Republic Day musings on India’s march since Independence
Abracadabra By K. B. Ganapathy, Columns

Republic Day musings on India’s march since Independence

January 24, 2022

Some intellectuals are of the opinion that we must trust people and take their advice. Dr. U.R. Ananthamurthy was one such intellectual. In one of his Durbars with his courtiers he was asked what should be done when they are cheated going by their advice. Dr. Ananthamurthy’s answer was to the point: ‘Well, first verify and then trust.’ Well said, but this approach in dealing with friends and VIPs is mired in self-doubt. ‘What would the friend or the VIP think of me? So I will trust them and go according to their advice.’ Let me give one example. Our first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was a victim of such trust and advice.

This is what happened to our first Prime Minister, refined and sophisticated, a philosopher-statesman-politician, at the time of making a decision about taking back militarily the PoK, in October 1947 and also in the matter of Hyderabad and even Goa.

In the matter of Kashmir and Hyderabad, Nehru trusted his friend and Governor General of India at that time, Lord Mountbatten, took his advice and made India suffer. Obviously Nehru did not verify the credentials of the Englishman.

As a democrat and a secularist, Nehru went with the Congress Working Committee’s (CWC) majority decision ignoring Mahatma Gandhi’s objection to the partition of the country and also of Jayaprakash Narayan, Maulana Azad and Abdul Ghaffar Khan. Of course, there was no national debate on the partition of India as any Indian would have expected.

Nehru and his advisers had agreed for plebiscite in J&K simply because, at the Security Council, Pakistan’s skilled Foreign Minister Sir Muhammad Zafarullah Khan questioned the validity of Kashmir’s accession to India. Nehru’s men in the Security Council could not counter this illegitimate argument of Pakistan. Yes, there were conditions for holding the plebiscite but neither party fulfilled them and the question of plebiscite made mere noise in the successive Security Council meetings and nothing more.

Nehru thus trusted the wisdom of the CWC and also of the Security Council and India lost. Apparently neither Nehru nor the CWC or the Security Council had the patience to verify the pros and cons of their hurriedly taken decision.

Be that as it may, I read an interesting episode involving Nehru and the American President Harry Truman, as recorded by Dore Gold, former Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, in his book ‘Tower of Babble’. He writes that according to Nehru, J&K was more than a territorial dispute. When we  see what has been happening in J&K since then, including the fate of Kashmir Pundits and other minorities, Nehru’s apprehension  seems to be correct.

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“In a meeting with President Harry Truman in October 1949, Prime Minister Nehru frankly admitted that determining the fate of Kashmir “on a religious basis” would be destabilising for India, for it “would have a deeply unsettling effect upon the Muslims living in India.” Nehru realised that if Kashmir was excluded from India simply because it had a Muslim majority, Indian Muslims would experience doubts about the Government’s commitment to Secularism. In short, the Kashmir dispute touched on the very foundations of the Indian State as a Secular Nation.”

In other words, Nehru, as a visionary leader, foresaw then the possibility of the “deeply unsettling effect upon Muslims living in India” if the fate of Kashmir was determined “on a religious basis.”

If this was the line of thinking of Nehru about Kashmir, how could he have “messed up” the Pakistani aggression by going to the UN instead of finding a military solution as advised by his Generals and why his representatives in UN Security Council treated the complaint as a “dispute” and not as an “aggression”? India should have asked the UN for relief by asking Pakistan to first vacate the aggression. Here is what Dore Gold writes and we cannot blame Nehru:

“Since Pakistani forces were involved in a conflict on Indian territory, Nehru considered expanding the confrontation into a full scale counter-attack against Pakistan. But Lord Mountbatten (Governor General of India then and also Nehru’s close friend) persuaded him to go to the UN instead. He convinced Nehru that the UN would promptly direct Pakistan to withdraw the raiders who had invaded Kashmir. So on January 1, 1948, India turned to the UN Security Council.”

Sadly India got damned. Nehru who trusted his friend Lord Mountbatten and political colleagues, without verifying their motives or intentions, was disillusioned. The motives of British and US were suspect as they did not want to displease the Muslims in Middle-East where they had just then divided Palestine. Apparently, Lord Mountbatten loved his country more than his friend Nehru and India!

These are my thoughts for the Republic Day gleaned from books written by those who participated in the happenings or in the know of history.

As I was watching TV channels last evening at 6 with Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiling the hologram statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose near India Gate, I was reminiscing about India’s march before Independence.

