Razakars (Hyderabad)

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Razakar units being trained from Muslim volunteers.jpg
Razakar units being trained.
TypePrivate militia organised by Qasim Razvi
Legal statusAffiliated to the MIM
CoordinatesHouse of Nizams and Hyderabad State Forces
Region served
Hyderabad State
LeaderQasim Razvi
Parent organisation
Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen

The Razakars were a private militia organised by Qasim Razvi during the rule of Nizam Mir Sir Osman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VII. [1] They resisted the integration of Hyderabad State into the Dominion of India. They also had plans to make the Nizam accede his princely state to Pakistan instead of India.[citation needed][2] Eventually, the Indian Army routed the Razakars during Operation Polo. Qasim Razvi was initially jailed and then allowed to move to Pakistan where he was granted asylum, on an undertaking that he would migrate to Pakistan within forty-eight hours of his release.[3]

History & War crimes[edit]

Qasim Razvi, the leader of Razakars
Razakars during Operation Polo

The Hyderabad State was a kingdom that was ruled by the Nizam. When India became independent in 1947, like all the other Princely states, the Hyderabad State was also given the choice of either joining India or Pakistan. The Nizam wanted neither he wanted to remain independent. The Nizam finally entered into a standstill agreement with India on 29 November 1947 to maintain the status quo.[4]

Hyderabad state had been steadily becoming more theocratic since the beginning of the 20th century. In 1926, Mahmud Nawaz Khan, a retired Hyderabad official, founded the Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (also known as MIM). The MIM became a powerful organization, with the principal focus to marginalize the political aspirations of moderate Muslims.[5]

MIM "had its storm troopers in the Razakars who were headed by Kasim Razvi, a Muslim educated at Aligarh University who claimed Hyderabad was a Muslim state and that Muslim supremacy was based upon the right of conquest".[6] The Razakars demanded special powers from the Nizam, which they started to misuse and the Nizam had to abide by their dictates. The Nizam sent a delegation to the United Nations to refer the Hyderabad State case to the UN Security Council. Islamist leader Qasim Rizvi and the Razakars had the additional agenda to persuade the Nizam to accede to Pakistan, instead of remaining independent of both India and Pakistan.

The Razakar militia brutally put down the armed revolts by Communist sympathizers and the peasantry and even eliminated activist Muslims such as journalist Shoebullah Khan who advocated merger with India.[7][8] The Razakars terrorised the Hindu population and its sympathizers, causing many to flee to safety into the jungles, uninhabited mud forts, or neighboring Indian provinces.[9] Atrocities against Hindus were committed in convience? with Nizam, in spite of majority population was Hindus (Telugus: 50%, Marathi: 25%, Kannada: 11%)[10] The Hyderabad State Congress was banned and its leaders forced to flee to Bezawada or Bombay. The Communist Party of India also became active in attempting to defend the general population from the Razakar militia. It was during this time the Razakars launched a series of attacks on Hindu areas in which they killed livestock, looted, raped women and children, and mutilated and massacred able-bodied persons. The sheer massive extent of the genocide affecting the wide expanse of rural Telangana is not known as the Nizam regime attempted to cover up records of it happening and prevent information from spreading to external media.[11][12]

Annexation after Operation Polo[edit]

Finally, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the Indian Minister for Home Affairs, decided to undertake "police action" in Hyderabad State to force the King Nizam's hand.Operation Polo was launched and the Indian Army, led by Major General J. N. Chaudhuri, entered the state from five directions. The Razakars fought briefly against the overwhelming attack by Indian forces before surrendering on 18 September 1948. Mir Laik Ali, the Prime Minister of the Nizam, and Qasim Rizvi were arrested.
On 22 September 1948, the Nizam withdrew his complaint from the UN Security Council.[13] The merger of Hyderabad into the Indian Union was announced. Major General Chaudhuri took over as military governor of Hyderabad and stayed in that position till the end of 1949. In January 1950, M. K. Vellodi, a senior civil servant was made the Chief Minister of the state and the Nizam was given the position of "Raj Pramukh" or "Governor".

The Pandit Sunderlal Committee Report estimated that between 27,000 and 40,000 people lost their lives in the violence that ensued the operation.[14]


The Razakars were disbanded after the merger of Hyderabad with India and the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen was banned—though it was rechartered under the Congress government as All India MIM (AIMIM) in 1957. Qasim Rizvi was jailed and served in Indian prisons for almost a decade. He was released only on an undertaking that he would migrate to Pakistan within forty-eight hours of his release.[15] He was granted asylum in Pakistan.

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Adepu, Mahender (27 August 2017). "Bairanpalle Stands Witness to Gory Past". The Hans India. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  2. ^ Moraes, Frank, Jawaharlal Nehru, Mumbai: Jaico. 2007, p.394
  3. ^ "Hate speech not new for Owaisi clan". The Times of India.
  4. ^ Srinath, Raghavan (2010). War and peace in modern India. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 75. ISBN 9780230242159. OCLC 664322508.
  5. ^ Kate, Marathwada under the Nizams 1987, p. 73.
  6. ^ Moraes, Frank, Jawaharlal Nehru, Mumbai: Jaico. 2007, p.390
  7. ^ Rao, P.R., History and Culture of Andhra Pradesh: From the Earliest Times to 1991, New Delhi: Sterling Publishers, 2012. p. 284
  8. ^ Remembering a legend, The Hindu, 22 August 2008; Aniket Alam, A one-man crusade, it was and still is, The Hindu, 6 January 2003.
  9. ^ Kate, Marathwada under the Nizams 1987, p. 84.
  10. ^ "Articles". drthchowdary.net. Retrieved 16 June 2020.
  11. ^ Gollapudi, Srinivasa Rao (16 September 2014). "Razakars Reign of Terror Still Sends Shivers Down Their Spine". The Hindu. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  12. ^ Gollapudi, Srinivasa Rao (1 July 2016). "Survivor of Razakars' Brutality Reminisces". The Hindu. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  13. ^ "The Hyderabad Question" (PDF). UN Website.
  14. ^ Thomson, Mike (24 September 2013). "India's hidden massacre". BBC. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  15. ^ "Hate speech not new for Owaisi clan - Times of India ►". The Times of India.
  16. ^ "Razzakar". IMDB.
  17. ^ "Razakkar". The Times of India. 21 April 2016.

Further reading[edit]

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