“Good morning everyone. I Ashish S, from 5th standard ‘b’ section is standing in front of you as the master of ceremony for this function. This function and this day stand in very special because this is our day. Yeah! friends today we celebrate the birthday of our first prime minister, our favorite “Chacha” Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru. He was a nobleman and a visionary with the great love for the kids, so he wanted his birthday to be celebrated as children’s day. I now welcome Sharon on stage to welcome you all to this auspicious occasion”. This was good 13-year-old story. I rocked the stage as a performer. And I rocked because I loved Chacha. My dad had told me the day before it that he didn’t like both Nehru and Gandhi. I hadn’t really got it then. Why had my dad told me about that?
The next thing that I remember is about Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel. The iron man of India. I knew only so much about him. I had seen references to the names of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev. Savarkar was a complicated man. There was a freedom fighter by name Subhash Chandra Bose. He started a revolutionary and violent army called Indian National army (INA). And Mahatma Gandhi didn’t like the ideologies of violence. And he died in a plane crash in 1945.
English education was introduced in India by T.B. Macaulay, and we should be grateful to him for paving a way for all of us to be educated. The British had to finally yield to the AHIMSA and SATHYAGRAHA of Gandhiji and we got independence. In this regard, he is called the “Father of the nation”. Tipu Sultan was the son of Hyder Ali and was called the TIGER OF MYSORE. Aryans came from the Middle East and Dravidians are the true descendants of the nation. They were then pushed to the South since the people and kings who ruled them were cowards. Ramayana and Mahabharata are myths. Akbar was a great Mughal ruler. Shahjahan built Taj Mahal as a symbol of love for his wife. Vasco-Da-Gama found the sea route for India. The Turks and the Arabs were the people who brought in a great amount of architectural and cultural change in India.
Wah! Wah! My heart goes leaping. What a country I live in right? We are blessed to have a Mahatma, a Chacha. Which other country has this kind of leadership? Which other country has such rich heritage? Ah! What a history we have right? Or what a history we are made to learn and understand and think to be true? When is that we are going to understand our history? When is that we are going to understand the true colors of a Mahathma, a Nehru and the Gandhis who followed after that?
Let’s look into the root causes of the history that we study today, and the history that we think makes us feel proud of our so-called “LEADERS”. The problem with the English learned Indians is that, if a foreigner comes and speaks in broken Hindi we love it. But let an Indian try some broken English, we laugh at him. Uncultured he is. He is not sophisticated, he is orthodox. The same mistake that M.K. Gandhi did in pushing Nehru ahead of Sardar Patel. And then Godse made a grave mistake killing Gandhi (if he really killed him), M.K. Gandhi should have lived to see the gravity of the mistake that he had made. The Panchasheel, the China war, the Kashmir, the section 370, and, of course the Denial of permanent membership of the UN Security Council. Brig. John. P. Dalvi was commissioned in the in his book ‘The Himalayan Blunder’ writes the Chinese had put campfire in the night to keep off cold during the war, they knew the Indian army was capable of doing nothing. Another incident is about the glaciers, the sunlight reflected from them would blind a man without special sunglasses. A soldier in this state of acute blindness hears the helicopter buzz, he runs towards the sound, he can see them dropping packages, and luckily he finds a sunglass! Now, the bottom line, the glasses were shattered! This was the amount of preparation that we had for the war. Nehru was an international FIGURE! Who would dare to fight us?
