Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Unity of India

People tend to forget that in the British Raj there were the provinces and some 550 or so princely states;  with the withdrawal of the British Raj, in principle, the princely states were free to go their own way.

Indeed, if it were upto the remaining British imperialists, such as Winston Churchill, that is what would likely have happened.
[On 29 March 1945, Viceroy Wavell met Prime Minister Churchill in London]. A record of this meeting is unavailable.  But one can get some idea of what was discussed from a cryptic entry made by the viceroy in his diary that night: The PM then launched into a long jeremiad about India which lasted for about forty minutes. He seems to favour partition of India into Pakistan, Hindustan and Princestan.
The British imperialists definitely played a role in the partition of India, and we know of the support, e.g., Churchill gave Hyderabad; and the more successful support he gave to Jinnah.  Were it up to them, India would not even have had the unity it now has.   Indian unity was thus not a consequence desired by the imperialists, and any claim of it as a benefit of the Empire is ludicrous.  Let us be clear - the unity of India owes to the English who were dissolving the Empire, not those who would have maintained it.

As it turns out, Sardar Patel, V.P. Menon, with assists from Lord Mountbatten made the accession of the states seem so easy, that that unity is taken for granted.