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Spectrum: Summary of The Indian States Notes | Study History for UPSC CSE - UPSC

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Introduction
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Introduction

  • The princely states, also called the Indian states, which covered a total area of 7,12,508 square miles and numbered no fewer than 562, included tiny states such as Bilbari with a population of 27 persons only and some big ones like Hyderabad (as large as Italy) with a population of 14 million.
  • The making of Indian states was largely governed by the same circumstances which led to the growth of East India Company 's power in India. The evolution of relations between the British authority and states can be traced under the following broad stages.

The Company’s Struggle for Equality from a Position of Subordination (1740-1765)
Starting with Anglo- French rivalry with the coming of Dupleix in 1751, East India Company asserted political identity with capture of Arcot (1751).

  • With Battle of Plassey in 1757, East India Company acquired political power next only to the Bengal nawabs.
  • In 1765 with the acquisition of the Diwani of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa, the East India Company became a significant political power.

Policy of Ring Fence (1765-1813)-
This policy was reflected in Warren Hastings' wars against the Marathas and Mysore.

  • Wellesley’s policy of subsidiary alliance was an extension of ring fence—which sought to reduce states to a position of dependence on British Government in India.

Policy of Subordinate Isolation (1813-1857)
States surrendered all forms of external sovereignty but retained sovereignty in internal administration.

  • British Residents were transformed from diplomatic agents of a foreign power to executive and controlling officers of a superior government.
  • This policy of annexation culminated in usurpation of eight states by Dalhousie.

Policy of Subordinate Union (1857-1935)

  • The year 1858 saw the assumption of direct responsibility by the Crown.
  • After 1858, the fiction of authority of the Mughal emperor ended; sanction for all matters of succession was required from the Crown since the Crown stood forth as the unquestioned ruler and the paramount power.

Curzon’s Approach- Curzon stretched the interpretation of old treaties to mean that the princes, in their capacity as servants of people, were supposed to work side-by-side with the governor- general in the scheme of Indian government.

Post-1905- Cording to the recommendations of the Montford Reforms (1921), a Chamber of Princes (Narendra Mandal) was set up as a consultative and advisory body having no say in the internal affairs of individual states and having no powers to discuss matters For the purpose of the chamber the Indian states were divided into three categories—
(i) Directly represented— 109
(ii) Represented through representatives— 127
(iii) Recognised as feudal holdings or jagirs.

Butler Committee- Butler Committee (1927) was set up to examine the nature of relationship between the princely states and government. It gave the following recommendations—
(i) Paramountcy must remain supreme and must fulfil its obligations, adopting and defining itself according to the shifting necessities of time and progressive development of states.
(ii) States should not be handed over to an Indian Government in British India, responsible to an Indian legislature, without the consent of states.

Policy of Equal Federation (1935-1947)
A Non-Starter-The Government of India Act, 1935 proposed a Federal Assembly with 125 out of 375 seats for the princes and the Council of States with 104 out of 160 seats for the princes.

Integration and Merger

  • After World War II began and a position of non-cooperation was adopted by the Congress, the British government tried to break the deadlock through the Cripps Mission (1942), Wavell Plan (1945), Cabinet Mission (1946) and Attlee's statement (February 1947).
  • Sardar Patel, who was in charge of the states’ ministry in the interim cabinet, helped by V.P. Menon, the secretary in the ministry, appealed to the patriotic feeling of rulers to join the Indian dominion in matters of defence, communication and external affairs. By August 15, 1947, 136 states had joined the Indian Union but others remained precariously outside
  • Plebiscite and Army Action
    (i) Junagarh- Muslim Nawab wanted to join Pakistan but a Hindu majority population wanted to join the Indian Union.
    (ii) Hyderabad- Hyderabad wanted a sovereign status. It signed a Standstill Agreement with India in November 1947.
    (iii) Kashmir- state of Jammu and Kashmir had a Hindu prince and a Muslim majority population, prince envisaged a sovereign status for the state and was reluctant to accede to either of the dominions, special status of Jammu and Kashmir was recognised under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution which implied a limited jurisdiction of the Indian Union over the state as compared to other states.

Gradual Integration- problem now was two-fold

  • Of transforming the states into viable administrative units.
  • Of absorbing them into the constitutional units.
  • This was sought to be solved by :
    (i) Incorporating smaller states (216 such states) into contiguous provinces and listed in Part A; for instance, 39 states of Orissa and Chhattisgarh were incorporated into Central Provinces, Orissa. Gujarat states were incorporated into Bombay;
    (ii) Making some states as centrally administered for strategic or special reasons, listed in Part-C (61 states)
    (iii) Himachal Pradesh, Vindhya Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura, Bhopal, etc.;
    (iv) Creating live unions
    (v) United States of Kathiawar, United States of Matsya, Patiala and East Punjab States Union, Rajasthan, and United States of Travancore-Cochin (later Kerala).
The document Spectrum: Summary of The Indian States Notes | Study History for UPSC CSE - UPSC is a part of the UPSC Course History for UPSC CSE.
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