Skip to main content

Sardar Patel, not Nehru, dropped proposal to reconstruct Somnath with govt funds on Gandhiji's suggestion

Somnath before the construction of the new temple began
By Dr Hari Desai*
Sometimes people are made to believe that descriptions in historical novels are real history. Even courtier historians who present history as per the convenience of rulers find their way to textbooks, polluting the minds of younger generations. A perverted version of history is taught to students till historians dare make corrections, or ask rulers to get things corrected.
It is normal for heroes in India to be painted as villains. The neighbouring Pakistan boasts of having a 5000-year old civilization! And, villains in India like Mahmud Ghazni are considered heroes in Pakistan!
Few know that Panini, born nearly ten centuries before the birth of Islam in the seventh century, on the border of present-day Afghanistan, wrote Sanskrit grammar, was a Pathan. Yet, ironically, he may not be considered a Pathan today, since terms such as Pathans and Arabs are commonly used only for Muslims.
One would have heard scholars in TV debates branding Chinggis Khan (also known as Genghis Khan), the 13th century Mongol ruler as “Muslim”. But the fact is, he called Jews and Muslims as “slaves”. Worse, he forbad Islamic tradition of slaughtering animals. The first person to embrace Islam in his family was his grandson, Berke Khan, in Bukhara. Qutlug Nigar Khanum, mother of the founder of Mughal Empire, Babur, was the descendent of the founder of Mongol Empire, Chinggis Khan.
Chingiss Khan
Jawaharlal Nehru, born in Allahabad and educated in England at Harrow and Cambridge, visionary and idealist, scholar and statesman of international stature, was Prime Minister of independent India for 17 years. In his scholarly book, “The Discovery of India”, written in Ahmednagar Fort prison during the five months, April to September 1944, Nehru writes:
“Unlike the Greeks, and unlike the Chinese and the Arabs, Indians in the past were not historians. This was very unfortunate and it has made it difficult for us now to fix dates or make up an accurate chronology. Events run into each other, overlap and produce an enormous confusion. Only very gradually are patient scholars today discovering the clues to the maze of Indian history.”
One would be surprised to read Prof Shanta Pandey, a historian of Delhi University, presenting Sanskrit as the official Durbar language of Mahmud Ghazni, who was responsible for the loot and demolition of the Somnath Temple way back in 1026 AD. Mahmud was son of Sabatgin, who was a Hindu or a Buddhist, who embraced Islam and ruled over Ghazni, having a large population of Hindus, including his own Chief of the Army, Tilak, according to historian Shambhuprasad Harprasad Deshai, IAS (Retd) in “Prabhas ane Somnath” (1965), published by Shree Somnath Trust.
Late Deshai describes how the King of Gujarat, Bhimdev I, ran away leaving his subjects at the mercy of the invader, Mahmud, instead of challenging him. When the King of Gujarat had no guts to face the army of Ghazni at Anahilwad Patan, the capital of Gujarat, at least 20,000 Rajput warriors laid down their life to defend the motherland at Modhera!
Panini
There is a misconception about Nehru refusing to grant government funds for the reconstruction of Somnath Temple in 1947 when his deputy, Vallabhbhai Patel, took vow to get the historical temple of Somnath reconstructed at government cost. Some courtier historians try to malign Nehru, presenting their all time favorite argument of rift between Nehru and Sardar.
Despite such efforts, one comes across KM Munshi writing in his book “Pilgrimage to Freedom" Vol I: “When Junagadh fell, Sardar Patel, as Deputy Prime Minister, pledged the Government of India to the reconstruction of the historical Temple of Somnath. The Cabinet, Jawaharlal presiding, decided to reconstruct the Temple at Government cost. But Gandhiji advised Sardar not to have the Temple reconstructed at Government cost and suggested that sufficient money should be collected from the people for this purpose. Sardar accepted his advice.”
The Nehru Cabinet took the decision after Gandhiji expressed his views twice publicly in the prayer meetings. Patel died on December 15, 1950. Nehru criticized Munshi, his Cabinet member, “for working for the reconstruction of the Temple”, and even advised Dr Rajendra Prasad, President, to abstain from attending the ceremony of installation of the deity.
Dr Prasad went to Somnath on May 11, 1951 and performed ceremony. Of course, the Government of India did not find it worth to even issue a press note! Nehru always tried to project his secular image and to some extent an image of an atheist.
One would be surprised to know that President of the All-India Hindu Mahasabha, Barrister VD Savarkar, was an atheist! In fact, Nehru was not an atheist as Munshi records in one of his letter-commentaries (“Kulapatina Patro”, January 8, 1967).
As one of the founders of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Munshi expressed happiness about a change he gathered in the religious attitude of Nehru after the Somnath episode. Nehru participated in the religious ceremony at Sanchi and approved generous grant for reconstruction of Sarnath. Even in 1954 when, as UP Governor, Munshi accompanied Nehru to Allahabad to take stock of the arrangements of the Kumbha Mela, Nehru got down from the jeep and washed his face with the pious water of Ganga.
Mahmud Ghazni
A newspaper correspondent, who followed them, reported that Nehru performed Sandhya (evening prayer) and washed his Janoi (a sacred thread)! Munshi quotes the “will of Nehru” and his approach of “scientific temperament”, where his love and devotion for people, Ganga and Jamuna rivers can be seen. In the historic document dated June 21, 1954 (a decade prior to his death), Nehru expressed his desire, “I do not want any religious ceremony performed for me after my death”, adding:
“My body to be cremated… my ashes (be) sent to Allahabad… A small handful of these ashes should be thrown into the Ganga… The Ganga, especially, is the river of India, beloved of her people, round which are intertwined her racial memories, her hopes and fears, her songs of triumph, her victories and her defeats. She has been a symbol of India’s age long culture and civilization, ever changing, ever-flowing, and yet ever the same Ganga… The Ganga has been to me a symbol and a memory of the past of India, running into the present and flowing on to the great ocean of the future… a handful of my ashes be thrown into the Ganga at Allahabad to be carried to the great ocean that washes India’s shore.”
---
*Senior Ahmedabad-based journalist and researcher. Blog: http://www.haridesai.com/

