Today is the birth anniversary of Sardar Patel. He unified India and put a check on communal outfits which crated a poisonous atmosphere that resulted in the tragic assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. He banned those organisations, particularly the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, for the cause of social harmony and national unity.

Patel wrote that a fanatical wing of Hindu Mahasabha led by Vinayak Damodar Sarvarkar conspired to kill Gandhi. It is rather preposterous that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party promised, in it’s election manifesto for the recently concluded Maharashtra Assembly polls, that it would confer Bharat Ratna to him posthumously. It may be stated that such an idea is inconsistent with the vision of Sardar Patel.

It is because of Patel we have special safeguards for minorities in our Constitution. He was the Chairman of the Committee of the Constituent Assembly which had the mandate to look into the rights of minorities. He authored that report of the Committee which recommended the special safeguards for the minorities of India that were then accepted by the Constituent Assembly and eventually incorporated in the Constitution of India.

India was partitioned and very unfairly Muslims of our country were and are being blamed for it. I was educated from one of Sardar’s letters to G.D.Birla in which he wrote that oil resources in the world played a role in the partition of India. That letter is there in a book entitled ‘Immortal Icons’ which contains the correspondence of G.D.Birla with leaders of the freedom struggle. Late K.R.Narayanan as President of India wrote an illuminating foreword to it.

In 1999 the London Archives released classified papers concerning the partition of India. Those papers revealed the real purpose behind the division of the country. It was found in those papers that India was divided to ensure unhindered access of western powers to oil resources in the Gulf region . The western powers wanted to create a country by dividing India so that it could be used to checkmate the erstwhile Soviet Union strategy to occupy Afghanistan and use it as a base to extend its influence to the Gulf region. The intention was to stop oil supply to the western powers whose economies were critically dependent on Gulf oil.

That strategy of the Soviet Union was part and parcel of the grand ideological worldview of that country to defeat the capitalist block. So what was revealed by the classified papers released by the London Archives in 1999 was known to Patel in the 1940s.

Patel was the Chairman of a Municipality in Gujarat. He wrote to Gandhi that he intended to allocate some money to a temple for its repair. Gandhi replied that if he wanted to allocate some money to a temple then he should also allocate some amount to repair a dilapidated Mosque. Sardar abandoned the plan.

On one occasion when Sardar Patel came to attend a session of the Indian National Congress he found a separate enclosure for Dalits. Instead of occupying a seat earmarked for him in the main enclosure he went to the Dalits enclosure and delivered his speech from there. This point was prominently mentioned in the speech of President K.R.Narayanan when he unveiled the statue of Sardar Patel in front of the Central Hall of Parliament.

In one of his last speeches in 1950 Sardar Patel reflected on rising levels of corruption and cautioned against it.