[PDF / Epub] ★ The story of the integration of the Indian States (World affairs: national and international viewpoints) Author V.P. Menon – Motyourdrive.co.uk

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10 thoughts on “The story of the integration of the Indian States (World affairs: national and international viewpoints)

  1. says:

    This is one of the best books I have ever read on Indian history Covers the integration of the Indian states in a great detail Especially enjoyed reading the introduction and the first chapter, the way author sets context right from 300 AD till the day India got freedom, is just a delight and so much learning of course Hats off to Sardar Patel V.P Menon for making this happen Had the integration not happened, it is hard to imagine the co existence of 566 Princely states in technologically advanced 21st century A summary of this book perhaps introduction chapter will suffice should be made part of school curriculum.

  2. says:

    When India became independent, the country was a kaleidoscope of small and large states of various hues and shades The bigger provinces were under direct British rule, but the native princely states, which were 554 in number, were scattered over the entire area Nobody could have imagined that all these principalities would be merged into a single union within two years a blink of an eye as far as national timescales are concerned But Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Vappala Pangunny Menon, his adviser and secretary to the States ministry achieved the impossible in such a short time They tamed the quarrelsome princes and convinced them of the need first to accede to India and then to merge their states with others or British Indian provinces With patience, tact, compromise and a little bit of coercion when all else failed, the states were eventually pulled under the wings of the Indian republic V P Menon tells the story of that heroic effort that has not received the grateful attention of India because the state machinery was bent upon conferring on Nehru the laughable epithet of the architect of modern India The country trod the path of economic progress only when Nehru s policies were thrown out with contempt in the liberalization era How then can he still be called the architect However, the focus on Nehru in state approved history came at the cost of Sardar Patel.India maintained its unity of culture at all times but politically it was a hopeless case during most of its existence Rare exceptions like the Mauryas and Guptas may be cherry picked, but they were just that, rather than the rule The British united it politically no doubt, for their own ends but united it indeed came to be Menon acknowledges the British contribution with an encomium that no greater achievement can be credited to the British than that they brought about India s enduring political consolidation But for this accomplishment and the rise of national consciousness in its wake, the government of free India could hardly have taken the final step of bringing about the peaceful integration of the princely states p.3 The East India Company established its administration from the districts to the Governor General The administration was impersonal and no hereditary posts were envisaged as done by the native rajas The company s officers were imbued with a sense of their mission and introduced the principles and practices which obtained in their country The East India Company annexed many states outright to their dominions, but abandoned this policy after 1857, considering the limitless help in men and material they received from the local princes in suppressing the Mutiny This temporarily halted the drive for unification The Simon Commission report submitted in 1930 restarted the process by hinting of a federation of all states It proposed setting up of a standing consultative body containing representatives from British India and the states, to be called the Council for Greater India The federal portion of the reforms enunciated by the 1935 Government of India Act was not implemented due to reluctance of the princes over loss of revenue At that time, World War 2 intervened and all consultations were stopped.Menon was very active in the bureaucratic circles after the end of the War and provides a blow by blow account of the British effort to grant freedom in a peaceful way Stafford Cripps proposed a union in which the states were given the privilege to opt out if they so desired Such states would still continue the same treaty relationship with the Crown Both the Congress and the Muslim League rejected this half way offer As late as 1946, Viceory Wavell was assuring the princes their continued positions of power and prestige The Cabinet Mission specified in no uncertain terms that paramountcy of the British would end with the handing over of power and the new dominions would not be the overlords of the states It was left to the princes to negotiate and make a working arrangement with the new states For a brief time, the princes were quite content at the fact that they were now free to take decisions that concerned their future This was a short lived dream The new dominions India and Pakistan wanted the states to accede to them on the three subjects of external affairs, defence and communications The Centre s right to enter any state for protection of internal security was guaranteed in the defence clause A Standstill Agreement was also signed by the states that transferred the arrangements which they had had with the Crown to the new governments until alternate schemes were finalized.This book describes the feverish pitch of India s struggle to ensure accession of all states that were contiguous to it Pakistan was breathing down their neck When Maharajah Hanwant Singh of Jodhpur was initially disinclined to accede, Jinnah gave him a signed blank sheet of paper, asking him to fill in the conditions to join Pakistan But soon, the public unrest in that predominantly Hindu state forced him to accede to India Menon thankfully acknowledges Lord Mountbatten s support, who was the first Governor General of