- September 13 marks the 75th anniversary of Operation Polo.
History of Hyderabad
- The city was founded in the year 1591 by Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah, the fifth sultan of Qutb Shahi dynasty.
- Quli Qutb Shah seized the reins of power from the Bahamani kingdom in 1512 and established the fortress city of Golconda.
- Hyderabad’s fame, strategic location and Golconda’s legendary wealth attracted Aurangazeb who captured Golconda in 1687.
- As the Mughal empire decayed and began to disintegrate, the viceroy, Asaf Jah I proclaimed himself the Nizam and established the independence rule of the Deccan.
- Hyderabad once again became a major capital city, ruled by successive Nizams of the Asaf Jahi dynasty.
- Eighty five percent of the Nizam’s subjects were Hindus.
- In 1798, a subsidiary alliance for military and political cooperation was signed between the Nizam and the British East India company.
- In 1947, when the British left India, they gave the princely states the choice to either join India or Pakistan or remain independent. Being one state not under British rule, it opposed the idea of a merger with India after Independence.
- In 1947, Home Minister Sardar Patel asked Mir Osman Ali Khan Asaf Jah VII, the last Nizam of the princely state of Hyderabad, to join India, but he refused. Instead, he declared Hyderabad as an independent nation on August 15, 1947.
- 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.
- It was in June 1948 that Lord Mountbatten proposed the Heads of Agreement deal which gave Hyderabad the status of an autonomous dominion nation under India.
- India was ready to sign the deal and did so but the Nizam refused on the grounds that he wanted complete independence or the status of dominion under the British Commonwealth of Nations.
Reasons for Operation Polo?
- There was no common border with Pakistan but the Nizam had every intention to have friendly relations with the country.
- The Nizam’s administration in Hyderabad had taken advantage of the standstill agreement signed with India which followed to increase the number of its irregular force called Razakars.
- 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.
- It was the police action launched by the Indian Army on September 13, 1948, to integrate the princely state of Hyderabad.
- This operation was named “Operation Polo” and it is also referred to as “Operation Caterpillar” at times.
- The Nizam’s forces surrendered to the Indian Army by September 18.
- 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.
- Havildar Bachhitar Singh was among the recipients of the first Ashoka Chakra of Independent India awarded posthumously for his role in Operation Polo.