Princely States, Jinnah and Sardar Patel

In 1947, India consisted of parts directly ruled by British and parts ruled by princely states. Prince states were creation of British to keep India divided. Princely states were loyal to British and opposed to Congress and its demand for independence.

Finally, when both independence and partition of India became unavoidable, they started dreaming about forming independence states (just like Pakistan). They were actively supported by British civil servant Sir Conrad Laurence Corfield.

“I charge the political department and Corfield particularly with misfeasance. I consider that a judicial enquiry at the highest level into their actions is necessary.”

-Jawaharlal Nehru


Jinnah was very unhappy with the deal he got- “truncated, moth eaten Pakistan”. He wanted to expand boundaries of Pakistan. For this princely states were ideal targets. He tried to convince princes of Jodhpur and Border States to join Pakistan. He was also in touch with rulers of Bhopal and Hyderabad as they were Muslims.

“ Jinnah Sahib told us if we joined our states to Pakistan, he would transfer border district with Rajput population from Sindh province to our states, give us free access to Karachi port and complete autonomy.”

-Hanwant Singh of Jodhpur

Had princely states remained independent (or joined Pakistan), it would have been threat to newly independent India.

“The main task before India today is to consolidate herself into a well-knit and united power…”

-Sarder Patel


Encouraged by Jinnah, King Hanwant Singh of Jodhpur decided to join Pakistan. Hanwant Singh was an interesting guy. First he married a Rajput girl called Krishan Kumari, and then he married a British girl Sandra McBryde and then married a Muslim actress Zubeida. He wanted Jodhpur to remain independent to so that he could maintain his royal life style (he used to travel by plane in state were common mode of transport was bullock cart) .He tried to negotiate with both India and Pakistan for independence of Jodhpur. But then Home Minister of India Sardar Patel was very clear about future of princely states- they had to join India. Hanwant died in plane crash with his wife Zubeida.


“But what more” demanded Hanwant Singh, bringing to their (Mountbatten and V.P Menon’s) attention Jinnah’s generous terms, “can India offer me?”


Infact, three key players Nehru, Mountbatten and Patel, didn’t see any role for princes in independent India. Princes were dinosaurs, creatures from different era, who were totally misfit in democratic republic of India. Finally all princely states joined India.



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