Hyderabad and Kashmir – some parallels
LEAF FROM HISTORY
THIS INTERESTING RELATION BETWEEN KASHMIR AND HYDERABAD IS LITTLE KNOWN , WRITES ABDUL MAJID ZARGAR
Of the 562 princely states that existed at the end of the British Raj, all but three had acceded to the Indian Union by August 15, 1947. The three princely states that chose to stay out included the two largest, Hyderabad and Kashmir and the third, Junagarh, a small one on the Kathiawar coast of Gujarat.
While the unending story of Kashmir is much too well known, few remember anything about Hyderabad that had become a tougher nut to crack because of the mulish insistence of its ruler, the Nizam, to retain his “sovereignty” over his state and other complexities. Even during the British days, Hyderabad had its own army, railways, postage and so on. It was a state right in India’s middle, with a more than 80 per cent Hindu majority and a Muslim ruler.
After the announcement of partition plan by the British and the planned course of action by princely states, the Nizam (ruler) of Hyderabad issued a firman on 26th June 1947 declaring that Hyderabad would neither participate in the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan nor of India. He nursed an ambition of enjoying a total independent Dominion status. He had the backing of Tory Party leader Winston Churchill. However, the ruling labor Government had made it clear that after the lapse of paramountcy, there was only one option for the princely states either to Join India or Pakistan. When Nizam failed to reach any conclusion by 15th August, a two month extension was given to him to make up his mind. During this period Nizam handed over the External affairs, Defense & communication to Govt. Of India. On all other remaining matters a Stand Still Agreement was reached between him & Union of India which was signed on 29th November 1947.
The Government of India implemented the Stand Still Agreement and withdrew the Indian Army from Hyderabad. But Nizam dithered. Under pressure from his own militia, known as “Razakars”, Mir Laik Ali was made Prime Minster of Hyderabad. This was done after obtaining advice from Quaid Azam Jinnah sought vide Nizam’s letter dated 21st November 1947.
In the interregnum, Nizam took few important but provocative steps to further the cause of his independence. He banned use of Indian Currency in the State and imposed restrictions on the export of precious metal from Hyderabad to India. Securities worth 200 million rupees were transferred to Pakistan and even negotiated with Czechoslovakia for purchase of Arms & ammunition. Sixty Four lac postal stamps with insignia of independent Hyderabad were also got printed. And Pakistan lent its air-space for transportation of arms & ammunition for its Razakars.
Meanwhile reports of armed clashes on borders of Madras & Bombay between Razakars & Indian security forces also started pouring in. Sardar Patel, the Union Home Minster used to get all the confidential reports regarding Nizam’s activities & Razakar Planning through two secret informants. One India’s Agent General Mr. K.M.Munshi & the other Mr. Aravamudh Aiyangar, a member of Nizam’s executive Council who acted through Gopalaswamy Aiyangar, former prime Minster of Jammu& Kashmir and a Minster in Govt. of India.
In April 1948, disgusted with Nizam’s dilly-dallying tactics and armed with other disturbing confidential reports obtained through above said sources, Sardar Patel warned Nizam that India would never agree to Hyderabad’s independence. Instead he offered to hold plebiscite in Hyderabad to determine the will of the people on the issue of accession. Nizam first rejected the idea but pursuant to hard negotiations later accepted it and issued a firman (Ruler’s order) on April 23rd 1948 specifically stating that a plebiscite will be taken on the basis of adult franchise. But this agreement fell apart on issues like disbanding of Razakars, Stationing of Indian army on peripheries & installation of responsible Govt. with the result that plebiscite could not be held. (See v.P.Menon,1961-page 340 & also Munshi 1957-page 149)
When the the activities of the Razakars grew in intensity and violence and border incidents assumed grave proportions, a communication was made to Nizam on 7th September 1948, to take immediate steps to disband Razakars who were allegedly involved in murder, rape, arson and pillage and had created wide spread anarchy within Hyderabad. Simultaneously Delhi deployed the Army along the borders to prevent import of any Pathans and Muslims to tamper with the demographic character of the State. It was now waiting for an opportunity to strike.
That opportunity came when Quaid Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah died On 11th September 1948 and Pakistan went into mourning. Sensing this as the right time with hardly any noise around, Indian forces marched into Hyderabad in the morning of September 12th. They were commanded by Major - General J. N. Choudhry under the direction of Lt. General Maharaj Sri. Rajendrasinhji, who was then the General Officer Commanding in Chief, Southern Command. This operation was given the name “Operation Polo” by the Army Head Quarters and “Police Action” by the then Governor General Mr.C. Rajagopalachari. It was a two pronged advance, the main force moving along the Sholapur - Hyderabad road, a distance of 186 miles, and a smaller diversion moving along the Bezwada - Hyderabad Road, a distance of 160 miles. On the evening of 17th September 1948, the Hyderabad army surrendered & Razakars dispersed. On 18th September 1948, Indian troops entered Hyderabad city. Major General Chaudhri took charge as Military Governor on 18th September 1948 and remained till December 1949. Many Razakars & muslim employees favourable to Nizam were arrested and tried by special tribunals for their complicity in various atrocities against Hindus. Some were awarded even death sentences & few sentenced to transportation for life. After him Mr.M. K. Vellodi, I.C.S., took over the administration of the State as a Chief Minister.
An interesting relation between Kashmir & Hyderabad is little known. During the initial stages of the Kashmir conflict, Sardar Patel sent a back channel offer to Pakistan to swap Hyderabad for Kashmir. Sardar Shaukat Hayat Khan, a Pakistani politician who carried the message, later recorded that rulers in Karachi, particularly Liaqat Ali Khan told him not to worry about the “Kashmir that would come to Pakistan anyhow”. Hyderabad, deep inside India, inhabited by 20 million people was the “real prize”. This is confirmed by Chaudhri Muhammad Ali, Liaquat’s close confidant, in his masterly biography “The emergence of Pakistan” and is corroborated by a host of impeccable sources.
(The author is a practicing Chartered Accountant. Feed back at email@example.com)
Lastupdate on : Fri, 1 Jul 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 1 Jul 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 2 Jul 2011 00:00:00 IST
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