Nawab Nehru as a Curse on Prayaga

The honest student of Indian history cannot but help to contrast the profound spiritual history and inheritance of Prayaga with Nawab Nehru who never understood its real significance.
Nawab Nehru as a Curse on Prayaga

Read the Previous Parts in this Series

Nawab Nehru as a Curse on Prayaga
Annotations from Prayaga: An Introduction
Nawab Nehru as a Curse on Prayaga
Remember Dhanga’s Pious Service to Sanatana Dharma the Next Time you Visit Khajuraho

THE APTLY TITLED WORK, Prayāgamāhātmya (The Glory of Prayaga) describes the full philosophical and spiritual history of this ancient Tirtha-Kshetra drawing from an inexhaustible repository of our Puranas and other sacred lore. Prayāgamāhātmya is in the same class of sacred literature as say, the Kāśīmāhātmya, Gayāmāhātmya and so on. If a real bestseller list were to be drawn up, such works would occupy the topmost slot for centuries on end.

But what is actually significant is this: uncountable generations of Hindus have followed the sanctified prescriptions and practices described in say, the Prayāgamāhātmya and transmitted these to their future generations. Thus, the breathtaking stories of Chandela Dhanga and Kalachuri Gangeyadeva convey this unambiguous message: that a voluntary embrace of death at Prayaga was not merely an article of faith but an impulse whose source emanated from a different plane. Nor was it a mere embrace of death but a profound journey into transcendence.

The 17th century British traveller Mundy who visited Prayaga was shocked to witness the extreme lengths to which Hindus went to attain Mukti in this Tirtha-Kshetra. Here are his own words (I have updated his spellings to make it understandable to readers of our time):

This place of Triveni was so much honoured in ancient times by the Hindus that many of them would come by Boat just where the Two Rivers doe begin to join, and there they would cause themselves, being alive, to bee cut in Two pieces, that one might fall into Ganges and the other into Jamuna, by that means sacrificing themselves unto them, such Holiness do they attribute to rivers, (especially to this place), but above all to the River Ganges, of whose water if they can gett a little into their mouthes at their giving up the ghost, they account those more happy and blessed. The cutting of themselves was used in former times, now forbidden, but the other practices are generally observed.

Mundy also mentions with awe-filled astonishment that other ubiquitous phenomenon central to Prayaga: of pilgrims reverentially filling the sacred waters at Triveni to carry it back home. What is it that impels Hindus to carry water of all things, from Prayaga? Indeed, it is not a Hindu home that does not have the Gangajala secured inside a sealed copper pot, opened only upon the death of a family member. These are some of the profound facets that enable a person to decipher the fundamental secrets and impulses of the Sanatana spiritual culture and will provide a glimpse into the inner workings of the Hindu mind.

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Thus, it takes a special genus of perversion to brand wholesale, such a spiritually rooted people as bigots and militants and even worse. The story of the origins of this branding is well-known to repeat it here. However, what is worth repeating is the story of one of the most vocal exponents of this branding: Nawab Nehru. An alleged Pandit no less.

The Curse on Prayaga

PERHAPS THE MOST UNFORTUNATE facet of Nawab Nehru’s blighted life is the fact that he was born in Prayaga but imbibed the worst elements of the culture of Allahabad. He had every opportunity to become a sort of contemporary Rajarshi but chose to become a Nawab. Every honest student who studies Nawab Nehru’s ignorant and rancid “expositions” on Hindu civilisation, culture, customs and traditions will reach this inescapable conclusion: that Nawab Nehru remains a curse on Prayaga.

Dr. Shankar Saran, one of the highly underrated contemporary scholars of history, beautifully analyses how Nehru became a Nawab:

The phenomenon of Muslims lagging behind the Hindus economically in India is a recent, twentieth century phenomenon. It was not so in the 17-19th centuries. During this period, sections of the North Indian Hindu upper class looked up to the Mughal ruling class and internalised the Sultanate and Nawabi culture. The Nehru dynasty is a good example of this. The great-grandfathers of Jawaharlal used to move in the circle of the Muslim gentry and they regarded the Hindus in general as a lowly breed not fit to mix with. Thus, the Nehruvian upward-looking Hindu of those days wanted to interact with the Muslim matbars and considered it a mark of respect and accomplishment to be recognised by them.

In the specific case of Nawab Nehru, this inherited contempt for the ordinary Hindu was further exacerbated by two additional toxins: British education and an incurable lust for Communism. Thus did this flower blossom, nurtured by the combined manure of the Muslim aristocracy’s derision towards the Kaffirs, the British disdain for the dirty brown-skinned Hindoos who needed civilising, and Karl Marx’s nihilistic ideology which reserved a special, racial hatred for Hindus.

Small wonder that Nawab Nehru periodically ejected all of this undigested fodder in his public speeches, grand displays of his unapologetic ignorance:

Much is said about the superiority of our religion, art, music and philosophy. But what are they today? Your religion has become a thing of the kitchen, as to what you can eat, and what you cannot eat, as to whom you can touch, and whom you cannot touch… the [real] danger to India, is Hindu right-wing communalism.

Notice the deliberate use of the second person, “You.” The Nawab clearly separating himself and towering over the lowly Hindoo masses. Confounding Dharma with a bunch of temporal outward practices. Displaying monumental ignorance by bracketing Sanatana Dharma with a patentedly western political construct.

SRI SITA RAM GOEL's eyewitness account of how Nehru and his impetuous sister Vijaylakshmi Pandit nonchalantly slapped some helpless sadhus is a gut-wrenching episode that will haunt me till death. There are two corollaries to this.

One, Nawab Nehru’s birthplace, Prayaga is the greatest and the largest confluence of Sadhus on earth. Sadhus and monks and mendicants of all Sampradāyas and panthās arriving without fail during the Kumbha Mela. Equally, the teeming millions of Hindus who visit that Grand National Festival honour these Sadhus irrespective of their personal Sampradāya and pantha. That there could be something timeless and profound in the Kumbha Mela was a possibility that never occurred to this benighted son of Prayaga. It is perhaps understandable if a Western or atheism-infected Hindu mind is ambivalent or even contemptuous of our Sadhus. However, it is an unforgivable crime to physically slap them, secure in the arrogance that they wouldn’t hit back, and then publicly proclaim, “Main shandar Aadmi soon!

Nawab Nehru as a Curse on Prayaga
Jawaharlal Nehru’s Contempt for Sadhus

Two, would Nawab Nehru similarly slap a group of Mullahs or Imams or Maulvis in this fashion? The conscientious researcher who pursues this line of inquiry will be rewarded with a wealth of insights. But I will leave a hint, borrowed once again from Acharya Sita Ram Goel: “Nehru licked the boot which kicked him.”

Small wonder that Nehru birthed about two illicit generations of armchair “intellectuals” and “scholars” who followed his behaviour pattern: strong to the weak and weak to the strong. Two hallmarks of such “intellectuals” include: (1) Cowardice (2) Sexual lust for tyrants and dictators. There’s a reason folks like Khushwant Singh, Ram Guha, et al., actually revel in the serial despotic acts of Nawab Nehru and more pronouncedly, Indira Gandhi.

In a manner of speaking, Anand Bhavan in Allahabad was both the kindergarten and the finishing school where Nehru honed his skills en route to his voyage of ultimately becoming a Nawab.

That story will be narrated in the next and concluding instalment of this series.

To be continued

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