Telangana state: Importance of September 17
The erstwhile Hyderabad state consisting of 16 districts (8 Telangana districts, 5 Marathwada districts and 3 districts of Karnataka) had been under the rule of Nizam from 1724 to 1948, accounting for a period of 224 years. While India got its independence on August 15, 1947, the people of Hyderabad state got their independence on September 17, 1948 with the intervention of the then union home minister of India Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
Going back into the history, the erstwhile Hyderabad state got its independence on September 17, 1948, thirteen months after India got its independence; and the oppressed people of this region started feeling a sigh of relief. Despite the fact Hyderabad state got its independence and joined the Indian union, there was no separate government for the people of this region till state assembly elections were conducted in India, in 1952. In these elections the Indian National Congress emerged as the winning party with 93 seats in Hyderabad state.
Dr. Burgula Ramakrishna Rao got elected as the first chief minister of Hyderabad state. Till that time i.e. from 1948 to 1952, the state of Hyderabad was under the military rule.
The States Reorganization Commission (SRC) set up by the government of India in the early 50s to examine the issue of reorganization of states of India was not in favour of merging the Telangana region (8 districts of the erstwhile Hyderabad state) with the erstwhile Andhra state to form erstwhile Andhra Pradesh which came into force on November 1, 1956.
In this milieu, it is very important to know about Operation Polo. Operation Polo, the code name given to the Hyderabad Police Action was a military operation undertaken in September 1948 to invade the erstwhile Hyderabad and to overthrow its Nizam by the Indian Armed Forces.
The main purpose was to annex the state into the Indian Union. At the time of the Partition of India, in 1947, most of the princely states in India, who were nominally independent but indirectly ruled by the British, 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, sought independence. The Nizam tried to enforce this with an irregular army recruited from Muslim aristocracy, known as the Razakars. The Nizam was also overwhelmed by the Telangana rebellion, which he was unable to conquer.
At the same time, the Indian government was anxious to avoid a Balkanization of India. The union government was determined for the integration of Hyderabad into India. Amidst atrocities by the Razakars, the Indian Home Minister Sardar Patel decided to annex it in what was called a “police action”. The Razakars were defeated easily in the Operation Polo itself took five days.
September 17, has been viewed differently by different set of people. Some view it as the day of the merger, while some other view it has the day of liberation, so on and so forth. Whatsoever may be the case and the name, it is the day on which the erstwhile Hyderabad state was merged in India.