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Indian integration of Hyderabad

Operation Polo (1948)

The State of Hyderabad in 1909 (excluding Berar).
Date 13–18 September 1948
Location Hyderabad State, South India
Result Decisive Indian victory; State of Hyderabad annexed to the Union of India
Dominion of India Hyderabad
Commanders and leaders
Sardar Patel
Roy Bucher
Joyanto Nath Chaudhuri
S.A. El Edroos 
Qasim Razvi 
35,000 Indian Armed Forces 22,000 Hyderabad State Forces
est. 200,000 Razakars (Irregular forces)
Casualties and losses
32 killed[1]
97 wounded
Hyderabad State Forces:807 killed
unknown wounded
1647 POWs[2]
1,373 killed, 1,911 captured[2]
official: 27,000 - 40,000 civilians killed[3] scholarly estimate: 200,000 civilians killed[4]

Operation Polo, the code name of the Hyderabad "Police Action"[5][6] was a military operation in September 1948 in which the Indian Armed Forces invaded the State of Hyderabad and overthrew its Nizam, annexing the state into the Indian Union.

At the time of the Partition of India, the princely states of India, who in principle had self-government within their own territories, were subject to subsidiary alliances with the British, giving them control of their external relations. In the Indian Independence Act 1947 the British abandoned all such alliances, leaving the states with the option of opting for full independence. However, by 1948 almost all had acceded to either India or Pakistan. One major exception was that of Hyderabad, where the Nizam, Osman Ali Khan, Asif Jah VII, a Muslim ruler who presided over a largely Hindu population, chose independence and hoped to maintain this with an irregular army recruited from the Muslim aristocracy, known as the Razakars.[7]:224 The Nizam was also beset by the Telengana uprising, which he was unable to subjugate.[7]:224

The Indian government, anxious to avoid what it termed a Balkanization of what had been the Indian Empire, was determined on the integration of Hyderabad into the new Indian Union.[7]:223 Amidst atrocities by the Razakars, the Indian Home Minister Sardar Patel decided to annex Hyderabad[8] in what was termed a "police action". The operation itself took five days, in which the Razakars were defeated easily.[3]

The operation led to massive violence on communal lines. The Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru appointed a commission known as the Sunderlal Committee. Its report, which was not released until 2013, concluded that "as a conservative estimate...27,000 to 40,000 people had lost their lives during and after the police action."[3] Other scholars have put the figure at 200,000, or even higher.[4]


  • Background 1
  • Events preceding hostilities 2
    • Political and diplomatic negotiations 2.1
    • Telangana Rebellion 2.2
    • Civil unrest in Hyderabad and Atrocities by Razakars 2.3
    • Hyderabadi military preparations 2.4
    • Breakdown of negotiations 2.5
    • Skirmish at Kodar 2.6
    • Indian military preparations 2.7
  • Commencement of hostilities 3
    • Day 1, 13 September 3.1
    • Day 2, 14 September 3.2
    • Day 3, 15 September 3.3
    • Day 4, 16 September 3.4
    • Day 5, 17 September 3.5
  • Capitulation and surrender 4
    • Consultations with Indian envoy 4.1
    • Radio broadcast after surrender by Nizam 4.2
    • The surrender ceremony 4.3
  • Communal Violence 5
  • References 6
  • Bibliography 7
  • External links 8


Hyderabad state was initially a Subah in the Deccan Plateau. Nizam-ul-Mulk Asaf Jah was appointed Subahdar in 1713 by the Mughals. Hyderabad's effective independence is dated to 1724, when the Nizam won a military victory over a rival military appointee.[9] In 1798, Hyderabad became the first Indian royal state to accede to British protection under the policy of Subsidiary Alliance instituted by Arthur Wellesley.

