Anti-Sardar Patel book sold from RSS HQ in Gujarat

Ashish Vashi, TNN Aug 27, 2009,

AHMEDABAD: Narendra Modi displayed great alacrity in banning Jaswant Singh’s Jinnah book in Gujarat. But another such tome, authored by RSS ideologue H V Seshadri, which also slams Sardar Patel for precipitating Partition, has been in circulation for the last 27 years. And here’s the icing on the cake: the book’s sold from the RSS headquarters complex in Gujarat!

There’s little chance that Modi would not have known of the book since Modi was a regular at the place. Modi spent over 13 years as a `pracharak’ ^ from 1967 to 1980 ^ in the same building, though the book was published after that, in 1982. But as a voracious reader, old-timers recall, Modi devoured most Sangh publications.

The book, `The Tragic Story of Partition’ has unflattering references to Nehru and Patel. Seshadri clubs both and holds them responsible for partition, which is what Jaswant Singh has done in his book, `Jinnah: India, Independence, Partition’.

It’s still selling at the Sahitya Sadhana Trust, which is part of the RSS HQ complex. A TOI reporter picked up a copy on Tuesday for Rs 100.

It’s now learnt that Modi has told his officials to closely scrutinise Seshadri’s book to thwart legal challenges. Unconfirmed reports have said Jaswant himself is planning to go to court to oppose the ban.

If he does, Seshadri’s book, which has been quoted by BJP leader Arun Shourie to ridicule the ban, will be the main argument of the petitioner. Seshadri’s book has sold thousands of copies in Gujarat in the last 27 years; it’s a must-have for any RSS worker.

“This book talks about the importance of `Akhand Bharat’. It’s an immensely important thesis for Sangh’s ideology,” says Prof Hemant Shah, who teaches political science at Gujarat University.

Excerpts: “When the new Viceroy Lord Mountbatten announced on 3rd June 1947 the plan of transfer of power, it came as a stunning blow to the people. For that plan, approved by Nehru and Patel, had envisaged cutting up Bharat and creation of Pakistan! … The great and trusted leaders of Congress had turned their back on the sacred oaths they had taken, and the pledges they had administered to the people. What took place on the August 15-15, 1947, was this gross betrayal of the nation’s faith, the betrayal of the dreams of countless fighters and martyrs who had plunged into the fire of freedom struggle with the vision of Akhand Bharat in their hearts.

On another page, Seshadri writes: “The Working Committee met in a tense atmosphere. Everybody felt depressed at the prospect of Partition. The Viceroy’s proposals were accepted without much discussion. As a matter of fact, Jawaharlal and Vallabhai were already committed to the acceptance of the proposals. There was no critical examination…”

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