Patel’s Idolization And Need For Libraries
14 July, 2014
In the recent Union budget presented by Central government lead by Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) a budget provision of Rupees 200 Crores has been made for setting up a statute of Sardar Patel who was Deputy Prime Minister during Jawahar Lal Nehru’s Prime Ministership. Although he was a Congress man but was an orthodox Hindu and now is a sinecure of BJP as symbol of Hindutva. BJP used the slogan of raising his highest statue in Gujrat and attracted the voters. It had also collected iron in small pieces from every supporter of BJP all over the country as a contribution to the statue of Patel. It paid them good dividend and they have come to power. Now it is proposed to raise the said statue with public money to the tune of 200 Crores. Hence the question arises what happend to the iron collected during the election for this purpose. Similarly where has gone the Ram Shilas (Ram Bricks) and millions of funds collected for building Ram Temple at Ayodhya?
Since BJP used the name of Sardar Patel and the slogan of raising his statue during the election then why public money should be used for their election icon? If BJP wants to put up a statue of Patel then it should be out of the Party fund and not with public money which is meant for public use. It is also a fact that although Patel was opposed to the activities of Rashtriy Sewak Sangh (RSS) but he was an orthodox Hindu at heart. As Deputy Prime Minister he had proposed to renovate Som Nath Temple with public money but was deterred by Nehru. Nehru also prevented Dr. Rajinder Parsad, the then President of India, from participating in the inauguration ceremony of the said temple after renovation.
Sardar Patel as Deputy Prime Minister was anti Dalit and anti Dr. B.R.Ambedkar. He had openly declared that in the new Constitution there will be no reservation of any kind for any community. This way he totally ignored the provisions of Poona Pact which had guaranteed political, Educational and Public Services reservation to Dalits. This highly perturbed Dalit members of the Constituent Assembly Members. They went to Dr. Ambedkar and told him about Patel’s attitude regarding reservation. Since Dr. Ambedkar was Chaiman of the Constitution Framing Committe he advised them to approach Gandhiji. They met Gandhiji and told him about the attitude of Mr. Patel and provisions of Poona Pact about reservation. On this Gandhiji talked to Patel and ordered him to respect Poona Pact. As such Dalits could get provisions of reservation included in the Constitution. But Muslims, Christians and Sikhs who enjoyed reservation before 1947 were deprived of it. After a long struggle Sikhs could get it in 1956 and Muslims are still fighting for it.
As regards relations between Dr. Ambedkar and Patel they were very strained. Actually Patel did not like the framing of the Constitution by Dr. Ambedkar. Their relations were so strained that once Dr. Ambedkar threw away the file concerning framing of the Constitution and remarked,” take it away to Mr. Patel and tell him to get the Constitution drafted from anyone he likes. I will not do this work.” Out of jealously Patel also did not include Dr. Ambedkar in most important committee “The Fundamental Rights Committee” which was to make recommendations for the Constitution.
Dr. Ambedkar himself was opposed to the raising of statues of public figures at public cost. It is strongly reflected from this episode. In 1916 when Dr. Ambedkar was studying in Columbia University of America news item appeared in the “Bombay Chronocle.” It stated that Congress had decided to set up memorials in honour of Dada Bhai Nauroji and Gopal Krishan Gokhle, both ex- presidents of Congress. It was proposed to raise a statue of Dada Bhai Nauroji in the premises of Bombay Municipility office. In respect of Gopal Krishan Gokhle it was proposed to establish a branch of “Servants of India Society” in every district of the State. In response to this news Dr. Ambedkar wrote a letter to the editor of “Bombay Chronicle” stating, “The memorial of setting up a branch of “Servants of India Society” in each district is understandable but cannot we have a better memorial for Dada Bhai Nauroji? Cannot we set up a good library in his name?” He further remarked, “As a nation we have not understood the importance of role of libraries in the development of a society.” Alas! Mayawati should also have learnt something from Dr. Ambedkar and had avoided wasting of thousand crores on idols and parks. Had she set up libraries and schools in place of statues and parks these would have benefitted all for centuries?
Now if BJP is bent upon spending public money on memorial of Sardar Patel let it be not in the form of a statue with which India is already over flooded, it will be much beneficial to set up Public Libraries in his name all over India. The statue may be raised if at all out of the iron collected by them during the election and out of party fund. It is also high time that we should frame a national policy to lay down guidelines for setting up memorials and parks to commemorate public figures. It will also put a check on the whims and fancies of the political parties and misuse of public money.