Sardar Patel’s views on Secularism
Sardar Patel was fully committed to secularism and was a staunch opponent of communalism. Many a times, he publicly declared his commitment to secularism, though he was often criticized for being anti-Muslim and pro-partition.
- In June 1947, when he was suggested that India should be declared a Hindu state, with its official religions as Hinduism; he rejected the suggestion and said that “we must not forget that there are other minorities whose protection is our primary responsibility“. He also said that State must exist for all irrespective of the cast and creed and the talk of a Hindu Rastra was a mad idea. In 1950, he declared that “Ours is a secular state and we can not fashion our politics in the way Pakistan is doing it. Here every Muslim should feel that he is an Indian citizen and has equal rights as an Indian“. Patel further said that “If we can not make a Muslim feel like this, we shall not be worthy of our heritage and our country“.
- As a home minister of India, he is known to have taken ruthless action against rioters. The 1947 communal massacres were declared by him as the “blackest chapter in the history of India”.
His views on RSS:
- Sardar Patel praised RSS for defending vulnerable Hindus and Sikhs in 1947. But this does not mean that he was a pro-Hindu or anti-Muslim. He banned RSS after Gandhi’s Assassination because he had reports that a communal environment was created due to activities of the later, which led the tragedy of assassination of Gandhi occur. The ban was lifted a year later only after insisting that RSS would become a cultural organization and would adopt a democratic structure and constitution.