T.V. Sivanandan

Decision to invite Nizam's heir kicks up row

  • Official function is observed on September 17
  • Opponents say official surrender was on September 18

    GULBARGA: The controversy over the date on which the Nizam of the erstwhile Hyderabad province surrendered to the Indian Army remains unresolved. While those who fought against the forces of the Nizam maintain that the Nizam surrendered on September 18, the State Government decided to observe Liberation Day on September 17.

    This year, the decision to invite Prince Fasal Jah Bahadur, descendant of the last Nizam of Hyderabad, as the chief guest for the Liberation Day celebrations in which Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy,

    Deputy Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa and the Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly N. Dharam Singh will participate, has kicked up another controversy.

    `Falsifying history'

    Kannada Sahitya Parishat president Veerabhadra Simpi is the founder of the Udayonmukha Yuva Barahagara Balaga, which has been celebrating Liberation Day on September 18 along with freedom fighters for the past several years.

    He said that inviting the heir of the last Nizam would only revive memories of the atrocities committed by the army of Nizam and the band of Razakars. The Udayonmukha Yuva Barahagara Balaga and a large section of freedom fighters maintain that the actual liberation of Hyderabad province from Nizam and its merger with India took place on September 18. According to them, observing Liberation Day on September 17 would amount to falsifying history.

    Memorial

    The celebration of Liberation Day remained a quite affair till recently when the freedom fighters unfurled the national flag on September 18 at the Veera Soudha, a memorial constructed in remembrance of the thousands of people who laid down their lives in their armed struggle against Nizam's forces.

    The Udayonmukha Yuva Barahagara Balaga began to organise public functions in the 1980s. Later, the Hyderabad Karnataka Vimochana Dinacharana Horata Samiti was formed with the main purpose of bringing pressure on the Government to observe Liberation Day as an official function, which it was successful in doing.

    The section insisting on celebrating Liberation Day on September 17 scored a victory of sorts by getting the State Government to declare that day as Liberation Day in 1998 when the then Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, unveiled, in Gulbarga, a statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who had ordered police action against to liberate Hyderabad province.

    Those who claim that the liberation took place on September 17 say the Laik Ali Ministry resigned on that day.

    Surrender of army

    Those in favour of September 18 say that the then Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, told the Agent-General of India in Hyderabad, K.M. Munshi that the Hyderabad Army should surrender to the Indian Army on September 18.

    They also point out that it was on September 18 that Mr. Munshi wrote an official letter to the then Deputy Prime Minister, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, stating that Hyderabad had surrendered.

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