Ch-12 Extracts: Dynacracy & Hubris

Dynacracy and Hubris

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 Not seldom are those critical of Nehru reminded it is thanks to him India is a democracy, whose fruits all Indians are enjoying—including criticising him. Does the contention hold? Elections were conducted in India during the British times too. Congress had not only won the 1937-elections and formed ministries in many states; post elections, with power in their hands, they had already become so corrupt that Gandhi had desired disbanding of Congress after independence. It is the Constitution of India that provided for universal adult franchise, not Nehru.

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Nehru’s own election as the president of Congress in 1946, that led to his becoming India's first prime minister upon independence, was undemocratic—looking to his obduracy, he was actually anointed by Gandhi, as the majority of the electoral body had proposed Sardar Patel, while none had proposed Nehru. If Nehru were genuinely a democrat, he should have refused the position and gone by the wishes of the overwhelming majority.

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I do not like Gandhiji’s appeasement of the Nehrus. We in Bengal represent the real revolutionary force. Jawahar only talks. We act.

– Netaji Subhas Bose

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Undoubtedly it would have been better if Nehru had been asked to be the Foreign Minister and Patel made the Prime Minister. I too fell into the error of believing that Jawaharlal was the more enlightened person of the two.

– Rajaji, who had been pro-Nehru and anti-Patel

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When we are faced with thorny problems, and Gandhi’s advice is not available, we consider Sardar Patel as our leader.

– Acharya Kripalani

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If Nehru was a true democrat, he should have taken a page out of the US Constitution, and limited the term of a prime minister to just two terms—like the President of the US. Not only that, on completion of two terms passing on the baton to one’s kin should also have been prohibited, to ensure dynasties did not take over politics. Dynasties have a vested interest in continuance at the expense of the nation. They also have a vested interest in covering up all the wrong doings of the dynasty.

George Washington, co-founder of the USA and proclaimed the “Father of the Country”, had firmly declined to serve for more than two terms (eight years) despite requests to continue and despite no law then prohibiting more than two terms—that came only in 1947. US presidents have followed that tradition laid down by Washington in 1797.

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It is no less strange that Nehru clung to office for so long. It would have been of help to the cause of parliamentary democracy in India if he had stood down...This is what Kemal Ataturk did...For one thing his long domination sapped the opposition; the opposition is an essential part of parliamentary democracy...

– Walter Crocker, Nehru: A Contemporary's Estimate

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Democracy grafted on a nation with a strong feudal mindset is likely to degenerate into dynacracy, unless the leaders who matter consciously devote themselves to ensuring it does not happen, both by setting an example themselves and by putting in place appropriate systems. Nehrus did the reverse. The dynastic politics that Nehru started and thus sanctified, and what was even more shamelessly promoted by his daughter, has now vitiated and poisoned our whole democratic system. Following in the footsteps of Motilal, Jawaharlal and Indira, now most leaders promote their own dynasty in politics. We are now already in the era of blooming dynacracy!

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Liaquat Ali Khan and Nehru almost came to blows in the interim government’s cabinet, when Nehru named his sister Nan [Vijaylakshmi Pandit] as India’s first ambassador to Moscow. Liaquat was livid at such autocratic blatant nepotism, but his protests fell on deaf ears. Nehru yelled louder and threatened to resign immediately if Dickie [Mountbatten] supported Liaquat in the matter.

– Stanley Wolpert, Nehru

(Episode of the Interim Government in 1946)

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Another such instance I remember was when Dr. S. Radhakrishnan was president of India...I used to call on him whenever I was in Delhi... In his talks with me, as I believe with others too, he was very frank and open. One day, when I went to him he said, ‘Nijalingappa, today I put my foot down. Do you know why?’ He then continued, ‘Pandit Nehru comes to me and wants me to make his sister, Vijay Lakshmi Pandit, vice-president of India. I had to tell him, “You are the prime minister of India, your daughter is the president of Indian National Congress and you want your sister to be vice-president. What would people say? I cannot have it.” I put my foot down and sent him away.

– S. Nijalingappa, My Life and Politics

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Suddenly, at this juncture, Indira Gandhi, Jawaharlal’s daughter, was named party president. Her talents were yet a secret, and she had no experience of party work. Several of Nehru’s colleagues were offended by the choice but said nothing. C.R. [Rajagopalachari] was outraged.

– Rajmohan Gandhi, Rajaji: A Life

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Calling Nehru, for the first time, ‘the Congress dictator’, C.R.[Rajaji] also said: ‘The single-brain activity of the people who meet in Congress is to find out what is in Jawaharlal’s mind and to anticipate it. The slightest attempt at dissent meets with stern disapproval and is nipped in the bud.’

– Rajmohan Gandhi, Rajaji: A Life

 Sycophancy commenced with Nehru and reached its ugly climax with Indira Gandhi and her descendents.

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Cambridge is becoming too full of Indians!

– Jawaharlal Nehru to his father as his reason for going to Oxford

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Freedom is not just political freedom. The meaningful freedoms for individuals are freedom from hunger, freedom from poverty, freedom from insecurity, freedom from life of indignity, freedom from injustice, freedom from the stinking squalor of our metros, cities, towns and villages, freedom from disease, freedom from corruption and nepotism, freedom from illiteracy, freedom from ill-governance, freedom from kleptocracy, freedom to advance in life, freedom to prosper, freedom to lead quality life, and freedom to create quality life for our descendents.

Those freedoms Nehruvian policies deprived us of, and thanks to the systems put in place by him, continue to do so; though, to some extent, there has been a creative destruction thanks to the initiatives since the time of Narsimha Rao—but, that is still limited.

To attain those freedoms, the two necessary pre-conditions are freedom from the Nehruvian claptrap—deNehrufication, in other words; and freedom from Dynasty, that is, deDynastification—freedom from dynasties not only at the national level, but also at the state levels. 

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