Posts Tagged ‘CNN IBN Poll’

A heartfelt Appeal: Nehru the greatest Indian after Gandhi

June 22, 2012

It is an APPEAL. I request all Indians to please go through this message and please read as soon as you get it… it’s long but spare 10 minutes… it’s a heartfelt request. It’s disheartening to see that Nehru’s name hasn’t even made it to top 10 in the CNN IBN poll for the greatest Indian  since Mahatma Gandhi. (http://www.historyindia.com/TGI <—- go here to vote)  Is today’s India totally ignorant of the contributions that this modern architect of India made? Is today’s India is only interested to punish him for China, Kashmir and Socialist Policy? (though licence raj was introduced in 1967 after his death). Or has India become too Jingoistic and parochial by focusing on leaders of their own community (Baba Ambedkar and Kanshi Ram), or leaders of recent past and has India become completely oblivious of the fact about who laid the foundations for the leaders of recent past to excel, or are we Indians confusing the individual achievements of a sports person as his great work towards the spread of the game (Sachin tendulkar)… or are we just being too subjective and getting swayed by our emotions for the achievers in the field of music, cinema, sports, politics etc. AND losing the sight of objectivity and forgetting what qualifies for the greatest. Greatest is the one who sacrifices himself and his parochial interests of everything related to him for the greater human empowerment and harmony, which assume larger importance in today’s time when there are multiple unresolved conflicts and despicable poverty.

Consider the list of the ones who have made it to top 10

Baba Saheb Ambedkar – The great activist for social equality and justice. Maker of the Indian Constitution (though largely inspired from the British’s). Not many people would know that in the aftermath of India’s Independence there were talks from influential people within the cabinet that only graduates be allowed to vote in general Elections. Certainly had that proposal been accepted, all the socially backward classes would have largely been left out of the democratic process. It was Pandit Nehru who prevailed upon the proponents of the said proposal with the emphatic argument that the ones who supported us in the freedom movement cannot be left out to elect the government of this free nation. Thanks to Nehru that unlike the oldest & strongest democracy USA, India did not have civil rights movement in this country for grant of universal suffrage. Wasn’t this one of the greatest accomplishment by Nehru for ensuring the integration of the socially backwards classes with the all of India? Baba Saheb, himself from socially backward class, worked relentlessly for the upliftment of the poor, but at the same time Nehru did something similar. And one wouldn’t do justice to the cause of complete social integration if only the contributions of the leader of socially backward class (Ambedkar) is taken into account, and the contributions made by Nehru are totally ignored. That’s how we divide the nation along the cast lines, regional lines, communal lines by being just focused on our area of interest, on our person from our community. My request to Baba Saheb’s followers is that, as much as Baba Saheb’s deserves your vote, so does Pandit Nehru deserve.  What is it that India is totally proud of today. Democracy! We are a corrupt nation, many political leaders are corruptible but our democracy has stood the test of time. It goes to the credit of Nehru, who had all the dictatorial inclinations but steadfastly he taught the masses (I am talking about masses not the elites) about democracy… he established those institutions that will preserve the democracy… an executive, the legislature the judiciary. You have two examples in your neighbourhood. China grew more than India but they don’t have freedom to even comment of facebook as much as we can do and then Pakistan where less said the better. It’s the democracy in India that has given voice to Dalits through political parties such as BSP (though BSP is not the sole representative of Dalits).

APJ Abdul Kalam – Missile Man. People’s President for 5 years. Dr. Kalam – a dedicated scientist for my generation and an inspiring figure for millions who dare to dream. But one mustn’t forget that it was Nehru who laid the foundation in this country for science, technology and research. The greatest scientist of India – Homi J Bhabha (he addressed to Nehru as Bhai ji) was given full support by Nehru to establish Department of Atomic Energy and allied facilities in India that later on made Pokhran II, in which Dr. Kalam played a key role, possible. ISRO, from where Dr. Kalam started his career, has its genesis in Dept of Atomic Energry. It was Nehru, who despite his strong dislike for excessive expenditure on defence, laid the foundation for DRDO. I repeat, that by ignoring Nehru, we are ignoring the man who laid the foundations for these great institutes, which in turn gave a platform for the greats like Dr. Kalam to shine. I am not saying Dr. Kalam is all because of DRDO and not because of his own calibre. But even Dr. Kalam would agree that it were ISRO and DRDO that gave him the platform to work for the nation and be recognized by the people of this country. Dr. Kalam received a lot of love and affection from the people of India and he truly deserved it. But the love and affection that Nehruji received in his lifetime, could be paralleled only with that received by the greatest Indian the Mahatma.  Please do vote for Dr. Kalam but please don’t forget the Man who cultivated the interest in Science and technology in an agrarian country, and who faced criticism for his forward thinking and establishing of scientific institutions. He gave us the IITs…

