Nehru’s Fake Greatness

I recently read Swapan Dasgupta’s take in TOI about Nehru. This confirmed what I have long believed: Nehru’s alleged greatness has been invented by Congress bards and poets after his death.

I have been mystified: If Nehru was a great leader, what exactly were his actions in which his greatness showed? What should we be thankful for? His woolly-headed socialism that made him the Father of Indian Poverty? His unbelievably childish military policies which gave India a bloody nose by China? His hatred of Hinduism and love for Islam?

His foriegn jaunts while Chinese war machine moved toward Indian borders? (He was in Colombo attending an international conference when the Chinese attacked!!) His skirt-chasing with Edwina Mountbatten? His taking help of Gandhi to eliminate Patel from the race for prime ministership of independent India?

His forbidding Indian citizens from indulging in any kind of entrepreneurship on their own, and instead aspire for a lowly government job? His idiotic and hypocritical Non-Alignment Movement (NAM) that he cobbled together by collecting some Asian and African banana republics and promptly appointed himself as their international representative? (Most NAM members supported China when it attacked India. And Nehru steered the country toward USSR, thus making a mockery of the alleged non-alignment.)

His calling himself “the last Englishman to rule India”? His unleashing corruption on a massive scale in India by creating an army of government clerks who cannot be sacked even today? His assaults on Indian nationhood? His overt and covert help to Indian communists to turn communist party into a formidable machine? His criminal abandonment of primary education, which kept a majority of Indians illiterates for over five decades?

Nehru was a parody of a national leader, full of imperial airs but actually hollow from inside. To go out of his way to impose this kind of man on the Indians as their leader also shows the shady and detestible side of Gandhi’s character. What kind of a saint was he who couldn’t rise above his petty likes, dislikes and jealousies, and who brooked no opposition to his views, so much so as to throw Subhash Bose out of Congress?

These two leaders — Gandhi and Nehru — were men of straw with feet of clay, and both were actually an invention of the British who went out of their way to promote their careers. Gandhi and Nehru were actually nothing but British props to keep the nationalists at bay.

Tell me again: What exactly was great about Nehru that we now should be grateful for? Will the Congress bards, singers and poets answer? 

Looking for the real Nehru
Swapan Dasgupta

It is hazardous to make sweeping generalisations of the national character. At the risk of being pilloried, let me reiterate the 11th century Arab traveller Alberuni’s observation that Hindus (as Indians were then known) have no sense of history. Indeed, they can scarcely distinguish it from mythology. Whether it’s Akbar, Aurangzeb and Shivaji or Curzon, Gandhi and Nehru, history writing in India is aimed at upholding greatness or reinforcing villainy. Revisionism is invariably a law and order problem.

Last Friday, the 120th birth anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru, saw the re-publication of Nehru: A Contemporary’s Estimate by Walter Crocker, Australia’s high commissioner to India in the early 1960s. Written and first published in 1965, it is remarkable for two reasons. First, it is a candid and brutally subjective account of Nehru from a western, but not British or American, viewpoint. Crocker was a professional Nehru-watcher who admired his subject but didn’t go starry-eyed. Second, as a contemporary assessment, it hasn’t been distorted by the Indian penchant for posthumously adding a few inches each year to the height of venerated leaders.

The Nehru that Crockerwrote about doesn’t resemble the colossus painted by his inheritors and hagiographers. That he was a man of aesthetic refinement, good breeding and blessed with an innate sense of decency was never in doubt. Even his political detractors at the time conceded that there was something noble and Brahminical but at the same time austere and dandyish — he was India’s only prime minister to smoke in office — about him.

Yet, that doesn’t mean he liked children, as India has been taught to believe. Crocker comes perilously close to describing Nehru as just another clever politician: ‘‘Nehru certainly did some acting on public occasions and before TV cameras… The acting was never worse than the pose of ChachaNehru withthe children. This was at its worst on his birthday for a few years when sycophants organised groups of children, withflowers and copious photographing, to parade with him. It was out of character; his interest in children was slender.’’

