Rajiv Tuli talks about 12 persons and things that has held India back and created problems that the present day government is grappling with.
- Partition and Mayhem
The ulcers of Partition are yet to heal. If you read the events unfolding the partition of India, you will be surprised to find that till 1940, there was no ‘idea’ of Pakistan. Lahore Resolution for Pakistan was passed on 23 March1940. In just a span of 7 years, a major part of India was separated and amputated. This was on the basis of religion with India and Pakistan emerging as two Nation-States. The post-independence official academicians and left liberal intellectuals left no stone unturned to justify that the partition was not based on religion but was an exigency of time. As per them, following the communal-divide, partition was an inevitable event which could only have stopped the increasing religious animosity between Hindus and Muslims. This separation led to 2 million innocent people being butchered with 14 million people being displaced. The number of civilian deaths and mayhem was equal to civilian deatha of the Allies Power of World-War-1 (minus Russia). The displacement of 14 million people still carries the distinction of the largest displacement in the History including the World-war-II refugee crisis. It had the negative distinction of the largest number of people killed in civilian riots. It was a complete incompetence, dereliction and criminal breach on the part of the then leadership officially led by Nehru who could not ensure the peaceful resettlement and prevent the avoidable bloodbath.
- Romanticism, Adhocism and incompetence of Nehru
Eulogized and over-adored by the Left-intellectuals of India, Nehru was more than a curse to the idea of ‘India’. He is claimed to have been ‘architect of modern-India’. He had many advantages on his side. He got the legacy of the freedom struggle which was the most heterogeneous cross section Pan-India struggle. He was an undisputed leader of the dominant-party Congress having almost no challenges from any opposition for 17 long years till his death in 1964. He was so influential on the body-politic that he was able to stir the ‘Idea of India’ till he died. Most of the problems which are faced by today’s India like Kashmir, Sino-India border dispute, India’s struggle for a permanent seat in Unites Nations all have genesis in the class-background and personality traits of Nehru. He was an architect who single-handedly created the Kashmir issue that weighs India down to this day. He first refused Jammu and Kashmir’s accession to India when it was first offered in September 1947; secondly he accepted accession only if the accession was made “temporary” and “conditional” though offered unconditionally; thirdly, by taking Kashmir issues suo moto to UN under Chapter VI in which dispute are to be resolved thereby admitting that it was a disputed territory instead of Chapter VII which calls upon the Security Council to act against aggression. Ironically, his short-sightedness prevented the Indian Army from liberating the whole of Jammu & Kashmir from Pakistani invaders at the end of 1948. It was he who devised, despite opposition from Patel and Ambedkar, Article 370 and Article 35A of the Indian constitution that give special status to the state. It was his romanticism and faulty idealism that he rejected American & Soviet offers of a permanent seat in 1955, in a very rare move in the background of the Cold-War animosity. What could be the better ‘tryst with destiny’ that an acclaimed leader of a nation rejecting the coveted and powerful seat in UNSC on the plea that his ‘Chinese Brotherhood’ deserves it more than his country! Nehru ensured that China got a Permanent seat at the UN Security Council, at the expense of India who has continued to jeopardize national-interest of India till today be it the case of Azhar Mashhod or others. In spite of all his credentials, Nehru ceded the Aksai China abhorring that ‘not a blade of grass grows there (Ladakh), we did not even know where it was!
- Adhocism in Foreign Policy
India’s foreign policy was dominated by Nehru till he died in 1964. Nehru is hailed as a keen scholar of the world-history. He is credited with some idealistic and utopian ideas like non-alignment which are hailed as his achievements in foreign affairs. In his erroneous judgments and romantic pursuit of international-glory, he focused his attention on Chinese involvement in Korea instead of Chinese’s aggression in Tibet in 1950. Nehru grossly underestimated the Chinese designs. In his Chinese policy, he gave the notions of ‘Panchsheel, ‘Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai’ but did nothing on ground to foresee Chinese intention and aggression. Despite being a self-acclaimed scholar of world-affairs and statesman, he could not read the prevailing international Cuba-crisis. China took this opportunity as the world-powers and attention of the world was diverted to the Cuban Missile Crisis. Nehru indulged in the opportunistic Forward policy triggering Chinese suspicion destroying trust after the Panchsheel agreement. India suffered a humiliating debacle and led to bad Indo-Chinese relationship for decades as a result of this humiliating war and ensuing hostility. None of our non-aligned friends came to our rescue. Another misadventure was gifting of Gifting CoCo Island to Burma who in turn leased it to China in 1994 and became a permanent threat to our national security. In 1971, we lost politically what we won militarily following the much hyped Shimla-Agreement.
- Leftist historians and Intellectuals
Thanks to the proximity of Nehru to the Soviet-Union and his bend towards socialism, the Leftist intellectuals and historians got undue clout in all the academic-institutes, institution policy-making posts and education-institutes and universities. This led to the left-intelligentsia dictating as the main stream of narration of Indian History at institutional-level. In their frenzy to interpret the historical narratives from their ‘scientific-perspective’, they undermined the basic tenants and glory of Indian past. It was a systemic destroying the idea of India. Be it the theory of Aryan-Invasion, downgrading the achievements of great empires like Chola and Vijaynagar or the struggles between the invading Muslim forces and their attempt to establish the Mughal-empire; anything which was ‘India’ was systematically attacked and destroyed. Even the freedom-struggle was narrated as a class-struggle where the Indian-capitalist led by Gandhi were ready to mingle with the Britishers if the position of the former was at stake from the radicalization the lower classes who were claimed to be up in arm against both the Britishers and the Indian capitalist.
