SARDAR PATEL'S SPEECH - 23rd November 1946

In moving a resolution relating to the Interim Government Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel explained the difficulties that stood in the way of the Central Government's intervention in Provincial matters, such as the Calcutta and Noakhali disturbance. He declared that he had warned Bengal's leaders who saw him after the Calcutta riots that East Bengal was bound to be the next scene of trouble. He told them. "If you want independence you must learn to defend yourselves and your neighbours and others helpless people. You should not run to the army or the police for protection".

Replying to critics who spoke of non-violence and avoidance of civil strife Sardar Patel reiterated his conviction that the sword must be met by the sword. Mahatma Gandhi said it was better to use violence than to be a coward. Non violence was a weapon which it was beyond the power of ordinary men to use, and, therefore, Sardar Patel urged people to adopt violence in self-defence and only in self defence, or in defence of neighbours. He gave this advice because the present Central Government during the transference of power was in a state of paralysis.