OPERATION POLO: HYDERABAD’S UNTOLD TALE OF INDEPENDENCE

National News

The year was 1947 and Sardar Vallabhai Patel was a tense man. India had just witnessed partition, and apart from managing the refugees that were coming in large numbers from the newly formed state of Pakistan, Sardar Patel had been given another very important job by Pandit Jawarharlal Nehru : Integration Of Indian states.

Courtesy: Wikipedia

At the time of partition, India had 562 princely States and 17 British provinces. If India needed to develop economically, some sort of integration was needed. While handling the 17 provinces was easy, Sardar Patel had a tough time trying to integrate 562 princely states across India.

Courtesy: Wikipedia

Why?

At the time of partition, Viceroy Lord Mountbatten proposed the ‘Mountbatten Plan’ where in, the princely states had the option of joining either India, Pakistan or remaining independent. Just like the Raja of Kashmir, the Nizam of Hyderabad Osman Ali Khan chose to remain independent, despite it being an unviable option for the King and his subjects.

Importance of Hyderabad:

Hyderabad was a prosperous princely state which roads, railway lines and airway developed even before independence. What’s more, Hyderabadi currency was stronger than India’s Rupee. In fact at the time of Independence the Nizam was richest man in India.

Operation Polo:

While the leader was a benevolent leader, his military aides also known as Razakars were known for their barbarity. They tortured several people especially Hindus and there was communal tension in Hyderabad in September, 1948. Sardar Patel, who was desperate to integrate Hyderabad with India, realized the importance of this situation and launched Operation Polo.

Courtesy: The Hindu

The operation was headed by Major General Choudhari. One division of Indian Army went to Hyderabad and cracked down on the Nizam and his Razakars. Within 5 days that is from September 13 to September 18, 1948 the operation was over. The Nizam was overthrown and Hyderabad became a part of India.

Major Gen Choudhari became the Military governor of the state till December 1949 and Nizam became the Rajpramukh of the state. He held this position until 1956. The state is witnessed its first elections in 1952 and B K Rao became it’s first Chief Minister.

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