On 16 July 1947, V.P Menon sent a letter to Indian Deputy Secretary Sir Patrick in England stating that the Viceroy had talked to the representatives of Mysore, Baroda, Gwalior, Bikaner, Jaipur, and Jodhpur about the matter of unification in India. All of them had positive reactions. On 2 August 1947, Menon informed Patrick that almost all the rulers had made up their minds to concatenate their states in the Indian Union.
Only Hyderabad, Bhopal, and Indore were in a dilemma. The Viceroy had convinced the rulers, and the rulers of following states had shown their consent to join their states in India- Gwalior, Patiala, Kota, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Rampur, Nawanagar, Jalawar, Panna, Tehri Garhwal, Faridkot, Sangli, Sitamau, Palitana, Phaltan, Khairagarh, and Sandur. Albeit, Jodhpur state had been working in the Constituent Assembly since 28 April 1947, and the ruler of Jodhpur, Maharaja Hanwant Singh had announced his decision twice to join India; however, he came under the influence of Mohammad Ali Jinnah (creator of Pakistan), his supporter- Nawab of Bhopal and Maharaja Rana of Dholpur exactly 10 days before the country rolling up for independence.
When the plan to set up an independent group of Rajput states failed, then the members of the Political Department advised the Rajput states to integrate into Pakistan. The Rajput states could do that legally as these stretched along the border of Indo-Pakistan. Jodhpur was among those states. Since Maharaja Hanwant Singh hated Congress and Jodhpur lay near the Pakistan border; therefore, he thought to meet Jinnah. The ruler of Jodhpur had met Jinnah and the leaders of Muslim League several times and in his last visit, he took Maharaja Kumar of Jaisalmer along with him. The ruler of Bikaner refused to go with him, and Hanwant Singh was hesitant to see Jinnah alone. Seeing those people, Jinnah became jubilant. Jinnah knew that if these two states would integrate into Pakistan, then other Rajput states would also integrate into Pakistan; not only would the issue related to the partition of Punjab and Bengal be solved but the plan of the Congress to acquire all the major states would also be failed. Jinnah signed a blank paper and gave it to the ruler of Jodhpur along with his pen, and told him to jot down any conditions. Further discussions took place. On this, Hanwant Singh showed his inclination to become a part of Pakistan. Then he turned towards Maharaja Kumar of Jaisalmer and asked his opinion. Maharaja Kumar was ready to sign on one condition that if ever Muslims and Hindus fought, then Jinnah would not favor Muslims against Hindus. It was like a bombardment which left Maharaja Hanwant Singh flummoxed. Jinnah pressurized Hanwant Singh to sign the document. When Maharaja Kumar of Jaisalmer refused to unite with Pakistan, Maharaja of Jodhpur became erratic. Taking an advantage of this opportunity, Maharaja’s A.D.C Colonel Kesari Singh advised Maharaja to ask his mother before taking the final decision. Maharaja got an excuse, and he departed saying to Jinnah that he would think about it and be back in one-two days with his decision.
Colonel Kesari Singh informed Prime Minister C.S Venkatachar about the facts. Seeing the severity of the conspiracy, Venkatachar sent a letter to the Prime Minister of Bikaner, Sardar Panicker on 6 August 1947. It was stated in the letter that Nawab of Bhopal took Maharaja of Jodhpur to meet Jinnah. Jinnah had offered that he was willing to make a treaty, by giving recognition to Jodhpur of an independent state. He also offered that all those arms required by Jodhpur could be imported freely without any marginal tax. Jinnah also reassured to make Maharaja of Jodhpur, a supremo of Rajasthan, which took him completely by surprise and tempted him to become the king of Rajasthan. Colonel Kesari Singh, secretary of Maharaja, went to Jinnah’s residence along with Maharaja, but he was not allowed to go inside. So he was not aware of all the terms. The next day, when Maharaja went along with Nawab of Bhopal to meet Jinnah, then the format of the treaty was ready for the signature. At that time, Maharaja told Kesari Singh that by signing the treaty, he would become the King of Rajasthan. Kesari Singh explained to Maharaja that he should first consult her mother and other relatives before doing so. Maharaja departed by reassuring Jinnah that he would sign the treaty on 8 August after taking the advice of their relatives. Kesari Singh also reiterated this assurance.
