Speeches and Documents on the Indian Constitution, 1921-47 - Vol. 2

By A. Appadorai; Maurice L. Gwyer | Go to book overview

II. LETTER FROM HIS EXCELLENCY THE VICEROY, LORD READING, TO HIS EXALTED HIGHNESS, THE NIZAM OF HYDERABAD, 27 MARCH 19261

In the paragraphs which I have mentioned you state and develop the position that in respect of the internal affairs of Hyderabad, you, as Ruler of the Hyderabad State, stand on the same footing as the British Government in India in respect of the internal affairs of British India. Lest I should be thought to overstate your claims, I quote Your Exalted Highness's own words: 'Save and except matters relating to foreign powers and policies, the Nizams of Hyderabad have been independent in the internal affairs of their State just as much as the British Government in British India. With the reservation mentioned by me, the two parties have on all occasions acted with complete freedom and independence in all inter-Governmental questions that naturally arise from time to time between neighbours. Now, the Berar question is not and cannot be covered by that reservation. No foreign power or policy is concerned or involved in its examination, and thus the subject comes to be a controversy between the two Governments that stand on the same plane without any limitations of subordination of one to the other.'

These words would seem to indicate a misconception of Your Exalted Highness's relations to the Paramount Power, which it is incumbent on me as His Imperial Majesty's representative to remove, since my silence on such a subject now might hereafter be interpreted as acquiescence in the propositions which you have enunciated.

The sovereignty of the British Crown is supreme in India, and therefore no Ruler of an Indian State can justifiably claim to negotiate with the British Government on an equal footing. Its supremacy is not based only upon treaties and engagements, but exists independently of them and, quite apart from its prerogative in matters relating to foreign powers and policies, it is the right and duty of the British Government, while scrupulously respecting all treaties and engagements with the Indian States, to preserve peace and good order throughout India. The consequences that follow are so well known, and so clearly apply no less to Your Exalted Highness than to other Rulers, that it seems hardly necessary to point them out. But if illustrations are necessary, I would remind Your Exalted Highness that the Ruler of Hyderabad along with other Rulers received in 1862 a Sanad declaratory of the British Govern. ment's desire for the perpetuation of his House and Government, subject to continued loyalty to the Crown; that no succession in the Masnad of Hyderabad is valid unless it is recognized by His Majesty the King- Emperor; and that the British Government is the only arbiter in cases of disputed succession.

The right of the British Government to intervene in the internal affairs of Indian States is another instance of the consequences necessarily involved in the supremacy of the British Crown. The British Government have indeed shown again and again that they have no desire to exercise this right without grave reason. But the internal, no less than the

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1
Indian States Committee Report ( 1929), Appendix II, pp. 56-8.

-711-

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