Marathwada Liberation Day (Marathwada Mukti Sangram Din) is celebrated every year on September 17 in Maharashtra. The day is celebrated in commemoration of the anniversary of Operation Polo, which led to the annexation of Hyderabad into the Union of India. The Marathwada region of the present day Maharashtra was a part of the then princely state of Hyderabad, which was under the Nizam’s rule.
History and Significance
The princely states under British rule, then reigned by different kings, had the option to join either Pakistan or the Union of India after India gained independence on 15 August 1947. Hyderabad’s Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan, wished to continue his rule as either a self-governing monarchy or a protectorate of the British Empire and did not intend to join either India or Pakistan. The British government, on the other hand, refused to grant Hyderabad any kind of sovereignty.
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Hyderabad’s population was predominantly Hindu and wished to reunite with India. The Nizam, a Muslim, was hesitant to join the Union of India. To maintain power, he even went to permit the formation of a private militia known as the Razakars.
In the end, the talks between India and Hyderabad failed. India launched Operation Polo, a military operation against Hyderabad. On September 17, 1948, Nizam’s army was forced to submit, and the state of Hyderabad became a part of the Union of India. Its territory is now divided among the states of Telangana, Karnataka, and Maharashtra.
Since the Marathwada region of Maharashtra was previously a part of the erstwhile state of Hyderabad, the anniversary of Operation Polo is celebrated as Marathwada Liberation Day in the state. A flag-raising ceremony and other cultural events are part of the celebrations.
Maharashtra observes the Marathwada Liberation Day as a public holiday. People assemble at the “Marathwada Liberation Day Monument” in Parbhani district to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the battle.
Rallies and seminars are also held to address issues affecting the region in schools and other educational institutions. The Marathwada region currently includes Aurangabad, Nanded, Latur, Jalna, Beed, Parbhani, Osmanabad and Hingoli districts.
Telangana, Marathwada and four Karnataka districts were part of the erstwhile princely state of Hyderabad. Maharashtra and Karnataka have been observing September 17 as ‘Liberation Day’ since 1948. Telangana does not commemorate Marathwada Liberation Day as of yet.
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