Sardar: The legacy of Nationalism or Congress?
And, there arises in the Indian politic, a debate of the legacy of Sardar VallabhBhai Pater, the Iron man of post-independent India and the prime accomplice of Mahatma Gandhi in freedom struggle. The Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh’s argument of seeing the India’s first Home minister Sardar Patel as the part of Congress legacy, the leader of the opposition cadre Mr. Narendra Modi, man who hails from the state of Gujarat which is also the home state of Sardar Patel strongly believe that he is part of the legacy of India’s Nationalism.
Is it the legacy of nationalism or legacy of Congress? First of all, it is hardly digestible to see both the legacies on the same dais to put forth a profoundly controversial question of the current day’s politic. Had Sardar Patel become the First Prime Minister of India, as stated by Mr Modi, India would have seen much(????). In terms of growth and development, Jawaharlal Nehru’s legacy was always under criticism even soon after India’s independence for the very reason of modern, socialistic views that contradicted Mahatma Gandhi’s ideology. Even as the freedom of India is attributed to Mahatma Gandhi, it was Sardar Patel who was responsible for uniting the princely states in the pre-independence days. Even during the selection of Nehru as Prime Minister in 1947, Sardar’s name was speculated but Nehru’s faithful following of Gandhi and his determination to take on India through modern socialistic approach. His London education and good relations with the British viceroys helped him to serve as the Prime Minister until his death in 1964. He had left a great legacy thereafter with his daughter Indira Gandhi, her son Rajiv Gandhi as premiers and his great grandson Rahul Gandhi now eyeing for the primeminister-ship. It is so strapping and inexorable to the extent that there aroused a strong agitation in the past decade every so often to end the Nehru’s legacy and to keep it away from the mainstream politics.
Mr. Modi, also from Gujarat as Sardar Patel, has hailed Sardar and brought back the memories of the past in this time of general elections not to question the Nehru’s legacy but to combat the legacy of Congress. He seems to be in a critical position within the BJP top circles to keep his promise of lifting the BJP in coming elections. With current position as the CM of Gujarat and with the support gained from the party’s top leaders, he is doing a nation-wide campaign for the victory of BJP. Considering the pressure he built upon himself, no wonder he calls Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel and other regional freedom fighters in various states in the country. He had made it a strategy of pointing out the infamous slogans and statements of various state-level leaders who fought for India’s freedom.
Mr. Manamohan Singh, the man of silence, has done it again. Not in a single occasion he never failed to down his own party men! His notion on the legacy of Congress with reference to Sardar indicates his experience and statesmanship. His proximity with the Nehru’s family has always done good to the Congress and he did not miss to point out the role of Sardar Patel in the Congress.
It was Dr.Rajendra Prasad, the first President of free India and the industrialist J.R.D. Tata who have expressed opinions that Patel would have made a better prime minister for India than Nehru. In the 1946 election for the Congress presidency, Patel stepped down in favour of Nehru at the request of Gandhi. The election's importance stemmed from the fact that the elected President would lead free India's first Government. Gandhi asked all 16 states representatives and Congress to elect the right person and Sardar Patel's name was proposed by 13 states representatives out of 16, but Patel respected Gandhi's request to not be the first prime minister.
When Lord Louis Mountbatten formally proposed the plan for Partition of India on 3 June 1947, Patel gave his approval and lobbied Nehru and other Congress leaders to accept the proposal. Irrespective of differences between Patel and Nehru, Gandhi always believed that a Free India wanted both of them. At the time of Patel leaving the government as Home minister, Nehru sent him a letter dismissing any question of personal differences and his desire for Patel's ouster. He reminded Patel of their 30-year partnership in the freedom struggle and asserted that after Gandhi's death, it was especially wrong for them to quarrel.
Anyways, where exactly ‘Sardar’ stands? Is he a part of national spirit or just a Congressman who did his part in the freedom struggle? Today’s politicians may think whatever but he still remains in the hearts of people as “The Iron man” and the statesman of integrity. He has surely contributed much beyond the limits of his Congressional powers to serve a nation of so many divisive powers and discretely authoritative princes towards its liberty along with the unionization of powers. Sardar Patel does not belong to Gujarat only. The people of India do not need Mr. Modi for remembering the stalwart Sardar at this time to make his election campaign glittering.
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