After returning to Jodhpur, Hanwant Singh convened a meeting of the State’s vassals at Sardar Samand Palace and encouraged their opinion. None of the vassals except Damli Thakur was willing to struggle with the Indian Government. Maharaja stayed in Jodhpur for three days. There was much indignation in the environment of Jodhpur over the question of annexation with Pakistan. When Hanwant Singh returned to Delhi after three days, then Menon was informed that if he could not handle Maharaja expeditiously, then there were chances that Maharaja might join Pakistan. Menon urged Mountbatten to make Maharaja of Jodhpur agree to join India. Menon went to Imperial Hotel and told Maharaja that Lord Mountbatten wanted to talk to him. Menon drove Maharaja to Viceroy’s house. The Viceroy, with his attractive personality and stalwart spoke to Maharaja similarly like a teacher explains to his undisciplined student. He told Maharaja that he had a full right to accede Jodhpur to Pakistan, but he should not overlook the consequences which would arise out of this. He was a Hindu, and most of his subjects were predominantly Hindu. The Maharaja’s action would be against the principle that the India would be fragmented into two pieces, one of which would be the Muslim country and the other would be Non-Muslim country; and such affiliation into Pakistan would lead to serious communal troubles in Jodhpur.
A movement was also expected to be carried out by the congress. Maharaja told Mountbatten that Jinnah had asked to jot down his terms on the blank paper on which Jinnah would sign. Menon on this said that he could also do the same, but Maharaja would not receive anything from this in the same way as he would get nothing from Pakistan despite the signature from Jinnah. On this, Mountbatten asked Menon to give certain concessions to Maharaja like Jinnah. Maharaja accepted the proposal of merger of the state into India and signed the document. Maharaja and Menon both agreed on some privileges which Menon himself took to Jodhpur when it came in written form. According to the report sent by Mountbatten to Indian Secretary on 8 August 1947, the Prime Minister of Jodhpur Venkatachar had informed that after having lunch in Delhi with the Viceroy, Maharaja of Jodhpur had declared that he want to accede Jodhpur to the Indian Union.
However soon afterward, Maharaja of Dholpur pressurized Maharaja of Jodhpur not to adhere to the Indian Union. Maharaja of Jodhpur was taken to Jinnah and in the presence of Nawab of Bhopal and his legal counselor Zafarullah Khan, Jinnah proposed that if Maharaja heralded his state independent on 15 August, then following concessions would be given:-
(1) All the facilities of the port of Karachi would be given to Jodhpur State.
(2) Jodhpur State would be allowed to import arms.
(3) Jodhpur would have jurisdiction over Jodhpur-Hyderabad railway.
(4) An ample supply of grains would be provided in famine-prone districts of Jodhpur.
The Viceroy writes that Maharaja believed that offers given by Jinnah were the best and informed Nawab of Bhopal through a telegram that his situation was unstable, and he would like to meet him on 11 August. On 7 August, Hanwant Singh went to Baroda where he explained Maharaja Gaekwad not to sign the signed protocol. Bhopal Nawab was also trying to allure the rulers of Jodhpur, Kutch, and Udaipur not to sign the signed protocol. The Viceroy sent a letter to Maharaja of Jodhpur asking him to visit him soon. He (the Viceroy) was extremely sad because on one hand Nawab of Bhopal behaved like a friend but on the other hand he planned to thwart his plot. He accounted that he would talk on the Nawab’s tricks when latter would visit Delhi.
