Remembering Panditji

Today, I remember, with gratitude, Pt.Jawahar Lal Nehru, for my early childhood was shaped in a school named after him- Jawahar, in a place that was his creation – Neyveli. But for Neyveli Lignite Corporation and the grand education that I received there, I would not have been what I am today. Not that I am a somebody, but, without the above, I would have been a nobody.

Neyveli helped transform a predominantly impoverished lower middle class brahmin family, with absolutely no belongings but a secondary school education, into one that can boast of at least two square meals today.

And the architect of Neyveli was Pt.Nehru in addition to Kamaraj, C.Subramaniam and R.Venkatraman.

Panditji wasn’t perfect like everybody else. He had his flaws, some of which bother the nation till date. But he brought a semblance of stability to the otherwise shaky nation that was cut into two pieces at birth.

He could have done better, no doubt. But he tried, for sure. His leftist leanings, socialist utopian theories and a complete Macaulayan education and attitude that also had a vehement disregard for the ancient civilisation that is Bharat made him commit fundamental mistakes whose impact we feel even to this day – Article 370, UN Security Council, China Policy, Socialism et al.

While I thank my first Prime Minister from the bottom of my heart for all the good that I am enjoying today, I also feel sad that I am not able to worship him, for I know his follies.

A great man. Could have been a legend. But stopped at being a hero.

Here are my reviews of the books on Nehru that I had read.

Please read, circulate and discuss the leader and his policies, without any disrespect to the long departed soul.

https://amaruvi.in/…/09/21/nehru-a-political-life-book-rev…/

https://amaruvi.in/…/nehru-a-contemporarys-estimate-my-rev…/

https://amaruvi.in/…/self-deception-indias-china-policies-…/

https://amaruvi.in/2016/10/02/god-who-failed-book-review/

https://amaruvi.in/2014/01/31/i-was-nehrus-shadow-review/

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Mission Shakthi

George Perkovich, in his book ‘India’s Nuclear Bomb’, clearly says Nehru tacitly approved India developing a nuclear bomb.

Nehru ensured that the Indian Space Programme and Department of Atomic Energy directly report to the PMO and not to any ministry. This ensured that approvals required for such programmes don’t get stuck in bureaucratic hurdles. These are clearly elucidated by Dr.Aravamudhan in his book ”ISRO: A personal history”. The more you read these, the more you understand the complexities involved and geo-political pressures in such programmes.( For more on political and global pressures, read ‘Ready to fire’ by Nambi Narayanan.)

Vikram Sarabhai, Satish Dhawan, Homi Bhabha and others who headed the prestigious missions, would not have achieved what they did, had it not been for the unhindered support of and access to the PMO.

So, starting from Nehru, Prime Ministers have played their role in the development of India’s space and atomic programmes.

However there were some who did absolutely nothing to further these interests. Let us not waste time talking about them.

Nehru prepared the ground, Indira Gandhi took it further, Rajiv Gandhi supported many initiatives, especially the Agni Missile Programme, Narasimha Rao lent full support though he backed off from Pokhran-II, Vajpayee fell head over heels to support these initiatives and Modi continues Vajpayee’s work.

Therefore, Prime Minister Narendra Modi deserves as much credit as does Indira Gandhi for Pokhran-I and Vajpayee for Pokhran-II. One can’t deny this to the current PM just because he is Narendra Modi, a man who sold tea once upon a time and hence doesn’t belong to the aristocracy.

The scientific establishment is the same, the institutions are the same, but the political and executive leadership is the one that changes and thus plays a decisive role in such missions. And the current one excels.

Kudos to India and her dedicated engineers, scientists and the honourable Prime Minister who had the spine to proceed with the test.#MissionShakthi

Jai Hind.

Why do you call Nehru, ‘Panditji’ ?

‘Why do you say ‘Panditji’ while refering to Nehru? Why the honorific ;ji’? Do you concur with his policies?’ asks a reader.

Here is why:

Jawahar Lal Nehru, a Kasmiri Pandit, came into my world as Pandit Nehru. Neyveli, a brainchild of Nehru, Kamaraj, Venkatraman and C.Subramaniam, had Panditji enshrined in every possible space. I am a product of Jawahar School, named after him.

For me, Panditji, like Gandhiji, Netaji, Rajaji and Kamaraj, is a national hero. No doubt, he made mistakes (three costly ones included). So did all others.

A leader doesn’t come to us chiseled in pristine silver, but as a Pancha-Loka – a mixture of several characteristics and attributes. Some characteristics outshine the others. That is all about it.

