BIDAR (KARNATAKA): As the state commemorated the Hyderabad-Karnataka Liberation Day on Saturday, a tiny village in Bidar stands out as a symbol of the movement. Gorta witnessed one of the bloodiest struggles against the Nizam’s rule, 68 years ago. On September 17, 1948, over a year after Independence, Hyderabad was liberated from the Nizam’s rule and was annexed to the Indian state. Three months before the liberation, the people of Gorta village were massacred by the Nizam’s army.
The village in Basavakalyan taluk has a population of around 3,000. But Gorta (B) remains unknown to many.
On May 8, 1948, at least 200 people were killed when Razakars, a private militia organised by Kasim Razvi, attacked the village for the Nizam of Hyderabad. After 1947, Hyderabad state comprising Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Hyderabad-Karnataka (which includes Bidar and undivided Kalaburagi and Raichur districts) and Vidarbha region of Maharastra were under the rule of Nizam of Hyderabad. The Nizam decided to keep Hyderabad independent, but the residents of the erstwhile Hyderabad state began opposing the Nizam’s rule. But he suppressed the opposition with his army, Razakars. At this time, Gorta was one of the villages that resisted strongly against the Nizam’s rule. On May 8, 1948, the Razakars entered the village on horses, armed with rifles and other weapons and killed around 200 people. The Razakars took the bodies to the Lakshmi temple and burned them.
K M Munshi’s book In his book End of an Era,
K M Munshi, food minister in PM Jawaharlal Nehru’s cabinet and Agent General in Hyderabad, writes about his visit to Gorta after the massacre. They concluded that over 200 people were killed. He writes that though the massacre took place for two days on May 9 and 10, bodies were still lying around the village and panchanama (documentation of evidence) was not conducted till his visit. Munshi estimated a loss of `70 lakh.
Almost 68 years after the incident, Gorta is trying to hold on to its place in history. When this correspondent visited the village, he found four people who survived the 1948 massacre.
Maruti Parit, 91, who was involved in the liberation movement, Veerupakshayya, 89, also involved in the liberation movement, Manikappa, and Basamma Ambesingi are the four people in the village who witnessed the incident. Parit recollects that over 500 people, including Razakars and their followers, ransacked the village and killed over 200 people. Parit expressed his unhappiness about successive governments not constructing a ‘Martyrs Memorial’ nor felicitating those who fought the Razakars.
Not yet a model village
In 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana where MPs were encouraged to develop one village in their constituency as a model village. Bidar MP Bhagavant Khuba adopted Gorta to make it a model village, but the situation remains the same.