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General Studies 1 >> Modern Indian History

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1. Context
September 13th 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
The Nizam of Hyderabad was dithering on joining India ever since Independence on August 15, 1947
2. Operation Polo
  • Operation Polo, also known as the Police Action, was a military operation conducted by the Indian government in September 1948 to integrate the princely state of Hyderabad into the newly formed Dominion of India.
  • Hyderabad was one of the princely states that had not immediately acceded to either India or Pakistan after the partition of British India in 1947
  • The Nizam of Hyderabad state, Mir Osman Ali Shah, had the intention of keeping his state as an independent entity and did not join India or Pakistan after Independence
  • he 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
  • The agreement was signed for a period of one year during which the Indian government would not exercise any authority over Hyderabad and all conditions prevalent at the time of signing the agreement would continue.
3. Background to launch Operation Launch
  • Situated in the Deccan, Hyderabad was one of the most populous and richest states and had 17 districts including Aurangabad (now in Maharashtra) and Gulbarga (now in Karnataka)
  • The landlocked state had a majority Hindu population with the state administration almost entirely run by its Muslim rulers.
  • There was no common border with Pakistan but the Nizam had every intention to have fraternal relations with that country
  • The Nizam’s administration in Hyderabad had taken advantage of the standstill agreement signed with India and the lull which followed to increase the number of its irregular force called Razakars which was led by Maj Gen SA El Edroos, the Arab commander in chief of the Hyderabad state forces
  • The excesses of the Razakars on the predominantly Hindu population of the state, their belligerence along the state borders through cross-border raids, the overtures being made to Pakistan and the intention to establish an independent country in the heart of India were the reasons why the Indian government decided to act against Hyderabad and remove the threat of secession.
4.Nizam's forces vs 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
  • The primary strike against Hyderabad state forces was led by Maj Gen Chaudhuri’s division from the west aided by subsidiary and supporting thrusts from north, south and east of the state
  • The primary strike by 1 Armoured Division from the west included 1 Horse (less one squadron) and 9 Dogra (less one company). This strike element included a Smash Force comprising 3 Cavalry, 17 Horse (less one squadron) and one company of 9 Dogra
  • There was a Kill Force led by 7 Infantry Brigade which comprised 2 Sikh, 1 Grenadier, 14 Rajpur and one squadron of 14 Horse
  • 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
Previous Year Questions
1.Operation Polo was undertaken to merge which of the following State? (MPSC 2018)
B. Hyderabad
C. Kasmir
D. Limdi
Answer (B)
Source: indianexpress

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