Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Nehru and Sardar, left and right wing of politics

Nehru was considered a leader of left wing politics and Sardar Patel as a leader of right wing politics in Congress. One was idealistic, another was realistic. One was sentimental, another was mature.

One was progressive socialist, another was rightist. But surprisingly, adverce to the ideology, Nehru lived feudal life style and Sardar lived very simple life. Both together gave us the present day powerful India.

Both were strong disciples of Mahatma Gandhi. Both were towering personalities of India. But both fought a "cold war" of claiming Gandhi legacy.

In age, Sardar was 14 years elder to Nehru. In party rank, Nehru became Congress President in 1929 and Sardar in 1931. Nehru first met Gandhi in 1916 at Lucknow session of Congress. Sardar first met Gandhi in 1917 at Gujarat Political Conference in Godhra.

Nehru became closer to Gandhi during 1919-29 during his political apprenticeship under Gandhi. Sardar became closer to Gandhi during their stay together in Yervada Central Jain in 1931-32.

The relationship between Gandhi and Nehru was like a Father and Son. The relationship between Gandhi and Sardar was like and Elder Brother and Younger Brother.

Nehru became General Secretary of Congress in 1920 and By late 1921, became one of the most prominent leader of the Congress. He was the advocate of complete freedom of India. He became more powerful and popular in 1929 as President of Congress passing Lahore Congress resolution of "पूर्ण स्वराज" "complete self-rule" on 26/1/1930.

Sardar became powerful in Congress after became interim President and later elected President at Karachi Congress meeting in 1931. He became the Congress's main fund-raiser and chairman of its Central Parliamentary Board, playing the leading role in selecting and financing candidates for the 1934 elections to the Central Legislative Assembly in New Delhi and also for the Provincial elections of 1936. Therefore became more powerful amongst party cadre.

His major differences started with Nehru while opposing declarations of the adoption of "Socialism"proposed by Nehru at the 1936 Lucknow Congress session, which he believed was a diversion from the main goal of achieving independence. Nehru couldn't pass the resolution though he was the President of Congress.

It was the time when the trio of Nehru, Subhash and Jayprakash Narayan representing left wing and the trio of Sardar, Rajgopalachari and Rajendra Prasad representing the right wing in Congress.

Nehru and Sardar, both were in unanimity in taking part in First Provincial Government elections of 1937, conducted under the GoI Act 1935. Gandhi resigned from membership of Congress in 1936, opposing the move.

When Subhash Bose became Congress President against the will of Gandhi in Haripura (Gujarat) Congress and elected again (1539 votes) for the second term winning against Gandhi's choice,

Pattabhi Sitaramayya (1377 votes) in Tripura Congress in 1939; Sardar Patel organised rank and file opposition to the attempt of Bose to move away from Gandhi's principles of non-violent resistance. 12 of 14 CWC members resigned and compelled Bose to finally resigned.

Netaji Bose left Congress, formed Forward Block, escape from British house arrest, joined Germany-Japan. In side in World War II, led Azad Hind Fauz, became our Hero with his actions and slogans "चलो दिल्ली", "तुम मुझेख़ून दो, मैंतुम्हेंआज़ादी दूँगा" "Chalo Delhi", and a first person to address Gandhi as the Father of the Nation. His death in overloaded Japanese plane crashed in Taiwan (Formosa) is yet to be confirmed fully. His ashes remains in Tokyo, yet to be accepted by the GoI as the mystery of his death remained unresolved. Gandhi, on his death, ranked him the bravest man of Hindustan.

Nehru and Sardar Patel were in unanimity while resigning from the Provincial Governments in 1939 after Lord Linlithgow, Viceroy of India decided to join India in World War II, without consultation of Congress and the elected wings of the Government. This was a major turning point of Indian politics.

Muslim League, which lost 1937 Provincial Elections so badly with winning only 106 seats (7%) against Congress 707 seats (45%) out of total 1585 seats, suddenly rejuvenated.

After Quit India Movement and jail of three years, when Nehru and Sardar came out of jail in 1945, the British decided transfer of powers to Indians. The British was avoiding Gandhi to succeed in its game of partition of India. Gandhi though failed in convincing Jinnah for United India after 19 days visits to his house, was trying to find out his position in the Game. It was a time of decisive role of Nehru, Sardar and Jinnah to achieve their respective goals.

As independence getting closure, the rift between Nehru and Sardar started widening. The game "who is powerful" got on. In the 1946 election for the Congress presidency, as the elected President would lead free India, Patel stepped down in favour of Nehru at the request of Gandhi. 13 out of 16 states representatives favoured Sardar Patel. But Patel respected Gandhi's request to not be the first prime minister. As the first Home Minister, Patel played a key role in integration of many princely states into the Indian federation.

Gandhi preferred Nehru to Sardar may be for reasons: being a Gujarati couldn't support another Gujarati, may have differences with Sardar on his working style, may be to keep his word to make Nehru as his political heir and successor, may be age factor (Nehru was 57 and Sardar 71) or may be some other reasons.

