On September 17, the state of Maharashtra observes Marathwada Liberation Day. The day commemorates the anniversary of the region’s accession to the Indian Union after Indian troops defeated the Nizam of Hyderabad. Marathwada Liberation Day is also known as Marathwada Mukti Sangram Din.
History and Significance
On August 15, 1947, India gained independence. Following partition, princely states were given the choice of joining either India or Pakistan. Of the 565 princely kingdoms, 562 merged into India. The princely realms of Hyderabad, Junagadh, and Kashmir refused to join the Union. To avert the country’s disintegration, the Indian government launched “Operation Polo”, a military operation to merge Hyderabad with India. At the time, Hyderabad was ruled by Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan Bahadoor, who chose to maintain his independence. Thirteen months after India gained independence, the Indian Army conducted an operation to incorporate Marathwada into India.
Khan wanted sovereignty to his princely realm, which comprised the present states of Maharashtra and Telangana. There were uprisings across the Nizam’s kingdom.
The state’s police operation began on September 13, 1948. The main armed troops infiltrated from Solapur. Within hours, Indian forces had taken portions of Naldurg, Tuljapoor, Parbhani to Manikgarh, Kanergaon, and Bonakal in Vijayawada. Indian soldiers also launched attacks from Chalisgaon and Buldhana. The Nizam’s soldiers began to withdraw on September 15, and two days later, on September 17, the army chief of Nizam’s forces, Jan Al Idris, surrendered. On the same day, Nizam surrendered, and Hyderabad was annexed within five days.
The Marathwada Liberation Day is a state holiday in Maharashtra. During the event, the Indian National Flag is flown above government buildings. People gather at the ‘Marathwada Liberation Day Monument’ to remember those who died during the fight.
Rallies are held at schools, which are attended by both students and instructors. Seminars are also held to raise the issues concerning the region. Aurangabad, Nanded, Latur, Jalna, Beed, Parbhani, Osmanabad, and Hingoli are now part of the Marathwada region.
The erstwhile princely state of Hyderabad included Marathwada, Telangana, and four districts of Karnataka. Maharashtra and Karnataka have observed September 17 as ‘Liberation Day’ since 1948.
The state of Telangana does not commemorate Liberation Day as of yet. There have been demands from outfits, urging the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government to celebrate the day.