Cover Story

Patel’s communalism—a documented record

Print edition : December 13, 2013

Jawaharlal Nehru and Patel conferring with Mahatma Gandhi at the AICC meeting in Delhi in September 1946. Gandhiji showed shrewd judgment when he anointed Nehru rather than Patel as his successor. Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in April 1949. Photo: THE HINDU

The Pransukhlal Mafatlal Hindu swimming bath on Marine Drive in South Mumbai. This facility was inaugurated in November 1945 by Vallabhbhai Patel. For long a plaque on the frontage of the premises boldly proclaimed this achievement. Photo: VIVEK BENDRE

President Rajendra Prasad presenting the Bharat Ratna to C. Rajagopalachari on January 27, 1955. Patel plotted in 1949-50 to ensure that India's first Indian Governor-General, Rajaji, did not become India's first President as well. Photo: THE HINDU

V.P. Menon, Secretary, States Ministry, at the covenant signing ceremony of the Union in April 1948, with the Maharaja of Gwalior (left). It was Mountbatten's skills and Menon's legal resourcefulness which truly accomplished the first phase of the integration of States, that is, the accession to the Union. Photo: THE HINDU archives

The body of Mahatma Gandhi lying in state in Birla House, New Delhi. Patel's grave lapse in the failure to nip in time Savarkar's conspiracy to murder Gandhi has been completely overlooked. Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

At the Mahatma Gandhi trial at the Red Fort, New Delhi, (Left to Right, front row): Nathuram Vinayak Godse, Narayan Dattatraya Apte and Vishnu Ramkrishna Karkare. Seated behind are (from left to right): Digambar Ramchandra Badge, Shankar, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and Gopal Vinayak Godse. Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

Patel with Maulana Abul Kalam Azad at Birla House in New Delhi after Gandhiji's assassination. Gandhi asked Nehru to exclude Azad from the first Cabinet of free India. "Sardar is decidedly against his membership in the Cabinet...." Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

In East Punjab, people flee communal violence, which led to one of the biggest migration of refugees in history. Photo: THE HINDU archives

July 1947: Gandhi and Nehru visit refugees, victims of communal frenzy in the frontier of Punjab. What is little remembered today is that Patel was all for getting the Muslims out of Delhi and for preventing the return to their homes of Muslims who had fled to Pakistan in panic. Photo: THE HINDU

Maharaja Hari Singh. To Sardar Patel, Sheikh Abdullah did not matter, only the Maharaja did.

A cabal of self-confessed Hindu nationalists, as distinct from Indian nationalists, consistently lauds Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel because it finds in him a soulmate. He is not praised by himself; significantly, he is always pitted against Nehru.

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