Tuesday, December 24, 2013


The 20th century since it's beginning ,had upset many a political chess board by changing the pawns ruthlessly.It has witnessed two of the bloodiest wars and ushered the atomic age.Yet it will go down in world history as the century of the common man ,his struggle for freedom recorded in golden letters.
In India during this time a non-violent battle was waged against the British Imperialism.Many patriots laid down their lives at the altar of their motherland.The leader of them all who served ,suffered and sacrificed in this struggle for freedom was Sardar Vallabhai Patel.There was a raging spirit of patriotism in him even from his childhood.Work had always been worship to Sardar. This was the greatest secret of his success in every phase of life..................

The finest hour in the life of Sardar was the incorporation of the princely states in the Indian Union.He had fought for the peasants of Bardoli, organized the congress party as an effective fighting machine, managed elections, controlled the ministers, reshaped the trade unions, abolished untouchability, and established a strong stable government at the centre. All these were outstanding achievements indeed, they were the brick and mortar which made Patel's career solid and sound as a rock.He contributed to the building of the grand edifice of an Independent India.Merging the Indian states into the Union was certainly the crowning glory of his life.

Patel was an unromantic, unemotional, and some would say ,a prosaic man.But the integration of states which he achieved almost without a shot being fired, there is something of the romantic and poetic, which has no parallel in history.The only exceptions to this were the states of Hyderabad and Junagad, where some show of force became necessary but even here it was kept to a minimum.

There were more than 550 states ,governed by Nawabs, Rajas, and Maharajas.The princes had neither foreign relations nor armies of their own except in the bigger states such as Hyderabad,Mysore,Kashmir and a few more.The weapons for these states were supplied by the British, mostly outdated and discarded by the British army.For keeping internal peace the prince had his own police force, but in any grave emergency he relied on the Government of India.Practically all avenues of adventure and initiatives were closed to the princes.The average prince became expert in entertaining his British guests.Majority of the prices were autocratic, reactionary and backward.

As the congress movement intensified in British India, the states people too began to agitate for democratic rights.This was the general picture of princely India when Patel formed his Ministry of States.He faced , not only reaction and backwardness among the princes, but also a new situation was created by the Atlee declaration of June 3rd which confirmed that, with the creation of the two independent states, India and Pakistan ,paramountcy would lapse.This meant that all the princely states ,big and small would be free to join either India or Pakistan, or to proclaim themselves independent.

The prospect in divided India was particularly frightening as she had the largest number of states ,ranging from Hyderabad as large as France to the smallest no bigger than Monacco.All had entered into engagements and agreements with the paramount power and all were jealous of their rights, privileges, protocol and gun salutes.To persuade such a motley crowd to terms with the new India was a Herculan task...

Patel decided to go into action with his trusted lieutenants, V.P.Menon and C.C.Desai.Before they could do anything, they had to face a formidable obstruction.The head of the political department, Sir.Conrad Corfield and Nawab of Bhopal ,who was the Chancellor of the Chamber of Princess jointly appeared to frustrate the evolution of a homogenous Indian Union.By the advice of Sir.Conrad Corfield, the Nawab of Bhopal entered into the idea of setting up a negotiating committee to settle the terms on which they would join the Constituent Assembly before the lapse of paramountcy to strengthen their bargaining power.But to the surprise and disappointment of the Nawab of Bhopal, many princes decided to boycott the conference.Lord Mountbatten's friendly advice to the princes was that they should lose no time in reaching agreements with the two self emerging dominions.

Following this Mountbatten announced that the date of the transfer of power could be about August 13.,1947.Three weeks before Patel formally declared the formation of his Ministry of States, Mountbatten called a meeting of the party leaders of congress, the muslim league and sikhs, which was also attended by Sir.Conrad Corfield.The crux of the matter was whether the states could become independent if they wished so, on the lapse of paramountcy.In Corfield's view they could and Jinnah agreed with him.But Patel called this interpretation ' a charter for chaos'.Patel's plan was that the agreements the states would be reaching with the Indian Union should be concluded before August 15th as he did not want the situation to become more complicated by some states declaring their independence before hand.

