GUWAHATI, Feb 22 � The statements of Bharatiya Janata Party�s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and his associates on the issues connected with Sardar Vallavbhai Patel and Jawaharlal Nehru are not at all correct. They are misleading. People, particularly the youths of the country, should not rely on these statements.
This observation was made by noted historian and writer Ramchandra Guha. He was delivering the Gauhati University Teachers� Association�s annual lecture on �The Past, Present and Future of Indian Democracy�, at the Phanidhar Dutta Seminar Hall of Gauhati University here today.
Contrary to the claims made by Modi and his associates, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel never wanted to be the Prime Minister of the country. Though there were differences between the two, they were mutually acquiescent for the greater interest of the country.
While Nehru recognised Patel as a good administrator, Patel knew Nehru had the personality to keep the Indians united and to create gender equality.
Modi has perhaps not read the biography of Sardar Patel written by Rajmohan Gandhi, quipped Guha, adding, had Nehru and Patel not worked together we might not have had India as a single entity, it would have split into 20 to 30 pieces.
The greatness of Nehru and Patel lies in the fact that both of them resisted majoritisation of religion and language. For such leaders, we have been able to remain a democratic country and united for the past 69 years despite plenty of problems � like insurgency, food crisis, internal emergency, etc, � posing serious threats to its existence, said Guha.
In the initial days of this nation, the western scholars used to predict its balkanisation or its power being usurped by the Army. The British colonialists left India divided and its problem of princely states � around 500 � unresolved. No new nation faced the problems India had to face.
But it survived all the challenges. There are five factors which have been binding India together. They are democracy, free press, independent judiciary, election and Gandhi and Nehru's roles.
But today, it is facing big challenges emanating from its pluralism, insurgency in the border States, gender and caste inequality and abuse of natural environment, he said.
He also maintained that the state, the private sector and the civil society together hold the key to keep India peaceful.