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Oppression, struggle, liberation

Oppression, struggle, liberation
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September 17,1948, has been a day of controversies and contradictions. Some say the Day of Liberation, others the Day of Merger and some others the...

September 17,1948, has been a day of controversies and contradictions. Some say the Day of Liberation, others the Day of Merger and some others the Day of Betrayal. It is said that “one who wears the shoe only knows where it pinches”. So much so only the people of erstwhile Hyderabad State know the socio-political and psychological impact of 13 months delay in getting freedom from the Nizam monarchy on September 17, 1948, while the rest of the nation celebrated with all fanfare on August 15, 1947.

Mahatma Gandhi said “If I want freedom for my country, I would not be deserving of that freedom if I did not cherish and treasure the equal right of every other race –weak or strong –to be the same freedom” – (Young India Oct. 1, 1931.) In 1937, the Hyderabad people’s convention was organised which culminated in the formation of Hyderabad State Congress – a Political party founded in the year 1938 under the leadership of Swami Ramananda Theertha. Its aims and objectives were akin to Indian National Congress which was the largest pro-independence Indian Nationalist Secular Political party in British India. In the Princely Hyderabad State, a movement was started for civil rights, representative democracy and Union of Hyderabad with Republic of India by political activists.

In June 1947 the Nizam issued a firman that the State of Hyderabad would remain independent and be on equal status with India and Pakistan. He also attempted to approach United National Security Council and International Court of Justice to that effect. Mir Osman Ali Khan, Asif Jah the 7th Nizam, was not willing to join the Princely State of Hyderabad which was an Independent Country having its own currency, postal stamps, rail, roadways, airlines, police and army, either with India or with Pakistan after the partition in which case the law and order situation was a threat to South India and as such the then Deputy Prime Minister, Sardar Vallabhabhai Patel, who was also holding the Home portfolio, sent the Indian Army on September, 13, 1948 to Hyderabad under “Operation Polo” and within four days the Hyderabad State forces were defeated.
The Nizam of Hyderabad made the historic announcement on September 17,1948 at 4 p.m and signed the surrender document in favour of Indian Union after which he became Head of the State as Rajpramukh as in the case of the rest of the Princely States which have been annexed to Indian Union. Hence the day is significant. The people of the Hyderabad State were suffocated with a sense of humiliation not realizing the dreams of being a part of free India. Adding insult to the injury people who raised their voice against were threatened by the Nizam forces supported by Razakaars which created fear and insecurity.
Perhaps it is once again relevant to quote Mahatma Gandhi “So long as a person, whether man or woman, touchable or untouchable, rich or poor, is oppressed and does not enjoy equal rights with other citizens of the country, we cannot enjoy freedom. It will be slavery in the garb of freedom – (Speeches and Writings of Mahatma Gandhi P.905.)”
It is indeed heartening to note that the states of Maharashtra and Karnataka have been officially celebrating September 17 as the Liberation Day, as erstwhile State of Hyderabad had the districts which form part of those states. The people of Telangana belonging to Congress and other political parties have been celebrating September 17 as the Liberation Day by hoisting the national flag, conducting public meetings, felicitating freedom fighters etc.,.
However, the successive governments in Andhra Pradesh have not yet been officially celebrating the same despite several representations made by various social groups and political parties. It is a very important aspect to note that if only the erstwhile State of Hyderabad and later the 10 districts of Telangana had not been annexed to Indian Union on September 1948 the merger of Seemandhra with Telangana Region would have been a distant dream and the very formation of Andhra Pradesh would not have taken place. It is in this context respecting the sentiments, human rights and aspirations of the people of Telangana for their struggle and sacrifices, it is never too late for the Government of Andhra Pradesh to recognise the historic importance of September 17 and officially declare as the Day of Liberation to celebrate the same throughout the State with pomp and show.
The writer is Chairman, Intellectual Cell, Vichar Vibhag, APCC
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