To allay any possible fears and suspicion in the minds of the rulers Patel issued a statement underlining the paramount necessity of maintaining the unity of the country by their joining the Union for defence,foreign affairs and communications.He appealed to their sense of patriotism and warned them of dangers that " We are at a momentous juncture in the history if India.By common endeavour we can raise the country to new greatness, while lack of unity will expose us to fresh calamities.As we are all knit together by bonds of blood and of culture, no one can segregate us into segments.I therefore invite my friends, the rulers of states and their people, to the councils of the constituent assembly in this spirit of friendliness and co-operation in a joint endeavour, inspired by common allegiance to our motherland for the common good of us all."This was the statesman like approach of him to a difficult problem.

The documents of Instrument of Accession which were to be signed by the Princes were prepared by Patel and V.P.Menon.Although some important rulers like Maharajas of Bikaner,Patiala,Gwalior,Baroda and Cochin had shown their willingness to accede to the Indian Union and to sign these documents,there were others such as the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Maharaja of Kashmir who had given no indication of their intention.

on August 15th ,all the states except Hyderabad and Kashmir had acceded to the Indian Union and even these two had signed the Stand Still Agreement.As Nehru showed a sort of sentimental interest in Kashmir, Patel allowed him to handle Kashmir in his own way.One state in Kathiawad which had neither acceded nor signed a Standstill agreement was Junagad.It was generally accepted that a state should join either Pakistan or India according to it's geographical situation and composition of it's people.India was scrupulously following this principle.When the Khan of Kalat and Nawab of Bahawalpur expressed their desire to Patel to join India , he advised them not to, as both the states were not only predominantly a Muslim state,but also a geographical part of Pakistan.Patel was honestly anxious to avoid any conflict with Pakistan and therefore discouraged these two Muslim rulers from joining India.If Jinnah had been equally honest, he also would have advised the Nawab of Junagad not to accede to Pakistan.On the contrary, he welcomed the idea....

While the Nawab of Junagad was busy with pomp’s and ceremonies, affairs of state were managed by his Prime Minister, Sir Nawaz Bhutto, a native of Karachi. On August 15th Nawaz Bhutto declared that the Nawab had joined Junagad state to Pakistan.
The population of Junagad was overwhelmingly non-Muslim and it also contained some of the most important Hindu and Jain shrines. Judged by any standards it was a preposterous and an indefensible action. The people were shocked to learn their fate and many thought this deliberate mischief on the part of Jinnah should not be tolerated. The news came as a bolt from the blue. Samaldas Gandhi, nephew of Mahatma informed Patel that he and his friends had decided to form a Kathiawa People’s Front and to march on to Junagad. Under the leadership of Samaldas, the Kathiawadis began to enroll and businessmen stopped supplies going to Junagad, so that prices of essential commodities began to soar. Muslims in the state took advantage of the situation and began to terrorize the Hindus. Law and order was seriously undermined. Encouraged by the Kathiawad People’s Front., the subjects of the Nawab demonstrated against him. Nawab fled to Karachi with family and all available cash. Bhutto got confused and sought the help of Jinnah, but in vain. Bhutto therefore fled to Pakistan after requesting the Union Government to take over the state’s administration.

With this Jinnah’s dream of creating pockets of Pakistan in India was shattered in his first attempt. When the situation was about to get out of control, Patel wanted to place troops at one or two points on the border of Junagad to maintain peace and order.
Hyderabad would have been another headache but for Patel’s firm handling, solved the problem of that state….

Patel’s firm determination solved the problem of Hyderabad, whose ruler was a Muslim, the Nizam generally known as the richest man in the world. Hyderabad with a population of 16 millions, was in the heart of India and 80% of it’s population was Hindus. Unfortunately the ruling Nizam, Mir Usman Ali Khan Bahadur being an orthodox Muslim, a miser whose only passion was to amass wealth and he was aggressively hostile to the Indian Union. His main source of revenue was his Hindu subjects. To harass and extort money from the Hindus, rich and poor was also an accepted thing in Hyderabad.

The state gradually attracted the most reactionary and fanatical Muslim elements from all over India. They joined hands with local fanatics and emerged as the Ittehad-Ul-Muslimin movement, whose leader was Kasim Razvi. Its aim was to make Hyderabad a theocratic, totalitarian and independent state. Rabble rouser and ruthless, Razvi organized his Razakars as a fighting force,held military parades and demonstrations and openly challenged the Union Government. Supported by Nizam’s money and by Muslims of the State, Razvi soon became the unquestionable dictator of Hyderabad and made the Nizam his puppet.

