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Patel: Political Ideas and Policies

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Item Code: HAW309
Author: Shakti Sinha, Himanshu Roy
Publisher: Sage Publications India Pvt. Ltd.
Language: English
Edition: 2019
ISBN: 9789352808533
Pages: 279
Other Details 9.00x6.00 inch
Weight 420 gm
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Shipped to 153 countries
Shipped to 153 countries
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More than 1M+ customers worldwide
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100% Made in India
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Book Description

The ideas of liberal democracy, of nationalism and of State espoused by Patel (1875-1950)¹ are the three major pillars around which are woven his political praxis of 34 years. Since 1916, his approach and methods of governance of political mobilization have been in public domain, demonstrating his ideas and capabilities. His roles in the development of party organization from the grassroots to provincial committees, in the transfer of power, in the integration of princely states with independent India and their territorial reorganization, in administrative reforms, in the formation of Planning Commission and in the making of the foreign policy have been decisive. However, after his death in 1950, his contributions were minimized, and his cultural political presence was marginalized. His critics-communists, socialists, Nehruvians-had already charged him with being communal, bourgeois reactionary, capitalist roader and rightist. There was not much of public discourse on his ideas. His ideas were rarely ever part of a pan-Indian, universal curriculum, which could have been developed, premised on his praxis, speeches and letters, which were in volumes, to create and develop a derivative discourse. Contrary to this, Gandhi's and Nehru's contributions were fostered and expanded and were the ideas of official and, consequently, of academic discourse which were posited in the style of larger than life imagery-liberal, socialist, democratic, humanist and internationalist. The continuation of the Congress regime and the dominance of the Nehrus fostered this development over the decades across the regions and institutions. This self-expansion, nonetheless, also simultaneously limited the development of other alternative ideas that could have contributed to the collage of pluralistic ideas, both local and national.


For students of modern Indian history, Patel is a fascinating character and there is a need to site him in the context of the early 20th century India and how events played out. As a proxy indicator, a study of the photographs of Patel over the decades brings out these changes quite effectively and not superficially, as one would suspect. The journey, from an upcoming pleader in a small town (Godhra) to a westernized barrister in Ahmedabad to a mass leader in the course of a few decades, reveals how India itself moved from a colony with no idea whether it could ever attain self-government to one when its leaders took on the British and finally to one where the country attempted to gain purna swaraj using the rulers' own grammar. At the beginning of this period, the Indian National Congress, founded in 1885, used to meet once a year. It was primarily a collection of lawyers and local notables, almost all English educated. After professing undying loyalty to the Crown and gratefulness to the British for ensuring good governance and order, their demands initially focussed around increasing the representation of Indians in the services. The first professions that the Indians took to very quickly, because they did not require studying in England, were of a pleader or a registered Indian medical practitioner (RIMP)-in simple parlance a non-MBBS doctor. Sardar Patel was a pleader to begin with, as was Motilal Nehru. Both Patel and Motilal Nehru were in fact very successful pleaders, showing themselves to be not disadvantaged over barristers and, in fact, earned much more fees than many barristers did.

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