The day was 17 September 1948. The Indian forces had moved into Hyderabad from Solapur and Bezawada (Vijayawada) and taken over Hyderabad state. The surrender of Mir Osman Ali Khan, the seventh Nizam was just a formality.
The man entrusted with making that ceremonial transfer of power happen was KM Munshi, India’s Agent General in Hyderabad. For the past many months, he had been treated as a persona non grata by the King Kothi Palace where the Nizam resided and his courtiers.
The message Munshi was waiting for, arrived on the afternoon of 17 September. A messenger from the palace delivered to Munshi a personal note written by Osman Ali Khan.
“Will you see me today at King Kothi Palace at 4 pm?” it read.
Mir Osman Ali Khan was prepared for the meeting by the time Munshi arrived. He had ensured the Prime Minister of Hyderabad, Laiq Ali had put in his papers. It was significant messaging to convey that Hyderabad accepted the Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, as its own.
“The vultures have resigned. I don’t know what to do,” the Nizam reportedly told Munshi.
With the surrender of the Hyderabad State’s Army Commander Syed Ahmed El Edroos, the world had to be told that the Nizam of Hyderabad, one of the richest men in the world, had joined the Indian Union. For over a year, Hyderabad’s ruler had held out, hoping to remain independent or join Pakistan. So Munshi asked him to make a radio broadcast to welcome the police action and withdraw his complaint before the UN Security Council.
“Broadcast? How is that done,” was the Nizam’s query.
That ignorance suited Munshi who proceeded to hand over the copy of the speech which the Government of India wanted Mir Osman Ali Khan to read.
On the evening of 17 September, the Nizam walked into the Radio station in Hyderabad city, incidentally for the first time in his life. With people celebrating the fall of the Nizam on the streets, the optics inside the Radio station were telling. No red carpet was laid out for him. The Nizam rushed back to King Kothi palace after the broadcast as it was also deemed a security risk for him to be amidst the public.
The Nizam was soon recast by Delhi as the Rajpramukh (equivalent to the Governor) of Hyderabad.