Model Question and Answers for APSC | Discuss the challenges in the process of integration of the princely states with India after Independence and evaluate the role of Sardar Patel. (APSC Mains 2020 GS- I)
Ans : The 3 major issues that impeded the integration process were, firstly their demand for independence, secondly the demand to integrate with Pakistan and finally the problems of administrative integration after political integration. Also Pakistan was influencing the decisions of these states by offering financial as well political tools to these states if they acceded in Pakistan. This was a headache for Indian leadership.
Challenges integration of Princely States were:
1. During the time of proclamation of India’s independence, Britain took a stand that princely states can either join with India or Pakistan or they can remain independent. This clause created much confusion.
2. For the rulers of princely states they cannot even imagine ceding their power under the Indian constituent Assembly.
3. These states followed different administrative methods; some were aristocratic, strong differences between the states themselves, people with different opinions, mindsets and culture to name a few reasons.
4. Eventually, rulers of all the 652 states with exception of Junagarh, Kashmir and Hyderabad had signed the instrument of Accession by 15 August, 1947.
5. Junagadh Nawab wanted to join Pakistan but his people wanted to join Indian dominion. Hyderabad wanted a sovereign status.
6. Kashmir had a Hindu prince and a Muslim majority population. The prince envisaged a sovereign status for the state and was reluctant to accede to either India or Pakistan. If India has emerged as one of the tall nations of the world, a citadel of democracy and a super-economy in the offing, it has been significant due to Sardar Patel’s non-violent silent revolution in enabling the ‘political integration’ of princely states with the Indian Union.
Role of sardar patel in integration:
1. Patel threw a series of lunch parties where he requested his princely guests to help the Congress in framing the new constitution for India.
2. Patel's first step was to appeal to the princes whose territories fell inside India to accede to the Indian Union in three subjects that affected the common interests of the country, namely, foreign relations, defence and communications.
3. He also gave an implied threat he would not be able to restrain the impatient people post-August 15, 1947. States were issued an appeal with an implied threat of anarchy and chaos.
4. Next step was to convince Mountbatten to bat for India. The speech of Mountbatten to the Chamber of Princes finally persuaded the Princes. After this, virtually all the states except 3 signed the instrument of accession.
5. The biggest problems, however, arose with Jodhpur, which tried to negotiate better deals with Pakistan, with Junagadh, which actually did accede to Pakistan, and with Hyderabad and Kashmir, both of which declared that they intended to remain independent.
6. With careful use of diplomacy, police action he managed to make all these states accede to India.
Thus, the ever-pragmatic Patel and his brilliant secretary accomplished the monumental task of unifying the princely states into the Indian union.