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Restive Owaisis- Re-visiting Qasim Rizvi?

Paper No. 5853                                      Dated 01-Jan-2015

By R. Upadhyay

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen President and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi while speaking after releasing a book “Mere Taboot Par Jashna”(Celebration on my Coffin) in last September (2014) at Hyderabad criticised the demand of the local unit of the BJP and other parties to celebrate September 17 officially as “Hyderabad Liberation Day”. He demanded the State Government to include a chapter on seventh Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan in the school syllabus of Telangna State. (http://www.siasat.com/english/news/asaduddin-owaisi-demands-chapter-niza...).

Owaisi clan of Hyderabad is known for their controversial statements from the day they inherited the legacy and succession of Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) in 1957 by prefixing All India in it. Thus, the AIMIM emerged as the re-incarnation of the dreaded, divisive communal and violent MIM. Unfortunately, its leaders too remained perpetually restive and aggressive against the constitutional establishment of the country to keep the legacy of Nizam and Qasim Rizvi, a militant Islamist in his (Nizam) army.

Rizvi who was the president of MIM, a historically divisive and disruptive political formation had a black record of setting up the infamous, communal and violent Islamic militia known as Razakars as a para-military Islamic force under the patronage of Nizam to defend his sovereignty over Hyderabad State against the proposal for its merger with Indian Union.

With Razakars under his command, Rizvi was so powerful that he was virtually the proxy ruler in the streets of Hyderabad and Aurangabad where the Islamic militia committed a reign of terror.  His militant and hateful mind-set could be judged from the threat he gave to the Government of India during talks with V. P. Menon, the then Secretary in the Ministry of States in Delhi. He said, “if Government of India insisted on a plebiscite, the final arbiter could only be the sword”. (Integration of the Indian States by V. P. Menon, page334). Similarly in one of his jehadi speeches as published in press, he asserted: “The day is not far off when the waves of the Bay of Bengal will be washing the feet of our sovereign”. He further declared that “he would plant the Asaf Jahi flag on the Red Fort in Delhi” (Ibid. page 352).

A later day  provocative public speech of Asaduddin’s brother Akbaraduddin Owaisi, the MLA of AIMIM in Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh that “Get the police out of the way for 15 minutes and we will show you who is more powerful” wass similar to the threat of Rizvi.

The political ideology of Razakar commander Rizvi as the president of the MIM which believed that “the ruler throne (Nizam) is the symbol of the political and cultural rights of the Muslim community …. (and) this status must continue forever”. (Party Politics in Andhra Pradesh by Vadakattu Hanumantha Rao, 1983, Page 163) appears to be the core ideology of the AIMIM leaders even now.

The MIM had also “proclaimed Muslims as the monarchs of Deccan with Nizam as only the symbolic expression of their political sovereignty. It demanded the creation of an independent Hyderabad to synchronise with the lapse of British paramountcy”. (State Government and Politics – Andhra Pradesh by Reddy & Sharma, 1979, page392).

Demanding an inclusion of a chapter on Nizam in school syllabus of Telangna by Asaduddin Owaisi as president of AIMIM is apparently a repeat of the above belief of the parent body MIM. A brief historical background of the AIMIM may be necessary to understand the political game of the Owaisi brothers.

After the death of Bahadur Yar Jung in early forties of the last century, the command of the MIM was taken over by Kasim Razvi, who enrolled a large number of Muslim youths as Razakars to fight against the freedom fighters of Congress, Arya Samaj and Hindu Mahasabha and emerged as “champion of Muslims and protector of a Muslim State”. The militancy of the party however reached to its peak when India was already in the process of Independence and partition and  the Razakars added a dangerous extra dimension of complexity by fomenting widespread unrest in the region.

After Independence when the negotiation between Nizam and Government of India for the accession of Hyderabad into Indian Union was in progress, the Razakars created a reign terror to such an extent that led the Indian Army to a swift action which could control Rizvi and his Razakars within four days. The sword of Rizvi failed to protect the end of the autocratic rule of Nizam, who surrendered at 1700 hours on September 17, 1948 and integration of Hyderabad State with Indian Union which was the demand of the people of the region became a reality.

The radio speech of Nizam on September 23 was in fact a confession of being a prisoner of MIM activists led by Razvi. He said, “In November last, a small group which had organized a quasi-military organization surrounded the homes of my Prime Minister, the Nawab of Chhatari, in whose wisdom I had complete confidence, and of Sir Walter Monkton, my constitutional Adviser, by duress compelled the Nawab and other trusted ministers to resign and forced the Laik Ali Ministry on me. This group headed by Kasim Razvi had no stake in the country or any record of service behind it. By methods reminiscent of Hitelerite Germany it took possession of the State, spread terror … and rendered me completely helpless.” (From Autocracy to Integration by Lucien D Benichou, Orient Longman 2000, Page 237).

