The onset of election season leads to a palpable change in society in general, and in political circles in particular. Attempts to make a mountain out of a molehill suddenly crop up, often queering the pitch.
That appears to be the case in Telangana now, with the atmosphere changing and a discernible transformation in the political ambience of the state being observed.
On the one hand, the Congress in the Opposition has introduced six poll promises for the people of the state, while on the other, the BJP is harping on the alleged atrocities of the Nizam and his rule, besides bringing back the memories of Razakars in every possible form.
One such example is BJP politician Gudur Narayana Reddy launching a film titled Razakar — Silent Genocide of Hyderabad, which he has said would depict the hardships endured by Hindus at the hands of the Nizams and their paramilitary forces.
The film reportedly portrays the period when Hyderabad had not yet integrated with the Indian Union after the latter gained independence.
Interestingly, suspended BJP MLA T Raja Singh on Sunday, 17 September, released a teaser for the upcoming Telugu film.
“An excellent film titled ‘Razakar ‘ is soon to be released, focusing on the tragic events of the Hyderabad massacre during India’s struggle for independence, specifically targeting Hindus. I urge people to help promote awareness of this movie nationwide and contribute to its success,” tweeted Raja Singh after launching the teaser.
आजादी के समय हैदराबाद में रजाकारों द्वारा किए गए हिन्दुओं के नरसंहार पर एक बहुत बढ़िया मूवी आने वाली है…
आप सभी देश वासियों से विनती है हैदराबाद में हुए इस नरसंहार को पूरे हिन्दुस्तान के हिन्दुओं तक पहुंचाए और इस मूवी को सफल बनाएं।
— Raja Singh (@TigerRajaSingh) September 17, 2023
Even BJP national general secretary Bandi Sanjay Kumar — the former Telangana BJP chief — shared the teaser and stated: “Literally Goosebumps watching the trailer of the movie Razakar… Current generations should know about the struggles of Hyderabad Liberation. Let’s engage with history even as their pseudo intellectuals try to erase it.”
Literally Goosebumps watching the trailer of the movie Razakar…
Current generations should know about the struggles of Hyderabad Liberation.
Let’s engage with history even as there pseudo intellectuals try to erase it. pic.twitter.com/gWsWYK7Y89
— Bandi Sanjay Kumar (@bandisanjay_bjp) September 17, 2023
Kaloji Narayana Rao: A defiant hero always associated with Telangana’s history
The makers speak
The film, written and directed by Yata Satyanarayana, is set to release in multiple languages — including Telugu, Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, and Malayalam.
It features an ensemble cast, with Bobby Simha, Vedhika, Anishka Tripathi, Prema, Indraja, and Makarand Deshpande in the lead roles. The release date of the film has not been finalised.
During the teaser launch, producer Gudur Narayana Reddy said vote-bank politics and pseudo-secularism had played a role in historical truths being concealed from the public.
“The present generation gaining awareness about the events that transpired during the Nizam era in Hyderabad is important. Everything depicted in the movie is based on real occurrences, with no fictional elements,” he said.
He also stated that for those who lived under the Nizam rule, 17 September, 1948, represented the true Independence Day.
Meanwhile the director of the film Yata Satyanarayana said that they were attempting to rectify the whitewashing of true history through Razakar. “During that era, residents of Telangana, parts of Karnataka, and Maharashtra were largely unaware of India’s 1947 Independence,” said the director.
The director claimed that the film was devoid of any communal angle, and urged the audience to view it through a humanitarian lens.
According to the filmmaker, doing so would enable a better understanding of the genuine historical events as they unfolded.
Hyderabad, 17 Sept: What was it called in 1948, and when did ‘liberation’ come?
KTR slams move
Taking note of the teaser having a communal tone, Telangana Minister of IT and Industries and BRS working president KT Rama Rao said the BJP was doing its best to instigate communal violence and polarisation.
“Some intellectually bankrupt jokers of the BJP are doing their best to instigate communal violence and polarisation for their political propaganda in Telangana. We will take up the matter with censor board and also the Telangana police to ensure that the law and order situation of Telangana is not affected,” said KTR on X.
