Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru (the title of Pandit is a little incongruous
for a sworn secularist) passed away on this day (May 27), 54 years ago in 1964.
His larger than life image though has only lately begun to be put in
perspective. A lot of it has to do with social media for it loosened the grip
of mainstream media and academics in controlling the narrative, hiding the ugly
and sprucing up the good.
This revisit on Nehru's early years, his rise in Congress
echelon, manipulation at the time of independence to PM's seat, his shaping of
Hindu Civil Code etc are now being fiercely ripped out in open. I would
presently concentrate on two of his actions which have put India's eastern
and western borders in permanent strife. I am of course referring to Pt.
Nehru's conduct during the incursion of Pakistani raiders in Kashmir
in 1947; and the disastrous China War of 1962.
Pak Raiders in Kashmir in 1947
Within a month of India's
independence, Maharaja Hari Singh of Kashmir offered his state's accession to India
in September 1947. Nehru refused for his "blood brother" Sheikh Abdullah was in
jail. It was thus a deadlock. By next month, Pakistan's
raiders from North West Frontier Province
had penetrated up till the outskirts of Srinagar,
looting, pillaging, killing and raping along the way. On October 26, Hari Singh
had agreed to sign the Instrument of Accession to Indian Union.
On the same day, Lord Mountbatten, the governor general,
called an urgent meeting in Delhi.
Nehru was his typical ambivalent self. Sardar Patel, the home minister, lost
his cool. Sam Manekshaw, then an army colonel, was to later recall: "As usual Nehru
talked about the United Nations, Russia,
Africa, God Almighty, everybody, until Sardar
Patel lost his temper. He said 'Jawaharlal, do you want Kashmir
or do you want to give it away?'." Nehru was thus pinned into taking an action
and thanks to Sardar Patel, troops were flown to Srinagar
and the airport, the only link with New
Delhi, was saved.
In just a few weeks, in December 1947, Nehru had committed
his grave blunder for which successive generations of India are still paying the price.
He referred the matter to United Nations--there was no need for Kashmir was
"internal matter" since Maharaja Hari Singh had already acceded the state to
Why did Nehru go to United Nations? There are two
explanations forwarded: one, he wanted Sardar Patel out of Kashmir for the
latter fed up by Nehru's antics had offered to resign just a few days before in
December 1947; two, Nehru walked into a trap laid by Mountbatten who wanted UN
(The truth is, India
didn't need Mountbatten as its Governor General. Pakistan never considered a similar
option for itself. Mountbatten then maneuvered himself as head of India's
Nehru then approached United Nations for arbitration. In the
first few months of 1948, the folly had begun to hit Nehru in the face. The
British stance in front of UN was completely opposite to what Mountbatten had
led Nehru to believe. The Indian complaint was ignored; instead UN Security
Council began adopting anti-India resolutions.
The cat was out of the bag. Despite India's protestations, Pakistan was
firmly in control of "Azad Kashmir." India had to lose Gilgit-Baltistan
region. UN and its plans for a plebiscite went kaput. India's next generations had been condemned with
the festering wound of Kashmir. Terrorism and
internal security, if not secession, are everyday issues emanating from the
War of 1962
This refers to India's
political and military humiliation at the hands of China during the 1962 War. The
impression successfully perpetuated all these years is that it was all China's
aggression which didn't respond to Nehru's brotherly overtures. The truth is
didn't leave India
with any boundaries. India
were left to settle matters with Pakistan,
Nepal and China. While
the first two nations didn't cause any problem, China was a different matter
altogether. They were not prepared to let Nehru get away with his "forward
policy" of aggression.
inherited the McMahon line on its eastern border with China which British had created in
mid-1930s by seizing the Tibetan territory, renaming it NEFA. The Chinese
government's plea for renegotiation was turned down by Nehru who latched on to London's fake claim of
Simla Conference (1945), legitimatizing the McMahon Line. Nehru topped it with
his fake claim on Aksai Chin--a claim which even the British hadn't made on a
had termed its own for over a hundred years.
Then on its Western (Ladakh) border, Nehru's "forward
policy" in September 1962 tried to force the Chinese out of territory it
claimed as its own. Nehru announced on October 11 that the army had been
ordered to "free our territory." That's how the war began with China reacting
to the situation.
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Ashish Shukla is an Indian journalist and author who has his new book:"HOW UNITED STATES SHOT HUAMNITY: Muslims Ruined Europe Next" released worldwide.
He also runs a website: www.newsbred.com which is antidote to boardroom bulletins that (more...)