Why Gandhi did what he did?

patel_and_gandhi1Many individuals and generation-Y of India question his support regarding Prime ministerial candidature “… him asking Sardar V. Patel to step down from the candidature …”. Some individuals also question his motive on the prevention of Pakistan formation by recommending Jinnah for Prime Ministership.

Let me get his political insight. Gandhiji was a very disciplined and strategic leader of his times. “Gandhi was a self-described philosophical anarchist, and his vision of India meant an India without an underlying government. He once said that the ideally nonviolent state would be an ordered anarchy” [1]. His methods and the outcome or results are still not comprehendible. He even said that his own method of “civil disobedience” should be avoided at any cost, until and unless there is a threat to life, liberty and freedom.

Now let me get into his slippers, a wily bania (which he use to joke about himself), and see why he did what he did. India was strategically gaining momentum for Independence. British were broke after First World War. Gandhiji knew very well that India need to stay united to get freedom in real sense, which can be extended to each and every citizen. He didn’t want a broken state, which it was already, and leave peoples’ fate into the hands of Maharajas. Also, it was evident during those days that India was sitting on a time bomb of communal cleansing.

Why Gandhiji offered Jinnah to become Prime minister of India?

Riots among Hindus and Muslims were already going on. A separate state will even create a bigger disaster. He even envisioned war between India and Pakistan, if such happens. He knew very well that this is like fuelling the fire, and will end up in carnage [2]. He also knew that young India will not be able to control the situation without the support of British leaders and their administrative support, which means asking British to stay even after independence and prove that India cannot stand on its own for long.

Gandhiji knew that Jinnah is a popular leader within (fraction of) Muslim community. He knew very well that, Jinnah is drenched in the two nation theory. But, Gandhi wanted to keep India undivided, thus offered Prime ministership to Jinnah to form interim government by Muslim league, believing that after national elections everything will be alright. Pt. J. Nehru and other congress leaders were skeptical, as they knew Jinnah will not accept the offer, based on the past experiences. Thus to keep India united he was ready to take this risk. But, Jinnah stayed adamant for a separate state, as he believed Muslims will never be able to identify in a Hindu state, and running a coalition government with congress support will not work. Jinnah affirmed that Muslims and Hindus maintained themselves as a separate entity since time beyond and ages [3].

Also, Britishers wanted to transfer the power, and wanted to stay away from the party politics, which would not be the case if Jinnah would have formed an interim government under the supervision of British Viceroy, as it was operating before independence.

Jinnah failed to get all the Indian Muslims in his state. The inevitable happened and history is evident.

Why Gandhi requested Sardar V. Patel to withdraw his name from Prime ministership?

It was evident that the President of the Congress will eventually lead the Government of independent India. Sardar V. Patel got the majority in the cabinet, while Pt. J. Nehru lost.

Firstly, Gandhiji should have respected the democratic process. Thus to adhere with the rule, he requested Sardar V. Patel officially to step down.

Secondly, Pt. J Nehru should have opposed it, and should have taken this opportunity to prove that he is a ‘man of principles’.

Lastly, the onus was on Sardar V. Patel, as well as other congress leaders, to stand by the majority. As the world knows, he was a no-nonsense leader, and stepping down means betraying the confidence put in him by the people. Thus, he should be blamed for abiding to Gandhiji’s request. But, it seems Gandhiji knew this before hand, and had a discussion with Sardar V. Patel in advance (before this meeting), and agreed upon on its importance and why. Following might be the probable explanation.

Gandhiji knew that uniting India into a vast dominion is a daunting task. He also knew that many princely states would like to declare independence rather than uniting with India. He also knew that Pakistan will try to interfere with this task of bringing princely states together. It can even go to war with India if gets united. Thus, the priority was to keep British India (less Pakistan) united, and avoid war with Pakistan.

Gandhiji knew that Pt. J. Nehru is having, and is good in forming, international relations which might prove important for India to put pressure on Pakistan to avoid such war. He also knew that Indian military is not capable enough to fight war and will require help from British Generals and Commanders.

Also, Sardar V. Patel was considered a right-wing leader. He was tactical and very honest with his views on communalism. Gandhiji knew that Sardar V. Patel will be pivotal in uniting princely states. Gandhiji believed, as Pt. J. Nehru lost the votes in cabinet will also lose national election. Thus, he thought let Pt. J. Nehru be Prime minister for now, and Sardar V. Patel as Deputy Prime minister and Home minister. Once the nation is united and goes to elections, after the dissolution of Congress (as Gandhiji planned for), Sardar V. Patel will win elections and will be chosen as Prime minister of united India (as was clearly evident at that time).

But this plan failed against the nature’s plan. Gandhiji died which broke down Sardar V. Patel emotionally. Sardar V. Patel also died later, before the first Lok Sabha elections.

Congress didn’t dissolve, seems it got greedy for power, and emerged into a single largest political party. Hence the seed of Political corruption in India was sown.

Disclaimer: Above post consists solely my personal opinion and interpretation, and have nothing to do with the historical facts and evidences, except as referenced.


[1]       M.K. Gandhi, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohandas_Karamchand_Gandhi [accessed on 21-Apr,2014]

[2]        Gandhiji’s scheme of offering Prime Ministership to Jinnah, collated by Sadna Gupta, https://sites.google.com/site/cabinetmissionplan/gandhi-offer-of-jinnah-pm-ship-to-jinnah-1947 [accessed on 21-Apr, 2014]

[3]         M.A.Jinnah and Maulana Azad on two nation theory, collated by Sadna Gupta,  https://sites.google.com/site/cabinetmissionplan/maulana-azad-and-m-a-jinnah-on-two-nation-theory [accessed on 21-Apr,2014]


About AAryan

Husband, Dad, Engineer and a Dreamer.
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4 Responses to Why Gandhi did what he did?

  1. AAryan,

    While respecting your thoughts. But you showed a lot of leniency to Gandhi. Anyways you are free to hold that viewpoint. I think that Nehru blackmailed Gandhi. Gandhi used his repute over Congress.

    Then fearing the loss of power in upcoming election Nehru took care of Gandhi and Sardar.

    Jai Bharat!


    • AAryan Rao (श्री) says:

      Thank you Sandeep. As far as much I know about Gandhi, he is not easy to be blackmailed. According to my opinion, Gandhi will never request Sardar V. Patel to step down, instead he might have addressed his concern and Sardar V. Patel took his unilateral decision to step down.
      Regarding Nehru’s fear and taking care of Gandhi and Sardar seems a serious blame, and will require more insight.


      • I do not have any proof to make such a claim. Hence would retract from making a statement. But would certainly raise questions:
        How is that Netaji’s whereabouts never resolved even after gaining independence? How is it Gandhi gets killed right after independence? Sardar’s health started depleting suddenly in 1950?
        He was not accepted as leader by congress and that is history. Nehru who made his way to prime-ministership through blackmailing wasn’t touched by anyone in Congress. This raises questions. Either the story that Nehru got two votes is wrong or he balckmailed is right. What is your study and understanding about this?


  2. AAryan Rao (श्री) says:

    If anybody is interested to know more about Gandhi, I will recommend to read “The collected works of Mahatma Gandhi”, as provided by the link below (Thanks to the Sadna Gupta): http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL094.PDF


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