Jairam Ramesh faults Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa
Abracadabra By K. B. Ganapathy, Columns

Jairam Ramesh faults Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa

February 10, 2020

A case of Suppressio Veri, Suggestio Falsi ?

Be that as it may, in retrospect, one will wonder if what the General Cariappa had said in 1970 was prophetic because Indira Gandhi soon in 1975 declared Nationwide Emergency which is similar to a military rule in its enforcement and it also turned out to be temporary for two years. This being the context and situation for the General’s opinion, what Jairam Ramesh said, and as reported in the Press, gave a wrong understanding to the public. 

V.K. Krishna Menon was a famous name as a great orator and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s great friend and alter ego. Naturally, he was a Leftist and pro-Soviet Union. He was the High Commissioner of India in London and later the Defence Minister of India. He also became famous for arguing the  case of India in the United Nation’s Security Council on the Kashmir issue as one who delivered the longest speech ever in the world body.

There have been several biographical studies of him, but almost all of them were biased and partisan — either pro-Menon or anti-Menon. In India and even abroad, his detractors were legion. There was hardly a definitive biography of Krishna Menon, according to T.J.S. George who I think was the earliest biographer of Krishna Menon and the book, as George himself confesses in his recent article, was a partisan account. However, George, as always, is highly readable and naturally must have sold enough and more copies of the book.

In his article, George has discussed the latest biography of Krishna Menon titled “A Chequered Brilliance: The Many Lives of V.K. Krishna Menon” by Jairam Ramesh, again a Left intellectual and a Congress loyalist. In book publishing, no matter how high and tall the author of a book is, he needs publicity to sell his books. Even a hen screams aloud her cackle to tom-tom to the world when she lays an egg. It is in this exercise that Jairam Ramesh is going around the country to meet the Press or to speak in the Book Clubs and Literary Festivals about his new book.

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In one of his such publicity programmes, he was in Bengaluru a couple of days back to participate in the ‘Times Lit Fest’ and discuss about the ‘relevance of political biography’, apparently focussing on his new book. He spoke of Veer Savarkar and others and also Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa in the context.

Speaking about Field Marshal Cariappa, he said Field Marshal Cariappa had argued against Democracy and the Constitution of India. He wondered how could one remain silent without objecting to this kind of opinion. Apparently, in his enthusiasm to admire Krishna Menon as a person and Defence Minister, Jairam Ramesh appeared to go overboard making irrelevant observations on others — here about Field Marshal Cariappa without mentioning the time and the political situation of the country when he made these remarks.

To put the record straight, Field Marshal Cariappa did not say this when India got Independence or before the Constitution was framed or when it was being framed. It is over two decades after the Constitution was framed and India had declared itself as a Democratic Republic under the Constitution that he had said this. Those senior citizens who lived during 1970s and 80s would surely remember those turbulent years of our Democracy.

It appears a signed note of April 7, 1971 was recently discovered in Karnataka State Archives. The note was a clarification for the public after (then) General Cariappa had met the then Prime Minister, Home Minister and Speaker of Lok Sabha following a Parliamentary debate about his comments advocating these measures in an informal talk with the Press in Dhanbad in March 1970. According to reports, the General issued a clarificatory note stating that he was in favour of “a military rule, only as a temporary measure to put things right in the country.” This was in 1971 after Indira Gandhi won a landslide victory in the Lok Sabha elections of 1971.

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Be that as it may, in retrospect, one will wonder if what the General had said in 1970 was prophetic because Indira Gandhi soon in 1975 declared Nationwide Emergency which is similar to a military rule in its enforcement and it also turned out to be temporary for two years.

This being the context and situation for the General’s opinion, what Jairam Ramesh said, and as reported in the Press, gave a wrong understanding to the public. 

Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa is known as a great nationalist, patriot and a democrat from his speeches and writing over the years even before and after he retired. Field Marshal Cariappa is also a great humanitarian and as a result landed in trouble when he was the Indian High Commissioner to Australia and New Zealand  in 1953 – 1956. The reason was that he questioned the “White Australia” immigration policy that was in vogue since 1901.

