Hyderabad

Sepia-tinted memories of Telangana Liberation

Raghu Pal (left) speaking at an event to mark merger of Hyderabad into Indian Union. Seated is Pratap Reddy. Photo: Arrangement

Raghu Pal (left) speaking at an event to mark merger of Hyderabad into Indian Union. Seated is Pratap Reddy. Photo: Arrangement   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

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Two witnesses recall the tumultuous times that they lived through when Hyderabad did not join the Indian Union in 1947

As multiple discourses about Hyderabad’s merger with India on September 17, 1948, coursed through social media, two eyewitnesses placed the event in context. “The travails of Hyderabad after Indian Independence were due to the British. It was part of their divide and rule policy. They showed the option of retaining freedom and a few people in Nizam’s inner circle fell for it,” says Pratap Reddy, who saw the tumultuous times as a 16-year-old in Warangal.

Hyderabad did not join the Indian Union when the rest of the country became free on August 15, 1947. Citizens living in the Nizam’s Dominion had to wait for nearly 18 months to call themselves free. After the Nizam’s government signed a Standstill Agreement with the Government of India, the events on ground took a dramatic turn.

At the beginning of 1947, he had to escape to Chittoor after he learnt about shoot-at-sight orders against him. “My maternal uncle was an advocate and had a friend in the police department who tipped him off. I boarded a train to escape to Chittoor,” says Mr. Reddy who lived in Madanapalli for those 18 months. He returned only after tanks rolled into the Nizam’s territory and conquered it in 105 hours in 1948.

Mr. Reddy was among the few Congress workers who were part of the struggle against the Nizam’s rule. “While the Communists were fighting the war by staying put in the region, Congress had camps outside. P.V. Narasimha Rao guided the struggle from Nagpur, and Harigriva Chary led it from Vijayawada. But ours was a non-violent struggle,” says Mr. Reddy who vividly remembers Mahatma Gandhi’s stopover at Warangal in 1942.

Seeing the armed struggle unravel from within was Raghu Pal whose father Gopal Reddy joined the progressive movement while studying in Benaras Hindu University. “My brother Tirupal Reddy had an armed band of 1,500 guerillas. After the Indian Army caught him, he was paraded on a military vehicle through 50 villages and later shot dead,” says Mr. Pal, who hailed from a family of landlords in Gabbeta village in Jangaon. “The armed struggle was against feudalism and did not have any communal angle. Many Hindu landlords supported the Nizam and lent their thugs to suppress the population. But I saw a mass burial when 78 men were charged for aiding Razakars and were shot dead and buried,” says Mr. Pal.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2019 2:28:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/sepia-tinted-memories-of-telangana-liberation/article29443199.ece

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