Comments

Anonymous said…
Very good insight!
Unknown said…
The reconstruction of temple somnath was challenged in court by some of gujaratis. Because more than 50 percent debris and remains were ok to use. There were many kabar also in the campus because invaders live their for many years. Belief of people that muslim lived their use temple as living , may have used qurbani in the place was their. So somehow people's opinion may be on side of reconstruction.

TRENDING

A tale of horror and fraud: Profits in trillions of dollars for vaccine manufacturers?

By Aruna Rodrigues*  John Leake is a best-selling and “experienced non-fiction, true crime author”. Having just read what must be described as an extraordinary ‘telling’ of the Covid-19 saga, his book “The Courage to Face Covid-19: Preventing Hospitalization and Death While Battling the Bio-Pharmaceutical Complex”, co-authored with Peter A McCullough, MD, MPH, is the narration of true crime on a scale that could top the list in the history of ‘man’s inhumanity to man’. The book chronicles the unique role of national governments across the world and their health agencies, led by the USA and WHO, which followed an agenda that led to completely avoidable fatalities numbering several million. The question is why? The usual culprits are money and power. But to ascribe cause to these two is woefully insufficient. The sheer magnitude of the ‘dark agenda’ – coordinated and played out by governments, health agencies, the medical establishment (hospitals, doctors and chemists) and the massive a

You promised 50 lakh houses, give us one: Ahmedabad migrant women's plea to Modi

Women display letters containing rakhi for PM    By Hirabhai Solanki, Bhartiben Dantani, Ramesh Shrivastav*  Poor labouring families, including seasonal or long-term migrants of nearly 15 squatter settlements -- working as construction and casual workers and petty vendors, providing cheap but critically important labour for Ahmedabad city, living under plastic sheetings -- have reminded the Gujarat and Central Governments about the promise made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi of building 50 lakh dwellings, wherein every pavement dweller and homeless would be given a decent home by the end of 2022. Holding a meeting in Ahmedabad under the aegis of the Majur Adhikaar Manch, they also referred to the appeal of the Prime Minister to poor and labouring women, seeking his support as brother by sending rakhis to protect their humble basti dwellings and provide them with decent housing, which is secure for them and their families. So far, about 300 women have posted rakhis to the Prime Ministe

A countdown to disaster: Breach in fly-ash bunds of Nagpur's thermal power plants

Fly-ash dyke, Koradi thermal power plant  By Dhwani Shah, Deepmala Patel*  Last month the residents of several villages of Nagpur district woke up to the nightmare of being inundated with fly-ash. Located in the north of Nagpur city are Koradi and Khaparkheda thermal power stations which have their ash dykes in the vicinity. On July 10, 2022 at 3 am, the ash dyke of the Khaparkheda thermal power station broke, leading to ash contaminating the Kanhan river. Though the authorities claimed to have acted quickly and the fly ash dumping in the river was stopped, the claim stood to be misleading and false. Even today, the Kanhan river continues to be polluted with fly-ash, and the water supply to the city is affected. Not only did ash dyke of the Khaparkheda power station break, on July 16, 2022, the ash bund of the Koradi thermal power plant also broke. Fly-ash and water stored in the dyke gushed downstream to six villages -- drowning houses, water bodies and farmlands. With such large-

Golwalkar's views on tricolour, martyrs, minorities, caste as per RSS archives

By Shamsul Islam*  First time in the history of independent India, the in-charge minister of the Cultural Ministry in the current Modi government, Prahlad Singh Patel, has glorified MS Golwalkar, second supremo of the RSS and the most prominent ideologue of the RSS till date, on his birth anniversary, February 19. In a tweet he wrote : “Remembering a great thinker, scholar, and remarkable leader #MSGolwalkar on his birth anniversary. His thoughts will remain a source of inspiration & continue to guide generations.”

