LURKING GHOSTS OF 17/09

Smrithi S

History had always been fascinating. Sometimes revealing and at times smacking realities and events they present before you a Pandora’s Box of happenings. One such murky fact is regarding the liberation of Hyderabad. Many had not known the fact that Hyderabad, considered as the city of pearls had not been a part of India till 17 September 1948.

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Osman Ali Khan, the last Nizam of Hyderabad

17 September 1978, has been reported as the Hyderabad liberation day, when the forces of Indian army under the name, Operation Polo liberated the city from the hands of the then Nizam, Osman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VII. The Nizam along with Razaakars, a militia recruited from the Muslim aristocracy decided to continue self-rule even after the British dissolved its alliance with the princely states in 1948. Owing to the unmitigated violence against the Hindu population in the city Sardar Vallabhai Patel ordered the annexation of Hyderabad to the state. Operation Polo was called into action and what seemed like a five day struggle, the city finally became a part of the country. This much is the known past of the city which is inscribed in golden letters in the history of Hyderabad.

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The Razaakars of Nizam.

But there existed between those golden eruditions a dark side which had been one of the best kept secrets in the annals of history. Soon after the operation however reports came out about the Indian troops mercilessly killing thousands of people across the city, especially the Muslim population. The then Prime Minister Nehru appointed a committee under Pandit Sundar Lal to investigate on the Operation. The report that came out was intense and shocking. It revealed that the communal frenzy that burned did not end in murder but extended to looting, pillaging and even raping of innocent women. The atrocities of the then Indian army who led the Operation Polo went even to the extent of forcing the Hindus to loot the Muslim community.

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Operation Polo

The Sundar Lal report had not seen light for the past 65 years. It may be because of the stain of shame it bears which may pierce a black mark in the history of Hyderabad. But while we boast about the city of pearls and bangles we also have to weigh upon the cost of the liberation the city had undergone which bears the marks of bloodshed and agony.

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