Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, like others were, in 1947, was a freedom fighter first, before being the politician of the Independent India, who was going to be its first prime minister.
And in spite of the differences with his fellow freedom fighters, he was one of the luminaries who could comfortably be placed in the second line with fellow members with the mutual respect they had for each-other. Naturally, the first line was the Mahatma himself.
But, then, that was it only.
Probably, it was one among the many harms that the sudden demise of the Mahatma caused to the cause of the independent India.
Mahatma, the architect of the Indian Independence Movement and the Father of the Nation, had foreseen something and had advocated of dissolving the Indian National Congress to establish a new political order in India with wider participation and diversified freshness.
Till August 15, 1947, the Indian National Congress was an independence movement.
After it, it directly donned the role of a political party when India needed a ‘political movement’.
What the Mahatma advocated was the propagation of a political movement.
Had the Mahatma been there, the nation could have this much needed change, under his guidance and unselfish love for the motherland.
After few months of getting independence, Mahatma Gandhi was taken away from among us when a fanatic killed him, and with it died many hopes of having a transformed India in the future.
Now, it was solely to Nehru and the Indian National Congress. Still there was some sanity till the first elections were held in 1951-52 because of the larger breed of the freedom fighter in the formative years of governance. But cracks were appearing. Many Congress stalwarts left the party because of Nehru.
These could have been accepted as products of regular political process had it not been for Nehru’s political behaviour.
What India needed when it got a wounded independence, riots, displacements and millions of humiliated souls was people in the office with highest standards of probity and personal integrity. There are many to be placed on that pedestal, but when we look back now, we can easily say that the person at the top, Jawaharlal Nehru, could not follow his dignified past of the pre-independence days.
The first and the foremost pre-condition of that probity was to take everyone else as the equal partner in the nation-building process while at the same time, following the strict discipline of the politics of probity.
Sadly, first Feroze Gandhi and then Indira Gandhi gave us a paradox that pushed us to question Nehru’s motives as he went ahead with his prime-ministerial terms, from first to second, to third.
On mass level, no one knows about the family descendents of almost of the leaders who worked for us to give us August 15, 1947.
Paradoxically, on mass level, almost everyone knows about the Nehru-Gandhi family.
And ironically (and pathetically), most in the independent India would be unaware of the family tree of the Mahatma that followed him in the independent India, family tree of the Mahatma who was the real Gandhi.
Jawaharlal Nehru erred here, willing or unwillingly, knowingly or unknowingly, pushing India into a long and tumultuous future that followed one-party rule and dynasty politics and was cursed with an immature and almost non-existent opposition for decades.
Nehru was the blue-eyed boy of the Mahatma. He should have listened to him. It was his duty. He should have worked to give us the political movement that the Mahatma ‘wished’ during the formative years of the independent India.
But…. and this ‘but’ raises many valid questions.
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/