This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Youth Ki Awaaz. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

If Only Patel Were Alive!: Of Skewing History For Convenient Politics

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

By Supriya Sharma:

All this while, I abstained myself from indulging in the “Who will be our next PM” debate, secretly hoping for some miracle to happen, a third alternative (not a third front mind you!) to show up, to rescue us from the torturous prime time Rahul vs Modi debates. Yes, I am a case of hopeless optimism, and I still think a democracy like ours deserves a choice beyond the two mentioned above.


I chose to express myself, as an ardent history lover who took offence on the misuse of history by conveniently skewing facts and generating ridiculous hypothesis for the sake of politics. Unfortunately, Sardar Patel falls in the slot this time. The patriot in me weeps to hear about the sad state of affairs where Patel has been dragged into the arena of dirty politics, by ignorant politicians claiming his legacy, and the blunders that followed in the misinterpretation(or misrepresentation) of the history that we all claim to be so proud of.

I am still okay with that as it doesn’t matter, if you wish to derive your thoughts from the man who for long was an inspiration for many, who was perhaps the only one who could accomplish the task of integrating over 500 provinces successfully, a statesman, a leader, the founding father of the republic of India. But then, how on earth can you thrust your own made up philosophies and claim that’s what Sardar Patel preached. Something, I think is a big insult and a matter of shame for us, for we could not appreciate the leaders for their thoughts and their ideals. May be we failed to understand the depth of thoughts carried by Sardar Patel, a man of high integrity and moral strength.

Leaving the Nehru-Patel controversy behind, as it looks from outside, if we dig deeper and understand the mutual respect and regard they carried for the differences, we shall be amazed. Because the debate never was as to who should have been the first Prime Minister, that was long resolved by Gandhi’s verdict when he chose Nehru over Patel as his successor. And a person who places even a tad bit of belief in Gandhi, his decisions and his core philosophies, should perhaps not question the same, especially not when Sardar Patel himself had no qualms in accepting Nehru as Prime Minister. As mentioned in his biography, Patel while addressing the masses in Indore on Gandhi’s Birth Anniversary had said, “Now that Gandhi is gone, Jawaharlal Nehru is our leader. Bapu (Gandhi) appointed him as his successor and had even proclaimed him as such. It is the duty of all Bapu’s soldiers to carry out his bequest. I am not a disloyal soldier.”

Patel, being a man of his words, kept the promise he had made to Gandhi to work and cooperate with Nehru. The times, when words carried such meaning, are long gone now! With much reluctance, I would tread in the area much tabooed — the debate about secularism. In a nation as diverse as ours, the meaning of secularism also varies in connotation and context. Fellows, of RSS or of non-RSS (I won’t call them secular) school of thought who are bickering about the ‘Iron Man’ legacy are not exactly sure of Patel’s views on religion or RSS. I would take a reference from the letters of Sardar Patel to S.P. Mukherjee and M.S. Golwalkar, which clearly give an idea of what he thought about the RSS and the Hindu Raj!

All their (RSS) leaders’ speeches were full of communal poison. As a final result of the poison, an atmosphere was created in which such a ghastly tragedy (Gandhi’s assassination) became possible

Also, he was much averse to the idea of a politics based on religion. He in his speech has said “Hindu Raj…that mad idea.” (February 1949). He was thus secular to the core, as against the claims made by some politicians who associate him with the RSS league.

If Patel were alive today, he would have been deeply saddened to see what kind of people are fighting to claim his legacy.

Aren’t we all the true inheritors of the legacy of Patel irrespective of what party we belong to, to what school of thought we allege to. Instead of skewing facts to claim some “legacy”, shouldn’t we all try to imbibe some if not all the qualities of this simple man of agrarian roots who went on to becoming the Iron Man of India, and a legend.

Finally, if it is all about choosing the right candidate for Prime Minister, let me just leave you with this thought. I have really lowered down my expectations from the next Prime Minister of our country. But is expecting some basic understanding of history, respect for India’s glorious past and appreciation of our freedom fighter’s ideologies without any manipulation, too much to ask for?

You must be to comment.
  1. nonofficialsspaishanker Pai

    In world History you cannot find one Vallabhai Patel … so great ..

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Similar Posts

By Vaishnavi Gond

By Zainab Khan

By Bindiya Nagpal

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below