free India, in swaying the decisions of some princes to India He notes that Mountbatten had abundant love for India Some states proved intransigent at first, especially Travancore under its Dewan Sir C P Ramaswamy Iyer Hyderabad, Kashmir and Junagadh were stubborn in keeping their independent existence and later Junagadh in fact acceded to Pakistan Their show of force against nearby Mangrol, which had acceded to India, was met with Sardar s military muscle Eventually, the Muslim Nawab of Junagadh fled to Pakistan and the state joined India.If the princes had thought that they could exert their sweet will on the people on all matters except the three subjects relegated to the Centre, their hopes were soon dashed by the flow of events which came thick and fast Clamour for governments responsible to the wishes of the people were rising from all corners Most of the states were not in a position to dally with popular government and democracy owing to their small sizes and meagre financial resources There were 222 states in the region of Kathiawar itself, of which Vijanoness had an area of just 185 acres, with a population of 206 and annual income of Rs 500 There were scattered islands of territory outside their individual boundaries In the 57,000 square kilometer area of Saurashtra, there were 860 different jurisdictions that hindered movement of people and trade Sardar and Menon set about on the task of merging unviable states into unions, to other states or to nearby provinces This was the second stage of integration The rulers were effectively threatened to hand over power or else the responsible governments which they d eventually be forced to concede would agree anyway In that case, the decision would be against their will and without any compensation In its place, Menon promised liberal Privy Purse payments to the rulers with which they can settle down to a quiet life in lieu of sovereignty The situation was very fluid and the unsettled nature of the things was fully utilized by the author The pettiness of the rajas came out when talks progressed Menon lists out a few instances of the Travancore raja who was unwilling even to meet his co ruler in the new state, the raja of Cochin Some princes protested at the amalgamation and wanted plebiscite Menon preempted them by telling that he could not believe it to be their intention to deny the representative character of Nehru, Sardar and the central cabinet Reminiscing with obvious delight and slight mischief, Menon remarks that much water had flowed under the bridge , referring to the total surrender of the native principalities from the initial demand of accession on just three subjects In the end, out of the 554 states, 216 were merged to nearby provinces, 5 were taken over as Chief Commissioner s provinces, 310 were consolidated into six unions, 21 Punjab hill states were merged into Himachal Pradesh and Mysore and Hyderabad remained untouched.The firsthand experience of the author in merging Hyderabad and Kashmir are detailed in the book Ever since the Kashmir issue was referred to the United Nations, it ceased to be controlled by the States ministry and the External Affairs ministry took over But in Hyderabad, his experience was comprehensive from the initial posturing of the Nizam to his unconditional surrender Hindus comprised 85 per cent of the state s population but the Nizam had stuffed his administration, police and armed forces with Muslims Initially he refused to accede to India and wanted dominion status To buttress his claim and to blackmail India, an organization called the Ittihad ul Muslimeen was launched to intimidate and suppress the Hindus of Hyderabad Kazim Razvi was its leader and its members were called Razakars who were given a free run of the place The Nizam conducted parleys with Jinnah and appointed Mir Laik Ali, who had represented Pakistan in the UN as the president of his executive council He arm twisted the Indian government to sign a standstill agreement without accession, but followed it up immediately with two ordinances that banned export of precious metals to India and prohibited the use of Indian currency as legal tender in his state Moreover, he displayed where his real sympathies lay with a loan of Rs 20 crores to Pakistan Razvi s incendiary speeches and attempts to cleanse Hyderabad of its non Muslim population were escalating the tension with each passing day With a Koran on one hand and a sword on the other, he exclaimed jihad against India and swore that the 45 million Muslims in India would be their fifth columnists in the case of a war On 22 May 1948, the mail train from Madras to Bombay was waylaid at Gangapur station Several male passengers were killed and the assailants kidnapped many women passengers The Nizam was testing the patience of India and counting upon the lucky chance that its troops were tied up in Kashmir and some British politicians were demanding independence for Hyderabad Finally, Indian forces barged in by a pincer movement and humbled its troops within 108 hours of fighting The Nizam was allowed to remain as the head of state and he returned the favour by faithfully signing on the dotted line whenever asked for However, Menon gives only scant details of the invasion.A serious drawback of the book is that its author is not as candid as the readers wish him to be Even though he had retired from service by the time he wrote this book, Menon still keeps the veil of secrecy and stays on the narrow course offered by the official version The economic blockade of Junagadh and Hyderabad doesn t find mention in the narrative because it was put in place covertly Detailed coverage of the articles, schedules and letters reproduced verbatim is a little trying on the reader At the same time, he has presented some interesting anecdotes and asides such as the Gangajal Fund of Gwalior and the air crash involving the Maharajah of Jaipur An accusation levelled against Menon s ministry was its generous spirit in granting privy purses to deposed rulers This argument is categorically refuted by the author with clear logic and facts.The book is highly recommended.

