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Issue No.: 570 | December 2014
 

Rediscovering The Sardar

T. H. Chowdary
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Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel has been unpersoned, as no other leader, by Jawaharlal Nehru and his Dynasty, in the same fashion as some ruling leaders of the Communist Party of USSR unpersoned their predecessors, appropriating all the achievements the country made for themselves.

Three times during his life time Sardar Patel stepped down after being elected the President of the Indian National Congress (INC), each time to make way for Jawaharlal Nehru, even though Jawaharlal Nehru did not have the support of any Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC). Mahatma Gandhi prevailed upon Sardar Patel every time to withdraw in favour of Nehru. In 1945 when India’s independence was imminent and the new President in place of Abul Kalam Azad was to be elected, all PCCs proposed Sardar to be the President with the intention that this would enable him to become the Prime Minister. Not one PCC proposed Nehru’s name; yet, on Gandhiji’s advice Patel withdrew in favour of Nehru. The fear was that if Nehru did not become the Prime Minister, he would leave the Congress or split it with the support of the Congress socialists like Jayaprakash Narayan. Gandhiji feared that this would be disastrous. 

Earlier, Sardar Patel’s name was proposed for President of the INC for first time in 1928. Nehru’s father Motilal Nehru requested Gandhiji to have his son succeed him. On Gandhiji’s advice Patel withdrew his candidature. In 1959 Indira Gandhi was made the President of the Congress at the insistence of Jawaharlal Nehru.

Integrating India

The 600 and odd princely states in India had the choice to join either Pakistan or India or be independent. When Sardar Patel gave his consent to Mountbatten’s proposal for the division of India, he put the condition that he, that is Sardar Patel, and not Mountbatten should deal with the Princes and Nawabs; Mountbatten agreed. Sardar Patel was able to persuade almost all the princes not only to accede to the Indian Union but also for their consolidation into viable units like PEPSU, Madhya Bharat etc. Later on, all these were integrated into the Indian Union during his remaining life of less than two and half years after Independence. 

Junagadh’s Muslim Nawab acceded to Pakistan but under Sardar Patel’s guidance, there was a people’s movement against that accession. The Nawab fled and Junagadh became a part of Saurashtra and later merged in Gujarat. Jawaharlal Nehru did not allow Patel to deal with Jammu & Kashmir. Nehru was under the influence of Mountbatten. J&K remains a problem costing us a great amount in men and money. 

The Nizam of Hyderabad and his Razakars wanted Hyderabad to be an independent Islamic State in collusion with Pakistan. Mountbatten, as the Governor General with the tacit approval of Nehru, wanted to give special status, not accession to Hyderabad. There was a Standstill Agreement. Sardar Patel waited for Mountbatten to leave India in June 1948. By that time, every attempt to have some settlement or the other with the Nizam, including Mountbatten’s and Nehru’ offer of special status failed. Then, unlike Nehru in Kashmir, Sardar Patel decided on Police Action. In a matter of four days on the 17th September 1948, the Nizam, his army and his Razakars were worsted. The territory was integrated with the rest of Bharat. 

Sardar, the Muslims and the Communists

Sardar Patel is portrayed as an enemy of the Muslims. He was far from it. Unlike Nehru and the secularists he did not flatter Muslims or attribute non-existent patriotism to them. He gave priority for re-settlement of the millions of Sikhs and Hindus who were squeezed out of Pakistan. He was for their immediate rehabilitation in and around Delhi. Nehru was urging Muslims in Delhi and UP not to go to Pakistan although they were responsible for the division of the country and the carnage that followed. Indeed, he asked Sri Prakasa, India’s High Commissioner in Pakistan to persuade Muslims who had gone there to return to India! 

Sardar Patel did not like this but he did not prevent Nehru’s actions. In his addresses both before and after the Hyderabad Police Action, he told Indian Muslims in plain terms not to sail in two boats. He assured them that all loyal citizens of India irrespective of religion will have equal rights and treatment but if the League’s partitionists, separatists, continued to nurture militant two-nation theory mentality in India, every act of disloyalty and defiance would be put down. This plain talking is interpreted as Patel’s enmity for Muslims.

After Partition, Jawaharlal Nehru invited members of the Muslim League and its leaders who remained in India to join the Congress. They joined in large numbers and since then the Congress has become more or less a Muslim-caring party. Sardar Patel invited the RSS members to join the Congress but they did not. They have been paying a high price for it.   

From 1949 to 1951, the Communists in India instructed by the Cominform, the coordinating body of communist parties everywhere under the hegemony of Stalin, took to arms to throw out the newly independent Nehru-led government, describing it as a lackey of Anglo-American imperialism and establish "people’s democracy”, their name for the dictatorship of the Communist Party in the name of the proletariat. Sardar Patel suppressed this movement with determination, imprisoning hundreds of above-ground communists under the Preventive Detention Act. His successor, Govind Vallabh Pant finished the insurgency of the communists and their war against Indian Army in Telengana by September 1951.

The communists infiltrated not only the Congress Party but were able to take over the labour movement. Sardar Patel was instrumental in founding the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) to distinguish it from the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) which was captured and controlled by the communists. A Committee which included Nehru found that the communists were acting under the direction of the international communist movement. They were expelled from the AICC. 

These actions of Sardar Patel have made him persona non grata with the Nehru Dynasty, the Communists, their fellow-travelling "intelligentsia” and their "eminent” historians. Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was another potential rival to Jawaharlal Nehru. He was elected the President of the Congress despite the opposition of Gandhi. Nehru, who called himself a socialist, cooperated with Gandhiji to see that Subhash Bose did not continue as Congress President. Bose left the Congress in disgust and founded the Forward Bloc. It was Gandhiji’s patronage that gave Jawaharlal Nehru the boost and excluded Patel and Bose from leadership of the Congress.

The Coming of the Second Republic

In the last few years, over 400 projects and schemes, airports and universities have been named after members of the Nehru Dynasty. They outnumber organisations and institutions and projects named after Mahatma Gandhi and other national leaders.  

The single party majority that the BJP secured in the elections to the Lok Sabha in 2014 can be   considered as heralding the Second Republic of India. Nehruvian thinking made the first Republic effete which had been taken over by un-Indian elements from within and outside the country. During this Second Republic, all those who contributed to the freedom movement and our nationhood and integrity of this State should be honoured. It is for the first time that Sardar Patel’s jayanti is being officially celebrated. Persons like Tanguturi Prakasam Pantulu, Purushottam Das Tandon, C. B Kriplani, C Rajagopalachari not to talk of Subhash Chandra Bose, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Lala  Lajpati Rai and Bipin Chandra Pal should all be given the honour due to them. 

DR. T. H. CHOWDARY, Chairman Pragna Bharati, Andhra Pradesh; Fellow Tata Consultancy Services. Formerly Chairman & Managing Director, Videsh Sanchar Nigam, 
later Information Technology Advisor: Government of Andhra Pradesh. 
Email: hanuman.chowdary@tcs.com
 
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Obituary

M. V. Kamath: A Personality Sketch

 

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