Brainwashed by Russia: How Nawab Nehru Became the Patron Saint of Communism in India

Most histories of Communism in India often overlook the seminal and pivotal role played by Jawaharlal Nehru in offering substantial patronage for spreading this totalitarian ideology in India.
Brainwashed by Russia: How Nawab Nehru Became the Patron Saint of Communism in India

Who visits a large country, spends four splendid days being lavishly wined and dined, and then returns to India and writes an entire book spewing forth mounds of iron-clad opinions on that country based purely on the experience of these four days?

Answer: Nawab Nehru.

Nawab Nehru’s singlehanded and determined service in spreading and nurturing Communism in India arguably exceeds the combined efforts of mainstream Communist organisations including the Communist Party of India. By all accounts, he is the original patron saint of Communism in India. In this, there is the small matter of nuance. Nawab Nehru’s incurable addiction to Communism is rooted in his original addiction to the Soviet Union. We have his own words as proof.

Unlike Nehru and like every transnational imperialist cult, the Soviet Union had perfect clarity in their ultimate goals and methods. The history of how the Communists, after capturing Russia, spread their tentacles worldwide has a common theme: in every non-Communist country, they cultivated the social and business elite by flattering their egos, preying upon their insecurities, and painting compelling textual and verbal pictures of a future paradise which this elite would rule. The other tactic was to seduce rich heiresses, wives and daughters of the super-wealthy to gain access to influential political circles.

Soviet Russia Chooses Well

By choosing Nawab Nehru, Soviet Russia had indeed chosen well. Its leaders quickly understood him to be a pompous and overgrown teenager who could be moulded and bent at whim. They also knew that he was not only deracinated and cut off from his cultural roots but that he was a pious disciple-cum-devotee of the British Communist bigot, Prof. Harold Laski who had fertilised the minds of his students with Communist ideology. Then there was also the climate of the time. British colonialism was at its peak both in India and elsewhere and Britain and the USSR were openly hostile to each other. Britain especially viewed Communist Russia with deep and well-founded suspicion and kept a close watch on Communist activities on its soil.

Brainwashed by Russia: How Nawab Nehru Became the Patron Saint of Communism in India
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On the international stage, the USSR proclaimed itself as the leader of all the anti-imperialist and anti-colonial forces of the world and extended generous patronage to the leaders of various freedom movements in colonised countries. A king-size patronage presented itself in November 1927 when Soviet Union hosted its decadal celebration to commemorate the Great October Revolution of 1917. Accordingly, the Soviet Society for Cultural Relations sent an invitation to the Nehru family to witness firsthand, the magic that the Communist Revolution had created in Russia.

Thus, in November 1927, Motilal Nehru, Jawaharlal Nehru and Vijayalakshmi Pandit visited Moscow. The four days that he spent there introduced him to lifelong Communist addiction to the eternal doom of Bharatavarsha. He was so thoroughly brainwashed by the elaborate charade that the USSR had erected for him that he became a champion-apologist for every excess that Russia inflicted both on its citizens and on the world.

Just four drug-fuelled days were enough for Nawab Nehru to write reams of copious nonsense about the glories of the Soviet paradise with an air of final authority in various newspapers after returning to India. Eventually, these articles were compiled and published as a book titled Soviet Russia: Some Random Sketches And Impressions in 1949. It was translated into various languages and massively publicized by Communist organisations in India. It was also made mandatory reading for the Communist cadre and hailed as the definitive book for understanding the wonder that was the Soviet Union. This among other reasons is why I called Nawab Nehru as the patron saint of Communism in India.

How Nehru Became a Believer

And what does the book say about the Soviet Union that Nawab Nehru was shown? It must be remembered that Nawab Nehru was thirty-eight years old when he made his maiden visit to Russia. And when you read his prose, it sounds like it was written by a high-school boy eager to impress his headmistress. More than eighty years later, former US President Barack Obama describes his great grandson in similar language: “Rahul Gandhi…has a nervous, unformed quality about him, as if he were a student who’d done the course work and was eager to impress the teacher but deep down lacked either the aptitude or the passion to master the subject.” Indeed, the quality of the dynastic blood has remained undiluted.