Indian army soldiers were not acclimatized, altitudes of 4000+ meters from sea level and the cold are not going to be easy on you, and if you are not used to it, you suffer from lack of oxygen, you vomit blood and you eventually die. There was another blunder! The clothes and shoes they wore, they were not designed to handle the cold. There were numerous examples of frostbite. In that case, you need to keep that person warm, or it will turn to a gangrene. That’s what happened with the Indian army. This war mocked the bravery of the Indian army. What was the reason? Recently declassified CIA documents which were compiled at the time reveal that India’s estimates of Chinese capabilities made them neglect their military in favor of economic growth. It is claimed that if a more military-minded man had been in place instead of Nehru, India would have been more likely to have been ready for the threat of a counter-insurgency from China. With zero preparation, and knowing that India was not ready for war (not sure if he knew it) he ordered the Indian army to “clear Indian territory in the north east frontier agency (NEFA) of Chinese invaders”. And the Chinese reaction was flamboyant. On 14 October, an editorial on People’s Daily issued China’s final warning to India: “So it seems that Mr. Nehru has made up his mind to attack the Chinese frontier guards on an even bigger scale. It is high time to shout to Mr. Nehru that the heroic Chinese troops, with the glorious tradition of resisting foreign aggression, can never be cleared by anyone from their own territory. If there are still some maniacs who are reckless enough to ignore our well-intentioned advice and insist on having another try, well, let them do so. History will pronounce its inexorable verdict. At this critical moment. We still want to appeal once more to Mr. Nehru: better rein in at the edge of the precipice and do not use the lives of Indian troops as stakes in your gamble. And what happened next is a history. Check out the book for more details. This was the true color of our Chacha. I feel strongly regret and get hurt to have called him Chacha as a kid.
So are the other historical things, many trimmed, many maligned, altered and shown up in the way the governments wanted us to see them. When I look back now and see it I feel ashamed of myself, just trying to think about the image that India had in the international arena.
Macaulay didn’t push English education to help Indians, Seldom did British help Indians. Arabs and Turks and numerous other invaders just drained the wealth out of India. That was all fine and well known. But what Indians did, what the Father and the Chacha did is never justifiable. The formation of Pakistan, then planting Sheik Abdullah in Kashmir, and then seeking public opinion on if Kashmir wanted to be a free state, all these are some things which could have been better, all these could have had a more logical ending, had the power been vested in better hands. In 1946 there was an election for the most sensitive post of the president’s post of Indian National Congress. And Maulana Abul Kalam Azad wanted to preside for another term, point to be noted here is that the president would most likely become the first Prime minister of Independent India. But it would be his second term as the president, and Mr. Gandhi didn’t approve his contention. So he was sidelined. With Subash Chandra Bose assumed to be diseased (All thanks again to Nehru!!) now there were two options. Sardar Patel or Nehru. The last date for the nominations for the post of the President of Congress, and thereby the first Prime Minister of India, was April 29, 1946. And the nominations were to be made by 15 state/regional Congress committees. Despite Gandhi’s well-known preference for Nehru as Congress president, not a single Congress committee nominated Nehru’s name. On the contrary, 12 out of 15 Congress committees nominated Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel. The remaining three Congress committees did not nominate any body’s name. Obviously, the overwhelming majority was in favor of Sardar Patel. Legend goes like this, Nehru as always was power hungry. And he threatened Gandhi to split congress, had he not been the one chosen. And that would delay the Indian Independence. Sardar was always an Indian first, and then a politician. He agreed to Gandhis advice to stay away from contention. And it worked. Nehru became the president and sadly the First Prime minister of India.
But there exists a question about Sardar Patel too. Why did he yield to Gandhi? Was his loyalty biased to a person, an institution (INC), or the motherland? Why didn’t he raise his voice against the internal democracy being silenced (That was the first glimpses of the HIGH COMMAND based decision making)? Why didn’t he condemn hoisting the Nehru Flag? Why didn’t he see that he was the leader that the nation deserved? History has made it clear beyond any doubts that we wouldn’t have faced the embarrassment in the 1962 Indo-China war had it been Patel, And Kashmir wouldn’t have remained a raging fire ball had it been Sardar, and well who knows, maybe Wasim Akram would have been a part of the Indain Cricket team had it been Sardar. But then history is a mystery that has transformed India to what it is today. New hopes have risen from a man who hails from the same Gujarath which gave us Patel. Let us all join hands to make this the nation that Patel wanted. We have travelled a long way, we have a long way to go. Let us make it a good journey at least from now on, and hope that our children will listen to real stories. And yeah, let’s celebrate Children’s day on 15th October on the birthday of the “People’s President” Late.APJ Abdul Kalam and not on the birthday of Nehru, who no more fits in the groove of Chacha.