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There were many freedom fighters of differing ideologies to throw the British out. The most important among them after 1930 were Mahatma Gandhi who pioneered peaceful, non-violent path to achieve freedom, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, a moderate and Gandhij’s blue eyed boy, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and, of course, last but not the least Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, the radical who decided to fight the British with his Indian National Army (INA) with the support of the Axis powers in the II World War, specially Japan.

When the British handed over power in 1947 to the Congress after a bloody division of the country (where did the peace go all of a sudden?), the nation was given the impression that it was Congress party led by Gandhiji, Nehru and those few on the ship of Congress who got us the freedom and others were forgotten. There was no effort on the part of the Nehru (or Congress) government for the next many decades, till 2014 when Modi came to power, to tell the new generation of Indians about others who fought for freedom and even gave their life. Netaji was one such tall leader who was ignored by the Congress.

I am so happy Netaji could find his place in Delhi, if not as the Prime Minister, but as a national icon and fortuitously his statue replaces that of the British King George V. Is there a symbolism here?

It appears, that after removing the statue of King George V, the Congress wanted either Nehru’s or Gandhiji’s statue to be placed there! Though, they  had many statues already. If Congress had won the 2014 election, sure Nehru would have been there under that canopy. Bad luck for the dynasty. Well, may be God has his own way of rewarding the deserving in any walk of life.

By the way I had the rare opportunity to visit Netaji’s memorial in Tokyo, Japan, where I stood in silence for a while as my inner voice whispered: This was the man who fought the mighty and gave his all for my country’s today and tomorrow.

Let me remember his clarion calls those days — Give me your blood, I will give you freedom.

The patriotic slogan, Jai Hind, was also coined by Netaji.


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6 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Republic Day musings on India’s march since Independence”

  1. Jalandhara says:

    The ritual regurgitation of J and K issues origin that |Mr Ganapathy indulges in each year.
    Decades ago, in the immediate aftermath of independence, The Republic day was celebrated with hope. No longer. The country has become a corrupt cesspit-with politicians, administrators and the society mired in mind-boggling corruption and nepotism. The average Indian
    struggles with increasing prices of sorts, hosing and living expenses strangling him/her. Indian rupees is a worthless currency and the US Dollar has become the defacto graft currency. Indian passports needing visas for entry to every developed country, and are scrutinised seriously at the entry points.

    China which became self-governing at the same time as India, used North Vietnam to defeat the Americans, forced them to recognise it as a powerful nation, and got it under the tent of of the UN Security Council as a permanent member, as a price to end the Vietnam war. Today, China is a superpower, militarily, economically, technological and scientifically. Pof CNR Rao fears that China has progressed so far ahead in science that it left far behind India. Today, its successful testing of hypersonic missile scares the US. and even the US. It holds the largest US Dollar currency reserve outside the US, and threatens that country to release it, as President Clinton painfully discovered, a few years ago.

    Yes, Nehru trusted the Chinese and paid the price of ceding territories to China. But Modi did worse; he thought hec could solve the issues by befriending China -visited Xi Jinping 20 times as the Gujarat Cm, and as PM invited him to Mahabalipuram wearing the Madrasi shirt, dhoti and angavastra to woo him. Xi JinPing, replied with further incursions into Indian territories and India ceded more this time , although Modi’s propaganda machine says otherwise!

    PM Modi is a deluded person. Others in Congress and other parties are no better.

    Mr Ganapthy, Subhash Chnadra Bose, had no chance of defeating the British with his ramshackle army. His attempt to woo Adolf Hitler, by waiting to seek his audience for days, only to be given a few minutes opportunity by the Dictator, and then dismissing him with the wave of his hands said it all. Nor the Japanese military men running the war in the Pacific theatre wanted to take him seriously. The ritual of Netaji celebration nevertheless continues!

    India, in the racing jargon, is an ‘also ran’. The so called progress and the much boasted IT hub nonsense, is because of the cheap IT labour which enables outsource work to be carried out in Bengaluru IT sweat shops. InfoSys Murthy exploited this slave labour fully, became a billionaire, sent his son and daughter to do college and university studies, right after their matriculation, buying apartments for them, there; also bought political patronage for his son-in-law. Indian rich like him are unaffected by the maladies that torment every average Indian. Other unfortunate ones have to grapple with life’s problems of survival. This is India after 70 years of becoming a republic.

