By Vijay Burgula
Hyderabad:September 13, 1948, which was the beginning of the police action, must have been a day of sadness for nationalist Muslims like Fareed Mirza in Hyderabad when the Indian Army launched Operation Polo.
The context: in the heart of British India, the last state of Nizam (Mir Osman Ali Khan) in Hyderabad was the largest royal kingdom consisting of Kannada, Maratha and Telugu (Telangana) speaking regions with an 84% Hindu – population that had a beginning modernizing the government among the last two Nizams, with 70% of the government’s work on Muslims.
An emerging Muslim middle class and intelligentsia flourished and nationalist, progressive and radical Muslim leaders emerged. Fareed Mirza was a nationalist Muslim who was influenced by the writings of Mahatma Gandhi and the former and first Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
Mirza was appointed a Tahsildar in 1941, but a year later in 1942 his nationalist passion drove him to go to Bombay to see the historic decision of the All India Congress Committee (AICC). Placed in the Marathwada region of Nizam in Hyderabad, Fareed Mirza had the opportunity in mid-July 1944 to meet Gandhiji in Parbhani.
He also attended the 1945 AICC session in Bombay. As a Tahsildar and eyewitness to the devastation of the Razakars (the militia led by President Majilis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen) in the towns and villages of the Marathwada region, Fareed resigned Mirza after a number of protests against communal government . disobedient. Through provocative speeches, Razvi succeeded in polarizing the situation after becoming MIM chief in 1944.
Back in Hyderabad, Mirza, along with a number of other like-minded people, was increasingly concerned about what they saw as a self-destructive path taken by the Nizam in relation to the political unrest in the state and atrocities in Razakar. An open petition / letter was compiled by Baker Ali Mirza, Fareed Mirza and Mulla Abdul Basith. Other signatories were Nawab Manzoor Jung, Abu Sayeed Mirza, Sajjad Mirza and Ahmed Mirza.
The petition was originally published in the Urdu Daily ‘Payam’ on 13 August 1948 and was later signed by Mohd Hussain Jaffery and Hussain Abdul Muneem. Later, the letter was also printed in the Urdu newspaper ‘Imroze’ by the editor, Shoaibullah Khan, who was assassinated by the Razakars on August 22 (of which my father the late B. Narsing Rao was an eyewitness), which Nehru remarked that things became so unsafe in Hyderabad that even Muslims could not write without being killed.
The petition gained notoriety in the folklore of Hyderabad as the ‘letter written by the 7 Mirzas’ when there were actually 5 Mirzas among the 7 Muslims who originally signed the petition. The letter called for the Nizam to dissolve the Razakars and “establish a government that should not only have the trust of the people, but also be responsible and accountable to them”.
This information comes from the monograph published by Fareed Mirza, “Pre- and post-police action days in the former state of Hyderabad: what I saw, felt and did”. But what finally happened was that after almost a year of deliberations after India’s independence on 15 August 1947, the Indian government lost its patience and finally sent its army to merge or annex Hyderabad to India.
Operation Polo, popularly known as Police Action, witnessed widespread violence: first by the Razakar militia (led from 1946 to 1948 by the fanatical Qasim Razvi, who was also president of the Majlis e- Ittehadul was Muslim), and later in targeted killings of tens of thousands of Muslims during and after the Indian Army took over the post on 17 September 1948.
These were the outcomes of the political and community-laden environment at the time, but there is much more in between, especially as a result of the ‘Telangana Armed Struggle’ (1946-51) with the Communist Party of India (CPI). It was a peasant rebellion that took place against Jagirdars appointed by the state; the land ownership class which consisted of Hindus and Muslims. More than Congress, it was the CPI that suffered in the countryside in 1948 and far beyond.
(The author is a farmer, and teacher from Hyderabad)
Source: The Siasat Daily