CENTRE for POLICY ANALYSIS

CENTRE for POLICY ANALYSIS

“Social progress can be measured by the social position of the female sex” - Karl Marx

OPINION


BJP: Hiding Failures, Targeting Nehru


What strikes one about the BJP manifesto, is the absence of any mention of what their government achieved, as the same promises are being repeated with a stronger dose of ultra-nationalism. In public speeches its leaders are attributing the failures of their government to Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first prime minster. While speaking at a public meeting Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi criticised Narendra Modi saying, "He has an obsession with our family. He says Nehru did this, Indira Gandhi did this, but Modiji what did you do, you must say what you did in five years?" In addition, even in matters of the BJP's failure of their diplomacy and policy in relation to other countries, blame is squarely put on Nehru in some or other way.

In the aftermath of Pulwama and the Balakot strike, the UN condemned the act of terror and there was a move to put international sanctions against Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azar. China blocked the move. In response Rahul Gandhi criticised PM Modi for his failure to take up matters with China so they would support sanctions against this Pakistan based terrorist organisation. Retaliating to this simple criticism, BJP spokespersons Arun Jaitley and Ravishakar Prasad asserted that it was due to Nehru that China is in the United Nations Security Council. Prasad tweeted, "China wouldn't be in UNSC had your great-grandfather not 'gifted' it to them at India's cost," implying that India's first prime minister had offered the United Nations Security Council seat to China. Prasad quoted from Shashi Tharoor's book Nehru: The Invention of India. It was a distorted presentation of what Tharoor argues in the book.

This is one of the methods of the BJP and affiliates: to distort the facts of history, even recent history, to make their political point. One knows how they have distorted medieval history to demonise today's Muslims; one knows how they have twisted the history of early India to fabulate that a supposed race of Aryans were the original natives of this land. Now one sees that even contemporary history, just decades old, stands mauled in their hands. It is not out of ignorance, it is out of deliberate designs that they indulge in these distortions.

We know that when the United Nations was formed at the end of Second World War, the five rich nations of the World, the United States, Britain, Russia, France and China were to be permanent members of the Security Council of the UN, endowed with veto power. China was the time ruled by Chiang Kai Shek and was called the Republic of China. With the success of the revolution of Mao Tse Tung, Chiang Kai Shek escaped to Taiwan and continued to call his regime the RoC. Meanwhile Mao's Communist Party established the People's Republic of China on the mainland with all the population, barring Taiwan which was held by Chiang Kai Shek.

Shashi Tharoor in a series of tweets clarified the true chronology of events. After the change of regime in China, Nehru called on the other permanent members to admit Communist China (the People's Republic) into the UN and give it the permanent seat on the Security Council held by Taiwan. The US understood the objection to the RoC, but they were unwilling to admit the Communist PRC. In this context it was suggested that India take over China's permanent seat. Nehru felt this was wrong and would compound one injustice to China with another. He said that the RoC seat should be given to the PRC, and India should one day get a permanent seat in its own right. As per Tharoor, and as records bear out, India could not anyway have occupied this seat at the time, as it would have required amending the UN Charter and the US would not permit any such modification.

It was only much later that Communist China was accorded permanent membership, replacing the Chiang Kai Shek regime. The main issue for Nehru was to see that Communist China becomes part of the World body. And he knew of the diverse interests of the United States on one hand and the USSR on the other. Nehru was no one to offer or "gift" the seat to the PRC.

The latest on the scene of such distortions is Modi's saying that India's partition took place due to the Congress. This is the most preposterous lie in many a decade. It not only shows the lack of knowledge of the dynamics of the partition tragedy of India on Modi's part, it also shows how Modi associates are sharpening their biases to suit their world view. The tragedy of India's partition was due mainly to the British policy of divide and rule, well assisted by VD Savarkar's "Two Nation Theory" which held that there were two nations in India, the Muslim nation and the Hindu nation. This got its mirror image support from the ideology of the Muslim League, who argued that the Muslim elite had been a Muslim nation for the last many centuries.

The malicious propaganda against Nehru-Congress may strike a chord with a few unsuspecting elements, but even a cursory glance at contemporary history will tell us of the massive all round progress achieved during the last several decades. Whether in the field of education, science, technology, health, laying the foundations of modern industries or modern irrigation, Nehru's leadership was a major point in the transformation of India from a predominantly agricultural economy to the present industrial and information technology era. All the IITs, AIIMS, CSIR, BARC and a series of public sector industries are a testimony to the vision of the builder of modern India, Jawaharlal Nehru, who not only succeeded in securing our place upon the global chessboard, but also saw that modernisation in various fields is the key to uplifting the country from the abysmal condition in which the British left us after their plunder project drained us of our valuable resources and riches. Since the BJP knows that Nehru is the axis of modern democratic India, as opposed to their agenda of elitist sectarianism, they are out to criticise him by distorting the facts.

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