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Selective representation of Hyderabadi history by Guha and Karat

Friday April 06, 2012 10:54:35 AM, Ayub Khan

When elephants fight it is the grass that suffers. When two intellectual giants of India clash it is the facts that take a beating. In their exchange in the Caravan Magazine (June and November 2011) historian Ramachandra Guha and Communist Party of India Marxist General Secretary Prakash Karat debated past, present and future of Indian Communism. Their respective representations of the events surrounding the annexation of Hyderabad, however, were distorted and factually incorrect.

Contrary to Mr. Karat’s denial the Communists did enter into an agreement with the Nizam’s government. It was a result of this agreement that the Nizam’s government lifted the ban on the Communist Party on 4 May 1948. This much was attested to by Communist leader P. Sundarayya who writes in the Telangana People’s Struggle and its Lessons:

“The Hyderabad City Committee [Communist]…issued a press statement that the Indian government, being a bourgeois-landlord government, was allied with British imperialism, that we should oppose the Indian army’s entry into Hyderabad and raise the slogan of Azad Hyderabad (p.79).

Sundarayya later denied that any alliance occurred but that it did was attested to by other contemporary records. A Madras Intelligence Report of May 1948, for instance, states:

“The Communists are now alleged to be acting with the connivance and sometimes in actual association with the Razakars and the Nizam’s police. Whether this is true or not, it is quite conceivable that the Communists have taken advantage of the lifting of the ban on their party within the Nizam’s dominions to make Hyderabad territory the base for their operations in Indian territory.”

Similarly, A Kaleshwar Rao, Andhra Congress leader , in a report to the Government of Indian in June 1948, clearly states:

“The Hyderabad government has lifted the ban on the Communist Party and withdrawn all warrants of arrest against Communist leaders. A pact is said to have been entered into between Communists and the Ittahud-ul-Muslimeen.”

In the light of these evidences from multiple sources it is not too far fetched to claim that the Communists did enter into an agreement with the Nizam’s government and the Razakars.

Mr. Guha, in his response to Mr. Karat, states that “in 1946 there were no Razakars at all.” This is incorrect as they were officially formed in 1938. It can, however, be said that they became aggressive and militant under the leadership of Kassim Razawi in 1947.

Contrary to Mr. Guha’s assertion not all Razakars and members of the Majlis were “supremacists.” These two organizations consisted of Muslims and the lower castes with varying inclinations and tendencies. This is attested to by the existence of extremist and moderate wings in the organizations. In addition, many of them were barely in their tendencies. It is surprising that Mr. Guha who has done a masterful job of dissecting the various strands of Indian nationalism has overlooked the diversity in the Hyderabadi sovereignist movement. Perhaps his ignorance of the Urdu language is to blame for this oversight.








 


 

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