History of betrayals


Ajit Doval, National Security Advisor, at a function to release a book on Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, in New Delhi on September 4. PHOTO/Kamal Kishore/PTI

The National Security Adviser’s rants against Jammu and Kashmir’s Constitution stem from not only ignorance of history but also the fascist mindset of the RSS and the BJP.

This was not the first time that Ajit Doval, the National Security Adviser, rushed to pronounce judgment rashly. His remarks on September 4 at the right-wing think tank Vivekananda International Foundation, of which he is one of the founders, have evoked varying reactions from disdain to ridicule. He let forth a fusillade of judgments—each manifestly, demonstrably wrong—and he did this with utter disdain for relevance.

The event was organised in Mumbai for the launch of a book on Vallabhbhai Patel. Mark the orator’s gems: 1. Patel could see the plan “of the British to sow the seeds of disintegration in the country”. In fact, the British emphatically ruled out any relations with the princes after Independence. It was a Brit who, assisted by V.P. Menon, was largely responsible for their accession to India. Patel imagined that after Independence the people would rise in revolt. Mountbatten warned him that the rulers had armies and volunteered his help. Patel said: “I am prepared to accept your offer provided you give me a full basket of apples.” Mountbatten offered a basket of 500. (H.V. Hodson; The Great Divide, pages 367-68; “Patel the non-Bismarck”, Frontline, May 1, 2015.) Patel would not have been so friendly with him if he thought that the British were out to sow seeds of disintegration in India; nor did he lay the foundations of a nation state. He was a divisive figure. That credit goes to Jawaharlal Nehru, whom the likes of Doval dislike because he was secular.

2. “In a nation state, there was one state one law.” Britain has two different sets of criminal law in Scotland and England. Quebec has a distinct identity in Canada.

3. “Sovereignty can never be divided.” The United States of America is a nation state. Three respected American scholars recall that the Founding Fathers opted for “divided sovereignty” in the American federation. “Regarding the people as sovereign, the Convention (at Philadelphia) denied sovereignty to both State and Federal government. This denial of sovereignty was implicit in the very act of framing a Government of defined and hence limited powers”—as all federations do (Alfred H. Kelley, Winfred A. Harrison, and Herman Belz; The American Constitution: Its Origins and Development, page 105).

4. “560 States which had different laws were merged and had one Constitution”. The Instrument of Accession of 1947 signed by each ruler explicitly stated in paragraph 7: “Nothing in this instrument shall be deemed to commit me in any way to acceptance of any future Constitution of India or to fetter my discretion to enter into arrangements with the Government of India under any such future Constitution.”

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