Rewind: The Political Genius & The Right Hand Of Sardar Patel
Partition And Aftermath
The time of partition was of uncertainty and chaos, it was hard to gauge what would happen, a turbulent time when sound political advice was much needed for the political class, which they found in the form of Mr V P Menon. V P Menon steered India through the turbulent phase of partition where his intervention was crucial in retaining Junagadh (which chose to side with Pakistan when given the choice).
From humble beginnings to pinnacle
V P Menon came from a very humble beginning, he was the son of a school headmaster in Kerala. He had reportedly worked as coal miner and a clerk before joining the Indian Civil Services. His hard work resulted in reaching the highest ranking of Indian Bureaucracy. He was the political advisor to Lord Mountbatten and also the political reforms commissioner to the British Viceroy.
When Junagadh chose Pakistan
552 princely states were given the choice of choosing between India and Pakistan during the parition. Geography and demography largely favored India. Not everything went to plan, it took many rounds of talks before the princely states made the decision. Two princely states got much of the attention though, Kashmir and Junagadh. Junagadh, a princely state which is now located in Gujarat decided to side with Pakistan when given the choice, the same choice was given to 552 princely states. Indian bureaucrats were not trusted much by Indian politicians given their allegiance to the British. However, despite reluctance, Sardar Patel and Nehru backed V P Menon during the political integration process of India. He was called into action for securing both Kashmir and retaining of Junagadh.
His negotiation skills, his political dexterity, his wisdom on the ground happenings and his deep knowledge made him as the right hand man of Sardar Patel who was also the pivotal figure in integration of princely states to India. We, as citizens, owe our respect to V P Menon for the unified India we see today from Kashmir to Kanyakumari.