Communists accused Patel of killing Mahatma Gandhi, called him communal and reactionary, and vilified him even after his death. Patel’s insights on Communists explain their filth and abuse towards him
It is well-known, but must be retold, that in the past the Communist ideologues and leaders have vilified and abused almost all the national leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Netaji Bose, Jayaprakash Narayan, Veer Savarkar and others.
Mahatma Gandhi with Sardar Patel
P Sundarayya, a Marxist ideologue and a key member of Communist Party of India (CPI) accused Sardar Patel for conspiring to kill the Mahatma Gandhi. Addressing a meeting in Vijayawada, Sundarayya had accused Sardar of planning, in collusion with the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha, to kill the Mahatma “with a view to perpetuating fascist rule in India”. This news was reported in Madras Mail, dated January 31, 1948.
A deeply hurt Sardar who was called ‘the accurate bowman of Gandhian struggle’ by Vinoba, enclosed the press cutting of the said statement and wrote to Jawaharlal Nehru reminding him that he had already forwarded his resignation. In March 1948, Sardar under the pain of this severe character assassination suffered his first major heart attack which nearly swept him off while the complete integration of princely states in India still remained to be achieved.
Sardar was called Communal and Reactionary
In an issue of the New Age, a mouthpiece of one of the Communists, nearly two decades after Patel’s death, an article, called him the “apostle of right reactionary and communal forces” and accused him of forcing people to “deviate from progressive policies”. That particular article in the New Age went on to argue that “one tragedy of post-independence era is that the first year of freedom found Sardar Patel’s dark shadow cast over the affairs of our newborn state”.
Nehru and Patel had a lot of disagreements over the Communists and their faith in the Indian nationhood
EMS Namboodiripad and many others called Patel a bourgeois leader on multiple occasions. Not to forget, they also called Mahatma Gandhi- ‘The Bourgeois Mascot!’ One should wonder that how someone, such as, Patel who earned the title of ‘Sardar’ from the women of Bardoli in Gujarat out of their love and reverence for him, seemed a “bourgeois” to the Communists.
“Recent and bitter history also tells us that Communism is no shield against imperialism and that the communists are as good or as bad imperialists as any other."- Sardar PatelA book titled “Inside Story of Sardar Patel: The Diary of Maniben Patel” (Vision books) gives vivid details of Sardar’s thoughts and his clarity on various national issues including Communism. It’s a dairy written meticulously by his daughter Maniben.
Why Communists Hate Patel?
There is a direct reference in the book which explains what Patel thought of the Communists. The book cites Patel telling M O Mathai, Nehru’s Special Assistant, ‘‘if we have to build up the nation, Communists would have no place there.’’ (September 13, 1948)
Patel never pulled his punches when arguing about Communists even with Nehru, who had somewhat a soft corner for these mischief mongers. In a letter dated November 7, 1950, Patel wrote to Nehru, “Recent and bitter history also tells us that Communism is no shield against imperialism and that the 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 the important part of Assam. They have their ambitions in Burma also. Burma has the added difficulty that it has no McMahon Line round which to build up even the semblance of an agreement. Chinese irredentism and communist imperialism are different from the expansionism or imperialism of the western powers.”
Alas! Nehru never cared to listen to Patel and went ahead with his romantics of Panchsheel to regret later. In the very same letter, Patel also informed Nehru about the measures he was building to safeguard India from the Communist threats. He remarked, “Side by side with these external dangers, we shall now have to face serious internal problems as well. I have already asked Iengar to send to the External Affairs Ministry a copy of the Intelligence Bureau's appreciation of these matters. Hitherto, the Communist Party of India has found some difficulty in contacting communists abroad, or in getting supplies of arms, literature, etc., from them”
Patel continued, “Instead of having to deal with isolated communist pockets in Telengana and Warrangal we may have to deal with communist threats to our security along our northern and north-eastern frontiers, where, for supplies of arms and ammunition, they can safely depend on communist arsenals in China.”
Such realist observations of Patel made him an arch enemy of the Communists. These straight facts explain why even after two decades of Patel’s death, Communist mouth pieces were abusing him and calling him names, such as communal and reactionary. We must remember that Sardar Patel wished for a Communist and Communist-free India!