Razakars, Hyderabad and the Nizam’s Bid for Independence


Before we can discuss the problem created by the Nizam of Hyderabad in 1947-48, we have to have a look at history. Hyderabad state was the biggest state in India, but it had a majority Hindu population( 93%), but a Muslim ruler. The state was part of the Mughul empire under Aurangzeb. The emperor had himself campaigned extensively in the Deccan and Hyderabad was an important part of the Mughal empire.

Aurangzeb died in 1707 and after his death, the empire was greatly weakened. This was the time when a Muslim governor appointed by the Mughuls Asif Jah, who had been granted the title of Nizam-ul-Malik rebelled.He broke free from Mughal rule in 1724 and declared independence. He was also the first Indian ruler who signed an agreement with the East India company for their protection under a subsidiary alliance as proposed by Lord Wellesley.This was the start of the Nizam dynasty. This dynasty was in power when British rule lapsed in 1947.

Dreams of Independence

In 1947 the Nizam was Osman Ali Khan. He ruled over a predominant Hindu state, but he was a rank communalist and furthered the Muslim cause. He did not wish to accede to the Indian union and negotiated a ‘Stand still ‘ agreement with the new Indian government.

In addition, he began to beef up his armed forces, by recruiting Muslims from Pakistan, Bihar, and UP to form an irregular militia. This militia was called the Razakars and their commander was Sayed Kasim Razvi, an official of the Nizam’s court. He was a lawyer by profession but was a close friend of the Prime Minister, Mir Laiq Ali. He had great influence in court and he fed the Nizam rosy dreams of independence. He was also confident that Hyderabad would survive an Indian attack as he raised the Razakar force to nearly 200,000. Kasim Razvi was the founder of the (MIM) Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, which is still in existence.

Actions by the Nizam

Despite the standstill agreement, the Nizam approached England for dominion status within the Commonwealth. It was rejected. He also sent a delegation to the UN via Karachi to plead for an independent Hyderabad. His plea to US President Harry Truman had no effect. He continued arms imports from Pakistan and an Australian national Sydney Cotton secretly ran a gun-running service to arm the Razakars.

The Razakars who were all Muslims began to terrorize the Hindu population and abduction, rape and looting became common. The Razakars wanted to convert Hyderabad to a Muslim state. The Arya Samaj and the local Congress party opposed the Razakars but were ineffectual.

With the Nizam not receiving any support for an independent state, he decided to accede to Pakistan as envisaged by the terms of Transfer of Power between the British and the Indian leaders. The Razakars were emboldened with new weapons and let loose a reign of terror against the Hindus. Documented cases of young girls being carried away and forcibly raped and converted came to the fore. The Razakars also killed those Muslims who wanted integration with India like Shoebullah Khan.

Intervention by India

With the Razakars gaining strength and the Nizam preparing to sign the instrument of accession to Pakistan, time was running out. Sardar Patel the Indian Home Minister, wishing to avoid a repeat of Kashmir ordered the Indian army into Hyderabad. The plan for the invasion was prepared by Lt General EN Goddard, CinC Southern Command. The operational commander was Major General JN Choudhary.

The invasion commenced on 13 September 1948 and all was over in 96 hours. The Nizam panicked and banned the Razakars and acceded to India. Kasim Razvi was arrested and jailed. He remained in prison till 1957, after which he was released and allowed to go to Pakistan. He died unsung and unknown in Karachi in in 1970. The curtain thus came down and Hyderabad became part of the Indian union. Just for the record the family of Razvi still reside in Hyderabad.

Last Word. The state of Hyderabad ceased to exist with the reorganization of states on linguistic lines.

Source by Madan G Singh

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