history : History of India: What is the story behind "Unity" being attributed to Sardar Patel?
Answer by Anurag Jajoo:
Remember India was divided into 565 princely states, well Sardar Patel along with V.P. Menon took the responsibility of uniting them.
At the time of Indian independence in 1947, India was divided largely into two sets of territories, the first being the territories under the control of the Britishers, and the second being the territories under hereditary rulers. In addition, there were several colonial enclaves controlled by France and Portugal. Indian National Congress at that time dedicated itself to unite them.
The first step in this process, carried out between 1947 and 1949, was to merge the smaller states that were not seen by the Government of India. Patel and Menon emphasised that without integration, the economies of states would collapse, and anarchy would arise if the princes were unable to provide democracy and govern properly. They pointed out that many of the smaller states were very small and lacked resources to sustain their economies and support their growing populations.
How they included territories governed by rulers ?
They backed up their diplomatic efforts by producing two type of treaties.
The first was the Standstill Agreement, which confirmed that the agreements and administrative practices that existed as between the princely state in question and the British would be continued by India.
The second was the, by which the ruler of the princely state in question agreed to the accession of his kingdom to independent India, and to granting India control over specified subject matters.
Obviously many rulers didn't agree to either so they took the charge of negotiating with the princes with more conciliatory approach than Nehru who in May 1947 declared that any princely state which refused to join the Constituent Assembly would be treated as an enemy state.
Through a combination of factors,both convinced the rulers of the various princely states to accede to India. Having secured their accession, they then proceeded to, in a step-by-step process, secure and extend the central government's authority over these states and transform their administrations. Simultaneously, the Government of India, through a combination of diplomatic and military means, acquired de facto andcontrol over the remaining colonial enclaves, which too were integrated into India.