From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Operation Polo
Mains level : Not Much
- September 13, 2023, marks the 75th anniversary of Operation Polo, a significant military action undertaken by the Indian Army in 1948 to integrate the princely state of Hyderabad.
- This operation, also known as the “Police Action,” led to the Nizam of Hyderabad’s forces surrendering to the Indian Army by September 18, 1948.
- Understanding the background and events surrounding Operation Polo is essential to appreciate its historical significance.
Context of Operation Polo
(1) The Nizam’s Stand:
- The Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Shah, was reluctant to join India or Pakistan after India’s Independence in 1947.
- He exploited the diversion of Indian resources towards the Kashmir conflict, signing a standstill agreement with India in November 1947, maintaining the status quo in Hyderabad.
(2) Growing Tensions:
- Hyderabad, a populous and prosperous state in the Deccan, was predominantly Hindu but administered by Muslim rulers.
- The state had no common border with Pakistan, yet the Nizam sought amicable relations with Pakistan.
- The Nizam’s forces, especially the Razakars, escalated tensions with their actions, including cross-border raids and overtures to Pakistan.
The Military Campaign: Operation Polo
(1) Hyderabad’s Forces and Situation:
- Hyderabad’s military consisted of approximately 25,000 troops, with limited training and readiness.
- The Razakars, though numerous, posed a minor military challenge.
(2) Indian Army’s Leadership:
- Major General Jayanto Nath Chaudhuri, the General Officer Commanding of 1 Armoured Division, led the Indian forces.
(3) Multi-Directional Offensive:
- The primary assault came from the west, led by 1 Armoured Division, supported by forces from the north, south, and east.
- Key elements included the Smash Force, Kill Force, and Vir Force in the western thrust.
- Additional thrusts were launched from Aurangabad, Jabalpur, and the eastern front.
- The southern thrust originated from Vijayawada.
Conclusion: Surrender and Significance
(1) Ceasefire and Surrender:
- The Nizam announced a ceasefire on September 17, 1948.
- On September 18, Major General Chaudhuri entered Hyderabad, and Major General El Edroos surrendered to him.
- Major General Chaudhuri was subsequently appointed as the Military Governor of Hyderabad.
(2) Honoring a Hero:
- Havildar Bachhitar Singh of 2 Sikh was posthumously awarded the first Ashoka Chakra of Independent India for his role in Operation Polo.
- He sacrificed his life on September 13, 1948, while advancing towards Naldurg, a part of Hyderabad state.