What the Archives Tell us: The Congress was Hated, Not Loved After Independence
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What the Archives Tell us: The Congress was Hated, Not Loved After Independence

A new series documenting how the Nehruvian Congress Party systematically and completely subverted the freedom that India achieved after enormous sacrifices

Sandeep Balakrishna

Sandeep Balakrishna

As a nation, we must collectively thank our fortunes and the enduring fruits of the penance of our Rishis that we have someone like Rahul Gandhi as the head of an alleged national party, which still deludes itself that it is the chief Opposition Party. This neo-Bhasmasura sans any pretence of brains has stopped short of placing his hand on his own head. It is not a question of if but when he will do so. The keyword is “brains” because the kind of serial public bloopers that he continues to inflict on his own party while comical is also provenly dangerous to the country. The recent revelations of his family’s sleazy deals with the enemy nation, China, and the Congress party’s enduring romance with the Jihadi state of Pakistan are merely the tip. As we’ve noted in detail in the piece linked below, the Congress under the Nehru dynasty surrendered to breaking India forces long ago.

This surrender was only the logical outcome of a seven plus-decade of a phenomenon that can be fully understood only when the buried details are unearthed. The origins of this story date back roughly to the last leg of the freedom struggle.

Transforming a Civilisational Nation into a Fascist State

On 15 August 1947, the Congress party inherited a fragment of the vast colonial British Empire and wasted no time in transforming it into a fascist state two years before a nominally independent India formally adopted a Constitution.

Here is a bird’s eye-view of the situation barely eight months after India achieved “independence.”

The teeming and hungry legions of phony Gandhian patriots, freedom and social reformers had overnight transformed into traders in treachery and merchants of patriotism occupying high ministerial berths. It was the outbreak of an epidemic of epic proportions especially in the provinces (states). These sudden, opportunistic ministers who had never eaten two square meals a day now began grabbing everything in sight, their illicit acquisitions limited only by the limitations of their skullduggery. They were friends with black-marketers, bootleggers, pimps, and every wealthy lawbreaker. Less than a decade ago, they travelled by foot or tram. Now they were travelling in fancy Buicks, Packards, and Cadillacs. Some changed as many as five cars each year. American cars were in great demand among this class of Gandhian patriots who loudly and publicly upheld the ban on British cars. But there was a catch even here. Import laws on automobiles were stringent and not surprisingly, only these patriotic Congress ministers could magically import them at controlled prices. It was a tidy racket. Congressmen who were not ministers also made a killing in a different fashion. Using their clout, they would buy these American cars at the controlled prices, keep them for some time and then resell them in the second hand market at double the price. Needless, all such transactions were executed in cash. The favoured denomination was ₹ 100 notes.

We repeat: this was just eight months after “independence.”

Konda Venkatappaiah's Letter

Does the name Konda Venkatappaiah sound familiar? He was a full-blooded Gandhian. One of those millions who were better than Gandhi himself. The selfless patriots and nation-builders who gave up everything…family, job, career, suffered jail time, and largely lived in penury following an ideal which Gandhi self-righteously preached but practiced only by violating it. Konda Venkatappaiah was a truly distinguished Congressman from the Andhra Provincial unit who was greatly respected in the party and had a good rapport with the alleged Mahatma. He was eighty years old when he wrote this letter to Gandhi a few days before his assassination:

Swaraj was the only absorbing passion which goaded men and women to follow your leadership. But now that the goal has been reached ALL MORAL RESTRICTIONS HAVE LOST THEIR POWER ON MOST OF THE FIGHTERS IN THE GREAT STRUGGLE. . . .THE SITUATION IS GROWING MORE INTOLERABLE EVERY DAY. THE PEOPLE HAVE BEGUN TO SAY THAT THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT WAS MUCH BETTER. THEY ARE EVEN CURSING THE CONGRESS. [Capitalised]

This then is the other Great Myth: of the alleged, unquestionable goodwill that the Congress supposedly enjoyed, a reason for its repeated electoral successes. As this letter and hundreds of other proofs indicate, the opposite is true. By 1949, notwithstanding Gandhi’s tragic death, the Congress was hated more than the British who had colonized India.

The Cover Story of Gandhi's "Harijan"

Let’s look at another document. From an unimpeachable, firsthand source. Mohandas Gandhi’s paper, Harijan. It was now edited by Gandhi’s direct disciple, K.G. Mashruwala. Its cover story dated 3 October 1948 sounded a stern warning against Congressmen who were brazenly encashing their only calling card: “sacrifice” during the freedom struggle. He drew special attention to a new scheme: providing special facilities like admission to educational institutions for students who had taken part in various political movements of only the Congress Party. He deplored using “political service as a short cut to scholarship.”