The State of Hyderabad under the leadership of its 7th Nizam, Mir Usman Ali, was the largest and most prosperous of all princely states in India. It covered 82,698 square miles (214,190 km2) of fairly homogenous territory and comprised a population of roughly 16.34 million people (as per the 1941 census) of which a majority (85%) was Hindu. Hyderabad State had its own army, airline, telecommunication system, railway network, postal system, currency and radio broadcasting service.[2] Hyderabad was a multi-lingual state consisting of peoples speaking Telugu (48.2%), Marathi (26.4%), Kannada (12.3%) and Urdu (10.3%). In spite of the overwhelming Hindu majority, Hindus were severely under-represented in government, police and the military. Of 1765 officers in the State Army, 1268 were Muslims, 421 were Hindus, and 121 others were Christians, Parsis and Sikhs. Of the officials drawing a salary between Rs.600-1200 per month, 59 were Muslims, 5 were Hindus and 38 were of other religions. The Nizam and his nobles, who were mostly Muslims, owned 40% of the total land in the state [2]

When the British finally departed from the Indian subcontinent in 1947, they offered the various princely states in the sub-continent the option of acceding to either India or Pakistan, or staying on as an independent state. Several large states, including Hyderabad, declined to join either India or Pakistan. Hyderabad had been part of the calculations of all-India political parties since the 1930s.[10] The leaders of the new Union of India were wary of a Balkanization of India if Hyderabad was left independent.[7]:223

Hyderabad state had been steadily becoming more theocratic since the beginning of the 20th century. In 1926, Mahmud Nawazkhan, a retired Hyderabad official, founded the

  • A Blog by Narendra Luther on Operation Polo
  • Picture of VII Nizam with Sardar Patel after his surrender
  • From the Sundarlal Report, Frontline, Mar 3-16, 2001
  • In the Nizam's dominion
  • Armchair Historian - Operation Polo (Monday, 18 September 2006) - Contributed by Sidin Sunny Vadukut - Last Updated (Monday, 18 September 2006)

External links

  • Hyder, Mohammed (2012). October Coup, A Memoir of the Struggle for Hyderabad. Roli Books.  
  • Khalidi, Omar (1988). Hyderabad, after the fall. Wichita, Kansas: Hyderabad Historical Society.  
  • Menon, V. P. (1956). The Story of Integration of the Indian States. MacMillan. 
  • Muralidharan, Sukumar (2014). "Alternate Histories: Hyderabad 1948 Compels a Fresh Evaluation of the Theology of India's Independence and Partition". History and Sociology of South Asia 8 (2): 119–138.  
  • Noorani, A. G. (2014). The Destruction of Hyderabad. Hurst & Co.  
  • Zubrzycki, John (2006). The Last Nizam: An Indian Prince in the Australian Outback. Australia: Pan Macmillan.  


