Erasing Gandhi and Nehru

Pranav Jagdish

Self-Photo

Pranav describes himself as:

I am a Bachelors in Technology (Computer Science and Engineering) pass-out. I hold a liberal mind-set. I describe myself as a freethinker and atheist who is for critical analysis of religion and humanism in the world. I have a keen interest in current affairs and world politics.

He can be contacted at pranavjagdish@hotmail.com

Today, in India, there is no bigger a hero than Subhash Chandra Bose and Bhagat Singh. For all the heroism and ideologues these men resembled, they have become a symbol of the chauvinist’s comprehension of history. For the chauvinist, men like these, are the answer to how India always was the land of the revolutionaries. These men symbolize India’s own George Washington and an Indian revolution. After all whereís the adrenaline in Gandhi’s non-violence. The non-violence, which they argue, delayed India’s independence for three decades. Had Gandhi allowed the wrath of Indians to blow out of proportion in the aftermath of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre which ultimately culminated in the Chauri Chaura incident, India would have been independent in the 1920’s itself!

In this chauvinist reading of history, they forget the times in which Satyagraha became the norm. The Jallianwala Bagh massacre and the lack of punishment for General Dyer coupled with the indifference of the British parliament and British people (with exception of a tiny few) had presented to Indians, what the British were capable of doing in their mission to hold on to India. Had that adrenaline moment arrived, India would have seen a genocide far greater than the atrocities carried out by the British in the aftermath of the 1857 mutiny. No one in the world would have bothered. Britain had just been victorious in the Great War and independence from foreign powers, the West had determined, was only a right the West should enjoy. Yes maybe the Indian soldiers would have mutinied again, but with British naval power, in only a few months the British would have bounced back with legions from Africa and beyond. India just couldn’t have a revolution. Yet, the chauvinist claims, it did when Bhagat Singh took to the gallows or when Bose’s ragtag Azad Hind Fauj captured Kohima. I call it ragtag, because its fighting capabilities were severely limited. It is also well documented, how the Azad Hind Fauj saw desertions and massive retreats. All this and the fact that Bose would have formed a puppet government for the Japanese, doesn’t make me weep over the Azad Hind Fauj not being victorious. Yet, the chauvinist cherishes the revolutionary zeal that was denied to the history of India by the likes of Gandhi and that puppet of the British – the Indian National Congress (as Indiaís supreme conspiracy theorist cum chauvinist – Rajiv Dikshit – claimed it to be)

I am not here to deny the goodwill of Bose or Bhagat Singh or in that matter any of those men who took the path of violence in achieving India’s independence. They are, after all, my heroes too. Their efforts, indirectly, led to India’s independence. What they had hoped for, didn’t happen per se, but the effect they had on British policy-makers made the British rethink their strategy on maintaining their ‘Raj’. What I am here to argue is how today in the main discourse, especially on social media, people have distanced themselves from Gandhi and Nehru, and accepted Bhagat Singh and Bose as Fathers of the Nation. Perhaps, its this growing pride which has come with Indiaís new-found economic prosperity (obviously prosperity of the middle class – the poor do not debate over fantasies and heroes). This pride has made many think how come we were so ‘cowardly’ when it came to fighting the British.

Before I dwell further into this topic, I wish to clarify one thing. Nehru is viewed by even the more saner of people as a demon for India. Yes, the man was not perfect. Yes, his legacy is of bringing India a sort of nepotist political class. But no man is perfect and the same can definitely be said about Gandhi with his poor economic models and his adherence to the caste system. While we all can find arguments in support of Gandhi, we usually falter when it comes to Nehru. But in my opinion, Gandhi gave us India, Nehru helped us keep it. If it wasnít for Nehruís governance in the initial years when India came into being, India as the world had debated from USA to Europe, would have disintegrated by the 1960s. Nehruís far-sightedness in that regard laid the foundations of India. We are united today thanks to him. For all his mistakes, his ideas of socialism were noble ideas. For all his unfortunate legacy thanks to his family becoming a sort of ruling class of this nation, we cannot forget Nehru. He is the reason you still have a Republic of India.

