When journo dedicates book to journo, it’s news

Tens of Indian journalists are writing books these days and there are all manner of dedications. But Manoj Mitta‘s The Fiction of Fact-finding: Modi and Godhra stands out from the crowd for who it remembers.

The Times of India‘s senior editor, who co-authored a seminal book on the 1984 pogrom in Delhi, dedicates his latest work on the 2002 massacre in Gujarat, to his mother Indira

“and in the memory of the journalist Shoebullah Khan, who paid with his life in 1948 for advocating the merger of Hyderabad, my native place, with an India he had trusted would remain pluralist.”

Shoebullah Khan was in his 20s and editor of the Urdu newspaper Imroze, which he had launched because there was no space in the existing Urdu newspapers of the time to advocate the nationalist line.

Most Urdu newspapers back then either advocated independence or merger with Pakistan.

Shoebullah Khan published Imroze from the backyard of the house of Burgula Ramakrishna Rao, who would soon become the first elected chief minister of the liberated Hyderabad state. Rao’s nephew Burgula Narasing Rao, who saw him off at the gate, was the last person to talk to Khan.

He was killed in August 1948 by suspected Razakars as he stepped on to the road and his right palm was chopped off for defying their line.

An archived paper notes:

“On the 19th August, 1948, Kasim Razvi commemorating the “Nanaj Day” in the Zamarrud Mahal condemned the Indian leaders and uttered threats at the so called puppets of India.

“In the course of his speech he declared, ” The hand that rises against the the Muslims should either drop down or would be cut off”.

“This speech was literally taken by one Munim Khan and his associates who on the 21st August, 1948 shot down Shoebulla Khan, the editor of the nationalist paper,  Imroze  which criti­cised the Razakars, and when he fell down attacked him with swords and cut off his hands.”

The murder of the heroic journalist provided, in many ways, the impetus for “police action” that led to the liberation of Hyderabad the following month. Kasim Razvi was later convicted for the killing of Khan.

Shoebullah Khan saw the Congress’s Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru as his hero but in recent times, Khan has been appropriated by the BJP. He was remembered by L.K. Advani in 2003, and when Narendra Modi addressed a public meeting in Hyderabad recently, one of the gates was named after Khan.

Osmania University awards a medal in the name of Shoebullah Khan to the best student of journalism each year.

External reading: The Manoj Mitta interview*

* Disclosures apply


Also read: When a Delhi journo joins New Yorker, it’s news

When an editor draws a cartoon, it’s news

If The Economist looks at Tamil News, it’s news

When a stringer beats up a reporter, it’s news

When the gang of four meets at IIC, it’s news

When a politician weds a journalist, it’s news

When a magazine editor marries a starlet, it’s news

When dog bites dog, it’s news—I

When dog bites dog, it’s news—II

1 Comment

  1. Mango Man

    When Congress forgets Shoebullah Khan and joins hands with the new version of Razakars (MIM or Mulsim-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen) it is secularism, when BJP remembers Shoebullah Khan it is “appropriation”. It is significant that this post is appearing just when Congress created Telngana just to suit some political ambitions and also to ensure its survival in the region and appease those who wanted the area ruled by the former Nizam ( where the language and culture are greatly influenced by the Islamic ruler), where “bansanu dora, kalmokkuta’ (I am your slave, lord, I touch your feet) is the mindset. Like Pakistan, it will be a state born out of hatred and the feeling that coastal Andhra people neglected the area and kept it backward.
    Tomorrow, in Telngana, the CM would come from one district and another district will complain of neglect and backwardness. Will you reorganise aagain and make that district a separate state? Then every city and district in this country would demand separation.
    Congress will go down in history not only for corruption and family rule but also for Balkanising India to suit its political ends.



    The media have played a major role in the creation of Telangana by sensationalising the agitations, especially on the campus, where self-seeking politicians (perhaps egged on by TRP seeking TV channels) drove innocent boys to self-immolation. So a state formed after half a century of struggle, setting the trend for people of the same language to rule themselves, is being vivgisected because some greedy politicos want posts of power to make money.

    If Telngana is formed because some leaders cutivated the inferiority complex of local people speaking Urdu-mixed Telugu and used to suppression by the Nizam, why not Vidarbha, the organge country, which was sanctioned by the States Reognanisation Commission headed by Fazal Ali, but denied to suit the selfish ends of Congress leaders of Maharashtra? There too people speak not so chase Marathi and are treated with contempt by the Western Maharashtra lraders. And Bundelhand, and Kodagu and…….

    And then, when these tiny states are formed, the CM post can come to leader of only one district. The other districts would feel as neglected or backward as Telengana or Vidarbha. Will they be given separate statehood? Soon most districts and towns will want to be separated. Will Congress destroy India for it own political gain?

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