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But what was the raw material for Nawab Nehru’s uncritical and highly flattering descriptions of Soviet Russia? The pamphlets and handouts that the Russian Government gave him, which he swallowed with the eagerness of a devout Hajj pilgrim. Anything that eulogizes Soviet Russia, he eulogizes. Anything critical of Soviet Russia is bourgeois propaganda of the imperialists. How can anybody go wrong with such an infallible formula?

Indeed, the very first essay of Soviet Russia: Some Random Sketches And Impressions is titled Fascination of Russia leaving zero room for doubt. In this chapter, he equates Soviet Russia with India using another version of the selfsame infallible formula: if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is indeed a duck. Thus, Russia is a large country and India is a large country. Therefore, Russia=India. Next, Russia is a large agricultural country and India is a large agricultural country. Therefore, Russia=India. Next, Russia has a large peasant population which was poor. India also has a large peasant population which is still poor. Therefore, to solve this poverty problem, India must take inspiration from the Communist Revolution. Like I said, you can never go wrong with this kind of “reasoning.”

The next source material for Nehru’s screed is his actual visit itself. It was carefully orchestrated down to the last dirty detail from the moment he stepped into the train. When the whole world was bitterly critical of Russia’s massive shortages and unemployment, Nawab Nehru didn’t seem surprised that he was provided a luxury class sleeping compartment in the train and treated with enormous amounts of food. Quite the contrary, he is completely seduced by Russian hospitality and simply relishes it.

We had already taken our dinner but the station staff produced large quantities of food and, after the Indian fashion, would have no refusal. We had to comply with their wishes .... Our berths had been reserved by our hosts and we had a very comfortable journey. There is only one class in Russia but they have some special sleeping cars and we had been provided with these.

And so dear reader, the next time you criticise the five-star freeloading culture of Lutyens media, remember that their favourite Nawab had set the precedent decades ago.

This intricately-crafted stage show manifested itself throughout Nawab Nehru’s train journey.

We travelled the whole night and the greater part of the next day, arriving at Moscow the next afternoon. All the stations en route were decorated with flags and pictures in honour of the anniversary. The men and women and children we saw at the stations were well-clad and most of them had great coats reaching to their ankles and big Russian boots up to the knees

Only the impenetrable genius of Nawab Nehru could actually believe that all this was real and true in a hardcore Communist dictatorship. Of course, this dictatorship had precisely selected Nehru because they knew he would believe. But when Nehru went around the streets of Moscow and saw the actual market conditions, he began to have misgivings and wrote about them: there were no “great coats” or big “Russian boots” to be seen anywhere. Clothes were substandard and badly made and there was shortage of essential commodities. However, by now, Nawab Nehru had turned a firm believer and had acquired that fine art of inventing justifications and apologies. Thus, these shortages and lack of spending power were proof of the Russian people’s commitment to the egalitarian Communist ideology. This is how he puts it:

Many of them of course could not afford to buy anything expensive. But apart from the question of expense it was considered a bourgeois failing to waste time and money on clothes.

Nawab Nehru’s mental ambush by Communist Russia was near-complete. Only a final step remained. On 8 November 1927, as special guests of the Soviet State, the Nehru family took part in a ceremonial celebration marking the tenth anniversary of the 1917 Revolution. Motilal Nehru and Nawab Nehru were given a standing ovation when they were introduced to the audience.

The seduction was complete.

Eulogising a Mass Murderer

Nawab Nehru was personally received in the Kremlin by Mikhail Kalinin, Chairman of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR, a position equivalent to President. Then he was escorted by the high and mighty of Russian officialdom to visit the new marvels created by the Great Revolution: the factories, courts, Museum of the October Revolution and the famed Bolshoi theatre.