But one should remember that General Cariappa’s campaign went a long way in shaping liberal thoughts in Australia and the immigration policy was finally changed in 1973.

Jai Hind

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9 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Jairam Ramesh faults Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa”

  1. What a culture! says:

    I have not been a left-leaning person in my political thoughts, but VKK Menon’s left-leaning arguments in the UN Security Council where he vehemently supported the Soviet Union , helped India when for example the US tried to impose a solution on J and K using its position as the permanent member of the Security Council, which Soviet Union also a permanent member vetoed it. Soviet Union saved India from the imposition of several Security Council resolutions supported by the US. US has always been pro-Pakistan, which was then a member of SEATO and CENTO aligned to the US, , and allowed the U-2 spy plane’s landing and refuelling facilities which the US used to spy over the Soviet Union. The pilot Powers was forced to eject when the spy plane was shot down by Russian rockets.
    US has never been a staunch friend of India unlike the Soviet Union, now Russia. Though, living in the West now, I can see why VKK Menon provided a singular service in ensuring that the vicious UN Security Council resolutions were not passed, by urging the Soviet Union to veto them.
    I am not endorsing Mr Ganesh who is a loudmouth, but stating some facts in regards to VKK Menon.
    In those days, Harold Laski, professor in the London School of Economics, was a leftist thinker, and no wonder the then Indian students to London, like VKK Menon and Jawaharlal Nehru were shaped by his thoughts.
    The Open University in Britain, the pioneer in providing distant university education is hardly a citadel of the left. It had a course of ” Making Britain” where VKK Menon is referred to a central role; See: http://www.open.ac.uk/researchprojects/makingbritain/content/krishna-menon. He established India League which was a think tank and reshaped its role. VKK Menon was then a Labour politician, a councillor in Camden Municipality, and using that position he was able to influence Labour leaders like Sir Stafford Cripps and Clement Atlee, who as the PM of post WWII Britain granted independence to India.
    When Modi blindly supports Trump, mature minds will caution him that the US politics and presidents were not staunch supporters of India, when the chips are down. Trump is no exception. He does not need India. Modi should be much wiser and befriend Russia and Putin, as Russians always supported India, politically and militarily.
    I am amazed by the glib assessment of VKK Menon by Mr Ganapathy . As for Field Marshal Cariappa, suffice to say, he lived long after retirement and his pronouncements from time to time sounded weird The last Indian governor general Rajagopalachari ( Rajai) was also like Cariappa, made weird observations from time-to-time. He also had a long life after retirement. I leave it at that. Draw your own conclusions!!

  2. Govind Pai says:

    @What a culture. Enjoyed your analysis. In this age of Whatsapp “cut and paste” scholars, it is refreshing to read comments from somebody who knows real history! Harold Laski, Clement Atlee, Sir Stafford Cripps…Like a lovely trip back in time! Thank you!