That Nehru was intellectually superior and didn’t tolerate fools easily are attributes that have been diligently recorded. Less publicised was the strong impression that his enlightenment was often offset by blind hates. Among Nehru’s ‘prejudices’ Crocker records were ‘‘maharajas, Portugal, moneylenders, certain American ways, Hinduism, the whites in Africa…’’ The list explains why Nehru was so offensive at the opening of the Ramakrishna Mission Institute in Calcutta, 1961.

There he spoke of ‘‘bogus spirituality’’, the absurdity of ‘‘running away from the daily problems of life in the spirituality’’ — the profundities of undergrad radicalism — and then stalked off. Had a prime minister conducted himself so disagreeably today, he would either have had to grovel or face a riot. Nehru was fortunate his haughtiness could ride piggyback on the goodwill of the Congress and the national movement.

Nehru, it was said, ‘‘could be emphatic on a basis of insufficient knowledge’’. He may have begun witha caricatured hatred of moneylenders but it soon extended into distaste for the entire private sector. Like the fellow travellers of Stalin, he juxtaposed science with what he considered religious mumbo-jumbo and came to view everything Hindu with utmost wariness.

Like Crocker, he probably believed that the India of ‘‘cow worshippers and devotees of ayurvedic medicine and astrology’’ should be banished from public life. And like his upper-class English friends, he found self-made Americans, particularly John Foster Dulles, crass and tiresome. Predictably, he liked the Kennedys; they were different.

From such parodies were the three pillars of the Nehruvian order, secularism, non-alignment and socialism, crafted.

For a man who left the country ‘‘not better fed, clothed or housed, …more corruptly governed…with higher taxes, ever-rising prices, ever-acute foreign exchange difficulties, and more unemployment’’ than when he took charge, India has been too kind to Nehru. It’s time we took the mythology out of history.

Link: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Opinion/Columnists/Looking_for_the_real_Nehru/articleshow/3718249.cms

32 Comments

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32 responses to “Nehru’s Fake Greatness

  1. We should enlighten all Indians about that !
    Sadly, Indians keep voting for the failed Congress party and reject all other alternatives.

  2. Harish

    Nehru’s hand in the Netaji Mystery
    “To Mr.Clement Attlee,
    Prime Minister of Britain,
    10 Downing Street, London.
    Dear Mr. Attlee:
    I understand from a reliable source that Subhas Chandra Bose, your war criminal, has been allowed to enter Russian territory by Stalin. This is a clear treachery ad betrayal of faith by the Russians. As Russia has been an ally of the British-Americans, it should not have been done. Please take note of it and do what you consider proper and fit.
    Yours sincerely,
    Jawaharlal Nehru.”

    THIS IS SIMPLY A CHANGE OF ATTITUDE OF NEHRU.

    Nehru’s attitude toward Netaji completely changed after he met Mountbatten at Singapore in 1946.
    Late Amritlal Seth, former editor of the Gujarati Daily Janmabhumi, who accompanied Nehru during his visit to Singapore told late Sarat Chandra Bose immediately after his return from Singapore that Nehru was warned by the British Admiral that, according to his report, ‘Bose’ did not die in the alleged air crash and if Nehru played up too high with the legends of Bose and demands for re-absorption of the INA in the Indian Army, he would be taking the risk of presenting India on a platter to Bose when he reappeared.

    After his return from Singapore, Nehru never uttered a word about Netaji for over a decade even after he became the Prime Minister of India.
    Till fifties, AIR was instructed not to cover any special talk on Netaji or broadcast any news about Netaji’s birthday, exceeding a few minutes.
    All army barracks were prohibited from displaying any portrait of Netaji and this ban-order continued for years even after withdrawal of the British Power.