On 11 August 1947, Lord Mountbatten interacted to the rulers of the states and sought clarification from Nawab on the information, which was received by Sardar Patel, according to which the Nawab had pressurized Maharaja of Jodhpur to meet Jinnah along with him. Bhopal Nawab gave the answer to the Viceroy :
On 6 August, Maharaja Dholpur and other two rulers informed me that Maharaja Jodhpur wanted to see me. I answered that I would be glad to meet Jodhpur Maharaja. When Maharaja came to me, he said that he wanted to meet Jinnah soon to know the details of the terms. As Jinnah was going to Karachi forever, leaving Delhi, he was extremely busy. Yet I managed to take the time of interview for Maharaja. We (Nawab and Maharaja) were given the time after the lunch, information of which was sent to Maharaja. Maharaja came to my residence in the afternoon, and we then went to meet Jinnah. Maharaja asked Jinnah what all offers were in his basket for the rulers who wanted to establish the relationship with Pakistan. Jinnah made a clear statement that he would like to make a treaty with those rulers and give them the recognition of an independent state by offering them good conditions. Then Maharaja further talked about the facility of sea-port, jurisdiction over railway, supply of grains and the free import of arms. During the meeting, there was no discussion on the fact that whether or not Maharaja should sign the protocol. I returned to Bhopal after this interview. I received the message on the phone call from Maharaja of Dholpur about Jodhpur Maharaja’s return to Delhi on 9 August; therefore I should also reach Delhi. When I reached Delhi, then I received the message at the airport from Maharaja to reach Jodhpur Maharaja’s place directly. On arrival, Maharaja of Dholpur told me that I had to wait for sometime more as Jodhpur Maharaja had gone to meet the Viceroy and would return shortly. But Maharaja did not get the time to meet me as he stayed for longer to the Viceroy. Maharaja sent the message through telephone that he was leaving for Jodhpur and would return in the evening. On Saturday evening, Maharaja Dholpur informed me that Maharaja Jodhpur had not yet returned, and it appeared that he might return on Sunday. On Sunday (10 August) around 13:30pm, I got the invitation from Dholpur Maharaja to join him for the lunch. I on arrival discovered Jodhpur Maharaja there. He had brought his master along. Maharaja introduced his master as his philosopher and advisor. After meeting Jinnah, I met Jodhpur Maharaja that day. Maharaja asked us to interact with his master. Dholpur and other rulers had detailed conversations with the master in which I had participated little. When I was about to leave, then Maharaja of Jodhpur said that he would come on Monday morning to meet me. Keeping his promise, Maharaja came to meet me on Monday at 10 am and said that his master has not reached his decision yet but Maharaja himself has taken the decision to remain in the Indian Union. I said to Maharaja that he is the ruler of his state and is free to make his own decisions.
The Viceroy considered the facts sent by Bhopal Nawab right. Onkar Singh assumes, based on this description, that Colonel Kesari Singh was not present at the time of the meeting of Jinnah and Maharaja of Jodhpur; otherwise, the Nawab would have surely mentioned him. According to Onkar Singh, Kesari Singh had spread the delusions that he was also present at the time of meeting; due to which Maneckar and Panicker had distorted the facts.
On 16 August, Lord Mountbatten sent the final report to Indian secretary, Article 41 of which stated that when Mountbatten called Maharaja Jodhpur on 8 August then latter reached Delhi late on the same night from Jodhpur and met him the next morning. Maharaja admitted about his meeting with Jinnah, and the description given by the Nawab was correct. When Patel came to know about Maharaja’s ploy, then he agreed to go to any extent to persuade Maharaja. He finally agreed on following terms: Maharaja Jodhpur would be able to import the arms without any interruptions; whole grains would be supplied to the famine-prone areas of the state and for this, other areas of India would be disregarded; the railway line would be allowed to extend from Jodhpur to the sea-port of Kutch. Maharaja became satisfied on Patel’s acceptance, and he decided to remain with India.
Onkar Singh believes that Maharaja Hanwant Singh neither wanted to join Pakistan nor wanted to become the king of Rajasthan, but he wanted to put pressure on Sardar Patel to basket maximum benefits for his state. It could be said in the light of the facts that having been trapped in the coups of Bhopal Nawab and Maharaja Rana Dholpur, Maharaja of Jodhpur visited Jinnah to find out that in which possibilities he would have a maximum advantage, whether to join India or Pakistan or to remain autonomous. Even the Hindu rulers of Jodhpur and Travancore had tried to attempt some separatist tricks but Patel’s reflexes ruined them.
Sumnesh Joshi was the first who had busted the intentions of Maharaja of Jodhpur to meet in Pakistan in the newspaper published from Jodhpur. According to a published report titled “Intentions of the vassals of the Rajputs and Nawab of Bhopal were not fulfilled” of August 20, 1947 issue, there was a surprise behind the sign of joy occurred in the political arena due to Jodhpur state’s entrance into the Indian Union because then why Maharaja had shown hesitation in acceding to the Union, despite his speech in tilak celebration. Bhopal Nawab attempted to establish contacts with 16 states through aircrafts. He got success in Jodhpur case because it was surrounded by the vassals who were intended to join the state in Pakistan. It was pointed in an article of heroic warrior published in the press of Maharaja Sahib’s mother whereabouts that Pakistan was magnanimous to tenementary practice while Hindustan wanted to demolish it. Therefore, the vassals of palace liked Pakistan more than Hindustan which brought considerable infamy to Jodhpur principality. The plot which was drawn to stay away from the Hindustan Union, also mentioned that Sir Stafford Cripps would come to India, and he would establish the relation of the states directly with England. Many people were supposed to become foolish on this name. Also, other people were given edacity to stay independent from Pakistan side. Jodhpur’s temporary hitch was the collective result of all these. Even Jama Sahib received the message from Bhopal Nawab, but he rejected it. Message from Jodhpur was sent to Udaipur Maharaja, Maharana of which replied emphatically. The entrance of Jodhpur in the Union became the topic of debate even in the embassy lobby.