  3. What a culture! says:

    @Govinda Pai. Thank you. Nehru and Menon were stalwarts, and particularly Nehru who was a colossus. Despite Mr Ganapathy disparaging comments of Nehru, He was a great man and the real disciple of Mahatma Gandhi. It was my privilege to have met him at Teen Murty Bhavan, along with my engineering degree mates in early 1960s. Just as my privilege to have met and known the first Man on the Moon.
    VKK Menon was totally mesmerised by Nehru, and the mistakes that he made in respect of China-India war were also Nehru’s. I remember then, living in Mysuru,what flak he got from the likes of Rajaji, for not halting Chinese incursion into India territory. He called Menon: ” a crypto Communist”. Well, the mighty US with all its military might and and ambassador in South Vietnam of the calibre of the WWII hero General Maxwell Taylor bungled there, unable to resist the kind of guerrilla type of ambush the Vietnamese learned from China. Indian soldiers, trained to do straight fighting were no match against the guerrilla type of ambush China deployed to overrun them in those Indian territories.
    I was working in the US,during Watergate years, when President Nixon, having deflated by the loss in Vietnam , met Mao and struck a deal whereby China was inducted as the permanent member of the Security Council, in exchange to stop the Vietnam war, Even Nixon could do nothing against China. No wonder VKK Menon was no match for Chinese duplicitous politics.
    Despite the kind of pro-Soviet stance VKK Menon had, indeed as some one who lived in Tamil Nadu, you might remember that the then CM Kamaraj had also heavy leftward leanings, creating freeprimary education, and he was fond of quoting: ” Podu Udaimai, meaning common ownership. Kamaraj visited East Germany: The GDR, to learn more about free education., forgetting the contribution of VKK Menon of urging Labour PM like Atlee to grant independence to India, is a sacrilege. Despite Mahatma Gandhi’s efforts in India, VKK Menon’s effort in London as a Labour politician then helped Atlee to make up his mind.
    As some with a gentle right-of-centre leaning, I do not hate socialism, if it means helping the poor and needy. Please also note that Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany lived , was educated and worked in East Germany. It does not make her a Communist. Germany has excellent policies of helping the old, the poor and the disabled. Angle Merkel’s CDU is right-of-centre party!
    Although, I live in the West, I recognise that free market cannot solve all the problems. . To be fair, that was what VKK Menon ‘s idea too, but his demeanoour did not help him as he was very acerbic in his attitude. As a Labour politician, he was friendly with Clement Atlee, urging him time -to-time the need for independent India. VKK Menon’s contributions are all ignored, in favour of his pro-Soviet stance, which, I explained stood India in good stead. Russians never hesitated to use veto to help India. At that time, the US politics was dictated by John Foster Dulles, the secretary of state know for anti-Indian feelings. VKK Menon had no choice.
    I thought that I should set the record straight, even though my politics did not agree with Menon’s. Nevertheless, to me, he was a great servant of India.

  4. Srikrishna Bhagwan says:

    @What a culture, Sir, can you explain the blunder Nehru did, the effects of which Indians are still suffering. This is related to Kashmir when Nehru instead of driving out Pakistani Soldiers completely from Kashmir instead asked Mountbatten’s advice who asked him to go to UN. The other blunder is coming up with a Constitution(Laws) with exceptions.

    After all at the end of the day Nehru was a human with all the faults found in every human being. He was needed at the early part of country. He laid the foundation for modern India and provided jobs and education to millions. No matter what your political leanings are , you cannot ignore these facts.

  5. What a culture! says:

    @Hare Bhgavan. I suggest you read properly my post before jumping to type in a keyboard,
    I said this. Nehru and Menon were stalwarts, and particularly Nehru who was a colossus. Despite Mr Ganapathy disparaging comments of Nehru, He was a great man and the real disciple of Mahatma Gandhi”
    AI never mentioned why J and K problem arose, but merely said VKK Menon with the help of Soviet Union was able prevent many SC decisions to be implemented.
    I suggest strongly to you to go to a University library and read the detailed analyses of VKK Menon’s UN contribution etc.. As for J and K issue, you also need to read about its analysis from its origin. After you did that, then we can discuss.

  6. Srikrishna Bhagwan says:

    @what a culture (someone who is afraid to reveal his identity). After reading extensively and also watching the documentary about Nehru Gandhi Dynasty (Produced by an external source which ensures impartiality) I made that comment. I know you must be in your 70s and have not lived in India for more than 50 years. You don’t have to put down someone to make your point. I merely pointed out that even a person(Nehru) who was treated a like a God can make Himalayan blunders the effects of which are felt by generations and for centuries.

  7. What a culture! says:

    @Hare Bhagvan You need to learn to be consistent. Here ,you say about Nehru’s blunders and previously you praised him. Your arguments are shallow and bordering ignorance. I have handled more powerful people than you. That is my moniker and do not let your tongue to wander. Typical ignorant Indian. Go to a library and do research, not in the Internet.

  8. Srikrishna Bhagwan says:

    @what a culture or what a stupid moniker … here you go again calling names. Have some kool-aid and chill.

  9. jalandhara says:

    @What a culture! No use in conversing with the ignorant idiot who calls himself :”Bhagvan”, a typical degenerate Indian. No wonder his PM takes these fools for a ride!


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