Message: “The Telangana people’s agrarian and democratic movement was advancing rapidly. As Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Deputy Premier of the Indian Union Government, again and again declared, the Communists were already in control over more than two districts and they threatened to spread their grip all over the state. So, it was necessary to march in the Indian armies, not merely to force the Nizam to merge with the Indian Union but destroy the Communists, that is, the agrarian democratic people’s movement in Telangana. Rajaji, the then Governor-General, openly in his proclamation, declared this as one of the objectives of the Indian army intervention.” (From Page 191; Telangana People’s Struggle and its Lessons!!)
Patel, the so called the Iron man of India, did not act as an individual but as part of the Indian Government and a well-planned strategy to crush the democratic peasants’ movement of Telangana against the Nizam and his despotic, dictator army and the Razzacks!
General Chowdhary was appointed with a free hand to crush the movement and he boasted to finish the people and Communists’ resistance within 2 weeks and within 2 weeks of Indian Army entering the Hyderabad state, full-fledged offensive started against the people by the end of Dec, 1948!!
On the other side, Nizam with full respect was re-instated as ruler of Hyderabad along with his army, looters, rapists, murderers, and others!
This was in short, the great deeds of Patel with Nehru!! He was tasked to demolish the movements of peasants of Telangana, who were fighting since 1943 with Andhra Mahasabha and Communist Party. In fact, these peasants were fighting much before this, since the early 1920s, but now in more united and militant way, against heavy feudal landlords and their all forms of exploitations!
This movement changed into agrarian revolt, raising slogans of abolition of Land-lordism, Nizam’s autocratic rule, liquidation of princely state, and merger with rest of India!! The military regime under General J. N. Chowdhury launched its attacks on the people of Telangana immediately, within a fortnight, by September end. The formal struggle against the Razakars was stopped. Men, like, Kasim Razvi, who was the arch-criminal in the state-wide killings and lootings, were only imprisoned and were given Class I treatment inside jails; many others were not even put behind the bars and were just let off. On the other hand, they started the campaign of suppression of Communists.
Congress members and Patel’s men made every police station as their office and helped the Razakars, land lords to re-store ‘their’ land and re-establish their authority and terror over the poor!! Congress replaced the Nizam and his terror with more power and more crimes!!
This is what Iron man’s Army did to poor Telangana peasants:-
Herding people at one place, beating them to reveal the whereabouts of Communists and to return deshmukh’s properties had become the daily routine. People were severely beaten up with lathis, butt-ends of guns and tamarind birches, without any discrimination between men and women, young and old. One military commander by name Sitapati excelled himself in the torture of the people. Tamarind canes were carved in the shape of hammer and sickle, and with them he used to get people beaten up so that the mark of the hammer and sickle was left on their backs.
Terror and Terror
Sardar Ballav Bhai Patel and his army let lose all imaginable terror on peasants and those who opposed the Nizam and his Army with vengeance!
In Loyapalli and surrounding villages, people were thrown into thorny bushes and were trampled upon by the military with their boots on. At 12 noon, in hot sun, people were made to crawl on those thorny bushes on their knees and elbows. The whole, place was splattered with blood. Three hundred men became unconscious. When soldiers asked the people after all this Nazi torture, whether they would give up the Communists, the people replied in one voice: “never will we give them up in our lives”!
Women raped; an example—
– According to available reports, more than 1,000 women were raped during the first year and a few thousands during the whole period. Because a number of brutes raping women in a row, more than 100 women died. – Women’s breasts were pulled and crushed with iron forceps, and babies were killed before the very eyes of their mothers. – In Nereda, 70 women were stripped naked, chameleons tied to their thighs and chilli powder thrown into the wounds. (Page 199 ibid)
From next page:-
SADISTIC MURDERS: BURNT ALIVE, BURIED ALIVE, BUTCHERED EN MASSE – Comrade Rangayya of Chandupalli was tied to a cart and burnt alive. He died shouting, “Communist Party Zindabad.” – Comrade Ramulu was caught in an encirclement raid at Miryala (Suryapet taluka). Failing to get any secrets from him, he was tied to a lorry and dragged on the road until his body was torn to bits.
There are 100s of such stories mentioned in the quoted book and the people, especially the old ones, still remember!
Voice against “Death Sentence” of few Comrades
On May 23, 1949 Hyderabad was studded with posters demanding the cancellation of death sentences on the Telangana heroes. In the evening, a mass rally was organised and a procession brought out shouting slogans, – ‘Hands off Telangana.’ Such was the protest movement led by the working class and supported by the students, progressive intellectuals and the toiling youth, and such was the agitation throughout India and the world that Nehru’s Military Government had to beat a retreat and suspend the death sentences.
In jail also, there were protests by the political prisoners. In Jalana jail, 2000 prisoners were dumped, where even 500 could not be accommodated, latrine was not enough, food provided was not sufficient, forget about medicine, newspaper (except for few days after long struggle, later withdrawn) etc.
