On the day the country celebrated Jawaharlal Nehru’s birthday as ‘Children’s Day’, Governor H.R. Bhardwaj termed the ongoing debate over India’s first Prime Minister and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel an “unnecessary controversy”. Mr. Bhardwaj is known to be vocal about his admiration for Nehru.
Speaking at the Children’s Day celebrations organised at Bal Bhavan by the Department of Women and Child Development, Department of Public Instruction, State Bal Bhavan Society and Karnataka State Council for Child Welfare, he said,
“These days there are unnecessary controversies about Nehru, Patel and (Bharatiya Jana Sangh founder) Shyama Prasad Mukherjee. We must remember that they are all our heroes. They are the makers of India. We should always remember them without controversy,” he said.
Calling Nehru a “powerful orator and a great humanist” and Patel “the iron man”, the Governor said, “Mahatma Gandhi had given them certain roles which they were performing according to their leader’s mandate. Patel was assigned the job of uniting India and the allotment of work was done by Gandhi. I checked up with Gopalkrishna Gandhi (Gandhi’s grandson). I have read Nehru’s message on Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s death. He had said that there was no life left in his body, that he felt lifeless.”
He also said that Nehru and Patel “differed respectfully with each other.”
He pointed out that not all the leaders who were part of the team governing independent India were Congressmen. They included personalities such as Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the principal architect of the Constitution. Mr. Bhardwaj said and added that that they all worked for the country.
He refused to make a direct comment when asked whether the controversies were being raked up for political gains.
“There is no politics. The people of the country are wise. This is a democracy. Every opinion will have to be respected. But at least do it with discipline and respect. Don’t let down our heroes,” he said.