[Answered] Assess the main administrative issues and socio-cultural problems in the integration process of Indian Princely States.

Integration of princely states into India on eve of independence was crucial last steptowards realising the dream of an independent Republic of India. But the difference in conditions, issues and aspirations provided difficulties that required stoic attention. 

Following administrative issues hindered integration of princely states: 

  1. Territorial Contiguity or lack of it such as in Patiala, Kapurthala etc. which were combined into PEPSU, or Jammu and Kashmir whose connectivity was threatened due to disruption of railway and roads passing through areas under Pakistan. 
  2. Lapse of British paramountcy created a lacuna of sovereignty.  
  3. Residual Powers: Princely states surrendered only rights enumerated in Instrument of Accession and retained administrative roles as rulers.  
  4. The question of authority versus popular will as the legitimate deciding factor divided opinions, such as in Junagadh, Hyderabad and J&K.  
  5. Princely Privileges: The extent of privileges to be retained, nature of compensation and hierarchy among princes, privy purses etc. were points of contention. 
  6. Religious role of Kings such as of Travancore in management of Padmanabhaswamy temple and its assets were complex problems.  

Following socio-cultural problems existed in integration of Indian princely states: 

  1. Hyderabad had problems of peasant discontent. For example, the Telangana movement. 
  2. J&K had social discontent against the king, and a communal divide in economic status.  
  3. There was cultural difference between Telugu-speaking parts of Hyderabad and Urdu-speaking and Marathi speaking regions.  
  4. There was economic divide between regions to be integrated such as between Baroda and other princely states of Saurashtra region.   

Integration of Indian princely state is a mark of administrative statesmanship and socio-cultural integration of a diverse people with diverse aspirations.

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