Lohia on Nehru

The last few weeks that I have spent reading up on Books on Gandhi, Patel, Nehru Freedom and Partition has been fascinating to say the least. An excerpt from a small 100 odd page book by Rammanohar Lohia written as a rebuttal to Azad’s autobiography “India Wins Freedom”. The book is titled “Guilty Men of India’s Partition”. From Page 47 of the book:

 The only man whom Maulana Azad spares the accusation of being small-minded is Mr. Nehru and, up to a point, Mahatma Gandhi. Mr. Nehru according to Mr. Azad, never acted out of spite or petty jealousy. When he went wrong, that was due to the influences around him. The Mountbatten influence has been recorded and so has been the Tandon influence in the matter of not keeping troth (Sic) with Khaliquzzaman, which is of course a patent untruth. Mr. Nehru deserted Mr. Khaliquzzaman, because he obtained an absolute Congress majority. Mr. Azad has described Mr. Nehru as impulsive, generous, given to abstract reasoning and liable to go wrong under undesirable influences. This theory of scapegoats has been Mr. Nehru’s most formidable single shield throughout his long public life. Someone has either stalled him from doing the right thing or another talked him into doing a wrong one. Researchists (Sic) may later discover the great fraud behind it and that a whole army of propogandists, in particular, Left busybodies, was always kept busy whispering the name of the latest obstructor or misleader of Mr. Nehru. I have often admired Mr. Nehru, the world’s unmatched politician, as the practitioner of the great art of  building up a fresh defence through an unending series of scapegoats. Before one defence cracks or is demolished, another more formidable goes up. Chetty, Bajpai, Deshmukh, Patel and Tandon and now Pant and Desai, every one by turn, all of them his minions, except Messers. Patel and Tandon, but each one garbed as the evil contender or misleader of the moment, the story is there for any one to read. Mr. Azad has named no one in particular as the evil influence of a revealing story he has told. But the story, despite the manner in which it has been told, reveals a little too much – not alone of Mr. Nehru’s petty spites and jealousies but also of his great craftiness.

 Mr. Azad had one time  achieved the remarkable feat of persuading the Punjab Unionist, some of whom were associated with Mr. Jinnah, into a coalition ministry with the Congress Party. To most people that appeared to be a remarkable achievement. only they could have condemned it or remained indifferent to it, who took up the line of   revolutionary purism or patient mass work. Mr. Nehru was surely not one of them. But the Maulana’s achievement had brought him great glory. He records in his book how his crowds at wayside stations had grown enormously, how newspapers were putting him up as a great tactician and craftsman of politics and how Congressmen everywhere were pressing him to assert himself fully in the Congress Party. Mr. Azad states that Mr. Nehru opposed his Punjab achievement as contrary to Congress policy, but he hastens to add that Mr. Nehru did not do so out of petty jealousy. The theory of evil influences is again there. What exactly could these evil influences have talked Mr. Nehru except to look upon Mr. as a rival, who was making rapid strides? But Mr. Azad does not say so. What he says is contrary to what he implies. He goes so far as to make damning assertion, that Mr. Nehru opposed him on every issue in the meeting of the Congress executive, that took place  subsequent to his Punjab achievement. I do not know whether a stylistic sloppiness has marred this particular narration. As it stands, it can have only one meaning. Mr. Nehru’s opposition to Mr. Azad would have been confined to the particular issue of the coalition ministry if he were acting in furtherance  of a cause or a theory. His opposition was general. That only a man consumed by petty jealousies could do. Within the fold of a single faith, an ideal makes a man oppose a specific act or speech of another person; spite makes him oppose the person and almost all that he says or does.  After having made a full exhibition of petty spite and jealousy, which must indeed have been garbed as idealism, Mr. Nehru made a withdrawal apparently very gracefully. This took place because Mahatma Gandhi had put in a powerful plea on behalf of Mr. Azad. Mr. Nehru knew that the odds were heavy against him. He called on Mr. Azad the next morning and made his explanations. This is one of the great fortes of Mr. Nehru. He can appear so charming and generous. He also knows better than anyone else in the country how to promote his personal interests and those of his relations and friends as well as how to pursue his foe to his ruin. He can command a finesse to obscure his greed and his vendetta that the others do not possess.

This was written when the said Mr. Nehru was at the peak of his power and popularity.


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