Gandhiji too made mistakes. But that doesn’t diminish his sacrifice or achievements. So did Netaji. He aligned with Hitler, but for a greater cause. That doesn’t make Netaji a person not worthy of respect and awe.

Rajaji, for all his intellect and impeccable integrity, aligned with the anti-national DMK. I think it was a mistake. He wanted a referendum on Kashmir and later opposed the abolition of privy purse. But his stature doesn’t tumbledown due to that. For me, Rajaji would continue to be the best pragmatist and pro-market realist that India has ever had.

Similarly, despite his blunders on China, Kashmir and the pro-left economics, Panditji would continue to be a hero, albeit a tad lesser than Rajaji or Gandhiji.

Hence, for me, Nehru is Panditji. Period.

P.S.: Don’t expect any kind treatment of Panditji in my upcoming book ‘Our struggle for Truth, Sense and Honour – a Hindutva version of Indian History’. #realnehruhistory

Nehru and Freedom of the Press

Panditji is often hailed, rightly so in some cases, as a steadfast believer in the freedom of speech. His stand on this freedom doesn’t seem to be stable. Let us look at some instances.

His speech in the Constituent Assembly on 08-Mar-1948:

“We have been extraordinarily lenient towards the Press, Indian and foreign. We have gone out of our way to tell them that we will not do anything even if they send message which are extremely disagreeable to us.”

In a speech at the Newspaper Editor’s Conference on 3/12/1950, he said:

“I have no doubt that even if the government dislikes the liberties taken by the press and considers them dangerous, it is wrong to interfere with the freedom of the Press. By imposing restrictions you do not change anything; you merely suppress the public manifestation of certain things, thereby causing the idea and thought underlying them to spread further. Therefore, I would rather have a completely free Press with all the dangers involved in the wrong use of that freedom than a suppressed or regulated Press.”

Surprisingly he was the first to apply a gag on the press. He moved the first constitutional amendment on 10 May 1951 which was enacted by Parliament on 18 June 1951. The amendment introduced a qualifier- ‘reasonable’- for freedom of the press.This was in response to articles critical of his policies by a communist party journal from Madras, the Organiser case and the court’s favourable judegemetns to the petitioners.

In a speech in Parliament on 29-May-1951, he said:

“The Press if it wants freedom – which is ought to have must have some balance of mind which is seldom possesses. One cannot have it both ways. Every freedom in this world is limited, limited not so much by law as by circumstances. We do not wish to come in the way of freedom of the Press. Personally, I am convinced of the freedom of the Press.”

The statements apear to go back and forth. While wanting to appear pro-press and therefore be considered a liberal, he also tries to curtail some aspects and says ‘freedom is not un-limited’.

I, however, want to think that he was constrained to initiate the first ever press gag in Free India, just to take care of the nascent democracy that India was, then. But, as everything has a first time, the press gag too had one , and that was ironically initated by Panditji himself. Let us remember that he had asked Shankar, the cartoonist, not to spare him in his cartoons.

As with all leaders of the past, Nehru would have to be considered as a whole and not in bits and pieces. Let us explore this and some other aspects of Panditji in subsequent posts.

Ref: Romesh Thappar vs The State Of Madras.
Ref: The Organiser – State of Punjab.
#realnehruhistory

The Indian Ideology – book review

‘The Indian Ideology’, a book by Perry Anderson, is an extremely virulent anti-India book that finds fault with anything remotely Indian. And that includes Gandhiji, Nehru, Indira Gandhi and even Ramchandra Guha – the quintessentially leftist writer.

The book spews venom on the concept of India, questions its ethos and continuity as a civilized society, makes fun of its religious diversity, and generally paints India as a collection of peoples who were fortunate enough to have been united by the British into one land mass and, in the process, has acquired some semblance of civil rights and democracy.

The book questions Gandhiji’s celibacy, paints him as a rather confused and often unpredictably eccentric person who didn’t have a stand on any issue, character assassinates Indira Gandhi as having had conjugal relations with Mathai, her father’s secretary, denigrates Nehru as he had apparently taken Mountbatten’s wife to bed, criticizes RSS and almost everything that is even remotely Indian.

The book paints a picture as though all the philosophical and civilizational standing that the nation has had for the several thousand years is a farce and that, in reality, India is a loose collection of different groups that are in a state of constant violence and cauldron.

And for all these, predictably, Arundati Roy has lavished praise.

This is a book that you can best avoid. To quote Gandhiji’s words, the author, Perry Anderson is a ‘gutter inspector’. Amen. #bookreview #nehru #gandhiji
http://buff.ly/2ezvWrw41gng08vp2l-_sx328_bo1204203200_

Left is dead, long live the left.

