The book says that Patel was against taking the Kashmir issue to the UN and had misgivings about Article 370.


A new book on Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, scheduled to be released soon, tries to establish the fact that he was as important, if not more important, to the national movement as Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. The book covers some interesting aspects, including the fact that there was such a tension between Patel and Nehru that both wanted to quit the government within months of Independence.

The book titled The Man Who Saved India is written by Hindol Sengupta. Sengupta is the author of eight books and a recipient of the Wilbur Award for his book Being Hindu. “The task of actually putting together the map of India could never have been achieved without Patel, and without that completed, there would be no India. The book explains the context of class in the Gandhi-Nehru-Patel relationship. Patel was the only one among them who came from a poor background and that showed in the choices he made and arguments he presented,” Sengupta told The Sunday Guardian, while talking about the book. He said many things which Patel said long time back have turned out to be true.

“The book talks about the underlying strain of exploitation in Patel’s life starting with his own elder brother snatching away his first opportunity to go to England and study law, to the many times that Gandhi deprived Patel of the rightful place as the president of Congress party and also denied as a strong claimant for the Prime Minister’s post at Independence,” he said.

There were many conflicts between Patel and Nehru, and even Gandhi, on issues like Hindu-Muslim affairs and later on the question of Pakistan and Kashmir. Patel is almost always the pragmatic voice among them. Even after Independence, Patel, for instance, wants to hold on to a payment of Rs 55 crore that is to be made to Pakistan and ensure that a solution on Kashmir is done side-by-side, but due to Gandhi’s insistence and Nehru’s protest, the payment was made unilaterally.

The book points out that Patel was dead against taking the Kashmir issue to the United Nations and had deep misgivings about Article 370, but both were championed by Nehru. The book highlights that Patel was insistent on the rebuilding of Somnath Temple in Gujarat which Nehru tried his best to prevent and called it “Hindu revivalism”. Nehru also wanted to stop President Rajendra Prasad from going to inaugurate the temple, but Prasad said that he would do the same with any shrine of any faith. Later, a newspaper reported that Prasad’s speech at Somnath Temple was blacked out by the All India Radio.


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