|The Nizam of Hyderabad|
One of the few princely states that resisted integration into the Indian Union was the State of Hyderabad. Theb state of Hyderabad had a Muslim ruler and a mostly Hindu population (~85%). It was located in the south-central region of the Indian subcontinent, and was ruled, from 1724 until 1948, by a hereditary Nizam. In 1947, under the rule of the then Nizam, Osman Ali Khan, it was the oldest existing Muslim Empire in India. Although landlocked, with an area of over 200,000 sq. km and a population of over 16 million, Hyderabad was self sufficient in food, cotton and coal. The Nizam owend over 10% of the land of the state and most of the rest was owned by large landlords and very rich nobles. The bulk of the population, both Muslims and Hindus, worked as factory hands, artisans, labourers and pesants. The Nizam had ascended the throne as far back as in 1911 and was one of the richest men in the world.
In 1946-47, the Nizam was determined to continue his rule over the state after the British left. In his discussions with the viceroy, Lord Mountbatten, the Nizam emphasized that if pressed into signing the Instrument of Accession he would seriously consider joining Pakistan. Such an alternative if realized would cut the young nation into two halves. Experts pointed out that India might be able to live with its two arms in the Northwest and the Northeast cut off but may not survive without its midriff.
|Princely State of Hyderabad|
In the conflict the Indian Union was supported by the Hyderabad State Congress which pressed hard for Hyderabad to meger with the rest of India. Its leaders organized protests, rallies and courted mass arrests. The Nizam was supported by Ittihad-ul-Muslimeen (meaning 'Unity of Muslims') party which in 1946-47 was getting increasingly radicalized by its new leader, Kasim Razvi. Under him, the Ittihad had developed a militia called the 'Razzakars' whose armed members demanded an independent Hyderabad.
The Nizam's ambitions gained strength from the support of the Conservative Party of Britain. Even Winston Churchill stood in support of the Nizam and speaking in the House of Commons argued that Britain had a personal obligation not to allow one of its frinedly states that had declared its sovereignity to be strangled, starved out or actually overborne by violence. The Nizam and specially the Razzakars found further strength from the support shown by Pakistan. Jinnah had declared to Mountbatten that if Congress attempted to take over Hyderabad, every Muslim in the subcontinent would rise to defend it.
On 15th August, 1947, the same day India became independent, the Nizam declared the independence of Hyderabad. Alarmed by the idea of an independent Hyderabad in the middle of India, the Indian government offered Hyderabad a 'Standstill Agreement' which made an assurance that the status quo would be maintained and no military action would be taken. Under the agreement multiple discussions were held between Indian representative, K M Munshi and the Nizam's dewan, Mir Laik Ali. However no common grounds could be reached. By March, 1948 the Razzakar militia had grown in strength to over 1 lakh and the real power in Hyderabad had passed to Kasim Rizvi. The Razzakars saw the entire struggle in communal light while the Congress on the other hand saw it as a fight between democracy and autocracy. As months passed the tension grew as there were rumurs of arms supply to Hyderabad from Pakistan and the flood of Hindu refugees kept flowing into adjoining Inidian provinces.
On 24 August 1948, Hyderabad formally asked the Secretary General of the new United Nations Organization for its Security Council, under Article 32 of theUnited Nations Charter, to consider the "grave dispute, which, unless settled in accordance with international law and justice, is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security." This provoked the Indian Union to take military action before the UN could intervene.
On 13th September 1948 Indian troops invaded Hyderabad from all points of the compass in a campaign code named"Operation Polo" because at that time, Hyderabad state had some 17 polo grounds, the largest number in India. The fighting lasted four days and was mostly between the Indain army and the Razzakars. Around 32 Indian soilders were killed in the operation while the losses suffered by Hyderabad state forces and Irregular forces combined were 1,863 killed, 122 wounded, and 3,558 captured. On 17th September the Nizam spoke on the radio calling on the people of Hyderabad to live in peace and harmony with the rest of the people of India.
For his final accesstion to India, the Nizam was rewarded with the designation of Rajpramukh (governor) of the newly formed state of Hyderabad but resigned from this office when the states were re-organized in 1956 on linguistic basis and large parts of Hyderabad state went to Bombay State, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat. Many officials and members of the royal family fled and re-settled in Pakistan where they now live.
Razvi was placed under house arrest and tried under Indian laws on seditious activities and inciting communal violence. He was jailed 1948-1957. He agreed to migrate to Pakistan as a condition of his release from prison.His family had been residing there since 1949.
TIME Correspondent Robert Lubar, together with a LIFE reporter and photographer, set out in a hired 1935 Ford to have a look at the war between India and Hyderabad. The Indian army had undertaken a "police action" (which it also called a "mission of mercy") against Hyderabad, whose predominantly Hindu population was ruled by a stubborn Moslem Nizam. The would-be war correspondents sped 180 miles toward the front, found that the war was over by the time they got there. All in all, it had been one of the shortest, happiest wars ever seen. Cabled Lubar:
Everyone is satisfied. The aggressive section of Indian public opinion has been appeased. Hyderabad, which was never really out of India, is now indisputably part of India. There have been no terrible outbreaks of communal violence. The Nizam, who capitulated in four days and 13 hours, satisfied the demands of his ego for at least a token fight. Said Lieut. General Sir Maharaj Rajendrasinghji, the Indian generalissimo: "It is not our job to hurt anybody who is law-abiding." This presumably included the Hyderabad army. There were no casualty reports (by the best available count, twelve Indian soldiers were killed).
Just the same, eager Indian war correspondents sent back reports which turned up under headlines like NIZAM'S FORTRESS TOWNS FALL LIKE NINEPINS. The reports failed to mention that the fortresses had been built in the 15th Century.
"He Is Sorry." At the Hyderabad border we were greeted by Hindu peasants who were obviously all for the Indian "invaders." At Naldrug camp, where we breakfasted, soldiers were gathered around a radio listening to a rebroadcast of the Nizam's surrender speech. A soldier translated the gist to me: "He is sorry. He wants to be friends."