    As reported in every newspaper at that time, daughter of Stalin Swetlana said in Delhi that Netaji was in Siberia’s yarkutask jail.
    She also gave barrack No. also.
    Speaking to the Hindu, Prof. Guha lent evidence to the view that Subhash Chandra Bose died in a Soviet Prison.
    He noted that Joseph Stalin was crueler than Adolf Hitler’.
    A Soviet agent named V G Sayadyants who was based in Mumbai reported home that

    “BOSE IS THE ONLY HOPE FOR SOVIET RUSSIA,”

    The new findings are based on declassified documents in the Russian military archives in Paddolsk, and from the British archives.
    They were discovered by three researchers-Purabi Ray, Hari Vasudevan and Shobanlal Dutta Gupta-working on the history of communist movement in India.
    The plot has thickened even deeper with the admission by these researchers that they have been receiving THREATENING CALLS FROM UNIDENTIFIED PERSONS ASKING THEM TO SUSPEND ALL FURTHER INQUIRIES AND END THE GOVERNMENT-FUNDED RESERCH.

    Fear for security led the work on the project to be stopped shortly, around the middle of 2000. For Details:

    http://www.swordoftruth.c…/shamolimitra/tmbnd.html

    Why Mukherjee Commission Report rejected?
    Congress does not want the nation to know Jawaharlal Nehru’s actions and role in betraying Netaji. The previous two Commissions: Shah Nawaz Committee and the Khosla Commission were appointed by the Congress government.

    For bringing truth BJP let NDA Govt. appointed Mukherjee Commission.

    “I saw Netaji alive after his alleged plane crash” is disclosed by Capt Abbas Ali, an old INA freedom fighter. “It was ‘unbelievable’ that Netaji died in an air crash” said by Suresh Chandra Bose elder brother of Subhash C.Bose.

    Basically Mukherjee commission’s findings are the following:
    (1). Netaji did not die in the August 1945 Taipei plane crash as reported.
    (2) The ashes at Tokyo’s Renkoji temple are not his.
    (3) The story of the crash was a trick to help him escape, and the Japanese and Taiwanese governments knew about it.
    (4) The Indian government suppressed a report by the Taiwanese government which stated this in 1956
    (5) Netaji is now dead.

    http://india97780.yuku.com/topic/1486#.Ukbusyy-Mxk

    • som

      SO NEHRU HAD BETRAYED NETAJI .
      THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF NEHRU’S FAKE GREATNESS.

      • jo

        AND ALSO BOSE ENTERED TO RUSSIA AFTER PERMISSION OF STALIN BUT AFTER BRITISH INQUIRY STALIN SUSPENDED HIS IDEA TO MAKE AN ALLIANCE WITH BOSE AND HAD PUT BOSE IN SIBERIA’S YARKUTASK JAIL (THAT WAS DISCLOSED BY DAUGHTER OF STALIN SWETLANA DURING HER INDIA VISIT IN DELHI ;SHE GAVE BARRACK NO. ALSO).

        • jo

          In 1963, while in hospital for the removal of her tonsils, SWETLANA (DAUGHTER OF STALIN) met BRAJESH SINGH, an Indian Communist visiting Moscow. The two fell in love. BRAJESH SINGH was mild-mannered and highly educated but gravely ill with bronchiectasis and emphysema. The relationship grew deeper and stronger still while the couple were recuperating in Sochi beside the Black Sea. BRAJESH SINGH returned to Moscow in 1965 to work as a translator, but BRAJESH SINGH and SWETLANA were not allowed to marry. The following year, 1966, BRAJESH SINGH died. SWETLANA was allowed to travel to India to take his ashes to his family to pour into the Ganges. SWETLANA stayed in the family home in Kalakankar on the banks of the Ganges for three months and became immersed in local customs, leading to her abandonment of atheism. In an interview on 26 April 1967, SWETLANA referred to BRAJESH SINGH as her husband but also stated that they were never allowed to marry officially.

    • som

      ACTUALLY JAPAN SOLD NETAJI and NETAJI-DUMMY TO BRITISH
      ;
      ABOUT NETAJI

      Netaji’s plan to start second independence war with the help of USSR was known to Japan. There was enough scope for British and Japanese spies to develop a common minimum program against pro-communist agenda of Netaji. Why should Japanese imperialism agree to patronize emergence of independent India as a permanent communist ally? Is it not more logical to fulfill British condition and purchase favor?
      WHY JAPAN ROYAL FAMILY WAS NOT TRIED AS A WAR CRIMINAL?
      WHAT IS THE MYSTERY BEHIND THIS FAVOR?

