Highlights – 

After much deliberation, Sardar Patel was ready for the partition of India.

He had said that if India had not accepted the pieces, it would have been worse.

Then India was not going to be in two pieces but in many pieces.

Bharat Ratna awardee Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (31.10.1875 -15.12.1950) was born on this day. He had threaded the country divided into princely states in the thread of unity. His birth anniversary is being celebrated as National Unity Day. PM Modi will be in Kevadiya, Gujarat on this occasion. Sardar Patel was the first Deputy Prime Minister of the country. He was serving as the Home Minister of the country during the Indo-Pak war. Here is an excerpt from one of his speeches on the occasion of his birthday on October 31. In this speech, Patel had told that why did he accept the fragmentation of the country?

We assumed that it is okay, by taking a separate house, if our brother calms down and takes care of his house, then we will take care of our house. But we accepted this with the hope that we would do our work in peace.

– Sardar Patel

‘We accepted the fragmentation of India. Many people say why we did this and it was a mistake. I still don’t believe we made a mistake. At the same time, I believe that if we had not accepted the fragments of India, then the condition as it is today would have been much worse. Then India was not going to be divided into two pieces, but many pieces. I don’t want to get you into this depth, but I want to tell this from my experience. The whole picture in front of me is that how we were able to run the government for one year and what would have happened if we had not accepted this thing? But if I tell you all those things, it will take a long time.

You must be so sure that when my brother Pt. Nehru and I have accepted that it is okay, if partition is necessary and without it the Muslims do not agree, we are ready for it too. Until we removed the foreigners, did not remove the foreign rule, then such a situation used to happen every day. It was clearly visible to us that India will have no future and the situation will go out of control. That’s why we thought that if the work gets done by cutting it into two pieces now, then do the same.

We assumed that it is okay, by taking a separate house, if our brother calms down and takes care of his house, then we will take care of our house. But we accepted this with the hope that we would do our work in peace. There was our mistake in that. I do not say that it was our fault in the piece, the fault was that after the fragmentation, we did the work which was not to be done. After independence, our respect in the world had increased and after August 15, we had become a place in the world. We fell far short of him.


People of other countries started doubting whether we are even capable of ruling or not? There were also many British people who thought that when they leave the shores of India, people will come to the port of Mumbai (then Bombay) and say that you do not leave this country, stay here. They believed that we would not be able to run our rule. Now we have not fallen there till now and we have in a way cured India.

When Bengal was separated, Gandhiji was sitting in Bengal, so he took care of the situation there. Handled far better than expected. It had a great impact on the world. We were also affected. The country was also affected. But what happened in Punjab was very bad. It breaks my heart to describe the atrocities that took place in Punjab and the border province of North West. Punjab is the head of India. We all tried very hard to lift this wounded country. We organized the rest of India, he came to his senses and became alert.

Our work will not be completed until India has a complete change of heart and does not do whatever it wants the country to do. Till then Gandhiji will not rest, he is restless. When I left them in Delhi, I too felt a lot of pain. (In those days Gandhiji was fasting the last of his life in Delhi.) But even if he did not come here, there was trouble. Whatever should be spoken from the heart, it does not even come out quickly, there is so much pain in it.

We have tied India in a way. Now our effort is to lift India. If we get your support in this, then it will feel that not much has been lost. After about a thousand years, this opportunity has come to us that we have united 80 percent of India. If we use the opportunity properly, then we can sit with other big countries of the world and can lead the whole of Asia.

After August 15, we did a lot of work. That work brought us back to our fallen reputation as the world was watching what a burden these people had put on us. The world also knew what it would have done if there had been any other government in place of the present government of India. Many countries are now beginning to think that we are not as bad as they thought us were. The roots of India are becoming very strong and they will not be able to shake them.

In 4 months, two provinces were divided and referendum was taken in many provinces. It was also encouraged to take out a piece from Assam. Bengal and Punjab were divided. In these four months, we also divided the entire old property between Pakistan and India. Now even in a family, even if the share of ownership is to be done between two brothers, then that work is not done in a day and has to be accounted for, the measurement of his property has to be done, sometimes Panchas are also needed. Sometimes there is a fight. It takes time to settle all this, so we had to calculate the ownership of India, the property, the wealth we had, the debt we had, the securities of the people. We decided all these things and shared it amongst ourselves. We did not call any Panch in this work.

Not only did we do all this in the last 4 months, but along with it lakhs of people went from one side to the other in Punjab and were brought to this side from the other side. This work is not yet complete, but it is almost done. The time has come to tell you about the trouble I faced in this work. A long, 60-mile long walking procession went from one side to the other, and the other from that side to this side. 10-10 lakh men together, including lakhs of children and women, went or came from one side to the other. Those who were alive, they went on walking with carts, bullocks, buffalo everything. Along with this there was only a little police or a little army. Torrential rain from above, water below too – was full of water. Even children and women have no clothes, no food arrangements.

People kept walking like this for two or two months. Then cholera spread and hundreds of thousands of people started dying. In this condition, the procession of Muslims had to go there from the middle of the city of Amritsar. Amritsar was full of Hindus and Sikhs. The Sikhs denied that these Muslims could not go from here. That 60-mile long procession was now lying there. Here these people insisted that they would not let go. On the other hand our processions were also stopped. People were full of anger. Their houses have been burnt, wives and children have been murdered, there is nothing left to eat or drink. His eyes are red and he came out with a sword or he would not let it go. Even the army would not have done this work then. After all, how many Hindus did the army kill by firing a gun? How many Sikhs were killed? Then I went to Amritsar. Sikh leaders were called and talked.

I said, ‘What are you doing? You will stop 10 lakh Muslims here. 10 lakh Hindus and Sikhs are staying there. Water is raining on those unfortunate parts, all the water is there below. Clothes are wet, there is no sleep, there is no food and cholera has started. What is the use of stopping the procession like this?’ I requested you to accept my point. If we have to fight then the people of the world should also see that it is the brave people who fight. What is the use of your sword if it strikes the weak? Patiala Maharaj also supported me. Sikh leaders agreed. In Amritsar, 1.5 lakh people gathered on one of my notices. I said, ‘Your job is to help the government, so that we don’t have to use the police and the army. By becoming a volunteer, let the Muslims leave here and help our Hindu and Sikh brothers who are lying there to bring them here. 50 lakh people have to bring us here from there, You have to send 40 lakhs from here to there. There were many RSS people there. I explained it to them too. I am glad that later our Sikh and Hindu brothers did very well.’

(Excerpted from the book ‘भारत की एकता का निर्माण’ (‘Building India’s Unity’))

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