This Day in History (18-Sep-1948) – Operation Polo is terminated after the Indian Army Accepts the Surrender of the Nizam of Hyderabad’s Army

Spread over most of the Deccan Plateau, the Hyderabad State was established by Nizam-ul-Mulk Asaf Jah in 1724 after the end of the Mughal Empire. Under the rule of Mir Usman Ali, the Hyderabad state was very prosperous and had its own army, railway and airline network, postal system and radio network. In 1947, the then Indian Home Minister Sardar Patel requested the Nizam to join India, but he refused and instead declared Hyderabad an independent nation on 15th August 1947, the day Indian received Independence. The Indian Government then offered Hyderabad a Standstill Agreement, which assured the state that no military action would be taken against it. Unlike the other princely states which acceded to either India or Pakistan, Hyderabad only promised India that it would not join Pakistan. In June 1948, Lord Mountbatten proposed the Heads of Agreement deal which gave Hyderabad the status of an autonomous dominion nation under India. The deal was signed by India, but the Nizam refused to sign this saying that he either wanted complete independence or the status of a dominion under the British Commonwealth of Nations. While these negotiations were being carried out, communal riots between Hindus and Muslims had broken out in Hyderabad. The state was also busy arming itself and was receiving arms from Pakistan and the Portuguese administration in Goa.

As soon as the Indian Government received information that Hyderabad was arming itself and planning to ally with Pakistan, Sardar Patel described the idea of an Independent Hyderabad as “an ulcer in the heart of India which needed to be removed surgically”. This was when talks between India and Hyderabad broke down and India decided to annex Hyderabad under “Operation Polo” and “Operation Caterpillar”, or more commonly referred to as “Police Action”. The battle between India and Hyderabad began on 13th September 1948 and ended on 18th September 1948 after which the Nizam’s army surrendered to the Indian Army and Hyderabad became a part of the Union of India. It is estimated that 32 were killed and 97 injured on the Indian side and 490 killed and 122 wounded on the Hyderabadi side. Subsequentky Hyderabad state was merged with Andhra state to form Andhra Pradesh in 1956.



This Day in History (4-Jul-1999) – The Indian Army recaptured Tiger Hill and hoisted the tricolour atop the 16,500 ft. peak

Narration from Yogendra Singh Yadav who was awarded Param Vir Chakra – We were 25 soldiers of the 18 Granadiers unit of the Indian Army. After scaling the rocks for three nights, we were just 50 metres below Tiger Hill. Due to the heavy firing, 18 of our jawans and officers had to retreat. Now, we were just seven jawans near the Pakistani bunkers. After the firing stopped, we (seven of us) slowly began advancing to capture the Pakistani bunkers, just 10 metres away from us. At about 11:30 a.m. we opened fire at the bunker and gunned down four Pakistani soldiers. After we captured the Pakistani bunker, the Pakistan Army from the top of Tiger Hill sent 10 jawans to assess our strength. As they moved near, we gunned down eight of them. Two escaped. At 11:30 a.m. on the same day, Pakistani Army men attacked our bunker. The attack was fierce, though we could gun down 35 Pakistani soldiers, I lost all six of my comrades. I sustained gunshot injuries on my legs, arms, thigh and in other parts of my body. The Pakistanis were sure that I was dead.

I regained consciousness. I took out my grenade, pulled the pin and threw it at the enemy. After the explosion, his body was blown off in the air. By then, I picked up the Peeka Rifle of a Pakistani soldier lying nearby and I opened fire which left five Pakistani soldiers dead. I heard the order on their wireless to retreat from the Tiger Hill and further heard the instruction to attack the Indian MMG-base 500 metres below Tiger Hill. I dumped myself in the drain covering my head. Now within five minutes I was below 400 meters and I saw my boss, Lieutenant Balwan. I told him that the Pakistanis wanted to attack the MMG base and had vacated Tiger Hill. On this tip-off, the officials deployed ‘Charlie’ and ‘Delta’ companies at Tiger Hill and deployed ‘Bravo’ company to save the MMG base. After a few minutes, Pakistani forces attacked the MMG base. This battle resulted in all the Pakistani soldiers being killed, since we had prior information of their arrival. Meanwhile, the ‘Delta’ and ‘Charlie’ companies had captured Tiger Hill. The war of seven hours was over and this is how we won Tiger Hill!


This Day in History (7-Jun-1984) – Indian Army troops stormed the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the holiest of Sikh shrines

The Khalistan Movement originally started in the early 1940’s and 50’s, but the movement was most popular in the 1970s and 1980s. Operation Blue Star was launched to eliminate Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his followers who had sought cover in the Amritsar Harmandir Sahib Complex during demand of Khalistan. The armed Sikhs within the Harmandir Sahib were led by Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and former Maj. Gen. Shabeg Singh. In order to resolve crisis, Indira Gandhi first asked Lt. Gen. S. K. Sinha, then Vice-Chief of Indian Army and selected to become the next Army chief, to prepare a position paper for assault on the Golden Temple. Lt. Gen. Sinha advised against any such move and suggested the government adopt an alternative solution. A controversial decision was made to replace him with General Arun Shridhar Vaidya as the Chief of the Indian army. General Vaidya, assisted by Lt. Gen. K Sundarji as Vice-Chief, planned and coordinated Operation Blue Star.

Operation Blue Star was comprised of two operations: Operation Shop, which kept the curfew orders in check and Operation Metal, concerned to the Harmandir Sahib complex. On 3 June, a 36-hour curfew was imposed on the state of Punjab with all methods of communication and public travel suspended. Electricity supplies were also interrupted, creating a total blackout and cutting off the state from the rest of India and the world. Complete censorship was enforced on the news media. The Indian Army stormed Harmandir Sahib on the night of 5 June under the command of Kuldip Singh Brar. Army used tanks, heavy artillery, helicopters and armored vehicles.The forces had full control of Harmandir Sahib by the morning of 7 June. Sikh leaders Bhindranwale and Shabeg Singh were killed in the operation.

The Army placed total casualties at; other than military: 492 dead, Military: 136 killed and 220 wounded. Post Operation events claimed the life of a Prime Minister and subsequently the lives of over 8,000 Sikhs at the hands of vengeful mobs in 1984. General Vaidya also was gunned down within 2 years.