Statement of Maharaja Hari Singh on Cripps Mission
We have yet to know the conclusions at which His His Majesty’s Government has unanimously arrived under the combined stress of British India’s well-known demands and the requirements of the war situation to satisfy the legitimate aspirations of interests.
On the part of the States, a considerable factor in the Indian policy and an important party to be satisfied, there has been a tendency even within recent weeks to give prominence to the credo of ‘Relations to the Crown’. These relations have so far been maintained through and Directed by a Department set up by the will of the Crown, the policy and practice of the Department being determined by the Crown’s functionaries. Logically therefore it would seem that the Princes cannot object to hiiving dealings with a Central Government of India which the Crown nay constitute. Nor have they any reason to assume that they would not get a square deal from such a Government.
In any case, it is the duty of the Princes to show themselves the equals of nationals anywhere in the world.
The Princes are justified in assuming that, in a Self-Governing India, every autonomous unit will share equally the -fiscal and financial advantage accusing in such an India as well as the responsibilities and burdens entailed by the maintenance of peace and order and the provision of beneficient service and public utilities in the territories administered. And it should not be forgotten that these territories may have problems peculiar to their populations as well as to their physical conditions. .
In the India of tomorrow, such of the Princes’ prerogatives as enable them to afford a better life to their subjects and to ameliorate their lot must remain. Other privileges, which may be merely matters of honour and glory, shedding effulgence on their personalities, are of comparatively small account when set beside other considerations such as the safe-guarding of resources necessary for uptodate Government and the relief of burdens borne by the State alone.
In promising to support the proposals brought by Sir Stafford Cripps, the Chamber of Princes added the proviso that the support should be without prejudice to the right of individual States to lay their case before him and general, without prejudice to the inherent rights of the States. These rights it is not easy to define or catalogue when one considers the effect of the political practice inaugurated in 1860 and since maintained with the aid of ‘usage and sufferance’. In any cased there is a piquant irony in the contrast between the Princes’ reiteration the phrase-‘Treaty Rights’ and the Viceroy’s suggestion that all Princes, for certain purposes, should voluntarily abdicate in favour of the Political Officers accredited to their courts.
When at the Round Table Conference the Princes assented to the working out of a Federal Constitution, they were prepared voluntarily to delegate some of their sovereign powers to a Federal Government. In the India of the future, it is possible that the matters committed to the Central Government would be far fewer than those recited in the Table of Federal Matters appended to the Act of 1935.
Unless, therefore, the proposals entrusted in Sir Stafford Cripps are fundamentally adverse to the interests of the Indian States and this is unthinkable there is no reason why there” should not be ample common ground between the States and the rest of India.
Freedom must be our watchword…freedom from crippling restrictions and strangling control, freedom front the subordination of India’s interests to the interests of other parts of the Commonwealth.