1 OCTOBER 1948, Page 15


SIR,—The Spectator writes with less than its usual fairness and objectivity on the question of Hyderabad. The Nizam was indeed given the title of "Our Faithful Ally," but attempts to assert any kind of independence were brusquely brushed aside by Curzon and Reading Curzon took over the rich province of Berar with little or no excuse, and Reading laid down that " no Indian State can negotiate with the British Govern- ment on an equal footing." The present Indian Dominion is the de facto successor of the British Government.

It was feared that, when the Indian National Congress came into power, the Indian States would be swept away. Saner counsels prevailed, and the States have now been integrated into thirty homogeneous groups, each with its own legislature. These replace the six hundred-odd units, large and small, once scattered all over the country. The Princes have been allowed to retain their titles, dignities and personal estates ; they have merely become constitutional rulers. This great work of reform, which should have been effected fifty years ago, has been entirely ignored

by The Spectator. Everyone, of course, sympathises with the Nizam, whose simplicity of life and devotion to his work won the affection of his subjects, Moslem and Hindu, but it is impossible to feel that he was not badly advised. Lord Mountbatten and his own constitutional adviser, 'Sir Walter Monckton, offered their services as mediators ; so did Sir Mirza Ishmail, a devout Moslem with almost unique experience as Diwan of two great Indian States. The present tragedy would have been avoided had their proposals been accepted. Much has been made of the past services of Hyderabad to the Crown. But what of Bhopal, a Moslem State of 8,000 square miles? Everyone remembers the careers of the two great Begums, the mother and grandmother of the present Nawab. But he found no difficulty in adapting himself to changing