Home > History, India, Media, Politics > A case of full blown hubris!

A case of full blown hubris!

Full blown case of hubris! (Artist - Michael Cummings - Publisher - Daily Express - Date of publication - 11 May 1958)

Full blown case of hubris! (Artist - Michael Cummings - Publisher - Daily Express, Britain; Date of publication - 11 May 1958).

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.

Nehru and Zhou Enlai /Chou en lai (Picture courtesy - Outlook)

Nehru and Zhou Enlai /Chou en lai (Picture courtesy - Outlook)

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.

Nehru regarded Eisenhower highly. On the other hand, Nehru’s overtures to Stalin were met with hesitation.

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

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.

  1. A Fan of your blog
    May 27, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Indian democracy is a joke. Its a feudal system where people get to vote to bring back the same zamindars/sahebs back into power every time. Elections are not issue based. Educated people stay away from the mess and continue to live under the delusion that keeping away from the process is somehow a good thing. Abuse of power is rampant. I don’t see how anything will get better any time soon.

  2. May 27, 2010 at 3:59 pm


    Which democracy, according to you is the ‘best’!

  3. A Fan of your blog
    May 27, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    I am not interested in rankings of democracies. What is important is if they deliver on their self-professed agendas and mandates.

  4. May 27, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Since you were specific about Indian democracy being a joke! It seems to imply that (at least some) other democracies are NOT a joke.

    Which democracy makes ‘most’ sense to you!

  5. A Fan of your blog
    May 27, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    My emphasis on “Indian democracy”, NOT on “Indian”.

    So, your question of which democracy makes sense to me is moot.

    Is there anything in my post that you do not agree with?

  6. May 27, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Just asking!

    Are you being skeptical about India, democracy or Indian democracy as compared to others which are working better (in your estimation, experience, exposure, empirical data).

  7. A Fan of your blog
    May 27, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Anuraag Sanghi :Just asking!
    Are you being skeptical about India, democracy or Indian democracy as compared to others which are working better (in your estimation, experience, exposure, empirical data).

    My exposure has predominantly to two democracies: Indian and US. Since you ask, I am of the opinion (for whatever it is worth) that the US democracy is far better than the Indian democracy. There are two aspects which I believe one fares better than the other: a) living standards for the middle class (access to basic amenities for livelihood) and protection of individual rights and freedom. My perspective comes from middle class living in both countries.

    However, my comments on Indian democracy where generic and not comparative. I am very well connected with Indian

  8. May 28, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    I think you must take a 2ndlook! At both Indian and American democracy.

    The 2ndlook site has numerous posts, where this propaganda has been demolished!

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