On May 19, 1949 the prisoners saw in the papers the news of the above mentioned death sentence on the 8 Nalgonda heroes. Their anger knew no bounds. What followed was a glorious story of the prisoners’ heroic battle and the black act of Nehru’ Patel’s officials, sent to “exterminate the Communists” and save his new partner – the Nizam. The 2,000 prisoners asked the Superintendent to send a protest telegram to Nehru and the Military Governor. The callous refusal to meet this demand was followed by slogans and the prisoners gathered in a demonstration.
So far we have seen, how the so called iron man was part of the system, the union government, which joined the earlier tyrant Nizam forces along with Congress goons to crush the peasants of Telangana and their democratic forces. They preferred to join the feudal forces against the progressive and revolutionary forces!
Example of How Judiciary System was subverted!!
From page 386(ibid):-
When outside, the Party got news of this, it immediately filed a writ petition in the court. The High Court ordered both these comrades to be produced before it. Immediately on receipt of this order, the military authorities and the Government hatched a conspiracy. If the comrades’ in their present position were produced in the court, the army authorities would get a stricture from the court and their atrocities would be exposed. So they took their prisoners to a nearby hillock and shot them.
This was done to 2 party members, Seeta Rami Reddy and Ramachandra Reddy, who were caught by the military a month ago and were being tortured immensely! This was the system, a democratic one, of Ballavbhai Patel and Nehru!! Nazis and American military had to learn from our “peaceful democratic” heroes!! Page 391-392(ibid):- The Congress Government which had ordered the entry of the Indian armies into Hyderabad, no doubt, ended the Razakar menace and also the dynastic rule of the Nizam. But the Union Government not only permitted the hated Nizam Nawab to continue as Rajpramukh, keeping intact the feudal state boundaries of Hyderabad state, but also directed its main attack against the hard-won gains of the Telangana peasantry and the Communist Party and Andhra Mahasabha which were leading the heroic Telangana struggle. The destruction of the popular democratic peasant movement and the Communist Party became the principal aim and the immediate task of the Indian Government and its armed forces.
“During the last three years, all progressive forces in our country have realised that the boastful claims that the Indian Union army’s action was intended only to end the hated Nizam’s feudal rule and to usher in democratic rule, are utterly false. Through hundreds of meetings, demonstrations, memoranda, they demanded and forced the Government to stay the hangings of the 12 Telangana heroes and commute their death sentences. The selfish reactionaries who were behind the Indian Government, were effectively able to prevent land reforms being enacted, abolishing feudal landlordism, giving land to the tiller and thus solving the people’s food problem.” (Page 418 ibid) “For the last five years the Telangana people have been waging an armed struggle, under the leadership of the Andhra Mahasabha and the Communist Party, against the Nizam Nawab and the landlords, for land and for national freedom. When the Nizam Nawab’s regime was about to collapse, the armies of the Congress Government entered Hyderabad, on the plea of putting an end to the Nizam Razakars, but in reality engaged in destroying the gains of the Telangana people. They kept the Nizam Nawab as Rajpramukh. They started seizing lands from the Telangana peasantry and handing over their possession to the deshmukhs and the landlords. The Telangana people, under the leadership of their Party, resisted the Nehru army’s attacks and defended their lands. During the last 3 years, even though Nehru’s armies subjected hundreds of thousands of people to brutal tortures, raped thousands of women, burnt village after village, forced tribal people to vacate their villages and put them in concentration camps (new settlement villages outside the forests, with military guard all round), shot dead about 2,000 guerrillas, Party and people’s leaders, and the militant supporters of the Party, the Telangana people were able to defend and retain many of their gains!” (Page 426 ibid)
The quoted book, spread over 400 pages, written by the famous leader of the movement P Sundarayya, gives us the vivid picture of not only the brutal suppression of peasants and their leaders but also the true motif of the Central government, Congress and its leaders, Nehru and Patel!
In recent times, the glorification of these leaders and even differentiating among them, is nothing but to ‘justify’ the ‘need of dictatorship’ by Congress and now BJP! This gives us ample warning of impending fascism, visible by the Land Acquisition Bill, and other liquidation of Labour laws, to weaken the working class further in favour of big corporates, capitalists to expand and deepen their process of wealth accumulation!
To end, I will quote the following,
Page 554, Telangana People’s Struggle and its Lessons;-
(Given below is a poem, Tales of Telangana, written by Harindranath Chattopadhyay, at the time of the Telangana armed struggle.)
Now let me write it down, A tale of Telangana, harrowing tale Yet brimmed with hope wrought of grim sacrifice; A tale of murdered innocents, raped honour, Broken masses bleeding under the stress Of the last struggle, one with the bitter struggle Of lingering colonies that will not brook Longer continuance of fascist greeds, Imperialist grabs with callous guns for mouths And hireling bombs spreading incessant menace. You’ve heard of Telangana, have you not? The world has heard and wondered … It is another name for history Revised, historic values re-arranged, Re-shuffled. It is echoed and re-echoed Through the dark corridors of future time Through which historic logic treads towards Its grand fulfilment.
By: KK Singh