Thursday, November 13, 2014

Nehru and Modi: poles apart


A few weeks back the RSS mouthpiece in Malayalam, Kesari, published an article, by a man who contested the last elections on a BJP ticket, in which the writer argued that Nehru should have been the more appropriate target of Nathuram Godse’s bullets than Gandhi.  The article went on to heap as much ignominy on Nehru as possible.

The Sangh Parivar could never accept people like Gandhi and Nehru whose vision was extremely inclusive.  The Parivar’s own vision was not only exclusive but also filled with hatred for people professing religions other than Hinduism. 

BJP ad on the Maulana's birth anniversary
Mr Narendra Modi is shrewd enough to realise the danger that underlies such a constricted vision.   Gandhi and Nehru were (and they still are) highly admired far beyond the borders of Hindutva.  Modi as Prime Minister cannot afford to denigrate such figures in other countries at least.  Hence he changed the strategy: he decided to incorporate them into the Parivar pantheon which had anyway very few occupants of global reputation.  Sardar Patel was adopted first.  Gandhi followed.  Maulana Azad’s contributions to the freedom struggle were lauded by the Prime Minister on his birth anniversary the other day (though the Maulana was rechristened).  And now the BJP is competing with the Congress to celebrate Nehru’s 125th birth anniversary.

It seems that the national heroes of the Congress Party can only evoke images of the broom in Mr Modi’s mind.  According to a report in the Hindustan Times, “PM Modi, who took charge of the panel to celebrate Nehru’s birth anniversary after assuming power at the centre, wants “Bal Swachhta Mission” to be organized at schools November 14-19. He also suggested celebrating the 125th anniversary of Nehru as the “year of Bal Swachhta”.

Why not secularism, for a change?  After all, Nehru’s version of secularism was unique.  He redefined the concept in a way nobody had thought of earlier.  He made it the basis of religious tolerance in the country.  Nehruvian secularism will remain relevant in India as long as its religious diversity is allowed to survive.

Nehru envisaged an India where science replaced superstition, reason prevailed over blind faith, and humanism took over religious bigotry.  He was also a scholar who wrote a number of great books.  There are so many great qualities in this man which can be highlighted.  Yet one wonders why our Prime Minister has decided to associate Swachhta with him.  How many freedom fighters will be forced to be Broom Ambassadors?  To what extent will history be trivialised in the days to come?  

18 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Though I am no fan of Modi, sangh, or Hindutva, I am no fan of Nehru either for he was the root cause of the dynasty politics in Congress, its subsequent corruption and the reason India could not become a developed nation even after more than 60 years of independence. He was an opportunist who banked on Indians blind love (vote) and lacked the right vision by promoting himself and his daughter for PM post. It is bitter but a fact that since our first leader after Freedom was an opportunist, our nation is now sadly, a land of opportunists.

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    1. India would have been a land of opportunists, Nehru or no Nehru. Opportunism is in our blood irrespective of party, religion, or anything. How can you hold Nehru responsible for what happened after his death?

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    2. :) Just my views that the party that ruled the nation for majority of years followed his footsteps using the name 'Gandhi'. Congress lost its agenda of development. Instead a party that use Gandhis as mascot and unabashedly loots the country emerged using secularism as just a fancy word. I don't believe opportunism is in our blood but yes, it has definitely become a habit.

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  3. After hearing modi s new york speech I admire him

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    1. The whole India admires him, Ananya. That's why I'm more wary. Hitler had similar popularity.

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    2. Hitler did good for Germany, didn't he? Germany would be nowhere if didn't meet Hitler after First World War. And, it's a fact.

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    3. This is an argument that is heard with increasing loudness and it is an ominous trend. Killing 6 million people can never be an acceptable means for any end.

      Modi is using Goebbelsian (Hitler's propagandist) strategies in a very subtle way by converting all historical days into Swatchh issues. Thus Gandhi Jayanti and Nehru Jayanti are both trivialised. Young, impressionable minds absorb totally wrong messages and it is done intentionally.

      Is cleanliness the most important issue faced by India today? I agree it is an important issue. But when we have doctors who use rusted surgical tools killing patients (Chhattisgarh), people die of starvation because their firms underpay them (Modi-fied labour laws are making it tougher for the workers), govt hospitals and schools fail to perform... what actually deserves priority? Well, I'm sure everybody knows the answers. But most people have hidden agenda today, alas!