Some intellectually bankrupt jokers of the BJP are doing their best to instigate communal violence and polarisation for their political propaganda in Telangana
We will take up the matter with censor board and also the Telangana police to ensure that the law & order situation of… https://t.co/a7DETpVGKP
— KTR (@KTRBRS) September 18, 2023
BRS spokesperson Sravan Dasoju said Bandi Sanjay Kumar needed to study the factual history of the armed struggle.
“Are you ready to debate who were behind the Razakars? Are you ready to discuss the brutal and barbaric role of our so-called landlords and rulers of Gadis and Samstahnams during the times of Razakar atrocities? Are you ready to discuss the atrocities and violence that occurred even after the era of Razakars?” he asked.
“Being a member of Parliament, it is unbecoming and unacceptable of Bandi Sanjay Kumar to even welcome the Razakar teaser, which is aimed at reopening a wound that healed several decades ago,” said Dasoju.
He added for the sake of petty politics of polarisation, Razakar was being produced and promoted as a criminal conspiracy to destroy social tranquillity, to foster hatred and a divisive atmosphere, and also to contaminate the very social fabric of the “Ganga-Jamuna Tehzib” in Telangana and Hyderabad.
Mr @bandisanjay_bjp you need to study the factual history of Armed Struggle..
Are you ready to debate who were behind the Razakars?
Are you ready to discuss the brutal and barbaric role of our so called landlords and rulers of Gadis and Samstahnams during the times of Razakar… https://t.co/AaqJdoJQme
— Prof Dasoju Srravan (@sravandasoju) September 18, 2023
During the Hyderabad Liberation Day celebrations on Sunday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah remarked that vote-bank politics had hindered political parties from commemorating the event.
Taking this forward, Bandi Sanjay Kumar stated in an attack on KTR: “First they back track on their promise to celebrate Liberation Day… Now when the realities of Razakars are shown, Twitter Tillu or X Tillu has a problem. This is just a trailer. On a Hindu festival of Ganesh Chaturthi, he didn’t even care to convey greetings, but instead decided to attack a movie that has shown Hindu genocide by Razakar. Let’s all pray to Lord Ganesha to instil some sense into Tillu instead of engaging in futile attempts to erase history.”
First they back track on their promise to celebrate Liberation Day…
This is just a trailer.
— Bandi Sanjay Kumar (@bandisanjay_bjp) September 18, 2023
On 17 September, 1948, Hyderabad was integrated into the Union of India as the Indian Army overcame the Hyderabad state, compelling both the Razakars — the Nizam’s private army — and the Hyderabad Army to surrender their arms.
The Razakars were the paramilitary volunteer force associated with the nationalist party in the Hyderabad state during the rule of the Nizam. Established in 1938 under the leadership of Bahadur Yar Jung, a leader of the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen. The Razakars significantly expanded during the tenure of Qasim Razvi around the time of India’s independence.
Following the integration of Hyderabad into the Indian Union, Qasim Razvi was initially imprisoned. He was subsequently permitted to relocate to Pakistan, where he was granted asylum.
The armed struggle during the Nizam’s rule and the atrocities committed by the Razakars have been extensively documented in history and portrayed in cinema over the years, often with a jingoistic and overtly right-wing narrative, as seen in films like The Kashmir Files or The Kerala Story.
The Razakar movie appears to be following a similar path.
During the Karnataka election, even Prime Minister Narendra Modi brought up The Kerala Story and promoted it in rallies.
It is worth noting that the poster for Razakar — Silent Genocide of Hyderabad, released in July, depicted a young man with a religious tuft being impaled by a bayonet.
At the poster-release event, BJP leaders, including Bandi Sanjay and former Maharashtra Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, spoke about the terror inflicted by the Razakars.
The call to ban the film doesn’t stem from any support for Razakars but is a response to the concern of stereotyping the Muslim community based on the actions of #Razakars, which could potentially disrupt the peaceful atmosphere in Telangana through polarization & communalization https://t.co/GUMptU0iMh
— S.Q.Masood | مسعود (@SQMasood) September 18, 2023
Gudur Narayan Reddy, the producer of the film, began his political journey in the 1980s by working with the Congress’ student wing NSUI.
Over time, he ascended through the political ranks to become the treasurer of the Congress in the state. He even contested elections as a candidate for MLA and MLC on the Congress ticket.
However, in the wake of the BJP’s surge in Telangana during 2020, he chose to resign from the Congress and joined the BJP. He also serves as the president of the Telangana Organ Donor Association, an NGO.