On Pandit Nehru’s 125th birth anniversary, I cannot help but feel that this is a terrible time for Nehru bashers, most of whom are devotees of Narendra Modi and followers of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
This is why
They have spent years and years bashing up the man and his decisions. With the rise in social media penetration in India, the voices have got shriller and shriller. In quite a few cases the bashing has been mindless and devoid of any self-reflection or study. The one that has been bashed most was Licence Raj, which was not all that terrible as I argue here. It is not my case that everything Nehru did was right but that does not mean that he did nothing right. It is just that in their great desire to mock Rahul Gandhi, poor Pandit Nehru got a poor deal.
Another area where the bashing happened has been in context of Sardar Patel. The right-of-centre trolls have also been pitting him against the great leader and bemoaning the fact that Patel should have been the PM. Mahatma Gandhi too got bashed up on the way because he chose Nehru as his successor over Patel. We had ludicrous lies spread about Nehru not bothering to go to Patel’s funeral whereas the fact remains that Nehru was not only present but also broke down in public. The bashing by trolls is in itself fascinating, considering that the two great men themselves treated each other like honoured colleagues and friends rather than rivals.
So what is the problem you say?
The problem is that as Modi seeks to supplant everything that had a Congress legacy attached to it, he has decided to take over two Congress icons Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru.
With their g-d now honouring the man, the devotees are in a fix. Now I wonder what spin the Nehrubashers are going to put on this.
This situation reminds me a time when I have myself heard Sharad Pawar supporters talk about how Sonia was now Indian because she was a daughter-in-law & wife of an Indian and any Indian woman ‘belongs’ to the husband’s family after her wedding. A thwarted and wounded (he could not become PM and was losing prominence) Pawar split away from the Congress on the Sonia issue and his followers had to backpedal really fast. What a sight that was.