Anonymous wrote on Oct 19 2010 5:01PM
Vallabhai Patel was born in a wealthy Gujarat-based family and initially did not take part in the freedom struggle, scoffed at Mohandas Gandhi, and referred to him as a Social Worker. But when Mohandas gave a speech in Ahmedabad during 1915, Vallabhai changed his mind, decides to immerse himself in the freedom struggle, and created awareness in the entire state of Gujarat so much so that he was considered eligible for the position of the first Prime Minister of an independent India. But when the Congress Working Committee supported Jawarhal Nehru, Vallabhai bowed out amidst intense debate on the creation of Pakistan by Mohammad Ali Jinnah of the Muslim League. While Mohandas was not inclined to endorse any move to partition India, Mountbatten, the British Viceroy, along with Jawarharlal, Vallabhai, and others were in favor of partitioning India and allowing Jinnah to create two Pakistan, one each on the borders of Rajastan and Bengal respectively, in order to prevent any bloodshed. This done, the leaders worked on the first ever Constitution, while Vallabhai gave particular attention to the princely states of Junagadh, Hyderabad, and Bhopal, whose rulers were refusing to let go of their respective empires. India did achieve independence on August 15, 1947, and shortly thereafter riots broke out in Rawalpindi, thousands of Hindus were killed. This news spread like fire, resulting in more deaths in Lahore, as well as a backlash against Muslims in Amritsar, while 12 Lakh Hindus and Sikhs fled from Karachi, Sind, Lahore, and Rawalpindi, 10 Lakh Muslims fled to a their new homeland. Vallabhai instructed the administration to make all efforts to look after the Hindus in refugee camps, as well as assured Muslims, who chose to stay in India, that they will be provided with necessary Police protection while Delhi was placed under a 24 hour curfew. Hardly had things started to settle then Jinnah made an additional demand for Hyderabad and Kashmir; while the Indian army surrounded Hyderabad, ready to take over the princely state by force; Gandhi accused the Congress party leadership for being corrupt, selfish, and of chasing power and money, before he himself was shot dead by an Hindu extremist, leaving this young nation to face yet another challenge - as sharp differences arose between Vallabh and Nehru whether or not the U.N.O. should monitor a plebiscite vote in Kashmir - differences which may well force Vallabh to resign from his position as Home Minister.