Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Partition and Patel

At the All India Congress Committee meeting (June 1947) called to vote on the proposal, Sardar Patel said:

"I fully appreciate the fears of our brothers from [the Muslim-majority areas]. Nobody likes the division of India and my heart is heavy. But the choice is between one division and many divisions. We must face facts. We cannot give way to emotionalism and sentimentality. The Working Committee has not acted out of fear. But I am afraid of one thing, that all our toil and hard work of these many years might go waste or prove unfruitful. My nine months in office has completely disillusioned me regarding the supposed merits of the Cabinet Mission Plan. Except for a few honourable exceptions, Muslim officials from the top down to the chaprasis (peons or servants) are working for the League. The communal veto given to the League in the Mission Plan would have blocked India's progress at every stage. Whether we like it or not, de facto Pakistan already exists in the Punjab and Bengal. Under the circumstances I would prefer a de jure Pakistan, which may make the League more responsible.

Freedom is coming. We have 75 to 80 percent of India, which we can make strong with our own genius. The League can develop the rest of the country."

He was our Hero of United India, Iron Man of India. The way he took away all but 3 apples (princely states) in Indian Basket through Lunch-Tea meetings at his official residence 1, Auranzeb Road,

Delhi between 6/5/47 to 15/8/47, using his negotiation skill with an intend to use force if required, was unprecedented in the history.

2 of 3 remaining apples (Junagadh and Hyderabad), he took away with military action followed by a plebiscite. But Hyderabad was a master stroke. Nehru was touring Europe and Sardar Patel in his capacity as acting PM executed military action "Operation Polo" (13-17 September 1948) taking the

Governor General Rajgopalachari in confidence. Kashmir issue was with the PM. The delay and dilemma of Maharaja Harisingh to sign Instrument of Accession to India or Pakistan, non acceptance of Junagadh accession to Pakistan by India, later military action in Junagadh, Nehru's rule of law v/s Patel's rule of practical, India went in UN in Jan '48 on Kashmir, UN resolution 47 dated 21/4/48 passed under Chapter VI (non binding, not mandatory) for fair plebiscite after withdrawal of troops by Pakistan, 47-65-71-99 wars with Pakistan, etc., series of events making the Kashmir Conflict more and more complex to resolve. Difficult to say the outcome of plebiscite in favour of Pakistan or India, if would have held in Kashmir in 1947-48 like Junagadh and Hydrabad, the matter could have ended there. Sardar saheb definitely could have handled the issue differently with his own working style.

But this land is a land of Mahabharat. The division of ancestral property is never peaceful whether it is in a family or in a Nation. Let the "Wise Men" of both the sides find out some respectful solution to the problem, reduce defence budget and use money for improvement of quality of life of the people of both the Nations.

6 Nov 2013.


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