Sunday, November 23, 2014


Hidden history of the Owaisis: what the AIMIM doesn't want you to know

by Ajaz Ashraf  Nov 23, 2014 13:55 IST
It is incredible watching the media celebrate the ostensible rise of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Asaduddin Owaisi.
Every third day he peers out from newspapers and TV channels, lambasting the secular parties for their failings and declaring his ambition of forging a social alliance between Muslims and Dalits.
This is an amazing turnaround for the man who, only months ago, was dismissed as a hothead prone to making provocative speeches. No doubt, the Maharashtra assembly election results have underscored Owaisi’s significance. His party won two seats, came second on three, and bagged 0.9 percent of the votes polled even though it contested in only 24 assembly constituencies.
The AIMIM’s isn’t the most astonishing debut performance in India’s electoral history, and pales in comparison to, say, the Aam Aadmi Party’s success of last year. Yet the media is making a beeline to Owaisi because of its perception about his capacity to destruct in the electoral arena.
The Owaisi's have been less than honest about the origins and agenda of MIM: AFP
The Owaisi's have been less than honest about the origins and agenda of MIM: AFP
The media knows the AIMIM can’t possibly ride the Muslim support to power. But it can split the Muslim support of some parties to the advantage of the BJP, which doesn’t depend on religious minorities for its electoral performance.
This is why the AIMIM’s decision to field candidates in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal has produced a frisson, and though Owaisi hasn’t yet spoken about his plans in Delhi, do not be surprised if you discover that he has put Delhi in his crosshairs at the last minute.
A savvy politician such as Owaisi knows the Muslims tend to vote strategically, rallying behind a party perceived to be best placed to vanquish the BJP in a constituency. But their voting calculation also takes into account whether the party of their choice can be in the race to form a government.
The second factor more or less negates the argument for Muslims voting the AIMIM, unless they are implacably angry or alienated from the mainstream parties, as it seemed to have happened in Maharashtra.
It is to neutralise the second factor that Owaisi has taken to speaking about forging a social alliance between the Muslims, Dalits and sections of OBCs. In other words, he is raising the possibility of the AIMIM creating an electoral majority, however theoretical, to woo the Muslims.
The Dalit-Muslim alliances built by others, particularly Kanshi Ram and Mayawati, had varying successes. What distinguishes Owaisi’s experiment from that of the others is the issue of leadership. Though he hasn’t said it explicitly, it is assumed the contemplated social alliance will have a Muslim leading it.
In India’s existing political reality, you can’t but think Owaisi’s ambition springs from delusion.
For one, the quest of Dalits is to bestow power to one from their own community. A Dalit is not expected to lead the party which has always had as its head one of the Owaisis. Two, should Mayawati become weaker following the 2017 UP assembly elections, Dalit votes will get fragmented among an array of parties. A chunk of those will go to the BJP, which will seek to bring them under the overarching Hindu identity.
But then, delusion is written into the DNA of AIMIM, evident from its history. The party was founded in 1927 for providing a cultural and religious platform to the Muslims living in the principality of the Nizam of Hyderabad. Then known just as MIM, it expanded overnight under Bahadur Yar Jung, a charismatic personality whose speeches drew the masses.
Jung died prematurely in 1944 – some claim he was poisoned – and the MIM leadership passed to Qasim Razvi, who headed the Razakars, the dreaded Muslim militia which was constituted to oppose Hyderabad’s merger with India. The Razakars, as is well documented, triggered a wave of murderous attacks on Hindus, progressive Muslims and Communists, and engaged the Indian security forces in what is called the Police Action of 1948.
Undoubtedly, Razvi was delusional. In his book, October Coup – A Memoir of the Struggle for Hyderabad, Mohammad Hyder narrates his conversation with Razvi.
To Hyder’s question whether it was justified for the Muslims, who were just 20 per cent of the population, to rule over the Hindus, Razvi said, “The Nizams have ruled Hyderabad for over two hundred years in unbroken line... The system must have some good in it if it has lasted two hundred years. Do you agree?... We Muslims rule because we are more fit to rule... We rule and they [Hindus] own! It is a good arrangement and they know it!”