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    4. OMG! No, Hitler didn't do good for Germany. Hitler was an opportunist who used his country and their depression for his benefit. The only reason for his popularity was his speeches and Germany's sad state of affairs.I pity the Germans who might have supported Hitler and then, realized the Jews they killed were their brethren, Germans and loved Germany more than Hitler ever did.
      I sincerely hope Modi might have started with the popularity and some ideology like Hitler, but Modi isn't Hitler. I think, the speeches are just for impressing people. Modi might still have a heart left in spite of everything. I hope I'm right.

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    5. Well Tomichan, you're writing on Mahabharata and all stuff. Tell me, who isn't gonna die? Who is immortal? Death & Birth aren't in human hands. I've seen birth after that birth control operations and soldiers alive after facing rounds of bullet on chest.

      Hmm... what appears wrong to you may be right from other perspectives. Right & wrong aren't absolute but relative terms.

      Well I ain't a blind supporter of both Nehru as well as Modi. Neither are free from hidden agendas. Both have their own merits & demerits. No one is perfect in this imperfect world. Both day and night are needed to complement each other.

      Well Kiran, a person having burnt his mouth with hot milk also sips lassi with utmost care. Yes, Hitler did wrong with Jews but it was the result of their own deeds - what they had did with Germany. No one can escape the cycle of Karma - Neither those Jews nor Hitler. All have to pay their Karmic Debts.

      If you read Chanakya, Greeks were the most cruel race on earth according to him because of his own experiences with Greeks. He hated Greeks that much. Similar is the case with Hitler; he had his own bad experiences with Jews. According to him they were the most cruel race on earth. All have their prejudices according to their previous experiences. No one is exception - neither I nor anyone else. But I always try to see things in broader aspect with many perspectives. As I see Hitler's intention was good in context of Germany. It is totally different thing that his deeds were not that good and upto mark.




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    6. Ravish, I don't know if you are aware of the dangers that underlie your thinking. It implies that any action from Hitler's to the terrorist's is justifiable one way or the other. Anyone can do anything and justify it in the name of some objective or another.

      When I read your response about transcendence of the morality in the Mahabharata in an earlier blog of mine, little did I think that you meant amorality by transcendence. Amorality can be bestial while transcendence is divine, according to me.

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    7. Well Matheikal, I used 'Transcendence' in its true meaning which is beyond duality. A Transcend rises above the plane of morality & amorality. For him, there isn't any difference between morality & amorality. Both are hurdles in growth of human to its highest potentiality. A cage is a cage; it doesn't matter whether it's of gold or ordinary iron.

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  4. I loved your post. Nehru was more than a charismatic leader, he was a good man. A philosopher at heart, he had unique ideas about everything. As a kid, I used to write Chacha Nehru was my favourite leader, because I had no knowledge about him or any other leader. It was easy to write about his love for roses and kids. :) Then, there was a phase, when I was led to believe Nehru was responsible for everything that went wrong with India.
    Then, I read about him and the books he wrote. Now, he is one of my favourite again. I think people should read more, and not form an opinion based on hearsay.

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    1. I would love to share your optimism about Modi. Perhaps, he isn't very dangerous; he is, as you say, trying to win over people. But the way he goes about implementing certain things and making heroes of history look like nursery rhyme heroes, the cynic in me begins to shriek.

      I too learnt to admire Gandhi and Nehru when I started studying some of their works initially as part of the literature course I did and later out of my inquisitiveness. Gandhi was a genuine religious person and Nehru was a genuine agnostic. Their genuineness is what drew me to them. Then, eventually, I understood their depth.

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  5. Much as I like Modi, cannot but wonder.. Is this simply Advertising Marketing? These are the very people he lambasted during his CM / Election days, and now these are the very people who matter?

    Could be as you rightly point out, the lack of having any Globally recognized person in their party, would hit him hard.. Vajpayee for sure is one, however he has been sidelined and is now simply a Birthday greeting for the BJP. Advani is out of sight, out of mind, again, a Birthday boy only... So in this case, what next.. If you cant borrow them, steal them... I guess, that is how politics works, only this time, it is self promoting politics

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    1. Shakespeare portrayed the rank and file of the Roman Empire as a fickle-minded lot. When Brutus justified the killing of Caesar they agreed with him and admire him. Another powerful speech of Mark Antony and the same people condemn Brutus. The masses are as malleable as that even today. Politicians know that. They use it viciously. Mr Modi is an expert in that art. If we analyse his attitudes towards the freedom fighters as he expressed it at different times, we will be amazed by the contradictions. But who cares for such contradictions? We want a strong leader who can take our stock market to a higher indices...!

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  6. Totally agreed with Rohit Bhatnagar

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    1. I thought Roohi was having second thoughts :)

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