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Wednesday marks 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.

About Operation Polo:

  • Operation Polo was the code name of the Hyderabad "police action" in September 1948, by the newly independent Dominion of India against Hyderabad State.
  • It was a military operation in which the Indian Armed Forces invaded the Nizam-ruled princely state, annexing it into the Indian Union.
  • At the time of Partition in 1947, the princely states of India, who in principle had self-government within their own territories, were subject to subsidiary alliances with the British, giving them control of their external relations.
  • With the Indian Independence Act 1947, the British abandoned all such alliances, leaving the states with the option of opting for full independence.
  • However, by 1948 almost all had acceded to either India or Pakistan.
  • One major exception was that of the wealthiest and most powerful principality, Hyderabad, where the Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VII, a Muslim ruler who presided over a largely Hindu population, chose independence and hoped to maintain this with an irregular army.
  • The Nizam was also beset by the Telangana rebellion, which he was unable to crush.
  • In November 1947, Hyderabad signed a standstill agreement with the Dominion of India, continuing all previous arrangements except for the stationing of Indian troops in the state.
  • Claiming that it feared the establishment of a Communist state in Hyderabad.
  • Nizam's power had weakened because of the Telangana Rebellion and the rise of a radical militia known as the Razakars whom he could not put down.
  • India invaded the state in September 1948, following a crippling economic blockade, and multiple attempts at destabilizing the state through railway disruptions, the bombing of government buildings, and raids on border villages.
  • After the defeat of Razakars, the Nizam signed an instrument of accession, joining India.
  • The operation led to massive violence on communal lines, at times perpetrated by the Indian Army.
  • The Sunderlal Committee, appointed by Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, concluded that between 30,000–40,000 people had died in total in the state, in a report which was not released until 2013.



Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-history/75th-anniversary-operation-polo-police-action-hyderabad-8938202/