Sunday, July 24, 2011

Problem of the Princely States

The British government made it clear that their departure and lapse of paramountcy, the Indian states became legally independent entities. This would create a situation that might lead to the Balkanization of subcontinent. The accession and integration of these states with the Indian dominion really a posed a great challenge to the new government. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, minister in charge of states department, and V.P.Menon its secretary took the task of integrating native states to Indian Union. They succeeded in getting the vast majority of the states to accede to the Indian Union through a combination of diplomatic pressure, arm twisting and popular movements.

Integration of Hyderabad, Junagarh, Travancore and Kashmir

The Nizam of Hyderabad insisted that his state would continue as an independent state. He began to organize Muslim Razakars, the terrorists to resist the Indian designs. Finally the Indian troops marched against him. There was not much resistance, and Hyderabad was acceded to Indian Union.

Junagarh was a small state in Kathiawar. Its Nawab kept secretly in touch with Pakistan. He was prepared to join Pakistan. Indian troops were dispatched to Junagarh. The Nawab offered no resistance and fled to Pakistan. Junagarh was acceded to Indian Union in February 1948.

In case of Jammu and Kashmir, its Hindu Maharaja delayed his decision regarding accession. The people of Kashmir under the leadership of Saik Abdullah organized a revolt against autocratic rule of the Maharaja. Meanwhile Pakistani troops invaded Kashmir. The Maharaja sought Indian help. He agreed to sign the instrument of accession and India sent troops to assist him against Pakistan. A popular government under Shaik Abdullah assumed office in Kashmir.

C.P.Ramaswami Iyer, the Dewan of Travancore announced on 11 June 1947 that Travancore would set itself up as an independent state. The action of the Dewan aroused a bitter controversy and outside the state. The government resorted to series of repressive measures. Three persons were killed in a police firing at Thiruvananthapuram. A few days after the incident an unsuccessful attempt was made on the life of Diwan. The Diwan escaped with injuries but he left Travancore soon. Immediately after this incident the Maharaja of Travancore agreed to accede to Indian Union.

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