Liberation Day or Integration Day? Political parties naming of September 17 aimed at gaining votes

BJP and the Congress have decided to celebrate September 17 as ‘Liberation Day’, while BRS and ally AIMIM are calling it ‘National Integration Day.’

By CR Gowri Shanker  Published on  17 Sep 2023 2:30 AM GMT
Liberation Day or Integration Day? Political parties naming of September 17 aimed at gaining votes

Hyderabad: September 17 is not only heating up the political environment but also dividing parties over the naming of a major event in the annals of Indian history, especially in Telangana State! More so this year because it happens to be the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Princely Nizam State of Hyderabad and its merger into the Indian Union, and it also happens to be an election year!

Depending on political advantage in and out of power, appeasement politics, parties use different nomenclature for the liberation/invasion of Nizam’s Hyderabad State. But the sound and fury are more now since it happens to be an election year. Political parties are trying to take maximum political advantage and win over people!

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress have decided to celebrate September 17 as ‘Liberation Day’, while Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) and ally AIMIM are calling it ‘National Integration Day.’ Communists are calling it the Telangana Armed Struggle etc.

The environment in Hyderabad is politically heated up with an array of political events.

“It’s a liberation day. The Indian forces under the direction of then Union Home Minister Sardar Patel liberated Nizam’s Hyderabad State. We will celebrate Hyderabad Liberation Day officially in Telangana State once the party comes to power. It’s an important event in the annals of Indian history,” asserts G Kishan Reddy, Union Minister and state BJP president.

The All India Congress Committee (AICC), under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi, Mallikarjun Kharge and Rahul Gandhi, is holding its Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting in Hyderabad on September 17, besides celebrating Hyderabad Liberation Day.

Congress, while holding its Vijaybheri rally, also plans to announce a Karnataka-type winning formula of six guarantees in the poll-bound Telangana State. “It’s a political drama. Congress has been celebrating the event since day one. All our national leaders will be in the state,” says Addanki Dayakar, AICC general secretary.

BRS MLA Mallaiah Yadav supports his party’s decision to go with ‘National Integration Day’ saying that the Congress is on the downslide and any attempt to revive it is futile. “We gave issue-based support to national parties. We go by what is good for Telangana and the country. People have immense faith in chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao and the BRS.”

Amit Shah to attend Hyderabad Liberation Day meet

Parties are doing their best to gain the voters’ attention. All political parties have planned rallies and public meetings to mark the important day. Union Home Minister Amit Shah will address a public meeting at the Parade Ground in Secunderabad to mark the Hyderabad Liberation Day while CM KCR announced Rs 400 crore Mukhyamantri Alpahara (CM’s breakfast scheme) on October 24 as a Dasara gift to students of government schools.

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), which has decided to celebrate the event as National Integration Day, planned a bike rally and a public meeting. MIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi maintains that old wounds should not be reopened since thousands of people from both communities were killed during that period.

In the undivided Andhra Pradesh too, parties celebrated the historic event with different names according to their political convenience.

‘Police Action’

Nizam VII Mir Osman Ali Khan, the monarch of Hyderabad State or Nizam State, surrendered to the Indian Army on September 17, 1948, in the military operation named Operation Polo and Operation Caterpillar. However, it was called ‘Police Action’ from September 13 to September 18, 1948.

Though it was a military action, it was called Police Action to prevent international ramifications since Nizam was debating whether to join the Indian Union or Pakistan or remain independent.

Karnataka and Maharashtra officially observe September 17 as Hyderabad-Karnataka Liberation Day and Marathwada Mukti Sangram Diwas, respectively.

Apart from the merger issue, the rise of Razakars — a private militia led by Kasim Rizvi opposing accession to India — and the peasant uprising in the Telangana region led by communists against Zamindars complicated the matters.

Razakars swore to uphold Islamic domination in Hyderabad and the Deccan plateau opposing the then-growing public opinion among the majority Hindu population favouring the accession of Hyderabad State into the Indian Union.

This led to the deaths of people from both communities, forcing the Government of India, under the leadership of then Union home minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, to step in and launch a military action to protect the people.

The Indian government sent troops to Hyderabad State from Solapur in Maharashtra, Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh and other places.

Indian Army runs down opponents

Nizam's army was no match to Indian troops and they surrendered on September 17. At 5 pm, the Nizam announced a ceasefire, thus ending the armed action. He also went on the radio on September 23, 1948, and addressed the public. General Chaudhari of the Indian Army led an armoured column into Hyderabad at around 4 pm on September 18 and the Hyderabad army, led by Major General El Edroos, surrendered.

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