence was in four districts. The Government of India, in the name of suppressing communists and Razakars, attacked Nizam's Hyderabad state. During this operation, men were killed, women were dishonoured, mosques and dargahs looted and desecrated, children and women abducted, houses and lands seized, tens of crores worth of properties looted, destroyed or seized, and there were forcible conversions. All the sufferers were Muslims. The cities, towns, and villages were completely destroyed. Lakhs of Muslims became homeless.

It was estimated by the Sundarlal Committee appointed by the government of India that one lakh Muslims were killed by the Indian Army whereas unofficial estimates say more than two lakh Muslims were killed. According to the Pandit Sundarlal Committee report, all these attacks, killings, and abductions were not just by the Indian military but also the local police, the Arya Samaj, and other Hindu fundamentalist organisations as well as local and outside communists. Thus, the Police Action in Hyderabad state can be named as the first genocide of Muslims in Independent India.

After the Police Action, the Government of India brought employees from the neighbouring states of India. Hindus were appointed and Muslim employees in government services were looked upon with suspicion; they were terminated and suspended. Hindus lower in service were appointed to higher posts over a number of Muslims higher up in service.

In 1948, the Congress gave the reasons of suppressing the Communist Movement and controlling Razakars, and occupied Hyderabad state to overthrow the Nizam's rule. In the present times, i.e., since the Telangana movement started in 2009, BJP and the right-wing organisations have used the same strategy and supported the Telangana movement and propagated the wrong history of Telangana by portraying the Nizam as the cruel ruler. For several decades, Muslims suffered the implications of Police Action. But the BJP and the right-wing organisations are continuously distorting Hyderabad's history on different occasions.

After the Gujarat genocide, the BJP leaders made Hyderabad their second target. They have many a time openly threatened that their next target is Hyderabad. Since 2002, the BJP has put special focus on the Telangana region, especially Hyderabad. Every now and then, the communal-minded right-wing party leaders from the north visit Telangana and give instigating speeches in which they distort Hyderabad history.

Every year, 17 September becomes a topic of debate among all circles, and mostly it has been converted into a political issue. By distorting history, the right wing and BJP instigate people for the sole benefit of political gains and the common people are at the receiving end. The BJP is trying to divide people on the lines of communalism by raising the issue of 17 September which is forgotten by the people of Telangana. The people here are living happily in peace and harmony and on the other side the BJP, for its political gains and to enter into this region to rule, is cunningly playing with the sentiments of the people of Telangana. If at all Muslims start claiming that they have wronged which may not be good for society and the country. People who have common sense will know that 17 September cannot be liberation day, but it is a "Black Day" as lakhs of Muslims were massacred and it will be remembered as a black day in human history.


Kaneez Fathima, author and civil rights activist in Hyderabad, the views expressed in the article are of the author and not News Meter

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