The Story of The Integration of The Indian States/Preface


THIS book is in part fulfilment of a promise made to the late Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. It was his earnest desire that I should write two books one narrating the events leading to the transfer of power and the other dealing with the integration of the Indian States.

I have taken up the integration of the States first, because the events of the four hectic years, 1947 to 1951, are so vivid in my memory. Today we think of the integration of the States only in terms of the consolidation of the country, but few pause to consider the toils and anxieties that had to be undergone till, step by step, the edifice of a consolidated India was enshrined in the Constitution. It was a co-operative effort in which every one from Sardar — our inspiration and light — down to the rank and file played his part.

The entire staff of the States Ministry, both at New Delhi as well as at the regional headquarters, threw themselves heart and soul into the task. There was a unity of purpose animating every one.

They are the unsung heroes who made possible the consolidation of the country.

I have narrated the whole story as objectively as it is possible for one who was in the midst of it. The events and personalities are too near for any final assessment to be attempted. This is a task for the historian of the future. I have deliberately called this book, not the history, but 'The Story of the Integration of the Indian States'.

The first four chapters provide the background to the problem of the Indian States. There I have described how the British built up the framework of princely India. I trace the events right up to the announcement of the June 3rd plan declaring the lapse of para- mountcy, whereby the Indian States comprising two-fifths of the country would return to a state of political isolation. Chapter V describes how this was circumvented by the accession of the States on three subjects. The next chapter deals with Junagadh State which, had acceded to Pakistan. The ten subsequent chapters deal with the consolidation of the States on a regional basis. Hyderabad, which had remained aloof, has been dealt with at length in three chapters. Kashmir follows and the Baroda interlude comes next. Then four chapters are devoted to a survey of the administrative, financial and constitutional changes and to the cost of integration. In the last chapter, entitled 'Retrospect and Prospect', I have summed up the policy of integration and expressed my personal views on some aspects of the problem.

I am deeply grateful to the Rockefeller Foundation, Humanities Division, for the generous grant given through the Indian Council of World Affairs for the preparation not only of this book but also of the companion volume on the transfer of power. I must, however, add that no responsibility attaches to the Foundation in regard to either their contents or the views expressed.

I am thankful to the Indian Council of World Affairs under whose auspices this book has been prepared and in particular to Dr A. Appadorai, its Secretary-General.

My grateful thanks are also due to several friends, Indian and English, who went through the manuscript and made many valuable suggestions.

I am thankful to the Press Information Bureau of the Government of India for having allowed me to reproduce the pictures included in this book.

Lastly, my sincere thanks are due to E. C. Gaynor and R. P. Aiyar for the help they have given me in writing this book. Their assistance has been most invaluable. My thanks are also due to the two stenographers, S. Gopalakrishnan and K. Thankappan Nair and to the typist, M. Balakrishnan who never spared themselves and who faithfully discharged whatever duties were entrusted to them.

V. P. Menon

Bangalore, 15 September 1955.