"Patel was the shrewd organizational hand beneath Nehru's idealistic velvet glove." Critically discuss. Do you agree with the view that the synergy of two leaders was much more powerful in comparison to differences in their thoughts?

Published: September 22, 2017

Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel were two towering figures of India’s anti-colonial freedom movement. Both of them contributed great to the nation by working together in spite of some ideological differences. Nehru was a visionary and idealist, while Patel was a pragmatist and realist. A newly born India needed both kinds of men, in fact, needed this particular idealist working with this particular realist.
For example, Nehru was a staunch critic of the ICS and bureaucracy as a whole not only because of their colonial ancestry but also because of their basic conservatism. Patel, on the other hand, felt that retention of the existing administrative machinery was necessary in the then troubled times when it seemed that internal stability was in danger. Finally Nehru accepted Patel’s view.
Yes, I agree synergy of two leaders was much more powerful in comparison to differences in their thoughts. Patel and Nehru had temperamental as well as ideological differences. Yet, the two continued to stick and pull together and there was no final parting of ways. This was because what united them was more significant and of abiding value than what divided them. Also, they complemented each other in many ways: one was a great organizer and able administrator, the other commanded immense mass support and had a wide social and developmental perspective besides, there was considerable mutual affection and respect for each other and each recognized the indispensability of the other.  Both arrived at an agreement through the process of frank discussion on almost every major government policy decision. Patel would argue his case, sometimes strongly, would win it sometimes, but when he could not, he would invariably yield to Nehru. Throughout, Patel remained Nehru’s loyal colleague, assuring him of complete support for his policies.
They forgot their differences and adopted a policy of mutual understanding and cooperation towards each other. Nehru could have not been able to redefine India’s future without the support of Sardar Patel. Therefore, they were ardent champions of democracy and accepted it as the best form of the government. In one sentence their relation can be termed as Patel was the shrewd organizational hand beneath Nehru’s idealistic velvet glove.”

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