12:19 am - Tuesday March 26, 2019

मणि बहन : सरदार पटेल की बेटी का दुखद अंत ; Tragic End of Sardar Patel’s Daughter

mani ben

from an e mail by sh,Ramarao

Certain Extracts from the book
“I Too Had a Dream” –VERGHESE KURIEN as told to GOURI SALVE
(1st Published in2005) from Pages 37 to 39 of its Eigth Impression 2013.
* =x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x= We did, but each had such a tremendous respect for the integrity and the strength of the other two that all disagreements were resolved privately and maturely without allowing our shared vision to ever swerve from the larger cause.maniben-patel-daughter-of-vallabhbhai-patel-right-wing-leader-of-india-s-congress-party-at-home
Another person who came into my life in Anand, and touched me and my family, was Maniben Patel, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s daughter. Maniben visited Anand and the cooperative regularly. She was never formally part of the Kaira Cooperative; she had never held an office. She kept in touch only because she was Sardar Patel’s daughter and she knew how concerned her father had been about the welfare and progress of the dairy farmers of Kaira. She was always welcome at Anand, not just as Sardar Patel’s daughter but because of her own qualities as a human being. Although she was a rather formidable woman and had a crusty exterior I discovered that she had a very soft heart and we became .extremely good friends.
Maniben was a woman of tremendous honesty and loyalty. She had dedicated her entire life to her father. She told me that when Sardar Patel passed away, she picked up a book and a bag that belonged to him and went to meet Jawaharlal Nehru in Delhi. She handed them to Nehru, telling him that her father had instructed “her that when he died she should give these items to Nehru and no one else. The bag contained Rs 35 lakh that belonged to the Congress Party and the book was the party’s book of accounts. Nehru took them and thanked her. Maniben waited expectantly, hoping he would say something more, but he did not, so she got up and left.
I asked her what she had expected Nahru to say to her. ‘I thought he might ask me how I would manage now, or at least ask if there was anything he could do to help me. But he never asked,’ she explained. She was extremely disheartened and in a way the incident revealed the extent of strain in the Nehru-Sardar Patel relationship. It was quite distressing to see that neither Nehru nor any of the other national leaders of the Congress Party ever bothered to find out what happened to Maniben after her father died.
She did not have any money of her own. After Sardar Patel died the Birlas asked her to stay at the Biria House for a while, but the arrangement did not suit her so she left to stay in her cousin’s house in Ahmedabad. She had no car, so she travelled in buses or by third class in trains. Later, Tribhuvandas helped her to get elected as a Member of Parliament and so she got a first-class pass but, like a true Gandhian, she continued to travel only third class. She wore only khadi saris made out of thread she had spun herself and wherever she went she carried her spinning wheel.
Rather predictably, after Sardar Patel died Maniben transferred her father’s fixation to Morarji Desai who, unfortunately, did not have any time for her. She would accompany me whenever I went to meet him and he would make her wait in another room while he called me into his bedroom. I used to find his behaviour quite upsetting and once I raised it with him. I told him that his indifference to Maniben bothered me. I explained to him that she had come all the way to see him and instead of behaving so curtly, a smile and a kind word from him would make her day. He never meant to be rude but somehow he treated her with indifference.
After all the sacrifices that Sardar Patel made for the nation, it was very sad that the nation did nothing for his daughter. In her later years, when her eyesight weakened, she would walk unaided down the streets of Ahmedabad. Often stumble and fall until some passerby helped her up. When she was dying, the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Chimanbhai Patel, came to her bedside with a photographer. He stood behind her bed and instructed him to take a picture. The photograph was published in all the newspapers the next day. With a little effort they could so easily have made her last years comfortable.


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