British India consisted of Princely States and Provinces. About 60 percentage of the Indian subcontinent's territory were provinces and 40 percentage were Princely States. Provinces were British territories completely under British control while the Princely states were states in British India with local rulers or kings with honorary titles like Maharaja, Raja, Maharana, Rana, Nizam, etc. Among these Hyderabad was one of the princely states ruled by Nizam in South India.
Hyderabad was a multilingual state with people speaking Telugu, Marathi, Kannada and Urdu. It consisted of present-day Telangana, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. The Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan was a Muslim ruler who ruled a Hindu majority state. It was recognized as the richest state and the Nizam was the richest man in the world. The state was actually self-reliant, had its own currency (Hyderabadi Rupee), its own army, railway network, radio network, postal system, etc.
After the crown rule ended, the last Governor General of India Lord Mountbatten gave the princely states the choice to either join India or Pakistan or remain independent. 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, however, was rejected by the Governor General of India.
When it was clear that India would not accept an independent Hyderabad, the Nizam even threatened to throw in his lot with Pakistan. The Nizam had a tendency towards Pakistan and India was waging a war in Jammu and Kashmir with the same nation. India became cautious with Hyderabad. The Nizam was adamant and unwilling to consider any other option which eventually led India to send the army to Hyderabad and crush the rebellion.
As a first step, the Central Government came up with the Standstill Agreement, in November, 1947, which only sought an assurance, that Hyderabad would not accede to Pakistan, and would remain in India. In accordance with the Standstill Agreement, K.M. Munshi was appointed as the Indian Government's envoy and Agent General to Hyderabad. ]
Munshi was mistreated by the Nizam's Government. He was not even given proper accommodation. The Razakars were a private army maintained by the Nizam of Hyderabad. This army started harassing and looting the general public. Against such a background, the Indian Home Minister Sardar Patel decided to annex Hyderabad.
Operation Polo was the code name for the Hyderabad Police Action. Indian Army sent infantry, tanks and artillery to take part in the operations. The operation began on 13 September 1948 with battle fought at Naldurg Fort near Solapur. The operation itself took five days in which the Razakars and the Hyderabadi military were defeated swiftly.
The 'Hyderabad State Army' was Completely routed, with 490 dead and 122 injured, and around 1647 becoming prisoners. The Razakars' fate was even worse, they lost 1373 of their men, and 1911 were captured, and with it their pipe dream of hosting an independent Hyderabad too varnished.
Nizam knew he had lost the game. It ended the autocratic-feudal regime and integrated the Hyderabad State into Indian union. Many voices were raised questioning the legitimacy of the decision to annex Hyderabad. However, it was necessary to launch an operation to make the geographically and culturally integral state of Hyderabad as part of India.