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Legend of the fall

Legend of the fall

Author: B.N. Sharma
Publiction: Pioneer
Date: December 28, 2003

Several contributors and letter-writers to The Pioneer have recently criticised those who question the relevance of the Nehruvian vision. India has long been ill-served by its political leaders, especially after Independence. If one had to single out one man responsible for all our misfortunes, political, military and economic, the finger would point at Nehru. Adored by the fawning masses, he led an unsuspecting nation to its worst disasters.  While national boundaries were being drawn after India's vivisection, he allowed Hindu majority areas to be gifted away to Pakistan: Thar Parkar in Sindh, with an 80 per cent Hindu population, Lahore in Punjab, Sylhet in Assam, Khulna in Bengal and the Chittagong hill tracts with 90 per cent Hindus and Buddhists.

During Partition riots, Nehru blinked at the massacre of millions of Hindus without any threat of retributive justice, thanks to a weak-kneed policy of non-violence and to sustain his brand of secularism. He buckled under Master Tara Singh's threat, transferring Sikhs and Hindus out of West Punjab to safety. But in Bengal, he was fooled by Liaqat Ali Khan's phony assurance and forced Hindus to stay back and face genocide. The Kashmir problem would not have arisen had Nehru, overcoming his personal hostility to Maharaja Hari Singh, accepted his offer of accession to the Indian Union. Sheikh Abdullah stayed Nehru's hand as he negotiated for a merger with Pakistan on condition of being made the ruler of Kashmir, an offer MA Jinnah spurned. This delay forced the Maharaja into a standstill agreement with both dominions and allowed Pakistan to send forces into Kashmir. Jinnah would have been outmanoeuvred had Nehru been prompt enough to sideline the Sheikh and accept the Maharaja's offer. He later rushed to the United Nations and ordered a ceasefire before our troops could complete the task of liberating the whole of Kashmir. The Delhi agreement of 1950 (on Article 370) against Patel's insistence, came about due to Nehru's cussedness.

Nehru also ceded Tibet to China by conceding its claim of sovereignty and, worse, stymied debate in the UN despite US backing for the Tibetan cause. This led to the disappearance of a friendly buffer state against an expansionist China. When Nehru was waffling in Parliament that the Indo-Tibetan boundary was not demarcated, Balraj Madhok had to remind him of the Treaty of Leh signed September 2, 1841, between Maharaja Gulab Singh and the Tibet Government. Nehru was flummoxed. During the Dalai Lama's flight from Leh, he genuflected to China, whetting its appetite for more territory. His blind belief in Panchsheel led to the 1962 disaster, leaving 130,000 sq. kms of the national territory of Ladakh and the NEFA in Chinese hands.

Nehru's stubborn faith in socialism froze individual entrepreneurship and stunted economic growth. His 'secularism' meant Hindu-baiting and pandering to Muslims, communists and the Arab world. He exiled men of substance like Acharya Kriplani, Jayaprakash Narayan, PD Tandon and SP Mookerjee, and his pro-Soviet agenda straitjacketed foreign policy-with disastrous results.

Nehru was a no-where man: Hindu by birth, Muslim at heart and English in thought and deed, who neither understood Hinduism nor the Indian idiom. His three-pronged secularism-socialism-nonalignment agenda lies in a shambles. As the embalmed body of Stalin was removed from the Red Square, India, which suffered at Nehru's hands, should have the courage to remove his name from all its memorials. He is the false god we need to stop worshipping.

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