Explain the role
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the first home minister of the independent India, played a historic role in negotiating with the rulers of the princely states firmly but diplomatically and brought most of them into the Indian Union. It was his success in integrating about 565 princely states after Independence that got him the title of ‘Iron Man’.
His works are explained below in details:
• Sardar Patel handled effectively the integration of the princely states with his diplomatic skills and foresightedness. The problem of amalgamating 562 independent states with a democratic self-governing India was difficult and delicate. But it was essential to save India from balkanization, once the Paramountcy of British crown would lapse.
• Sardar Patel took charge of the state’s department in July 1947. He sensed the urgent and imperative need of the integration of princely states. He followed an iron handed policy. He made it clear that he did not recognize the right of any state to remain independent and in isolation, within India.
• Patel also appealed to the patriotic and national sentiments of the Princes and invited them to join the forming of a democratic constitution in the national interest. He persuaded them to surrender defence, foreign affairs and communication to the government of India.
• He, by his tactics, broke the union of separatist princes. By August 15, 1947 all except Hyderabad, Junagarh and Kashmir acceded to India. He thereafter carried three fold process of assimilation, centralization and unification of states. The states were amalgamated to form a union and that union was merged with the Union of India.
• He handled the Junagarh and Hyderabad crisis as a seasoned statesman. Nawab of Junagarh wanted to accede to Pakistan. When the people revolted, Patel intervened. Indian Government took over the administration. Patel merged it with India by holding a plebiscite.
• Patel with an iron fisted hand subdued the Nizam. When the Nizam boasted anti-India feelings and let loose a blood both by the Razakars, Patel decided upon police action. He ordered the army to March into Hyderabad. The Nizam surrendered and Hyderabad was acceded to India.
Thus, Sardar Patel ensured, by his calculated methods and diplomatic way, there was absorption of a multitude of princely states into the Indian Union. Hence, without a civil war, he secured the solidarity of the nation.
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