Operation Polo | 1948 | Indian Army | Police | Defence Forces | Armed Forces

Operation Polo | 1948 | Indian Army | Police | Defence Forces | Armed Forces

Operation Polo is the militry code name of the Hyderabad “police action” in September 1948. It was between newly independent Dominion of India against Hyderabad State. It was a military operation in which the Indian Armed Forces invaded the Nizam-ruled state, annexing it into the Indian Union.

At the time of Partition of India and Pakisthan in 1947, the princely states of India, who in principle had self-government within their own territories, were subject to subsidiary alliances with the Britishers, giving them full control of their external relations. Through the Indian Independence Act of 1947, the Britishers abandoned all alliances, leaving the states with the option for being and opt full independence. However, by the year 1948 almost all had dicided to be in either India or Pakistan. One major exception was, of the wealthiest and most powerful principality of Hyderabad, under the rule of Nizam, Mir Sir Osman Ali Khan, a Muslim ruler who presided over a largely Hindu population, choose independence and hoped to maintain that with an irregular army recruited from the Muslim aristocracy, known as the Razakars.

In the month of November 1947, Hyderabad signed a standstill agreement stating the dominion of India, continuing all previous arrangements except for the stationing of Indian troops in the state. With the rise of militant named “Razakars”, India found it necessary to station Indian troops and infilterate the state in month of September 1948 to put down the Nizam. But subsequently, the Nizam signed an agreement of joining its state with India.

The operation led to massive violence on lines. The former Prime Minister of India, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, appointed a Committee known as the “Sunderlal Committee”, its report was not released until 2013, concluding that “as a very reasonable & modest estimate the total number of deaths in the state was somewhere between 30-40 thousand.” Other observers estimated the number of deaths to be two Lakh or higher.


Consultations with Indian envoy

On 16th September, Nizam Mir Sir Osman Ali Khan, facing imminent defeat, called out his Prime Minister, Mir Laiq Ali and requested his resignation. The resignation was delivered along with the resignations of the entire cabinet.

By the noon of 17th September, a messenger brought a personal note from Nizam, for India’s General, K.M. Munshi, summoning him to the Nizam’s office by 1600 hours. At the meeting, the Nizam stated that “The vultures have resigned. I don’t know what to do next”. Munshi advised the Nizam to secure the safety of the citizens of Hyderabad by issuing appropriate orders to the Commander of the Hyderabad State Army, Major-General El Edroos. The action was took immediately.


Surrender by the Nizam

Nizam Mir Sir Osman Ali Khan’s visited to the radio station. The Nizam of Hyderabad, in his speech on 23 September 1948, said “In November last year, a small group of quasi-military organization surrounded the homes of our Prime Minister, the Nawab of Chhatari, in whose wisdom I had complete confidence, and of Sir Walter Monkton, my constitutional Adviser, compelled the Nawab and other trusted ministers to resign and forced the Laik Ali Ministry on me. This group, headed by Kasim Razvi had no place in the country or any record of service behind it. By methods reminiscent of Hitlerite Germany it took possession of the State, spread terror and rendered me completely helpless.”


The surrender ceremony

According to the records of the Indian Army, General Chaudhari led an armoured column into Hyderabad at around 4 p.m. on 18 September and the Hyderabad army, led by Major General El Edroos, surrendered.


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