Police Action and My Arrest
Next, I went to see Qasim Razvi. He had lost some of his supreme self-confidence, and was in a contemplative mood: 'Shall we be destroyed? That's up...
Next, I went to see Qasim Razvi. He had lost some of his supreme self-confidence, and was in a contemplative mood: 'Shall we be destroyed? That's up to them.A Shall we be defeated? As I looked around on the morning of 16 August 1948, I was surprised to see Hyderabad absolutely unmindful of the coming dangers. There were only a few people who seemed concerned about the possibility of bloodshed in the city. More anxious than most was the director general of police, Nawab Deen Yar Jung. He was busy making the most elaborate arrangements against a possible reaction to reports from the districts. A communal uprising at that time would have been a disaster of unprecedented magnitude. The after-effects of such a calamity, its impact on the rest of the subcontinent, simply cannot be imagined. At about 9.30 p.m. on 16 September, I met the prime minister and briefed him about my last ten days in Osmanabad and my eventful return. I reminded him of what I had said so often about our armed forces. I remember suggesting that we should now concentrate our efforts on averting the possibility of Hyderabad and Secunderabad becoming a battleground in their turn. What he said next left me flabbergasted. What had taken place so far, he said in the same old confident tone, was according to plan: our armies had carried out a tactical retreat. He hoped to break the encirclement and surround the Indian forces in turn when they came a little closer to Hyderabad. He seemed to attach little importance to the loss of the border districts. 'The few roadside places that are now occupied,' he said, 'can easily be retaken.' It made me sad to recall that this was the way he had talked when we lost Nanaj. I asked: 'How do we plan to retake them � with what?' 'We are expecting a consignment of anti-tank guns; they should arrive at any moment,' he said, in his usual matter-of-fact, confident manner. 'Yes,' he continued, 'they should have been here a long time ago, but due to some bungling, I discovered they were still in storage at Cairo Airport. These things happen� But that's been put right. When they arrive, they will be devastating! We plan to use them against the Indian tanks when they come a little closer to Hyderabad.' Was all this true? I had no knowledge of these things and I could hardly cross-examine the prime minister. Next, I went to see Qasim Razvi. He had lost some of his supreme self-confidence, and was in a contemplative mood: 'Shall we be destroyed? That's up to them. Shall we be defeated? That's up to us.' For the first time, on 16 September 1948, he conceded that, perhaps in some ways, the Razakar movement had been a mistake. But even in the face of defeat, he clung to his belief in his own destiny. 'Let us see what happens tomorrow,' he said. I had reason to recall those words. Early on the morning of Friday, 17 September, there was a call for me from Qasim Razvi. This was the first time I had spoken to him on the telephone. 'Stay indoors,' he advised me. 'Do not stir out of the house, because the inevitable will happen after Friday prayers.' 'Do you expect the Indian Army to enter the city by then?' I asked. 'No, that's not it.' 'Then what�?' I asked. 'The inevitable,' he repeated. 'Our people have been armed.' It turned out that he had actually distributed several thousand rifles among his followers, with instructions to start a massacre of the Hindus that afternoon. I was horrified. I told him that this was wrong and it would mean the complete devastation of Hyderabad when the Indian forces reached there. He was in no mood to listen. I begged him to make his last gesture before retiring from politics a merciful one. He did not listen to very much of this and rang off. I rushed to Nawab Deen Yar Jung. He had already received information that Qasim Razvi was contemplating such a move. There was no time to lose. Both of us began trying to get Qasim Razvi on the phone. I remember vividly with what desperation the director general saw the minutes pass. I finally got the connection and passed the receiver to the director general. Deen Yar Jung sensed that perhaps Qasim Razvi wanted to be dissuaded from a rash and tragic final act. And as I listened to him, I was reminded of Bacon's advice on negotiation: 'If you would work any man, you must either know his nature and so lead him; or his ends and so persuade him.' At the beginning of the conversation, I heard Deen Yar Jung say yes, yes, yes on the phone for several minutes. He was obviously letting him talk, and listening carefully. He was soothing in his brief responses, even talking at one point about Qasim Razvi's place in history. As Qasim Razvi grew calmer, Deen Yar Jung's tone changed. He condemned the logic of distributing arms: 'Is this move in line with what you have tried to accomplish?' He then drew him into his own preoccupations with law and order. They agreed that the Indian forces were now drawing near with irresistible force. If they could not be stopped, they (and the murderous gangs that were following in the army's wake) should at least be denied the opportunity to exact revenge. 'The military should be obliged to protect us, and not stand on one side and allow massacres to take place in the city. How can we ensure that?' They spoke for over half-an-hour. Nawab Deen Yar Jung had spent over a quarter of a century in public service. He had great powers of persuasion. But never, I am sure, were his talents put to a more terrifying test than in that half-hour on 17 September 1948. What he accomplished then must be his greatest contribution to the people of Hyderabad. At the end of the half-hour, Qasim Razvi agreed to ask his followers to surrender their arms. Later in the day, there were reports of Laiq Ali and his cabinet resigning that morning (17 September), and handing over the reins of government to the Nizam. This was confirmed by a broadcast by Laiq Ali, who declared that his ministry was not able to carry on the government and that he had entrusted the affairs of the state to HEH. By 5 p.m. on the same day, a ceasefire was effective throughout Hyderabad State. By evening it was known in Hyderabad that General Edroos had met HEH the previous day and advised him that further resistance would be futile and would only lead to heavy casualties. A�A�A�A�HEH the Nizam himself went on the air and announced that he had accepted the resignations of the Laiq Ali ministry and had asked K.M. Munshi, Agent General of India, to propose the names of ministers who would form the new government. The Laiq Ali ministry, he declared, had failed to fulfill its mandate, and he had taken direct control of the administration. That evening, Qasim Razvi too went on air. His voice was heard on Deccan Radio for the last time. He accepted his failure in fulfilling his promises, saying that circumstances had conspired against him. He exhorted the Muslim population to remain calm even in the face of provocation, and hoped that the traditional unity of Hindus and Muslims would be maintained at all cost, forgetting the events of the immediate past. People who heard him were unanimous that this was his finest and most statesman-like speech. (From October Coup: A Memoir Of The Struggle For Hyderabad, by Mohammed Hyder, Publisher: Lotus Roli)
24 Jan 2020 8:28 PM GMT