  3. says:

    A great book to read for everyone who wish to understand the story behind India as we know today Integral India with all its states today has been possible only due to the excellent work done by the States Department under leadership of Sardar Patel V.P Menon We and our future generations might take the integrity of India for granted This book helps to realize the possibilities of several India which might have resulted after British India A great read.

  4. says:

    This book is the source of excellent historical facts by a person who was involved in creating a significant milestone in Indian history The book presents a detailed account of merger of all the princely states left behind by the British into the Indian dominion It is very clear that the author along with Sardar Patel demonstrated excellent diplomatic skills in convincing the rules to merge with India The author has covered a brief historical background in the first few chapter so that the future generations can know the background and appreciate the mammoth task that lay ahead in front of the state ministry of the Independent India The author has devoted a chapter each on how larger states were merged For smaller states or geographically closer states he has dedicated one chapter for each such cluster Finally the merger of all tiny states have been covered in a single chapter Each chapter begins with a brief historical background on these states on how they were formed and what their relationship with the British were After the history, the author has then moved on to provide a detailed account of the merger process and various negotiations that took place A lot of original letters and correspondence have been quoted as well.The last few chapter consists of a brief summary of further organisation of these unions and their resources into manageable units The appendix at the end have been put in the later editions as it consists of certain bills and amendments which completely abolished the concept of princes and kings.Overall this book is a worth read for all history lovers.

  5. says:

    A thorough account of the integration of integration of Indian states after independence I personally believe that the independence story doesn t end on 1947 To know how present India came into being, you have to know the story of the integration of Indian states which at the time of independence were numbered upwards of 550.Well, look no further Know the tale directly from the horse s mouth V.P Menon was the bureaucrat who did that under the leadership of Iron Man Sardar Patel The book explains the story of the integration of states through various anecdotes like how a certain Rajah of Rajasthan pointed a gun at the writer and in another case how a Rajah from Gujrat was smuggling wealth and state wealth to a foreign country while engaging with Government in negotiations Also, if you really want to understand the problem of JK from the very start, this book will certainly help.The book could become a little darb and a bit bureaucratically technical but other than that a good, informative read.

  6. says:

    A great book about one of the greatest episodes of entire Indian history Coming from a person who himself was part of the process makes it interesting It presents nicely the immense challenges of integration and how it was accomplished Moreover, the pragmatism that is required in today s Indian politics is reflected by the decisions taken by Sardar and V P Menon Go for it.

  7. says:

    Awesome book on how the gigantic task of integration of 600 princely states done ,and all thw idiosynchrasies of the various kingsOne can only salute The Sardar after reading the immense complexities

  8. says:

    must read if you want to know the story of how 562 states were moulded into one great nation.

  9. says:

    A book which explains the most important event in the Indian history It requires quite a bit of effort to complete this book and one needs to have basic understanding of politics.

  10. says:

    Informative Must read for people wishing to acquaint themselves with the situation and subsequent integration of Indian princely states in the aftermath of the partition.

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