Author: Rafiq Zakaria
Publisher: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8172760825
A well-researched and well-written book deals with the charge against Sardar Patel as being anti-Muslim and authentically demolishes the myth built up by vested interests.
Before the partition, as author explains, Patel was, in fact, one of the first lieutenants of Gandhiji to propagate and carry forward the mission of Hindu-Muslim unity. Patel gave unreserved support to the Khilafat movement, brought Hindus and Muslims together during the Bardoli and Salt Satyagraha, and gave a blank check to minorities as President at the Karachi session of the Congress in 1931.
The change in his attitude came about when Jinnah took over the League leadership in 1937; his diatribes against Hindus and the Congress upset him considerably. The two-nation theory shook his faith in communal harmony.
Blunt and ruthless, Patel appeared to be anti-Muslim, though he repeatedly denied this. Many in the congress including Nehru, Azad, and JP, felt that he was drifting towards it. Even Gandhiji was unhappy at his intolerance. Patel had become, no doubt, pro-Hindu, having been moved by the plight of Hindu refugees; but was he, therefore, unfair and unjust to the Muslims, who opted or continued to remain in India?
Dr. Zakaria surveys the political scene of those turbulent years with depth and insight. He analyses with carte and objectivity, Patel's utterances, policies and actions as India's deputy prime minister. The author scrutinizes every word and deed of the Sardar and draws conclusions which set at rest this controversy.
Hence in India all talk of a Hindu Raj is a mad idea. Sardar Patel assured our people that India would never subscribe to it. In his memorable words, 'It would kill the soul of India'. This book deserves the widest circulation among all those in the country and abroad interested in a strong united and prosperous India. - - Nani A Palkhivala