We can say at a very conservative estimate that in the whole state at least 27 thousand to 40 thousand people lost their lives during and after the police action.

This is what Sundarlal Report said over Operation Polo and invasion of Hyderabad, a completely avoidable affair. Was that necessary or is there a sort of foul play in place which moved the events to such a conclusion. Whether there is a motive or not, a reasonable doubt can be raised over that by comparing what Muhammad Ali Jinnah said to the Nizam of Hyderabad and to the Nawab of Bhopal.

Hamidullah Khan, in a letter to Jinnah on 2 August 1947, wrote,

Bhopal stands alone with an 80% Hindu majority in the midst of Hindu India, surrounded by my personal enemies as well as by the enemies of Islam. Pakistan has no means of helping us. You rightly made this plain to me last night.

In a meeting with Ali Yavar Jung(who took the minutes of the meeting and which Jinnah countersigned on 4 August 1947), Jinnah said,

…after all there was some such thing as standing for one’s own right, despite every threat or provocation. If it came to the worst, one should die fighting rather than yield on a point of fundamental principle. Mr Jinnah gave the illustration of what he called the greatest martyrdom in history, the example of Imam Hussain standing for what was right and giving his life for it. All the sanctions in the world then existing were applied against him and his followers but they withstood them and suffered wholesale butchery. It was a moral triumph and they gave their lives for it. That should be the attitude which the Nizam and his advisers and people should adopt. If it came to the worst, rather than yield to coercion or to the surrender of what was right, he should be prepared to abdicate and go in the last resort and show to the world that he had fought uncompromisingly for right as against might. Mr Jinnah said that, in our own times, England had done the same against the heaviest odds. Her people had fought till the end and had reversed the position, by perseverance and conviction, from defeat to victory.

Why this dichotomy? Jinnah asks Hamidullah Khan and then, he asks Nizam to fight for his death just three days later. Did he believe Hyderabad had a reasonable chance to resist India – to give enough time to Pakistan and other interested parties to come up with a game plan to ensure Hyderabad stays independent? If that’s the case, what KM Munshi wrote doesn’t inspire any confidence, either.  The day Operation Polo started, how did the wife of Hyderabad’s Commander-in-Chief know that the fight will not last no more than three days(it was actually five days) when the government fortified garrisons were expected to stand for months?

At 7 P.M. Mrs. El Edroos came to apologise to me on behalf of her husband for the rude behaviour of Brigadier Habib. She was very friendly. She whispered to me that her husband was an ‘angel’ and that in his opinion the Police Action would not last for more than three days. This was interesting enough.

In the afternoon, Raja Mahboob Karan saw me on behalf of the Prince of Berar. He told me that Naldurg, which according to official estimates was strong enough to stand out for three months, had beeen occupied by the Indian Army within a few hours.

Piecing things together, we notice that Jinnah goaded Hyderabad to fight till death but Hyderabad has ordered it’s army not to fight – it is just possible that this is just a token fight put before the world that Hyderabad resisted Indian advances and fell fighting bravely. What other hints do we have that the Nizam refused to fight?

  1. The Nizam has made plans to flee to Egypt but the flight took off without him because he was delayed by his prayers.
  2. Nizam’s surrender speech which abruptly ended all hostilities and softened all resistance to Indian troops.
  3. In an impossible coincidence, the Hyderabadi delegation to UNO was invalidated by the Nizam exactly at the moment they were supposed to get a resolution in their favour.

All of this begs one to question if Jinnah was not aware of Hyderabad’s intentions not to fight. Added to this, all of them – Nehru, Jinnah, El Edroos and the Nizam were close to Mountbatten.

If Jinnah knew Hyderabad is not going to fight, why did he argue in favour of an armed stand-off?

AG Noorani, in his book The Destruction of Hyderabad unwittingly comes to our aid.

He says that Nizam and Jinnah were not on good personal terms and in fact, in 1946, Nizam insulted Jinnah in a way Jinnah can never forget it.

Jinnah’s interview with the Nizam was a disaster. Sir Mirza’s account is based on Hosh Yar Jang’s testimony.  “He told me that Jinnah entered the room smoking a cigar, and seated himself in the chair in front of the Nizam with his legs outstretched. Immediately there was an explosion. H.E.H. exclaimed, “Do you know who I am? Is this the way you behave towards the Nizam of Hyderabad?” The attack was so sudden and unexpected that the visitor was completely flabbergasted; he withdrew his legs, threw away the offending cigar and apologized. But the storm having burst, apology did not ease the situation. The Nizam swamped him with angry questions. “What do you want? What do you want to tell me?” and so on and so forth. Jinnah sought to say something against the appointment, but before he could utter a few words, the Nizam cried – “I do not want any outside interference in my affairs. I can take care of the interests of my own people. I do not wish to discuss this matter with you.”

“I was told that “the whole Palace resounded with his angry voice, so much so that the oldest retainers said that they had never seen the Nizam in such a temper before.” In between the explosions, Jinnah somehow managed to play his last card by uttering the warning that the Muslim League would never extend any support to Hyderabad, either in its internal affairs or in the Constituent Assembly, if his advice was disregarded. That only made matters worse. “What do I care? You were never helpful. I am not going to ask for your help.” Jinnah then said something about constitutional reforms. The Nizam cut him short: “I am a busy person, Mr. Jinnah. I cannot go into details with you. If you wish to discuss the reforms, please go and see the minister in charge. Anything more? No? Then good-bye.”

Was there a revenge plan cooking in his mind, in response to this? May be. Look at what went on in a meeting between Jinnah and Monckton, the Nizam’s lawyer on 3 May 1947.

He spoke of political differences with Sir Mirza but was warm in his praise of his personal courtesy and kindness to Mr. Jinnah. He was not friendly in his references to H.E.H. He said that Hyderabad was dead and buried as far as he (Jinnah) was concerned.

When Jinnah wrote off Hyderabad and even the Nizam possibly knew it through his lawyer, what explains Jinnah’s persistence that Hyderabad should wage a Jihad to it’s death,? While the letter to Ali Yavar Jung produced above is a great giveaway of his feelings, one cannot even ignore his famous warning to Mountbatten on 12 July 1947 comes immediately to mind.

if Congress attempted to exert any pressure on Hyderabad, every Muslim throughout the whole of India, yes, all the hundred million Muslims, would rise as one man to defend the oldest Muslim dynasty in India.”

All for what? To satisfy his petty ego against the Nizam? And it’s sad to note that it didn’t concern him when thousands of Muslims were killed in his quest to satisfy his ego.

The Nizam is no saint either – the astute politician he is, Muhammad Haider, Hyderabad’s last Governor to Osmanabad expresses surprise that Nizam was outfoxed that easily and hints that it was the Nizam who was behind all this and gamed it in a way that he will emerge out of all this without a blemish – Qasim Razvi was buried and the Razakars banned, but what happened to the Nizam and his army?

Though one may see that both of them generally put a façade of civil praise in public,

we would see one outfoxing the other time and again. Who gained and who lost? And is Jinnah’s petty rivalry with the Nizam worth the blood shed?

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