Pistol on Menon
On 9 August 1947, when V.P Menon took Maharaja Hanwant Singh to the Viceroy, then at the behest of the Viceroy, Menon agreed to give certain concessions to Maharaja. The Viceroy further asked Menon to take the sign from Maharaja on the instrument of accession and left to meet the delegations of Hyderabad. In the absence of the Viceroy, Maharaja took out a pistol and said to Menon that he “would shoot him like a dog if he betrayed the people of Jodhpur.” However at last, Maharaja signed the accession. According to Menon, after signing the acceptance, Hanwant Singh pointed the pistol towards Menon and said, “I refuse to take your dictations.”
Menon replied that if he thought that by killing him or threatening him, he would cancel the accession, then it would be his big mistake. He also added to stop behaving in this childish manner. Meanwhile, Mountbatten returned. Menon explained him the whole episode. Mountbatten tried to ease the serious situation and started joking. Till then, the mood of Jodhpur king became normal. Later, Menon went to leave Maharaja at his residence.
Mosley quoted : On the Viceroy’s explanation, when Maharaja of Jodhpur gave his assent on the integration of his state with India, then the Viceroy, while expressing glee, lauded both Maharaja and Menon. In this way, the whole episode ended happily. At that very moment, the Viceroy had to leave for some work. As soon as he left, Maharaja pulled the pistol and threatened to shoot Menon. Maharaja denied following Menon’s orders. Menon answered him courageously that he had miscalculated the things that by killing him, he would get more concessions. Maharaja should stop behaving like a child. On this, Maharaja laughed aloud and put the pistol aside. When Mountbatten came, Menon explained how Maharaja threatened to kill him. Mountbatten told Maharaja softly that it was not a fun time and asked him when he would sign the accession.
The portrayal of Lapierre and Collins, and Mosley's description is so much alike. In the opinion of Lapierre and Collins: the Viceroy asked Maharaja not to join with Pakistan and assured him that he and Menon would request Patel to take care of his conveniences. The Viceroy left the place, and Maharaja took out a fountain pen which he had prepared specially for himself. After signing the Instrument of Accession, as he opened the cap of the pen, a pistol came out of it and was pointed at Menon's head. Maharaja blamed Menon for whatever happened. Fortunately, Mountbatten came there freely. He wrested the pistol from Maharaja. Onkar Singh accounts that Maharaja had a small pen-pistol instead of the revolver, which he had himself made. With this pen, he signed the accession. After signing the acceptance, Maharaja said Menon jokingly that he could even shoot him with this pen. Menon got scared. Maharaja laughed plentifully on this. When Maharaja explained him about the pen which could work as a pistol also, then Menon became bewildered. At that time, Mountbatten entered the room. He took the whole episode as humor. Maharaja Hanwant Singh had mentioned these facts to Onkar Singh in November 1947. Maharaja gave this pen to Lord Mountbatten. Mountbatten took it to London and gifted it to be kept in the Magic Circle Museum of London. This pen-pistol is still present in London.
