Relevance of Nehru today
- Part 4 -

Dr Priyadarshni M Gangte *

(8) Legacy of corruption:

The issue may be traced back to the period 1937 - 38 before independence of India in the Congress regime in the then Central Provinces and Berar, now called Madhya Pradesh, when Dr. N. B. Khare was the Chief Minister (then called Prime Minister), he was forced to quit the office by the Congress High Command allegedly for asking action against a couple of his corrupt Ministers.

On being out of office, Khare published some letters from High Command members recommending appointments to some top positions, like Advocate General of the State. Later, after independence, while he was a Member of Lok Sabha in 1952-55, in reply to charges of rampant corruption in early fifties, Nehru stated that there was more corruption in the British time than in the free India Congress regime.

Reacting to it, Khare claimed that as member of Viceroy's Advisory Council in 1943-46, he knew how the corrupt were pulled up quickly in British times, contrary to the lenient view of Nehru. He was followed by another Member of the Parliament, Dr. Harindranath Chattopadhyaya, the younger brother of Sarojini Naidu, composing a couplet, recited as follows:
The expenditure on dams
is souring like rockets
It does not irrigate the lands,
it irrigates the pockets.

In this context, it is pertinent to note of the serious concern of Gandhiji about the complaints received on rampant corruptions soon after independence as highlighted by Durga Das, the former Editor of Hindustan Times, in his book of personal reminiscences of 50 years of journalistic career, titled, India: From Curzon to Nehru as follows: "But it was not only the communal situation that troubled Gandhi in those months following independence.

He was also deeply concerned about the rot that was setting into the Congress Party. He also received information that some Congress legislators were taking money from businessmen to get them licences, that they were indulging in black-marketing and subverting the judiciary and intimidating top officials to secure transfers and promotions for their protégés in the administration. Gandhi thought of a remedy for this alarming state of affairs …"

Earlier to this, Saratchandra Bose, elder brother of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose complained of the corruption in Delhi even during interim Government of 1946. Durga Das continued to state that since the general election of 1952 Nehru started subverting the election processes by exploiting the State apparatus for the election campaign. The AIR blared out his election speeches million fold to drawn his opponent's voices as cries in wilderness.

In any case, as Rajaji said, corruption like water flows from top to bottom. Verily, the system has become a 'Thieves' Kitchen. The dynastic dispensation has reduced Indian democracy to a Kloptocracy - rule by compulsive thieves.

And Gandhiji is no less responsible for this state of affairs. Gandhi knew well that Nehru abhorred tenets of Gandhian austerity, and personal probity, and how he himself injected massive doses of hypocracy in public life through tattered marks of truth and non-violence.

(9) Kashmir - the Legacy of personal likes and dislikes :

August 15, 1947 was a historic day. On this day, partition of India on communal lines became a 'fait accompli' and a truncated India got freedom. At this point of time, Kashmir was under the rule of Maharaja Hari Singh. He was in a dilemma as to whether should he cede the State to India or Pakistan[11].

Therefore, he did not accede to either of them, though he was inclined towards India. And as for Shiekh Abdullah and his National Conference Party, he wanted that the Dogra Maharaja should quit Kashmir so that he might be in control of the Kashmir Valley in 1946 before the British left for good for which he landed himself in Jail.

As against it, Pandit Ram Chander Kak, the Prime Minister of the Maharaja wanted the State to remain as sovereign State for which he sought the assistance of Sardar Patel and also requested both Pakistan and India for Stand-Still Agreements to gain time, which was readily accepted by Pakistan. On the other hand, while all the Princely States of India were given to Sardar Patel as Home Minister to deal with, Nehru kept Jammu and Kashmir under his charge.

Nehru had a soft corner for Shiekh Abdullah and wanted him to be released from Jail and the power transferred to him as a pre-condition for acceptance of accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India. The Maharaja was not agreeable to it.

Thus, the issue relating to accession of Jammu and Kashmir either to India or Pakistan was entangled into multiple issues of action and reaction that were associated with inevitable result of 'Indo-Pak tension', resulting in Indo-Pak War of 1947, 1955 and 1971.

And without an inkling it must be said that the IndoPak tension will persist till such time as Pakistan exists that will thus remain a Nehru Legacy as constant reminder of his being relevant so long as India exists. Because, instead of learning from experience and history, Nehru allowed his personal likes and dislikes and his idealistic imagination to run riot, particularly in regard to Kashmir.

Now as we turn towards the North-East of India, particularly the Naga issue, it may be equated with that of Kashmir. It was generally considered that the opportunity to settle the Naga problem once and for all came when the Prime Ministers of India and Burma, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and UNu respectively visited Kohima on March 30, 1953.

But the then Deputy Commissioner of Kohima, for reasons best known to him, did not allow the Nagas to submit a Memorandum to the visiting Prime Ministers. The several thousand Nagas gathered at the venue to receive the VIPs turned and left the ground enmass when they learned they were not to make themselves heard before the Prime Ministers.

Visibly disappointed with humiliation Nehru was reported to have murmured to his daughter, Indira Gandhi, that he would never visit Nagaland again in his life-time, and so did he live thus till he breathed his last, shelving all possible solution of the Naga problem till date.


And thus his relevance today is best said in the words of Reid Escott12 (Envoy to Nehru : 1952:57) 1981, Oxford University Press, Canadian High Commissioner to India which runs as follows :
"He will become even more conscious of his place in the history of India and of the world. He must already know that he will be ranked with India's two great rulers of the last 2500 years, Ashok and Akbar, that if India succeeds he will be called the Creator of Modern India, and that whatever happens, he will go down in history as one of the great men of the world…".

Nehru was a vanguard for social change. He needed peace for development. He had therefore made no compromise on nuclear armament despite India's deep concern of the Chinese threat to its frontiers. His worst fear had come true. Sino India relationships had never dived during his lifetime. India had been subjected to aggressive Chinese intrusions in NEFA and other areas. India's friendship stood shattered.

Pained as he was he never recovered from that set back and we lost him, his statesmanship and the dynamism that his policies had displayed. Relevance of Nehruvian policies remained much longer after he has died. His progenies carried on with his policies in frontiers of education, industries and foreign policy.

His daughter Indira Gandhi and her son Rajiv Gandhi displayed Nehruvian acumen in politics and in understanding the needs of the country. However, all said and done about Nehru's ideology at the end we cannot but conclude that some of the nagging problems like that of Kashmir and Sino-Indian relations have been the gifts of his prolonged inactive policies.

In order to gain international accolades for being projected as apostles of peace Nehru had compromised India's interests for which several times questions had been raised in the Parliament. The other aspect was that of corruption. Though he was against corruption of his colleagues he sheltered them and sometimes interfered in the process of law to save them.

This soft-pedaling made politicians of different times to follow more and more corrupt ways in public life. His soft attitudes had created more problems than solving them. This was a bare to our society. Today we are more corrupt because of the relevance of his policies.

Concluded ......

* Dr Priyadarshni M Gangte wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on December 16 2019.

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