Reference: – A Horoscope for the Congress (Past & Present column, The Hindu Magazine 13.03.2005)
Dear Sri. Guha,
These are my reflections on your comments on Jawaharlal Nehru in the above mentioned article. I don’t reckon the leaders who followed him, no matter what political crest they had/ have, were/ are less broad-minded and less competitive. I can’t quite agree to that comment.
These are the examples of Nehru’s fake broad-mindedness. If Mohammad Ali Jinnah was allowed to assume the office of the prime minister; India wouldn’t have been split into fragments. Why didn’t this broad-minded man hold back from staking claim for the post? I somehow, cannot swallow the more ‘famous’ stories associated with it. If Gandhi, Nehru and Co. took the trouble to buy the elephant; why couldn’t they buy the stick to control it?
After independence, when it came to selecting a National Anthem for India, the most popular Vande Mataram got the egress door and a song from nowhere, Janaganamana got the ingress door. He who selected this song, Nehru, commented that this song was selected because it was rhythmic like the western songs and that the band could play it well (!); and of course they do it well in some 52-53 seconds, don’t they?
Next is the most anonymous point. It’s about Netaji’s absconding. Even before the Japanese radio made announcement about that ‘blighted’ plane crash, some Indian politicians are reported to have discussed about the accident. Two commissions were put in place to probe into this incident and on the basis of their reports, the Indian Parliament had asserted that Netaji cannot be confirmed to have died in the accident. The then typist of Nehru once reminisced that a letter he typed for Nehru, addressed to Clements Attlee had the content ‘Let SC Bose remain where he is at present’. Recollect who were the Indian foreign affairs minister and the representative to Russia at that time; interesting, isn’t it? On returning from her visit to Russia, Vijayalekshmi Pandit had told the presspersons that Netaji was alive in Stalin’s jail. After meeting Nehru, she denied what she said before. Is this the broad-mindedness of Nehru that you were talking about? A person like Netaji cannot be believed to have hidden himself from public appearance. And that too, with that much wealth in gold he had with him. His personal assistant Mr Rahman had given different statements to the Shanawaz commission and the other. Most of his statements – the damage to his hands and watch, the dressing and injuries of Netaji, the hospital to which Netaji was admitted, the site where the plane crashed, and the funeral – were either lies or misleading. ‘Netaji’s’ coffin was not allowed the regular inspection by the undertaker at the necropolis and what is most suspicious is that in the official records, the body inside the coffin bears the name ‘Ichiro Okura’, a soldier! Is this the broad-minded Nehru that you were referring to?
Who said Manmohan Singh is unlike Nehru? They are very much similar and I can’t choose anything between them. For many years after independence, India had two power centres. Everyone knows the ties between Nehru and Mountbatten, and the ‘extent’ of Nehru’s acquaintanceship with the Mountbatten ‘family’. Today also, we have two power centres; rather a doll and a remote controller in Dr Singh and Sonia Gandhi. While the former is all set to take the burden on his head, the latter is pulled back by her own children, one of them an M.P.! While Nehru tried to serve the Nation and its people by inserting his own family members at the highest level bearing ‘Gandhi’ surnames (Oh God, it comes from Feroz Gandhi; but who cares, all one needs is a Gandhi to attract the masses); Dr Singh is serving the Nation and its people by sucking out their blood even during their small cash withdrawals, with a budget that has a ‘human face’. Don’t forget; Adolf Hitler, Augusto Pinochet, Abdullah O’Calan, Sr and Jr George Bush were/ are all humans, and they all had/ have faces as well.