Chanchal Sarkar
The Story of Integration: A New Interpretation by Vanaja Rangaswami Manohar Book Service, Delhi, 1982, 392 pp., 160
May-June 1982, volume 6, No 6

Most of us are guilty of having a somewhat idealized image of the relationship bet¬ween people in the Indian States movement and those in the Indian National Congress (INC) in the critical years before Independence. The image has been created partly by Nehru’s Autobiography, by V.P. Menon’s and Lord Mountbatten’s works and out¬pourings and partly by the publications of bodies like the Janmabhoomi Trust whose founder, Amritlal Sheth, was a pillar of the States Peoples’ movement in Gujarat and Saurashtra. That image was of one of total cooperation, but Dr Vanaja Rangaswami pre¬sents an altogether different picture. Her charge—based, it should be said, on events in three states, Mysore, Travancore and Cochin—is that the interests of the States’ peoples and that of the INC soon parted company. Her conten¬tion is that the INC was callous in subordinating the popular demands in the States—for responsible government, curbing of autocracy, funda¬mental rights and civil liber¬ties—to its own interest in Swaraj first—a Swaraj where there would be no regionalism. The story of how this con¬frontation unwound is Dr Rangaswami’s theme.

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