What is this curious fashion of naming everything from state buildings to airports to universities after members of the Nehru-Gandhi family that is followed in India? This kind of mind-numbing hero-worship and brainwashing of citizens in favour of “Great Leaders” is not found in any democracy in the world. However, it certainly is found in the tin-pot communist dictatorships of North Korea, Cuba, China and erstwhile USSR.
From where did this tradition of hero-worshipping two-bit politicians come to India? Who introduced it here? What purpose does it serve? I recently read an interesting article in “Dainik Jagaran” newspaper about this, which I have translated in English. Here goes:
Why Everything in India is Named after Nehru
By S. Shankar
A few days ago, a newly constructed public building in Delhi got its official name. The name chosen for it was “Nehru Bhavan.” If we consider only the city of Delhi, the number of buildings, roads, crossings, stations, bus terminals, academies, universities, colleges, stadiums, conference halls, parks, gardens, festivals and schemes named after Jawahar Lal Nehru would easily cross the one hundred mark.
If we take the whole of India, this figure would not be less than a thousand. If we add to this collection buildings, roads and schemes named after Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi, then it would be almost an impossible task to compile a full list of such structures.
What is this strange model of hero worship that is being followed in the country? Whatever it is, it certainly does not belong to India. Before the arrival of the Mughals, even painting the portraits of kings was an unheard-of activity in this land. The ancient Indians did not bother to even record the names of the painters who created the world-famous paintings of Ajanta and Konark or of the rulers who commissioned them. This is because the Indian tradition has always considered this kind of personal glory or hero worship as something worthless and demeaning.
The practice of erecting statues of national leaders at public crossings and naming public buildings after them was introduced in India by the British. Does it mean that this mad rush to name structures and spaces in India after national leaders is essentially a European phenomenon? Not really. Even in the Europe or US, you will be hard pressed to find more than three or four buildings carrying the name of their national leaders. Only the national capital of US carries the name of George Washington, that’s all. Similarly, in Europe the buildings named after its great leaders such as Churchill, Napoleon, Peter, Bismark or Garibaldi can be counted on the fingers of one hand.
The tradition of naming things after Nehru that is found in India has nothing to do with European traditions or a genuine national pride in our leaders. It can only be compared to a similar naming tradition found in communist countries. In the latter, not only buildings, memorials and roads, but also the names of children are inspired by Lenin, Stalin and Mao. This fad of naming everything after the “Great Leader” Nehru and his descendants that is continuing in India is essentially a communist tradition. One of the reasons for this is that Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India, was greatly inspired by communism.
This tradition of ‘Nehruism’ has now developed strong roots in our education and national thought process. Naming everything after Nehru and his family shows the same kind of slavery that was a general rule in communist dictatorships. This rule in communist countries was not limited to naming alone. This kind of mental slavery extended to all aspects of a citizen’s life.
This obnoxious tradition of hero worship began in India with the rule of Nehru and continued under his tutelage. This poison ivy of Marxist “progressivism” did not grow on its own. In fact, deliberate efforts were made to nurture it and strangle the age-old Indian tradition of the rulers and leaders avoiding all kinds of self-promotion and personal glory.
It was in Nehru’s time that various immoral means such as censorship, misuse of political power as well as rewards and punishments were used to actively banish all criticism of the erstwhile Soviet Union from the national discourse. It was only through the support and connivance of Nehru establishment that Soviet-style “progressivism” could take the Indian intellectual class into its clutches.
The extent to which this intellectual superstition spread in India can be seen by flipping through Nehru’s writings, speeches and parliamentary debates as well as the resolutions of the Congress and communist parties and the output of the Indian professors and writers who were connected with the so-called “cultural institutes” sponsored by communist countries. When we review this odious literature, it becomes clear to us that the Marxist superstitions which have directed our foreign policy, economic policy, education and cultural policies since independence still enjoy a lot of influence in India.
Naming everything after Nehru proves nothing but our slavery, stubbornness and lack of self-esteem. The first 10 to 15 years of independent India were a period of the construction of our fledgling republic. The traditions that were created or discarded during that time turned into rock-solid examples to be followed in later decades by Indian institutions, rulers and leaders. Just like India’s economic development and foreign policy advancements became possible only after we got rid of the baggage of Nehruism, similarly in the education and intellectual space too we cannot progress toward original thought until we have well and truly buried the ghost of Nehru.
In Indian administrative system, the practice of setting up committees for various purposes derives from British traditions. But in reality, appointing four favourite nominees in every committee, asking them to write whatever the government feels like and then present their report to the public as some kind of serious document to hoodwink the citizens is nothing but a tradition derived from Soviet Russia. This disease has spread so much in India that even the followers of Ram Manohar Lohia are also indulging in this practice. If Indians do not become alert now to this dangerous phenomenon, they may also suffer the same fate as that of Soviet Russia.
Let us get rid of this nonsense of naming everything after members of the Nehru-Gandhi family and reclaim our self-respect as proud citizens of an ancient land who are the inheritors of the greatest and oldest civilisation of the world which never crossed its natural borders to loot and plunder homes of other people (unlike many self-proclaimed “great civilisations” out there).
This is the land where mighty kings and emperors for thousands of years did not bother to get their portraits made or allowed their hagiographies to be composed by courtiers, in the belief that “future generations remembering our good deeds would be sufficient for us to make our mark in history.”
This reprehensible culture of flattery of the “Great Leader” that Nehru introduced and the army of fawning courtiers he recruited around him is an insult to Hindu traditions of royalty which emphasise the spirit of self-less service and lack of ego. The ancient Hindu belief is: “You let your own deeds in life speak for themselves. You do not arrange for a gang of paid drum-beaters to compose songs to your own glory.”
Let us get rid of the ghost of Nehru and purge his Soviet-style traditions of hero-worship from our democracy. This practice is now being continued by two-bit Congress courtiers to subtly brainwash the Indian citizens and project the “Great Leader” as a colossus, so as to bask in his reflected glory and perpetuate their rule. It is time to put this practice to an end and send the drum-beaters home.