Coming back to the chauvinist. The most highest order of chauvinists today loathe Gandhi and Nehru (the latter enjoys contempt in other circles too). Makes you wonder, where does Rajiv Dikshit get his facts from. Rajiv Dikshit is dead, but his videos are highly viewed and shared. Ironically, the death of this conspiracy theorist, has conspiracy theories of its own. Where do all these messages and essays against Gandhi originate from. There are whole paragraphs on how Quit India Movement was a sham and a British gimmick. There is even a highly shared essay suggesting that the Quit India Movement achieved nothing at all. I could very much kick off my own conspiracy theory of it being a very well organized propaganda campaign. However, I won’t jump to conclusions but only say that it is borne out of a very disgusting kind of thought of rewriting history. That thought has probably made individuals fire off such essays into the far depths of the Internet, or well it could just be a PR campaign on part of an organization that will profit the most from such rewriting of history. The leader of chauvinists, the Sangh Parivar, is the only organization that has the maximum to earn from defaming Gandhi and Nehru. Most of these unfortunate articles can be easily linked to the Hindu right. There is even one which puts Nathuram Godse in good light. Applause Please! This is what India has come to. If fighting for the safety of killers of Rajiv Gandhi wasn’t enough, now we are fighting to posthumously acquit Nathuram Godse of his crimes. Have we forgotten that the former attacked the highest office in this country and the latter attacked the Father of the Nation. But then thatís what the rewriting of history is all about. They do not want to change the events, they want to change the narrative. Make Gandhi a demon and suddenly Godse becomes a hero. Simple tactics and easy to deploy, thanks to the wide reach of the Internet.

So why do I single out the Sangh Parivar? I do not think there is hardly a person (with exception of few who have researched over it) who does not take it for granted that for all that is wrong with the Hindu right (especially the RSS) – they are at least patriotic (or chauvinist). I even think those politicians who oppose the RSS have forgotten their history or else they would have gone all guns blazing at the BJP and RSS (if they knew better). The RSS is the mother organization of the Sangh Parivar. Its history is exactly what the RSS wishes to change. Since it cannot change the specific events (lest there is a treatise on construction of the Time Machine somewhere in the Vedas), it is changing the narrative. When we inquire about what that history is, we come to some startling revelations.

The RSS never bothered about India’s independence from the British. It did not outsource the fight against imperialism to splinter cells or other organizations it parented Ė it just didnít care! For starters, the RSS did not participate in the Salt Satyagraha. So when the whole of India was reeling under taxes levied on this most basic food necessity, the RSS thought it better to lick British boots than fight this tyranny. The RSS, boycotted the Quit India Movement of 1942. Today many a Sangh Parivar men will argue that the Muslim League was a British puppet – always supporting them so that when the British leave India, they reward them with a country of their own. But what does this make the RSS then. Since its inception, the RSS leadership never saw an extended jail term (more than a day) unlike the Congress leaders or Communists. The RSS members of provincial governments helped facilitate smooth running of the British administration when all other major parties had called for the Quit India Movement. In a way, the RSS and Muslim League can be held guilty for the failure of the Quit India Movement, if there was any. Personally, I believe the Quit India Movement further weakened the British belief that it could sideline independence demands from India any longer. The British Home Office even signed off a clean chit to the RSS in 1943. This further solidifies the fact that the RSS was never pro-independence under British rule. I do have to add here that RSS members were allowed to take part in the independence movement only in their individual capacity. Javed Akhtar has even said that the RSS and the Muslim League were British puppets, created so that India could be partitioned with ease.

Today the RSS has become the guardian of India’s nationalist identity. It has become the mother organization of the patriots. Its the custodian of patriotism in India. If you are a swayamsevak, no one can deny you the adjective of a patriot. How come, this organization which never bothered about Indiaís independence has become its guardian angel and flag-bearer. This all has happened by the rewriting of history in recent times. Though it cannot do it officially as that will invite the wrath of courts and civil society, it is doing it online. Since it cannot change the events, its changing the background and the narrative. If the Quit India Movement can be made a sham in the hearts and minds of the people, then the RSS not joining it can be shown as a justifiable action – because the awesome Hindu RSS leadership obviously knew better. If Gandhi can be defamed and demonised then the shame of having links to Nathuram Godse gets washed away along with the shame of having distanced itself from him in his various Satyagrahas. The Sangh has done a good job at this massive propaganda campaign and it seems like they are winning. Today RSS-supporters seldom hide their contempt for Gandhi and their fascination for Nathuram Godse. Gone are the days when RSS-supporters would claim that Godse had nothing to with the RSS. All I wish to relay to the Sanghis is, keep your communal bias and your Hindu legacy, but do you seriously wish to call yourselves or have links to an organization that never bothered about your country but now suddenly has become its flag-bearer. I don’t even mind if they make a RSS-2, but this rewriting of history has to stop. This brainwashing of the newer generations whose adrenaline levels have pumped up to the levels of nitrogen in the atmosphere has to stop.

The founding leadership of the RSS was amazed and intrigued by Hitler. Makes you wonder, they have taken his one idea to the heart.

“Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it”

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