Saturday, 10 May 2014

Examples of the Dynasty’s Hubris-Driven Mean Politics, Part-II

Examples of the Dynasty’s Hubris-Driven Mean Politics
“Neech Politics” or “Neech Rajniti”, as they say.


This is from the foreword of S Nijalingappa to the book, Inside Story of Sardar Patel—The Diary of Maniben Patel: 1936-50: “Strangely, however, while the collected works of many other leaders [notably, Nehru and Gandhi] have been published by the government since Independence, the collected or selected works of two foremost leaders, namely Sardar Patel and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, were never taken up by any official agency. It is for this reason that we constituted the Sardar Patel Society, had it registered, collected funds and published the Collected works of Sardar Patel in fifteen volumes...”


In the capital, in the prime area, you have Rajghat for Gandhiji, Shanti Van for Nehru, Shakti Sthal for Indira Gandhi, Veer Bhumi for Rajiv Gandhi, Vijay Ghat for Shastri, Kishan Ghat for Charan Singh, besides many museums or memorials for the Nehru-Gandhis, but no memorial to either Subhas Bose or to Sardar Patel in the capital, when next to Gandhiji the latter two deserve the highest respect! Dr Ambedkar’s memorial in Delhi and in Nagpur, and the Tilak Janmasthan Memorial at Ratnagiri are also in a state of neglect! Contrast them with Nehru-Gandhi memorials!


Incidentally, it is odd why Nehru, who considered himself modern, westernised, forward-looking, secular and above caste, allowed himself to be called Panditji? There is an interesting episode of Nehru’s time—available on the web—which illustrates how the upper caste Indian leaders paid mere lip service to the amelioration of the lot of dalits, and how insensitive they were to their pathetic condition. The story, in brief, is like this. In a Scheduled Caste Conference held in Lucknow, presided by the dalit leader Babu Jagjivan Ram, Nehru in his inaugural address said, among other things, that those who do the menial job of carrying excreta were greater than God. At this, Babu Jagjivan Ram got up immediately and snapped back that having done the said job for ages, the Dalits had already become Gods, and the castes to which Nehru and Gandhi belong should now take up the said task and become Gods!


In an article, A Case For Bhim Rajya, the author S Anand describes a shocking incident. It appeared in the Outlook issue of 20 August 2012—a special issue on BR Ambedkar, after being declared “The Greatest Indian After Gandhi” in the poll conducted in 2012 by the Outlook along with the CNN-IBN and History18 TV Channels with BBC. It reads:

“Let us begin at the end, with one of the worst humiliations in Ambedkar’s life, less than three months before his death. On September 14, 1956, exactly a month before he embraced Buddhism with half-a-million followers in Nagpur, he wrote a heart-breaking letter to prime minister Nehru from his 26, Alipore Road residence in Delhi. Enclosing two copies of the comprehensive Table of Contents of his mnemonic opus, The Buddha and His Dhamma, Ambedkar suppressed pride and sought Nehru’s help in the publication of a book he had worked on for five years: ‘The cost of printing is very heavy and will come to about Rs 20,000. This is beyond my capacity, and I am, therefore, canvassing help from all quarters. I wonder if the Government of India could purchase 500 copies for distribution among the various libraries and among the many scholars whom it is inviting during the course of this year for the celebration of Buddha’s 2,500 years’ anniversary. Ambedkar had perhaps gotten used to exclusion by then. The greatest exponent of Buddhism after Asoka had ruthlessly been kept out of this Buddha Jayanti committee presided over by S. Radhakrishnan, then vice president...Worse, when Nehru replied to Ambedkar the next day, he said that the sum set aside for publications related to Buddha Jayanti had been exhausted, and that he should approach Radhakrishnan, chairman of the commemorative committee. Nehru also offered some business advice, gratuitously: ‘I might suggest that your books might be on sale in Delhi and elsewhere at the time of Buddha Jayanti celebrations when many people may come from abroad. It might find a good sale then.’ Radhakrishnan is said to have informed Ambedkar on phone about his inability to help him.

“This is the vinaya that the prime minister and vice-president of the day extended to the former law minister and chairperson of the drafting committee of the Constitution. It was suggested with impertinence that Ambedkar could set up a stall, hawk copies and recover costs...”

It is a shocking lack of grace and courtesy. Couldn’t they have spared a few thousand for Ambedkar’s great works—when the Government could spend lacs on all kind of sundry and selected and collected works of Nehru and Gandhi. The Government  had also refused to publish the collected or selected works of two other great leaders: Sardar Patel and Subhas Bose.


The Ambedkar memorial in the capital is in bad shape. Writes Neha Bhatt in an article, A Fall Into Sear And Yellow Leaf, in the Outlook magazine of 20 August 2012: “The untended grounds of 26, Alipur Road, in New Delhi’s upscale Civil Lines neighbourhood, give a telling foretaste of the overall neglect of the building. It’s hard to believe that this is the Dr Ambedkar National Memorial, where the man spent his twilight years and breathed his last. The visitor’s book here reveals more than the walls themselves—scribbled in by the few visitors it receives, some all the way from Maharashtra, Haryana, Gujarat, are urgent requests, not only for a ‘better’ memorial, but for basic amenities like fans, lights and some ventilation.”


Above extracts from “Foundations of Misery, Part-I : India, 1947-1964” by Rajnikant Puranik.
Kindle Digital Edition @
Paperback Internationally Available @

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