V P Menon, Sardar Patel's Right Hand Man : Better India

VP Menon, Sardar Patel’s Right-Hand Man & Unsung Hero of India’s Unification

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The Story of the Integration of the Indian States
In 1947, as the struggle for India’s freedom was raging on, the Indian National Congress and the Government of India declared one objective—to politically integrate the country.

To accomplish this, the Department of States was established in June 1947 with two important men at the helm. One was the fearless leader who also moved on to become the first Deputy Prime Minister of India⁠—Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

Yet, the person who continues to remain unsung was Patel’s right-hand man, VP Menon.

Although it was Patel who created the initial framework to influence the Indian princes to accede, it was Menon who did the actual groundwork of coaxing them.

He travelled from court to court, having endless eye-to-eye discussions and negotiations. While his wit and diplomacy were able to win over several of them, the task was arduous. To the extent where he had a close shave with death when an angered maharaja sprung out a gun and threatened to shoot him point-blank.

Menon’s adventures and experiences are narrated in his book ⁠— The Story of the Integration of the Indian States —considered to be one of the most detailed works on the political integration of India.

Monday was his 126th birth anniversary, and this is a good time to remember the man who played an instrumental role in ensuring that over 500 princely states seamlessly joined the Union of India.

Here's a glimpse into his incredible story.

- Jovita Aranha 
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