The Congress Lament Over Nehru’s Birth Anniversary Resembles Shatranj ke Khiladi

The Congress party's complaint that Prime Minister Modi, the Lok Sabha Speaker and Rajya Sabha Chairman did not attend Nehru's birth anniversary this year is akin to the situation of the protagonists in the Hindi movie Shatranj ke Khiladi.
The Congress Lament Over Nehru’s Birth Anniversary Resembles Shatranj ke Khiladi

BASED ON AN OBJECTIVE AND INFORMED reflection of the last seventy-five years of Indian history, it is clear that two women fundamentally helmed the fortunes of the Congress party for the worse. The first was Edwina Mountbatten and the second is Sonia Gandhi. Think about it.

The lament by the Congress that PM Modi, Amit Shah, the Lok Sabha Speaker and Rajya Sabha Chairman were absent at the event to celebrate Nawab Nehru’s birth anniversary reminds me of that brilliant climax scene in Shatranj ke Khiladi. That movie is perhaps the most apt metaphor to describe the ongoing litany of impotent fulminations emanating from the steam engine room of the Congress train-wreck. In Shatranj ke Khiladi, the terminal story of the real protagonist, Nawab Wajid Ali Shah is primarily narrated through his two chess-addicted courtiers who fail the Nawab through indolent inaction and makes the British takeover of Awadh a cakewalk.

But in the contemporary Shatranj of the Congress, Rahul Gandhi, the Wajid Ali Shah embodies these courtiers. It was left to mid-range Congress honchos like Jairam Ramesh and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury to voice their feeble protests against an alleged destruction of alleged Nehruvian values. Rahul Gandhi contented himself with an inane tweet quoting Nawab Nehru: “What we need is a generation of peace.” It is notable that the real brainpowers of the Congress such as Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal, et al continue to maintain a conspicuous silence.

More than three decades ago, Sita Ram Goel wrote as follows:

I view Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru as a bloated Brown Sahib, and Nehruism as the combined embodiment of all the imperialist ideologies Islam, Christianity, White Man’s Burden, and Communism that have flooded this country in the wake of foreign invasions. AND I DO NOT HAVE THE LEAST DOUBT IN MY MIND THAT IF BHARAT IS TO LIVE, NEHRUISM MUST DIE.

This among others is the importance of Narendra Modi’s emphatic political victories. While other non-Congress political leaders understood the fundamental need for a comprehensive rejection of the Nehruvian legacy, Narendra Modi grasped two vital facets of this rejection:

1. The rejection had to be total.

2. The need for astute practical methods that would accomplish this rejection.

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The aforementioned lament of Jairam Ramesh et al is the latest but the most definitive proof of Modi’s success in both #1 and #2. Intertwined with these is Modi’s understanding that the Nehruvian national garbage of seven decades cannot be cleared in just seven years. Thus, unlike the smash-and-grab methods advocated by well-meaning but unstrategic anti-Nehruvians, Modi chose the path of patience and timing. His uninterrupted political career of success spanning two decades shows that one trademark method was to make the Congress politically irrelevant. The practical consequence has been obvious in a glaring and inverted sort of fashion: today, almost every non-BJP political formation considers the Congress as a political Bhasmasura who will burn it.

And it must be so. Over the decades, the Congress, the so-called national party transformed into a national security threat. The best example of this is the dreadful National Advisory Council (NAC), which had an unwritten power to surpass the Prime Minister himself.

But the NAC was simply a formal organization of a phenomenon that Nehru had himself unleashed. By appointing his family members, relatives and friends to key positions bang after Independence, he sowed the initial seeds. It sounds incredible that throughout such a vast country, he could not find more competent talent than say, V.K. Krishna Menon, Vijayalakshmi Pandit, B.M. Kaul, R.K. Nehru, Padmaja Naidu, P.N. Thapar, T.N. Kaul, Khushwant Singh and Indira Gandhi to head sensitive departments.

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The other side to these crony appointments was the fate of folks who merely disagreed with him. That is a bigger list than that of his courtiers. It roughly begins with the sickening manner in which Nawab Nehru manipulated someone of Rajaji’s stature into resigning from the Congress. Two other high-profile victims include India’s second finance minister John Mathai and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.

This is what Mathai wrote in his resignation letter, in a highly publicized press conference:

I consider the Planning Commission not merely ill-timed but in its working and general set-up ill-conceived. The Planning Commission was tending to become a parallel cabinet…it would weaken the authority of the Finance Ministry and gradually reduce the Cabinet to practically a registering authority. The Planning Commission was totally unnecessary and in fact hardly qualified for its work…there was a general tendency amongst the various Ministries to disregard the authority of the Standing Finance Committee and that some of the greatest offenders were the Ministers directly under the control of the Prime Minister. When departures from accepted practice were approved by the Prime Minister, it has a demoralizing effect on other departments of Government.

Once again, Narendra Modi showed his acumen by abolishing the GDP blackhole called the Planning Commission. But as the hot-headed permanent adolescent with pretensions to royalty, this was Nawab Nehru’s reply to Mathai in a letter dated June 27, 1950:

What surprises me is that you should have cared to continue in a Cabinet of which I was the head when your opinion about me is such as expressed in your statement and your letter. If you have such a poor opinion of me personally and were so strongly opposed to the policies I wished to pursue, then there was not much common ground left for us to work together in a Cabinet.

And this was Ambedkar’s resignation speech in Parliament:

It is difficult to understand what is the principle underlying the distribution of Government work among Ministers which the Prime Minister follows. Is it capacity? Is it trust? Is it friendship? Is it pliability? The Cabinet has become a merely recording and registration office of decisions already arrived at by Committees. I am not a member of these Committees. They work behind an iron curtain. If I did not think that there could be a difference between the promises and performances of the Prime Minister the fault is certainly not mine. My exit from the Cabinet may not be a matter of much concern to anybody in this Country. But I must be true to myself and that can be only by going out.

The list of victims of Nehru’s intractable megalomania exceeds the combined strength of the Parliament and all our state assemblies. And so, when Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury talks about etiquette, one is not amused. In fact, even disregarding Nawab Nehru’s Himalayan blunders in almost every sphere of our national life, he was an extremely petty-minded individual at the core, the source of all his blunders.

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Finally, it is one thing for the Congress party to now wail against the alleged insult to Nehru. But the manner in which the wailing is conducted with a sense of entitlement reflects the aforementioned Shatranj ke Khiladi mentality. In the last scene of the movie, the two aristocrats now bereft of all power and wealth and wives are sitting on the ground in a decrepit village playing chess and addressing each other with royal titles.

From another perspective, the current fate of the Congress closely resembles the fate of post 1989 Russia. One of the first things that occurred after the fall of Communism in the erstwhile USSR was the utter destruction of the statues of Marx, Lenin and Stalin by the Russian masses. Both Leningrad and Stalingrad recovered their original names, and Stalin’s name was permanently purged from the Soviet National Anthem.

But the Indian psyche, deeply tempered by the Sattvic forces of the eons hesitates in carrying out a similar exercise with regard to Nawab Nehru whose legacy remains similarly barbaric. History clearly shows that Nawab Nehru retained a veneer of being democratic because he lacked the opportunity to declare himself a full-fledged dictator. As the saying goes, celibacy is just lack of opportunity.

The BJP leadership not attending Nehru’s birth anniversary is actually an act of benevolence and compassion.

For the most part, history has put Nawab Nehru in his rightful place. And for the current and future generations, Nehru if at all, should be remembered as a civilizational, cultural, and practical nightmare that lasted seven decades.

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