Konda Venkatappaiah
Konda Venkatappaiah

But more devastatingly, Mashruwala said:

… it seems to be a doubtful method of consolidating one’s party through the power which a governing party necessarily possesses in the State. It sets a bad example for other parties to follow when any of them come into power. In a democratic form of government this might happen at any time…

But that was not all. The Congress Party won consecutive elections both at the Centre and in the States by sheer intimidation: through police action. The fate of non-Congress political workers and leaders was nightmarish and our salute is due to every such worker and patriot who fought a despotism worse than the British as we shall see. Mashruwala continues,

in the course of time the very heat of coercion might enable some of these parties to grow strong enough to overthrow the Congress party. Such a new party in power will follow the example of Congress party by rewarding all those who might have suffered under the Congress regime, and in this way the country will always have the kind of government which thrives on nepotism… BY REWARDING THOSE WHO SUFFERED OUT OF PATRIOTIC SENTIMENT WE ARE TRANSFERRING THEM FROM THE LIST OF PATRIOTS TO THAT OF MERCENARIES OR FARSIGHTED BUSINESSMEN. (Capitalised)

Similar voices echoed from within the Congress Party. These voices were not criticising the Congress per se but the fundamentals of a great freedom movement which could come apart overnight and be effortlessly usurped by the worst dregs of human nature. Of this swift and appalling reduction of a movement that was frontally led in recent memory by the likes of Lokmanya Tilak and Lala Lajpat Rai.

What Subash Chandra Bose's Brother Said

Another such voice was that of Subash Chandra Bose’s brother, Sarat Chandra Bose, a former leader of the Congress Legislative Assembly . He thundered in Bombay in July 1948, less than a year of achieving “independence.”

After ten months of existence, India has produced a maimed and crippled baby without much sign of life. She has been regulated and regimented to such a state that she is unable to throw up her arms and kick her legs…WE HAVE COPIED IN EVERY DETAIL THE EXAMPLE OF THE BRITISH. The repressive ordinances, acts and regulations of the British have all been made into law to-day… What is most shameful is that these repressive measures are far more stringent than the British ever dared to take… Free speech, association and assemblies are things of the past. OUR NEWS PAPERMEN ARE REPRESENTATIVES ONLY OF A SERVILE PRESS; THE SAME MEN WHO ONCE HAD THE GUTS TO CRITICIZE THE BRITISH REGIME IN THEIR NEWSPAPERS ARE TO-DAY LOOKING TO NEW DELHI FOR ORDERS… Corruption, nepotism and graft are on the increase in every province… Pandit Nehru had once said that all black-marketeers should be hanged from the nearest tree and that the public services should be manned by patriots and not by Indian Civil Servants, as these were misfits… ALL THESE UTTERANCES AND PROMISES MADE IN THE LAST TWENTY YEARS REMAIN MERELY UTTERANCES. [Capitalised]

Contesting on an independent ticket, Sarat Chandra Bose also holds the distinction of trouncing a Congress candidate with a handsome margin in the polls. Nehru’s response was not to recognise his merit or his eminence but to find methods to sideline and destroy Bose’s career. That’s a story for another day.

Likewise, other voices emerged. Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya’s son, Radhakant Malviya, then a member of the Constituent Assembly openly declared how the Congressmen and their friends “ who evade taxes are the very ones who are feted as patriots and honoured.”

Indians Hated the Congress Party After Independence

Public outrage finally forced the Congress to issue some kind of token warning. The man chosen to do it was the spineless Pattabhi Sitaramayya who circulated a “directive” to all Congress leaders across India. One tidbit from the directive is truly sickening to read. It shows that from the very top to the bottom, Congressmen were eminently susceptible to bribery and thrived on black-marketing in stuff that included “fountain pens to a motor car.” Quite naturally, Sitaramayya’s “directive” found its way to the dustbins of ministers and party men alike.

However, voices of honest folks like Sarat Chandra Bose and genuine patriots and freedom fighters could not be ignored because of the stature they commanded among the public. So, the only option was to find a method to marginalise, discredit or destroy them. Long story short, this is the other great achievement of the Nehruvian Congress: to shunt out honest critics within the party, and terrorise honest men and women who didn’t belong to either the Congress or any other party. Nawab Nehru accomplished this ignoble task with some amount of finesse and his perfected art of speaking in multiple tongues. His daughter Indira Gandhi did the same task by criminalising not only the Congress Party but the entire political system itself.

The perfect opportunity arose with Mohandas Gandhi’s assassination. With it came the imposition of the lethal Security Measures Acts passed in various provinces. The sort of atrocities unleashed by sitting Congress ministers and powerful party leaders would rival anything done during Indira Gandhi’s notorious Emergency of 1975. The Security Measures Acts also provided the perfect opportunity for the Congress to cannibalise itself, a seminal precedent that continues till date.

A nefarious Congress eminence who used this Act with impunity was an alleged freedom fighter later known as the “uncrowned king of Bombay,” Sadashiv Kanoji Patil. The selfsame S.K. Patil.

His story will be told in the next part.

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