Dear Friend

I have received your letter of the 8th inst. You have given much of the past history of Kashmir, which has been very useful in understanding the background of the present whole unfortunate episode. I have done my best to set matters right. You must have seen that Panditji has himself frankly withdrawn some of the misstatements that were made by him on false information being supplied to him. The resolution passed by the All-India States Peoples' Conference under his presidentship has also been such as would remove tension, clear the atmosphere and bring about an honorable settlement. I realise the difficulties and hardships of a small community like yours in Kashmir. The question of minorities in India has become complicated and the Hindu Muslim question particularly requires careful as well as tactful handling. Political agitation should, as far as possible, be kept apart from Communal questions. The two should not be mixed up. How far Sheikh Abdullah has erred in his present movement and whether the error, if any, was bonafide or not, requires investigation. The excesses committed by the military and police under orders of the State, if any, may also require investigation. Such post-mortem examination of political upheavals or communal troubles are not always safe. I understand that Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru is himself coming there as a messenger of peace to bring about honourable settlement of this vexed question. After all, he is also a Hindu and that a Kashmiri Hindu, and he is one of our foremost patriots and one of the greatest leaders of modern India. He is, as all human beings are, liable to err. But all his actions are governed by considerations of highest patriotism. Therefore you need not be afraid of him or his actions, Let us hope this unfortunate trouble in Kashmir will end soon and it will leave no bitterness behind. ­

Yours sincerely,

Vallabhbhai Patel

** Courtesy Sardar Patel’s Correspondence 1945-50 Page 2-3