Friday, September 15, 2017

When Hyderabad merged with India : Vanam Jwala Narasimha Rao

When Hyderabad merged with India
Vanam Jwala Narasimha Rao
Telangana Today (16-09-2017)
All those who argue for and against, Telangana’s merger or liberation on September 17 do not consider the importance of the day or its context. The Police Action aimed at merging the Nizam Hyderabad State with the Indian Union commenced on September 13, 1948 and ended up in just four days on September 17 amidst an excited atmosphere among the people. Bommakanti Satyanarayana Rao noted freedom fighter and former MLA, a native of Bonakallu Village now in Khammam district wrote a brief history of the freedom fighters which the then State government’s magazine published under the column Hyderabad’s freedom struggle about five decades ago.
Bommakanti mentioned that he wrote the essay in memory of the freedom fighters, who sacrificed a lot for the welfare of the people in the region and it was a recollection of the events. Bommakanti also a played a key role in the struggle and later became MLA from Madhira Constitutency and played kingmaker’s role in politics when D Sanjeevaiah was the CM.
In the backdrop of Hyderabad Freedom struggle, the first satyagraha was led by Jamalapuram Kesava Rao in Andhra and Swami Ramanand Thirtha in the Hyderabad State in 1938. When the Congress party was banned, Swami Ramanand Thirtha kept the movement alive operating from a small house in Kacheguda in Hyderabad and later making it into a great movement.  Along with Swamiji, leaders like Burgula Ramakrishna Rao, Digambar Rao Bindu, GS Melkote, Konda Venkat Rangareddy, Govind Das Shroff, Janardhan Rao Desai, Jamalapuram Kesava Rao, Mada Pati Hanumanth Rao, Marri Channa Reddy, Bommakanti Satyanarayana, Hagarivacharya, Paga Pullareddy, Kodati-Komaragiri-Kaloji Narayana Rao, VB Raju, MS Rajalingam, Vummethala Kesava Rao, KV Narsing Rao, PV Narasimha Rao, too played a key role in the movement. These leaders led the movement in their respective districts.
After a great debate on “Responsive Government” and “Responsible Government”, the movement finally espoused the slogan “Merge with Indian Union”.  Prominent among those attended the Congress Working Committee meeting held at Sholapur under the Chairmanship of Swami Ramanand Thirtha were, Bommakanti, Jamalapuram and Madapati. Later Bommakanti and others moved to Vijayawada and started operating from the residence of Ayyadevra Kaleswara Rao.  It was decided to launch Satyagraha and Jamalapuram would lead the programme in Andhra. Incase if he was jailed, Hagarivacharya would lead the movement, VB Raju would take care of the campaign while Bommakanti will organize the border areas.
The Indian government was in a fix over the total anarchy prevailed in the Hyderabad state. It had no option but to resort to police action. The Indian government had deputed the Army to protect the people. When the army was deployed from the South, Colonel Amrit Singh and VG Subbarayan played a noteworthy role. The story ended on a happy note with General JN Chowdary hoisting the tri color flag in Hyderabad. All the obstacles for the merger were removed that day, as the people living in Hyderabad State were also Indians. People in the State have heaved a sigh of relief! Victory drums were beaten. Realising the certainty of the people’s victory, the Nizam had wisely submitted the “merger document”. He was successful in protecting himself. Sarda Vallabh Bhai Patel became very dearer to the people in Telangana.

