Daniel Browning Smith, also known as Rubberboy, is an American contortionist. He trained in a circus school to become the most flexible man alive and is credited with seven in the Guinness World Records. He can dislocate his arms and legs and even turn his head 180 degrees. But his contortions pale compared to the unnatural twists and turns by the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS), the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), and the Congress leaders on the issue of Hyderabad Liberation Day.
Although India gained Independence from the British on August 15, 1947, the Princely state of Hyderabad was still under the rule of the seventh Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan. The Nizam intended to make Hyderabad an independent Islamic country under his autocracy or make Hyderabad a part of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The Nizam used the Razakars, an Islamist militia of 1,50,000 “volunteer” soldiers led by Qasim Rizvi, the leader of the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) to commit unspeakable atrocities on the predominantly Hindu subjects who had been fighting then for integration with India.
Only when Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the then Home Minister of India, sent the armed forces as part of ‘Operation Polo’ did the Nizam surrender – liberating Hyderabad from his autocratic clutches and making it a part of India. Since then, September 17th has always been referred to as ‘Hyderabad Liberation Day’, except for a minuscule section still longing for the idea of an Islamic Hyderabad, who referred to it as the ‘Betrayal Day’.
The Karnataka and Maharashtra governments celebrate September 17th as the Kalyana-Karnataka Liberation Day (Vimochana Diwas) and the Marathwada Liberation Day (Marathwada Mukti Sangram Din) respectively. Before Telangana’s formation, the current Chief Minister of Telangana, K Chandrasekhar Rao, referred to these official celebrations by the Karnataka and Maharashtra governments and demanded the Chief Minister of then-united Andhra Pradesh celebrate the event on similar lines. He accused the Chief Ministers of the combined Andhra Pradesh of not honouring the event officially, though Telangana was the biggest part of the Princely state of Hyderabad because they were from the Andhra region and never cared for the Telangana people or their struggles.
While the Congress and the Telugu Desam governments in erstwhile Andhra Pradesh never celebrated the event officially, there was no dispute about the naming. September 17th was always referred to as Hyderabad Liberation Day. After Telangana’s formation, it was expected that Chandrasekhar Rao, as the Chief Minister, would officially celebrate Hyderabad Liberation Day with great pomp, as he so vociferously demanded earlier. Alas! that was not to be the case.
Under these circumstances, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Union government took the initiative to officially celebrate Hyderabad Liberation Day last year as part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations. This was when people realised that the leaders of BRS, Congress and AIMIM are no less, if not better, contortionists than even Daniel Browning Smith.
Chandrasekhar Rao did a complete U-turn and, instead of applauding the Union government’s move, launched a scathing attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Union government, accusing them of playing communal politics. Instead of being celebrated as Liberation Day, he said September 17th should be celebrated as “Telangana National Integration Day”. The Congress, disowning its own government’s armed action in 1948, wanted the liberation part to be eschewed and the day celebrated as “Integration Day” instead. The AIMIM followed suit and announced it would mark the day as “National Integration Day”. The Chief Minister’s son and Minister Taraka Ramarao, outdoing everyone else, wanted the day to be celebrated as “Independence Day” – maybe he considered the Nizams and the then-ruling Muslim elite foreigners and colonialists just like the British.
The reason AIMIM, the successor party of the MIM, wants us to forget the history of Hyderabad Liberation is apparent. After all, it was Abdul Wahid Owaisi, the grandfather of the AIMIM party’s current president, Asaduddin Owaisi, who took the reins of the MIM party after Qasim Razvi moved to Pakistan and renamed the outfit as the AIMIM. And the Owaisi brothers, who helm the AIMIM today, would undoubtedly want everyone to forget the treacherous and sordid history of MIM and its militia, the Razakars.
Apart from appeasing AIMIM and pursuing vote-bank politics, there is no reason why Congress or BRS should resist celebrating September 17th as Liberation Day. Their complete alignment with AIMIM – whose leader made the notorious “15 minutes” threat, reminiscent of the Razakars’ actions before 1948, is in tune with their silence on the “eradicate Sanatana Dharma” calls emanating from the I.N.D.I. Alliance.
In the famous words of philosopher George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. One must have an accurate record of the past to remember the past. Those who purposefully hide or distort history condemn their people to repeat the past. However much the MIM, BRS, the Congress party, and their leaders try, Bharat will neither forget nor let such a dark and murderous past repeat in Telangana.
(The author is BJP TS spokesperson)