Gandhiji, Nehru and Patel
by V.P. Bhatia
"Jawahar is the only Englishman in my camp", said Gandhiji justifying Pt Nehru's choice as Prime Minister
IN HIS book Kashmir-1947, Rival Versions of History (Oxford Paperback, 1998) eminent journalist, Prem Shankar Jha has included an interview with Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, who was a Brigadier and Director, Military Operations, in October 1947 and was present on the scene when the Indian Cabinet's Defence Committee finally decided to rush troops to save Srinagar.
He has given a very comic picture of Pt Nehru who was still procrastinating after the decision and delaying in giving the final orders to Manekshaw for troops' despatch. For, while everybody was in a hurry to start the operation airlift of troops, Nehru, according to Manekshaw, talked about "the United Nations, Russia, Africa, Godalmighty, everybody until Sardar Patel lost his temper.
He said, 'Jawaharlal, do you want Kashmir, or do you want to give it away'.
He (Nehru) said: 'Of course, I want Kashmir'.
Then he (Patel) said, 'Please give your orders'.
And before he (Nehru) could say anything Sardar Patel turned to me (Manekshaw) and said, 'You have got your orders'.
That also brings about the difference in direct working style of Patel and Nehru's dilly-dallying.