Saturday, 15 August 2015

A Bunch of Bewildering Questions for 15.Aug.15, Part-1

Blog-Series: Bewildering Questions for 15.Aug.15, Part-1

Bewildering Questions (1) : Freedom, Partition, Socialism, Dynacracy
Bewildering Questions (2) : Nehru's "Exemplary" Score-Card
Bewildering Questions (3) : Indira Gandhi
Bewildering Questions (4) : Sanjay Gandhi

A Bunch of Bewildering Questions
for 15.Aug.15


There are numerous questions about India that baffle you. Questions from a wide variety of areas. Questions on poverty and prosperity; backwardness and advances made; stagnation and progress; and freedom and controls. Questions on poverty-perpetuating socialism and free-markets. Questions on mean, regressive politics vs. statesmanship; and democracy vs. dynacracy (dynastic “democracy”). Questions on bureaucracy and criminal-justice system; and justice and injustice. Questions on illiteracy and education; tradition and modernity; religions and religion-exploiters; secularists and sickularists. Questions on Hindu culture, Islamic culture, Nehruvian brown-sahib culture and “composite” culture. Questions on recent history; history of independence; pre-Islamic Indian history, and history of India during the Islamic and the British phase. Questions on “eminent”, Sarkari, Marxist, Nehruvian historians; and questions on genuine, professional ones. Questions on compliant, compromised academia and intellectuals vs. the fearless, genuine ones. Questions on real, daring, professional journalists vs. news-traders and presstitutes…

Taking up questions in each area, and expanding on each, would take a book. Why not at least list the questions. But, that too is a laborious job, for there are far too many questions.

The questions are not new. Many have been answered too. But, not necessarily in a convincing way. Many answers raise even more questions. Where the answers appear to be satisfactory, they have not been widely disseminated—most are unaware of the real answers and reasons.

An attempt is made below to list a few such questions from the vast pool.

In certain cases, outline of a few answers are also included. What is noteworthy is that even after 68 years of independence, there are no satisfactory answers. Why? Have our academicians, historians, journalists, writers, intellectuals been so wanting in research and analysis, and in courage too? That further adds to the unanswered or unsatisfactorily-answered questions!

Credit for the Indian Independence Goes to…

What all factors gained for us our independence? What are the relative weightages of those factors? To what extent can Gandhi and the INC be credited for it considering the Quit India movement had petered out way back in 1942, and there had been no movement since? Was British bankruptcy upon World War II a major factor? Was it because holding out to India became a drain for the British, rather than a profitable enterprise? Was it because of Netaji Subhas and his INA? Did the Jabalpur Army Mutiny of 1946 and Indian Naval Mutiny of 1946, both provoked partially by the INA trials, convinced the British they could no longer trust the Indian Army to suppress Indians, and continue to rule over them?

To what extent the following written in his letter addressed to the publisher of Dr RC Majumdar's book ‘A History of Bengal’ by the then Chief Justice PB Chakrabarty of Calcutta High Court, who had also served as the acting Governor of West Bengal in India, should be given major importance?

“You have fulfilled a noble task by persuading Dr. Majumdar to write this history of Bengal and publishing it ... In the preface of the book Dr. Majumdar has written that he could not accept the thesis that Indian independence was brought about solely, or predominantly by the non-violent civil disobedience movement of Gandhi. When I was the acting Governor, Lord Atlee, who had given us independence by withdrawing the British rule from India, spent two days in the Governor's palace at Calcutta during his tour of India. At that time I had a prolonged discussion with him regarding the real factors that had led the British to quit India. My direct question to him was that since Gandhi's ‘Quit India’ movement had tapered off quite some time ago and in 1947 no such new compelling situation had arisen that would necessitate a hasty British departure, why did they have to leave? In his reply Atlee cited several reasons, the principal among them being the erosion of loyalty to the British Crown among the Indian army and navy personnel as a result of the military activities of Netaji. Toward the end of our discussion I asked Atlee what was the extent of Gandhi's influence upon the British decision to quit India. Hearing this question, Atlee's lips became twisted in a sarcastic smile as he slowly chewed out the word, ‘m-i-n-i-m-a-l!’… Apart from revisionist historians, it was none other than Lord Clement Atlee himself, the British Prime Minster responsible for conceding independence to India, who gave a shattering blow to the myth sought to be perpetuated by court historians, that Gandhi and his movement had led the country to freedom.”

