Leave aside others (politicians, diplomats, general public), even historians have begun to question who was a better diplomat, politician, administrator and as a man Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru or Sardar Patel and what would have been India'sfate and India looked like if Patel and not Nehru had become the first Prime Minister of Independent India and had Patel not yielded to Gandhi ji'swishes in making Nehru the PM.
Though he was not an astrologer yet Patel had prophesied that China would one day stab India and it had dangerous expansionist designs against India. He felt China was euphemistically planning to grab not only Tibet, a buffer state between India and China, but also had eyes over a great chunk of Indian territory. He had cautioned Nehru against China'snefarious designs in his letter to him on November 7, 1950 and suggested that they should meet in this connection to plan a strategy. Nehru put the letter in cold storage and marked it to another Cabinet Minster. Sardar Patel had written to Nehru that this Hindi-Chini Bhai-Bhaism is total humbug and the advocacy of Nehru for China'sseat in the UN Security Council would prove one day very dangerous for India. Patel'sprophecy came hundred per cent true. China not only annexed Tibet but also grabbed a large chunk of Indian territory in NEFA. Had Nehru listened to Patel'srequest, India would have been saved from the ignominious defeat when Indian forces had to run from their posts on Chinese attack.
Had Patel not taken police action in Hyderabad, this state would have become a lingering sore for us like Kashmir.
They also counter the argument against Sardar that he was pro-Hindu and against Muslims and other minorities. After Pakistan came into existence, he went against the suggestion of BM Birla that India be made a Hindu rashtra with the only religion Hindutva. He said ?there are minorities in India and to safeguard them is our responsibility. Dr. Zakaria, a great Muslim leader, in his book clearly mentions that Patel was misunderstood in regard to Muslims and has explained that the clauses put in the Indian Constitution favouring Muslims are because of Sardar Patel because he was the President of the Constitution guiding Committee at that time. A renowned Muslim, Justice Bashir Ahmed was appointed Judge of the Madras High Court because Patel wanted it and it was against the wishes of Chief Justice Kania. Even Frank Anthony, a great leader of Christians, witnessed that Patel was never against any minority especially Christians.
In his last days Patel was worried that China had expansionist policies and it had eyes over Nepal, Pakistan, Kashmir, Assam and Burma. He cautioned India in a strong-worded speech, ?Hamarey charon oor aag lagi hui hai, hamein har haalat mein apney desh kee raksha karni hai, yadi ahinsa se ho to theek verna akraman kaa uttar akraman se de kar?we are surrounded by fire from all the four sides, we have to safeguard our freedom by violence or non-violence, come what may.?
Sardar Patel was not given the honour he deserved. Bharat Ratna was awarded to him posthumously 41 years after his death and that too after Rajiv Gandhi and other members of Nehru family were awarded.
All these facts about Nehru and Patel are detailed in Jaidev Hasija'scompilation entitled Biswin sadi ka Chanakya: Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (Alankar Prakashan, New Delhi). It gives a wealth of information about both the great men. It deserves to be translated into English for a wider audience. The author has left it to readers to decide ?Who was a better politicians, diplomat, and administrator?Nehru or Patel?.
(Alankar Prakshan, 3611, Netaji Subhash Marg, Daryaganj, New Delhi-110 002.)