Patel and Article 370


In the context of misinformation being spread in the hope that it will pass for gospel truth, Karan Thapar’s article brings out some illuminating facts behind the promulgation of Article 370 and the referral of the Kashmir issue to the United Nations (“Unwriting history, creating myths,” Nov. 8). Authentic historians would vouch for the fact that the decision on Article 370 was taken with the full concurrence of Sardar Patel. Of particular note is the admission by Syama Prasad Mookerjee, the founder of Jana Sangh, that he was party to the move to refer the issue to the UN. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that “whole of Kashmir” would have been “ours” had Patel instead of Jawaharlal Nehru been at the helm. The fact is that Patel had for long been reconciled to relinquishing claims on Kashmir in exchange of Hyderabad and Junagadh. Yet another popular misconception is that Nehru erred in calling a halt to the military operations in 1948 when he should have gone the whole hog and cleared the entire Kashmir. The truth is that liberating the whole of Kashmir was never going to easy even for a superior army. And, a fledgling nation struggling to get up on its feet after the trauma of Partition did not have the luxury of squandering its meagre resources on such an operation.

R. Ravichandran,


Patel might not have opposed Article 370, but it is facile to propose that he played a key role in its formulation. A reading of excerpts from the two books quoted by the author indicates that Patel knew Nehru’s mind on the issue and saw no reason to oppose it because of his desire to have a good working relationship with the latter. The question we should consider asking is whether Patel would have treated the introduction of Article 370 as a tactical mistake had he lived longer, because leaders review major decisions in the light of new developments. Considering that he was a unifier and integrator, it is safe to presume that he would have realised the paradox of a provision that gave autonomy to the people of a Princely State and prevented their emotional integration with India. It is futile to judge historical figures for moves they made in the national interest. But, it is future rulers who have to deal with the consequences of their actions.

V.N. Mukundarajan,



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Printable version | Jul 31, 2021 9:02:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/patel-and-article-370/article29925241.ece

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