When the British mission proposed two plans for transfer of power. The plan of 16 May 1946 proposed a loose federation with extensive provincial autonomy, and the "grouping" of provinces based on religious-majority. The plan of 16 June 1946 proposed the partition of India on religious lines, with over 600 princely states free to choose between independence or accession to either dominion. The League approved both plans, while the Congress flatly rejected the 16 June proposal.

Gandhi criticised the 16 May proposal as being inherently divisive, but Patel, realising that rejecting the proposal would mean that only the League would be invited to form a government, lobbied the Congress Working Committee hard to give its assent to the 16 May proposal. When the League retracted its approval of the 16 May plan, the viceroy Lord Wavell invited the Congress to form the government. Nehru became the First PM (VP of GG Council) of India and Sardar Patel took charge of the departments of home affairs and information and broadcasting.

Sardar Patel was one of the first Congress leaders to accept the partition of India as a practical and workable solution to the rising Muslim separatist movement led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah. His working with VP Menon between the months of December 1946 and January 1947, made him more clear on the solution. Patel's decisiveness on the partition of Punjab and Bengal had won him many supporters and admirers. When Lord Louis Mountbatten formally proposed the plan on 3 June 1947,

Patel  and Nehru gave their approval and lobbied other Congress leaders to accept the proposal. He convinced Gandhi over the perceived practical unworkability of any Congress-League coalition, the rising violence and the threat of civil war.

Nehru was unhappy with the working style of Sardar Patel and Sardar Patel was unhappy with the working style of Nehru in the Government. Nehru was offended by Patel's decision making regarding states' integration. Nehru was PM and 14 years younger to Sardar, but Sardar was DyPM and had better command over Congress Party. Superiority clash might be there. Otherwise, why should they exchange letters when working in the ministry under one roof. To quote one example, when Nehru sent his PS to visit, inquire and give a report on Jodhpur, Sardar objected the visit without his knowledge mentioning the position under rules of business and distribution of work. Nehru replied defending freedom and discretion of the PM.

On 30/1/48, with his an hour meeting with Gandhi between 4.10-5.10 PM, he expressed hisdifferences with Nehru and asked Gandhi to permit him to quit the Government so that he can work for the party. Gandhi advised him not to leave government with an assurance that he will talked to Nehru and discuss the issue in that day prayer meeting too. But it didn't happen as Gandhi was assassinated by Godse, after a minute of the meeting. The death of Gandhi reunited Nehru and Sardar. But Gandhi's death and post assassination allegations regarding security lapse of Home Ministry made him further weak. He suffered a major heart attack in March 1948 and was off work for four months. He attributed the attack to the "grief bottled up" due to Gandhi's death. He tendered a letter of resignation which was withhold by his Secretary, meanwhile Nehru wrote him a letter dismissing any question of personal differences and his desire for Patel's outster. Nehru's public defend of him in the matter moved him. Sardar publicly endorsed Nehru's leadership.

Lord Mountbatten made Rajgopalachari his second choice to succeed him after Sardar Patel. But Nehru objected for Sardar Patel and finally Rajgopalachari became the first Indian Governor General of Independent India.

Mountbatten stayed in India till 21/6/48. It is to note that accession of Hyderabad to the Union of India happened with military action on 13-17 September, after the departure of Mountbatten from India. In Sardar's word, the ulcer (Osmanistan) on India was cured. KM Munshi was the Indian Agent Genral to the princely state of Hyderabad.

Nehru contributed directive principles of state policies (Gandhian thoughts in the Constitution) and Sardar on Fundamental Rights and provincial constitutions.

Nehru was in oppose to continue ICS ('neither Indian, nor civil, nor a service') format of British Administration, Sardar reformed it into IAS and IPS made him 'patron saint' of India's services.

During the nomination of the First President of India Nehru favoured the GG Rajgopalachari, placing argument of North South balance of power. Sardar supported Rajendra Parsed and Rajendra Babu became our First President of Republic India.

In the election of Congress President in 1950, Nehru objected candidate Purushottam Das Tondon and endorsed Jivanram Kriplani. Nehru threatened to resign if Tondon was elected.  Tondon was elected proving that Nehru's will was not law with Congress. Kriplani, hailing from Gujarat received zero vote from the State. Sardar was the Supreme Commander of Gujarat Congress from 1925-50.

Sardar Patel during his visit to Junagadh on 12/11/47, pledged for the reconstruction of Somnath temple.Gandhi endorsed the move with a condition that funds for construction should be collected from public. It was not materialised due to death of Gandhi and Sardar. The task was then lead by Kanaiyalal Munshi (Minister for Food and Civil Supply) and installation ceremony was performed in May 1951 by Rajendra Prasad, the President of India. Nehru had a rift with Prasad on the issue of principle.


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