Sardar Patel's birth anniversary: Patel was strongly for partition

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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Many people, particularly those belonging to the right-wing schools of thought including Sangh Parivar describe Jawahar Lal Nehru as the main culprit for the division of India because he wanted to become Prime Minister of independent India. This is far from truth. The fact is that many stalwarts including Sardar Patel were convinced that partition can’t be averted.

Here I am quoting Sardar Patel’s views listing the reasons why partition has become fate accompli.  Following quotation has been drawn from the book “Advent of Independence” authored by eminent historian A. K. Majumdar. Recalling Sardar’s views in the words of K. M. Munshi, a freedom fighter :

“In 1947, I think, both Sardar and myself were the guests of G. D. Birla at New Delhi. Whenever Sardar was in a mood, in the course of our daily walks, he used to talk to me of some of the problems which were uppermost in his mind. One day, while talking, he began to tease me: “Well Akhand Hindustani, we are now going to divide India.” He had come from some conference. I was naturally shocked, because he was all along very strongly opposed to partition and used to criticize Rajaji bitterly for his pro-partition views. Then he fell to convincing me that he was right.

So far as I remember, he strongly put forward two grounds: one was that the Congress being pledged to non-violence, it was not possible for it to resist partition. Resisting would mean the end of the Congress and a long struggle with the Muslim League through large-scale use of violence, with the British Government sitting tight over the country with is police and army. The second ground was that if partition were not accepted, there was bound to be a long-drawn-out communal strife in cities, in some rural areas and even regiments and police forces would be torn by communal dissensions. If therefore, such conflict was inevitable, the Hindus, being more disorgsnised and less fanatic, might go under for want of a compact organisation. If, on the other hand, the strife had to come, it would be best to deal with each other on the basis of organised governments, and perhaps it would be easy to come to a settlement as between two governments rather than as between two communities spread all over the country. By that time I had bitter experience of Hindu-Muslim riots, with the British officers having sympathy for the Muslims and the Hindus coming out very badly. With my knowledge of the Udaipur troops, I was doubtful whether even the armies which were maintained by the Indian rulers had the stamina to stop the communal orgies  even in their states.

Note: It may be mentioned here that K. M. Munshi was one of the several Congress leaders who resigned from the party and formed the Akhand Hindustan Party.

– L. S. Herdenia


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