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HindustanTimes Fri,25 Jul 2014

Sardar Patel
PTI
September 09, 2002
First Published: 21:59 IST(8/9/2002)
Last Updated: 16:49 IST(9/9/2002)

Though Sardar Patel was also minister-in-charge of states and deputy prime minister, the Kashmir problem was assigned to the ministry of external affairs which Nehru himself looked after.

Left in Patel's hands, the Kashmir imbroglio would have been solved just the way he solved the Hyderabad problem. But with Nehru as prime minister, there was little Patel could do.

Nehru had a great friendship going with Sheikh, who was the dominant leader in the Valley after Hari Singh had been stripped of his monarchy.

On the choice of people, Nehru and Patel differed vastly. Patel distrusted and disliked Abdullah whereas Nehru was close to the Sheikh. Hari Singh confided and looked for advice to Patel and nursed an animosity for Nehru.

Mehr Chand Mahajan, the prime minister of Jammu and Kashmir, had Patel's favour but not Nehru's.

In his larger role as deputy prime minister, Patel had engineered the peaceful merger of the 500-odd princely states into India except for Jammu and Kashmir where Nehru was adamant in following the dictates of his heart.

He was a person who had little time for ideologies; he just wanted to get on with the job at hand in the most practical manner possible.

When Pakistani tribals invaded Jammu and Kashmir, Sardar Patel was clear in his mind: Pakistan had committed aggression and the state had to be fully vacated of the invaders. The question, he believed, was not going to be settled in the UN.

But he could not have his way with Nehru, Mountbatten and Sheikh Abdullah holding sway over Kashmir.
Though Sardar Patel was also minister-in-charge of states and deputy prime minister, the Kashmir problem was assigned to the ministry of external affairs which Nehru himself looked after.

Left in Patel's hands, the Kashmir imbroglio would have been solved just the way he solved the Hyderabad problem. But with Nehru as prime minister, there was little Patel could do.

Nehru had a great friendship going with Sheikh, who was the dominant leader in the Valley after Hari Singh had been stripped of his monarchy.

On the choice of people, Nehru and Patel differed vastly. Patel distrusted and disliked Abdullah whereas Nehru was close to the Sheikh. Hari Singh confided and looked for advice to Patel and nursed an animosity for Nehru.

Mehr Chand Mahajan, the prime minister of Jammu and Kashmir, had Patel's favour but not Nehru's.

In his larger role as deputy prime minister, Patel had engineered the peaceful merger of the 500-odd princely states into India except for Jammu and Kashmir where Nehru was adamant in following the dictates of his heart.

He was a person who had little time for ideologies; he just wanted to get on with the job at hand in the most practical manner possible.

When Pakistani tribals invaded Jammu and Kashmir, Sardar Patel was clear in his mind: Pakistan had committed aggression and the state had to be fully vacated of the invaders. The question, he believed, was not going to be settled in the UN.

But he could not have his way with Nehru, Mountbatten and Sheikh Abdullah holding sway over Kashmir.   


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