Hyder also quotes Razvi saying, “India is a geographic notion. Hyderabad is a political reality. Are we prepared to sacrifice the reality of Hyderabad for the idea of India?”
Hyder emerged from his conversations with Razvi with the impression that the Razakar leader believed the Muslims would once again become the rulers of India and the Nizam, the ruler in Delhi.
Following the success of the Police Action, Razvi was arrested – and was released in 1957 subject to the condition that he would migrate to Pakistan. Days before leaving India, Razvi and other MIM leaders met at the residence of a lawyer. In an article in the Deccan Chronicle, historian Mohammed Noorduddin Khan writes, “Abdul Wahed Owaisi (Asaduddin’s grandfather) wasn’t even associated with the Majlis at that time and was just there out of curiosity. He was the youngest among those present at that meeting.”
Khan says Razvi disclosed at the meeting that he was leaving for Pakistan and wondered whether “anyone was interested in taking over the reins of the Majlis. Everyone present there said that they were getting on in age and wanted someone younger to take over. It was then Abdul Wahed Owaisi stepped forward and said he was willing to head the organisation.” Nawab Mir Khader Ali Khan Abul-Ulai proposed Owaisi’s name and Razvi seconded it.
Abdul Wahed added AI, or All-India, to ‘MIM’, which from thereon has remained the family’s fiefdom. There is no denying that the Owaisis feel embarrassed about the party’s provenance and have tried to recast its history through selective omissions.
Yes, the AIMIM’s website traces its “roots” to the late 1920s. Yes, it speaks of Yar Jung and his role in shaping the party. But it completely glosses over the fact that the MIM spawned Razakars, the dubious role of Qasim Razvi in the tumultuous 1940s, and that he handed over the MIM to the Owaisis.
In contrast, the AIMIM says, “After almost a decade of inactivity, the Majlis was revived in 1958 by Maulwi Abdul Wahed Owaisi, a notable lawyer… who was earlier jailed for ten months for his courageous political activities in defending the rights of the people. (italics mine)”
This seems a political spin – Abdul Wahed was arrested under the Preventive Detention Act, 1950 and his “courageous political activities” included “rousing or attempting to rouse communal passions and creating or attempting to create panic, resentment or hatred in the minds of the Muslims against the State and the non-Muslims as disclosed by his speeches made by him in public meetings.”
Obviously, the state can misconstrue a courageous action as subversive and communal in nature. Nevertheless, the AIMIM’s reimagining of its past, in many ways, mirrors that of the RSS.
Like the AIMIM, the RSS has tried to underplay the chilling ideological formulation of its second sarsanghchalak, Guru Golwalkar, who had declared that the Muslims either had the option of being assimilated into the Hindu fold or accepting the status of second class citizen. Then again, it disowns the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi, Nathuram Godse, yet its own government felicitates his mentor, Vir Savarkar.
No wonder the rise of the BJP, or the Hindu Right, has also brought into prominence the AIMIM, which represents the Muslim Right. Like Siamese twins, they stalked the country before Independence, and they still continue to do now.
The Hindu Right and the Muslim Right gain from each other, electorally as well as ideologically. Their tactics too are similar. In 2007, the AIMIM cadres sought to assault Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasrin. In the same vein, the RSS mutants never tire of imposing their idea of morality on the society, often violently.
Obviously, nobody can deny Owaisi the right to propagate his ideas and contest elections. But for the Muslim community its sternest test comes now: Should it rally behind the man who’s known for his erudition and the savoury biryani and kababs he serves to journalists but who, in his public speeches, often begins to resemble the Mahant Avaidyanath of the Muslims?
His rise will only provide a fillip to the politics of identity, from which the Hindu Right and the Muslim orthodoxy will only stand to gain. For the Muslims there is perhaps a lesson to learn from the film Garam Hawa, which shows Balraj Sahni’s family members, one after another, leave for Pakistan, out of their sense of being discriminated against.
In the end, Sahni and his son, Farook Sheikh, too decide to leave India. On their way to the railway station they come across a protest march demanding jobs. Sheikh and, eventually, even Sahni join the march, rescinding their decision to migrate to Pakistan.
Might not the Muslims consider this last scene of Garam Hawa as an option? Indeed, their future depends on combining with those engaged with the politics of interest than following leaders stoking their insecurities.