RSS, Sangh Parivar consider tricolour as "state flag" and not "national flag"

By Teesta Setalvad* Today, when the nation has been independent for 67 years, the Sangh Parivar is set to launch ‘Tiranga yatras’ and Satyagrahas to defend the honour of the flag and the nation. Yet when the Indian people were involved in the decades-long struggle for freedom against British imperialism, the RSS was conspicuous by its absence in the struggle. When thousands of people faced lathis, bullets and jail sentences for hoisting the tiranga and participated all over the country in satyagraha during the Civil Disobedience and Quit India movements against the British Raj, the Sangh publicly took the stand that it would not take part in the movement and seldom missed the opportunity of assuring the British rulers that they would keep to the right side of colonial law and avoid any clash with the authorities. Of course the reason given for this was that the Sangh was secretly strengthening itself and would take on British imperialism only when it was strong enough to do so! A simil

'Grossly inadequate': NREGA allocation 0.29% of GDP, World Bank recommended 1.6%

By Rajiv Shah  A civil society tracker, seeking to periodically analyse the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), has said that NREGA budgetary allocation is only 0.29% of GDP and 1.85% of the total government expenditure of the financial year 2022-23, which is grossly inadequate. Thus, “As per estimates of researchers of the World Bank, for NREGA to run robustly, its allocation must at least be 1.6% of the GDP.” Prepared by the People’s Action for Employment Guarantee (PAEG), a group of activists, academics and members of people’s organizations, who came together to advocate for NREGA in 2004 in order to catalyse discussion and strengthen the top Government of India rural jobs guarantee scheme, the tracker states, the NREGA budget as percentage of the total government expenditure has also decreased -- it stands at 1.85% for FY 2022-23, just about half the level in FY 2020-21 (3.65%). The tracker, titled “Meagre Funds and Unlawfully Low Wages: How

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Since 2015 Govt of India didn't allocate single rupee to Gujarat for RTI training, awareness

By Pankti Jog*  The Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India (GoI) has allocated Rs 8.7 crore to Maharashtra for conducting Right to Information (RTI) training and awareness between 2015 to 2022. Of this, Rs 5.9 crore has gone to the Maharashtra State Training Institute, YASHADA, and Rs 3.01 crore have gone to the State Information Commission, Maharashtra. Gujarat, on the other hand, has not received even a single rupee over the last seven years for RTI programmes. Even Gujarat’s State Information Commission too has not not received any funds since 2005. RTI is one of the effective tools to bring transparency and accountability in the administration, thus improve governance. If citizens are aware, they would participate in a more meaningful manner in governance. They would effectively monitor planning and expenses of public programmes. Indeed, it is necessary that RTI is taken to every citizen, for which the government needs to conduct awareness drives and training

Anti-untouchability brass coin yatra to Delhi getting 'overwhelming' response: Macwan

By Our Representative  Gujarat’s top Dalit rights leader Martin Macwan, who is currently leading a week-long procession to Delhi carrying a 1,111 kg brass coin with the pointed question embossed on it, “Will the 1947 dream of untouchability free India be a reality in 2047?”, has reiterated that the removal of untouchability in India is Dalits’ primary concern, and not opposition to the new Parliament building. The march began in Ahmedabad on August 1 at 8:00 am amidst refusal of the Gujarat police a day earlier refusing to give the permission for the procession, which involves a small truck carrying the huge brass coin, another one with an Ambedkar statue, two trucks full of about 25 lakh one rupee coins donated by Dalits across India, and six buses with 300 Dalit activists. The brass coin has the image of BR Ambedkar on one side, and of Lord Buddha, on the other. Starting at the Dalit Shakti Kendra (DSK), founded by Macwan to provide technical-cum-empowerment training to the underpriv

Quit India stir: What archives say on Hindutva leaders 'colluding' with British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*  On the eve of 80th anniversary of the glorious Quit India Movement 1942 [QIM], we must evaluate the anti-national role of the Hindutva flag-bearers (who shamelessly claim to be the original nationalists) in India's anti-colonial freedom struggle. QIM also known as ‘August Kranti' (August Revolution) was a nation-wide Civil Disobedience Movement for which a call was given on August 7, 1942 by the Bombay session of the All-India Congress Committee. It was to begin on August 9 as per Gandhi's call to ‘Do or Die’ in his Quit India speech delivered in Mumbai at the Gowalia Tank Maidan (renamed as August Kranti Maidan) on August 8. Since then August 9 is celebrated as August Kranti Divas. The British swiftly responded with mass detentions on August 8th itself. The contemporary official documents confirm that over 100,000 arrests were made which included the total top leadership of Congress including Gandhi, mass fines were levied and demonstrators were subjecte