WHY IN NEWS ?
- The country celebrates the 75th anniversary of Operation Polo, the military action launched by the Indian Army on September 13, 1948, to integrate the princely state of Hyderabad.
WHAT IS OPERATION POLO?
- The princely state of Hyderabad was annexed by Idia in September 1948 through a military operation code named Operation Polo, which was dubbed a “police action”.
- Operation Polo was the code name for the police action against the Princely State of Hyderabad in September 1948 by the newly Independent republic of India.
BACKGROUND OF OPERATION POLO :
- The Nizam of Hyderabad state, Mir Osman Ali Shah, had the intention of keeping his state as an independent entity.
- They decided not to join India or Pakistan after Independence.
- The Nizam took advantage of the fact that the Indian government got preoccupied with the Kashmir war soon after Independence and all focus and resources were diverted toward tackling the Pakistani threat to Jammu and Kashmir.
- The Nizam signed a standstill agreement with India in November 1947.
- This essentially meant that a status quo would be maintained between the Indian dominion and the Hyderabad state till a solution was found to the imbroglio.
WHY THE NEED OF OPERATION POLO?
- Several factors prompted the Indian government to take action against Hyderabad;
- including the Razakars’ brutal actions against the predominantly Hindu population,
- hostile cross-border raids along the state’s borders,
- attempts to align with Pakistan,
- aspirations to establish an independent nation within India’s territory.
- It was 13 months ago that India broke free of the colonial yoke of the British.
- But Hyderabad, one of the richest princely states of the size of the United Kingdom and surrounded by Indian territory, stuck out.
- Then there were reports of increasing atrocities on the Hindu subjects of the Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan, by his private militia or Razakars.
- The Razakar militia was created by Kasim Razvi, the president of the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen party.
- About 90 per cent of his 1.5 crore subjects were Hindus.
- The Nizam maintained the feudal character of Hyderabad and showed little interest in the increasing voice of the Hindu majority population.
- He is, however, said to have spent considerable sums on improving the living conditions of the people.
- Nizam Osman Ali Khan presented Hyderabad’s case for complete independence before the United Nations, citing the special alliance with the British.
- The Nizam of Hyderabad tried to scale up his military preparedness.
HOW WERE THE NIZAM ARMY PLAYED WITH RESPECT TO THE INDIAN ARMY ?
- Hyderabad state forces numbered little less than 25,000 and only a fraction was well-trained.
- By one estimate, there were not more than two brigades worth of opposition.
- There were a substantial number of Razakars in the state but these ill-trained volunteers were more of a nuisance than any particular military opposition.
- The Prime Minister of Hyderabad, Mir Laik Ali, had boasted that if the Indian Army acted against the state, then a force of 1,00,000 troops was ready to meet the challenge.
- In the end, this proved to be a hollow claim and the Hyderabad opposition to the Indian Army crumbled within the first two days of the offensive.
- The Indian forces were led by Maj Gen Jayanto Nath Chaudhuri, the General Officer Commanding of 1 Armoured Division, who later went on to become the Chief of Army Staff.
- During Operation Polo, 42 soldiers of the Indian Army were killed, 97 were injured and 24 went missing.
- On the Hyderabad army’s side, 490 soldiers were killed and 122 were injured. Other than the regular Hyderabad army toll, 2,727 Razakars were killed and 3,364 captured.
WHEN DID HYDERABAD FORCES SURRENDERED?
- The Nizam of Hyderabad announced a ceasefire on September 17.
- On September 18, Maj Gen Chaudhuri entered Hyderabad city with his forces and Maj Gen El Edroos surrendered to him.
- Maj Gen Chaudhuri was later appointed the Military Governor of Hyderabad.
WHAT HAPPENED TO LAST NIZAM?
- On September 17, 1948, Hyderabad ceased to exist as an independent state.
- The formal accession, however, happened on January 26, 1950, when the Nizam was made ‘rajpramukh’ of Hyderabad, which had become an Indian state.
- On October 18, 1948, Major General JN Chaudhuri was appointed military governor of Hyderabad.
- Nizam had authority over police and military matters, and he had overriding authority over most other departments.
- The Nizam lived in splendid retirement in his King Kothi Palace with three wives, 42 concubines, 200 children and served by 300 servants till his death in February 1967.
SYLLABUS: MAINS, GS-1, POST INDEPENDENCE
SOURCE: INDIAN EXPRESS, INDIA TODAY