A movie on Razakars' violent history in BJP's arsenal for Telangana

With its eyes set on Telangana, the BJP is resurrecting the story of a violent Muslim paramilitary force that was used to wreak havoc while the last Nizam of Hyderabad attempted to stay as an independent state’s ruler during India’s independence.
An image of Hyderabad Nizam and Qasim Razvi
An image of Hyderabad Nizam and Qasim RazviIllustration by Shambhavi Thakur
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Medieval times, contemporary conflicts, current political events — history in all its forms is fodder for the Hindutva political agenda and its propaganda films. Joining the notorious list of films such as The Kashmir Files and Kerala Story is Razakar: The Silent Genocide of Hyderabad — and this time, there are no thin veils separating the art from the BJP. Silent Genocide is bankrolled by a BJP leader from Telangana, Gudur Narayana Reddy. Going by the poster and the discourse around the upcoming film, this ‘historical’ outing on screen is likely to have little in terms of nuance. 

For decades, Hindutva ideologues have tried to present this chapter of history as a case of Hindu persecution at the hands of a Muslim militia backed by a Muslim ruler, which was crushed by the Indian Army through Operation Polo in 1948. This version however refuses to look at the peasant uprising in the region at the time — and the relationship between the Muslim rulers and Hindu feudal lords who together subjugated the working class.

The villainy of Hyderabad’s Razakars during the tumult of 1947-48 is a well documented chapter in the history of the erstwhile princely state. In this 3250-word piece, Yunus Lasania reminds us that a catastrophic period in Hyderabad's history which ended with the massacre of thousands of Muslims, as estimated by the Pandit Sunderlal Commission of Enquiry, cannot be ‘fictionalised’ into convenient binaries.

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