MIM was proscribed and Razvi was jailed. He was released only in 1957 after giving an undertaking that he would migrate to Pakistan within forty-eight hours of his release. On the eve of his departure to Pakistan, he convened a meeting of the influential Muslims of Hyderabad and requested anyone of them to take over the command of the MIM. When none was ready to accept the succession of this banned party which portrayed the Nizam as a symbol of political and cultural rights of the Muslim community, an affluent cleric and lawyer Maulana Abdul Wahid Owaisi, the grandfather of Asaduddin voluntarily accepted the offer. Rizvi immediately proposed his name as president of the MIM which was seconded by the participants.

The gesture of Owaisi in accepting the leadersip of MIM was seemingly a reflection of his loyalty to both Nizam and Rizvi. Although, his status in Nizam administration is not much known but his gratuitous nod to Rizvi offer made him the leader of the restive Hyderabadi Muslims in general and particularly those of the Arab origin in particular. Since MIM was a banned organisation - surprisingly, Wahed gave a new name to MIM as All India MIM (AIMIM). He accepted the Indian Constitution but kept his party perpetually under the shadow of Nizam, Rizvi and the MIM.

Since the re-birth of the AIMIM, the restive and aggressive character of its leaders shows that the party has not yet reconciled with the democratic reality of the country and continues to nurse the deep rooted Islamist design and hatred of Qasim Rizvi. Therefore, even after the end of Nizam rule and migration of Rizvi to Pakistan; the Muslims of the region and wealthy section of them particularly with Arab origin under the umbrella of AIMIM remained restive as they lost their dominant positiion in the State.

Against the backdrop of the discussion, the speech of Asaduddin Owaisi for inclusion of a chapter of Nizam does not appear to be in a vacuum. He is still not ready to unload the mental burden of Nizam rule when he portrays “the generous contributions of Nizam to a large number of temples in and outside his state” but forgets the carnage of the innocent majority population of this State by the Razakars under the patronage of Nizam without which the chapter on him will not be complete. He remembers the contribution of Nizam to Hindu temple but forgot it when his party raised strong protest against some addition and alteration in the Mahalaxmi temple adjacent to the Char Minar in Hyderabad.

Raising the issue of glorifying the former ruler, Owaisi only pursues the communal polarisation for his self seeking political ambition. Will he like that the people of this region to re-visit the incident of brutal attack of Razakars on the majority population of Telangna when Nizam was its ruler?

Owaisi must try to understand that Nizam was a “faithful ally” of the British and had neither supported the revolt of 1857 nor the Quit India Movement 1942 and accordingly enjoyed the favour of the colonial power. Thus, inclusion of chapter on glorification of Nizam in Telangna school syllabus would be an insult to the sacrifice of the people of the former state of Hyderabad during its merger with Indian Union. They will never forget the violent, aggressive and communal face of the pre-merger MIM and its Islamic force Razakars commanded by Qasim Rizvi under the patronage of Nizam.

In fact the Nizam affair is no more an issue after the merger of Hyderabad with Indian Union either for Telangna, or from any national or international point of view. Nehru wrote to Sardar Patel in his letter from Paris dated 27 October, 1948, in the context of the accession of Hyderabad.: “My visits to London and Paris have helped me not only to understand the international situation a little better but also and more specially the position of India in relation to it… Both Hyderabad and Kashmir have troubled people a lot here (Paris which was temporary headquarters of UNO then) and in London. It is recognised, of course, that the Hyderabad affair is over from international point of view. It is very fortunate that we could dispose of it rapidly. Otherwise reactions to it would have been very much adverse to us as it is difficult to explain everything…”  (http://deshgujarat.com/2008/04/21/sardar-patel-and-hyderabad-hindi-video...).

Perhaps Nehru didn’t visualise that even after the initial set back, the loyalists of Nizam under the banner of AIMIM will carry forward the restive, violent, aggressive and communal legacy of Nizam and his razakars due to the support of the ‘secular’ parties in the country. Since AIMIM has been an ally of the Nehruvian Congress in the state and also in UPA, it took advantage of its support. The people of the country has nothing to do with the legacy of Nizam and therefore, the party leaders must accept the secular and democratic spirit of the country and also dispose off  Nizam and Rizvi as was done  by Nehru in his letter to Sardar Patel.

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