Of a massacre untold

A revealing account surfaces of happenings in Hyderabad state in the wake of the Indian Army's 'Police Action' there in 1948.
"AT times one has to close his (sic) eyes in national interest." The "senior police officer" who made this confession to The Indian Express, in Srinagar on February 17, provided a truthful explanation for the compromises which sections of the medi a and academia tend to make in the "national interest".
The officer was speaking of the volte-face his chief, A.K. Suri, had performed with regard to the disclosure of the arrest by the police of a man from Military Intelligence, in plain clothes, for firing wantonly on a group of youngsters in Maisuma , in Srinagar. But, let alone matters of immediate occurrence or issues of current interest such as Kashmir and the border dispute with China, even on historical events one finds a practice of economising with truth.
That K.M. Munshi, India's Agent-General in the erstwhile state of Hyderabad, did not mention in his memoirs The End of an Era (1957) the massacre of Muslims in many areas in the wake of the Indian Army's "Police Action" in September 1948 - itself a compromise with the truth - was but to be expected in view of his outlook. Not so its omission in standard works by writers who aspired to scholarly values and who were not communal; only "patriotic" in a perverted but familiar manner. A rare exception was the book by Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader P. Sundarayya, Telengana People's Struggle and its Lessons (1972). He wrote of the "untold miseries" that were inflicted on "the ordinary Muslim people" (pages 88-89).
Suppression of records is not only unethical but futile. More often than not, the foreign scholar will unearth it from archives in London or Washington, or in India itself. A German scholar has done just that. Margrit Pernau records in her book The Pa ssing of Patrimonalism that "while the occupation by the Indian army had been quick and had caused only relatively few casualties, the following communal carnage was all the more terrible. The Razakars had sown wind and reaped not only storm but a hu rricane which in a few days cost the lives of one-tenth to one-fifth of the male Muslim population primarily in the countryside and provincial towers". (page 336, emphasis added, throughout. See review on page 75).
Professor Wilfred Cantwell Smith, a scholar on Islam and a critic of Jinnah's politics, wrote a seminal article in the periodical The Middle East Journal in 1950 (Volume 4) titled Hyderabad: A Muslim Tragedy. He was Lecturer in Islamic Hist ory at the University of the Punjab and at the Forman Christian College, Lahore (1940-1946) and visited Hyderabad in 1949. In a critique of the Nizam's policies and of Qasim Razvi, the leader of the Razakars, he also fairly described the aftermath.
"Off the battlefield, however, the Muslim community fell before a massive and brutal blow, the devastation of which left those who did survive reeling in bewildered fear. Thousands upon thousands were slaughtered; many hundreds of thousands uprooted . The instrument of their disaster was, of course, vengeance. Particularly in the Marathwara section of the state, and to a less but still terrible extent in most other areas, the story of the days after 'police action' is grim.
"The only careful report on what happened in this period was made a few months later by investigators - including a Congress Muslim and a sympathetic and admired Hindu - commissioned by the Indian Government to study the situation. The report was submitted but has not been published; presumably it makes unpleasant reading. It is widely held that the figure mentioned therein for the number of Muslims massacred is 50,000. Other estimates by responsible observers run as high as 200,000, and by some of the Muslims themselves still higher. The lowest estimates, even those offered privately by apologists of the military government, came to at least ten times the number of murders with which previously the Razakars were officially accused... In some areas, all the men were stood in a line, and done to death. Of the total Muslim community in Hyderabad, it would seem that somewhere between one in ten and one in five of the adult males may have lost their lives in those few days. In additio n to killing, there was widespread rape, arson, looting, and expropriation. A very large percentage of the entire Muslim population of the Districts fled in destitution to the capital or other cities; and later efforts to repatriate them met with scant s uccess." He was referring to a report by Pandit Sundarlal (1886-1980) and Kazi Muhammad Abdul Ghaffar(1889-1956).
In 1988, Omar Khalidi, a devoted chronicler of Hyderabad, published what he claimed were extracts from their Report in his compilation of essays, Hyderabad: After the Fall (Hyderabad Historical Society; Wichita, Kansas; U.S.). His introduction to the extracts, though informative, is marred by inaccuracies and intemperate language. He had relied, somewhat uncritically, on an interview with Yunus Salim who claimed inaccurately, that he was a member of the team led by Sundarlal which toured Hyderaba d in November-December 1948. A 32-year-old State attorney then, he was dismissed from the post for having helped the team.
Yunus Salim was a Deputy Minister for Railways in Indira Gandhi's government (1969) and a Governor of Bihar in 1991. Garbled versions of the Report appeared in Pakistan. Khalidi writes: "In addition to the copy in the Union Home Ministry, Srinivas Lahoti , a Communist Party of India leader in Hyderabad, owned a copy. In an interview in February 1988 he claims to have deposited it with the National Archives of India, New Delhi upon his party's instruction. The present writer obtained fragments of t he Report (which is partly in English and partly in Urdu) from owners who wish to remain anonymous. The portion in English is being reproduced without any alteration. The Urdu portion is translated into English."
Khalidi was misled. The entire document is in English and the "fragments" he reproduces should have put him on notice that it is not safe to rely on them. The brief Introductory portion is intrinsically unreliable. The rest is a village-wise and d istrict-wise account.
Union Home Minister Vallabhbhai Patel reacted angrily to the Report in a letter to Abdul Ghaffar dated January 4, 1949:
"I notice that in your report you mentioned that you were asked by the Government of India to proceed to Hyderabad State on a goodwill mission. At least I am not aware of any such mission having been entrusted to you by the Government of India. As far as I know, you wanted to go there and it was arranged that you should go there at Government expense. There could have been no question of Government of India sending any goodwill mission to Hyderabad State.
"I notice that your report is and your activities were, restricted to making inquiries about what happened during and after the police action. There is nothing in it about the extent and consequences of Razakar atrocities. Probably that was out of the terms of reference which you had set for yourselves. At the same time, you have covered in your reports matters which could by no stretch of imagination, have formed the purview of your enquiry. I should also like to say at once that the detailed in quiries which have been made by the local administration over a fairly long period as opposed to the roving enquiries which you have made during such a short period show that your estimate and your appreciation of the position lack balance and proportion . Finally you have rushed into a sphere which might have been more appropriately left to be covered by experienced statesmanship and administrative ability."
The assertions were simply untrue and the aspersions were unworthy of Sardar Patel. In those days nobody could have toured the State without official approval. That the team went there admittedly "at government expense" revealed a lot. And, as we know "e xperienced statesmanship and administrative ability" do not guarantee impartiality in inquiries. The report censured the Razakars and was balanced.
Kazi Abdul Ghaffar was a bitter critic of Razvi's Majlis-e Ittihadul-Muslimin and was trusted by the State Congress. He was editor of Firangi Mahal's Khilafatist paper Akhuwat (1919-20) and of Payam (1934-46) and was respected as a scholar- journalist. He visited Hyderabad in October along with Padmaja Naidu and alerted Maulana Abul Kalam Azad to the happenings there. Pandit Sundarlal was vice-president of the United Provinces Congress (1931-36) and as president of the All-India Peace Counc il (1959-63), urged rapprochement with China against the majority view of the times.
His magnum opus, The Gita and The Quran, is a neglected work. An English translation was published in 1957 by the Institute of Indo-Middle East Cultural Studies, Hyderabad. Neglected also is Volume 8 (second series) of Selected Works of Jawahar lal Nehru (1990) (pages 102-113).
In a Note to Sardar Patel's Ministry of States, dated November 14, 1948, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, while denying Pakistan's propaganda, wrote: "I have recently had talks with Kazi Abdul Ghaffar and Miss Padmaja Naidu, who have just returned from H yderabad. They are both reliable observers... The impression I have gathered from these talks is that while our army is generally believed to have functioned well and to have protected the people, there is little doubt that a very large number of outbreaks took place in the small towns and villages resulting in the massacre of possibly some thousands of Muslims by Hindus, as well as a great deal of looting, etc... This information is contrary to what I had believed and I should like it to be verified through our military and civil authorities in Hyderabad. We must know the truth, or else we shall be caught saying things which are proved to be false later." It is unlikely that those reports did not reach the ears of the Minister concerned, Vallabhbhai Patel.
Even men like Dr. Zakir Hussain's brother, the academic Dr. Yusuf Husain Khan, and Dr. M. A. Ansari's nephew, M.A. Ansari, a High Court Judge, were "removed from their post", Nehru complained. He added: "One of the persistent charges made is that we inte nd to kill what is called Muslim culture. Hyderabad is known all over the Middle East as a city of Muslim culture. The Osmania University is well known and even better known is the publication department and the translation bureau of the State."
With a letter to V.P. Menon, the secretary of the Ministry, dated November 26, 1946, Nehru enclosed a note on the situation in Hyderabad and remarked: "If possible, some good non-officials should go there to help the administration and to try to produce a better frame of mind both among the Muslims and the Hindus."
The editor to the volume recorded: "A four-man goodwill mission, consisting of Kazi Abdul Ghaffar, Pandit Sundarlal, Moulana Abdulla Misri and Furrukh Sayer Shakeri, was sent to Hyderabad at the personal instance of Nehru to study existing conditions and to help in the establishments of communal harmony. After a brief visit to Bidar and Osmanabad districts by Major-General Chaudhury, Pandit Sundarlal, Akbar Ali Khan and Fareed Mirza, two teams, one consisting of Pandit Sundarlal, Kazi Abdul Ghaffar, Mul la Abdul Basith and Mohammed Yunus Saleem had toured Bidar, Osmanabad and Nanded while the other consisting of Moulana Abdulla Misri, Furrukh Sayer and Fareed Mirza visited Aurangabad, Bhir and Gulbarga. They took stock of the information collected and s ent a report to Vallabhbhai Patel."
All of which shows Sardar Patel's repudiation of the officially sponsored team to be less than honest. Nehru's note cited "additional reports from Hyderabad" about the killing and looting. It said: "If there is even a fraction of truth in these reports, then the situation in Hyderabad was much worse than we had been led to believe. It is important that the exact facts should be placed before us. We want no optimistic account and no suppression of unsavoury episodes. That would lead us to form incorrect judgments... A sense of fear seems to pervade the Muslims of Hyderabad. That is perhaps natural after all that has happened. But unless we can lessen this fear, the situation will become worse."
Dr. Charan Sandhilya, Director of Pandit Sundarlal Institute of Asian Studies at Ghaziabad obtained for this writer a copy of the full text of the Sundarlal Report from the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi (excerpts on facing page). It record s official sponsorship and reflects their objectivity in denouncing the Razakars' murderous attacks on Hindus, in praising officials where praise was due, yet never flinching from telling the terrible truth about the massacre of Muslims. This is a truth which hardly any Indian scholar has deigned to admit this day.
The Sundarlal Report is of more than historical importance; it is of current relevance, for the massacres, coupled with the national indifference to them, have left scars in the minds of Muslims in the State, Hyderabad city in particular. And some Muslim communal parties have not been slow to exploit these scars. 