  1. ^ - Official Indian army website complete Roll of Honor of Indian KIA
  2. ^ a b c d e Guruswamy, Mohan (May 2008). "There once was a Hyderabad!". Seminar Magazine. Retrieved 2010-08-03. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Thomson, Mike (September 24, 2013). "Hyderabad 1948: India's hidden massacre". BBC. Retrieved September 24, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d Noorani, A.G. (Mar 3–16, 2001). "Of a massacre untold". Frontline 18 (05). Retrieved 8 September 2014. The lowest estimates, even those offered privately by apologists of the military government, came to at least ten times the number of murders with which previously the Razakars were officially accused... 
  5. ^ "Hyderabad Police Action". Indian Army. Retrieved 2014-09-13. 
  6. ^ "Hyderabad on the Net". Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c d Barbara D. Metcalf; Thomas R. Metcalf (2006). A Concise History of India (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press.  
  8. ^ Kate, P. V., Marathwada Under the Nizams, 1724-1948, Delhi: Mittal Publications, 1987, p.75
  9. ^ Leonard, Karen (May 1971). "The Hyderabad Political System and its Participants". Journal of Asian Studies XXX (3): 569–70. 
  10. ^ Copland, ‘“Communalism” in Princely India, Roosa, ‘Quadary of the Qaum’ cited in Sherman "Integration of Princely States" (2007)
  11. ^ a b Kate, P. V., Marathwada Under the Nizams, 1724-1948, Delhi: Mittal Publications, 1987, p.73
  12. ^ Noorani 2014, pp. 213-4.
  13. ^ VENKATESHWARLU, K. "Destructive merger". Frontline (September 19, 2014). 
  14. ^ a b c d e f Sherman, Taylor C. (2007). "The integration of the princely state of Hyderabad and the making of the postcolonial state in India, 1948 - 56". Indian economic & social history review 44 (4): 489 – 516. 
  15. ^ "The Hyderabad Question". United Nations. Retrieved 23 September 2014. 
  16. ^ Noorani 2014, pp. 51-61.
  17. ^ By Frank Moraes, Jawaharlal Nehru, Mumbai: Jaico.2007, p.394
  18. ^ " - Analysis". Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
  19. ^ Lucien D. Benichou (1 January 2000). From Autocracy to Integration: Political Developments in Hyderabad State, 1938-1948. Orient Blackswan.  
  20. ^ a b "Bharat Rakshak-MONITOR". Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
  21. ^ a b
  22. ^ "HYDERABAD: The Holdout". Time. 30 August 1948. Retrieved 20 May 2010. 
  23. ^ Prasad, Dr. S. N. (1972). Operation Polo: The Police Action Against Hyderabad, 1948. Historical Section, Ministry of Defence, Government of India; distributors: Manager of Publications, Government of India, Delhi. p. 75. 
  24. ^ a b "When the Indian Army liberated thousands". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 14 September 2005. 
  25. ^ Autocracy to Integration, Lucien D Benichou, Orient Longman (2000), p. 237
  26. ^ "When the Indian Army liberated thousands".  
  27. ^ a b Rao, P.R. "History and Culture of Andhra Pradesh". p.281-282.
  28. ^ Jawaharlal Nehru. Mumbai: Jaico Publishing House. 2007.  [1]
  29. ^ a b Kate, P. V., Marathwada Under the Nizams, 1724-1948, Delhi: Mittal Publications, 1987, p.84


There were reports of looting, mass murder and rape of Muslims in reprisals by Hyderabadi Hindus and Indian Army soldiers.[3][29] Jawaharlal Nehru appointed a mixed-faith committee led by Pandit Sunderlal to investigated the situation. The findings of the report were not disclosed until 2013 when they were made available at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library in New Delhi.[3] The Committee concluded that while Muslims villagers were disarmed by the Indian Army, Hindus were often left with their weapons.[3] It also concluded: "At a number of places members of the armed forces brought out Muslim adult males from villages and towns and massacred them in cold blood."[3] The official "very conservative estimate" was that 27,000 to 40,000 died "during and after the police action".[3] Other scholars have put the figure at 200,000, or even higher.[4]

"From the beginning of 1948 the Razakars had extended their activities from Hyderabad city into the towns and rural areas, murdering Hindus, abducting women, pillaging houses and fields, and looting non-muslim property in a widespread reign of terror".[28] "Some women became victims of rape and kidnapping by Razakars. Thousands went to jail and braved the cruelties perpetuated by the oppressive administration. Due to the activities of the Razakars, thousands of Hindus had to flee from the state and take shelter in various camps”.[29] Official sources stated that three to five thousand people were killed by the Razakars.[4]

The Hyderabad state police and the Razakar Islamic militia (led by MIM party founder Kasim Razvi) put down the armed revolts by Communists and the peasantry, committed atrocities against the Hindu population, and even eliminated Hyderabadi Muslims such as Shoebullah Khan, who advocated merger with India.[27] "To face this challenge from the people, the Nizam encouraged the Razakars to terrorise the Hindus and also to change the communal complexion of the State by forcibly converting Hindus into Islam and inviting Muslims from outside to settle in the State."[27]

