A file photo of Sardar Patel with Jawaharlal Nehru
A file photo of Sardar Patel with Jawaharlal Nehru | Getty Images
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Mountbatten took Patel’s offer to Lahore the day Indian troops landed in Srinagar. Liaquat Ali, ‘who understood neither history nor geography’ said no, Soz tells Shekhar Gupta.

New Delhi: Saifuddin Soz, former Congress minister and a prominent Kashmiri politician, has made a startling claim that Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was happy to let Kashmir go to Pakistan in exchange for Hyderabad and it was Nehru’s insistence that kept it with India.

Lord Mountbatten, the last viceroy of India, took Patel’s offer to Pakistan on the exact day the Indian Army landed in Srinagar to push back intruders from Pakistan in October 1947, Soz told ThePrint Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta on NDTV’s Walk The Talk show.

“From the very first day Sardar Patel was adamant that Kashmir should go to Pakistan. In the partition council, he tried his level best to convince Liaquat Ali to take Kashmir and leave Hyderabad-Deccan,” Soz said.

“There was a fight, Sardar Mohammed Ali and our Reddy were there. Sardar Patel told Liaquat Ali, don’t even talk about Hyderabad-Deccan. It isn’t even connected with Pakistan. You leave Hyderabad to us, and take Kashmir.

“I will tell you a very fascinating story,” Soz said. “When our army landed in Srinagar, the same afternoon Mountbatten went to Lahore. There was a dinner with Governor of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan, and four Pakistan ministers. Mountbatten said, I have brought a message from the strongman of India, Sardar Patel. Take Kashmir and forget Hyderabad-Deccan, it’s not even connected with you.”

“But as Sardar Shaukat Hayat Khan writes in his book,” Soz said, “Liaquat Ali neither understood history, nor geography.” So, he did not accept the offer.

Patel could not prevail, Soz said, because Nehru was very strong. His connection with Kashmir was very strong. He believed Kashmir should come to secular India, it will be safe here. He was very close to the National Conference. He had even come to address the Sopore session of the National Conference in 1945. He knew Kashmir’s history completely, he said.

Sheikh Abdullah had rejected the two-nation theory. He told his constituent assembly that Kashmir was independent from 15 August to 22 October, 1947. But once Pakistani raiders came it was clear that independence wasn’t possible.

He said the five countries around us, India, Pakistan, Russia, China and Afghanistan will never accept Kashmir’s independence. So that isn’t possible. Sheikh Abdullah writes this in his book, Soz said.

Sheikh Abdullah had no intention of going away from India, Soz added. He wanted to remain here “as long as India was secular, pluralistic and sympathetic to Kashmir. That’s how the Delhi agreement came.”

Unfortunately, Nehru was later voted out within his own cabinet, he said. He was forced to dismiss Sheikh Abdullah’s government and put him under detention. “He repented this and became a very lonely man. Sheikh Abdullah writes in his book that Dr Karan Singh, then Sadr-e-Riyasat, was one of the conspirators (against him) in 1953. The Constituent Assembly of Kashmir should have been allowed to continue. You ask Ram Jethmalani. Even he believes that. “

Soz said the Kashmir situation was ruined “mainly because small minds (like) Rafi Ahmed Kidwai, Ajit Prasad Jain around Nehru poisoned the environment. Then, political work was given over to even smaller minds in intelligence agencies. That continues even now.”

Soz said even now the only possible solution in the near-term is to talk to Hurriyat leaders. Young Kashmiris are angry, he said, you can’t talk to them. Force will not work, he said, “in a mood when two sons of a family have already died and the third has gone to join militancy”.

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50 Comments Share Your Views

50 COMMENTS

  1. Fabulous article. After decades of mythology, the truth is finally coming out. Mr. Soz is 100% correct. Sardar Patel’s own lieutenant VP Menon’s book Integration of Indian States tells this story that Sardar Patel was eager to give Kashmir to Pakistan. Rajmohan Gandhi’s book Patel – A Life describes in Patel’s own words. Kashmir is in India because of Nehru and Nehru alone.

