Roy Bucher Paper: The debate surrounding Jawaharlal Nehru’s political legacy has resurfaced with the emergence of new information from classified documents related to a former Indian Army Chief. The revelations have sparked controversy and put Nehru’s role as an efficient administrator under scrutiny.
Some time back, a few documents related to General Francis Robert Bucher became public in Britain. These were kept in Britain’s National Army Museum. As per British media, ‘The Guardian’, India is against the idea of making these documents public. But it begs the question: what’s in these ‘Bucher’ paper that the previous Indian government wanted to hide from us, and why is it still being kept classified?
First things first, General Bucher was the first army chief of independent India, who served India till 1949.
These documents (Bucher Paper) highlight that General Bucher was against the idea of Indian soldiers fighting a long battle for Kashmir. In fact, he had strong reservations about the capabilities of the Indian soldiers.
He pressured Jawaharlal Nehru to internationalize the issue. Unfortunately, the issue of Kashmir was taken to the UN.
Also Read: How Operation Polo led by Sardar Patel prevented India from being run over by Islamists?
Sardar Patel threw Bucher’s caution into the wind
However, this was not the sole “misgiving” of General Bucher. Earlier, he had adopted a similar stance on Hyderabad. Along with Jawaharlal Nehru, he too did not want the Indian Army to play an active role in liberating Hyderabad.
It was Sardar Patel who struck the hammer at the right opportunity to liberate Hyderabad when Nehru left for a foreign tour. At the right moment, Sardar Patel announced “Operation Polo”.
Strongly opposing this decision by Sardar Patel, General Roy Butcher tried to paint a needlessly alarming situation. He claimed that any move towards Hyderabad would increase the risk of air raids on Bombay and Ahmedabad.
Sardar Patel laughed at his ‘worry’. He rationalized that if Britain could withstand World War II, then why couldn’t Bombay and Ahmedabad bear such tremors? But even then, General Bucher did not budge from his cynical opinion. He raised questions about the capabilities of Indian soldiers. Sardar Patel laughed at this and said, “Do you think they will be able to last even a week?”
This interaction is said to have occurred on September 12, 1948.The very next day, “Operation Polo” was launched to free Hyderabad from the nexus of Nizam Shahi, Razakars, and Communists.
Sardar Patel’s words were materialized by the Indian Army. Under the leadership of Major General Jayanto Nath Chaudhuri, the Indian Army swiftly defeated the Hyderabadi razakars in less than a week’s time. The operation culminated on September 17, 1948, on the auspicious occasion of Anant Chaturdashi, i.e., Ganpati Visarjan.
More than a year after independence, India continued to have a British officer as the commander-in-chief of the Indian Army. In September 1948, when Sardar Patel ordered the Indian army to overthrow the regime of Hyderabad’s Nizam, who was conspiring to make Hyderabad an pic.twitter.com/wc4EA0bVKG
— RajeIyer (@RajeswariAiyer) July 12, 2022
If Sardar Patel could have superseded the cowardly and overly negative opinion of Indian forces, what hindered Jawaharlal Nehru from doing the same? Were there unseen compulsions that we don’t know about?
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