Communal Violence

According to the records maintained by Indian Army, General Chaudhari led an armoured column into Hyderabad at around 4 p.m. on September 18 and the Hyderabad army, led by Major General El Edroos, surrendered.[26]

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

The surrender ceremony

It was the Nawab of Chhatari, in whose wisdom I had complete confidence, and of Sir Walter Monkton, my constitutional Adviser, by duress compelled the Nawab and other trusted ministers to resign and forced the Laik Ali Ministry on me. This group headed by Kasim Razvi had no stake in the country or any record of service behind it. By methods reminiscent of Hitlerite Germany it took possession of the State, spread terror ... and rendered me completely helpless." [25]

Radio broadcast after surrender by Nizam

On the noon of 17 September, a messenger brought a personal note from the Nizam to India's Agent General to Hyderabad, K.M. Munshi summoning him to the Nizam's office at 1600 hours. At the meeting, the Nizam stated "The vultures have resigned. I don't know what to do". Munshi advised the Nizam to secure the safety of the citizens of Hyderabad by issuing appropriate orders to the Commander of the Hyderabad State Army, Major General El Edroos. This was immediately done.

On 16 September, faced with imminent defeat, the Nizam summoned the Prime Minister Mir Laik Ali and requested his resignation by the morning of the following day. The resignation was delivered along with the resignations of the entire cabinet.

Consultations with Indian envoy

Capitulation and surrender

In the early hours of 17 September, the Indian army entered Bidar. Meanwhile, forces led by the 1st Armoured regiment were at the town of Chityal about 60 km from Hyderabad, while another column took over the town of Hingoli. By the morning of the 5th day of hostilities, it had become clear that the Hyderabad army and the Razakars had been routed on all fronts and with extremely heavy casualties. At 5PM of 17 September Nizam announced ceasefire thus ending the armed action.[24]

Day 5, 17 September

The task force under Lt. Col. Ram Singh moved towards Zahirabad at dawn, but was slowed down by a minefield, which had to be cleared. On reaching the junction of the Bidar road with the Solapur-Hyderabad City Highway, the forces encountered gunfire from ambush positions. However, leaving some of the units to handle the ambush, the bulk of the force moved on to reach 15 kilometres beyond Zahirabad by nightfall in spite of sporadic resistance along the way. Most of the resistance was from Razakar units who ambushed the Indians as they passed through urban areas. The Razakars were able to use the terrain to their advantage until the Indians brought in their 75 mm guns.

Day 4, 16 September

At the town of Surriapet, air strikes cleared most of the Hyderabadi defences, although some Razakar units still gave resistance to the 2/5 Gurkhas who occupied the town. The retreating Hyderabadi forces destroyed the bridge at Musi to delay the Indians but failed to offer covering fire, allowing the bridge to be quickly repaired. Another incident occurred at Narkatpalli where a Razakar unit was decimated by the Indians.

Leaving a company of 3/11 Gurkhas to occupy the town of Jalna, the remainder of the force moved to Latur, and later to Mominabad where they faced action against the 3 Golconda Lancers who gave token resistance before surrendering.

Day 3, 15 September

There were further incidents in Jalna where 3 Sikh, a company of 2 Jodhpur infantry and some tanks from 18 Cavalry faced stubborn resistance from Hyderabadi forces.

A force under the command of Maj. Gen. D.S. Brar was tasked with capturing the city of Aurangabad. The city was attacked by six columns of infantry and cavalry, resulting in the civil administration emerging in the afternoon and offering a surrender to the Indians.

At the same time, the 3/11 Gurkha Rifles and a squadron of 8th Cavalry attacked Osmanabad and took the town after heavy street combat with the Razakars who determinedly resisted the Indians.[24]

The Assault force from the East was meanwhile slowed down by an anti-tank ditch and later came under heavy fire from hillside positions of the 1st Lancers and 5th Infantry 6 km from Suryapet. The positions were assaulted by the 2/5 Gurkha - veterans of the Burma Campaign - and was neutralised with the Hyderabadis taking severe casualties.

