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  Opinion   Oped  13 Sep 2017  RSS had no role in Hyderabad’s liberation

RSS had no role in Hyderabad’s liberation

The writer, a policy analyst studying economic and security issues, held senior positions in government and industry. He also specialises in the Chinese economy
Published : Sep 13, 2017, 1:59 am IST
Updated : Sep 13, 2017, 1:59 am IST

The BJP’s only power base is in the old city of Hyderabad, which is the political domain of the MIM, its mortal enemy.

(Representational image)
 (Representational image)

It is ironical that the RSS, which never allowed the tricolour to be hoisted on Hegdewar Bhavan, its Nagpur headquarters, wants to celebrate the hoisting of the tricolour in Hyderabad on September 17, 1948 as Liberation Day. On the eve of Independence, the RSS mouthpiece Organiser wrote: “The people who have come to power by the kick of fate may give in our hands the tricolour but it never be respected and owned by Hindus. The word three is in itself evil, and a flag having three colours will certainly produce a very bad psychological effect and is injurious to a country”. The tricolour went up Hegdewar Bhavan only on January 26, 2001 when three young men belonging to the Rashtrapremi Yuva Dal forcibly hoisted the national flag at Nagpur.

The truth of the matter is that the RSS never took part even in the Quit India Movement of 1942. It made an abortive attempt to inveigle itself in the 1942 movement in the 1990s when it began to peddle a tale about the young Atal Behari Vajpayee’s participation in Quit India activities in Bateshwar. It ended with egg on its face when Frontline published young Mr Vajpayee’s confessional statement where he excluded himself from the events, affirming that he was a mere onlooker.

Apart from Hyderabad, J&K and Junagadh did not accede to the newly-independent India in August 1947. J&K did so only on October 26, 1947 when Pakistani raiders began knocking on the gates of Srinagar. The Nawab of Junagadh actually acceded to Pakistan, but a popular upsurge forced him to flee to Pakistan and the referendum of September 15, 1947 ratified the accession. But the RSS never celebrates Kashmir’s accession on October 26 and Junagadh’s on September 15 as Liberation Days. It wants to celebrate Hyderabad’s accession on September 17, 1948, in which it had no role, just as it tries to appropriate a role in the nationalist movement.

At the time of India’s Independence, Hyderabad was the largest Indian princely state in terms of population and GNP. Its territory of 82,698 sq. miles was more than that of England and Scotland together. The 1941 census estimated its population was 16.34 million, over 85 per cent of who were Hindus and with Muslims accounting for about 12 per cent. It was also a multilingual state consisting of peoples speaking Telugu (48.2 per cent), Marathi (26.4 per cent), Kannada (12.3 per cent) and Urdu (10.3 per cent). It was a Muslim-dominated state and its vast Hindu majority was generally excluded from government. It was a mirror image of J&K, which was a Hindu-dominated fiefdom.

Hyderabad had its Hindu nobility, and a couple of them even rose to become Prime Ministers. Maharaja Chandulal was Prime Minister from 1833 to 1844 during the rule of Sikandar Jah. Sir Kishen Pershad was Prime Minister 1902-12. Nevertheless, it was a government of Muslims and by Muslims. Records of 1911 show that 70 per cent of the police, 55 per cent of the Army and 26 per cent of the public administration were Muslims. In 1941, a report on the civil service revealed that of 1,765 officers, 1,268 were Muslims, 421 were Hindus, and 121 others, presumably British, Christians, Parsis and Sikhs. Of the officials drawing a pay between Rs 600-1,200 per month, 59 were Muslims, 38 were “others”, and a mere five were Hindus. The Nizam and his nobles, mostly Muslims, owned 40 per cent of the total land in the kingdom.

The BJP’s only power base is in the old city of Hyderabad, which is the political domain of the Majlis-e-Ittihad-ul-Muslimeen (MIM), its mortal enemy. The nature of its power here is best symbolised by how it managed to inflict a temple on the southeast corner of Charminar, where it still grows like a fungus right under the nose of Charminar police station.

The first stirrings of political activity in the Asaf Jah kingdom began in 1927 when the MIM was formed to unite various Islamic sects for “the solution of their problems within the principle of Islam”; and to protect the economic, social and educational interests of Muslims. They presumably were affected by the happenings in Turkey and the direction the Khilafat movement took in India when it allied with the Congress and joined the nationalist movement in 1920. The MIM soon became a movement to establish an Islamic state in Hyderabad.

In 1933 an association of mulkis, or local-born Hindus and Muslims called the Nizam’s Subjects League, was formed as a reaction to the continued domination of gair-mulkis, mostly Muslim and Hindu Kayasthas from what is now UP, in the government. This was soon to be known as the Mulki League. It was the Mulki League that first mooted the idea of a “responsible” government in Hyderabad.

In 1937, the Mulki League split between the more radical elements, mostly Hindus, and the more status quo inclined. This led to the formation of the Hyderabad Peoples Convention in 1937, a prelude to the establishment of the Hyderabad State Congress next year. With this, the movement for political and constitutional reform picked up momentum. The RSS did not exist in Hyderabad even on paper. The Hindu nationalist rump was of the Hindu Mahasabha, and mostly confined to Marathawada.

The Hyderabad State Congress agitation coincided with a parallel agitation led by the Arya Samaj and Hindu Mahasabha of V.D. Savarkar on Hindu civil rights. To a large extent the interests of the Congress and Hindu organisations coincided. This put them squarely against the Majlis, now led by Bahadur Yar Jung, who was also founder of Anjuman-i-Tabligh-i-Islam, a proselytising Muslim organisation whose prime activity was the conversion of Hindus.

Bahadur Yar Jung was a charismatic figure who became popular among Muslims and had the ear of the Nizam, Osman Ali Khan. Bahadur Yar Jung summed up his goal very succinctly: “The Majlis policy is to keep the sovereignty of His Exalted Highness intact and to prevent Hindus from establishing supremacy over Muslims.”

The leadership of the Congress took more nationalist overtones after the arrival of Swami Ramanand Tirtha  on the scene. Tirtha hailed from Gulbarga and as a young man became a sadhu. He became president of the Hyderabad Congress in 1946 and attracted around him several young men who rose to prominence in Independent India. Foremost among these was P.V. Narasimha Rao, and others were former CMs Shankarrao Chavan,  Veerendra Patil and Marri Channa Reddy.

While the Congress was gaining strength, the Communists were also active in Telugu-speaking areas. They captured the Andhra Mahasabha, formed in 1921 to represent the interests of Telugu-speaking people in 1942. Unlike the Hyderabad Congress, which launched a movement for democratic rights to run parallel to the Quit India movement, the Communists joined hands with Majlis to support the Nizam, who was being a faithful ally of the British.

Accession brought in its wake the changes that were sought ever since political activity began in the state. The Muslim elite soon found themselves marginalised and many migrated to Pakistan. Others like Ali Yavar Jung  made a smooth transition into the new order. A new bureaucratic elite was quickly installed even as the Communist insurrection was being quelled. The Muslim feudal regime was replaced by a government which enjoyed the people’s mandate. The RSS had nothing to do with this.

Tags: rss, hindus, hyderabad, hegdewar bhavan, rashtrapremi yuva dal