Chapter 15: They Say Believe; I Say Explore
“But perhaps that somebody else is also as sick as you, because if I was in his place, in the first place, I would not have sat there, if I was the host and you were my guests. Secondly, if by chance, by some coincidence I had been sitting there, the moment you asked the question I would have come down. That would have been enough of an answer: ‘There is no problem; it is just our convention and I forgot that you are my guests, because only once a year do I meet guests, but every day I meet my disciples. So just forgive me and let us start our conversation for which we have gathered.’
“But he did not come down. He has no guts. He is sitting there almost dead, he cannot even breathe he is so afraid. And he has no answer - he asked his secretary to answer you. And the question that you have raised, about which he is also silent, is that he has been proclaiming himself a revolutionary saint. He is neither a revolutionary nor a saint, so what answer can he give to you? But my basic concern is not with him, my basic concern is you. This is the political mind which is always thinking in terms of lower and higher, in terms of power.”
Of course he was angry, and is still angry, and has remained angry for all these twenty-four, twenty-five years. And he has been in positions from where he could have harmed me, but he has no guts either. He was deputy prime minister and then became prime minister. Before he became prime minister, he had even asked for my help. He had called me, unaware. Later on he came to know that to call me was absolutely absurd. He was Indira Gandhi’s deputy prime minister - the post is not in the constitution itself.
The first prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, had a clash with another disciple of Gandhi’s, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The clash was such that if voting had been allowed then Vallabhbhai Patel would have won. He was a real politician. He was just like Joseph Stalin.
Joseph Stalin was the secretary of the communist party when the revolution happened. He was not a great leader or anything. His function was in the office; he was the head clerk of the Communist Party to put it exactly. But because he was the secretary he knew everything, everything passed through his hands. Every person had to be acquainted with him, and he had a tremendous grip on people.
The same was the situation with Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. He was a very strong man, I told you, just like Joseph Stalin. Stalin is not his real name, it was just given to him because it means in Russian, “man of steel.” Strangely, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was called in India, lauha purush, that also means “man of steel.” It is exactly the translation of Stalin.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had a grip on the organization, an inside grip. He was not an impressive person like Jawaharlal in public. If the whole of India was going to vote, Jawaharlal would have won, nobody was going to win against him. But if the voting was going to be inside the congress party, the ruling party, then Vallabhbhai could have defeated anybody.
To avoid this voting, because this was going to be a party decision, Gandhi said, “It will be good to create a post of deputy prime minister, so Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel will be happy that he is, if not the first, at least the second man.” And there is every chance, anytime, for the second man to be the first man, once you throw the first man out or he dies or something happens.