    • who is Manmohan Gandhi? MK Gandhi ‘s son. so he will follow his father why supported Nehru. it’s a0ll adjustment politics by Gandhi MK also. then no truth. don’t keep barking same thing. truth never hurts it’s the false info which hurts.

  2. Mr Soz is talking Non-sense. He is doing all this to sell his book. He should read ‘Freedom at Midnight’ which clearly states that Sardar Patel was continuously putting pressure on Raja of Kashmir to cede to India even before Pakistani Army raided Kashmir on 22 Oct 47. (Indian Army went to Srinagar on 27 Oct 47) Infact Raja’s emissaries were visiting Delhi and lobbying with Sardar Patel and others as to what all benefits they will get as package for ceding to India, when it became clear to them that Independence was not given as choice by Britishers.(Due to fear of Communist Expansion taking over small states immediately after Second World War). Shame on Soz for lying.

    • What Mr. Soz said was 100% truth! Maharaja Hari Singh was supposed to sign Instrument of Accession before August 15, 1947 like all other monarchs.

  3. To say Nehru saved kashmir is like saying British in India to improve Indian economy.
    SAIFUDIN has compulsion to speak in favor of Congress a and Nehru family cause together they have looted India with both hands

    • To say Sardar Patel unified India is like saying Aurangazeb was a Hindu! You don’t seem to understand that Patel was Congress. BJP even claims Congress elected Patel as PM and that Congress disliked Nehru.

  4. Say anything against india and get media attention. This culture is providing stupids like Soj chance to utter any nonsense.Pak was offered Kashmir which they attacked and they denied it.This site is as idiot as this guy to print such an article.

    • Soz is pro-India. BJP is anti-India. BJP repeatedly claims of Kashmir being disputed territory under UN and Plebiscite.

  5. I really fail to understand what these kinds of historical loitering will achieve. The reality is human beings are dying on a daily basis, families are being decimated, the populace becoming angrier and angrier by the day. Forget who said what and who did what when. Fix the goddamn problem for good.

  6. Before I comment on the story, let me be clear that I believe the partition of India was illegal. When the UN 1944 declaration talked of self-determination, it was for colonized countries, not for a free country (as India was about to become). The partition decision was made unilaterally by Nehru to accommodate Jinnah. There was no reference to the people of India. At the very least there should have been an all-India referendum with the outcome predicated on the MAJORITY vote. The illegality of it all is the reason I have consistently said for 48 years “Pakistan” is a region of India in illegal rebellion against the state and that it must be brought back. Likewise, the “will” of the Kashmiris is irrelevant.

    That said, actually, that story is true. Patel had no plans for Kashmir to join India for the simple reason it was a Muslim majority area. Just as Patel said Junagarh should go to India because it was Hindu majority. That Patel offered to “trade” Kashmir for Hyderabad, and that Jinnah refused is well known to historians. Jinnah’s thinking was the Kashmir would come to Pakistan anyway, so why compromise, and of course it was an ultra-stupid decision.

    Its also true Patel got Kashmir for India because that’s what Nehru wanted and Patel deferred to Nehru.

    Nehru was also open to a partition of Kashmir, but the best Pakistan could come up was India should have only two districts. Which was totally unreasonable.

    GOI is still willing to accept Kashmir partition along the Line of Control.

    I have no idea who Mr. Soz is and I have no interest in finding out, either. But to say he was 10 at the time so what would he know is illogical. He would know from recorded history. My only objection is to his use of the word “adamant”. Patel, who fully realized that India could not take a civil war right from its birth, offered Kashmir to Jinnah as a reasonable compromise. The reasons for Patel’s officer were very complex, and without folks realizing what was happening in 1947 makes no sense.

    I’ve discussed this question in some detail in my PhD thesis for Kings College London. Alas, I don’t have money to pay the tuition. At some point I’ll get around to seeing the thesis published, and it has enough facts and references to choke an elephant.