Let us face it. Panditji comes as a package.

You cannot choose his nation building acts alone and white wash his two great blunders. Yes, he was responsible for a stable country in the immediate aftermath of freedom. Yes, but for him, we might not be having a wholly functioning parliamentary democracy. Yes, but for his foresight, we might not have had this giant leap in science and technology.

And yes, but for him, we might not be having the ever boiling Kashmir and the never reliable China, eager to pounce and grab what ever piece of flesh is available in the borders of India.

The left intellectuals, even now, are doing a great disservice by choosing to white wash Panditji’s blunder in China.  When we talk of inaction between 1950 to 1960, they harp on Nehru acting on the advice of the Army and hence India having to face an inglorious defeat in ’62. If you counter with evidence, they ridicule you saying you have ‘anecdotal evidence’ and resort to the usual Left methodology of name calling and defaming.

Dear Learned Left, get over the hang over, for the days of ICHR dictating history are over. Romila Thapar and Guha are no longer the cornerstones of historical writing. Leftist white wash and pushing under the carpet are days of the past.

Today, we have a whole new look at the events of history and don’t need a JNU degree to be a historian.

Left’s days of stupendous stupidity have ended.

Left is dead, long live the left.

'God who failed' – book review

51aymrwgool-_sx336_bo1204203200_Disclaimer : I hold Panditji in high esteem and in no way would write anything to insult his memory, for I am a product of the Nehruvian socialist secular educational system and still carry many of the ideals that I had been taught.

Madhav Godbole’s  book is a significantly incisive work on Panditji’s policies and their impact on India. The author, a former bureaucrat, has, in due course of the book, compared the personalities of Panditji and Patel. We get to see that, had Patel been at the helm in 1947, the fate of India would have been different.

The author does not dwell on Panditji’s life and history, but plunges into his administration and government. That is a welcome change from the maze of books that talk about Nehru’s early life and romanticize his leftist leanings.

Having been introduced to Panditji when he was an IFS probationer, the author has not been carried away by the former’s magnetic personality. Thus he produces a detailed account of what he saw of Panditji’s policies and administration.

Of particular interest are the Kashmir imbroglio and the China conundrum. The author treats us to various sources on the confusions around Kashmir and China. How Panditji despised Maharaja Hari Singh, how Sheikh Abdullah deceived Nehru and India, how Patel had judged Abdullah early on and had sounded alerts and how Panditji took Kashmir to the UN on the advice of Mountbatten and many more policy failures are laid bare in this book.

We get a feeling of ‘If only Patel had handled Kashmir.. ‘. Once into the book, we are drawn into this moment of truth when the sad reality of the present (2016) stares at us with a devilish smile.

Mountbatten repeatedly deceives Nehru on Kashmir. He hunts with the dog and runs with the hare. While being the Governor General of India, he still serves the interests of Britain and works to fulfill Clement Atlee’s wishes. In this process, he completely deceives Nehru into believing that taking the Kashmir matter to the UN would be in India’s interest. We see that Panditji is completely blown off by the personality of Mountbatten that he agrees with him after some initial murmurs of protest.

And we are left with a boiling Kashmir even after 70 years.

On China, the story is a case of extreme neglect and despair. Sardar Patel writes two very important letters to Panditji that caution him on China and her intentions. Patel is direct and explicit on the threat from the communist neighbour. He goes on to compare the imperialist colonials with the communist tyrants of China and even says that the former are a tad better as the latter are driven by an ideology and hence are more harmful. Panditji choses to ignore those and after 12 years, China gives India one of its worst defeats. If only Nehru had paid heed to the Sardar, the history of the nation could have been vastly different.

In the book we see many things that baffle us completely –  Panditji lies to the Parliament on the Chinese occupation, prevaricates on equipping the army, lies again on the clothing supplied to Indian soldiers, denies knowledge of Chinese road works in the Aksai Chin area, meets alone with Chou En Lai who comes with a team of officers for discussions, and the like. What is clear is that Nehru was willing to believe in Chou En Lai than in the Indian officers on the China situation. When Chou En Lai repeatedly lies on the issue of maps, Nehru acts like a docile pet and accepts whatever the former says.

We get to see Panditji repeatedly saying that the maps that Chou En Lai had shown were old maps of the Kuomintang and that China would amend them once the country stabilized. We also get to see Panditji often misleading the nation on the China situation.

We also find that Nehru’s foreign secretary didn’t have the nerve to approach him with clarifications. One could ask as to why India’s Foreign Minister didn’t meet with Nehru to apprise him. The answer : India didn’t have a foreign minister and Panditji played foreign minister as well.