Would it be fair to accord the following order of credit or designate the followoing factors responsible, from highest to lowest, for the independence of India, after assigning appropriate weightages?
(1)Netaji Subhas Bose and his INA, and the consequent army/navy mutinies, that shook the confidence of the British in being able to use the Indian army to continue to suppress Indians.
(2a)World War-II (and, therefore, Hitler!) that almost bankrupted the British.
(2b)Governing India as a colony becoming non-economical, rather a drain, for the British.
(3)Non-violent Freedom Movement of the Congress.

Is it not true that while the highest credit for Indian independence goes to Netaji Subhas; the major credit (almost the full credit) for expanding (British) India by 40% (almost doubling (British) India's geographical area), by speedily and tactfully integrating the Princely States, goes to Sardar Patel; and the credit for the Indian Constitution goes to Dr BR Ambedkar? Why then were all the three great leaders denied Bharat Ratna by Nehru, Indira and Rajiv?

Bose was awarded Bharat Ratna posthumously in 1992, which was later withdrawn on a legal technicality, in response to a Supreme Court directive: Government was asked to submit conclusive evidence of Netaji's death—which it could not—on a PIL as to how the award could be posthumous. However, the intriguing point is how come they thought of the award to Netaji only in 1992—even though the amendment to give awards posthumously was made in 1955 itself?

Like for Bose, Bharat Ratna was awarded even to Sardar Patel in 1991 and to Dr Ambedkar in 1990! And, that too because there were non-Dynasty governments since December 1989—VP Singh, then Chandra Shekhar, followed by Narsimha Rao.

What is amusing is that Nehru and Indira Gandhi awarded Bharat Ratna to themselves in 1955 and 1971 respecticvely when they were holding the post of prime minister! When sounded for Bharat Ratna, Maulana Azad declined and told Nehru it was totally improper for those deciding on the awards to pin the medal on themselves! Azad got it posthumously. Rajiv Gandhi was awarded Bharat Ratna in 1991. What for? What did Rajiv do to deserve it? Of course, the only unjust thing that the Dynasty did was to have left out poor Sanjay Gandhi!

What to speak of Bharat Ratna (above), how come even the real facts on the death of Netaji Subhas have been kept a secret? How can a nation be secretive about the death of its most precious son? How can any government put a lid on the mystery? Are we in a democracy or in a dictatorship? Is an Indian citizen not entitled to know the facts of death of India's most illustrious son even after 70 (reported death in 1945) long years? Aren't the reasons trotted out by government after government not to declassify Netaji files so much hogwash? How can Modi and the BJP government who got elected on the promise of, among other things, revealing the truth on Netaji go back on it? Does it behove them to break a solemn promise? How long would they keep dilly-dallying? The Dynasty having done so was understandable. They have much to hide. But, why Modi and BJP? Would it require a powerful, peaceful people's movement for the government to do the needful? Would they wake up to action only when such a movement begins to cost them votes? If so, would it not be desirable to launch such a powerful, peaceful movement at the earliest?

Even the death of Lal Bahadur Shastri is a mystery? An article on the web suggests that the mysterious death of Shastri is linked to his having become privy to facts on Netaji Subhas's death, and their possible imminent disclosure by Shastri. Further reason the death of Shastri must be probed.

Partition of India in 1947

Could partition have been managed better so as to ensure that either the following did not happen or happened on a small insignificant scale? Why aren’t there enough books and research to bring out the truth?

Sudden displacement of about 14 million Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims, and loss of their properties. Murder and slaughter of an estimated 5,00,000 to 2 million: there are no definite figures—an exercise for a proper count was never carried out! Trains looted, passengers slaughtered. Mass dishonouring, brutality and rapes.

Why the blame has been put on general public on either side, and their inhumanity? Why those responsible have not been singled out and tarred in history? How could Mountbatten, the main person responsible, escape the blame, and lord it out? Why was compensation not demanded from the British, the actual party responsible? What about the Indian and the Pakistani leadership? Weren’t they well aware of history of Hindu-Muslim riots? Weren’t they aware that what actually happened was bound to happen if they didn’t take sufficient care? What precaution and care did they take? Can they escape the blame—be they Gandhi, Nehru or Jinnah?

