Dubey can’t explain why Mao Tse-tung dealt a severe blow to Nehru’s ‘Hindi-Chini, bhai-bhai’ sort of mumbo-jumbo, and why the latter had to seek military help from US President JF Kennedy to ward off further drubbing from China.
Jagmohan writes positively about Nehru’s concern vis-à-vis urban planning, but does some plain-speaking about his handling of Jammu & Kashmir. Sheikh Abdullah is rightly described as one “with streaks of megalomania and duplicity embedded deep in his mind”, and how he was “nursing secret ambitions to carve out a virtual Sheikhdom for himself and his coterie”. Jagmohan also talks about the “first mistake” made by Maharaja Hari Singh who “flirted with the idea of independence”.
Constitutional expert Subhas Kashyap, who had known Nehru since his student days in Allahabad, provides interesting details regarding his interactions with him, long before he became the Prime Minister. He also lists the critique of Nehru, even though very briefly: For accepting Partition; for “decimating by design the ideologically-based healthy Opposition and alternative to the Congress — the Praja Socialist Party”; for ditching Subhas Chandra Bose; for weakening within the Congress the liberal Left by ousting the socialists; and, for his faulty approaches towards Kashmir and China. Nehru’s disastrous politics of making Indian state anti-Hindu, and his refusal to carry out an exchange of population between India and Pakistan (as demanded by many Muslim leaders) are, however, missed out.
MV Kamath, despite his fascination for Nehru, offers fulsome praise to Netaji Bose, and how his disappearance “took away the only competitor to Nehru”. Kamath is bothered by Nehru’s “disdain for Hinduism”, and offended by his refusal to associate himself with the rebuilding of the Somnath temple. He also criticises Nehru for refusing the permanent membership of the UN Security Council, besides his mistakes on Tibet, Kashmir, Krishna Menon, among others.
K Natwar Singh, surprisingly, notes how Nehru was “shackled by his own version of history”, and how the “ambiguities of history bypassed him”. He admits: “Nehru had grievously faulted on Kashmir and China”. It would, however, surprise many to know that Nehru was “sympathetic to the demand of Jews for a homeland”. On the Kashmir issue, Singh says, “The melancholy fact is that Nehru converted an entirely domestic matter into an international one. This was no ordinary blunder.” He is honest enough to say that even after 63 years, it is a “strain to condone Nehru for accepting Mountbatten’s advice to take the Kashmir issue to the United Nations”. He also talks about how Sheikh Abdullah, a member of the Indian delegation to the UN in 1948, actually “undercut” India’s position by calling for Kashmir’s independence in a private conversation with Warren R Austin, the American delegate to the UN.
Karan Singh, predictably, avoids being critical of Nehru’s handling of Kashmir. Far from providing any insight, which he was perhaps best equipped to do, he has not a word to say on either the Abdullahs or the jihadi strand in the Valley. He errs in saying that our Constitution-makers created a secular state — the fact remains that it was the Hindu-Buddhist ethos that made India secular. It’s a different matter that our ‘secular’ politicians have turned it into an anti-Hindu, pseudo-secular state.
Inder Malhotra’s piece justifies every fault of Nehru, and calls him the “moderniser” of India. The reality is that the process of modernisation was initiated long before Nehru was born, by people like Raja Rammohun Roy, Dayananda Saraswati, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar in the social realm and Dadabhai Naoroji, Surendranath Banerjee, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Babasaheb Ambedkar in the political domain.
No twist in Nehru tale
(Truly a blunder for India and we are still paying the price. I personally believe that Nehru was imposed by the likes of Brits and Gandhi - who overruled internal elections of congress and forced traitor self-hating anti-Hindu Nehru as PM over Patel)