Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel

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Sardar Patel in 1949

Vallabhbhai Patel (31 October 187515 December 1950) was a major political and social leader of India and its struggle for independence, and is credited for achieving the political integration of India. In India and across the world, he is known as Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, where Sardar stands for Chief in many languages of India.


  • Patel's presidential address to the Congress, 1931: No one would die of starvation in independent India. Its grain would not be exported. Cloth would not be imported by it. Its leaders would neither use a foreign language nor rule from a remote place 7,000 feet above sea level. Its military expenditure would not be heavy. Its army would not subjugate its own people or other lands. Its best-paid officials would not earn a great deal more than its lowest-paid servants. And finding justice in it would be neither costly nor difficult.
    • Gandhi, Rajmohan. Patel: A Life, p. 92
  • Patel's speech at Bahaddin College, Junagadh: "If Hyderabad does not see the writing on the wall, it goes the way Junagadh has gone. Pakistan attempted to set off Kashmir against Junagadh. When we raised the question of settlement in a democratic way, they (Pakistan) at once told us that they would consider it if we applied that policy to Kashmir. Our reply was that we would agree to Kashmir if they agreed to Hyderabad.
    • Gandhi, Rajmohan. Patel: A Life, p. 438
  • It should not surprise Muslims if doubts were entertained about their loyalty. They could not ride on two horses.
    • Patel complaining about the Indian Muslims' silence over Kashmir in a speech in Lucknow in 1948, quoted in B.D. Graham: Hindu Nationalism and quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2014). Decolonizing the Hindu mind: Ideological development of Hindu revivalism. New Delhi: Rupa. p.349
  • There [is] only one nationalist Muslim in India: Maulana Nehru.
    • Attributed. Quoted in Reminiscences of the Nehru Age by M.O. Mathai [1]
  • Even in a stern and hostile letter to RSS leader M.S. Golwalkar, Home Minister Vallabhbhai Patel had acknowledged: ‘In the areas where there was the need for help and organisation, the young men of the RSS protected women and children and strove much for their sake.’
    • V. Patel. About the help offered to Hindus by RSS to cover their escape to the border during the Partition of India. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2018). Why I killed the Mahatma: Uncovering Godse's defence. New Delhi : Rupa, 2018.
  • The Turkish empire was divided in spite of Britain’s promise. The Sultan was made a prisoner in Constantinople. Syria was absorbed by France. Smyrna and Thrace were swallowed by Greece, while Mesopotamia and Palestine were taken possession of by the British. In Arabia, too, a ruler was created who would support the British. Even the Viceroy admitted that some of the conditions of peace could not but offend the Muslim community. It has been a heart-breaking episode for the Indian Muslims, and how can Hindus stand unaffected when they see their fellow countrymen thus in distress?
  • Organising the Hindus and helping them is one thing but going in for revenge for its sufferings on innocent and helpless men, women and children is quite another thing…apart from this, their opposition to the Congress, that to of such virulence, disregarding all considerations of personality, decay of decorum, created a kind of unrest among the people. All their speeches were fill of communal poison. It was not necessary to spread poison in order to enthuse the Hindus and organise for their protection. As a final result of the poison, the country had to suffer the sacrifice of the invaluable life of Gandhiji. Even an iota of the sympathy of the Government, or of the people, no more remained for the RSS. In face opposition grew. Opposition turned more severe, when the RSS men expressed joy and distributed sweets after Gandhiji’s death. Under these conditions, it became inevitable for the Government to take action against the RSS…Since then over six months have elapsed. We had hoped that after this lapse of time, with full and proper consideration, the RSS persons would come to the right path. But from the reports that come to me, it is evident that attempts to put fresh life into their same old activities are afoot.
    • Letter to Golwalkar, September 11, 1948. In Justice on Trial, RSS, Bangalore, 1962, pp. 26-28.