If the following was possible, why thousands were allowed to be brutalised and slaughtered?

“In 1947, Hameeda Akhtar Husain Raipuri was a young mother… She came to Karachi at Partition with her family from Aligarh… As the wife of a civil servant in the Education Ministry, Hameeda’s introduction to Karachi was comparatively orderly. The train that brought her from Delhi was one of the first to be attacked; but it was full of government employees, and thus was well defended by the army. ‘A gentleman was waiting at the station at Karachi with the keys to our flat in Napier Barracks,’ she says, ‘another was holding out a ration card.’ So the family settled into their new country, full of hope…”
—from “Empires of the Indus” by Alice Albinia, published by John Murray, page 15.

Poverty-Perpetuating Socialism vs. Free-Market Economy

Why are the socialists, communists, Marxists, Maoists still respectable in India? Why many political parties still swear by socialism? Why are media and academia still widely infested by them?

Being Marxist once implied being scientific-spirited, rational, progressive, pro-poor intellectual, aligned to the forces of history! Sadly, rather than being aligned to the forces of history or being on the right side of it, to the dismay of the Marxists, the unfolding history proved them to be on the wrong side; and their science—“scientific” socialism—turned out to be an alchemy! For anything to be scientifically correct, it has to be proved truly and convincingly in practice, without a shadow of doubt. Has the so-called scientific socialism or Marxism proved successful anywhere in the world in practice? No. Facts, figures, statistics and ground-level experiences of various countries prove that all brands of leftist politics—Communist, Socialist, Fabian, Nehruvian, and so on—are inherently incapable of delivering anything positive for any nation or for its poor. In fact, they have actually been at the root of poverty, want and stagnation. Dismal fate of all nations that went socialist proves the point. India is only one example.

Why the preamble of the Indian Constitution (“We, the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a sovereign socialist secular democratic republic and to secure to all its citizens…”) still has that word “socialist”, thanks to the Constitution (Forty-second amendment) Act, 1976, brought in by Indira Gandhi during the Emergency that changed the wording “sovereign democratic republic” to “sovereign, socialist secular democratic republic”? How can you condemn India to be a socialist state, when the global experience of socialism is resoundingly negative?

While certain provisions of the 42nd Amendment were later revoked when non-Congress government came into power, why the amended preamble remains unchanged? Why have the NDA-I and II done nothing about them?

Fundamentally, socialism means dominance of the state, pubic and state sector at the commanding heights of the economy, predominant state controls of the economy and means of production, over-regulated bureaucratic state, mai-baap Sarkar and lesser or marginal role for the private sector and individuals. We are NOT implying socialism or socialistic state to mean a welfare state or a state engaged in social justice and equality, because as per the actual global experience such a socialistic state as just defined by us is neither capable of ensuring general welfare nor social justice nor equality.

The principal architect of the Indian Constitution, BR Ambedkar, too was opposed to incorporating economic or social structure into the Constitution. During the Constituent Assembly debates in 1946, Ambedkar had opposed a proposal to include the wordings "Secular, Federal, Socialist" stating: "My objections, stated briefly are two. In the first place the Constitution,... is merely a mechanism for the purpose of regulating the work of the various organs of the State. It is not a mechanism whereby particular members or particular parties are installed in office. What should be the policy of the State, how the Society should be organised in its social and economic side are matters which must be decided by the people themselves according to time and circumstances. It cannot be laid down in the Constitution itself, because that is destroying democracy altogether. If you state in the Constitution that the social organisation of the State shall take a particular form, you are, in my judgment, taking away the liberty of the people to decide what should be the social organisation in which they wish to live...”

Why have the political parties, academia and media failed to put across to the public at large the globally known facts about the utter failure of socialism and communism?

Millions died from hunger and famine in Soviet Russia, yet the communist leadership did not have the heart to save them by seeking help from outside, lest the outside world became aware of the pathetic conditions. Same with China under Mao—about 40 million perished in famines! Country-wise unofficial estimates of the total number of persons who perished thanks to communism, through man-made famines and state-terror, as per The Black Book of Communism are: USSR–20 million, China–65 million, Combodia–2 million, North Korea–2 million; the world-total being around 100 million! Compare this with the estimate of Holocaust victims at about 6 million, and total World War II military deaths of all countries put together at about 25 million.

