Integration of Princely States

Problems during integration

(a) All the princely states, as many as 565 in all, would become legally independent.

(b) The British Govt. took the view that all these states were free to join either India or Pakistan, or if they wished to remain independent.

(c) The decision wasn’t left to the people, but to the princely rulers of these states.

(d) It was a very grave problem and could threaten the very existence of a United India.

(e) A few days after the declaration the ruler of Travancore and Nizam of Hyderabad announced that their states had decided on independence.

(f) It threatened India into being further divided into a number of small countries.

Governments approach to integrate the Princely states

(a) The interim government took a firm stand against the possible division of India into small principalities of different sizes.

(b) Sardar Patel was India’s Deputy Prime Minister and the Home Minister during the crucial period, immediately following Independence.

(c) He played a historic role in negotiation with the rulers of princely states firmly but diplomatically and bringing most of them into the Indian Union.

(d) The government’s approach was guided by three considerations:

  1. Most of the people in princely states wanted to become a part of the Indian Union.
  2. The government was prepared to be flexible in giving autonomy to some regions.
  3. The backdrop of Partition brought focus over the contest of the integration and consolidation of the territorial boundaries of the nation was assumed to be of supreme importance.

(e) Before 15th August 1947, the peace negotiations had brought almost all the states, whose territories were contiguous to the new boundaries of India.

(f) The rulers of most states signed a document called the ‘Instrument of Accession’ which meant that their states agreed to become a part of the Union India.

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