Friday, March 26, 2021

Who made Nehru the first Premier of India?

 Who made Nehru the first Premier of India?

Bengal was the centre of political activities of Congress as Kolkata was the Capital of British India till 1911. Other major active centres were Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi, etc, the seats of power of the Presidencies. The centre of activities then moved from Kolkata to Delhi and Mumbai. In the early years of 20th century ‘extremist’ Lal Bal Pal trio (Lala Lajpat Ray, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal) were in lead role of the freedom movement. Succeeding the ‘moderate’ Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Gandhi took over the rein by his weapons of truth and non violence, he became the centre point of the freedom struggle, made the movement of masses and lead it for 25 years from 1920 to 1945. Gandhi was President of INC for once in 1924 but lead the party without official chair. His voice was the voice of INC and the voice of India till 1945.

Motilal Nehru was a leading lawyer of Allahabad High Court and was famous for his art of presentation, joined the freedom struggle. Brave he had run a secret press in the basement of his house in Allahabad to print the handbills and other materials of movement. It was a courageous act. Motilal became President of INC in 1919 and 1928. Gandhi won the trust of Nehru family and Motilal won the trust of Gandhi, handed over his son Jawahar to Gandhi. When British gave a challenge, to counter the Simon Commission, Motilal drafted the first Constitution of India, known as Nehru Report of 1928. Jawahar started his political life in Congress in 1912, joined Home Rule Movement of Annie Besant in 1916. 

The famous Lucknow Pact, the espousal of Hindu Muslim Unity was signed in the joint session of INC and Muslim League in October 1916 at Lucknow, between Bal Gangadhar Tilak (INC)  and Muhmmad Ali Jinnah (AIML) granting separate electorate to the Muslims. The pact was initiated in the AICC meeting in earlier in 1916 at Anand Bhawan, the residence of Nehrus. Tilak hailed Jinnah as ambassador of Hindu Muslim unity. The pact became the seed of partition later. 

Jawahar then joined Gandhi’s Non cooperation Movement of 1920. Radical he became the President of Congress succeeding his father in 1929-1930. The famous Lahore Resolution of Complete Independence was passed under his chair and he hoisted the flag of India on the bank of river Rabi on 31 December 1929, and people of India observed Independence Day on 26 January 1930. Sardar Patel joined Gandhi in October 1917, succeeded Nehru and became President of INC in 1931. He chaired the tough session of Karachi post Bhagat Singh’s execution. The major outcome of the session was our tricolour flag. Thereafter, Nehru lead the left wing and Sardar lead the right wing in the party for next two decades. 

Sardar Patel after 1931, never became the President of Congress, but was a President of Gujarat Congress for 25 years, National Treasurer of INC for 14 years (1936-1950) and an important and powerful member of the AICC, the main executive body of the INC taking major decisions of the party. 

Nehru became President of INC again in 1936-1937, the crucial junction of provincial elections held and formation of Provincial Governments under the GoI Act of 1935. Gandhiji declared him his political heir in 1942. He became President of INC again at the crucial junction of negotiation for independence in 1946 by the soul support of Mahatma Gandhi. 

As Sardar Patel was the treasurer of the party for long and had good command over the provincial units of the Congress, he secured the large majority votes of the units in his favour. Nehru, that way lost the chair of President in 1946 as the Party overwhelmingly wanted Sardar Patel as President. At this crucial junction of History, Gandhi made his choice for Nehru on 20 April 1946, but 12 of 15 Pradesh Congress nominated Sardar Patel and the 3 remained abstain from the nomination process. None of the PCC nominated Nehru but for the Working Committee. Gandhi asked Patel to withdraw. To avoid division of the Party, he as obedient disciple Patel accepted second position and withdrew. Nehru then became the elected President of Congress in 1946, and became the de facto Premier of India. Maulana Azad who advocated for Nehru later confessed it the greatest blunder of his political life. Dr Rajendra Prasad lamented that Gandhiji had once again sacrificed his ‘trusted lieutenant’ for the sack of ‘glamorous Nehru’.

Sardar continued in lead role in all the major decisions of the party including Partition of India, accession and merger of Princely States, ordered reconstruction of Somnath Temple, accession of Hyderabad; and against Nehru’s will, elected Purushottam Das Tondon as President of INC in 1950 and elected Dr Rajebdra Prasad as the First President of India. 

When Gandhi went of his last fast until death to save Muslims of Delhi from the atrocities on 13 January 1948, and when on 12 January 1948, all the leaders including Nehru and Sardar came to persuade Gandhi to not to proceed for fast. Sardar Patel was upset with Nehru and Azad for their complaints and first time in his life shouted at Gandhi and expressed his anger at being targeted, stood up to go. Nehru and Azad tried to calm him down and urged him to stay back but he refused, walked out and left for Bombay. He was the Home Minister and thought that Gandhi’s fasts were against him and might earn bad name against Hindus before the international community. When the riots were stopped in Delhi, and with the assurance of peace by all party leaders Gandhi broke his fast on 18 January 1948, all were present except Sardar Patel. He had a one hour long meeting with Gandhi on 30 January 1948 between 4 pm to 5.10 pm, mainly to discuss his differences with Nehru. Due to the importance of the meeting Gandhi didn’t look at the watch but when Manu Gandhi reminded him for the evening prayer, the meeting ended. Sardar Patel moved to his car and exited the gate of Bapu and was some metres away in a car, and Gandhi walked down with his two sticks Manu and Abha towards prayer path, he was assassinated by fanatic Godse at 5.13 pm. Nehru cried like a child on his death but the grief bottles up in the heart of Sardar Patel, that reverted as a major heart attack in March 1948. Sardar Patel was saved by his daughter Maniben, Secretary and the nurse saved him for the greatest cause, the Unification of India. When his health was declined, he was coughing blood and was unable to attend office and work; and when he began losing consciousness and was confined to bed; on advice of the doctor, he departed for Mumbai on 12th December 1950 and died of heart attack in Birla House Mumbai on 15 December 1950. His Guru Gandhi selected Birla Mandir Delhi abd he selected Birla Mandir Mumbai for the last journey. He was cremated at Sonapur Mumbai like a common man in the presence of one million people including the PM and President of India. The whole nation mourn for a week. To give him true homage, with a height of 182 metres, the tallest statue of the world ‘Statue of Unity’ was built at Kevadia, Gujarat on PPP mode by another great son of the soil Shri Narendra Modi. 

Nehru became Vice President of Executive Council of Interim Government took oath of office on 2nd November 1946 under the GOI Act 1935. He took oath of office as first PM of Independent India on 15 August 1947 under the India Independence Act 1947, took oath of office on 26 January 1950 under the Constitution of India. He took oath of office of the PM of India as a leader of the majority party in 1952, 1957 and 1962 after winning Parliamentary Elections. He popularity declined after losing small war with China in October 1962, and extra sensitive he didn’t recover from the shock and the betrayal of trust by Red China. His health started declining thereafter, and he died of heart attack on 27 May 1964 in Delhi. His body was cremated at Shantivan on the bank of river Yamuna in the presence of 1 million plus people. 

We shall discuss Gandhi’s angle some other day. 

Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel were our true and GREAT HEROES and will be remembered forever for their services, sacrifices and love to the Nation INDIA.


22 May 2020


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