February 1, 2023 11:30 am


Operation Polo - Remembering Hyderabad Liberation Day

It was a mission by the then Home Minister of India Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel to launch a police action in the state of Hyderabad.

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It was 74 years ago on this day (13th September 1948) that the famed Operation Polo was launched leading to the final accession of Hyderabad into India.

‘Operation Polo’ was launched by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the iron man of India and the then Home Minister to accede the Hyderabad state into India. ‘Razakars’, a militia force of Hyderabad made all efforts and ensured that Hyderabad remains a Muslim dominated sovereign state. But their ill motive did not last long and finally after 4 days of struggle, on 18th September 1948, the Razakars  surrendered to the Indian forces.

What is Operation Polo ?

  • It was a mission by the then Home Minister of India Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel to launch a police action in the state of Hyderabad in order to accede it into the India
  • On 13th September 1948, Indian forces entered the state and  fought against the Hyderabad militia force identified as Razakars.
  • The action was code named Operation Polo due to presence of highest number of polo fields in the Hyderabad region.
  • After four days of struggle, Nizam announced a ceasefire and finally surrendered to the Indian forces on the 18th September 1948. 
  • Subsequently, the Nizam signed an instrument of Accession and formally became a part of India.

Who were ‘Razakars’ ?

  • During independence, the princely states were given a choice to either join India or Pakistan or remain independent. 
  • All the princely states decided to join India except a few of them i.e Junagarh, Kashmir and Hyderabad. 
  • Among which, Hyderabad was ruled by the Nizams who controlled the region with the help of an irregular army with Muslim recruits called ‘Razakars’.
  • Razakars were a group of militia forces of the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) party formed by Bahadur Yar Jung in 1938.
  • MIM was originally formed in 1926 by Mohammad Nawaz Khan, who called itself as paramilitary wing of the party and was identified as ‘Razakars’.

Role of ‘Razakars’ in Operation Polo

  • During the Independent movement, Qasim Rizvi took the reins of the Razakars and resisted Hyderabad’s accession to the Indian state between November 1947- August 1948.
  • Qasim Rizvi was a student of Aligarh Mulsim University, who considered Hyderabad to be a Muslim state.
  • He even planned on making different rule of laws for their region.
  • It was on Rizvi’s request that the Nizam of Hyderabad sent a delegation to the United States Council to seek the latter’s intervention in the matter.
  • Razakars had gained power in the state and began eliminating their oppositions including communists, Muslim moderates and Telangana rebels.
  • They banned the working of Congress members in the Hyderabad state.
  • Several Hindus fled the state and took shelters in the neighbouring areas.
  • Razakars created a ruckus in the state by indulging in activities of rape, dacoit and murder.
  • According to the Pandit Sunderlal Committee Report, around 27,000 to 40,000 people were killed during the rule of Razakar.

The Aftermath

After the surrender of Hyderabad militia to Indian forces on 18th September 1948, the Prime Minister of Nizam Mir Laik Ali was arrested. Qasim Rizvi was also subsequently arrested and jailed for around 10 years, after which he went to Pakistan and died soon there after.

MIM party was banned after the Hyderabad Accession, but later came back in 1957 with its name changed to All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen(AIMIM).

AIMIM, which is currently led by Asaduddin Owaisi, is a successor to the MIM party of Razakars that led to mass killings in the state of Hyderabad and sparked an uproar in the state. 

The Indian Affairs Staff
The Indian Affairs Staff

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