Today is 30th October. Two weeks from now we will see Indian English media, print and TV both, head over heels with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru singing hymns of praise in fond memories of our "Chacha"! Of the tales how that great man built a nation with his immense intellect and charm...Yes, all the usual yada-yada-yada that they telecast every year. I remember seeing friends wearing those "Nehru" caps & jackets in school and making a fashion statement. Now that I am a grown up and have had enough opportunity to read about Nerhu and his life with intricate details, I am no more remorseful of the fact that my parents never bought me that cap!(Jacket was expensive for our middle class family anyway) Quite the contrary actually, had I ever had that cap, it would have made me very sad today. And following is why. (If you hoped for another ballad commemorating Mr. Nehru, it should serve you as a stark reminder that you are not up to speed with our nation Bharat's true history.)
It is no secret that it was due to Nehru's state of denial mixed with ignorance of Sardar Patel's advice, that we could not send the armed forces to Kashmir as a nation state protecting it's boundaries 'in time'. That led to creation of two Kashmir's, little less than 2/3 part with us and little more than 1/3 part with Pakistan. As if that one major foolhardiness was not enough, he decided to ensure he goes down in the history as most gullible Indian leader by taking the matters to United Nations which of course did not make us a happy nation either. He must not have heard the story of two cat and monkey in his childhood from his mother Swaroop Rani. Thanks to him, Kashmir, a problem, that still remains unsolved today and umpteenth amount of resources have been squandered away in last 65 years and still counting!
My obvious question was why and who the heck made that British educated chain-smoker, White-woman-fond (Just Google Nehru-Edwina) chap our first Prime Minister. Following is what I found out.
It was an accepted fact that the leader chosen as Congress president would become the first prime minister of independent India. Three candidates were in the race: Acharya Kripalani, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Sardar Patel. The working committee of the INC and the pradesh committees had to send their nomination for one of the three candidates. Sardar Patel was unsurprisingly the most popular. Everyone knew his efficiency and his toughness for tackling difficult problems. 12 out of 19 Pradesh committees nominated him. None nominated Nehru. (YEP, NONE!)
From the start Gandhi had indicated that he favoured Nehru. His reasoning was that his British education was an asset: 'Jawaharlal cannot be replaced today whilst the charge is being taken from the British. He, a Harrow boy, a Cambridge graduate, and a barrister, is wanted to carry on the negotiations with the Englishmen.'
Another point Gandhi made was that while Sardar Patel would agree to work as Nehru's deputy, the reverse might not happen. He also felt that Nehru was better known abroad and could help India play a role in international affairs.
Eventually, in deference to Gandhi, Kripalani nominated Nehru and withdrew from the race. Patel had no choice but to follow his colleague 'so that Nehru could be elected unopposed.' Dr Rajendra Prasad later stated: 'Gandhi has once again sacrificed his trusted lieutenant for the sake of the glamorous Nehru.'
It is how India got a Kashmiri Pandit as its first prime minister. If you want to learn more about these events, the best way is to watch old Hindi movie called Sardar Patel. Embedding a small clip of this event from the movie here.
Before ending this topic, I want to give readers some quotes from a newspaper source and will urge to read more about this so undeserving leader who hogs limelight every year.
Nehru’s close friend Sriprakash told Sardar “there was no trace of Hindutva in Motilal Nehru. He was three-quarters Englishman and one quarter Muslim. How can you expect any Hindutva in his son?”
Link to that article
Ghanshyamdas Birla said “Nehru’s whole family would have embraced Islam is they had not come in contact with Gandhiji.”
The irony is, Hindus still 'today' consider this Nehru family their leader! Happy "Chacha Nehru" day to all of you in advance :)