6 things you must know about September 17, 1948 

India achieved its independence on August 15, 1947, but the erstwhile Hyderabad state, comprising today’s Telangana region and some parts of Maharashtra and Karnataka, merged with the Indian union only on September 17, 1948. But why Hyderabad didn’t achieve independence in 1947 and what happened on September 17, 1948? These are the six things you must know.

  1. Nizams ruled the Hyderabad state 

The Hyderabad state, an independent princely state, was ruled by the Nizams of the Asaf Jahi dynasty from 1724 to 1948. The dynasty was founded by Mir Qamar-ud-Din Siddiqi, a viceroy of the Deccan in the Mughal era. Mir Osman Ali Khan, the seventh Nizam, was the last ruler of Asaf Jahis.

  1. The reign of the seventh Nizam

The rule of Mir Osman Ali Khan was an important period in the history of Hyderabad state. Many modern facilities and infrastructure development works such as the Osmania Hospital, postal services, railway line, Osmania University, etc., were taken up during his period.  He was known for his progressive policies such as upholding religious harmony, abolishing cess on drinking water, and forbidding the practice of the death penalty.

But like any other king, the seventh Nizam’s rule was also marked with some oppressive events. The methods adopted by the Nizam VII to collect taxes using feudal lords (Doras) and Deshmukhs afflicted the common people. He was also ruthless against any attempts to destabilize his kingdom.

  1. The Telangana Armed Struggle 

The Telangana Armed Struggle popularly known as the ‘Telangana Saayudha Rythanga Poratam’ was a rebellion started by the peasants and common public against the rulers. It was a fierce fight for land, livelihood, and liberation. 

Fed up by the oppressive government and atrocities of the feudal landlords, the public took up arms and rebelled against the rulers. The atrocities committed by Doras, Deshmukhs, Jagirdars, and Deshpandes in the villages under the Nizam’s rule led to this historic struggle. 

The armed rebellion finds its genesis in the martyrdom of Doddi Komuraiah in July 1946 and the movement was intensified from September 1947 by the likes of Chakali Ailamma, Baddam Yella Reddy, Makhdoom Mohiuddin, and Ravi Narayana Reddy. Around 4,000 martyrs sacrificed their lives and this armed struggle resulted in the introduction of land reforms in the country.

  1. Who are Doras?

Doras are feudal landlords and the representatives of the Nizams in their respective territories. Collection of taxes from the public and sending the amount to the Nizam was their main duty.

Some Doras even held land to an extent of 40,000 acres to 1.20 lakh acres under their name. Based on their positions, Doras were titled Jamindaar, Deshmukh, Jagirdar, and Deshpande etc. Doras exploited the common people and resorted to forced labour.

80% of the Doras were from the Reddy community, 10% were from the Velamas and the rest from Vyshyas, Brahmins, Munnur Kapus, Vishwa Brahmins, Lambadas, and others. The armed struggle was a movement against the Nizam and local Doras for land and to put an end to forced labour.

  1. Who are Razakars?

Razakars were the private army of the seventh Nizam and this para military force used to guard the Nizam and landlords from the revolutionaries of the armed struggle.

Local landlords provided shelter and weapons to Razakars to crush the rebellion and protect them from the wrath of revolutionaries. Contrary to the false propaganda, the armed struggle was never a communal issue but a revolt of commoners against the tyranny of the Doras and the Nizam.

  1. What happened on September 17, 1948?

After Indian independence, on November 29, 1947, the Nizam signed a standstill agreement with the government of India. Until a new people-elected government was formed in the Hyderabad state within a year, the standstill agreement continued all the previous arrangements which the Nizam had.

However, the Nizam violated some clauses in the agreement and also the armed struggle was intensified during the same period. Law and Order went out of hand due to clashes between the revolutionaries and the Razakars.

To bring the situation under control, the Indian government initiated a police action named ‘Operation Polo’ headed by the then Union Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The Hyderabad state was surrounded by the troops of the Indian Army and the Nizam surrendered on September 17, 1948, and the accession of Hyderabad into the Indian union took place.

Later, a military rule began in Hyderabad and the seventh Nizam was appointed Raj Pramukh of the Hyderabad state until the region was merged with Andhra Pradesh on November 1, 1956. The merger of the Hyderabad state in the Indian union finds a special place in the annals of history. It was never a communal issue but a fight against oppression.