Take the case of East Germany: contrast it with the prosperity in West Germany. Why the Berlin Wall ultimately fell? See the fate of the East-European countries: Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania. Consider the case of Albania under its Mao—Enver Hoxha. What of Cuba under the "great" revolutionary, Fidel Castro: it is now desperately trying to shed its socialistic past. Note the growing economy of Vietnam after the gradual shedding of its communist policies. The terrible fate of Cambodians under the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot—brought out so chillingly in the movie, The Killing Fields! Appalling conditions in North Korea: George Orwell’s “1984” continuing in the 21st century!

There is not a single example of a country which prospered or whose poor were better off under communism or socialism. The democratic countries like the UK which were going downhill with their socialistic policies did course correction under Thatcher and prospered.

Near home, see the unfortunate and the pathetic fate of India and its poor thanks to India's socialistic policies, which are only gradually getting dismantled. We know how communists wrecked West Bengal during their 34-year misrule! And, how Mamta Banerjee is indulging in more of the same!

That Japan achieved what it did, and so also South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore, was because their leaders refused to follow the politically convenient and self-serving populist socialistic path to nowhere. Thanks to the wisdom that dawned upon China, it  junked its socialistic past, tremendously improved its governance, and is now a super power both economically and militarily. That India remains an RDC (Refusing-to-Develop-Country, as India Today called it) is thanks solely to our politicians, economists and intellectuals of the socialistic and leftist variety. Reportedly, Rahul Gandhi had recently remarked to Sitaram Yachuri of CPI(M) in Parliament that he (Rahul) was a greater communist! With such morons as young leaders, only God can save India!!

Why have supposedly “rightist” parties like the BJP been ambivalent on their stand on socialism vs. free-market economy? How could past incarnations of BJP like the JanSangh be in the political arena with no well-defined economic philosophy? How could their holding company, RSS, have only mumbo-jumbo for economic thinking, the most critical factor for development of a nation? Why only a few people led by Rajaji (C Rajagopalachari) had that brilliance and clarity? Why even Rajaji and his party, the Swatantra Party, could not take strong roots? Why couldn’t Rajaji, with his eloquence, expose the fraud being perpetrated by Nehru and dynasty? Why even today you have the likes of Prashant Bhushan, Yogendra Yadav, Arundhati Roy getting away with their nonsense on socialism and Maoism? Why even a young party like the AAP mouths socialistic idiocies? Why have we been failing to enlighten the public on the hopelessness of the socialistic path? Why can’t the benefits of free-market economy be made popular and widely acceptable?

Why even Narendra Modi who came up on the platforms of “It’s not the business of the government to be in business” and “Minimum government, maximum governance” fights shy of taking any worthwhile practical steps in that direction? Why public sector behemoths like Coal India and Air India have not been privatised? Why there is no talk of disinvestment? Is Modi ideologically shallow? Does Modi have no genuine conviction on free-market economy vs. socialism; or is it that he has no courage of conviction? Does Modi harbour the quixotic notion that just because Gujarat had turned around a state-owned public sector company, the same could be done for all public sector companies? Why does Modi fight shy of being perceived as being business-friendly? Why should he feel embarrassed about “suit-boot ki sarkar”? Doesn’t he want more of “suit-boot” for increasing employment and “Make in India”? Why remain a hypocrite?

Democracy vs.
Dynacracy (Dynastic “Democracy”)

How could Nehru get away brazenly promoting his deficiently-educated daughter, with no proven record or achievements or worth-while work for the party or sacrifice for the nation? Why other freedom fighters and senior congress-persons and those in the opposition remained mute witnesses? Why academics, intellectuals, writers, journalists didn’t raise a hell, even as the very foundations of democracy were being compromised? Why, despite such nepotism, Nehru was still hailed as a great democrat?

Why Nehru so acted as to prevent a healthy opposition from taking roots—so essential for a genuine democracy? Was it to ensure he and his dynasty continued to rule—performance or no performance?

