Why Nehru opposed Restoration of Somnath Temple..!! : After India’s Independence and the accession of Junagarh State into the Indian Union, Sardar. Vallabhbhai Patel, the then Union Home Minister, pledged that the Somnath will be reconstructed and restored to its original glory.
With the demise of Sardar Patel, the task of the restoration of the temple was ably led by K M Munshi, a cabinet minister in then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s government.
However, Nehru never liked the idea of restoring this ancient monument, and “more than once criticised” Munshi for working for its reconstruction. Munshi was referred to in the Cabinet as someone “connected with Somnath.” Just few weeks before the temple inauguration, Nehru called Munshi and said: “I don’t like your trying to restore Somnath. It is Hindu revivalism.”
Nehru had revealed his cards. He was haunted by the spectre of ‘Hindu revivalism’. On this Munshi wrote him a letter, stating: “I cannot value freedom if it deprives us of the Bhagawad Gita or uproots our millions from the faith with which they look upon our temples and thereby destroys the texture of our lives.”
Nehru evidently was not too convinced. When the then President of India, Rajendra Prasad, was invited to the inauguration of the temple. Nehru wrote him a letter. In that letter he used a term ‘number of implications’. It seems by this term Nehru meant that Rajendra Prasad inaugurating a temple would be a challenge to the secular fabric of the Indian Republic. Rajendra Prasad ignored Nehru’s advice and replied, “I would do the same with a Mosque, or a Church if I were invited.”
Many years later, reflecting on the Somnath incident, Munshi, penned the most devastating critique of Nehruvian secularism. He stated: “In its(secularism) name, anti-religious forces, sponsored by secular humanism, or Communism condemns religious piety, particularly in the majority community.”
If however the misuse of this word ‘secularism’ continues…if every time there is an inter-communal conflict, the majority is blamed regardless of the merits of the questions.. then it is not secular society.