Vallabhai Patel – Played the role of Integrating India. The India as we know of today did not exist before independence, because then India was ruled by different princely states. But think of India, divided along the cast lines, religious lines, regional lines and what not… who kept intact the fabric that connects India even today. Unity in Diversity. Pandit Nehru is often blamed for J&K trouble but is never credited for liberating Goa, or peacefully dealing with France to leave Pondicherry. And mind you, both these countries were NATO allies. But one forgets, the times in which the decision was taken. From day one Nehru was clear in his mind that Pakistan and India are two new nations, world had just seen the end of World War II and the perils and futility of war, the UN was formed with the hope of everlasting peace, the country had overcome 200 years of foreign yoke, now in these trying and nascent world and national circumstances, wasn’t it only wise to ensure that both these two poor countries Pakistan and India don’t get embroiled in an expensive war, which would have been a strain on the already stretched resources of the two countries. With the benefit of hindsight, India from its inception focused on governance, growth and development, whereas in Pakistan every government has survived on anti India factor & the Kashmir factor, paving way for the establishment in Pakistan to make financial allocation to defence. Results are for us to see. There is Pakistan the failed state, here is India a Vibrant democratic and progressive country. Yes we still carry the J&K problem… but we must ask ourselves that as Indians of today are we willing to trade our lives with those of Pakistanis to get the entire J&K. I can tell you the answer will be overwhelmingly NO. J&K problem is a tumour, we must get rid of it… but J&K problem at the time of Independence should be seen in the context of problems and world scenario at the time of India’s Independence.

Kanshi Ram – I doubt if I have to make a case here, when I have already invoked Baba sahib earlier.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee – It was a good fortune of india that despite a Right Wing government we continued to have a PM who was secular. A PM, who commanded respect across the party lines. A very able parliamentarian whose rise to the post of premier was prophesized by none other but Jawahar Lal Nehru. Please bear in mind that even though Vajpayee ji was a great admirer of India’s first PM, the former was also one of Nehru’s harshest critics in parliament. And it was in spite of Vajpayee’s criticisms on Nehru, that Nehru considered Vajpayee a capable leader, capable enough to be PM! Does this act of Nehru not speak of his greatness to rise over personal criticisms? It’s a quality that you would hardly ever find in any leader. Churchill said of Nehru “He knows no fear and has no hatred.” It was because of strong institutions of governance and democracy, that emergency could be overruled and democracy be reinstated with throwing out of the congress govt. for the first time since independence. Followers of Shri Vajpayee, you are voting for him but not for the man, whom the Vajpayee considered his role model. When Atalji became the Minister of External affairs, there was an attempt to remove nehru’s portrait from foreign ministry. Vajpaypee said “tara doob gaya hai par roshni ab bhi hamara marg darshan karegi”. Atal ji ensured that Nehru’s portrait remained in the foreign office.

Sachin Tendulkar – The most accomplished Indian Sportsman. To see him play, there is certainly an adrenaline rush I feel, more so when he is lashing out at the opposing team. It is a true delight to watch him play with dexterity and finesse with which he places his shots. And above all he inspires me to excel in my chosen field of profession. But I take a pause here, and ponder, that does he inspire me only to excel in my individual life or does he also inspire me to work with same dedication, perseverance, passion and spirit to work for larger good of society? The answer is no. Sachin inspires me to have the sense of self sacrifice to achieve my set goals but he doesn’t instil in me the sense of sacrificing my goals and ambitions for the betterment of society. No he doesn’t. We are talking about the greatest Indian Since Gandhi…. Gandhi sacrificed self, his family life, for the nation… someone who has to come after Gandhi should possess those attributes in a similar manner. The founding fathers of Independent India sacrificed their personal lives for establishing India. Pandit Nehru left his palatial and Luxurious home but slept on hard floors of British jails for good nine years. Sachin is a great player, maybe even the greatest sportsman, but it will be a shame on all the voters if he were to lead Pandit Nehru in terms of great Indians.

JRD Tata – I am proud to say that the most ethical company that I ever worked in was an offshoot of the Tata Group. And I had the best time of my career in that company, though the pay was low, but it was high on every other front. What inspired me to join that company was because my boss, a professional of a certain vintage, told me “we follow the ethics established by JRD”… I needed no further persuasion to join. There was an instance when a young enthusiastic CA figured out a loophole to save tax and JRD’s polite but pointed rebuke to that young CA was “It’s legal but not ethical”. Here I would like to put a word about Nehru’s economic policy. At the time of Independence there were only two big industrial houses that could have carried out large scale projects of industrial and development projects. Birla and Tata. For all those critics of Nehruvian Economic policies, must remember that we didn’t have a strong private sector, like we have today, to have taken the onerous task of building this country. And of course the sentiment in the country, after being freed from 200 years of British raj, was against foreign investment. I agree the Nehruvian’s economic policies should have not been taken forward beyond his life time. But his policies were right for a newly independent poor country, ravaged by centuries of looting.

