Smoke in the Deccan. Have we really evolved?


Why does it happen??...why does it have to happen??...why does violence precede the value of human life??....why does violence denies the chance of peace to take over??....These questions, though clichéd, persist simply because they remain relevant. War, despite its obvious faults, persists and people die.

Do they start out as mere actions to show might and power, to take control over someone’s own land by killing them, to kill someone for the sake of resolving the conflict? When did human life lose its value to a mere piece of metal capable of killing an innocent and a criminal alike? And who’s the winner? The country which just killed a million and sacrificed half a million of its own? Or the religion whose false prophets demolished the believers of another religion?

Smoke in the Deccan sheds light on one such incident in Indian history. During the pleasant autumn days of September in 1948, the Indian government began the annexation of Hyderabad. The Police Action (limited military action without the formal declaration of war) broke out when the Nizam, ruler of the Hindu-majority state violated the clauses of the Standstill Agreement signed with the Indian Government. This caused a great confrontation between Indian military and the Razakars (private militia of the Nizam) killing several thousands of Hindus and Muslims alike.

Kartik Subodh, a talented writer and part of the Taccomacco Story Incubation Program, has tried to reflect upon the hardships faced by six survivors of war. The story begins in the dusty village of Nalgonda where Kunti struggles to keep her family safe. Meanwhile, Saifudeen is lost in the darkness of his mind. Kader and Salma want to keep their love alive while the world tries to break them apart and Harsimar just wants it all to end. And Rishi yearns to protect the right of the peasants. These six tales of vengeance, loss, duty, and love meet at the Police action of September 1948.

Stories about the brutality of war has never stopped people in power from waging them. Nevertheless, as citizens, we need to understand the cost of war. There is no point in being arm chair generals. Sometimes, you have to see the bodies rising in the trenches to know what war really means.