Even considering that Nehru was overwhelmed due to his age and workload, what baffles us is that he never felt the need for a Foreign Minister. Could Rajaji have filled up that position? With Rajaji’s stature and intelligence- he commanded equal respect and admiration as Panditji – the situation would have probably improved. But Nehru didn’t deem it fit to assign the Foreign Ministry to a full time minister. In an earlier book by Walter Crocker, this is attributed to Nehru’s ‘all knowing brahmanical’ attitude.

Despite the callousness shown by the Chinese media to him and the intemperate words used by the Chinese officials, Panditji fights for a permanent seat for China in the UN. Even Khurushev of the USSR hints that the USSR would recommend India to be the fifth member in the UN Security Council, but Panditji turns the offer down and instead says that including China into the UN was the need of the hour. While even the US was not in favour of another communist power being in the UN Security Council, Nehru feels otherwise.

Panditji shows undue haste in de-recognizing the Chiang-Kai-Shek led Kuomintang government in Taiwan and recognizing Mao’s communist China, despite the fact that Chiang-Kai-Shek was a friend of the Congress and Gandhiji. Nehru gives an impression that he was employed by the PRC (People’s Republic of China) as its PRO (Public Relations Officer). He speaks of recognizing China’s nationhood in every international arena possible. Though he did all these to secure a friend in the Asian context who was anti-colonial, the results were not to India’s benefit.

In spite of all these overtures, China attacked India and humiliated Panditji and the nation. We also see that Nehru sent a series of desperate telegrams to the US seeking immediate military help. This, and the humiliation in the war, dealt a death blow to the grandiose prestige, international and domestic standings of Panditji and he never recovered from that.

Fast forward to 2016 : China uses its Security Council veto power to act against Indian interests and the border dispute with China still persists.

Panditji’s stand on the Uniform Civil Code, Constitutional Amendments and looking the other way when corruption occurred – all these bring down the stature of the first Prime Minister of India. The LIC Mundhra scam, the V.K.Menon episode etc bring down Panditji’s reputation. But, by any stretch of imagination, I don’t mean to say that he was corrupt.

Being a firm believer in democracy, Panditji is seen as striving hard to uphold the democratic ideals in all his actions so much so that he lends himself to be termed ‘indecisive’. In spite of being in awe of the Soviet Union and Communism, Panditji doesn’t believe in implementing the ways of the communist state in India. However, the central planning mechanism that he had implemented has been modeled on the Soviet Union and has proved to be a huge impediment to the nation’s progress. Thankfully, the current PM Modi has done away with the commission.

Panditji is seen striving hard to uphold the system of parliamentary democracy. His many and often lengthy answers to queries in Parliament are evidences to the fact that he believed in treating parliament sacrosanct.

Page after page spews out references to books of yore, written by ex-bureaucrats who had served under the first PM of India, some leading politicians of those times, historians et al.

If you read this book you would learn :

  1. Why some of Panditji’s policies failed.
  2. Who else could have done a better job.
  3. What are the consequences of the failures.

If you don’t read this book:

  1. You would continue to believe in what the CBSE text books would have taught you about Panditji and continue to live in utopia.

P.S.: The book is available here.

Dictionary of Stupidity

Have you ever thought about being stupid or being an idiot ? Never mind if you have not. I have profound experience in that pursuit.

In my relentless pursuit of knowledge to discover the difference between ‘being a stupid’ and ‘being an idiot’, I have come across many more such states in which one might find oneself – between being stupid and an idiot.

Let me explain. I know that I don’t understand satellite technology. Just in case anybody asks me to explain the nuances of the technology that goes in into a satellite, I fumble, flounder, prevaricate, stutter, groan, mutter and generally behave like Rahul on TV. it goes something like this :

Q : ‘Explain satellite technology?’

Me: Technology used in a satellite is satellite technology.

Q: Explain what technologies are used in a satellite

Me: Any technology that is supposed to be used in a satellite is the technology that is used in a satellite.

Q : Well, can you explain any one technology in a satellite ?

Me: Actually, the power to question and know the answer is a trait that manifests itself in the form of a technology that is used in a satellite. And that is …

If the interview proceeds in the aforementioned fashion then I am an idiot.

Suppose I repeat this exercise, again and again, in front of different audiences and appear to show that I am indeed answering the questions and that the answers are relevant, then I am stupid.

In short, the insistence on consistently exhibiting ones’ idiocy and pretending that one is on the right every time results in one being declared stupid.