Menon on his knees
According to Mosley, three days after the meeting of Maharaja Hanwant Singh with Mountbatten, V.P Menon came to Jodhpur to get the signature of Maharaja on the accession. Hanwant Singh drank alcohol and made Menon drink it too. He also arranged a dance show for Menon. Maharaja became intoxicated and said throwing his turban on the ground that Menon won the game, and he lost it. However, Menon took the Maharaja’s signature despite being intoxicated. Maharaja used his aircraft to leave Menon to Delhi. Caring the signed accession safely in his hand, Menon came out of the plane staggeringly. Thus, he saved Jodhpur from acceding to Pakistan. Crawling on his knees, he came out of the aircraft at Delhi airport, but he had held the documents between his fingers through which Jodhpur state was integrated into India. Menon visited Jodhpur only for one time on 28 February 1948 and that too for the matter regarding the dispute over the construction of the responsive government between Public Council and Maharaja. Menon brought his wife along and stayed that night in Jodhpur. Maharaja had arranged wine and music for Menon’s reception. The officials of the state drunk the wine but Menon and Maharaja didn’t. Menon was not fond of classical music, and so the music was stopped at the behest of Maharaja. The next day, Maharaja had to visit Maulasar village to give gold, palanquin, “siropav” to the leading members of Gajadhar Somani family. Therefore, he did not go to Delhi to escort Menon.
Signature by Maharaja on the Instrument of Accession
The date of signature by Maharaja Hanwant Singh, shown on the accession, does not match the claims of Menon and the Viceroy. In line with different types of reports sent by the Viceroy and written documents by Menon, Hanwant Singh met the Viceroy on 9 August and during that meeting, the accession was signed while, the date of signature is written 11 August on the accession. Status quo agreement, engaged with it, has a signature of the Prime Minister of Jodhpur, C.S Venkatachar, who was not present in Delhi on 9 August at the time of the meeting of Viceroy and Maharaja. Date ‘‘11 August’’ appears to be correct as there is no reason seen on the fact to mention “11 August” on the accession while signing it on “9 August.” On 11 August 1947, V.P Menon informed Maharaja through a letter that the answer to the issues raised by Maharaja during the talks with Sardar Patel would be sent.
There was a centuries-old district of “Sodha Rajput” named “Umerkot” in Sindh. Before the advent of the Mughals to India to the making of an agreement by the East India Company, Umerkot area was the part of Jodhpur state. But it was given to the British Government under the treaty, almost a century ago until India’s Independence. Jodhpur Maharaja Umed Singh sought to retrieve it but was unsuccessful. When the plan of India’s division was accepted, then a delegation of the Sodha Rajputs of Sindh requested Maharaja Hanwant Singh to try to merge Tharparkar district of Sindh Province to Jodhpur state, India. Hanwant Singh wrote and asked the Viceroy to return Umerkot to Jodhpur, but the Viceroy refused to consider this topic by saying that the days of the division and independence were near, and all the disputes of the border were pending under Radcliffe Commission; thus nothing could be further done in this matter.
Sodha Rajputs wrote a letter to the Central Government in this matter and sent the copies of it to Nehru, stating that their language and culture were quite similar with that of Marwar state. Their most martial relationships had been employed with their state. Therefore, their state should be merged into Jodhpur state. The All India Hindu Convention also supported the demand of Sodha. It requested to divide Sindh Province into two parts based on the Hindu majority, and to integrate a chunk of the Nawabshah, Hyderabad, Tharparkar and Karachi district into Jodhpur state. The Provincial Congress of Sindh had also supported the demand. The President of the Sindh Provincial Government, Dr. Choitram Gidwani appealed to the Indian Government that since the Hindus were in the majority in Tharparkar district, thus it was legitimate to integrate it into Jodhpur. Maharaja Hanwant Singh talked to many politicians, but no one except Shyam Prasad Mukherji took an interest in it. Mukherji was in the minority in the Central Cabinet, therefore their efforts broke no ground.
Independence Day Celebration in Jodhpur
Independence Day was celebrated on 15 August 1947 in two places in Jodhpur. One was celebrated in Girdikot in which 40,000 people gathered. The Chairman of the Municipality, Dwarka Das Purohit hoisted the flag. Another celebration, on the behalf of the state government, was led by Maharaja Hanwant Singh. Maharaja gave salvo to the tricolor and oversaw the parade. On that occasion, Maharaja was given 51 artillery salvos. He did not deliver any speech. While giving a salute to the flag at the stadium ground, his silence raised many questions. In sky blue-hued turban, Maharaja saluted the parade. In Marwar, sky blue is the color of death. The Congress officials, Champal Joshi, and Jaswant Raj questioned Maharaja on not wearing saffron colored turban that day. Maharaja answered that the rule of 36 generations had ended for him; that day was a day of mourning. In Bali, sugar was demanded from Hakim to distribute ladoos (sweets) to kids in the school on the occasion of the Independence Day but, he refused to give it. The Hakim and his officials did not celebrate the Independence Day. Only the public celebrated it.