REVIEW of REVIEWS

India’s Native States Loyal

Suggestion to Restore Hyderabad to the Nizam, its Native Prince.

R. G. BURTON October 1 1922
REVIEW of REVIEWS

India’s Native States Loyal

Suggestion to Restore Hyderabad to the Nizam, its Native Prince.

R. G. BURTON October 1 1922

India’s Native States Loyal

Suggestion to Restore Hyderabad to the Nizam, its Native Prince.

R. G. BURTON

FAR HAPPIER is the condition of affairs in the native Indian States than that prevailing in the British provinces. In the Indian States, evil-doers are summarily dealt with in the interests of the vast majority of loyal and peaceful inhabitants. The people have not been stirred from their happy contentment nor have they had opened out to them as have the people of British India a vision of the political turmoil and unrest that is presented to them by the institution of Western political systems.

In the National Review Mr. Burton raises the question as to whether it would not be good policy to restore the State of Hyderabad to the Nizam, its hereditary

“There is one State,” he writes, “and that the greatest in the India of our day, which has from time to time been stripped of large territories by methods which it is difficult to justify to-day, however necessary those methods may have seemed to be at the time. The State of Hyderabad at one time embraced extensive regions that have been incorporated with British territory, the most important of which is the Province of Berar, which furnishes, from a political and historical point of view, a concrete example of a territory that might well be returned to its rightful owner.

“The history of Berar presents features of romantic interest. Those features are impressed upon its story during a period that extends back through the centuries as far as the dim age of the reign of the great Asoka.”

Mr Burton then gives a detailed history of the relations of the rulers of Hyderabad with the British from 1759. In 1800 an agreement was made by which British assistance in the protection of the State was assured, and the Nizam or ruler of Hyderabad undertook to supply 9,000

cavalry and 6,000 infantry when occasion arose for action against a common enemy. In 1803 war broke out with the Rajah of Berar but the Nizam’s troops were not of much use and it was due to the British forces that victory was eventually secured and the province of Berar which had originally belonged to the Nizam was restored to him “as a gratuitous concession on the part of the British Government.”

In 1853 a large debt had accumulated due to the British Government as the Nizam had found it impossible to raise the money to pay his troops and this had to be done by the British who now insisted on the province being assigned as security for these payments.

“The assignment of territory,” continues Mr. Burton, “took place under a new treaty concluded in 1853.

“It must be understood that while Berar was ‘assigned’ to the British Government for administration under the orders of the British Resident at Hyderabad. the province remained a part of the Nizam’s dominions.”

“Under the terms of the new treaty the force was reorganized and to a great extent regularized. It had hitherto been largely officered by adventurers having only local rank from the Nizam; these were now eliminated, and the troops were staffed by regular officers, drawn from the three Presidency armies. The force increased in efficiency, and when the mutiny broke out in 1857 it rendered valuable services in the campaign in Central India.

“The question of the restoration of the Province of Berar to the Nizam was raised on more than one occasion by the Hyderabad Government, but it was not until 1902 that a fresh agreement was arrived at on the subject, satisfactory to the British Government, but still not fulfilling the aspirations of the Nizam, who desired the restoration of his lost province. “From a pecuniary point of view, the Nizam may have gained by the transaction. although it is doubtful whether any pecuniary consideration would compensate an Indian Prince for the loss of real sovereignty. Previous to the Agreement of 1902 the balance of revenue remitted to the Nizam varied from nothing in some years up to a few lakhs in others; the largest surplus he had ever received was under twenty lakhs, and the average must have been comparatively insignificant. This was partly due to the administration of the province, which was the most lavish and expensive in India, although it is significant that expenditure was greatly reduced as soon as Berar had been leased to the British Government for a fixed annual payment.

“But while the retention of Berar may be justified by historical records and precedents, by a reference to a condition of things that has passed away, by the plea that the Nizam has been placed in a more advantageous pecuniary position by the transaction than he would enjoy were he to administer the State himself, it is difficult to justify it by equity in existing conditions, or for reasons of political expediency.

“The world does not stand still, and in India we have travelled far since 1800, 1853, and even 1902. It would not only be an act of grace, it would be an act of justice, of policy, and of expechency to restore to one whose predecessors have been for more than a hundred and fifty years faithful allies of the British Government, and who rules the largest Mohammedan State in the East, a province which belongs to Hyderabad by tradition, by geographical situation, and by the gratuitous cession of the British Government in 1803. There are in Berar elements which have for many years been actively antagonistic to British rule, and it would be well that they should be placed under a Government that does not parley with sedition and pernicious political agita-