THE OTHERSIDE :PRINCES and PARTITION: PEEP INTO PAST
Q: Concept of Paramountcy and how Princely India came under British umbrella ?
A:Lord Wellesley was Governor General of India between 1797 and 1805. In that eight years he concluded almost 100 treaties with Indian princes. The concept of paramountcy led to the establishment of Princely order in India. Wellesley’s policy of subsidiary alliances was an umbrella thought brought princely states in the defensive alliance and mutual guarantee. So when India awaited Independence in August 15th of 1947, it had to break its head over 564 princely states.
Q: When British Prime Minister Atlee announced the policy decision on 20th February 1947 to withdraw from India by June 1948, what was the scenario in India ?
A: Let me quote The Times London “ Muslim separatism is deriving encouragement from the language of the white paper.” The Princes started dreaming of Third Dominion. Winston Churchill named it as Princestan. The Chancellor of the Chamber of Princes Nawab of Bhopal asked the Princes not to immediately decide joining Indian Constituent Assembly but to wait and watch. Nawab of Bhopal inducted pro-Pakistani officials in the Secretariat of the Chamber. He made a Pakistani Mohammed Zafrullah as his constitutional adviser. Indore was with Bhopal, Jodhpur too joined the bandwagon. With the blessings of Jinnah and with the backing of the Secretary of the Political Department Sir Conrad Cornfield it seems Princely India will be separate entity once India got independence.
Q: Among the princely states who declared independence first, and who changed his colours like chameleon and headed a committee to ban political parties that sought separatism ?
A: Diwan of Travancore Sir C.P.Ramasamy Iyer declared on May 9th of 1947 that on the lapse of Paramountcy on August 15th simultaneously with the transfer of power to India, Travancore would declare herself a free and independent State. The wily Brahmin was arrogant that in Delhi he even declined the invitation for lunch extended by Sardar Patel. Sardar Patel directly spoke to the Maharaja over telephone in commanding tone. The question, who is standing in your way ? made the Maharaja shiver in fear and he conveyed his decision to accede to India.
Q: How all the princely states were brought into the Indian umbrella ? To whom the credit should go ?
A: Definitely not to Nehru. The credit to make 562 princely states accede to India rests on the shoulders of Sardar Patel. In June 1946 Patel spelt his policy: “ The time has arrived when it is necessary for Indian people to deal with the States problem on the basis of collective approach to the Princes as a whole and not to fritter away their energies in isolated battles”. Mountbatten too facilitated by declaring separate negotiations with each and every princely state is ruled out.
Q:Plundering natural resources and land scams are not new, even in British India such things happened, and even in independent India it continues, especially in naxal infected Bastar. Tell about this ?
A: In September 1946, Bastar had a Raja who was a minor and weakling and a foreigner as its Prime Minister. Bastar had and has rich mineral resources. Then it was mortgaged to Hyderabad State for a long lease. Patel took up the issue with the Political Department of the British. He was told that as the guardian of the minor prince, foreigner Prime Minister can enter into mortgaging a whole state. Patel saw the Prince of Bastar and said “ I felt it was a sin to make him sign such agreement. It was then that I was made fully conscious of the extent to which our interests were prejudiced in every way by the machinations of the Political Department and came to the conclusion the sooner we were rid of these people the better. Their main aim was to further their interests and to cause much damage to India as possible. I came to the conclusion that the best course was to drive out foreigners even at the cost of partition of the country.It was also then that I felt that there was only one way to make the country safe and strong.. and that was unification of rest of India.
Q: What did Dr.B.R.Ambedkar suggest when Partition became inevitable ? What happened during partition ? What did Ambedkar think on Gandhiji’s attitude at that time ?
A: Dr.Ambedkar proposed partition with complete transfer of the population of the Hindus and Muslims from their respective zones to avert blood shed. As he feared partition brought unprecedented blood shed with mass exodus of 7.30 million Hindu and Sikh refugees to India. Ambedkar felt why did Gandhi never went to fast to prevent Partition, in spite of saying again and again that India can be partitioned only over his dead body ?
N.Nandhivarman General Secretary Dravida Peravai