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Accession of Hyderabad to India

GS Paper 1

 Syllabus: Post-Independent India


Source: IE, IE

 Context: This year marks the 75th anniversary of Operation Polo and ‘Police Action’ in Hyderabad


A Brief History of Hyderabad 

Founded in 1591, it became the capital of the Qutb Shahi Kingdom (Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah founded the city). In 1724, Nizam-ul-Mulk established the Asaf-Jah dynasty. Hyderabad thrived culturally, with landmarks like Charminar and Golconda Fort.


Accession of Hyderabad to India

Hyderabad, a significant princely state, was ruled by the Nizams under British paramountcy. Unlike other princely states, the Nizam did not accede to India at independence in 1947, aiming for independence and receiving support from Pakistan. 

  • Nizam’s Reluctance: In August 1947, Hyderabad’s Nizam, Mir Usman Ali, had hopes of Hyderabad remaining independent due to its wealth, historical significance, and personal ties.
  • Sardar Patel’s Approach: Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, India’s Deputy Prime Minister, handled Hyderabad cautiously. He recognized the strategic importance of Hyderabad and believed that pushing too hard might drive the Nizam towards joining Pakistan.
  • Role of Razakars: The Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen, led by Qasim Razvi, became violent and extremist, forming a paramilitary group called ‘razakars’ with state support. They brutally suppressed opposition to the Nizam.
  • Peasant Movements: Hyderabad witnessed a satyagraha for democracy and a Communist-led peasant movement against landholdings, forced labour, and excessive taxes. These movements gained strength against the Nizam’s rule.
  • Operation Polo: In September 1948, the Indian Army launched Operation Polo to annex Hyderabad. The Nizam’s forces surrendered, and the razakars were banned. This marked the end of the Nizam’s rule.



  • After the operation, widespread communal violence occurred, with death estimates ranging from 27,000 to 200,000.
  • The Nizam retained a symbolic role, disowned UN complaints, and Hyderabad was absorbed into India despite protests from Pakistan and criticism from other countries.



Hyderabad’s accession to India was a significant achievement for Indian secularism, demonstrating unity and the acceptance of diversity within the newly independent nation. It was also seen as a problem resolved through peaceful means.


Prelims links:

  1. With reference to Indian history, which of the following statements is/are correct?
  2. The Nizamat of Arcot emerged out of Hyderabad State.
  3. The Mysore Kingdom emerged out of the Vijayanagara Empire.
  4. The Rohilkhand Kingdom was formed out of the territories occupied by Ahmad Shah Durrani.


Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 and 2
(b) 2 only
(c) 2 and 3
(d) 3 only



Ans: A