    What does it say about India, with its hundreds of universities littered in every cities , when tens of thousands of Indian students apply to go to Western universities, to study and live? What does it say about India, when PM Modi meeting every Western leader demands thousands of work visas for Indian techies in return for trade agreements, only to shut them off with protected internal market , thus creating the demand for foreign made goods? Modi thinks India deserves a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, but with China veto for it handing like a sword of Damocles, it is not gong to happen!

    The so called Indian genius that Modi and others point to citing a few CEOs in US companies, is no surprise as these are salaried emigres, left India running away from the corrupt country. Thousands doing it to enter any country in Europe, North America, South America, Australia and New Zealand, escaping the dreadful corrupt cesspit. In fact, the most successful Americans are of Jewish or Irish origin.

    The ancient Indian culture has been dead for decades, since independence. What one sees is empty gestures of it without any sense of adhering to it.

  2. Gautam says:

    Good post.
    As for Netaji, we were brainwashed in our schools in our younger days, to consider him as a hero ,. But finding more about him later, I wonder, what he really achieved except challenging the peaceful route taken by Gandhiji, which in the end succeeded. He dressed up like Hitler’s minions with knee length boots, led a crowd of feeble men as an army. His admiration for Hitler to liberate India, was a fantasy, as Hitler was not interested in India , neither was he in Netaji. As for the Military leaders in Japan, they were not interested in liberation of India, but only in conquering places like Singapore that suited their maritime interests.
    Netaji achieved not much, but generated too much senseless admiration in some. He would never have been succeeded. What would he have thought of today’s corrupt India? Contempt would be the answer.
    Mr Ganapathy is indulging delusional musings. J and K is finished although the constitutional status changed-only on paper. It is well known that Kamala Harris is concerned about India’s machinations in regards to J and K.
    China conquered more territories in the last incursion, according to Western media. So much about Modi’s misdirected friendship with the China leader Xi Jinping. Modi never learns . Other parties are equally bad.
    Best if this country focuses on meeting the threats posed by the versions of Covid-19.

  3. swamy says:

    Republic day was a joke with well known politicians at helm. If the soldiers become corrupt and let Chinese and Pakistanis into India, god save the country. It is high time to retrospect and respect what soldiers are doing at the border. India is like a village and soldiers are like dam before the villages. If dam bursts, villages will be destroyed. Inside the country, everybody is corrupt, but they want soldiers to be saints. It will not work. One day their patience will erode and India will be destroyed. Or farmers, who will stop growing food.. Where will you get food? Shastriji correctly said. Jai Jawan and Jai Kisaan. People need to wake up, come out of slave mentality or appeasing politicians and demand their rights. Then only Republic day or celebration will have meaning.

    • swamy says:

      If people come across anybody who ask for bribe like govt official, police or politicians, just gang up as 30 to 50 people group and assault them with no mercy. It is people rights. People take over the country from politicians. They are using police to protect themselves in the name of power. Real power is with people. Voting them out is not enough, beating them also should be there. If your children make mistake, u beat them, show the same courtesy to the one who misuse the power, be it govt workers, police or politicians. 70 yrs of tolerating them is enough, now comes the responsibility of correcting them.

  4. Never Presto Questo says:

    Where do you get those 50 people to assault the person taking the bribe? Have you thought about this?
    You seem not to know other kinds of defences across a border besides soldiers. A well equipped logistically supported Chinese army will easily overrun the Indian defence. That was what happened in the last Chinese incursion.
    India is like a village? A dam protects a village ?

  5. Howdy, Modi! says:

    Visiting these pages of the SOM, after a long absence.
    My musings:
    70 years after the country became a republic, during the pandemic of last year, the Western media showed the harrowing clips of Indian dying in thousands because of the lack of Oxygen at the hospitals, and whatever supply was available were given to the VIP patients, letting the poor to die
    Watching the massive funeral pyres every where, wondered what has this country achieved, and why its leader seen in a cave growing along beard and doing nothing..
    Indian leaders like its demented president, vice president and the PM are boasting about high growth percentage, and yet the common citizen is
    finding it too difficult to survive.
    Mody’s followers want Indians to forget the gloated jamborees: ” Howdy Modi” and ” Namaste Trunp”. The reality of Modi begging every Western leader he meets to get visas for study for Indian students in their country- yet, with 1000 universities in India, and work visas for Indian techies.
    Makes no sense.
    India is yet a sleeping giant , has not woken up to see the how China has marched forward as a super power.


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