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Celebrating Hyderabad’s History: September 17 – A Day of National Pride

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September 17 holds a special place in the heart of every Indian as it marks a momentous event in our nation’s history—the annexation of the princely state of Hyderabad. This significant date has been a subject of passionate debate. Various political parties and scholars offering their perspectives on its historical significance.

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BJP’s Perspective: Hyderabad Liberation Day

For the BJP, September 17 is a day of celebration, aptly known as “Hyderabad Liberation Day.” They view it as a momentous occasion when the people of Hyderabad, particularly the Hindu community, gained liberation from the rule of the Nizams and the tyranny of the Razakars. This perspective underscores the heroic struggle of the people against the oppressive Nizam regime and the suppression of their cultural and religious practices.

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RSS ideologue and journalist Raka Sudhakar Rao passionately argue that many historical accounts overlook the valiant efforts of the people of Telangana against the Nizam’s rule and the heinous atrocities committed by the Razakars. He emphasizes that extensive literature in both Telugu and English provides invaluable insights into the epic struggle waged by the people. He dispelled the misguided notion that the Nizams were benevolent rulers.

TRS’s Perspective: Hyderabad National Integration Day

In contrast, the TRS, currently in power, celebrates September 17 as “Hyderabad National Integration Day.” Their perspective broadens the historical context to emphasize the integral role this date played in the larger tapestry of Indian unity.

This view misguides that the events leading to September 17 were not merely a religious or communal conflict but were deeply rooted in the struggle against feudalism and caste-based oppression.

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N Venugopal asserts that the police action on September 17 was not solely aimed at curbing the Razakars’ atrocities. It was also aimed at addressing the burgeoning power of communist movements challenging the feudal lords. He emphasizes that while the Nizams may have ruled as Muslim monarchs, their governance was significantly influenced by Hindu landlords. They possessed vast land holdings, ultimately serving the interests of the British Empire.

Unveiling the Historical Complexities

The historical narrative surrounding the annexation of Hyderabad is rich and multifaceted, spanning decades of struggle for Telugu identity, land ownership, and civil liberties. This period cannot reduce to a simplistic binary of Hindus versus Muslims. It was a culmination of various social, political, and economic factors that shaped the course of history.

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Organizations like the Andhra Jana Sangham, Andhra Mahasabha, and the Communist Party played pivotal roles in addressing these broader issues. The struggle was deeply entwined with the caste system, with Dalits toiling in the fields while Brahmins held other positions. The Andhra Mahasabha and the Communist Party embarked on an armed struggle against feudal landlords, spreading their influence to thousands of villages in Telangana by 1948.

The Annexation of Hyderabad

The annexation of Hyderabad was a complex process influenced by multiple factors. Initially, a standstill agreement was signed between the Indian government and Hyderabad in November 1947, guaranteeing non-interference in the Nizam state’s administration. However, by February 1948, this agreement violated as the Indian government cited the Razakars as a threat to peace and security.

The situation escalated when the Nizam sought protection from the United Nations Security Council, leading to tensions between India, Pakistan, and other supporting nations. In September 1948, the Indian government made the decision to launch a military operation, termed Operation Polo or Operation Caterpillar. This operation, though described as “police action,” comprehensively conducted from four sides, resulting in the triumphant liberation of Hyderabad.

The Evolution of Terminology

Remarkably, in the immediate aftermath of these events, the term “liberation day” was not widely used; instead, it described as the invasion, attack, or fall of Hyderabad. The term gained prominence in 1998 when the BJP organized a significant event commemorating “50 years of liberation.” Since then, the BJP has consistently advocated for the day to celebrate as “Liberation Day.”

The TRS, on the other hand, initially referred to the day as “Betrayal Day” to address certain historical sentiments. However, they have now adopted a more inclusive perspective, observing it as “National Integration Day,” in alignment with their ally, the MIM.

September 17, 1948, remains an indelible chapter in India’s history. It symbolizes the triumph of unity, valor, and the undying spirit of the Indian people. This historical date underscores our nation’s commitment to diversity, democracy, and the pursuit of justice.

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