1947. The Nawab of Junagadh, Muhammad Mahabat Khan declared that he'd like to accede with Pakistan. On 13th of September Pakistan accepted this offer too, much to the displeasure of Hindus who formed the majority of population of Junagadh by a large margin, something over the effect of 80%!
Indian government was furious at Pakistan's acceptance of Junagadh, especially since Mohammad Ali Jinnah had vociferously declared that Hindus and Muslims can't live as a single nation earlier to make Pakitan separate islamic country.
Sardar Patel started his Yatra to Junagarh. The Indian forces seiged Junagad from all sides and cut it off from rest of the world. An Interim government was formed with Samaldas Gandhi governing it. Sardar Patel and rest of India wanted to establish a plebiscite and let the people of Junagadh decide whether they want to go with pakistan, join India or remain free.
Soon food supplies were cut off and the nawab of Junagadh fled to Pakistan for fear of his life.
As per Lal Krishna Advani, he fled to Pakistan for the fear of Sardar Patel!
Given below are his own words.
The Nawab had a passion for dogs. So over night he took a few of his wives and lot's of his dogs and fled to Pakistan.
Sardar Patel finished his Yatra and stood looking at Somnath, which was in ruins.
File photo of Somnath temple in ruins (1860s) - photo courtesy - Wiki. Attachment 461877
This moved the iron man of India to tears. As he took water from the Arabian sea in his hands, with tears flowing from his eyes, he vowed to reconstruct the temple back to it's initial magnificence!
And the populace of Junagadh couldn't beleive what they saw. Sardar patel in tears. I took a photo of a file photo of him standing on the shores with water in his palms cupped up, taking a vow. Unfortunately, that photo of mine is lost somewhere in my rubbles back at native.
In dec, a plebiscite was formed and the mandate was clear! over 99% of voters chose India as their home, as their country.
Sardar Patel expressed his wish and sought blessings from Mahatma to start on construction work of the temple.
Gandhi blessed him and requested that the money for the construction came from the people of India and not from the government.
Soon the Somnath trust was formed. And Sardar started unifying India along with generating funds for bringing the glory back to Somnath.
Alas, Sardar didn't live to see the completion. However, the work which he started was entrusted to another great man. A man called Kanhaiyalal Maneklal Munshi! KM Munshi continued the work with greater vigour and headed the Somnath Prathistan. Soon the temple was completed and dedicated to all people of Hindustan.
What we see now is what was constructed 60 years back. Buy the great leaders who sacrificed all for India. People like KM Munshi are accredited with many acheivements for commons, including starting Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.
If not for those legends, we'd probably have lost one more of our rich legacy.
I was a regular at Somnath and ran in to the gentleman called Mukund Purohit (hope I remember his name correctly). And many an interactions fetched me permission to clamber up a nearby building to a precarious place on a sloped roof that overlooked the arabian sea. With strong gusts of winds, a minor lapse of balance would see my plummet over 60 feet in to raging waters and I'd probably be washed ashore in Antarctica only. Remember that between somnath and southpole, there's no other land mass at all and this arrow stands testimony to it. Such great was our science and geographic knowledge of past!
The pillar. Picture courtesy - Wiki. Attachment 461878
One such photo frenzy captured Somnath in all it's brilliance and I donated a 18x24 inch print of that to the temple free along with the negative. So much moved by my humble contribution, Shri Purohit surprised me with a special invite to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the temple! The invitation is also lost now in the rubbles. I didn't know small deeds also bring big recognitions. But then when it is Somnath, shiva ensures that anything good you do to him never goes unanswered.
Sardar having done so much for the nation, proudly stands there today too overlooking Somnath.
Picture courtesy - Wiki. Attachment 461879
Ashish Bhau's pics of somnath got back those memories dormant for over a decade. I should probably retrace my steps and go back to those regions again.
Saurashtre Somanatham. This concludes the brief history of Somnath. There is more to Somnath. But that would derail AP's log. So stopping with relevant details.
Thanks again Ashish Bhau. I shall search out for photos when I go to Udupi this time for sure.