These apart, two places especially impressed him. The first was Lenin’s mummy in Moscow. When Nawab Nehru saw it, he was deeply moved almost in a sexual way. The memory haunts him and he is unable to control his emotion for this genocidal maniac who slaughtered seven million of his own countrymen. The Nawab writes with great passion about Lenin:

He lies asleep as it were and it is difficult to believe that he is dead. In life they say he was not beautiful to look at. He had too much of common clay in him and about him was the 'smell of the Russian soil'. But in death there is a strange beauty and his brow is peaceful and unclouded. On his lips there hovers a smile and there is a suggestion of pugnacity, of work done and success achieved. He has a uniform on and one of his hands is lightly clenched. Even in death he is the dictator. In India, he would certainly have been canonized. [Emphasis added]

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Seduced by the Prison

Like I said, this is the classic example of high-school prose written to impress. Or the heady wonder of a teenager who suddenly discovers the joys of pleasuring himself.

The next place Nehru visits is the prison system of Soviet Russia. He is immediately stunned at how compassionate and humane it is. And he’s simultaneously furious at the lies that the media prints about its brutality. Nawab Nehru lays it down like a hammer:

We are told of the Red Terror and ghastly and horrible details are provided for our consumption… Our own visit to the chief prison in Moscow created a most favourable impression on our minds… Anyone with a knowledge of prisons in India and of the barbarous way in which handcuffs, fetters and other punishments are used will appreciate the difference. The governor of the prison in Moscow who took us round was all the time laying stress on the human side of jail life, and how it was their endeavour to keep this in the front and not to make the prisoner feel in any way dehumanized… It can be said without a shadow of doubt that to be in a Russian prison is far more preferable than to be a worker in an Indian factory. [Emphasis added]

There, the Formula at work again. The prison official obviously concealed the truth and Nawab Nehru, now a committed Believer, believed it. Also notice how here and in his other writings, India always appears as a backward and wretched country to Nehru’s bewitched eyes.

Lover of Violent Revolutions

In essence, these are the raw materials that Nawab Nehru used to pontificate in a tone of finality about the wonder that is Soviet Russia. As we observed earlier, when he returned to India, he had become what Sita Ram Goel calls, “an incurable Soviet addict.” Communist Russia could do no wrong because

The October revolution was undoubtedly one of the great events of world history, the greatest since the first French revolution, and its story is more absorbing from human and dramatic point of view… it is difficult to feel indifferent towards Russia, and it is more difficult to judge her achievements and her failures impartially. [Emphasis added]

This is the other facet of Nawab Nehru’s political career and uncooked world view: a perverse sort of fondness for violent revolutions. Which only shows how fatally he was deracinated. If he had truly grasped the civilizational impulse and cultural pulse of Sanatana Bharatavarsha, he would have intuitively understood that great changes in Bharatavarsha occurred through internal reform, not violent revolution. The same pulse that has preserved the generational memory of the divine Saraswati River in our slokas, poems, songs, and Tirtha-Yatras even after She is no longer physically with us. If this is the Sanatana outlook, shedding rivers of the blood of one’s own countrymen is the outlook of all such revolutions.

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Yet, for all his undying service to Soviet Russia, how did Stalin view him and Gandhi? Before World War II, Stalin declared that Gandhi and Nehru were “conciliatory and counter-revolutionary forces, which entered into ‘a conspiracy’ with imperialism behind the backs of their own peoples.” Further, they were the most influential circles of the Indian bourgeoise who “hope to create a blood bath in these countries, rely on the police bayonets, and appeal to the help of people like Gandhi.” When India attained Independence, Stalin publicly declared his hostility, condemning it as a “political farce.” This is exactly the same line that our Communists also parroted. In our Communist annals, India’s independence is a “betrayal of the revolution.”

None of this is hidden from the public in some secret document. In fact, the Communist approach of treating India as an illegitimate state is a matter of public record. It would be hard to believe that Nawab Nehru was unaware of all this. But then, because all addictions are fatal, he doggedly persisted in his patronage to Communists in India. Sita Ram Goel phrases it best when says:

Pandit Nehru has always nursed the Communist Party of India with the fondness of an old woman who gave birth to her first and only child at an advanced age.

In the next part of this series, we shall examine some major facets and facts of why and how exactly Nawab Nehru offered unhinged patronage to the CPI.

To be continued

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