De-recognition of Maharaja Pratap Singh Gaekwad
• He wanted to be declared the King of Gujarat and Kathiawar
• Morarji Desai advised Nehru to curb the Anti-merger agitation
Dr. Hari Desai’s weekly column “Back to Roots” in Asian Voice,the Newsweekly of ABPL Group, London 2 June 2018 You may read the full text on Web Link : https://bit.ly/2kz95R9 and comment.
• Pratap Singh continued for some time to follow in the footsteps of his illustrious predecessor. But after three or four years, he fell under the influence of bad advisors. He contracted a second “marriage” in circumstances which gravely reflected on his position as a ruler. He had been married in 1929 to Maharani Shanta Devi of the Ghorpade family of Kolhapur who had borne him eight children, before his “marriage” in 1944 to Sita Devi, the daughter of a landlord in Madras province.
• Sita Devi had already been married in 1933 and had a son by her first husband. But in October 1943, she announced her conversion to Islam and obtained a declaration from a court that her marriage was dissolved by reason of conversion.
• Most of the Kathiawar rulers co-operated with the Government of India, but Sir Pratap Singh tried to put pressure on Sardar Patel and laid down certain conditions which were not acceptable. The Sardar bluntly refused to accept Sir Pratap Singh’s conditions including declaring him the King of Gujarat and Kathiawar.
• Patel was aware of the Maharaja of Baroda’s sympathy toward the Bhopal Plan of Nawab Hamidullah Khan to join hands with Pakistan as well as emulating the Nizam of Hyderabad by putting forward claims to be an independent ruler. Menon notes, “Pratap Singh’s ambition was to occupy in Western India a status similar to that to which the Nizam aspired in the Deccan”
• The order of the de-recognition of Pratap Singh, and that his son, Yuvraj Fatesinghrao (2 April 1930- 1 September 1988), should be recognized as the Maharaja of Baroda in his place, was served on him on the evening of 12 April 1951 at his house in Delhi. Pratap Singh was informed that, should he so wish, he could make any submission to the President in regard to that order within one month. Sir Pratap Singh and the Maharani, Shanta Devi, were given interviews by the President, Nehru and Gopalaswami. On 20 May, the President decided finally to reject his appeal for reinstatement, but allowed to continue to use the title of “His Highness” and an allowance for his maintenance.