Today India has 29 states and 7 union territories. Luckily we can travel to any of these states without any special permission, but if everything hadn’t has gone as planned then we would have had to obtain separate passports to travel to few of the currents states within India.
If not Sardar Patel, then several Indian states would have been been either Independent or would have been with Pakistan. But the gigantic task of uniting over 550 princely states was entrusted to Sardar Patel and room for any blunder was limited. If any of his calculations would have had gone wrong, then large scale violence would have broken out.
Now let us have a look at those kingdoms that refused to be with India:
This is the first state that comes to our mind when we think of the states that refused to join the Indian union. The British left India after the “Indian Independence Act 1947”. So almost all the territories ruled by the Kings decided to join India, expect few, and Hyderabad was one of them.
The Nizam of Hyderabad decided not to join the Indian Union and had a secret plan to join Pakistan even though the majority of the population were Hindus. Meanwhile, the Nizam was strengthening his own Army called Razakars, who was known to carrying out atrocities against the Hindus.
But with the passage of time, the Razakars became more powerful the Nizam and this was a dangerous trend to the people of Hyderabad. The Razakars were communal bigots and had absolutely zero tolerance towards Hindus.
That’s when the Iron Man of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, launched Operation Polo. The main purpose of this operation was to invade Hyderabad and annex it into the Indian Union. In early days of September 1948, the Indian troops invaded the kingdom and on the noon of September 17, 1948, the state called Hyderabad had joined the Indian Union and 212,000 sq km kingdom came under India’s control. It is said that atleast 27,000 to 40,000 people lost their lives during and after “Operation Polo”.
Thanks to Sardar Patel, due to whom the Indians were saved from obtaining a separate passport if they wanted to visit Hyderabad.
The Nawab of this princely state, Muhammad Mahabat Khanji III, instead of joining Indian Union chose to join Pakistan. Nawab took this decision along with the Muslim League and this was against the wish of the majority of the people of the state. That’s because the majority of Hindus didn’t want to go to Pakistan.
When other means didn’t succeed, India decides to impose blockade at Junagadh, hoping it would force the Nawab from joining Pakistan. Finally, on 9 November 1947, the Indian Government took control of Junagadh from its Nawab.
When the then Prime Minister Nehru telegrammed Liaquat Ali Khan, who was one among the founding fathers of, informing that India has taken Junagadh into the control, Liaquat Ali Khan replied “Your telegram informing that your Government had taken charge of Junagadh was received by me on November 10, 1947. Your action in taking over State Administration and sending Indian troops to state without any authority from Pakistan Government and indeed without our knowledge, is a clear violation of Pakistan territory and breach of International law”.
The father of Pakistan Muhammad Ali Jinnah was elated to know that Travancore wasn’t willing to join India. From the year 1795, Travancore had seized to be independent but once the British fled from India, Sir CP Ramaswami Aiyar, the Dewan of Travancore of India denied to join the India Union. Then, Travancore was the second richest princely state in India and it would be a severe blow to India.
One day, a member of the Kerala Socialist Party carried out a deadly attack at the Dewan, CP Ramaswami. In the attack, the Dewan sustained major injury and was hospitalized. Few even say that he had lost his nose in the attack.
This incident changed the mind of the Dewan and he convinced the Maharaja of Travancore to do the same, just like the other kings of India had done. Finally, on July 30, 1947, the Maharaja of Travancore signed the instrument of accession.
You will be surprised to know but even Jodhpur had refused to join the Indian Union. The King was Hindu and even the majority of the population were Hindus, yet how the kingdom wanted to embrace Pakistan?
It is said that the prince of Jodhpur Maharaja Hanwant Singh wanted to be with India but when he found out that he would have more benefits if he joins Pakistan, his decision changed. Jinnah had also promised him to provide complete support to him and his state and Pakistan shared borders.
But when this news fell to the ears of Sardar Patel, he rushed to meet the prince and succeeded in convincing him to stay with India. Sardar did this by explaining the pros of being with India and cons of joining hands with Pakistan.
Another surprise in this list is Bhopal and the case was almost like Junagadh. The Nawab of Bhopal Hamidullah Khan wanted to be independent while the majority Hindus wanted to join the Indian Union. Even here, the Muslim League had largely influenced the Nawab but on July 1947 he joined the Indian Union. That’s because huge protests were going on in the kingdom against Nawab Hamidullah Khan.
At last, we need to recall what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said of Sardar Patel:
- Sardar Patel formulated solutions one by one, weaving the warp and weft of unity on the axis of a single thread. He ensured the merger of all princely states with the Dominion of India. Whether Junagadh, Hyderabad, Travancore, or for that matter the princely states of Rajasthan, if we are able to see a united India now, it was entirely on account of the sagacity and strategic wisdom of Sardar Patel.