SARDAR PATEL's LEGACY
Who owns Sardar Patel’s Legacy? Every Indian. But, both the PM and the PM aspirant were owning the Sardar’s legacy separately – which was ridiculous.
The PM says – “Sardar patel was a Congress man. And I am proud to be a member of a political party with which he was associated.” Did Sardar Patel belong to the same Congress Party to which Dr.Manmohan Singh belongs? Absolutely not. Does he not belong to a congress party which imposed Emergency in India? Does he not belong to a Congress party which was responsible for large scale anti-Sikh riots in India? And - did he ever belong to the Congress Party when Sardar Patel was around?
In reality - Congress party and BJP both have undergone tremendous changes from 1947. Mahatma Gandhi had recommended dissolution of Congress Party after Independence, only to avoid this crisis of Identity. In accordance with Mahatma’s wishes, the then congress should have been dissolved and people in Congress should have been allowed to float their own Political parties to fight elections in Independent India. If that had happened, who would have been in which Party is definitely difficult to guess. Sardar and Nehru may have floated 2 different Parties ; or stayed in same party. Who knows?
Since 1947, Congress has been changing and changing with every Prime Minister. Nehru’s era was a distinctly socialist era and had reasonable level of democratic values in it. When Morarji came around, supported by the elders of Congress like Kamaraj Nadar, the Nehruvian Policies were continued. But, when Indira Gandhi came, all those Policies got dumped like household waste.
Nehru would never have reneged on the promise made to the erstwhile princes – by arbitrarily abolishing the privy purses , which was hardly Rs.5 crores. The nation should have been grateful to the princes – at least till their life time, for the sacrifices made by them in favour of a united India. I was a small kid by then. But, I could never stand or understand the absurdity of a nation going back on its own promises. Satyameva Jayathe looked a farce to me – as Government itself was going back on its promise.
Nehru was a perfect democrat, Greatly honest and admirably Gandhian. He was a true National leader. He was not sectarian in any sense. Neither caste nor religion nor region nor language could make him differentiate his people.
But, Nehru’s failing was - he was not equal to China’s challenge. In fact, he did not understand the Chinese ambitions. From Nehru’s time to Manmohan Singh’s time, the Congress never took sufficient steps to equal China. It could have; but, it didn’t. In Nehru’s time, it was only territorial aggression and occupation. Now, Chinese products are dominating Indian market and are posing huge economic challenge. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find Indian Products in India. Congress is not even close to understanding the implications of this economic occupation by China in India.
It is time that India strives to grow taller than China. It can. It must. We can’t be killing our soldiers through the hands of a smaller country like Pakistan and grumbling always about it. It is shameful. Pakistani non-state and state actors must be afraid of even stepping an Inch into India for any anti-Indian activities. That must be the Image of India. India needs that Image. Not its present Image of always grumbling of losing its Soldiers’ heads to Pakistani actors – state or non-state.
Bank Nationalization by Indira Gandhi was good and needed. But, whoever owned the Banks back then, should have been paid back their invested monies as sufficient compensation. Till Nehru lived, he always stood by the premise of Just Compensation. But, not Indira Gandhi. She stood for acquiring anything, with any paltry compensation, which is not just.
But, Indira Gandhi did a number of good things for the poor of the country through the nationalized Banks. This said - the way she dumped all the Congress Old Guard, who fought for Independence by the side of Nehru – does not definitely belong to the Nehruvian Congress.
When Indira Gandhi promulgated Emergency and was later assassinated, a section of Congress showed its ugliest face in the anti-sikh riots. This too was Congress. Is it not the same congress which perpetrated these religious riots pointing accusing fingers at Modi for the 2002 incidents, which were very localized and the handiwork of a few enraged people.
Bank Nationalization and Bangladesh creation were her great contributions to the stability of India, while absolute aversion for any criticism from any one was her single, most negative quality. How she treated the Old Guard of Congress, the princes who gave up their kingdoms and the entrepreneurs who had started the banks in Pre-Independence days was shabby enough.
Graceful Politics disappeared with Nehru. Indira Gandhi did not stand for any such Graceful Politics. That obviously shows, Mahatma Gandhi’s, Nehru’s and Patel’s Congress was different – from Nehru’s Congress and Nehru’s Congress was not the same as Indira Gandhi’s Congress. When Indira Gandhi was assassinated and the anti-sikh riots happened, whose Congress was it? P.V.Narasimharao may have expressed regrets. But, he was himself dumped by Congress most unceremoniously. It is difficult to say that PVN represents Congress as its head.
Rajiv Gandhi’s Congress was a capitalist congress. He tried to promote Private Industries once again. It was an era of economic liberalism, trying to do away with licence- permit Raj, which existed till Indira Gandhi era. Indira always wanted more and more state control, whereas, Rajiv wanted private entrepreneurship to assist in economic progress of the country. The assassination if Indira was tragic and that of Rajiv more so. Rajiv would have been a PM, but for his assassination. But for one or two stray incidents, Rajiv was far more accommodating of criticism and far more democratic than Indira Gandhi. How can both the congresses be considered the same? They were as far apart as North and South Poles.
P.V.Narasimha Rao was PM but had no clout on congress. He owned the Government but not the Congress. The Congress came under Sonia Gandhi. Sonia did not know Governance and did not contribute to it at all. It was PVN all the way, assisted by good people like Dr.Manmohan Singh, who were also , namesake, congress leaders, but without following.
PVN contributed to country’s progress in a great way. To some extent, he also made up links with the main Opposition party, the BJP, through his friendly ties with its leaders like A.B.Vajpayee. Their friendly co-operation was pulpable always in Parliament. PVN removed more and more shackles on economic progress. But, he got dumped by Congress ultimately. It was so-unlike of the Nehruvian Congress.