Nehru nationalised what he should not have, and did not nationalise what he should have—the state-funding of elections, that Rajaji had rightly advocated. Had he done so, one could have said he was genuinely a true democrat. It would have helped the poor opposition take roots in the nascent democracy. Opposition was woefully short of funds. Besides, they did not have any publicity machinery at their disposal. Government, hence Congress, monopolised radio, and it also used carrot and stick to ensure the print-media was compliant. As all the election funding was being received by the Congress—of course, in expectation of quid pro quo—why would Nehru have tried to strengthen the Opposition by arranging funding for them? Nehru took care to jealously guard the large donations received by the Congress from corporates; yet he dubbed Swatantra Party, which was starved of funds, as pro-money-bags.

How was Indira Gandhi able to promote first her son Sanjay, and then Rajiv, both with not only no credentials, but with negative credentials! To what extent Nehru, and then Indira, weakened and compromised India’s political fabric, media and academia that she could do so with little resistance?

How Nehru, Indira, Sanjay and Rajiv managed to subvert the grand old Indian National Congress (INC) that the only growth possible in it has been the cancerous growth of dynasty, leading to power in the hands of undeserving Sonia and Rahul, who are not only unsuited and incompetent to lead the nation, but may cause grave harm, as the experience of UPA-I and UPA-II has amply shown?

Why is it not highlighted that the real legacy bequeathed to the nation by Nehru-Indira is Dynacracy?

It’s no longer just Nehru’s heirs—we now have heirs in nearly every state. Abdullah & Sons and Mufti & Daughter in J&K; Mulayam Singh Yadav, Son & Family in UP; Badal & Sons in Punjab; Chautala & Sons, Hooda & Sons in Haryana; Lalu-Rabri & Sons in Bihar; Sharad Pawar & Daughter & Nephew, Thackery & Sons & Nephew in Maharashtra; YSR’s Family in Andhra; Karunanidhi & Sons in Tamil Nadu; and, of course, spouses and sons and daughters and relatives of many other politicians. Many legislative and parliamentary constituencies are now private estates. Ours is now a feudal democracy. Most political parties from Kashmir to Kanyakumari are private jagirs. Going by this trend, we would soon be back to where we were in the ‘good’ old pre-independence period: ruled by hereditary rajas and maharajas and princes—against whom the Nehru railed most, yet followed in their foot-steps!

You also need to question the questions of dynasty chamchas and politicians and pro-dynasty self-serving section of the media and “intellectuals”, who, even after you exhaust all their pro-dynasty arguments, don’t give up: “What’s so bad about dynacracy, except perhaps it is apparently a bit unfair? But, look at the positive side. Politics is a difficult art, and it takes a long time to learn the ropes. Thanks to political dynasties, you get ready-made politicians!” The sophists question: “Are you saying that children of a politician should be denied a political career? Would that be democratic?

The above arguments are, of course, totally bogus. Dynacracy is bad not just because we resent some having unfair advantage, it is bad because it results in mediocrity, and it discounts merit. The quality of leadership emerging out of a dynastic process can never be really good. For proof, check for yourself the unutterable underachievements of the underwhelming leadership of the dynasts, at the state or at the Centre, and how it has become worse and worse down the generation. If you look at the sequence from the beginning to hopefully the end—Nehru, Indira, Rajiv, Sonia and Rahul—you find a steep deterioration. Nehru himself did not measure up to what our first PM should have been—if you go by the facts, the concrete results of his reign, his many blunders whose consequences we are still suffering, and not the fiction trotted out by the fawners. However, his successors have been progressively worse. The general trend in most families, which are well-to-do and can afford education, is that each generation is better than the previous. Nehru dynasty is an exception. Each generation is worse than the previous. In the descending geometric progression of generation-to-generation falling standards of the Nehru-Dynasty, Rahul Gandhi has scaled new heights, rather new depths. Real political leaders come from real political movements, while dynasts—the pretenders—come up from the cosy and secure family environments, without having to struggle or prove themselves, and are sustained by entitlements. The results are there for anyone to see. None of the young dynasts that we see is a real reformist or revolutionary, ready to sacrifice to better India. The principal hazards of dynasty politics are: (1)It discounts merit and prevents competent from rising. (2)It thwarts internal democracy in political parties. (3)Dynastic politics, nepotism, institutionalised corruption and non-accountability go together. (4)Dynastic politics is always at the expense of the nation. (5)It is the biggest menace. It’s the foundation of India’s misery.

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Rajnikant Puranik
August 15, 2015