Rao Bahadur Vappala Pangunni Menon was an Indian civil servant who was the Constitutional Adviser and Political Reforms Commissioner to the last three Viceroys during British rule in India. He played a vital role in India’s partition and political integration.
He was born on 30 sept, 1893 in Kerala. Menon worked as a railway stoker, coal miner and Bangalore tobacco company clerk before gaining a junior post in the Indian Civil Service. By working assiduously, Menon rose through the ranks to become the highest serving Indian officer in British India.
Menon was the political advisor of the last Viceroy of India, Louis Mountbatten. When the interim Government had collapsed due to the rivalry between the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League, Menon had proposed to Mountbatten, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the Indian leaders, the Muslim League’s plan to partition India into two independent nations – India and Pakistan.
Menon’s resourcefulness during this period caught the eye of Sardar Patel, who would become the Deputy Prime Minister of India in 1947.
After the independence of India, Menon became the secretary of the Ministry of the States, headed by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, with whom he had developed a bond of trust. He was right hand of Sardar Patel and played a major role in integration of Independent India.
Menon worked closely with Patel over the political integration of India: over 565 princely states were merged into the union of India, managing the diplomacy between the States Ministry and the various Indian princes, acting as Patel’s envoy and striking deals with reluctant princes and rulers.
Menon also worked with Patel over the military action against the hostile states of Junagadh and Hyderabad, as well as advising Nehru and Patel on relations with Pakistan and the Kashmir conflict. The Cabinet had dispatched Menon to obtain the accession of Kashmir into India in 1947.
He authored a book on the political integration of India, The Story of the Integration of Indian States and on the partition of India, Transfer of Power. He later joined Swatantra Party, but never contested in elections.