Dr.Manmohan Singh, as the head of UPA I was effective in governance. But, the family of Soniaji was controlling the Congress and Dr.Singh had no say in Congress at all. From the times of Indira Gandhi, the state congress leadership in all states was weakened to such an extent, that there was no mass leader in congress in any state.
Dr. Singh adopted strong economic Policies and the telecom revolution, which was started in Vajpayee’s times, bore fruit. To some extent, UPA I’s success was due to the strong foundations laid by Vajpayee’s Government. But, the agility with which it was continued by Dr.Singh needs to be appreciated. The RTI Act is itself a Great contribution from Dr.Singh.
UPA II has been a disaster. The credit for this should be shared by Congress and its allies both. If transparency is a virtue of Governance, the only thing that was transparent in UPA II was the level of corruption and the brazen attempts to use state machinery to suppress criticism and shield corrupt people.
Whether it was Team Anna or Baba Ramdev, they were not initially against Congress. They just wanted a Lok Pal to deal with Corruption and wanted Government to bring back black moneys. Their agitations were perfectly peaceful and Gandhian. Nehruvian Congress would have implemented Lok Pal in the face of such demand which was not only Popular but was made by respected personalities. But, all that Congress and UPA II Government did was to put all the state Machinery behind them – to discredit them. The result is – (i) Arvind Kejrival entered into Politics and is well on his way to become the Majority party in Delhi displacing Congress and BJP both, and (ii) Baba RamDev is now the best crusader against Congress and in favour of the BJP in all Northern states, apart from Modi himself.
The corruption scandals are legion. I don’t think, we have seen the bottom of any of these scandals as of today. No money trail has been investigated in full. No one has been punished as yet – except Lallu Prasad yadav – and the credit for that goes to a single Individual called Rahul Gandhi and not Congress. The full Political class was shamelessly behind Lallu and his corruption. That shows the degeneration of the Political class and the justification for the rise of Arving Kejrival.
Congress was also seen accusing all regulatory bodies like Election commission, Supreme Court and the CAG, when in fact, these bodies were trying to bring back a semblance of rule of law into Governance. CAG was identified with opposition – which was ridiculous. Supreme Court too got criticized for so called Judicial activism, when it was only correcting legislative opportunism. If Election commission suggests right to reject, it was not acceptable. When SC says that criminal Politicians can’t stand for elections, that was not acceptable.
There is too much nonsense of this type in Congress right now – and if Rahul comes up with a young team to cleanse congress first, the country may yet give him thumbs up – even if he is far less experienced and far less capable than Modi.
So – my own view is – Sorry, Dr.Manmohanji, You don’t belong to that Congress which had Nehru and Patel. You belong to Soniaji’s and Digvijay Singh’s Congress. But, if you too can muster enough courage to call the bluff of the nonsense politics in Congress, you may yet get thumbs up from the country.
But, all this doesn’t mean, Modi is very right about Sardar Patel. I don’t think, we could say today – had Sardar Patel been our first Prime Minister, things would have been different. This too is ridiculous. We lived with Nehru for the longest time. India voted for Nehru, like it never voted for anybody else later. India loved Nehru. Sardar Patel was the next best choice. We cannot undo that people’s choice of decades in favour of Nehru today and say Patel should have been our first PM. Patel’s contribution to uniting the country was tremendous. But, he did not live long enough to ensure further the country’s unity and progress, with his admirable administrative skills.
So, all this means that – Dr.Singh is terribly wrong to say that he is proud of belonging to a party to which Sardar Patel belonged and Modi is terribly wrong to say that had Sardar Patel been our first PM, India would have been different.
In the same way, RSS and BJP of today are much different from anything that existed at the time of Mahatma Gandhi’s Assassination. There is just no point in Godse’s Individual act being attributed to any organization of that time and it is absolute fallacy to accuse Individuals who are born much, much later than Gandhi’s death for Gandhi’s death.
It is just like blaming Indira Gandhi’s assassination on all Sikhs and pursuing them and rioting on them. This blunt comparison must make both Congress and RSS realize that both must come to live in today’s India with today’s Indian aspirations. No one in India must ever be seen to be justifying Godse’s act in assassinating the father of the Nation. I hope RSS doesn’t. Also, it must come out of its Hindu Nationalism concept – which is unnecessarily damaging its own otherwise, great reputation. Let everyone be a Good Hindu, Good Christian, Good Muslim according to his religion and all be good nationalists. The problem is, once someone catches a hot potato, it becomes difficult to leave it. Huge Egos and fear of condemnation makes people justify earlier wrongs. It requires huge honesty to admit past / present wrongs and come out of it gracefully.
Likewise, Congress must never ever be seen to be justifying Anti-sikh riots (or the Emeregency etc which preceded it). Congress must never ever attribute the Godhra tragedy or Ahmadabad riots to Modi personally, when, Modi’s regime very actively and very clearly pursued the investigations and got the actual culprits punished, which the Congress has not done so far in respect of Anti- Sikh riots. How many of these riot victims were compensated? How many perpetrators were punished? Saying regret, is not enough alternative for these acts required by Law and Justice to the riot victims.
We must all own the legacy of Nehru, Patel and Subhas Bose. Modi also owns their legacy. It is good that the PM and PM aspirant came on a single dais to own his legacy. I wish to see them in ROLES REVERSED in 2014 – but behaving gracefully like PVN and Vajpayee. India needs this at least for 60 months.
The tallest statue of Sardar Patel (182 Mts) reflects what Modi will strive to achieve if made the PM. India needs such great Monuments for the great leaders of our freedom struggle - Gandhi, Nehru, Patel and Subhas Bose. Why can't we have world class statues for these world class leaders?
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