      ABOUT DUMMY NETAJI

      There is another point about GUMNAMI BABA Who was he? GUMNAMI BABA was a dummy created as a part of common minimum program of Japanese imperialism and British imperialism. In axis camp, creation of dummy by plastic surgery was a common practice.
      Hitler and Mussolini were having number of dummies.
      Japan sold Netaji-dummy to British.
      British deputed this dummy at faizabad of Uttar Pradesh, with a purpose to create confusion that as if Netaji’s death or life is doubtful.

      • nikhil

        THIS IS THE REST ABOUT DUMMY NETAJI OR GUMNAMI BABA OR BHAGWANJI
        On 17 September 1985, it was declared that GUMNAMI BABA( Bhagwanji )has died out of cardio vascular failure at 09:45 PM IST on 16 September 1985.
        On 18 September 1985, the doctor certified the death.
        On 19 September 1985, a bier like structure was cremated at Guptar Ghat on the bank of river Saryu, Faizabad at 04:00 PM.

        NOBODY WAS ALLOWED TO HAVE A LOOK OF THE FACE

        DR. BANERJEE, LATER ON DISCLOSED THAT IT WAS NOT BHAGWANJI WHOSE BODY WAS CREMATED.

        A letter discovered from GUMNAMI BABA (Bhagwanji’s )house had the content “Crores [many millions] of Indians have put their eyes upon you. One day the Lord will himself salvage the sorrow of the people, the evil will be destroyed and God will prevail. You are our God in human form.”

    • karan

      @Harish
      Bose saw his struggle as a moral crusade. The British Empire was evil and he was fighting for the good, in epic terms that Indians love –‘Give me your blood and I will give you freedom,’ was his cry. In a country where the lines between mortality, sainthood and the divine are finely drawn,

      WHY NOT BRING BACK THE EPIC HERO NETAJI ,AS A SYMBOLIC FIGURE TO ACHIEVE A DIVINE AGE ON EARTH???

      • ravi

        Former Indian ambassador Dr Satyanarayana Sinha once met Goga, the son of Abani Mukherjee, a revolutionist in the Russian communist party; who told him that his father and Netaji were prisoners in adjacent cells in Siberia. He also told Sinha that Netaji had assumed the name ‘Khilsai Malang’ there.

        The most shocking of all information it contained was that Netaji had posted a letter from Russia to Nehru, telling that he wished to come back and he also asked Nehru to make arrangements for his come back!

        One may confirm this from the parliamentary records from 3rd August 1977; and the files published by the British government.
        http://www.newsanalysisindia.com/newsanalysisindia/post/Who-killed-Netaji.aspx#.UkciDiy-Mxk

        • ravi

          Abani Mukherjee fell victim to the Great Purge(the Great Purge was a campaign of political repression in the Soviet Union orchestrated by Joseph Stalin from 1936 to 1939. It involved a large-scale purge of the Communist Party and government officials, repression of peasants and the Red Army leadership, and widespread police surveillance, suspicion of “saboteurs”, imprisonment, and arbitrary executions.),but his death was only acknowledged by the Soviet Union after 1955.
          Abani Mukherjee was arrested on June 2, 1937.
          Abani Mukherjee was assigned for the first category of repression (execution by firearms) in the list “Moscow-Center” and executed on October 28, 1937.

    • ravi

      “The Soviet Union cannot possibly work with either Nehru or Gandhi”, and that the communist movement in India “is in a disarray.”
      “Bose is the only hope for Soviet Russia. (a plans for the communist movement in India vis-a-vis Bose)”
      (Report by a Soviet field agent, V.G. Sayadyants, stationed in India, in 1946}

      • nikhil

        As reported in every newspaper at that time(1970’s), daughter of Stalin Swetlana said in Delhi that Netaji was in Siberia’s yarkutask jail. But since no initiative was taken by India Government that time,
        Why???