Note : The explanations provided are trademarked and copyrighted ( copy wronged ?). Any resemblances to any incidents in the past or future or to any Television interview programs, in the past or future, with or without involving Arnob Goswami, are and would be coincidental.

I was Nehru's shadow- review

It is quite easy to heap garbage on people. That too, if the people happen to be past leaders, it becomes all the more lucrative.  And if the person happens to be Jawaharlal Nehru, then he can be vilified no matter what. That is the norm these days.

But this book is not about vilifying Panditji ( Nehru is called Panditji in India). This, for a change, shows in detail about Panditji, the person.

Rustomji was the personal security officer appointed by the government to guard JN ( Nehru is called as JN in this book). And he writes about Panditji from what he saw about him and his interactions with him for no man on earth would have had so close an access to Panditji as Rustomji had. He was the PSO for JN between 1952 and 1958 – those tumultous early days of independence.

Rustomji writes in detail about his daily interactions with JN – what his daily routine used to be, what he would have for breakfast and how his days would be. We get to know of the different speeches that JN made at different points in time in different countries, JNs’ interactions with other world leaders Eisenhower, Chou-En-Lai, U-Nu of Burma, Pakistani leaders, the Saudi royalty, Khrushev and Bulganin of the USSR and the different Indian leaders.

Apart from the routine stuff, what we get to know about JN are his un-ending love for the country, his stubborn resistance to communalism often bordering on utopian-secularism, his strong adherence to ‘socialism’ – the concept failed though in later years, his extra-ordinary efforts to forge friendship between India and China that ultimately led to complacence which resulted in the India-China war in 1962.

JN stands out as a extra-ordinary patriot, a no-nonsense person who fumed at inefficiency, despotism and lethargy, one who stood out as a towering leader during the volatile and unstable time just after independence.

We also come across the human attributes of JN. One such is his ability to get angry and express his emotions in public and soon after try to patch up with the admonished almost immediately.

JN comes out as a person who worked for more than 16 hours per day even if he had had to travel from one part of the country to the other for 15 days in a month. JN apparently had made his routine to conduct his party conferences in far off places from Delhi like Madras ( now Chennai ), Kerala, Assam and the like just to ensure that the people of those regions don’t feel alienated.

We also get to know of Indira Gandhi ( JN’s daughter ) who, unknown to herself, was getting educated in the rough and tumble of Indian politics.

A great read for Indians of the new era who apparently don’t have an insight into the lives of the leaders of yore.

I was Nehru’s shadow- review

It is quite easy to heap garbage on people. That too, if the people happen to be past leaders, it becomes all the more lucrative.  And if the person happens to be Jawaharlal Nehru, then he can be vilified no matter what. That is the norm these days.

But this book is not about vilifying Panditji ( Nehru is called Panditji in India). This, for a change, shows in detail about Panditji, the person.

Rustomji was the personal security officer appointed by the government to guard JN ( Nehru is called as JN in this book). And he writes about Panditji from what he saw about him and his interactions with him for no man on earth would have had so close an access to Panditji as Rustomji had. He was the PSO for JN between 1952 and 1958 – those tumultous early days of independence.

Rustomji writes in detail about his daily interactions with JN – what his daily routine used to be, what he would have for breakfast and how his days would be. We get to know of the different speeches that JN made at different points in time in different countries, JNs’ interactions with other world leaders Eisenhower, Chou-En-Lai, U-Nu of Burma, Pakistani leaders, the Saudi royalty, Khrushev and Bulganin of the USSR and the different Indian leaders.

Apart from the routine stuff, what we get to know about JN are his un-ending love for the country, his stubborn resistance to communalism often bordering on utopian-secularism, his strong adherence to ‘socialism’ – the concept failed though in later years, his extra-ordinary efforts to forge friendship between India and China that ultimately led to complacence which resulted in the India-China war in 1962.

JN stands out as a extra-ordinary patriot, a no-nonsense person who fumed at inefficiency, despotism and lethargy, one who stood out as a towering leader during the volatile and unstable time just after independence.

We also come across the human attributes of JN. One such is his ability to get angry and express his emotions in public and soon after try to patch up with the admonished almost immediately.

JN comes out as a person who worked for more than 16 hours per day even if he had had to travel from one part of the country to the other for 15 days in a month. JN apparently had made his routine to conduct his party conferences in far off places from Delhi like Madras ( now Chennai ), Kerala, Assam and the like just to ensure that the people of those regions don’t feel alienated.

We also get to know of Indira Gandhi ( JN’s daughter ) who, unknown to herself, was getting educated in the rough and tumble of Indian politics.

A great read for Indians of the new era who apparently don’t have an insight into the lives of the leaders of yore.