From the Sundarlal Report

(1) The Honourable the Prime Minister, Government of India, New Delhi.
(2) The Honourable the States Minister, Government of India, New Delhi.
We were asked by the Government of India to proceed to Hyderabad State on a goodwill mission. After completing our task there we now beg to submit our report.
(1) The delegation consisting of Pandit Sundarlal, Kazi Abdul Ghaffar and Moulana Abdulla Misri arrived at Hyderabad on the 29th of November and returned to Delhi on the 21st of December 1948. During this period we toured through 9 out of the 16 district s of the state, visiting 7 district headquarters, 21 towns and 23 important villages. In addition we interviewed over 500 people from 109 such villages as we did not visit.
Further 31 public meetings at various places and 27 private gatherings of Hindus, Muslims, Congress men, Official Members of Jamiat Ullma and of the Ittahadul Muslimeen, the staffs and students of some Educational Institutions, Members of the Progressive Writers Association and of the Hindustani Parchar Sabha, etc., were addressed by members of the delegation.
Amongst important men and officials interviewed by us may be mentioned H.E.H. the Nizam, H.E. the Prince of Berar, Major General Choudhri, Mr. Bakhlo, the Chief Civil Administrator, Swami Ramanand Tirtha, Dr. Malkote, Messrs Ramchander Rao, Ramachari, K. Vadya, Venkat Rao and Abul Hassan Sayed Ali, Nawab Ali Yawar Jung, Nawab Zain Yar Jung, Raja Dhonde Raj, Moulana Abu Yousuf, Moulvi Abdul Khair, and Moulvi Hameed uddin Qamar Farooqi.
At all these meetings and interviews the main problem discussed was that of the creation and maintenance of cordial relations between the communities. Appeals were made to the people to forget the past and to work unremittingly for the establishment of p eace and harmony amongst themselves. The aim and policy of the Indian Union was also explained and special emphasis was laid on the objective which was the establishment of a secular government for the people of Hyderabad, in which all of them irrespecti ve of religion, caste or creed will enjoy equal freedom and civil rights and will have equal opportunities for development and progress. It was made perfectly clear that the military administration had been charged with the duty of implementing that poli cy. We clarified our position, whenever opportunity presented itself saying that ours was not a Commission of investigation or Inquiry into events proceeding or following the police action and that ours was merely a goodwill mission charged with the task of restoring better communal relations. All the same, we feel it our duty to bring to your notice what we saw and gathered in our tourings, as it has, in our opinion, an importance all its own.
(2) Hyderabad State has 16 districts, comprising nearly 22,000 villages. Out of them only three districts remained practically, though not wholly, free of communal trouble which affected the state first during the activities of the Razakars and then duri ng the reprisals that followed the collapse of that organisation. In another four districts the trouble had been more serious but nothing like the havoc that overtook the remaining eight. Out of these again the worst sufferers have been the districts of Osmanabad, Gulburga, Bidar and Nanded, in which four the number of people killed during and after the police action was not less, if not more than 18,000. In the other four districts viz. Aurangabad, Bir, Nalgunda and Medak those who lost their lives num bered at least 5 thousand.
We can say at a very conservative estimate that in the whole state at least 27 thousand to 40 thousand people lost their lives during and after the police action. We were informed by the authorities that those eight were the most affected districts and n eeded most the good offices of our delegation. We, therefore, concentrated on these and succeeded, we might say, to some extent at least, in dispelling the atmosphere of mutual hostility and distrust.
It is a significant fact that out of these eight the four worst affected districts (Osmanabad, Gulburga, Bidar and Nanded) had been the main strongholds of Razakars and the people of these four districts had been the worst sufferers at the hands of the R azakars. In the town of Latur, the home of Kasim Razvi - which had been a big business centre, with rich Kuchhi Muslim merchants, the killing continued for over twenty days. Out of a population of about ten thousand Muslims there we found barely three th ousand still in the town. Over a thousand had been killed and the rest had run away with little else besides their lives and completely ruined financially.