Letter to J. Nehru, 1950

  • [I tried to read it] as favourably to our Ambassador and the Chinese Government as possible, but I regret to say that neither of them comes out well as a result of this study... (the Chinese) managed to instill into our Ambassador a false sense of confidence in their so-called desire to settle the Tibetan problem by peaceful means.... The final action of the Chinese, in my judgement, is little short of perfidy...
  • The tragedy of it is that the Tibetans put their faith in us; they chose to be guided by us; and we have been unable to get them out of the meshes of Chinese diplomacy or Chinese malevolence.
  • Our Ambassador has been at great pains to find an explanation or justification for Chinese policy and actions.. There was a lack of firmness and unnecessary apology in one or two representations he made to the Chinese Government on our behalf.
  • It is impossible to imagine any sensible person believing in the so-called threat to China from Anglo-American machinations in Tibet.... Therefore, if the Chinese put faith in this, they must have distrusted us so completely as to have taken us as tools or stooges of Anglo-American diplomacy or strategy. ...
  • This feeling, if genuinely entertained by the Chinese in spite of your direct approaches to them, indicates that, even though we regard ourselves as the friends of China, the Chinese do not regard us as their friends. With the Communist mentality of “whoever is not with them is against them”, this is a significant pointer, of which we have to take due note.
  • Outside the Russian camp, we have practically been alone in championing the cause of Chinese entry into the U.N.O. and in securing American assurances on the question of Formosa... In spite of this, China is not convinced of our disinterestedness; it continues to regard us with suspicion...
  • [ despite that we have an ambassador] who is eminently suitable for putting across the friendly point of view... .. (now comes) the wild insinuation that our attitude is determined by foreign influences... It looks as though it is not a friend speaking in that language but a potential enemy.
  • The Chinese interpretation of suzerainty is different... We can, therefore, safely assume that very soon they will disown all the stipulations which Tibet has entered into with us in the past. That throws into the melting pot all frontier and commercial settlements with Tibet on which we have been functioning and acting during the last half century.
  • (as) continuous defensive lines do not exist (there is) almost an unlimited scope for infiltration.
  • Recent and bitter history also tells us that Communism is no shield against imperialism and that Communists are as good or as bad Imperialists as any other. Chinese ambitions in this respect not only cover the Himalayan slopes on our side but also include important parts of Assam.¹⁸ They have their ambitions in Burma also...
  • Chinese irredentism and Communist imperialism are different from the expansionism or imperialism of the Western powers. The former has a cloak of ideology which makes it ten times more dangerous. In the guise of ideological expansion lie concealed racial, national and historical claims. The danger from the north and north-east becomes both communist and imperialist.
  • ‘a Communist China which has definite ambitions and aims and which does not, in any way, seem friendly disposed towards us’.
  • ‘I am sure the Chinese and their source of inspiration, Soviet Russia, would not miss any opportunity of exploiting these weak spots, partly in support of their ideology and partly in support of their ambitions.’
  • ‘In these circumstances, to make people alive to the new danger or to make them defensively strong is a very difficult task indeed, and that difficulty can be got over only by enlightened firmness, strength and a clear line of policy... In my judgement, therefore, the situation is one in which we cannot afford either to be complacent or to be vacillating. We must have a clear idea of what we wish to achieve and also of the methods by which we should achieve it. Any faltering or lack of decisiveness in formulating our objectives or pursuing our policy to attain those objectives is bound to weaken us and increase the threats which are so evident.’
    • Letter by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel to J. Nehru, Nov 1950. quoted in Arun Shourie - Self-Deception _ India's China Policies_ Origins, Premises, Lessons-Harper Collins (2013) ch 3.

About Patel

  • Out of all of them, Patel is the only strong man.
    • Sri Aurobindo, December 22, 1946, quoted from Sri Aurobindo, ., Nahar, S., Aurobindo, ., & Institut de recherches évolutives (Paris). India's rebirth: A selection from Sri Aurobindo's writing, talks and speeches. Paris: Institut de Recherches Evolutives. 3rd Edition (2000). [2]
  • Their strategy was simple. Moral domination. Nehru was a thinker. But Rajiv, Sonia, and Rahul are no intellectuals. They took a different route. They redefined morality. Secularism included. Anti-Congress was new immoral. Pro-Hindu became anti-Muslim. India was morally polarized. Morality is subjective. No one can say with guarantee what is pure morality. Masses were forced to choose between moral standards (Secularism, unity in diversity, inclusive etc.) and quality of life (development). People who wanted quality of life were made to feel guilty. Hindus who wanted to celebrate their religious freedom were made to feel guilty. Muslims who wanted to be part of mainstream India were made to feel guilty. They filled India’s psyche with fear, hate and guilt. They hated all indigenous, grassroots thinkers. They hated Sardar Patel, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Morarji Desai, Charan Singh, Chandrashekhar, P.V. Narsimha Rao, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and now Modi. They are the land grabbers of Sainik Farms and Adarsh Societies of India. They run NGOs. They run media. They coin useless and irrelevant jargon to confuse the masses. They have designations but no real jobs. They are irrelevant NRIs who want us to see a reality which doesn’t exist. They want a plebiscite in Kashmir. They defend stone-pelters. They want Maoists to participate in mainstream politics. They want Tejpal to be freed. Yaqub to be pardoned. But they want Modi to be hanged. They are the hijackers of national morality. Secularism included. They are the robbers of Indian treasury. They are the brokers of power. They are the pimps of secularism. They are the Intellectual Mafia.
    • Vivek Agnihotri, Urban Naxals: The Making of Buddha in a Traffic Jam (2018, Garuda Prakashan)
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