Mother Teresa:  The country shall remain always indebted to this lady for all the selfless service that she has provided, for years on to this country. The task that mother performed is unparalleled. She adopted those whom (the lepers) we abandoned. But all those who have voted for the mother, please remember that a hardcore secular Indian PM did ensure that people of all religions could come to India and freely spread and practice their religions and indulge in service to the humanity.

Rajnikant –I am a north Indian and I enjoy Rajni’s movies, his action and theatrics; specially the ones from 80s. I am also aware of the fact that Rajni is revered in South India. And more than anything, I admire his humility… he is absolutely down to earth… even after attaining the near god like status in southern India. He is a role model of how a celebrity must conduct himself in the public. But let us not confuse our adulation for an individual for the greatness of that man.

My Closing remarks: Nehru was a leader who possessed the qualities of greatness. We are talking about a national leader, not a business leader, not a sports leader. A national leader has to be essentially a person, who has done remarkable work in all spheres of national interests such as social empowerment, development of infrastructure, establishment-functioning-independence of the institutions of governance. A national leader is one that inspired and motivated the masses. Nehru did that. Somewhere Nehru himself said “Many a great men have been in this country, they have been loved immensely, but the love I got nobody else got.” the focus of this poll is on the “greatest Indian”. Greatest is the one who sheds the parochial view of every thing related to him and focuses more on larger world view and harmony and human empowerment. That is what Gandhi did by sacrificing his family life (he may not have been the best husband or father but certainly he was the greatest Indian) that’s what Mother Teresa did by devoting all her life to the leprosy patients in India (she abandoned Poland to adopt India’s poor). Pandit Nehru of course never relinquished India’s interests but at the same time he never relinquished the dream of his world harmony and solidarity for insular gains of his own country. This generation has to understand that in today’s globalized world a country cannot lead an insular existence. It was Panditji who talked about Globalization decades ago and that is a reality today. The country didn’t understand Globalization in Nehru’s era but today the country is embracing Globalization with open arms. Country may take a little while more to understand why world peace is more important than hegemony of a single nation in a region or on the planet. But Nehru realized it a long time back. And that is his greatness. It was not his folly that China attacked India and endangered the Asian Solidarity. It’s easier to think this way that it was not a folly of apostle of peace Gandhi, when he and millions of his followers were lathi charged by British. These thoughts need more articulation and I would love to write more but for the paucity of time (poll closes on 25th June 2012). Greatness is not in fighting wars … greatness is in avoiding conflicts and making the world aware of vainness of such acts.  That’s what Nehru tried to do when he took Kashmir to UN and halted all conflicts to prevent wasteful expenditure and heavy burden on two newly independent poor nations. Panditji, did just that. For him the world peace was of as much importance as the safety and security of India. He showed greatness when he refused UNSC seat because he argued that China should be brought in the UN. I emphatically say that no that was not a folly, that may not have been the right thing for India but that was the right thing for world. How could the world expect UN to avoid major conflicts if it were to rule out a country (China) that constituted 1/7th of the world’s population. Panditji believed in Asian Solidarity and Asian Emergence he worked towards that goal by laying down Panchsheel agreement and by taking tough decisions such as refusal of UNSC seat. It was China’s folly that it launched an attack and avoided the table and thereby endangered the solidarity between the two greats of Asia.

A great leader is not the one who has an accomplishment in one sphere. No other nominee can proclaim to have had wide accomplishments from laying the firm stones of democracy, building national infrastructure and economy, governance institutions that continue to function till date amid all the impropriety in all walks of life , foreign policy (don’t curse him for China’s folly). What India are we talking of today…. In his time India weighed more than our punch. Despite being a staunch socialist, Nehru commanded request from both the USSR and USA. Here is an example. In 1958 when Nehru wanted to resign the then US President Eisenhower (a republican) wrote to PM Nehru “it will be unfortunate if you resign”… when Nehru reconsidered his decision and under party pressure decided not to resign, the Russian leader Khrushchev “I am glad that you have reconsidered your decision.”

This generation is ignorant about Nehru. They have been fed with lot of wrong information leading to wrong notions. And if we fail to realize even today the greatest jewel that India ever had, then as a nation we will continue to be more ignorant and India will move from the path of unity in diversity, harmony and peace to a path of diversity, jingoism and hegemony.

GET NEHRU in top 10 to atleast have a GOOD PUBLIC DEBATE ON WHY HE SHOULD BE CONSIDERED THE GREATEST. The last date is 25th JUNE 2012