Operation Polo – Hyderabad Liberation 13-18 September 1948

nizam surrendered

( Excerpts taken from the Book `Nizams Unmasked’  – compiled by Ms Pradakshina , Sr Research Associate )

Even as Nizam prepared for war, the saga of letters, consultations, agreements etc continued unabated for 13 months. As the atrocities and attacks increased, a letter from Union Govt arrived saying that what is happening is incorrect; and Nizam replied that `it is our state, and we will run according to our wishes’, or sometimes Nizam’s letter said `we didn’t conduct these attacks, we are not aware who did these things, Hindus may have killed each other’, or some other time the letter said  ‘the administration is robust, Razakars who are conducting these atrocities will be apprehended and punished”.  Everyone was clear on what’s happening in Hyderabad state, and it was equally clear that the attack on Nizam was imminent. Yet, the killings, loot, rapes against women, temples desecration, imprisonment and torture of countless Hindus, continued unabated.


Sardar Patel who could no longer tolerate the Muslim appeasement policy of independent India’s first Prime Minister Nehru, ultimately ordered Police Action against the Hyderabad Nizam on          12th September 1948. Apparently Nehru stared at the order, signed it and walked away saying nothing.



 War- First Day


The Indian army reached the borders of Hyderabad state on 13th September 1948, the then Governor-General Sri C. Rajagopalachary described it as `Police Action’, the army termed it ‘Operation Polo’. The military operation happened under the overall command of GOC Southern Command, Lieutenant General Maharaj Singh. Major-General Joyanto Nath Chaudhuri (later Army Chief) arrived from Sholapur division. Bombay Sector Commander Major-General D.S. Dhar moved in with his army battalions.  Madras Sector Commander Major-General M.V. Rudra also moved in with his battalion. Brigadier Shivadutt Singh moved in with his battalion from Central Commandment of Berar. The `All-fronts’ surround attack started at 4am on the same morning.

Major-General JN Chaudhuri who moved in from Sholapur on 13th September morning encountered a brief battle in the town of Naldurg, the Nizam army surrendered within an hour. Major-General M.V. Rudra entered from Vijayawada and reached Suryapeta after seizing Bonakal. The army battalions reached from all fronts, Ahmednagar, Aurangabad, Madhya Bharat, Mysore etc. with fighter planes in the skies and trucks on the ground. The Nizam police and Razakar militia everywhere threw away their arms and fled away from the battlefields into jungles and hillocks. Hindus were elated, confiscated the weapons and handed them over to the Indian army.


Nizam army fled after throwing their weapons in Talmad, Turur, Tuljapur, Manikgarh, Kanergaon and other places came under army control. There were no battles worth the name anywhere, not even for a few minutes. Everywhere the Nizam army and Razakars fled from the battleground! The timid and inexperienced communal militia outfits of Nizam army and Razakars gave up everywhere and fled, they had no idea of how to face the might of Indian army. Army came upto Jalna from Aurangabad, from Vijayawada to Suryapet, Indian army exploded a couple of bombs at Warangal and Bidar airstrips, that was enough for the Nizam army to run-away and flee the battleground.


War- Second Day


On the second day of the war, on 14th September 1948, the Indian army penetrated further into Hyderabad state. Aurangabad, Rajeswaram, Osmanabad, Nirmal were won by the army. There was no obstruction by the Nizam army to the forward march of Indian army from Suryapet to Hyderabad. Communists began their propaganda that Indian army was committing countless atrocities against the people, especially the Muslims. It must be noted here that communists never protested when Nizam police and Razakars selectively targeted the hapless Hindu population, committed heinous atrocities including murders, rapes and loot, and desecrated innumerable Hindu temples. Even though the ordinary people in Hyderabad didn’t believe the communists, they made enough ruckus internationally and confused the Indian people.  The army marched victoriously forward with great courage and valor. Warangal and Bidar airstrips were bombed the second day too. The Nizam army and Razakars threw their weapons and fled near Kurnool area, when they saw the southern contingent of Indian army.


War –Third Day


The same story repeated itself on the third day on 15thSeptember 1948, the Nizam army and the Razakars couldn’t face the Indian army. Khammam town fell and the Razakars fled from the arena.  They started out to halt the forward march of the Indian army coming from Zaheerabad. They wanted to dig trenches and fire at the army. But even before they reached Zaheerabad, the Indian Air-force started bombing. Immediately the Nizam army and Razakars left their weaponry, trucks and tanks in Zaheerabad and Vikarabad and fled crying `mar gaya re, touba touba’. The local people remembering their atrocities, refused to even give them a morsel of rice.


War- Fourth Day


Zaheerabad fell on the fourth day 16th September 1948, and the Indian army proceeded towards Hyderabad.  The highway and the railway lines came under the control of army. Nizam army demolished the bridge on river Musi, to prevent Indian army from entering Hyderabad. The Nizam force and Razakars immediately fled the scene into nearby jungles, and didn’t remain near the demolished bridge to fight the Indian army. However the Madras contingent of the Indian army with the help of local people constructed the bridge within three hours, and proceeded towards Hyderabad.


War – Fifth Day


On the fifth day, 17th September 1948, the Nizam police demolished a couple of more bridges, and tried to plant landmines to thwart the Indian army. Those landmines didn’t even ruffle the Indian army, the army contingent under the leadership of Major-General JN Chaudhuri reached Patancheruvu at the outskirts of Hyderabad.


Nizam realized his complete defeat at the hands of the Indian army, he shuddered at the thought of losing his life, the lives of his sons, his many wives and entire harem. His militia, the Razakar army may be killed, Muslims who were enjoying majority of the jobs in the administration may lose their jobs. Above all, he may lose his collection of gold, silver, ornaments, jewelry, precious stones etc gathered from looting the kingdom. Hindus may not keep quiet and may take revenge against the Muslim administration.  He immediately went to the Indian Govt’s representative, the Agent-General, Sri K.M. Munshi and expressed his willingness to surrender.  The same day, fifth day of the war, on 17th September 1948, Nizam in a radio broadcast at 5pm, declared end of hostilities and cease-fire and proclaimed that `people’s welfare is my only aim’.

According to the records maintained by the Indian army, General Chaudhari led an armoured column into Hyderabad at around 4pm on 18th September 1948, and the Hyderabad army, led by Major General El Edroos, surrendered.


Major General Syed Ahmed El Edroos (at right) offers his surrender of the Hyderabad State Forces to Major General (later General and Army ChiefJoyanto Nath Chaudhuri at Secunderabad


source : Nizams’ rule unmasked. by Samvit Prakashan