The force that had camped at Umarge proceeded to the town of Rajasur, 48 km east. As aerial reconnaissance had shown well entrenched ambush positions set up along the way, the air strikes from squadrons of Tempests were called in. These air strikes effectively cleared the route and allowed the land forces to reach and secure Rajasur by the afternoon.

Day 2, 14 September

There were further incidents in Hospet - where the 1st Mysore assaulted and secured a sugar factory from units of Razakars and Pathans - and at Tungabhadra - where the 5/5 Gurkha attacked and secured a vital bridge from the Hyderabadi army.

In the East, forces led by Lt. Gen A.A. Rudra met with fierce resistance from two armoured car cavalry units of the Hyderabad State Forces. equipped with Humber armoured cars and Staghounds, namely the 2nd and 4th Hyderabad Lancers,[23] but managed to reach the town of Kodar by 0830 hours. Pressing on, the force reached Mungala by the afternoon.

The first battle was fought at Naldurg Fort on the Solapur Secundarabad Highway between a defending force of the 1st Hyderabad Infantry and the attacking force of the 7th Brigade. Using speed and surprise, the 7th Brigade managed to secure a vital bridge on the Bori river intact, following which an assault was made on the Hyderabadi positions at Naldurg by the 2nd Sikh Infantry. The bridge and road secured, an armoured column of the 1st Armoured Brigade - part of the Smash force - moved into the town of Jalkot, 8 km from Naldurg, at 0900 hours, paving the way for the Strike Force units under Lt. Col Ram Singh Commandant of 9 Dogra (a motorised battalion) to pass through. This armoured column reached the town of Umarge, 61 km inside Hyderabad by 1515 hours, where it quickly overpowered resistance from Razakar units defending the town. Meanwhile, another column consisting of a squadron of 3rd Cavalry, a troop from 18th King Edward's Own Cavalry, a troop from 9 Para Field Regiment, 10 Field Company Engineers, 3/2 Punjab Regiment, 2/1 Gurkha Rifles, 1 Mewar Infantry, and ancillary units attacked the town of Tuljapur, about 34 km north-west of Naldurg. They reached Tuljapur at dawn, where they encountered resistance from a unit of the 1st Hyderabad Infantry and about 200 Razakars who fought for two hours before surrendering. Further advance towards the town of Lohara was stalled as the river had swollen. The first day on the Western front ended with the Indians inflicting heavy casualties on the Hyderabadis and capturing large tracts of territory. Amongst the captured defenders was a British mercenary who had been tasked with blowing up the bridge near Naldurg.

Day 1, 13 September

Commencement of hostilities

The date for the attack was fixed as 13 September, even though General Sir Roy Bucher, the Indian chief of staff, had objected on grounds that Hyderabad would be an additional front for the Indian army after Kashmir.

The attack from Vijayawada was led by Major General A.A. Rudra and comprised the 2/5 Gurkha Rifles, one squadron of the 17th (Poona) Horse, and a troop from the 19th Field Battery along with engineering and ancillary units. In addition, four infantry battalions were to neutralize and protect lines of communication. Two squadrons of Hawker Tempest aircraft were prepared for air support from the Pune base.

  1. Strike Force comprising a mix of fast moving infantry, cavalry and light artillery,
  2. Smash Force consisting of predominantly armoured units and artillery,
  3. Kill Force composed of infantry and engineering units
  4. Vir Force which comprised infantry, anti-tank and engineering units.

The attack from Solapur was led by Major General J.N. Chaudhari and was composed of four task forces:

On receiving directions from the government to seize and annex Hyderabad, the Indian army came up with the Goddard Plan (laid out by Lt. Gen. E. N. Goddard, the Commander-in-Chief of the Southern Command). The plan envisaged two main thrusts - from Vijayawada in the East and Solapur in the West - while smaller units pinned down the Hyderabadi army along the border. Overall command was placed in the hands of Lt. Gen. Rajendrasinghji, DSO.

