By Narendra Luther
Kasim Razvi was the one man for giving Hyderabad its only traumatic experience in its history. More than anybody else, he invited the ‘Police Action’ on Hyderabad.
Razvi hailed from Uttar Pradesh and became a lawyer in Latur in Osmanabad, a district of the Hyderabad State. He became a member of the Majlis-e- Ittehad-ul Mussalmeen of which Bahadur Yar Jung was the president. Razvi was a highly emotional person. Once when the Bahadur Yar Jung came to Latur to set up the Party office there, Razvi offered his house for that purpose and starting throwing out his furniture in the street to vacate it.
President of the Majlis
On the sudden and untimely death of Bahadur Yar Jung in 1946, Razvi succeeded him as President of the party. He imparted a sharp militancy to it and delivered highly provocative speeches. He exhorted Muslims to remember that they had conquered India by sword and that they were destined to rule.
When India became independent in 1947, Nizam tried to become an independent ruler. Razvi encouraged him in his ambition. He declared that the waters of the Bay of Bengal would wash his feet. He also bragged that the Nizam’s flag would flutter on the Red Fort at Delhi.
Razvi fanned communalism in a State, which was generally known for its communal harmony. He created a para- military force composed of volunteers called ‘razakars’. Every razakar had to take pledge that he would lay down his life for the leader and the party and he would fight to the last to maintain the Muslim hegemony in the State. The razakars were given military training and they were armed with sticks, swords, and some with guns. Razvi was the Field Marshal of the outfit and like his followers wore khaki uniform.
When after protracted negotiations, the Nizam and the Government of India decided to enter a Standstill Agreement in 1947, Razvi’s razakars prevented the members of the State delegation from leaving for Delhi to sign it. They also manhandled the Prime Minister and others. They spread a reign of terror in the State and Razvi issued severe threats to everyone who dared to oppose or even differed from him. A young journalist, Shoebullah Khan was murdered by razakars because he wrote in favour of State’s integration with India.
Razvi’s power grew and he and his people came to wield increasingly greater influence with the Nizam and the his government. The moderate Prime Minister, Sir Mirza Ismail was hounded out of the State. So was Nawab Chhatari who had returned to Hyderabad for a second term as Premier in 1947.
In January 1948, Razvi imposed a new government on the State. Mir Laik Ali was appointed its Prime Minister. The Muslims affected by the Partition riots were encourage to come to Hyderabad. Many harassed Hindu families left the state for the safety of India.
The Government of India launched the ‘Police Action’ against Hyderabad on 13 September 1948. Four days later, the Nizam declared an unconditional surrender and General J.N. Choudhuri was appointed the military Governor of the State.
All ministers and some prominent leaders of the Ittehad including Razvi were taken into custody.
After detailed investigation, three criminal cases were filed against Razvi and six others: the Aland Murder Case; the Shoebullah Khan Murder Case; and the Bibinagar Dacoity Case. A special tribunal with three judges -- one Christian, one Muslim, and one Hindu was constituted to try the accused. Later, the Government withdrew the Aland Murder case for want of sufficient evidence. Askar Yar Jung, a former member of the State Judicial Committee was appointed the defense counsel along with some others to assist him. At the argument stage, Razvi asked for the removal of the counsels and argued his own case.
Jail for Razvi
On 10 September 1950 the Tribunal awarded Razvi seven years hard labour in the case of the Bibinagar Dacoity Case, and life sentence in the Shoebullah Khan Murder Case. On appeal in the High Court, the life sentence was quashed but the sentence for seven years hard labour was upheld. The Razkar supremo was sent to the Chanchalguda Jail in the city, put in fetters and asked to cut grass in the jail compound.
Zahid Ali Kamil was a young advocate and an admirer of Razvi. On his own admission, he used to smuggle messages to and from Razvi in the jail. A copy of Razvi’s strong letter written to Nehru, the Prime Minister of India was smuggled out. So was his threat to resort to hunger strike for the harsh treatment meted out to the razakars by the Government. To put a stop to that, the Government shifted Razvi to Yervada Jail in Pune in 1954. He served the rest of his term there.
Deserted by followers
Razvi was released on 11 September 1957. Kamil went to Pune and drove him to his house in Adikmet in his car. He summoned a meeting of the general body of the party. Only about forty of the 140 members responded to the invitation. At the meeting he invited leading members of the Party to take up the Presidentship of the party. No one came forward. Razvi was so disappointed that he declared that he was willing to offer the job to any male Muslim above the age of twelve! Finally, Abdul Wahid Owaisi was made the president of the Party. Now his son, Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi is the president of the party. Thereafter, at a press conference, he announced that having no future in India, he would be leaving for Pakistan.
Leaves for Pakistan
Having settled the issue of party presidentship, Razvi left for Pakistan on 18 September –exactly to the day of the completion of the Police Action nine years ago. Kamil flew with him up to Mumbai and then saw him off.
Razvi received no reception in Pakistan, not even support, or recognition. He set up his legal practice amongst the refuges from India in Karachi. He died at the age of sixty-seven on 15 January 1970, unwept and unwept in a land far distant from the one which he had dreamt about making an independent Islamic kingdom.