Instead of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, how would the Iron Man of India, Vallabh Bhai Patel, have handled the Kashmir problem if he had the first prime minister of India? Historians, experts, and commentators of Indian politics point that Patel was not eager to have Kashmir with India. Today we have a small discussion on this panorama.
What experts say about the issue?
Lord Mountbatten, the last viceroy of East India Company, played an important role in drafting the Indian Independence Bill. Lord Mountbatten told Maharaja Hari Singh just two months before independence on a visit to Kashmir between June 18 and June 23, 1947, that the government of India would not be regarded as unfriendly if Kashmir joined Pakistan. He added that the assurance that comes, Sardar Patel, himself. Sardar Patel was content to leave the decision to the ruler of Jammu and Kashmir. The government of India would not stand in the way if the Maharaja Hari Singh felt that the interest of his state in accession to Pakistan, according to V Shankar who was then political secretary to Sardar Patel. Patel was ready to offer Kashmir to Pakistan for returning Hyderabad and Junagadh to India.
What was Nehru view on Kashmir?
It is not possible to deny the fact that the first prime minister of India was known for his love with the beauty of Kashmir valley. Through Radcliff Boundary Commission, it was Nehru’s machinations and untiring efforts that established land connectivity between India and Kashmir. Nehru wanted Kashmir to be with India through popular consent and consider it to be an essential part of India that cannot be separated whereas Patel believed that Muslim majority region would cause more problems to India.
What was the view of Vallabh Bhai Patel about Kashmir issues?
The thoughts of Patel on the Kashmir problem were multi-layered and complex according to historians who have analysed his letters and communications. Until September 13, 1947, the lukewarmness of Patel about the Kashmir problem had lasted, according to Rajmohan Gandhi, who was the author of a definitive biography of Vallabhbhai Patel. The view of the first defence minister of India changed on the Kashmir issue when he heard that Pakistan had accepted the accession plea of Junagadh. He was interested now in Muslim majority state of Jammu and Kashmir with Hindu ruler when Pakistan was ready to take hold of a Hindu majority state of Junagadh with Muslim ruler. Patel might have let the Kashmir go to Kashmir go to Pakistan if Jinnah allowed Hyderabad and Junagadh to go to India. But Jinnah( the president of Pakistan) rejected the deal.
Mahatma Gandhi’s view on Kashmir issue
While talking to a leading newspaper on November 14, 1947, Patel said: “If Hyderabad does not see the writing on the wall, it goes the way Junagadh has gone. Also, 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. We replied that we would agree to Kashmir if they agreed to Hyderabad.” On this issue, the father of the Nation had a different view than Vallabh Bhai Patel. Speaking to one of the leading newspapers about the Kashmir during the partition, Mahatma Gandhi said, “Kashmir was Nehru’s baby, and Vallabhbhai made no move to pick it up.”