As BJP clamours for ‘Liberation Day’ celebration, TRS keeps mum

Hyderabad: It is expected of the Bharaitya Janata Party (BJP) to demand that September 17, the date when the erstwhile Hyderabad State was annexed by Indian Union through military action, be observed as ‘Liberation day’. However, it seems like the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) is still choosing to keep mum over the subject, especially given that TRS supremo and chief minister K. Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) had himself praised the last Nizam on numerous occasions in the past.

September 17, 1948 is when the erstwhile State of Hyderabad, ruled by the last Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan, was annexed to India through ‘Operation Polo’, which is also known as Police Action in local parlance. The princely state was the largest in British India comprising 16 districts in 1948 (8 in Telangana, 5 in Maharashtra and 3 in Karnataka).

While the last Nizam is often faulted for his decision to try and stay independent after August 15, 1947, the truth is more complex, as the 1946-51 period also witnessed the Telangana Armed Struggle, which was a rebellion against state-appointed Jagirdars, the landholding class that comprised both Hindus and Muslims. The state was annexed after discussions with the Indian government fell through in 1948 for an amicable transition or solution.

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So where does BJP fit into all that? Nowhere. It was literally a non-player in 1948 and in state politics then. Its ideological parent, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), had been active, but its role was very limited. More importantly, KCR, who himself would talk about the modern developments in Hyderabad under the Nizam in the past, seems to not want to wade into the issue anymore.

It seemed that there was at least one politician who was not hesitant to speak about the Nizam and at least accepting the few good developments (aside from the negative) that were undertaken. That of course does not undo the other negatives that existed in the erstwhile state, which was not very different from other feudal societies in 1948.

“Being in government is different. Muslims and the MIM are with him now. It is not an issue anymore for him. It is an issue for the opposition. P. V. Narasimha Rao’s appropriation is a plan that will help KCR to corner both the BJP and the Congress, which ignored his legacy. If BJP gives the Bharat Ratna to PVNR, then TRS can claim ownership of it. It will also help secure the Hindu vote,” said a TRS leader, who did not want to be quoted.

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TRS supremo and Telangana chief minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao.

The TRS leader indirectly hinted that speaking in favour of the Nizam may upset one section of TRS’s voters. More importantly, if at all there is any political party that can stake claim on September 17, it is the Communist Party of India (CPI) which had taken over most of the rural areas, after it organised the ‘Telangana Armed Rebellion’ against state-appointed Jagirdars.

Political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy however said that given the current political scenario in India today, it is not just about the BJP anymore. “People seem to have drifted in general which is the biggest problem today and that is helping the BJP. Basically it is about a narrative being weaved across all mediums. Platforms have come up on various platforms to spread messages which are out and out anti-Muslim and to some extent anti-Christian,” he pointed out.

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