Integration of India: We were faced the problem of Article 370 for almost 70 years before it was abrogated with the massive support in Parliament. Many Indian laws were not applicable in Jammu and Kashmir which created lot of hurdles in integration of that part into our country. We are now happy that Jammu and Kashmir is now integrated part of India whatever the noise making by certain political and social elements. It is the biggest achievement of Modi as per surveys and opinion polls in the country. But history reveals that India faced bigger threat than Article 370. It is true that we were saved from this catastrophe luckily. Let us refresh our memories what exactly happened in the history.
Nizam’s selfishness and over ambition saved India from fragmentation
We are all aware that Hyderabad State was not joined with rest of India on 15th August 1947. Nizam wanted to become Independent sovereign country. He was in close touch with Mahammad Ali Jinnah during and after Independence movement. Jinnah advised him not to sign Instrument of accession document. Even Nizam did not sign Standstill agreement. However, Government of India extended the dead line two more months to complete the process. Nizam was deceptive in his actions. One side, he was in continuous dialogue with Mountbatten and on other side in regular touch with Jinnah. Two months time was fast approaching. Ultimately, draft Standstill agreement was prepared by 20th October1947 with the consent of Nizam after prolonged negotiations and hard bargaining.
The negotiating team reached Hyderabad on 22nd October and the draft was placed before Nizam. He gave consent and referred to Executive Council which approved the draft after three days that too with majority vote, 6 by 3. Nizam even then postponed signing of it to 27th morning, the day negotiating committee members scheduled to leave Delhi for formal signing ceremony. Surprisingly, the early hours around 3 AM, a crowd of 25,000 to 30, 000 people surrounded the houses of Negotiating Committee members. It was preplanned and later, it was addressed by Khasim Razvi. This coup was well planned with the consent of Nizam only. It exposed the character of Nizam to one and all including their own officials. So, the agreement was not signed as planned. Nizam reconstituted his Negotiating team with three members who were earlier opposed the draft agreement. Moin Nawaz Jung, Pingali Venkata Rami Reddy and M Abdur Rahim were the new team. Finally it was signed on 29th November with minor changes.
Salient features of the Agreement
Government of India evolved standard formats for “Standstill Agreement and Instrument of Accession”. That was used for all the princely States with minor changes. However, the Standstill agreement signed with Nizam is totally different from the original one. The purpose of Standstill agreement is nothing but continuation of arrangement/mechanism as existed prior to 15th August 1947 till new arrangement/mechanism is arrived. That is why , it is simple format to continue relationship as existed in British India. Nizam did not agree to the status quo and extracted beyond it.
The Standstill agreement mentioned that India is having no right to send troops in to Hyderabad territory. Indian army troops should not stay within Hyderabad State except in case of Emergency. Even in such cases, Nizam should give permission. The existing troops which are stationed since 19th century during British Raj are to vacate within 6 months. There is provision for arbitration in case of dispute. India agreed that Hyderabad can appoint Agent-General in UK and other countries including Pakistan in the name of Trade and Commerce.
Implications of this Agreement
The relation between India and Hyderabad is like between two equal nations. Even Kashmir did not enjoy this privilege during existence of Article 370. It encroached in all fronts including foreign relations in the name of trade and commerce. Arbitration clause may lead to further enhancement of status of Hyderabad.
Post Standstill Agreement
Nizam was not prepared to sign the document i.e. Instrument of Accession. It was on expected lines. When he did not sign Standstill Agreement, he never agree for signing to join in Indian Union. He wanted total Independence. However, his position was getting weaker day by day because he could not get expected help from Pakistan as it was busy with its own problems and the health of Jinnah was deteriorating day by day.
India was serious with violations of Standstill agreement. Hyderabad declared that circulation of Indian currency was illegal. It prohibited export of bullion and precious stones and metals. Further, it extended loan of Rs 20 crores to Pakistan. Layak Ali, loyal to Pakistan was appointed as Prime Minister of Hyderabad who was moving to Karachi regularly to brief and take briefing from Jinnah. Meanwhile, Patel had a serious heart attack on 5th March. Nizam was continuing double game by talking to Mountbatten as well as by keeping in touch with Jinnah. Mountbatten who was demitting office on 18th June was determined to reach agreement with Nizam before his departure.
Draft “Heads of agreement”
Negotiations started as if it was between two equal Governments. Nizam did not want to sign ‘ Instrument of Accession’. Original draft prepared by Indian Government was going on modified to the wishes of Nizam. In the original draft, it was mentioned that India will have over riding clause in case Agreement was not accepted by Hyderabad. Constituent Assembly will compose with 60% Hindus and 40% Muslims ( Actual population, Hindus: 85% and Muslims:15%) and Interim Government will have equal representation for both. These entire clauses were opposed by Nizam. Union Government meekly surrendered before Nizam and agreed to remove over riding clause, agreed not to mention percentage of 60:40, not to mention equal representation in Interim Government. After agreeing all the proposals putforth by Hyderabad delegation, Mountbatten and Nehru along with Cabinet flew to Dehradun where Patel was taking rest after heart attack. Patel did not agree to these changes. Nehru and Mountbatten spent three and half hours with Patel and finally Mountbatten used sentimental card. He was departing within 5 days and wanted to go with his last wish from Patel. Patel agreed reluctantly. Then, Nehru conducted Cabinet meeting in Dehradun itself and got the draft approved.
Next morning (14th June), Hyderabad delegation met Mountbatten and wanted four more amendments to their satisfaction. Government of India would request Hyderabad to pass legislation on three subjects ( Defence, Foreign relations and Communications) only and could not ask any law exclusively applicable to Hyderabad. Hyderabad was to be allowed 8000 more irregular troops besides regular troops of 20,000 already agreed. Disbanding of Razakar army though agreed upon could be done gradually. State of Emergency was to be defined more specifically. Surprisingly, all these proposals were approved by Cabinet in that night itself. On 15th, Layak Ali raised two more demands but there is no patience to anyone further. So, everyone expected that ‘Heads of Agreement’ will be signed before Mountbatten’s exit. Hyderabad delegation left for Hyderabad for final signature of Nizam. On 16th, Nizam sent a telegram to Mountbatten raising some more queries. On 17th June, Nizam rejected the Draft of Heads of Agreement. Mountbatten left without settlement. Patel got big sigh of relief.
Implications of this agreement if accepted by Nizam
It is not Instrument of Accession. It is Agreement between two equal Governments. It is the only princely State which did not sign Instrumentation of Accession on record till today. Even, Kashmir Maharaja signed the Instrument of accession by which we got legal right on Jammu and Kashmir. If you read both this agreement together with Standstill agreement, India will not have any say in the internal matters of Hyderabad. No Army of India could enter into Hyderabad. Already, existing army left Hyderabad as per Standstill agreement. Hyderabad can represent in International organizations like IMF, Postal Union, Health Organisation, Food organization for which India agreed to consider sympathetically. The Plebiscite promised was not part of agreement but his self declaration without any time limit. Hyderabad would have functioned quasi independently on permanent basis. Means, India Map would be without Hyderabad, the largest princely state in India. It was worse than Kashmir Article 370. Is it not? India was saved by foolish decision of Nizam not to accept the ‘Heads of Agreement’. If accepted, integrating into India would have much more difficulty because of international implications involved with that agreement. We are thankful to the history.
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