India was home to around 550 state provinces at the time of its independence. Many people have raised questions whether rulers from these states were interested in the idea of separating from India and forming their own state. Yes, some of them were. Some of these monarchs fought back. But they were subdued. One of the reasons for India’s slow progress was due to the time & focus diverted towards welding the nation. Most of these kingdoms are distant history. People living in some of these territories don’t even know that there was a king that ruled the place 70 years ago. The welding process in India was the largest in the world which was executed to sheer perfection.
Louis Mountbatten, the last viceroy of India was one of the decisive factors in the process of welding. He was a highly influential person. He was from an aristocratic family & was in good terms with many royal bloods from Europe. The Indian monarchs were heavily influenced by his word. In 1947, at the time of our independence, most of the kings looked up to Mountbatten as their only master. They were low-spirited & were always under the British control. Most of these rulers were insignificant followers of the British. Their habitual inability to unite was also one of the primary reasons for the British in taking over & controlling India.
The wily Nehru befriended Mountbatten and also offered him the Head of State after the British left India. This unprecedented move was taken with the intention to keep all the monarchs (most of them who were the cronies of Mountbatten) under control. Most of these monarchs did not see any other alternative. They had to join India as their ‘master’ had been given a very important role.
Once the process of integration was complete, Nehru sent Mountbatten home. Nehru had used Mountbatten’s ‘services’ for a year. Nehru’s deceptive nature was backed up Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s power to keep things under control. Sardar Patel had the potential to crush the opponents when needed. It was due to Patel’s power that India owes the integration of Junagarh & Hyderabad. India also offered perks & pensions to the 500+ monarchs. They were also provided with top governor roles. Slowly these perks & pensions (Privy Purse in India) were reduced. Nehru’s daughter Indira Gandhi took the final call when she decided to remove all remaining perks.
The Iron Man of India had once again played a pivotal role in keeping India’s geographical map intact. But that was something he always wanted to do, unlike the propagators of dynasty rule in Indian politics.