Indian military preparations

On 6 September an Indian police post near Chillakallu village came under heavy fire from Razakar units. The Indian Army command sent a squadron of The Poona Horse led by Abhey Singh and a company of 2/5 Gurkha Rifles to investigate who were also fired upon by the Razakars. The tanks of the Poona Horse then chased the Razakars to Kodar, in Hyderabad territory. Here they were opposed by the armoured cars of 1 Hyderabad Lancers. In a brief action the Poona Horse destroyed one armoured car and forced the surrender of the state garrison at Kodar.

Skirmish at Kodar

In Hyderabad, militia leader Qasim Razvi told a crowd of Razakars, "Death with the sword in hand, is always preferable to extinction by a mere stroke of the pen". Razvi was later described by Indian government officials as "The Nizam’s Frankenstein Monster". In response to reports that India was planning to invade Hyderabad Razwi stated, "If India attacks us I can and will create a turmoil throughout India. We will perish but India will perish also." Time magazine pointed out that if India invaded Hyderabad, the Razakars would massacre Hindus, which would lead to retaliatory massacres of Muslims across India.[22]

As the Indian government received information that Hyderabad was arming itself and was preparing to ally with Pakistan in any future war against India, Sardar Patel described the idea of an independent Hyderabad as an ulcer in the heart of India - which had to removed surgically. In response, Hyderabad's prime minister Laik Ali stated "India thinks that if Pakistan attacks her, Hyderabad will stab her in the back. I am not so sure we would not." Sardar Patel responded later by stating "If you threaten us with violence, swords will be met with swords".[21]

Breakdown of negotiations

It is reported that the Nizam received arms supplies from Pakistan and from the Portuguese administration based in Goa. In addition, additional arms supplies were received via airdrops from an Australian arms trader Sidney Cotton.

In addition to these, there were about 200,000 irregular militia called the Razakars under the command of civilian leader Kasim Razvi. A quarter of these were armed with modern small firearms, while the rest were predominantly armed with muzzle-loaders and swords.[20]

The Nizam was in a weak position as his army numbered only 24,000 men, of whom only some 6,000 were fully trained and equipped.[19]:229 These included Arabs, Rohillas, North Indian Muslims and Pathans. The State Army consisted of three armoured regiments, a horse cavalry regiment, 11 infantry battalions and artillery. These were supplemented by irregular units with horse cavalry, four infantry battalions (termed as the Saraf-e-khas, paigah, Arab and Refugee) and a garrison battalion. This army was commanded by Major General El Edroos, an Arab.[20] 55 per cent of the Hyderabadi army was composed of Muslims, with 1,268 Muslims in a total of 1,765 officers as of 1941.[2][21]

Hyderabadi military preparations

On 4 December 1947, Arya Samaj, made a failed attempt to assassinate the Nizam outside his palace.[18]

As the manpower and arsenal of the Razakars grew, there was an escalation of violence between the Razakars and Hindu communities. In all, more than 150 villages (of which 70 were in Indian territory outside Hyderabad State) were pushed into violence. In Telangana, large groups of peasants, aided by the Communist Party of India and Andhra Mahasabha, revolted against local Hindu and Muslim landlords, and also came into direct confrontation with the Razakars, in what became known as the Telangana Rebellion. “From the beginning of 1948 the Razakars had extended their activities from Hyderabad city into the towns and rural areas, murdering Hindus, abducting women, pillaging houses and fields, and looting non-Muslim property in a widespread reign of terror." [17]

Even as India and Hyderabad negotiated, most of the sub-continent had been thrown into chaos as a result of communal Hindu-Muslim riots pending the imminent partition of India. Fearing a Hindu civil uprising in his own kingdom, the Nizam allowed Qasim Razvi, a close advisor, and leader of the radical Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) Party, to set up a voluntary militia of Muslims called the 'Razakars'. The Razakars - who numbered up to 200,000 at the height of the conflict - swore to uphold Islamic domination in Hyderabad and the Deccan plateau in the face of growing public opinion amongst the majority Hindu population favouring the accession of Hyderabad into the Indian Union.

