Advani's praise for Patel on Hyderabad a tactical move
Venkat Parsa BJP Parliamentary Party Chairman L K Advani's praise for Sardar Patel in his latest blog for the integration of erstwhile Hyderabad...
BJP Parliamentary Party Chairman L K Advani's praise for Sardar Patel in his latest blog for the integration of erstwhile Hyderabad State with the Indian Union seems to be part of the BJP exercise to appropriate Sardar Patel's legacy for the saffron party. It is also part of the familiar line of the BJP that while India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was found to be vacillating, Sardar Patel was decisive. Under Major General J N Chaudhri, the Police Action was launched, which was given the code name of Operation Polo, and it ended the Nizam's regime and merged the erstwhile Hyderabad State in the Indian Union on September 17, 1948. In his previous blog, Advani focused on Jammu & Kashmir, raising the demand for abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution that confers special status on the State and the demise of Jan Sangh founder Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, while in custody. Now, Advani has raised the issue of the circumstances leading to the merger of the erstwhile Hyderabad State under the Nizam with the Indian Union. Recounting the Police Action that started on September 13 and concluded on September 17, 1948, Advani referred to the atrocities perpetrated by the Razakars. In the blog, Advani said, "On our side the total casualties were slight, but on the other side, owing to scrappy operations and lack of discipline, the Irregulars and the Razakars suffered comparatively high casualties. The number of dead was a little over 800. It is unfortunate that so many should have died in this action, though the number is insignificant when weighed against the killings, rape and loot inflicted by the Razakars on Hindus of the State." Advani wrote, "For these two pieces I had relied greatly on V Shankar's two-volume biography of Vallabhbhai Patel, captioned My Reminiscences of Sardar Patel. It was Sardar Patel, who as Free India's Home Minister, decided to create within his Ministry a States Department entrusted with the responsibility of integrating with the country the 564 princely States. Sardar Patel nominated V P Menon as Secretary of the States Department. When the British ruled India, these princely States in area constituted nearly half the country." At a function organized in New Delhi in December 2000 by Capt C P Krishna Nair, Head of the Leela Group, to honour the memory of V P Menon, Advani was presented the books that were written by Menon, apparently at the behest of Sardar Patel, himself. The first is titled "The Transfer of Power in India" and the second "Integration of the Indian States." This second one is really a wonderful, and very authentic, story of the greatest achievement of free India's first Home Minister, he said. V P Menon's book has devoted to Hyderabad three full chapters, running into 87 pages. According to Advani, it was Sardar Patel, who was decisive, in spite of the reluctance of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Four important States showed reluctance to accede to India. These were Hyderabad, Jammu & Kashmir, Bhopal and Travancore. Of these Hyderabad was the only one, in whose case the Government of India was compelled to use force. Opinion among the advisers of the Government of India was not unanimous on the question of what action should be taken in regard to Hyderabad. Meanwhile, Laik Ali was pressing that the Hyderabad issue should be taken to the United Nations. The American Charge d'Affaires in New Delhi apprised of the fact the Nizam had written to the President of the United States requesting that he should arbitrate and that the latter had refused. Focusing on the Razakar Movement, he says the Razakars did not spare even missionaries and nuns. Early in September the States Ministry received complaints that some foreign missionaries had been assaulted and some nuns molested by the Razakars. The military view was that the campaign could not last beyond three weeks. Actually, everything was over within less than a week.