by Suresh Kochattil
In today's war of words between Congress and BJP we need to understand the truth of how Sardar was treated by Nehru and his cronies. That there was no love lost between Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel was evident from historical records and personal anecdotes. Compared to Sardar's towering personality, Nehru was a pygmy.
Records show that the Sardar who was then then Deputy Prime Mnister and Home Minister was insulted, humiliated and disgraced by the then Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, during a Cabinet meeting. “You are a complete communalist and I’ll never be a party to your suggestions and proposals,” Nehru shouted at Patel during a crucial Cabinet meeting to discuss the liberation of Hyderabad by the Army from the tyranny of the Razakkars, the then Nizam’s private army.
“A shocked Sardar Patel collected his papers from the table and slowly walked out of the Cabinet room. That was the last time Patel attended a Cabinet meeting. He also stopped speaking to Nehru since then,” writes MKK Nair, a 1947 batch IAS officer, in his memoirs “With No Ill Feeling to Anybody”. Nair had close ties with both Sardar and VP Menon, his Man Friday.
When Sardar died in Bombay on 15th Dec 1950, Nehru showed his true colours. In his book ‘India from Curzon to Nehru and afterwards’ Durgadas, speaks of how Nehru went on to President Rajendra Prasad advised him against participation in Sardar’s funeral. President Prasad told Nehru to mind his own business and he did not need his advise.
Immediately after he got the news about Sardar Patel’s death, Nehru sent two notes to the Ministry of States. 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.
But Menon convened a meeting of all secretaries and asked them to furnish the names of those who want to attend the last rites of Patel. He did not mention anything about the note sent by Nehru. Menon paid the entire cost of the air tickets for those secretaries who expressed their wish to attend Sardar’s last journey. This further infuriated Nehru.
I can write more, but the moot point is that Nehru was a disaster and he hated the fact that he was a nobody in front of Sardar. You can call it inferiority complex or by any other name.