Q. 3 A

Answer the following questions in brief:

Explain the contribution of Sardar Vallabhai Patel in the integration of princely states.

Answer :

Princely states/native states was a subsidiary state under a regional ruler during the British Empire in India. It was not directly ruled by the British rulers, but by a local leader. The British had indirect control over these states. During the time of independence, there were 565 princely states officially recognized in India constituting 48% of the area and 28% of the population of the pre-independent India.


After the independence of the country in 1947, the British government gave a choice to the princely states to either join India or Pakistan or to remain independent. Patel powerfully handled the integration of the princely states to the Indian union with diplomacy and negotiation. He followed a very rigid policy and maintained that no independent princely state would be allowed to remain isolated within India. He convinced them to surrender their defence, foreign affairs and communication with the Indian union. With his tactics and brilliance, by August 1947, all the princely states had integrated with India except the states of Jodhpur, Junagadh, Kashmir, and Hyderabad.


When Jodhpur tried to strike a better deal with Pakistan, with the agreement for free access to importing and production of arms, Patel instantly met Harvant Singh, the Maharaja of Jodhpur. He guaranteed the import of arms, the connection of Jodhpur to Kathiawar through railways and supply of grains during famines.


Junagadh was a princely state located near Gujarat. The Nawab of Junagadh decided to join Pakistan. On 13 September 1947, Pakistan accepted the accession of the state. But the majority of Hindus belonging there revolted against the decision and resulted in a lot of violence After independence. Patel demanded Pakistan to reverse the deal. The Indian army annexed the state on 1 November 1947. This culminated in a referendum in February 1948. Majority of the citizens voted for Junagadh's integration with India. Thus, Junagadh became a part of India from 1948.


Jammu and Kashmir was a princely state in India ruled by the Dogra Dynasty. Maharaja Hari Singh, the ruler of Kashmir, remained independent and neutral between both India and Pakistan. Patel took efforts to integrate Kashmir to India through telegraph, telegram and place the Indian army in an advantageous position. Even though Pakistan accepted the Standstill Agreement from Kashmir, they started to impose economic barriers on the supply of commodities to Kashmir. Pakistan also stated to mobilize their army and launched a full-fledged assault with the aid of local tribes. Then the Maharaja approached India for military aid. India agreed to assist them subject to the condition that Kashmir should accede to India. The Maharaja accepted the conditions and signed the Instrument of Accession on 27 October 1947 and Kashmir was integrated with India.


The princely state of Hyderabad, also known as the Hyderabad Deccan was a princely state located in the South-Central region of the Indian union. The state was ruled by the Nizam who was initially a Mughal governor before becoming independent. The Nizam of Hyderabad, Osman Ali Khan Asaf Jah VII announced that he intended to remain independent and was not ready to join either India or Pakistan. Consequently, the Indian government signed a Standstill Agreement whereby the status quo would be maintained without any army action for one year, and India would handle Hyderabad's foreign affairs. Meanwhile, Telangana Peasant Riots, attacks by quasi-military body Razakars and other Hindu-Muslim communal violence was raging in Hyderabad. The Indian forces posted in the borders were attacked by them. Patel interfered, and India retaliated by invading Hyderabad from all the borders from 13 September 1948. The military operation was named Operation Polo. The Nizam surrendered on 17 September, and Hyderabad was annexed to the Indian union.


He was also supported in the integration of Lakshadweep to the Indian union. The attempts of the Pakistani navy to seize the island was unsuccessful when Patel send the Indian navy to shield the island.


Thus, Patel was instrumental in the integration of the princely states with the Indian union.


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