(3) Almost everywhere in the affected areas communal frenzy did not exhaust itself in murder, alone in which at some places even women and children were not spared. Rape, abduction of women (sometimes out of the state to Indian towns such as Sholapur and Nagpur) loot, arson, desecration of mosques, forcible conversions, seizure of houses and lands, followed or accompanied the killing. Tens of crores worth of property was looted or destroyed. The sufferers were Muslims who formed a hopeless minority in r ural areas. The perpetrators of these atrocities were not limited to those who had suffered at the hands of Razakars, not to the non-Muslims of Hyderabad state. These latter were aided and abetted by individuals and bands of people, with and without arms , from across the border, who had infiltrated through in the wake of the Indian Army. We found definite indications that a number of armed and trained men belonging to a well known Hindu communal organisation from Sholapur and other Indian towns as also some local and outside communists participated in these riots and in some cases actually led the rioters.
(4) Duty also compels us to add that we had absolutely unimpeachable evidence to the effect that there were instances in which men belonging to the Indian Army and also to the local police took part in looting and even other crimes. During our tour we ga thered, at not a few places, that soldiers encouraged, persuaded and in a few cases even compelled the Hindu mob to loot Muslim shops and houses. At one district town the present Hindu head of the administration told us that there was a general loot of M uslim shops by the military. In another district a Munsif house, among others was looted by soldiers and a Tahsildar's wife molested. Complaints of molestation and abduction of girls, against Sikh soldiers particularly, were by no means rare. We were gen erally told that at many places out of the looted property cash, gold and silver was taken away by military while other articles fell to the share of the mob. Unfortunately there was a certain element in the army which was not free from communal feelings probably because some of them could not forget the atrocities committed elsewhere on their own kith and kin.
Lest we might be understood to imply a slur on the Indian army we hasten to record our considered opinion that the Indian Army and its officers in Hyderabad generally maintained a high standard of discipline and sense of duty. In General Choudhri we foun d a man without any tinge of communal prejudice, a firm disciplinarian and thorough gentleman.
We were given by Muslims instances in which Hindus had defended and given protection to their Muslim neighbours, men and women even at the cost of their own lives. In some professions the fellow feeling was particularly marked. For instance at places Hin du weavers defended Muslim weavers against Hindu and protected them often at a very heavy cost (including loss of life) to themselves. Many Hindus helped in the recovery of abducted Muslim women.
(5) This communal trouble followed close upon the heels of the police action and the consequent collapse of the Razakar organisation, which had stood in the Muslim mind, as an effective barrier against the establishment of responsible government which wa s synonymous, to the average Hyderabadi Muslim, with Hindu Raj, because it would be based on the will of the Hindu majority. Muslim masses were generally slow to realise that their sufferings were the inevitable repercussions of the atrocities committed on the Hindus only, a few days before, by the Razakars. The Razakars movement had the sympathy of a good number of Muslimans in Hyderabad. Such of them as dared publicly to oppose that madness paid heavily for their temerity, so much so that one of them fell before the bullet of an assassin. Like the Razakars the perpetrators of crimes against the Muslims encouraged the belief that they had the backing of the authorities...
Before closing we must gratefully acknowledge the valuable help and willing cooperation given to us by the Military Administration in Hyderabad, by Government officials in the districts we visited, by public workers and prominent citizens and lastly by o ur two Secretaries Messrs Furrukh Sayer and P.P. Ambulkar.