Freedom fighters like Bommakanti made plans to defeat the Nizam. They have asked the Patels and Patwaris to resign.  They destroyed kardgi Nakas to remove boundaries between the Indian Union and the Hyderabad State. They mobilized people not to part with their levy paddy to the government. They started destroying the State guesthouses, which were used by the Nizam government. Bridges were destroyed on the roads to prevent Nizam military and Razakars movements. They stopped the Trains and buses. They also launched Guerilla warfare.  They decided to declare each village as a republic and wanted to replace the government with the Gram Panchayat. They have mobilized people on a large-scale and intensified the movement. Madapati Ramachandra Rao, Hayagriva chary and Valluri Basava Raju lead the movement with Vijayawada as centre and Bommakanti was the Andhra in charge.
Under the leadership of Sardar Jamalapuram Keshav Rao, Burra Katha team head Venkata Raju, on August 7, 1948 Bommakanti team started for Satyagraha movement. Jamalapuram said there was no guarantee that he would come back if arrested and put in the prison; he made Bommakanti head of the movement with Hayagrivachary as in charge and Vattikonda Ramakotaiah as assistant. Bommakanti who himself wanted to go to jail was not able to say “no” to Jamalapuram proposal. Bommakanti, Madapati, Hayagrivachary, Valluri Basava Raju worked like brothers and lead the movement. Bommakanti hoisted the tri color flag in his native village Bonakallu and went underground.
When India attained Independence, people in the Hyderabad State revolted against the Nizam. Digambar Rao Bindu, who was the Chairman of Committee of Action, encouraged the freedom fighters. Arya Samaj helped the freedom fighters to get army training under Pandit Narender ji. Training camps were organized in the villages on borders and the camps had in charges and commanders. Among those were Jalagam Vengal Rao, Kodati Narayan Rao, Paga Pullareddy, and KV Narsing Rao. The activists removed the boundaries.  Patels and Patwaris stopped collecting the taxes. People chopped off the Pam trees preventing any revenue to the government from toddy. Reserve forests were also destroyed.
Establishment of Republic was the very important milestone in the Hyderabad Merger movement. 9 villages in Paritala, 12 villages in Warangal, Ganugupadu, Chilkuru, Jalamudi, Ramachandrapuram, Amaravaram were declared as village republics. Bommakanti, Hayagrivachary occupied Paritala villages and established people’s governance. Bommakanti came to Polampalli collected Arms and went to Paritala. Along with him were leaders like Ramakoteswara Rao who were in Army dress and the Nizam Army personnel mistaken them to be their Officers and saluted them. After taking salute from the Nizam Army officers, additional teams of freedom fighters came inside and snatched the weapons from the Nizam Army personnel and held a meeting in the Paritala Office premises. Republic was established in a week’s time and Madapati was accorded a civic reception there.
Later, the people’s movement spread like a wild fire and the entire Nizam’s administration came to standstill. It was believed that the freedom fighters have no strength to defeat the might of the Nizam. For self-protection, Army Commander Colonel Amrit Singh who was at Chillakallu Vijayawada highway and DIG Subbarayan chalked out the plan. Bommakanti, Madapati and Hayagrivachary helped them. On September 6, 1948, Indian Union deployed the Army and Bommakanti was with them. The Army occupied Kodad and later taken into custody the Nizam’s Commander Sher Khan and other personnel and made them wait on the highway and later shifted them to Vijayawada. The Nizam’s army could not put up fight for even an hour!  The Nizam realized that his army had no strength to face the Indian Army.
Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel did not want to waste any time. He was in Pune on September 13, 1948 and he personally supervised the Operation and asked the forces to enter the Nizam state from all sides. Army regiments from Bandar and Vijayawada were kept on Hyderabad highway. When Razakars destroyed a bridge on Musi, the Indian army built a new Steel bridge within a day! When the Indian Army reached Chityala, there was message to keep the operation on hold for some time. Bommakanti along with driver Gokul Dastoga and Madapati Ramachandra Rao went to Hyderabad. On Sept 17, 1948, they relaxed in Munshi’s house in Bollaram over dinner and slept.  The next day, Swami Ramanand Thirtha was released. On September 18, 1948 General Chowdary hoisted the national flag. The Hyderabad state had formally merged with the Indian Union. The Indian government’s generosity helped the Nizam from getting protection to himself and his properties.
Liberation movement leaders like Jamalapuram Keshav Rao, Kolipaka Kishan Rao, Kolipaka Ramachandra Rao, Kaloji, Dasaradhi, Hiralal Moria, and Aitharaju Ram Rao were lodged in the same jail. Bommakanti, Jalagam Vengal Rao, Marri Channa Reddy were leading the movement from outside. Jalagam Vengal Rao later became the Chief Minister and Union Minister. Bommakanti was born in August 1916 and died in August 1984. Bommakanti played a key role when Marri Channa Reddy floated a democratic party against Neelam Sanjiva Reddy.
Hence it was a merger of Hyderabad State with the Indian Union.

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