The Razakars looted and murdered Hindus, raped and abducted their women and started forcible conversion to Islam. People were terrorized all over the state and many fled to adjoining territories. The Union Government could not sit still and watch the growing anarchy. It pressed the Nizam to stop the lawless activities of the Razakars and negotiate for an agreement. Patel went to the length of agreeing to have a talk with Razvi at Delhi. But the situation went from bad to worse as negotiations went on week after week.

People, press and parliament began to ask how long the Government was going to put up with the intransigence of the Nizam and the lawless activities of the Razakars. Meanwhile the situation reached a climax. The people all over India got provoked by the atrocious conduct of the Razakars. Patel thought that time had come to strike, but Nehru hesitated. But the firm determined Patel decided to handle the affairs on his own.The ‘Operation Polo’of the Indian army marched into Hyderabad in the early hours of September 13th.Patel’s estimate of military action against Hyderabad was less than ten days ,but it was all over in a week. Major General J.N.Chowdhry and Lt.Gen.Maharaj Shri Rajendra Singhji, in charge of the operation, carried it out successfully and by September 18th, Chaudary took charge of the state as Military Governor.

Even before Hyderabad was disposed of all other princely states had acceded to the Indian Union on defense, foreign affairs and communications. The great and significant thing about the states integration was that Patel achieved this difficult task of consolidation with the complete good will of the rulers. Thus the mosaic of the Princely states merged into homogenous landscape of the Indian Union. From Arabian sea in the West to Bay of Bengal in the East and from Himalayas in the North to Kanya Kumari in the South, there came into being one United India .A new chapter in the history of the country opened with the addition of 500,000 sq.miles of territory and 86 million people. It was for this tremendous operation he has been called by the name ‘Bismark of India ‘and ‘Iron Man of India’. He created men out of straw and not only emancipated a country in fetters, but rebuilt it on firm foundations. He has carved his indelible imprint in the country’s annals as the consolidator of the nation’s hard won freedom. It was a tragic hour for the whole nation, when on the morning of 15th December 1950, the life of the Iron Man of India was slowly ebbing away. His last journey was a mammoth procession. The story of a great life had come to a close. Only his body could be consumed by fire, his fame would remain immortal.

Like many nations of the world, the time has come for our Mother land to pay a befitting tribute to the great men of its soil and immortalize their history. That’s the vision behind building the largest statue of the world to commemorate Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. It is only in a structure of such enormity that we will be able get close to commemorating the Unity he achieved by winning over a disintegrated and scattered group of 565 princely states.
In the words of Chief Minister Shri Narendra Modi, who announced this ambitious project on the eve of his decade-old tenure in the state government, the Statue of Unity would be one of a series of monuments to “perpetuate the contribution of great personalities”, others being the Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar, Shyamji Krishna Verma memorial in Kutch and the Buddha relics as well as the international conference on Buddhism.
Furthermore, Shri Modi has said that the memorial will be a new chapter in the development of the tribal belt in the state as it will open employment opportunities for the local tribal youth and boost tourism in the state. The largest statue of the world would remind every onlooker not only of the freedom struggle but also of the story of a United India. It will be a constant inspiration towards fulfilling the dreams of suraaj (good governance).
Statue of Unity an Icon of India
AN ICONIC 182METERS STATUE that’s a tribute to the Iron Man of India, is to be built at the Sadhu-Bet Island, approximately 3.5kms south of Sardar Sarovar Dam at Kevadia in the Narmada district of Gujarat. This inspiring memorial site, with a number of edu-tainment components, is between the Satpuda and Vindhyachal Ranges rising weir Narmada River, impounded by Garudeshwar, the Sardar Sarovar Dam and the town of Kevadia. The majesty of this grand monument will be enhanced by a picturesque backdrop. Its unique location will prove to be beneficial for eco-tourism and regional development.
The total project cost is estimated to be Rs. 2063 crore, and will be completed in four years.
Comparison with other statues across the world
The Statue of Unity is likely to be double the height of the Statue of liberty in New York .Five times the height of the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio De Janeiro. One and a half times the Sarovar dam itself.