  3. nikhil

    @Harish & all
    It’s good for a start about NETAJI but not enough.
    The main objective behind placing the facts before the people is to persuade them to ask their government to make public all secret records about NETAJI.
    We can go on arguing or counter-arguing whether or not NETAJI was in RUSSIA or if it was possible for NETAJI in FAIZABAD of all the places in the world.
    The inspired elements will find ways to derail the debate about NETAJI , which cannot start in right earnest unless secret files are placed in public domain about NETAJI.
    TRUTH HAS NO NEED FOR SECRECY.
    This is 2013 and there is no justification for our government to maintain so many secret files about NETAJI— the PMO alone has 33 — about NETAJI it claims died 67 years back.
    NETAJI FOR US SHOULD BECAME A SYMBOL OF TRANSPARENCY AND JUSTICE.
    Time has come for us to strive and know the truth about NETAJI in the same way we have made attempts in the cases involving ordinary people like Jessica Lall in which the role of media was superb.

  4. Harish

    Nehru at that time said “If Subhash would bring soldiers from outside and enter India, then I would be the first person to take sword in hand and oppose him.” so much he disgust Subhash.
    https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/dharmajagruthi/FIUgPCMdqyQ/gFICp29pHyMJ

  5. Instead of bashing Nehru and Gandhi, Swapan Dasgupta should tell us about the contribution of the Hindu rightists like RSS, Hindu Mahasabha in the freedom struggle.

    • OM

      Great contribution of non congress such as Bagha Jatin,
      Vir Sawarkar and many more.

      • Vir Savarkar wrote a letter of clemency to the British authority begging to be released from the Andaman jail, and hold your breath, promised good behaviour and offered co-operation with the British. In his letter dated November 14, 1913, he wrote,
        ”…if the government in their manifold beneficence and mercy release me, I for one cannot but be the staunchest advocate of constitutional progress and loyalty to the English government which is the foremost condition of that progress. As long as we are in jails, there cannot be real happiness and joy in hundreds and thousands of homes of His Majesty’s subjects in India, for blood is thicker than water; but if we are released, the people will raise a shout of joy and gratitude to the government, who knows how to forgive and correct, more than how to chastise and avenge.”
        He went on to add, ”Moreover, my conversion to the constitutional line would bring back all those misled young men in India and abroad who were once looking up to me as their guide. I am ready to serve the government in any capacity they like, for as my conversion is conscientious so I hope my future conduct would be. By keeping me in jail, nothing can be got in comparison to what would be otherwise. The Mighty alone can afford to be merciful and, therefore, where else can the prodigal son return but to the parental doors of the government.”
        Worst still, the British appointed him a foreman (similar to warden) in the cellular jail itself.
        To put Bagha Jatin and Savarkar in the same sentence is an insult to Bagha Jatin.

        • noor

          @Cynical
          Please provide the link to enlightened us.

        • karan

          Savarkar was sentenced to Transportation for Life, TWICE and sent to Andaman Islands to serve that sentence. IT DID NOT MEAN 50 years in jail. After serving a few years (usually 3 to 4) the inmates were allowed to go to work outside the jail and EVENTUALLY SETTLED IN ISLAND . Savarkar was denied this even after serving 11 years.
          That was utter barbarity.

          At the time of the First World War Savarkar did write to Mr Montague, the then Secretary of State for India. He said that –
          (a) Britain should set up colonial self Government for India
          (b) In return Indian revolutionaries would cease all hostilities and help Britain in war effort.

          The Governor General eventually replied, ” In the present circumstances it is impossible to give effect to your suggestion.”
          NO PLEA FOR CLEMENCY HERE.

          Due to outcry about prison conditions on the Andaman Islands the British Authorities decided to close the jail on the islands. Concessions were being made to prisoners who wanted to settle on the islands. But these were denied to Savarkar. He did want to settle on the islands. He was forcibly sent back to mainland India and kept in various prisons for further 3 years.

          http://satyashodh.com/SavarkarFacts.htm

          • som

            @karan
            So his statement had been misquoted by Congressmen.
            Most hopeless effort.