 Volume 18 - Issue 05, Mar. 03 - 16, 2001 India's National Magazine
from the publishers of THE HINDU

Declassify report on the 1948 Hyderabad massacre

November 25, 2012, 4:29 am IST in Swaminomics | India | TOI

The Gujarat election will revive charges that Narendra Modi killed a thousand Muslims in the 2002 Gujarat riots, with the BJP accusing Rajiv Gandhi of killing 3000 Sikhs in the 1984 Delhi riots. To get a sense of perspective, i did some research on communal riots in past decades. I was astounded to find that the greatest communal slaughter occurred under neither Modi nor Rajiv but Nehru. His takeover of Hyderabad in 1948 caused maybe 50,000-200,000 deaths. The Sunderlal report on this massacre has been kept an official secret for over 60 years. While other princes acceded to either India or Pakistan in 1947, the Nizam of Hyderabad aimed to remain independent. This was complicated by a Marxist uprising. The Nizam’s Islamic militia, the Razakars, killed and raped many Hindus. This incensed Sardar Patel and Nehru, who ordered the Army into Hyderabad. The Army’s swift victory led to revenge killings and rapes by Hindus on an unprecedented scale.
Civil rights activist AG Noorani has cited Prof Cantwell Smith, a critic of Jinnah, in The Middle Eastern Journal, 1950. “The only careful report on what happened in this period was made a few months later by investigators – including a Congress Muslim and a sympathetic and admired Hindu (Professor Sunderlal)- commissioned by the Indian government. The report was submitted but has not been published; presumably it makes unpleasant reading. It is widely held that the figure mentioned therein for the number of Muslims massacred is 50,000. Other estimates by responsible observers run as high as 200,000.”      A lower but still horrific estimate comes from UCLA Professor Perry Anderson. “When the Indian Army took over Hyderabad, massive Hindu pogroms against the Muslim population broke out, aided and abetted by its regulars. On learning something of them, the figurehead Muslim Congressman in Delhi, Maulana Azad, then minister of education, prevailed on Nehru to let a team investigate. It reported that at a conservative estimate between 27,000 and 40,000 Muslims had been slaughtered in the space of a few weeks after the Indian takeover. This was the largest single massacre in the history of the Indian Union, dwarfing the killings by the Pathan raiders en route to Srinagar which India has ever since used as the casus belli for its annexation of Kash   mir.      
“Nehru, on proclaiming Indian victory in Hyderabad, had announced that ‘not a single communal incident’ marred the triumph. What action did he take on receiving the report? He suppressed it, and at Patel’s urging cancelled the appointment of one of its authors as ambassador in the Middle East. No word about the pogroms, in which his own troops had taken eager part, could be allowed to leak out. Twenty years later, when news of the report finally surfaced, his daughter banned the publication of the document as injurious to national interests.”
Perry Andersen is accused by some of anti-Indian bias. This cannot be said of author William Dalrymple. In The Age of Kali, Dalrymple says the Sunderlal report has been leaked and published abroad, and “estimates that as many as 200,000 Hyderabadi Muslims were slaughtered.”
Our textbooks and TV programmes show Sardar Patel and Nehru as demi-gods who created a unified India. The truth is more sordid. You will not find any mention of the Hyderabad massacre in our standard history books (just as Pakistani textbooks have deleted reference to the East Pakistan massacre of 1971). The air-brushing of Patel and Nehru is complete. My friends ask, why rake up the 1948 horrors now? You sound like an apologist for Modi’s killings of 2002.
I can only say that the killings of 1948 cannot possibly justify the killings of 2002, or 1984, or any others. Modi has blood on his hands, whether or not he was directly culpable. But why pretend that others had spotlessly clean hands? There is a macabre logic in the praises Modi has recently heaped on Patel: the two were not entirely dissimilar. Nations need to acknowledge their past errors in order to avoid them in the future. Germany acknowledged the horrors of fascism and militarism, and this helped it build a new anti-war society focused on human rights.
Something is terribly wrong when Indian citizens are kept in dark about the biggest pogrom since Independence, even after foreign sources have lifted the lid. India’s jihadi press is fully aware of the 1948 massacre, and projects its censorship as evidence of Hindu oppression   . This is not how a liberal democracy should function. India cannot become a truly unified nation on the basis of suppressed reports and sanitized textbooks. The Sunderlal report must be made public.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author's own. 


SA Aiyar SA Aiyar Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar is consulting editor of The Economic Times. He has frequently been a consultant to the World Bank and Asian Development Bank. A popular columnist and TV commentator, Swami has been called "India's leading economic journalist" by Stephen Cohen of the Brookings Institution. "Swaminomics" has been appearing as a weekly column in The Times of India since 1990. In 2008, The Times of India brought out the book "The Benevolent Zookeepers - The Best Of Swaminomics".
Source: TOI

Kasim Razvi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Kasim Razvi
Born 1902
[[]], Hyderabad State
Died 15 January 1970
Karachi, Pakistan
Occupation Chief, Razakars
Syed Kasim Razvi also Qasim Razvi was a Muslim politician who headed the Razakars militia in the princely state of Hyderabad. Razvi supported the Nizam of Hyderabad's resistance to acceding to India and ordered the Razakars to fight against the Indian forces during Operation Polo, on behalf of the Nizam.[1] He died in obscurity in Pakistan.


The princely state of Hyderabad was ruled by a Muslim Nizam as an absolute monarchy, even though the population of the state was mostly Hindu. Mr.Kasim Razvi was a high court advocate who rose to prominence in the Razakars and became its leader soon after the death of Bahadur Yar Jang. He was a close ally of the prime minister of the state, Mir Laiq Ali, and soon became an influential adviser to the Nizam.
The Razakars were Muslim separatists who advocated the continuation of Muslim rule in Hyderabad by either making it a part of the newly created Muslim state of Pakistan or by remaining independent of Hindu-majority India. After accession to Pakistan proved impossible owing to the Hindu-majority population and the distance of Hyderabad from Pakistan, Razvi encouraged the Nizam to take a hardline stance and ordered the Razakars to intimidate and attack Hindus. Razvi even traveled to Delhi and had a stormy meeting with Indian leader Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. He was one of the Founder of (MIM)Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (An Islamic Political party). He is quoted to have said "Death with the sword in hand, is always preferable to execution by a mere stroke of the pen", prompting the Indian government to call him the "Nizam's Frankenstein monster".[1] Razvi was a religious fanatic as he "insisted on the right of Muslims to enslave the Hindu".[2] He was also implicated in the murder of patriotic Muslims such as Shoebullah Khan who condemned Razvi's Razakars and advocated merger with India.[3] Razvi launched criminal attacks on the Hindu population through a Razakar campaign of rape, arson, murder, and looting, leading to the Police Action by India.[2]
After Operation Polo, in which the Indian Army defeated the Razakars and annexed Hyderabad into India, Razvi was placed under house arrest and tried under Indian laws on seditious activities and inciting communal violence. He was jailed from 1948 to 1957. He agreed to migrate to Pakistan as a condition of his release from prison, where he died in obscurity in 1970. He was the Founder of Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) (A Islamic Political party)[4] His family had been residing there since 1949.[citation needed]

