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HindustanTimes Thu,02 Oct 2014

Experts reject Advani's claim of Nehru-Patel 'spat'

Hindustan Times  New Delhi, November 06, 2013
First Published: 20:22 IST(6/11/2013) | Last Updated: 08:00 IST(7/11/2013)

Scholars familiar with the history of India's "police action" to integrate Hyderabad state with the union in 1948 have rejected BJP leader LK Advani's blog claiming that Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had a spat with his deputy Vallabhai Patel on this issue.

 
In his blog on November 5, Advani had quoted extensively from a book authored by MKK Nair, an old Indian Civil Service (ICS) officer who had served in Delhi at that time. Nair claims that at a cabinet meeting Nehru had opposed the police action and called Patel a "communalist" for pressing for military action.
 
But two scholars, who have sourced historical documents on the transfer of power, reject that claim outright. Veteran journalist and chronicler AG Noorani, whose book on the Hyderabad action will be released on November 29, says Nair's claim is not true.

"Both of them (Nehru and Patel) were agreed that police action was the only solution left. But Nehru had some reservations because he did not want the culture of Hyderabad to be destroyed. Patel was indifferent to this worry and they finally agreed to go ahead," Noorani told Hindustan Times over phone from Mumbai.
 
Srinath Raghavan, who has extensively researched the Hyderabad action, also accessed cabinet papers, records of discussions and personal letters that refer to the military action. 'On August 27 Nehru wrote a letter clearly pointing out that if (military) action is not taken then there will be lawlessness in Hyderabad. It is absurd to suggest that Nehru attacked Patel because he was part of the cabinet decision in July 1948 that cleared the deployment of the Indian army," he says.

Read More: Nehru had called Patel a 'total communalist', says Advani
 
In fact, Raghavan also points to the recorded minutes of the Defence Committee of the Cabinet, the highest decision-making body on military matters, that clearly points to an impending cabinet decision.

Interestingly, the portions of Nair's account quoted by Advani in his blog don't refer to any particular date.

This raises further questions about the authenticity of the account because all the available official documentation accessed by Raghavan in India and the United Kingdom clearly show Nehru on board the decision to take on the Nizam of Hyderabad through military action.


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