Wednesday, August 28

When India invaded Hyderabad

This was a fascinating article dating back to 1950 which I read recently. It talks about how the state of Hyderabad merged into India after independence. Its amazing how much has changed since then. The state of Hyderabad is going to be bifurcated by Telengana being born. I didn't realise how much communism had its roots in this area and how much Nehru worried that it can become the source of a Maoist central hub..Also how many Muslims were killed by the Hindu’s after the “police action”. Estimates range between 50,000-200,000 and some even higher. But I would like to quote the last section intoto.

It would seem beyond all cavil that the new regime was both
welcomed, and justly welcomed, by the great majority of the
population of Hyderabad. Even for the Muslim minority, the
regime is on paper fair, substantially undiscriminating. But it
would, indeed, be hardly human if at least the lower Hindu
officials took no advantage of their new power to deviate from
the ideal of impartiality. More calamitous is the plight of the
village Muslim, who probably was not personally implicated
in Razakar activities, but, glad enough to escape with his life,
lost his home and goods at the time of the invasion and has but
the little man's chance of getting them back. On a larger scale,
the entire Muslim community suffered at once from insecurity,
from the social and economic revolution which dislodged it as
the ruling class. The Muslims' status as a community had been
intimately bound up with an antique social structure which was
now being discarded. In the new society their problem is not
that of being given a status that they can call unjust, but the
difficulty of building up for themselves any status at all. The
loss of privilege is itself a downfall, in which legal justice may
go with economic disaster. No social revolution, however neces-
sary or just, can fail to disrupt the group which it abruptly ousts
from power. In theory, the Hyderabad Muslims in the new
order took their place indiscriminately along with everyone else;
in practice, they, who had been seated as it were on the platform,
have had to find themselves places on the floor already fully
occupied by firmly established, and defiant, crowds. Even in a
democracy the position, economic and other, of a small minority
depends not only on the justice of the laws but also on the degree
to which that minority is accepted by the major group. And in
Hyderabad, although the laws be democratic, society will be
Apart from the initial blow and the long-term readjustment
to the loss of social integration and of function, the Muslims

suffered also an inner dismay. It is too early yet to say whether
this psychological upheaval may not prove in the end the most
significant. It is part of the spiritual crisis through which Islam
is passing in the modern world. The two chief factors in this
crisis were both acute in the Hyderabad instance: the impact of
an unassimilated modernity on an old-world way of life and its
Weltanschauung; and the loss of power.
One wonders how the group, or anyway its leaders, could have
lost their heads so starkly as they did before the invasion.
Originally, the Nizam apparently felt that the British with-
drawal from India, coupled with partition, would lead to chaos;
and that out of the confusion he, with an army, wealth and
prestige, stood a fair chance of emerging as a major power in a
Balkanized India. The hope was not at first absurd, but should
have faded within six months. After this, he made, as to power
dynamics, a series of astonishing miscalculations, both interna-
tionally and in home affairs; until he allowed a vicious group of
men within the state to acquire power to a point where he could
no longer control them. He emerges as a clever man utterly desti-
tute of wisdom. The Razakar leaders were ruthless fanatics and
criminals who played for sordid stakes and lost. The mass of
Muslims was poor and ignorant, leading lives in which there
was little of significance except their religion and its social
solidarity. They are traditionally gullible, ardent but easily
misled. Several hundred thousand, however, had nothing to do
with the Nizam or the Razakars; but the innocent, too, suffer
for the mistakes of their community's leaders. The most signifi-
cant blundering was that of the middle classes, the one group
who might have saved the situation but failed utterly in both
understanding and judgment.
Brought up in an isolated, anachronistic society, with a point
of view that throughout much of the world would have seemed
normal only a few centuries back, the Muslims of Hyderabad
sincerely believed that their group's portion was to rule, the
Hindus' portion to learn to be content. The Muslims reposed,
too, a remarkably blind faith in the legal validity of their posi-
tion, and it will be generally conceded that in the dispute with
India, Hyderabad's case was on the whole considerably the

stronger in law. Along with their false sense of traditional and
legalistic security went perhaps the opposite - a subconscious
fear. They were frightened by what, in the explosive weeks fol-
lowing partition, had happened to millions of their coreligion-
ists in northern India; frightened, perhaps, by the awareness of
what would happen to them, once they lost supremacy at home.
Such a dread, growing more intense and irrational, may have
inhibited them from facing facts, as well as driven them to
aggression. Or, more rationally, there were those who felt that
any concession to Hindu India would in any case eventuate in
their doom; and that therefore resistance, at whatever cost, could
not be wrong. Also, there was present that curious confusion
between the moral and material strength of Islam which besets
many Muslims.
However it may have arisen, the Muslims' hybris, the over-
weening pride that led them to extravagant folly, brought them,
as in a Greek drama, to disaster. That their fate was to some
degree deserved, their suffering therefore self-inflicted, is in-
tegral to the tragedy.

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