Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, the first Deputy Prime minister of Independent India played a very prominent role in the integration of Princely states In India and took decisive steps at that critical moment which resulted in formation of India with vast horizons in all the four directions. When the British Parliament passed India Independence Act they gave the Princely state an option to become part of India, Pakistan whichever they like or remain independent. The India Independence Act stated that since Princely states were not part of British India and therefore all treaties signed with them now cease to exist and now they are free to choose their path for the future. At that time apart from British India, there were 565 more princely state which had treaties with them, this was challenge to Sardar Patel and Jinnah to integrate these princely state in their country so as to expand the border.
Sardar Patel was political ingenious, visionary and farsighted leader whereas cunning Jinnah was also very shrewd person therefore the race started between them to get these princely states.For any princely state who wish to merge in either India or Pakistan had to sign an instrument of accession proclaiming that they are merging as per their will in India or Pakistan. In this fight for getting princely state, Sardar Patel outstripped Jinnah on almost all fronts but there were few Princely states who desired to merge with Pakistan like BHOPAL, JUNAGADH, HYDERABAD, few states like TRAVANCORE who didn’t wish to go with either India or Pakistan and declared themselves a separate nation, some states like Jaisalmer,jodhpur, Bikaner who were lured by Pakistan so that they could accede to them.
Jinnah’s Plan was very facile since King of Bhopal Hamidullah Khan already is in his favor so he was dreaming of making of Karachi-Jodhpur-Bhopal network so that he could penetrate deep into India’s territory, therefore integration of Jodhpur was very important key to this plan. The new King of Jodhpur Hanvant Singh was very inexperienced, young and rapacious who was asking special bounties from Indian Govt in return of integration to India which Sardar Patel rejected. Jinnah without any delay conveyed a message to Hanvant Singh through Hamidullah khan that he wishes to meet him regarding Jodhpur integration, Hanvant Singh thought since talks with India have collapsed so lets see what Pakistan would offer to them if he wishes to merge with them.
Hanvant singh along with King of Jaisalmer met jinnah in Delhi where Jinnah gave them a blank paper with his sign at the bottom of it and told them to write all their demands in it and they would accept it. Hanvant singh told Jinnah that he wants the access of Karachi Port of Sindh, free and uninterrupted import of arms and weapons and reins of the railway lines from Jodhpur to Sindh. Jinnah without any hesitation agreed to all the demands, then Jinnah turned towards King of Jaisalmer and asked him his demands, King of Jaislamer said that they have no problem in going with Pakistan but in the future in case of riots occurring in Pakistan then how would Jinnah react to it and would his stance remain neutral during communal Violence between Hindus and Muslim. One of the Muslim league leader assured them that in their dream country of Pakistan no riots like situation would occur. This answer was not suffice to satisfy Kings of both Jodhpur and Jaisalmer, they were fearful that by acceding to Pakistan would stir revolt against them in their Kingdom since both these Kingdom were Hindu Majority and merging with Islamic nation Pakistan would insecure the Hindus of both Kingdom. As a result they asked Jinnah to give them sometime so that they could consult other important personnel of their State since the decision of accession is a very big decision. This agitated Jinnah so much that he took that blank Paper from his hands and both Kings went to their Kingdom.
The news of meeting between jinnah and Two Kings reached the ears of Sardar Patel and he also received a message from King of Bikaner in which he warned him that if Jodhpur and Jaisalmer merge with Pakistan then they would also go with Pakistan since these Kingdoms have deep rooted family relations with each other. Sardar Patel then got in action and launched operation bulldozer as per which all these three states have to integrate with India. He called King of Jodhpur, Hanuvant singh to meet him, in the meeting Sardar Patel listened to his same demands first which he told to Jinnah and agreed to two of them, Sardar Patel told him that Jodhpur will be connected to rann of kutch in Gujarat as a replacement of Karachi Port so that his kingdom would not suffer economic losses and also approved his demands for free imports of arms. Sardar Patel was aware that Hanuvant Singh can be trapped by Pakistan and therefore he warned Hanuvant Singh that if he realises that he is on the wrong direction he would be compelled to take strict actions against him. Sardar Patel also pointed to the grim realities of future that if he goes with Pakistan then they won’t be in any position to help them during Hindu Muslim riots. Hanuvant Singh on seeing the raged face of Sardar Patel told him that he is now ready for accession of Jodhpur to India. Hanuvant Singh finally on 11 August 1947 signed instrument of accession to India. The drama occurred even on that day when Hanuvant Singh lost his temper and pointed his gun to Indian officer V.P Menon saying that he refuses to sign this instrument of accession, Somehow Menon cooled him down and then he signed it and merely 4 days before India’s independence these states joined India.
Sardar Patel was the real architect of Independent India who without any offering of inducement to the greedy princely states was able to make firm integrated India, his operation Bulldozer foiled Jinnah’s dream of Karachi-Jodhpur-Bhopal network. The task for the unification of all these princely states was very difficult but with all audacity he successfully finished his task. Imagine if Sardar Patel got failed in integrating these states then the outcome would have been very grotesque causing war, bloodshed, discontinuous rail and road network. He invoked the feeling of patriotism among rulers of Princely state and with his foresightedness, diplomatic skills outclassed all pretense of Jinnah and Kings.This incident was show of Sardar Patel resolve for unified India in the face of Princely states despotism.The determination, dedication, devotion Sardar Patel showed during those formative years of nation is immeasurable. He wasn’t accorded the place which he deserves in History of Independent India, but his contribution for the integrated India would remain unforgettable and hope that our present and future political leaders would also emulate it.
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