India celebrated the 75thanniversary of Operation Polo on September 13, 2023. On this day in 1948, Indian Army launched military action to integrate the princely state of Hyderabad.
GS I: History
Dimensions of the Article:
- Background of Operation Polo
- Reasons for Launching Operation Polo
- Operation Polo on the Ground
Background of Operation Polo
- Nizam’s Intentions: The Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Shah, expressed his desire to keep Hyderabad as an independent entity and did not wish to join India or Pakistan after Independence.
- Opportunity in Kashmir War: The Nizam took advantage of the fact that the Indian government became preoccupied with the Kashmir war soon after Independence.
- Standstill Agreement: The Nizam signed a standstill agreement with India in November 1947. This agreement implied that a status quo would be maintained between the Indian dominion and Hyderabad until a solution was reached. It was initially signed for a one-year period during which the Indian government would not exercise any authority over Hyderabad.
Reasons for Launching Operation Polo
- Geographical Significance of Hyderabad: Hyderabad, located in the Deccan, was one of the most populous and prosperous states in India. It encompassed 17 districts, including Aurangabad (now in Maharashtra) and Gulbarga (now in Karnataka).
- Desire for Relations with Pakistan: Despite not sharing a common border with Pakistan, the landlocked Hyderabad state had a predominantly Hindu population with Muslim rulers. The Nizam aimed to establish friendly relations with Pakistan.
- Actions of the Razakars: During this period, the Nizam’s administration capitalized on the standstill agreement with India. It expanded the Razakars, an irregular paramilitary force led by Maj Gen SA El Edroos, who was the Arab commander in chief of the Hyderabad state forces. The Razakars were created to support the Nizam’s rule and resisted Hyderabad’s integration into newly independent India.
- Razakar Atrocities: The Razakars, primarily composed of local radical Muslim volunteers loyal to the Nizam’s regime, carried out atrocities. They persecuted Hindus, forcibly converting them to Islam, and engaged in violence, including killing, raping women, and causing Hindu sympathizers to flee the state.
- Operation Polo was launched to bring an end to these issues and to integrate Hyderabad into the newly formed Indian Union.
Operation Polo on the Ground
- Indian Military Leadership: The Indian forces were under the leadership of Major General Jayanto Nath Chaudhuri, who served as the General Officer Commanding of 1 Armoured Division.
- Ceasefire Announcement: The Nizam of Hyderabad announced a ceasefire on September 17, signaling a halt to hostilities.
- Entry into Hyderabad: On September 18, Major General Chaudhuri and his forces entered Hyderabad city.
- Surrender of Maj Gen El Edroos: Major General SA El Edroos, the Arab commander in chief of the Hyderabad state forces and leader of the Razakars, surrendered to Major General Chaudhuri.
- Appointment as Military Governor: Following the surrender and successful integration of Hyderabad into India, Major General Chaudhuri was appointed as the Military Governor of Hyderabad, overseeing the administrative transition of the region into the Indian Union.