Hyderabad state had been steadily becoming more theocratic since the beginning of the 20th century. In 1926, Mahmud Nawaz Khan, a retired Hyderabad official, founded the Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (also known as Ittehad or MIM) in 1926. "Its objectives were to unite the Muslims in the State in support of Nizam and to reduce the Hindu majority by large-scale conversion to Islam".[2] The MIM became a powerful communal organization, with the principal focus to marginalize the political aspirations of Hindus and moderate Muslims.[3]
MIM "had its storm troopers in the Razakars who were headed by Kasim Razvi, a fanatical Muslim educated at Aligarh University who claimed Hyderabad was a Muslim state and that Muslim supremacy was based upon the right of conquest”.[4] This in a princedom where only 14% of the population was Muslim. The Razakars demanded special powers from the Nizam, which they started to misuse and the helpless Nizam had to abide by their dictates[citation needed]. The Nizam sent a delegation to the United Nations to refer the Hyderabad State case to the UN Security Council. Qasim Rizvi and the Razakars had the additional agenda to persuade the Nizam to accede to Pakistan, instead of remaining independent of both India and Pakistan.
The Razakar militia brutally put down the armed revolts by Communists and the Peasantry and committed horrendous atrocities on the Hindu population and even eliminated patriotic Hyderabadi Muslims such as Shoebullah Khan who advocated merger with India.[5] Countless Hindu "women became victims of rape and kidnapping by Razakars. Thousands went to jail and braved the cruelties perpetuated by the oppressive administration. Due to the activities of the Razakars, thousands of Hindus had to flee from the state and take shelter in various camps”.[6] An official estimate is hard to come by, but tens of thousands of Hindus and progressive Muslims are thought to have been killed. The state unit of the Indian National Congress was banned and its leaders forced to flee to Vijaywada or Bombay. The Communist Party of India also became active in defending the general population from the Muslim Razakar militia.

Annexation after Operation Polo

Finally, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the Indian Minister for Home Affairs, decided to undertake "police action" in Hyderabad State to force the Nizam's hand. Operation Polo was launched and the Indian Army, led by Major General J. N. Chaudhuri, entered the state from five directions. The Razakars fought briefly against the overwhelming attack by Indian forces before surrendering on 18 September 1948. Mir Laik Ali, the Prime Minister of the Nizam, and Qasim Rizvi were arrested. On September 23, the Nizam was forced to withdraw his complaint from the UN Security Council. The merger of Hyderabad into the Indian Union was announced. Major General Chaudhuri took over as military governor of Hyderabad and stayed in that position till the end of 1949. In January 1950, M. K. Vellodi, a senior civil servant was made the Chief Minister of the state and the Nizam was given the ceremonial position of "Raj Pramukh" or "Governor".


The Razakars were disbanded after the merger of Hyderabad with India and the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen was banned—though it was surprisingly rechartered under the Congress government as All India MIM (AIMIM) in 1957. Qasim Rizvi was jailed and served in Indian prisons for almost a decade. He was released only on an undertaking that he would migrate to Pakistan within forty-eight hours of his release.[7] He was granted asylum in Pakistan.


  1. Moraes, Frank, Jawaharlal Nehru, Mumbai: Jaico. 2007, p.394
  2. Kate, P. V., Marathwada Under the Nizams, 1724-1948, Delhi: Mittal Publications, 1987, p.73
  3. Kate, P. V., Marathwada Under the Nizams, 1724-1948, Delhi: Mittal Publications, 1987, p.73
  4. Moraes, Frank, Jawaharlal Nehru, Mumbai: Jaico. 2007, p.390
  5. Rao, P.R., History and Culture of Andhra Pradesh: From the Earliest Times to 1991, New Delhi: Sterling Publishers, 2012. p.284
  6. Kate, P. V., Marathwada Under the Nizams, 1724-1948, Delhi: Mittal Publications, 1987, p.84


  1. Robert Lubar "Hyderabad: The Holdout" Time 30 August 1948
  2. Kate, P. V., Marathwada Under the Nizams, 1724-1948, Delhi: Mittal Publications, 1987, p.75
  3. Rao, P.R., History and Culture of Andhra Pradesh: From the Earliest Times to 1991, New Delhi: Sterling Publishers, 2012. p.284
  4. "Holding them captive?" at the Wayback Machine (archived July 29, 2003) opinion in The Hindu 27 April 2003

...and I am Sid Harth

No comments:

Post a Comment