Examples of the Dynasty’s Hubris-Driven Mean Politics
When Sardar died in Mumbai, Nehru, who himself attended the funeral, advised the then President, Rajendra Prasad, to not attend the funeral—the reason given by him was that as per the protocol, President need not attend funerals of ministers! So he treated Sardar Patel as a mere minister—what arrogance! A disgraceful attitude, particularly when Sardar Patel had so selflessly supported him in the interest of the nation, even though Nehru had usurped the PM’s post from him most undemocratically. Writes Stanley Wolpert in his book, Nehru, “Gandhi’s death reunited Nehru and Patel. Their reconciliation not only saved Congress and
India’s central government from
collapse, but it kept Nehru in power. Without the Sardar’s strength and support
Nehru might have broken down or been forced out of high office. Vallabhbhai ran
administration for the next two years [before his death] while Nehru indulged
mostly in foreign affairs and high Himalayan adventures.”
That is what Sardar got for all he did for Nehru. But, of course, Rajendra Prasad went. Sardar was not just the Deputy PM, but was Rajendra Prasad's colleague of many, many years in the
Independence Struggle. This incident is
mentioned in India from Curzon to Nehru
& After by Durga Das.
An article in The Pioneer of 30 October 2012, "Revealed: Nehru wanted to scuttle Sardar’s Hyderabad plan" by Kumar Chellappani, based on “With No Ill Feeling to Anybody”, the memoirs of an IAS officer MKK Nair, who was close to both Sardar Patel and VP Menon, states that while Sardar was for army action to liberate Hyderabad, Nehru desired the UN route, and had bitterly opposed Sardar. MKK Nair also states in his book: “Immediately after he got the news about Sardar Patel’s death, Nehru sent two notes to the Ministry of States [which was headed by Sardar Patel]. The notes reached VP Menon, the then Secretary to the Ministry. In one of the notes, Nehru had asked Menon to send the official Cadillac car used by Sardar Patel to the former’s office. The second note was shocking. Nehru wanted government secretaries desirous of attending Sardar Patel’s last rites to do so at their own personal expenses.” It is hard to believe the supposedly cultured person Nehru could be so ungracious and could go to such lengths upon death of a colleague and a great national leader and freedom fighter!
Incidentally, there is no samadhi of Sardar Patel in Delhi, or elsewhere in India, although people like Sanjay Gandhi have their samadhi at a prime location in Delhi! The residence in Delhi where Sardar lived when he was the Deputy Prime Minister of the country has been razed and there is no sign that he had ever lived there. Nehru’s house, on the other hand, has been turned into a museum.
Rajendra Prasad was the person about whom Gandhi had himself said that his contribution to freedom struggle was second to none. As per India from Curzon to Nehru & After by Durga Das, when Rajendra Prasad was ill and it was suspected that he might not survive, Nehru was reported to have deputed Lal Bahadur Shastri, his trusted lieutenant, to search a place of funeral as far away as possible from that of Gandhi! However, Rajendra Prasad survived. When he died, and his funeral was held in
Patna, Nehru did not attend,
saying that he was busy with election campaign fund collection in Gujarat! That time Nehru had advised Dr Radhakrishnan,
then President, “I do not see any reason for you to go.” Dr Radhakrishnan had replied:
“No, I think I must go and attend the funeral. That respect is due to him and
must be paid. I think you should give up your tour and come with me.” But,
Nehru stuck to his programme.
Above extracts from the book “Foundations of Misery, Part-I : India, 1947-1964”
by Rajnikant Puranik.
by Rajnikant Puranik.
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