Theatrics of Okay M Munshi the Agent-Normal of India to Hyderabad State in 1948


Kanaiyalal Maneklal Munshi, a lawyer turned politician from Gujarat and former residence minister of Bombay Presidency sat within the Indian Independence Invoice convention chaired by Lord Mountbatten on July 2nd, 1947 alongside who’s who of Congress, oblivious to the function he needed to play within the upcoming months, i.e. of an Agent-Normal of India to Hyderabad State. He noticed the Invoice that proposed to let loose the 5 hundred and odd princely states off their paramountcy however to not embody them both within the Indian or Pakistani dominions as “afloating them on uncharted seas of chaos like derelict ships.”

Okay M Munshi’s reception at Hakimpet Airport, Hyderabad. Supply: Finish of an Period

Sardar Patel tried to recruit Okay M Munshi in December 1947 nevertheless it wasn’t till M Okay Gandhi persuaded him that Munshi had agreed. Gandhi had secured Munshi’s acceptance by advising him that the duty was “not merely a fee however his Dharma”.

Thus started Munshi’s journey with Hyderabad State affairs throughout it’s most politically tumultuous time in historical past which he documented in his memoir The Finish of an Period unraveling the roller-coaster like occasions culminating within the forceful accession of the state to the Indian Union. What stands out in his fascinating narrative is his dramatic private commentary invoking Hindu mythology interlaced with factual occasions at varied phases of the turmoil.

MS Education Academy

Drama had already arrived in Hyderabad even earlier than Munshi did.

Congress strategised a pre-emptive transfer by demanding the allocation of British Residency to deal with the Indian Agent-Normal throughout his keep in Hyderabad. The bluff was simple to be caught as this meant the Indian Agent-Normal was assuming the previous function of the British Agent who traditionally was housed on the residency and thus assuming the Paramountcy the British held over Hyderabad. The transfer created fairly a stir in Hyderabad and left all it’s stakeholders perturbed, from the Ala Hazrat to the Wazeer-e-Azam to the Ittehad-ul-Mussalmeen and so on. Nizam telegrammed his refusal to allocate the Residency. Qasim Razvi, the president of Ittehad threatened with an assault on Residency and that it’s bricks to be thrown into Musi River flowing by.

The British Residency, Hyderabad. Supply: Web

Mir Laiq Ali, the then Prime Minister of Hyderabad recounts, “maybe by no means earlier than in historical past had the arrival of a diplomatic consultant created a lot anxiousness gaining world’s consideration.” There have been even rumors being floated of an assault to grab British Residency by the Indian aspect utilizing forces nonetheless stationed in Secunderabad awaiting transition and of preparation of a counter-attack by Hyderabad. Such an occasion may have escalated in a short time right into a large-scale struggle throwing all diplomacy to wind. Defusing this rigidity was to turn out to be the best diplomatic contribution of Okay M Munshi who acquired on a cellphone name with Laiq Ali and recommended he be a visitor of the state as an alternative and be housed on the Bolarum Residency about 15 miles from the town, a secondary workplace utilized by the British Residents in summer season. Each agreed such a gesture wouldn’t hurt the emotions of Hyderabad whereas saving the status of Indian Authorities.

The Nizam reluctantly authorized the request for Bolarum Residency however just for 11 days till an alternate lodging was to be discovered. Munshi’s arrival in Hyderabad on Jan fifth 1948 was a grand affair with Hyderabad state reception and a guard of honor by Indian military models of Bolarum. In distinction, Hyderabad’s Agent-Normal to India, Nawab Zain Yar Jung who flew into Delhi the identical day was meted out a chilly reception marked with absence of Indian representatives.

Deccan Home aka “Dakshina Sadan”, Secunderabad. Supply: Finish of an Period

Munshi later shifted to “Deccan Home”, residence of a former British officer that he determined to rename as “Dakshina Sadan”, the Sanskrit model. Munshi’s notion of being Hyderabad’s “visitor” was became a possibility by Laiq Ali to limit his entry to state affairs as a lot as potential. Munshi’s unique dinner invitation to Nizam’s ministry was became Laiq Ali’s reception dinner for Munshi as an alternative. It didn’t assist Munshi’s trigger when he invoked a fictional “Hindu Kingdom” close by Hyderabad from one in all his novels on the feast. A small Razakar unit was deployed on bicycles by Dakshina Sadan to observe his actions intently. Munshi recalled Vishakadatt’s play “Mudra Rakshasa” the place he maybe noticed himself because the protagonist, Chandragupta Maurya and Qasim Razvi as his antagonist Rakshasa.

A reception by Secunderabad residents adopted at a racecourse chaired by Ramanand Tirtha at which Munshi in contrast the Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan to the Mughal Emperor Akbar, on the traces of their secular credentials. Munshi on his half thought he constructed a basis for the duty he had arrived for – as a midwife to help the start of a brand new Hyderabad State underneath India. Ittehad nevertheless took offence with the comparability, as Akbar wasn’t a “true Muslim” whereas the Nizam was the top of an “Islamic State”.

Okay M Munshi with Hyderabad dignitaries. Supply: Finish of an Period

It wasn’t like both Munshi or his counterpart Zain Yar Jung had any formal plans in place because the political strings had been held by V P Menon and Mir Laiq Ali, the think-tanks on both aspect of negotiations who used the Agent-Generals merely as props solely permitting them to improvise on the most. When Munshi realized this, he heartbreakingly shared his scenario with Sardar Patel as “Sita sitting alone within the Ashoka Vana”.

Quickly after, he obtained the information of M Okay Gandhi’s assassination and recollected Gandhi’s prophecy that if he had been ever to be killed it will be by the hands of a Hindu and never of a Muslim. He in contrast Gandhi’s dying with that of “Sri Krishna who died stuffed with age and divine honors however by the arrow of an obscure hunter; Socrates poisoned by his personal individuals; Jesus dying on cross by the venom of his personal individuals”.

On his half, Munshi improvised his bit placing friendships with North Indian baniyas of Hyderabad and with the aspirational State Congress members. Nonetheless nothing solidified into an precise plan of intervention into the exponentially worsening scenario by the day. Laiq Ali had in-fact succeeded to relegate Munshi to the background that the navy commander-in-chief of Hyderabad Syed Ahmed El-Edroos finds in his personal memoir to be one of many greatest wasted alternatives within the story of Operation Polo. That Munshi by no means was in a position to safe a gathering with the Nizam till after it was over stands as a sworn statement.

Munshi’s function in the direction of the tip was to speak with Hyderabad delegation on the United Nations in September 1948 to withdraw the case that the UN refused to just accept on suspicion of communication forgery. The Nizam’s accession speech is slightly considered penned by Munshi. The evening earlier than accession, the Nizam had referred to as Munshi and stated of Laiq Ali’s ministry “The vultures have resigned. I don’t know what to do subsequent.

The Indian military after the accession modified the identify of “Dakshina Sadan” again to “Deccan Home”.

Moses Tulasi is a Hyderabad-based documentary filmmaker who sometimes writes on Historical past and Tradition.


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