Ramachander, who was just 16 during the Hyderabad Police Action between 1947-48, recalls the times of Tatachar

K. Tatachar was feted by Major General Choudhary, as a person who was responsible for amity amongst Hindus and Muslims K. Tatachar was an established legal luminary fond of his Scotch and cigars, till he met Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Panditji convinced him to give up all that was foreign and instead wear Khadi and embrace nationalism. Tatachar became a staunch Congressman. For his beliefs, he was exiled from the state between 1937-38 on the orders of the Nizam, only to return a few years later.Tatachar and his family lived in a sprawling bungalow on Oxford Street (the present day Sarojini Devi Road or SD road). Although he had to move out to Bangalore, his family continued to stay here.When World War II came to an end and India was heading towards swaraj, the big question of the princely kingdoms was their merger with the Government of India. This caused a turmoil, because there were a few pockets that wanted to remain independent. Hyderabad was the main one in this category. A handful of rebels under the leadership of Kasim Rizvi began to run amok; they called themselves the Razakars and they behaved in the same manner as the Naxalites are doing today. They wanted to support the Nizam but Sardar Patel, the then Home Minister, did not accept it. The Army walked into Hyderabad via Sholapur. After a token 'battle' of three days, the Hyderabad troops gave up.But the Razakars carried on their marauding ways. They had come to the Tatachar house and had threatened Tatachar to mend his ways. They attacked the Bibinagar station enroute to Warangal. They killed and looted gold and silver jewellery from the passengers. B.S. Venkat Rao, one of Tatachar's chelas (disciples) heard this and reached the station. He managed to bully away the brigands and brought the two bags of jewels to the Tatachar home. K. Ramachander, (affectionately called Ram) Tatachar's 16-year-old grandson, was aware of the tension in and around the house. He saw this gentleman walking in and going straight to the study, where Tatachar awaited him. Early the next morning, the two bags were deposited in the treasury.Ram and the family were also instrumental in providing food and water for the 150-odd people, mostly Muslims from the Kukatpally area, who had sought refuge in the huge compound of the Tatachar house. They could not get food openly for these people. Dr. K.M. Munshi, the then Agent General in Hyderabad, was aware of what was going on. He sent bags of rice and dal to the Roman Catholic church next door, from where the youngsters would help pick up the bags at night, under the cover of darkness. Ram recalls another incident during the same time. The day the Hyderabad Army surrendered, the Razakars went berserk. They started killing indiscriminately. Tatachar made an attempt to stop the mayhem and ended up in the hospital with a fractured arm, cut open skull and bruises all over. In the eyes of his grandsons, Tatachar grew in stature as much as he did for the citizens. He was feted by Major General Choudhary who had headed the battle on behalf of the Government of India, as a person who was responsible for amity amongst Hindus and Muslims.Ironically, when the interim cabinet was put in place in Hyderabad to run the state, Tatachar was offered a place in the same and he turned it down. He turned down the judgeship also and remained a social worker. For Ram, who is 75 now, his grandfather was "clean, straight and selfless like most politicians then". This is probably why he is sitting down to chronicle the life of his grandfather. Someday his book on his "aiyya" will hit the racks!SHYAMOLA KHANNA