- Indira Gandhi
Tunku Varadarajan (executive editor at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution) terms Indira Gandhi as India’s original elected autocrat, who ran her Congress party like a family fiefdom for most of her years as prime minister, grooming her younger son as successor. This dynastic rule of Gandhi-family continued to control the body-politic of India till 2020. She is credited with bringing first dictatorial and authoritarian government with the help of bureaucracy culminating in the infamous ‘Emergency”. There was a systematic attempt to destroy the basic institutions of India be it bureaucracy, judiciary or any other constitutional-posts. She destroyed the idea of secular-India by attacking the Golden Temple thereby eroding the basic social fabric of India where one religious minority was used as creating a fear-psychosis in the majority. Her communal-adventure led to the massacre and genocide of many innocents from the most valiant community, Sikhs of India following her own killing.
- Unholy Trinity of ‘Selective-Secularism’, Appeasement and Adhocism
According to dictionary the word secularism means ‘The principle of separation of the state from religious institutions’. In Indian context it is state having equidistance from all religions. This was far from truth. Secularism is not truly a secular thought in India. It is a highly misused term by almost everyone as per his convenience. Right from the post-independence, secularism has been used as a camouflage to appease the minorities particularly the Muslim-minority. Indian courts recognize Sharia-based Muslim Personal Law, government provides financial assistance to educational institutions run by religious organizations, the then Rajeev Gandhi’s government took U-Turn regarding the Shah Bano case just to save the ‘secularism’; all indicate how the loose and ambiguous interpretation of the word ‘secular’ has truly destroyed the very secular character of the Indian culture. It has been used as a weapon against the majority to bereft it from its due share.
- Socialist Policies of Economic-development and State-led Growth
The post independence policy of development was aimed at state-led growth. It led to creating a bureaucratic license Raj. To grow a newly independent nation, India needed a balance of capitalist policies to grow the economic pie and socialist policies to divide it so everyone can share the bounty of economic prosperity. These short sighted planned policies led to a retarded growth of which was less than 3% till 1991 while even Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, African backward countries were growing at a faster rate of 5.2%. The growth rate was mocked as Hindu Growth rate internationally. This policy was abandoned by the same ‘socialist’ giving way to Liberalization, Privatization, Globalization in 1991.
- Post-independence education Policies
Post-independence, we inherited and followed very passionately the Macaulay system of education which was aimed at producing Indians in skin but Britishers in soul. Indian education is still largely influenced by British system of education which was meant to produce clerk or postmaster kind of job. The worst part of post-independence education policy was lack of “Indianisation of education”. Anything foreign was seen as good and it became a standard of evaluation. Our intellectuals succumbed to the cultural-hegemony of the West and whatever was imported be it an idea or a thing was seen as good. This led to producing the largest English speaking middle class which dominates the narratives of India till now. Our higher education courses were meant to feed the foreign universities and institutes like NASA. It typically undermined skill education and creativity. Besides, we were never able to appreciate the glory of our values, past and culture.
- Elitist Indian Bureaucracy
On independence, we inherited the British System of bureaucracy whose main purpose was meant to control and maintain the Raj. Its primary function was to maintain law and order and secure the commercial interests of the Empire. We failed to Indianise the bureaucracy making it sensitive to the needs and demands of Indian society. This ‘steel frame of India’ rusted India more than any other institution. It worked at a slow-pace, retarded the initiative and policy implementation and worked as a class in itself championing its own interests in the veil of anonymity. It works on adhocism, delaying decision tactics and giving preference to rules than substance. It is not an overstatement to say that it is not the politicians who have failed India; it is the bureaucracy who has failed us badly.
- Lutyens Media
Lutyens Media is a term used for the section of left leaning media houses and ‘Liberal intelligentsia’ who thrived and enjoyed all perks during the Congress regime owing to their proximity to the powers that be. They claim to have the monopoly of the ‘Truth’ and when their narrative is not accepted or validated on the popular mandates of democracy; they come with the theories of post-truth, false-narratives and illusory-issues. This gang has been in hands and glove with the system and even worked as power-broker in many cases. Be it the case of Neera Radia Tapes or NDTV Frauds, their role of working as power-broker as well as enjoying the benefits of their professions is well exposed.
Indian Bollywood produces average 364 movies per year which means One movie per day. Surprisingly, it could not win any international acclaim be it Oscar or any other such award. Bollywood has for long exerted a deep influence on Indian society culture. The industry as a whole, with some rare exceptions, are promoting crass. Whether Bollywood is reflecting the true issues of Indian society or it is setting and presenting its own saleable yet culturally damaging ideas, is a moot question which still intrigues many intellectuals and social-scientists. Violence, sex, drug-abuse, objectifying woman are very common. There are hardly any movies which can be called as movies of class be it historical, art or war movies. The Bollywood songs, movies and heroism are promoting drugs and drug abuse which has been revealed by a recent study by IIM, Rohtak.
- Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU)
Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is a public central university which was established in 1969 and named after Jawaharlal Nehru. No, University has been in so much news than the JNU that too for reasons not so good. In recent years, JNU has been renowned more for its in-campus politics which has overshadowed its lead in research and emphasis on Liberal arts. Despite being a claim for a research-focused university, there is hardly any worthwhile research produced which can equate the standard of Harward, Standford or Oxford Universities. It is described as ‘’unruly bastion of Marxist revolution’’ than education. It has a history of protest which on many occasions is more directed against the Indian nation than the ruling government be it violence by student unions linked to communist parties following which Indian government shut it down for 46 days in 1980 or celebrating the killings of security forces in Dantewada in 2010 or scuffle with Army Officers Scuffle in 2000 and recent Sedition-controversy. To depoliticize the campus, on 24 October 2008 the Supreme Court of India stayed the JNU elections and banned the JNUSU from 2008-2012.
(The writer is an independent columnist. The views expressed are personal)