    • Nehru was last to accept Partition. It was first accepted by Rajaji and Bhulabhai Desai in 1945 who tried to mediate with Jinnah while Nehru and others were in prison. The person who put pressure was Home Minister Sardar Patel who was tired of Jinnah’s divisive politics. The Partition was called June 3rd Agreement and was voted first by CWC, then by Congress generalbody which was addressed by Mahatma himself. Even JB Kriplani whose home was Sindh voted for Partition. The Partition was then approved by Constituent Assembly and then sent London for ascent of Parliament and then signature of the monarch. So, Mr. Rikhye, it was NOT anybody’s unilateral decision.

  7. First of all As a editor it’s your moral duty to behave like a nationalist, how dare you to torment the history, & talk about sardar Patel integrity, shame on you to publish such dirty stories, No debating on Kashmir please, Indian Army is taking care of it, don’t touch such topics for cheap publicity.

      • if it’s really a truth it hurts. who was harping for getting pm post? it was Nehru. why he wanted pm post? as a reward for his false sacrifice. why Nehru did not offer it to Patel? why MK Gandhi supported Nehru. in the name of freedom fighters they were bunch of jokers. why Nehru snubbed Subhash Bose rajendra prasad n many others. this is truth. soz is a Kashmiri n got all benefits under 370 from Nehru n how he can say Nehru was wrong? or bcos BJP is using Patel as their person now soz is not able to tolerate. totally false. this is not bcos I Pak hurt due to any truth. whole world knows it’s rubbish story..

  8. Communal and religious based Strom create karna has been the part and parcel of THE SO CALLED NATIONAL CONGRESS.
    Had we listened to Sardar those days and given the charge of Kashmir to Sindh community there wouldn’t be any POK(Pakistan occupied Kashmir).
    Every intruder would be lynched on his very 1st step on the Indian Soil.
    There are many mistakes made in the past in the construction of India and many conspiracies by the CONGRESS to fill up their pockets and fulfill their greed…..
    I really regret that to dis date
    We celebrate GANDHI AND NEHRU JAYANTI.

    • Didn’t you read the article? Sardar Patel wanted to hand over Kashmir to Pakistan. Do you really think Nehru should have listened to Patel and left Patel in charge of Kashmir? When you write of “CONGRESS filling up their pockets” are you talking of Patel? Do you know that Patel was CONGRESS?

  9. Anyone who thinks that giving Kashmir Valley to Pakistan or giving it independence will solve India’s geopolitical challenges, and the region’s terrorism problems, is living in a fool’s paradise. Any such move will open the floodgates for hardcore Islamic ideology, and bolster the notion of the Muslim Caliphate; ISIS and Taliban will be swarming in the whole region. It will be ‘aaj Kashmir, kal pura hindustan’. The liberals will still be criticising the government’s actions as shrinking borders continue to boil.

  10. Indians agreed to let 220 Million in Pakistan + 200 Million in Bangladesh leave Indian Union in 1947 but are fighting over 7 million in Kashmir valley for last 70 years…………How stupid !!!!

  11. This imaginary story he should tell to child below 4 years because now a days children above five years also very smart.Every body in India know about sardar balab bhai patel and immature J Nehru. If patel was ade pm neither pak or china could have dare to see the boundaries of india.

  12. In today’s charged atmosphere, even an honest retelling of historical facts is not acceptable, stirs up a storm. The only constructive input for the reality as it now exists is to ask ourselves, what has a better claim over the hears and minds of Kashmiris, a secular country or a Hindu Rashtra ?

    • What has secular got to do with Kashmir? This is not a religious issue, but a geopolitical one. And who will corroborate the historical facts revealed by Mr Soz after 70 years of conflict?

      • “Who will corroborate the historical facts revealed by Mr Soz”? Sardar Patel’s trusted lieutenant VP Menon. You can read in Patel’s own words and letters cited by Rajmohan Gandhi.