In the 1936-37 Indian elections, the Muslim League under Muhammad Ali Jinnah had sought to harness Muslim aspirations, and had won the adherence of MIM leader Nawab Bahadur Yar Jung, who campaigned for an Islamic State centred on the Nizam as the Sultan dismissing all claims for democracy. The Arya Samaj, a Hindu revivalist movement, had been demanding greater access to power for the Hindu majority since the late 1930s, and was curbed by the Nizam in 1938. The Hyderabad State Congress joined forces with the Arya Samaj as well as the Hindu Mahasabha in the State.[16]

Civil unrest in Hyderabad and Atrocities by Razakars

[14] Initially, in 1945, the communists targeted

In late 1945, there started a peasant uprising in [14]

Telangana Rebellion

The Nizam also made unsuccessful attempts to seek the arbitration of the President Harry S. Truman of the United States of America and intervention of the United Nations.[15]

Although the plan was approved and signed by the Indians, it was rejected by the Nizam who demanded only complete independence or the status of a dominion under the British Commonwealth.

In the summer of 1948, Indian officials, especially Patel, signaled an intention to invade; Britain encouraged India to resolve the issue without the use of force, but refused Nizam's requests to help.[14] In June 1948, Mountbatten prepared the 'Heads of Agreement' deal which offered Hyderabad the status of an autonomous dominion nation under India. The deal called for the restriction of the regular Hyderabadi armed forces along with a disbanding of its voluntary forces. While it allowed the Nizam to continue as the executive head of the state, it called for a plebiscite along with general democratic elections to set up a constituent assembly. The Hyderabad government would continue to administer its territory as before, leaving only foreign affairs to be handled by the Indian government.

Both sides accused the other of violating the Standstill agreement. The Indians accused the Hyderabad government of importing arms from Pakistan. Hyderabad had given Rupees 200 million to Pakistan, and had stationed a bomber squadron there. According to Taylor C. Sherman, "India claimed that the government of Hyderabad was edging towards independence by divesting itself of its Indian securities, banning the Indian currency, halting the export of ground nuts, organising illegal gun-running from Pakistan, and inviting new recruits to its army and to its irregular forces, the Razakars." The Hyderabadi envoys accused India of setting up armed barricades on all land routes and of attempting to economically isolate their nation.[14]

Accordingly, the Indian government offered Hyderabad a 'Standstill Agreement' which made an assurance that the status quo would be maintained and no military action would be taken for one year. According to this agreement India would handle Hyderabad’s foreign affairs, but Indian Army troops stationed in Secunderabad would be removed.[14] Unlike in the case of other royal states, instead of an explicit guarantee of eventual accession to India, only a guarantee stating that Hyderabad would not join Pakistan was given. Negotiations were opened through K.M. Munshi, India’s envoy and agent general to Hyderabad, and the Nizam’s envoys, Laik Ali and Sir Walter Monckton. Lord Mountbatten, who presided over the negotiations, offered several possible deals to the Hyderabad government which were rejected.

According to A.G. Noorani, Nehru's concern was to defeat Hyderabad's secessionist venture, but he favoured talks and considered military option as a last resort. Sardar Patel, however, took a hard line, and had no patience with talks. Noorani states, "Patel hated the Nizam personally, and ideologically opposed Hyderabad's composite culture."[12][13]

The Nizam of Hyderabad initially approached the British government with a request to take on the status of an independent constitutional monarchy under the British Commonwealth of Nations. This request was however rejected.

Political and diplomatic negotiations

Events preceding hostilities


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