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Response to the Nationalist Movement

Meanwhile, the formation of the Indian National Congress in 1885, had a ripple effect in the Hyderabad region with intellectuals such as Maulana Abdul Quayum, Ramchandra Pillai and Aghornath Chattopadhyay welcoming it. During the Swadeshi and Boycott movement in early 1900s, Arya Samaj took a leading role. Lokmanya Tilak organised widespread protests to further these movements in the Marathwada districts. Mr Jackson, the Collector of Nasik, was shot dead for arresting Lokmanya Tilak and sending him to jail.

i. Arya Samaj Movement and it's Impact

While the Arya Samaj focussed on protecting the rights of the Hindu Majority, who had been suffering from religious persecution during the Nizam’s rule, Congress emphasized on civil liberties and a broader goal of independence. The Communists on the other hand, aimed at fighting the feudal exploitation.

In 1892, Swami Nityananda Saraswati started the activities of the Arya Samaj in Hyderabad. In a short time, it attracted a large numbers of Hindus in the state. As early as in 1895, Arya Samaj organized Ganesh Utsav. The Arya Samajis fought for the protection of the Hindu community and chose passive resistance with ‘Shuddhi’ or religious conversion programmes.

The growing importance of Arya Samaj in the movement against Nizam’s rule irritated the Nizam Govt. and it branded Arya Samaj as non-Mulki (non-resident) and anti-Muslim. A heavy crackdown came upon the Arya Samaj and the Samaj responded with a Satyagraha in 1938. The Satyagrahis were supported by Hindu Mahasabha, RSS cadres and others. The Satyagrahis continued their protest in jail. The notable among them were ‘Vandemataram’ Ramachandra Rao. Students of Osmania University participated in large numbers in the Vandemataram movement. Reacting to this, the University expelled hundreds of students, who were later admitted to Nagpur University. Among the notable students, who joined the Vandemataram movement, was P V Narasimha Rao, who later became Prime Minister of India. Arya Samaj also set up Border Camps in Osmanabad, Sholapur, Amaravati, Pandharpur etc to resist the Nizam’s forces.

ii. The Role of the Hyderabad State Congress

In the Hyderabad struggle, the Hyderabad State Congress followed a national perspective in concordance with the Indian National Congress. It pursued peaceful and non-violent methods and ‘satyagraha’ with the political strategy to put pressure on the Nizam. The Hyderabad State Congress held its conferences outside the State in places such as Kakinada, Mumbai, Pune, and Akola. In 1938 in Haripura, when Subhash Chandra Bose became Congress President, a resolution was passed to support the struggle of the people in the Princely States. Encouraged by this, the Hyderabad State Congress attempted to organize a conference; but the Nizam responded by banning it. Prominent Congress leaders participated in the Satyagraha of 1938, but finally withdrew. When the Congress was driven out from their villages by the Nizam’s Police they established border camps to garner support from border States -- Marathwada, Kannada, Andhra regions. A section of the Hyderabad State Congress organised themselves through the Committee of Action, and conducted armed raids into Hyderabad from the border camps to resist the tyranny of the Nizam.

Some politically conscious Arya Samaj activists rose to prominent leadership positions in the State Congress. Swamy Ramananda Tirtha was instrumental in forging an alliance with the Communists culminating in a United Front against the Nizam. However, he was dissuaded in his efforts, as the Congress preferred to follow the traditional polity.

In 1946, when the independence of India became imminent, the Hyderabad State Congress began a campaign for merger of Hyderabad state with the Republic of India to put an end to the rule of the Nizam. On 15th August 1947, Ramananda Tirtha unfurled the Tricolour in public. Congress also organized Satyagraha in different places to elicit public opinion against the Nizam.

iii. Peasants' Movement led by the Communist Party

The Communists waged a massive armed struggle in Telangana during against the landlords and the Nizam for the protection of the rights of landless and marginal peasants. This found resonance amongst many noted leaders and Congress party leader Ravi Narayan Reddy, founder of the Comrade Association Makhdoom Moinuddin, socialist leader D Venkateshwara Rao and many others joined the Communist Party. The Communists often operated through the Andhra Mahasabha and adopted guerrilla warfare. On September 11, 1946, the Communist Party and its frontal organizations gave a call for an armed struggle against the Nizam’s rule. The Communists also had revolutionary women in their ranks, prominent among them was Chakali Ailamma. They frequently clashed with the Nizam’s police and the Razakars resulting in heavy casualties on both sides.

iv. Student & Youth Movement

The fight against Nizam also saw a largescale participation of the youth and students, particularly students at the Osmania University. The Reddy Hostel became a virtual headquarters of the student movement. Women and nationalist Muslims also participated in large numbers. Smt. Durga Bai Deshmukh was a prominent satyagrahi who was imprisoned several times. Shoebullah Khan, a prominent nationalist journalist and Editor of Imroze, was murdered by the Razakars for writing against the Nizam.

v. Tribal Rebellion

In 1930s, Komaram Bheem, a tribal Gond leader from Adilabad district, rose up in arms against the Nizam’s oppressive rule. He, in association with the Gonds, waged a prolonged battle against the Nizam. Making tribal rights around Jal, Jungle, Jameen his quintessential motto, he sustained a spirited battle against the Nizam. However, the Nizam’s police killed him in 1940.

vi. Nizam's Response to Political Movement

In 1920s, the Khilafat Movement brought the Hindu leaders and the Muslim intellectuals closer. A perturbed Nizam spared no efforts to create a Hindu-Muslim divide and in 1927, helped fundamentalists form Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen, an organization created by Yar Bahadur Jung, minister for Tablig, a ministry which encouraged proselytization. It was a fanatic Muslim organisation to perpetuate Muslim domination in Hyderabad state and further the Nizam rule. It targeted the Arya Samaj activists and nationalist movement and took up a massive conversion programme of proselytizing Hindus to Islam. In a short time, 20000 Hindus were converted, unleashing a wave of panic amongst the Hindu community. Meanwhile, the leadership of Ittehad passed on to Qasim Razvi, a lawyer from north India and a pro-Pakistan activist. Razvi organized a militant wing of Ittehad, called Razakars, and quickly created a 1.5 lakh strong armed volunteer group. He deputed them alongside the Nizam’s police, with the sole objective to terrorize Hindus, nationalist Muslims, and political opponents and if required, kill them.

Faced with a growing Hindu resentment and political pressure to integrate with Independent India, the Nizam gradually became overdependent on the Razakars, consequently Razvi became the de-facto head.

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