  13. Then itself in 1947 Keeping Jammu and Ladkah with Hindustan.Kashmir should have been given to Pakistan. a sit it was a Muslim Majority Area. Partition itself is linked with Religion. Abdullahs and Muftis have been exploiting Kashmir Problem to enrich themselves with Power and Wealth.. Had they been in Pakistan by this time those Families would have been in Grocery or Footwear Business.It is Hindu Muslim Enmity deeprootedin Indian History from teh days of Mohammad Ghazni’s Invasion.

    • Partition logic was
      Where muslims are majority it goes to pak
      Where hindus are majority it goes to india
      If hyd goes to india bcas people are hindu kashmir goes to?

      • Who told u jk had majority Muslims? R u dreaming? Jk was ruled by a Hindu king and majority were Hindus until 1990s. Read the book written by Patels assistant. If not for Nehru who was adamant in teaching a lesson to king Harisingh, who had arrested Nehru pre independence for supporting Abdullah, JK issue wld have never arised.
        Nehru gave article 370 for jk n when no one in Cong agreed to it he pleaded Patel to convience others. The very words of Patel to his assistant who said ‘else Nehru will cry’ is also given. It was a personal matter of Nehru which created POK n a never ending curse on India.

        • If Nehru was a mountain, Sardar Patel was a blade of grass. Patel never said such a thing. Read the article again. Kashmir is in India because of Nehru and Nehru alone.

  14. So sad that Mr Shekhar Gupta accepts the statements of someone who was hardly 10 years old when the events happened. I do not know where he got the nonsense from. If i remember right, Nehru wanted Hyderabad also referred to UN and it was Patel who created a scare that white nuns in Hyderabad was being raped and the British High Commissioner was angry. as soon as Nehru heard that, scared, Nehru agreed for the deployment of army to Hyderabad.
    As fr Kashmir the story of exchange is a cock and Bull story. It was Patel who got the accession done while Nehru was dilly dallying.
    I see that Mr. Gupta just quotes Mr. Soz and dds NOTHING because he knows the story to be what it is. A lie. Read Lumby, E.W.R. (1954), The Transfer of Power in India, 1945–1947, London: George Allen and Unwin – pp. 247–248
    Read also Potter, Pitman B. (1950), “The Principal Legal and Political Problems Involved in the Kashmir Case” p 361
    Read also he American Journal of International Law, American Society of International Law, 44 (2): 361–363, doi:10.2307/2193764, JSTOR 2193764
    it was Nehru who insisted on the Plebicite that NO ONE demanded. Because he could not agree for outright ceding of Kashmir h brought in the ploy of Plebicite that he knew will go only one way – independence and thus permenant rule of Sheikh Abdulla and his progeney just as he was planning a dynasty in India.

    • It is amazing such a story coming out after so many years of partition. I agree with the comments made by Shri Sankara Menon, except for the last para-about the intent of agreeing to a plebiscite in Kashmir-by the Great Nehruji.

      • To be fair, Mr Shekhar Gupta did not accept anybody’s opinion, just provided with the space to express it. And, yes apart from Mr Menon’s last paragraph, it is enlightening.

      • Shankara Menon is wrong first para to last. It was Sardar Patel who negotiated Stand-still Agreement with Nizam which delayed annexation of Hyderababd. It was Patel who tabled it in Constituent Assembly on Nov 29, 1947. And there was a good reason. Kashmir war was still in progress and Army wanted to delay second front as long as possible.

    • Wow i really appreciate your indepth views. People trying to malign the Iron man ( needless to say whuch polutical affiliation) are getting it back royally and factually. Kudos mr menon

    • Mr. Menon is 100% correct. There was no need for a plebiscite. Nehru made a huge mistake – why is another long story.

    • You nailed it.Further to this Mr.Patel was responsible to integrate more than 5000 Princely states.A man who could do that and popularly known as Iron man of India could not cede defeat.
      Hope we could see some responsible journalism.

    • Mr. Soz is 100% correct and this Shankara Menon is ignorant. If Plebiscite was held in 1948, India would win hands down. It was Pakistan who opposed the idea of Plebiscite because they knew they will lose. Princely States were integrated by Jawaharlal Nehru’s government. Sardar Patel worked UNDER Nehru.

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