          • Harish

            @karan
            Savarkar published The Indian War of Independence about the Indian rebellion of 1857 that was BANNED by British authorities. He was arrested in 1910 for his connections with the revolutionary group India House. Following a failed attempt to escape while being transported from Marseilles,
            Savarkar was sentenced to TWO life terms of imprisonment totalling FIFTY years and was moved to the Cellular Jail in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
            While in jail, Savarkar wrote the work describing HINDUTVA, openly espousing Hindu nationalism.
            He was released in 1921 under restrictions after signing a plea for clemency in which he renounced revolutionary activities.
            Travelling widely, Savarkar became a forceful orator and writer, advocating Hindu political and social unity.
            Serving as the president of the Hindu Mahasabha, Savarkar endorsed the ideal of India as a Hindu Rashtra and opposed the Quit India struggle in 1942, calling it a “QUIT INDIA BUT KEEP YOUR ARMY” movement.
            He became a fierce critic of the Indian National Congress and its acceptance of India’s partition, and was one of those accused in the assassination of Indian leader Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.
            He was acquitted as the charges could not be proven.

            THE AIRPORT AT PORT BLAIR, ANDAMAN AND NICOBAR’S CAPITAL, HAS BEEN NAMED VEER SAVARKAR INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT.

            The commemorative blue plaque on India House fixed by the Historic Building and Monuments Commission for England reads “Vinayak Damodar Savarkar 1883-1966 Indian patriot and philosopher lived here”.

            • Harish

              REALLY“QUIT INDIA “MOVEMENT WAS NOTHING BUT “QUIT INDIA BUT KEEP YOUR ARMY”MOVEMENT ORGANIZED BY HYPOCRITE GANDHI.
              SAVARKAR IS SIMPLY GREAT WHO WAS AGAINST THIS HYPOCRISY.
              LONG LIVE SAVARKAR.
              WE SALUTE YOU.

            • Harish

              To put Bagha Jatin and Savarkar in the same sentence is REALLY JUSTIFIED, .

          • OM

            OVERTHROW THE GOVERNMENT BY FORCE
            On January 30, 1911, after a new trial which lasted six days. Savarkar was again sentenced to transportation for life, first “crime of conspiracy and inter alia the murder of government officials, for the accomplishment of which he sent 20 pistols Brownings in Bombay, among whom was one with which Kanheri killed M . Jackson, secondly CONSPIRACY TO OVERTHROW THE GOVERNMENT BY FORCE criminal, which is why guns were sent to Bombay.
            Each charge has established the complicity of murder.
            https://www.google.co.in/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=8&cad=rja&ved=0CG4QFjAH&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.savarkar.org%2Ffiles%2Fu1%2FJean_Longuet__translation.pdf&ei=npxJUumuH43OrQff04CYCw&usg=AFQjCNH67X7BrdQBJf67mufjQfmsVR1G5Q&sig2=0VjI_V4S0E1D09AJG-1s8g&bvm=bv.53217764,d.bmk

          • OM

            In a self-governing colony, elected rulers make most decisions without referring to the colonial power that nominally controls the colony

  6. Vivek

    What a pity…uninformed people write the posts without bothering to read history. If one swapan dasgupta article can make one’s views about Nehru then what about so many historians, and intellectuals who admire Nehru ? Nehru gave india Democracy, he nurtured parliamentary democracy in india, put india on science & technology path, laid foundations of heavy industry, he gave india free society, he respected opposition, judiciary, election commission etc and created an ecosystem of a modern responsible nation, and TODAY WE TAK EIT FOR GRANTED AND DONT CREDIT NEHRU WHO BUILT IT. ……Those who criticize his ecomonic policy should know that it was well accepted economic model of contemporary world. USSR was a super power, and most importantly India grew at a healthy pace during Nehru’s time and fared well with respect to other asian countries. It was Morarji desai & indira Gandhi who didnt take action to liberalize economy when it started stagnating, Nehru cannot be blamed for their inaction.INDIA WILL ALWAYS REMAIN INDEBTED TO NEHRU.

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