Belgium expressed regret for its role in the 1961 murder of the former Belgian Congo’s first prime minister after independence, there has been no talk here of a British apology for imperial wrongs. (via Displaying An Empire For Posterity – NYTimes.com).
Familiar pattern! First create stereotypes, then caricature these stereotypes. Preferably demonize these people. After this, killing these ‘demons’ is not a problem. Nobody remembers Patrice Lummumba anymore, anyway! No tears for you, Patrice!
Killing you wuz public service! Right, Leopold!!
In the years after independence, Nehru and Edwina Mountbatten continued to meet, and write, and share a love of India. When she died, suddenly, at the age of 58, Nehru sent an Indian Navy frigate to the spot where she had been buried at sea in the English Channel, to cast a single wreath of marigolds. (via Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire – Alex von Tunzelmann – Books – Review – New York Times).
No one to check him
This is beyond my imagination! Sending an Indian Navy ship to throw flowers at a girl friend’s funeral!
Without a leader of competing stature within the Congress, to check his growing hubris, Nehru’s disconnect grew. Gandhiji was assassinated in 1948. Sardar Patel was no more by the end of 1950. Ambedkar in 1956 and in 1958, Maulana Azad passed away.
From the opposition, Savarakar was rendered toothless after being charged in Gandhiji’s assassination. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee died in 1953, JB Kripalani, JP Narayan, Vinoba Bhave all ‘retired’ from electoral politics. Leaving Nehru to run freely.
On the other hand, Nehru coopted the CPI, Ram Manohar Lohia et al, into espousing radical variations of his socialist policies.
Nehru and Eisenhower
Internationally, Nehru became close to Dwight Eisenhower. Eisenhower’s ideas of the ‘military-industrial’ complex, his infamous ‘domino theory’, in 1954, appealed to Nehru.
It was during Eisenhower presidency that both America and India were on the same side regarding the Anglo-French-Israeli Suez invasion and the Hungarian crackdown by the Soviets.
The US also used Tibet and India to confront China – who the US was fighting in the Korean peninsula. It was Eisenhower’s repeated threats to use nuclear weapons which made the Chinese back off to the 38th parallel – and created a North Korean strategy to obtain nuclear weapons.
Nehru’s schizophrenic policy of ‘Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai’ on one hand, and ‘forward positions’ policy on the other hand, without adequate military, diplomatic preparation, tempted the Chinese to ‘teach India a lesson.’ The CIA deluded Tibet into a confrontation with China, by ‘training’ some stragglers and irregulars.
1956 Elections – Socialist Gains
Eisenhower’s Domino story seemed to resonate in Nehru’s mind after the 1956 election. A shocked Nehru stampeded towards socialism. CPI and the Praja Socialist Party, won 19.33% of the combined vote – versus Nehru’s Congress which got 47.78% of popular vote. The performance of the Praja Socialist Party, a party formed in 1952, whose founder-members were Jayaprakash Narayan, Ram Manohar Lohia, JB Kripalani, was especially unnerving. This challenge to Nehru within 10 years of Independence from a non-Congress platform made these socialist leaders, legends in their own lifetime.
Echoes from the past
Did the advance of the oppressive Nehruvian State spark the Mohammed Rafi song – Chal ud je ray panchi, Yeh desh hua begaana चल उड़ जा रे पंछी, के अब यह देस हुआ बेगाना from Bhabhi (1957) – starring Balraj Sahni, Nanda, Jagdeep, Durga Khote et al. Music was Chitragupt and lyrics were Rajendra Krishan.
Other 2ndlook posts on Nehru
- Warped Indian history – By Nehru
- Cong plans defend-Nehru movement
- India & Socialism – Nehruvian Folly?
India-China Timeline (Source – India Today)
|1949: India recognises the People’s Republic of China.1950: India opposes UN resolutions branding China as an aggressor in the Korean war.
1954: China and India sign Panchsheel treaty.
1955: India objects to the inclusion of a portion of northern frontier on the official map of China.
1956: Chou en Lai visits India for the second time. The border question is formally raised.
1958: India objects to inclusion of parts of Assam and NEFA as part of Chinese territories in its maps.
1959: Dalai Lama escapes from Tibet, India gives asylum. China refuses to accept the McMohan line. Chinese troops kill nine Indian soldiers and capture 10 in Aksai Chin.
1960: Pushed by Khrushchev, Chou en Lai meets Nehru in Delhi. Talks end in a deadlock.
1961: Border skirmishes intensify.
1962: China captures Bomdilla and then announces an unilateral ceasefire.
1962: Colombo proposals negotiated between Nehru and Chou en Lai.
The three crucial broadcasts were made not by Churchill but by an actor hired to impersonate him. Norman Shelley, who played Winnie-the-Pooh for the BBC’s Children’s Hour, ventriloquized Churchill for history and fooled millions of listeners. Perhaps Churchill was too much incapacitated by drink to deliver the speeches himself. (via The New York Times > Books > First Chapters > First Chapter: ‘Love, Poverty, and War’).
To use an actor to deliver a speech, in the middle of WW2. To fool the British public itself, calls for a certain brazenness.
Whatever one may fault the British for, at propaganda they are the best. To drown facts under a tidal wave of falsities, shows British mastery over the ‘science’ of propaganda. I am sure that propaganda is what Indian ancients referred to as माया maya. There are some other gems also in this post – about British propaganda, which persist even today. Worth a read!
Why am I not surprised by British acknowledgment of Goebbels as a ‘better at propaganda.’
If skyscrapers were an index of success, wealth and power, then a trend is certainly visible. The balance of power is shifting to the East. Seven of the top 10 tallest buildings are in Asia—four in China, two in Malaysia, one in Taiwan. Just two are in the US, one of which is a 1974 building.
But it does not look as if India or Indians are unduly worried about failing on another parameter of global ranking. The lack of interest or even public debate on getting India on the tall building map could mean several things. One, we are not at the stage of economic growth where having the tallest building becomes something to think about. Two, there is no massive speculative real estate bubble in the country and cheap money is certainly not an issue. Three, the argumentative Indian does not need the prop of an icon of American culture to define India’s identity or its place in the world. Or it could just be that we are so sure that a fire in the tallest building will end in disaster with the fire engines that can reach all of 10 storeys stuck in a traffic jam caused by a broken-down cycle on the main road. Nope, we don’t even want to go that way. (via Reaching for the sky: How tall is my country – Columns – livemint.com).
When Vilasrao Deshmukh announced that he wanted Mumbai to be the next Shanghai, Indians hooted with laughter. He was never taken seriously after that. Nehru declared his disconnect with India after Tryst With Destiny speech – and his temples of modern India. Is it surprising that the most respected post-Independence leader is Sardar Patel.
While most of English speaking India moans about infrastructure, that the rich need, there is complete silence about what the poor in this country need. India’s poor don’t need monuments. And our rich and powerful are blind to this.
The poor are such a bother!
Monika Halan, (post linked and extracted above) finally cannot resist taking a swipe at the poor! The article ends in a scenario of a burning high rise, in which the rich residents are trapped, and the fire engines to save the rich, are thwarted because a poor man’s bicycle has disrupted the traffic!!
We must banish the poor! Off with their heads!!