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Essay on “If Sardar Patel Had Become India’s First Prime Minister” Complete Essay for Class 9, Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

If Sardar Patel Had Become India’s First Prime Minister

 

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was the leading figure of the Indian Nationalist Movement. He was born in Gujarat, son of an agriculturalist and was educated at Karansad and Nadiad before studying law in England and qualifying as a barrister at Middle Temple in 1912. Patel was made Home Minister in the Interim Government of 1946. After Indian independence in August 1947, he became deputy prime minister in the government of Jawaharlal Nehru and his portfolios included Home Affairs, the Indian States, and Information and Broadcasting. Patel’s major achievement was the integration of 562 Indian (princely) states into the Indian Union.

Now let us talk what would have happened if Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had become Prime Minister in 1947? He would have certainly left the country in great confusion at the time of his death in 1950. India’s relations with China would have deteriorated faster than they did. Nationalisation of key sectors would have happened sooner than in 1969. And a ‘nationalistic’ culture and education would have been the staple of post-Independence generations much earlier.

‘Iron Man’ was never in the race—once he had given his word to Gandhiji on not opposing the anointment of Jawaharlal Nehru. And he was definitely not against the Muslim community in general; even Gandhi admitted, “it would be a travesty of truth to describe Sardar as anti-Muslim”.

His supporters contend that’s exactly what he would have done in Kashmir. After tribesmen intruded into Kashmir in October 1947, he would never have agreed to a ceasefire with Pakistan until the Indian army had driven the last of the attackers out of the state. So there wouldn’t have been an entity like Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). Nor would the dispute have been referred to the United Nations, as it was on January 1, 1948. So there wouldn’t have been a Kashmir problem as there wouldn’t have been a UN resolution that mentioned a plebiscite in the disputed state.

India’s diplomatic alienation would also have been complete due to Patel’s views on China and neighbours like Nepal. On the former, he was convinced that the “Chinese advance into Tibet (in 1949) upsets all our security calculations”. The Sardar would have adopted a confrontationist stance against China. He also believed that India couldn’t afford any instability in Nepal and that “there was no doubt that in Nepal’s difficulties it was India and no other power which could assist it”. Logically, he would have interfered in the internal problems of “friendly” neighbouring states. The economic impact of Patel’s policies would have been disastrous. Had India become a Soviet satellite under the second PM, private capital would have died a natural death and sectors like banks would have been nationalized in the 50s (not 1969). That, as several economists agree, would have spelt a bigger doom. And if India had become an “introvert economy”, growth rates would have been lower than the already abysmal “Hindu rate of growth of 3-4 per cent” of the period. And because Patel was perceived to be pro-capitalist, against controls, central planning, nationalisation, Garidhism and unreasonable labour—which is why most Indian businessmen wanted Patel, not Nehru, to be the PM—his successor would have deliberately initiated policies that were anti-Indian business.

The situation could have become unmanageable since his actions against Pakistan could have created an irreconcilable divide between the Hindus and Muslims as early as the 1950s. For example, Patel opposed India’s move to pay back any cash dues to Pakistan, as had been agreed to in the Partition agreement, until the neighbour withdrew its troops from PoK. The then PM of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan, even accused India of “strangulating” its economy. If Nehru hadn’t insisted on the payment, and decided not to push Pakistan to the wall, Indian Hindus, who were clamouring for revenge against Pakistan and Muslims, could have become more militant and virulent earlier than they did.

Don’t forget that most Hindus who migrated from Pakistan wanted India to teach Pakistan a lesson for the massacres (which actually happened on both sides of the border). At one meeting where the issue was raised, Patel enigmatically said: “I do appreciate your feelings but as all of you know it is not right to pluck an unripe fruit, as it is rather painful.

Now if this counter-factual is taken to be a truism, one can only imagine the consequences. Rightly or wrongly, what India has witnessed during the last two decades would have happened in the first two following Independence. Would India have emerged stronger from this cultural-religious-civic turbulence, or would she have crumbled under the enormous pressure? Would we have rewritten our history and textbooks in a different manner? Would we have emerged as a religious-nationalist society? As India’s first PM, Sardar Patel would have prompted more questions.

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